DAILY WAR NEWS FOR TUESDAY, July 18, 2006
: Local Iraqis gather around the wreckage of a car bomb attack, Tuesday, July 18, 2006, in the Shiite holy city of Kufa, 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo/Alaa al-Marjani) (See below)
At least 54 people, mostly day labourers, were killed and dozens of others wounded as a car bomb blew up on Tuesday in the centre of Iraq's Shiite shrine city of Kufa
, security and medical sources said. At least 105 others were wounded in the attack, said Dr Mundher al-Adhari, chief health official of the southern city of Najaf, adding that most of the victims were young men.
Witnesses said a car drove up and parked in the square in front of Kufa's grand mosque, immediately attracting a crowd of people assuming it was a contractor looking for day labourers. "A blue car pulled into the area and dozens of people surrounded the car thinking that they were looking for workers," said Nasser Kadhim, who lost his brother in the blast and was himself wounded. "A few minutes later the explosion happened and everything was thrown into the air."
The blast was the third attack with a heavy death toll in as many days, all of them apparently motivated by sectarian divisions. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki condemned the latest bombing and vowed to punish the perpetrators.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
Armed men wearing Iraqi military uniforms stormed into the Rafidain Bank in Baghdad and made off with about $675,000.
Few other details were released.
Morgue officials reported the discovery of 32 bodies of Iraqi men
, found with their hands bound, bodies bloodied and bullet wounds to the head in various parts of the capital.
(near) Three Iraqi soldiers were killed as gunmen attacked a checkpoint near Mahmoudiya.
Iraqi police found bodies of 14 people killed in the execution style near a town south of Baghdad
, an Iraqi Interior Ministry source said. "Our police patrols found 14 bodies of men outside the town of Mahmudiyah," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The bodies, showing signs of torture, were bound and with bullet holes in the heads and chests, the source said.
One police officer and two gunmen were killed in an attack on Baquba police station
, 60 kilometres north of Baghdad, security sources said Tuesday. The sources told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that unidentified armed men attacked the Tahrir Police Station in Baquba on Monday night killing one police officer and injuring another two members of the police force, while two of the gunmen were killed in the attack.'
Iraqi police found the head of a young woman near Tikrit
, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad. A man was killed when a bomb planted under the head exploded as he was trying to take a photo of the head, police said.
British forces in the southern Iraqi city of Basra said they conducted a large operation to search for weapons
early on Tuesday, and Iraqi police said five Shi'ite militia fighters had been killed in clashes. He said there were no British casualties and that three suspects had been arrested.
Five Iraqi soldiers were wounded when several rockets landed near a military base used for training Iraqi forces in Kut.
Gunmen killed sheikh Khalid Ahmed Hasan, a tribal leader, near Kirkuk
, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad
A roadside bomb killed nine Iraqis, including six policemen, at Howeija
, 250 kilometres north of Baghdad, a police source said. The bomb went off as a police patrol was passing through the town, south-west of Kirkuk.
Gunmen killed three translators who worked for the U.S. forces in Haditha
, 240 km (150 miles) northwest Baghdad.
The director general of the Independent Electoral Commission in Iraq and 10 other employees have been arrested on charges of corruption
, the head of the government's anti-corruption body said Tuesday.
Adel al-Lami surrendered to authorities Monday after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He is accused of misusing public funds along with the 10 others, including senior election officials, said Judge Radhi al-Radhi, chairman of the High Commission of Integrity. (…)
Meanwhile, Al-Lami has sued five former colleagues on similar charges, al-Radhi said. He would not give further details, but said investigators were looking into the claim.
IRAQ'S PARLIAMENT STANDS UNITED OVER ISRAEL
Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish lawmakers in Iraq's U.S.-backed parliament often fail to see eye to eye, but on Sunday they stood united in their condemnation of Israel's military offensive against Lebanon.
Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has been pleading with fellow Iraqis to put aside deep sectarian and ethnic divisions of the kind that plunged Lebanon into civil war 30 years ago.
His pleas have gone largely unheeded, but Israel's five-day-old assault on Lebanon that has killed well over 120 people, all but four of them civilians, has evoked strong feelings of solidarity among Iraqis, bridging the sectarian divide, with hostility toward Israel and the United States.
"Support Hassan Nasrallah and stand by his side and you will be closer to the angels in heaven," wrote Hameed Abdullah, a Sunni, in an editorial in al-Mashriq newspaper, referring to the leader of Shi'ite Hizbollah, the target of the Israeli campaign.
