Friday, September 01, 2006
Photo: Iraqis gather at the scene of Thursday night's rockets attack in Baghdad September 1, 2006. A series of explosions wrecked homes in Baghdad before nightfall, killing 50 people and wounding five times as many, some of them in an apartment block that collapsed, government officials said. REUTERS/Namir Noor-Eldeen
Security Incidents on September 1, 2006
(update from 56 killed, 112 wounded) Rescue crews pulled bodies from the rubble of bombed buildings today, the day after a barrage of co-ordinated attacks across eastern Baghdad neighbourhoods killed at least 64 people and wounded more than 280 within half an hour, police said.
Rockets slammed into buildings, bombs exploded on the streets and mortar rounds fell from the sky before nightfall Thursday in an apparently coordinated strike on this capital, killing at least 53 people and injuring almost 200, authorities said.
Iraqi police found the body of Kamil Shateb, a former intelligence officer during Saddam Hussein’s regime, in Kut, 100 miles south-east of Baghdad, a morgue official said. He had been kidnapped the day before and shot in the head.
A bomb targeting an oil pipeline south of Baghdad exploded Friday, sparking a fire and cutting supply to a major electricity station, but causing no casualties, police said. The bombed pipeline was on the outskirts of Musayyib, about 40 miles south of Baghdad, police Col. Salah Salman Mudir said. The pipeline feeds Musayyib's electricity station, which provides power to the cities of Karbala, Najaf, Hillah and Diwaniyah, he said.
The Department of Defense announced today the death of four soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died in Taji, Iraq, on Aug 27, when an improvised explosive device detonated near their M2A3 Bradley Vehicle during combat operations. All soldiers were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
BAGHDAD - The civilian death toll from violence in Iraq fell by 28 percent in August, partial statistics from three government ministries said. Some 769 Iraqi civilians were killed in August compared to 1,065 civilians killed in July, figures compiled by the Health, Defense and Interior Ministries showed. [Sadly, it will not last. – dancewater]
NOTE: A BIG THANKS TO WHISKER FOR PUTTING TOGETHER THE SECURITY INCIDENTS IN IRAQ AND FORWARDING THEM TO ME.
Four years ago this was a city where people mixed freely where, in most parts of town, no one cared if a neighborhood was majority Sunni or Shiite. Loyalty to Saddam Hussein was more important than religious identity. But now a battle for Baghdad is well under way between the two major Muslim sects. Death squads are slaughtering people daily and an estimated 160,000 Iraqis have fled their homes mostly here in the capital. Out of that violence, a new but not better city is emerging. Many Iraqis fear that the result will be a Sunni west and a Shiite east, with the broad Tigris River snaking through the middle as the sectarian boundary. The process ultimately could leave a legacy of bitterness and poison Iraqi society for generations. [All thanks to Bush’s starting an optional war for bogus reasons. – dancewater]
Near Iraq's border with Iran, Halabja became synonymous with atrocities against civilians after Saddam Hussein's forces killed 5,000 people here in a gas attack in 1988. Iraqi Kurds call Halabja the "town of martyrs" and hold the massacre in their collective memory as a Kurdish Auschwitz. Today, the victims' memorial also bears witness to more recent violence and simmering discontent in this dusty town. In March, on the 18th anniversary of the gas attack, hundreds of locals attacked the memorial and set it on fire as anger at perceived neglect and corruption by Kurdish authorities boiled over. "It is sad to see what happened to the museum," said Adnan, who camps with his unit on cots in what used to be an exhibition room. In another room, decapitated statues of women and children, representing victims of the gas attack, lie scattered. Local officials blamed Islamists and outsiders, a veiled reference to Iran. But youths in Halabja said the protests were spurred by local anger at the Kurdish government. They said Kurdish leaders had exploited Halabja for their political ends, and that donations and investment from outside had not translated into better schools, roads or services.