The Iraqi media has closely followed developments in the offensive, and Iraqiya state television has flashed breaking news in red script across normal programming, a practice usually reserved for its coverage of the daily carnage in Iraq.
read in full…
Nearly 6,000 civilians were killed in Iraq during the two months of May and June
, according to a report prepared by UN Assistance Mission for Iraq.
"A total of 5,818 civilians were reportedly killed and at least 5,762 wounded during May and June 2006," the human rights report said Tuesday. It said "killings, kidnappings and torture remain widespread in Iraq and the number of civilians killed continues to grow", adding that 244 women and 71 children were killed during these two months. Most of the victims were killed in Baghdad.
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF EXPLAINS WHY WAR IN IRAQ IS LOST
The rate of consumption and the cost reset of equipment being used in Iraq and Afghanistan is draining the Army's coffers, delaying the modernization of battle platforms, the Army chief of staff said Friday.
"In the last seven years, we have retrenched in the Army to pay our bills and terminated $86 billion worth of modernization."
[Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter] Schoomaker pointed out that the Army's five major depots are operating at about 50 percent of capacity and that right now, there are 1,000 Humvees and 500 tanks rare being held back from reset for lack of funds.
Roughly 30 percent of troops on the ground in Iraq are combat forces and more than 45 percent provide logistics. [Meaning the idiots are trying to occupy a nation of 22 million with 39,000 combat troops. Assuming they work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, with no letup at all, that means only 19,500 on duty at any given moment. Game over. Time to come home.]
The remainder are trainers and advisors working with the Iraqi security forces, according to Schoomaker.
The logistics and combat equipment, he said, is being consumed at about four times the normal rate and as that equipment gets repaired and reset over and over again, the Army is reaching a point of diminishing returns which will soon make it cheaper to buy new equipment.
Two years ago, he said, it was costing about $4 billion a year to reset the equipment, now it's costing about $12 billion to $13 billion a year to replace the equipment or reset it.
LETTERS FROM BAGHDADIS
A., lives in Baghdad, a professional and Iraqi through and through. He has never thought of leaving Iraq, not during the 1991 onslaught, during the misery of the embargo years, when like so many, he risked even his eyesight, writing reports by candle light or flickering lantern in the evenings due to embargo of parts for the bombed electricity stations and sub-stations.
He had an opportunity to work abroad for two years, which he took up, to send hard currency back to his family in a country suffering stratospheric inflation. His friends wondered whether he might claim asylum. (Say Saddam would kill you and that would guarantee leave to remain, many pulled that card and also said they had secrets to tell - and told the authorities what they wanted to hear, never mind it often had all the validity of a child's bed time story as fact. Think Ahmed Chalabi, Ayad Allawy who were paid handsomely for pretty well getting the UK and US into Iraq's quagmire and heartbreak.) But A., relinquished the ease of western life and returned to the embargo's rigors and deprivations - where a kilo of chicken cost the average monthly salary and normality of a family meal out in this formerly late-night city, a distant memory - and his warm close knit family.
A man who brought a new meaning to 'resourcefulness', he was never without work of some kind or another and like all Iraqis, then and now, his car was his lifeline. After the invasion, when the kidnapping and car-jackings began he traveled with a gun and a fearsome knife to scare off those with ill intent. It made no difference. This week I received:
'Hello Dear Felicity,
'The b ... d and evil militias of (Iranian backed) Muqtada Al-Sadr and the Badr Corps are mercilessly and brutally kidnapping and assassinating the innocents from both sects, Shi'ite or Sunni under pre- made charges (of being 'Ba'athist, Saddamist..')
'They kidnapped me and put me in my car boot (in 100f heat) for ninety minutes.' They also kidnapped his brother, beat them both severely, relieved them of the two cars and $5,000 - their all. Iraqis now carry any money they are lucky enough to have, knowing if the Americans 'soldiers' or their militias (spot the difference) break into their homes it will be stolen along with all their valuables. The kidnappers also did some fancy, anesthetic-free surgery to one ear. But they escaped with their lives.
A., whose formative years were under Iranian bombardment of the eight year (western driven) Iran-Iraq war and like all Iraqis has suffered so grievously from the actions of the UK and US without a thought of emigrating, ended with a plea, from one who had never begged for anything in his life : 'Please, please, help me to get to Europe.'read in full...
IRAQIS IN LEBANON EVACUATED TO WHERE EXACTLY?
Just heard this:
The Iraq embassy in Lebanon has asked all Iraqi citizens to register so that means of safe passage out of Beirut and other cities can be arranged.
I laughed my *** off when I heard this. Honestly. This is the real message from the Iraqi embassy:
Dear Iraqi citizens and those of you who managed to escape the great purge,
Please let us know who you are, where you live, when you escaped our stranglehold, particularly if you are scientists, medics, and all other professionals who have been targeted in recent years.
We will send our valiant Iraqi forces (shhh, Badr and Mehdi have volunteered for this auspicious task) to get you out of Lebanon safely.
Also, let us know who your relatives in Iraq are, where they live and what sect they belong to.
Not be outdone, Finance Minister Bayan Baqr Solagh (world renown war criminal and facilitator of death squads and sectarian conflict) in Iraq has called on all former Iraqi senior military officers, elite unit commanders and those who were forcibly retired and/or retired after years of service to report to the ministry to pick up their pensions and wages.
The real message here is:
Dear Iraqi patriot and former army officer, soldier, and volunteer,
We can't find you. We killed your kin, raped your mothers, sisters and daughters but you still didn't show up. We cannot beat the resistance you have formed for the honor of Iraq, nor can we accept Maliki's reconciliation plan. So please, come and get your pay. We will greet you with drill machines and cranes and ready the swords and daggers to behead you.
Come all you valiant, Iraqis.
BUSH'S BLOODBATH IN BABYLON: 'COINCIDENCE' AND CONSEQUENCES
Can it be a total coincidence that the hellstorm of murder and mayhem that has now turned Baghdad into "a skeleton of a city" began just after Bush and al-Maliki announced their ballyhooed "security push," pouring thousands of new troops and police into the capital's streets?
Can it be a total coincidence that much of the new violence has been carried out by "men dressed in the uniforms of the Iraqi police," to use the timid euphemism adopted by the mainstream media, and by militia forces associated with perhaps the key political player in the new "sovereign" government, the hidebound religious crank Motqada al-Sadr?
Can it be a total coincidence that the new horror devouring the conquered land has led some hardline Sunni leaders once bitterly opposed to the U.S. occupation now want American forces to stay, in order to quell the chaos, offset Shiite dominance and ward off Iranian influence? Can it be a total coincidence that this desire bolsters the Bush Regime's long-held intention to establish a permanent military presence in Iraq?
Can it be a total coincidence that the steady rise in militia violence - now reaching apocalyptic heights - has followed the Bush Regime's open bruiting of the "Salvador Option" - i.e., employing militias and death squads as part of "counterinsurgency" operations in Iraq, just like those Reagan-Bush glory days of yore, when the ditches and back alleys of Central America ran red with the blood of innocent thousands slaughtered by U.S.-backed, U.S.-bought terrorists?
read in full...
SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN
When I started this blog a key goal was to highlight the effect of the American occupation of Iraq and it's attempts to dismember the country upon Iraqi civilians. In particular I wanted to draw attention to plight of widows and children. The human rights report for the period May 1st to June 30th has just been published I've extracted the section on children for you:
• Unlawful imprisonment
This is what America's occupation of Iraq has brought to Iraq's children. Mission accomplished, I hope you're fucking proud of yourselves:
45. Children remained victims in Iraq in many ways. Although not necessarily targeted, they are killed or maimed in sectarian-motivated attacks and in terrorist and insurgency acts. They are civilian casualties in MNF-I and Iraqi security forces-led raids against insurgents or militias, and suffer the most from other political, social and economic consequences of Iraqi's violent daily reality. The extent of violence in areas other than the Region of Kurdistan is such that likely every child, to some degree, has been exposed to it. Children suffering disabilities have also been unable to access adequate care and education.
46. On 26 June, 10 children were reported to be among at least forty people killed in targeted explosions on two crowded markets in Hilla and Ba'quba. Three children were reported as casualties in June clashes between the MNF-I and anti-Coalition forces in Maysan. Conversely, MNF-I informed UNAMI that only one insurgent was killed in this incident. In the first week of May, Iraqi police reported finding a group of 100 brutally murdered people in Karbala, among them a 13-year-old child.
47. In one case the body of a 12-year-old Osama was reportedly found by the Iraqi Police in a plastic bag after his family paid a ransom of some 30,000 US dollars. The boy had been sexually assaulted by the kidnappers, before being hanged by his own clothing. The police captured members of this gang who confessed of raping and killing many boys and girls before Osama.
48. Minors are often witnesses of extreme violence, killings and scene of carnage and dead and mutilated bodies. On 21 June, the dean of the Basra Abdullah Bin Om Kalthoum School was assassinated in front of his students.
49. Violence, corruption, inefficiency of state organs to exert control over security, establish the rule of law and protect individual and collective rights all lead to inability of both the state and the family to meet the needs of children.
50. According to the joint UN and Iraqi government food security and vulnerability analysis, children are the primary victims of food insecurity, with every one in ten child suffering from malnutrition. The survey also records the growing drop-out rate among pupils less than 15 years of age - 25 percent of students under the age of 15 lived mostly in rural areas and were identified as extremely poor. The main reason given for the dropout rate is the inability of the families to afford to pay for the schooling and schools being located too far away from home.
51. Another area where support to the Iraqi government is urgently required is that of juvenile justice. UNICEF has held a number of trainings for staff of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs on the need to improve the situation of the juveniles in prison. Juveniles are however often subjugated to the same lack of proper conduct by Iraqi police as are the adults. They are often held in police detention for a prolonged period of time without access to a social worker, lawyer, and sometimes even the family. Over 20 students, all age of 18, have been held in a police detention for eight months in Basra. Thanks to the Iraqi Ministries of Justice and Labor and Social Affairs, as well as the Coalition prison advisers, the practice to separate the adults from youth in prisons has made progress, although many facilities where minors are detained are still overcrowded and require further adaptations.
52. UNAMI HRO is also aware of the extreme hardship of the children of internally displaced families, whose numbers are growing every day. The living conditions are substandard, without access to education and health care services, trauma counseling, available support to children with disabilities, to mention a few examples.
53. Additional hardship for families and children is caused by the lack of adequate places to socialize, play and learn as would be necessary for their healthy development. Many Iraqis complain of having to keep their children at home for prolonged periods of time.
The full 22 page PDF report covers all aspects of the Human Rights situation in Iraq. and is available here: "UN Assistance Mission for Iraq Human Rights Report 1 May -30 June 2006
A WISH AND A PRAYER
(…) the [Bush] administration has fiddled in Iraq while Islamic radicalism has burned brighter and the rest of the Axis of Evil, not to mention Afghanistan and the Middle East, have grown into just the gathering threat that Saddam was not. And there's still no policy. As Ivo Daalder of the Brookings Institution writes on his foreign-affairs blog, Mr. Bush isn't pursuing diplomacy in his post-cowboy phase so much as "a foreign policy of empty gestures" consisting of "strong words here; a soothing telephone call and hasty meetings there." The ambition is not to control events but "to kick the proverbial can down the road - far enough so the next president can deal with it." There is no plan for victory in Iraq, only a wish and a prayer that the apocalypse won't arrive before Mr. Bush retires to his ranch.
read in full...
>> BEYOND IRAQ
The U.S.-led military in Afghanistan confirmed Tuesday that the Taliban have captured two southern Afghan towns.
Coalition forces vowed "decisive action" to reclaim the towns.
THE EMPIRE OF MEXICO HAS BOMBED RONALD REAGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT!
I was chatting with one of my co-workers, a Lebanese-American, about the Israeli reaction to the abduction of two Israeli soldiers by the extremist group Hezbollah. While our misAdministration spouts apologia about the clearly disproportionate attack, my co-worker put it pretty succinctly:
"They bombed the airport in our capital! It would be like Mexico bombing Ronald Reagan airport and ports in San Diego and Atlanta in retaliation for some Aryan extremist group abducting a couple of American National Guardsman."
To connect his analogy to American politics in terms that Red-Staters can relate to, our Middle-Eastern attack dog has broken through the fence and has started to rampage through the block biting and killing the neighbors.
US 'COULD BE GOING BANKRUPT'
The United States is heading for bankruptcy, according to an extraordinary paper published by one of the key members of the country's central bank.
A ballooning budget deficit and a pensions and welfare timebomb could send the economic superpower into insolvency, according to research by Professor Laurence Kotlikoff for the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, a leading constituent of the US Federal Reserve.
Prof Kotlikoff said that, by some measures, the US is already bankrupt. "To paraphrase the Oxford English Dictionary, is the United States at the end of its resources, exhausted, stripped bare, destitute, bereft, wanting in property, or wrecked in consequence of failure to pay its creditors," he asked.
According to his central analysis, "the US government is, indeed, bankrupt, insofar as it will be unable to pay its creditors, who, in this context, are current and future generations to whom it has explicitly or implicitly promised future net payments of various kinds''.
read in full...
QUOTE OF THE DAY
: “There is a real sense of panic here [Lebanon] among people. The foreigners and young people who have never experienced war are freaked out. And the Lebanese who lived through the civil war and remember it well are freaked out. I seem to be the only one walking around, noting the closed stores and subdued traffic and thinking, 'hm, compared to Baghdad, this isn't so bad'. I think I was in Iraq too long." -- Chris Allbritton, Back to Iraq