More than 400 Iraqis were killed this week as a surge of violence raged around Iraq, including scores slaughtered in insurgent bombings in Shiite markets and neighbourhoods of the strife-torn capital. The death toll continued to mount as rescuers pulled more corpses from the rubble left by Thursday's synchronised barrage of bomb and rocket attacks on Shiite and Christian districts, which killed 67 civilians. More than 300 people were wounded in the blasts, which tore through a street market killing women and children and demolished several homes, including some in Sadr City, a bastion of Baghdad's powerful Shiite militias. The four-hour vehicle curfew to protect Friday's worshippers came and went without reports of violence, but preaching at the mosques was marked by anger. "The enemy wants to exploit local strife and chaos so that Iraq will move into a civil war," Mohammed al-Haidari, a follower of Shiite spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, told worshippers on Friday. "Iraqis should be hand in hand against terror to deny these criminals a chance to provoke conflict between Sunnis and Shiites."
Shopkeepers and homeowners in Baghdad cleared rubble and looked for bodies on Friday, the morning after a series of explosions killed 50 people and devastated homes and a bazaar just before nightfall. Five times as many were wounded in blasts that police blamed mostly on a spray of rockets across mainly Shi'ite east Baghdad. A general in charge of a department dealing with explosives told state television, however, that militants rented shops and apartments, planted devices and set off coordinated explosions. With little sign of forensic teams at several blast sites, it was unclear how he reached that conclusion within four hours. Hours after the first blasts, which police said were from seven Katyusha rockets, residents heard more mortar rounds go off, part of a confusing and deadly evening in Baghdad, where U.S. and Iraqi troops began a big security crackdown last month. A senior Interior Ministry official put Thursday's death toll at 50, while other police sources put it at 43. Health Minister Ali al-Shemari said 257 people were treated for wounds.
Death Toll Now At 64 And this is sure to rise. Number of wounded is 286 people. [May God help them all through this Bush-made hell on earth. – dancewater]
In a dismal assessment, the Pentagon reported to Congress today that the number of attacks and civilian deaths in Iraq have risen sharply in recent months — with casualties increasing by 1,000 a month — as sectarian violence has engulfed larger areas of the country. The quarterly report, based on new government figures, shows that the number of attacks in Iraq over the last four months increased 15% and the number of Iraqi casualties grew by 51%. In the last three months, the report says, the number of deaths and injuries increased by 1,000 people a month over the previous quarter — to more than 3,000 each month. [This would indicate that the Pentagon is keeping count of the number of Iraqi casualties, or at least the ones they know about. – dancewater]
Over a longer time horizon, the spike is even more grim. The number of weekly attacks has increased from just over 400 in the spring of 2004 to nearly 800 during recent weeks. And the number of daily casualties has increased from just under 30 a day in 2004 to more than 110 a day in recent weeks. [So much for the “last throes” nonsense. – dancewater]
The violence in Iraq, according to the report, cannot be attributed to a unified or organized insurgency. Instead, violence is the result of a complex interplay between international terrorists, local insurgents, sectarian death squads, organized militias and criminal groups. [They left out PTSD from “shock and awe” and the subsequent US military violence that followed the invasion. – dancewater]
Sullivan said he believed that despite the rise in killings, the U.S. was still making progress. "The violence has increased, but it is primarily Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence," he said. [WHAT THE HELL KIND OF PROGRESS IS THIS? - dancewater]
According to the report, Muqtada Sadr's Al Mahdi army militia has achieved a "measure of tolerance" from Iraq's new government. But the report says that violence between the Al Madhi army and the Iraqi army is frequent, and says the militia receives support from Iran. [Are they flat-out liars or are they just really stupid – or do they think Americans all are stupid, and therefore they can get away with lies like this? – dancewater]
The report notes that the violence has not subsided since the killing of Zarqawi in June. Rodman said although the U.S. has inflicted serious blows on his organization, Al Qaeda in Iraq, the group's role was not decisive. "The nature of the conflict has changed," Rodman said. "And maybe Zarqawi's legacy was the Samarra bombing, the effects of which have lived after him." [The bombing in Samarra may have changed the nature of the conflict, but it does not change the fact that a war was started up by Bush were none existed – which will sadly outlive him. And saying ‘the violence has not subsided’ is another lie: the violence has EXPANDED in the last few months. This shows that Zarqawi really had very little influence in Iraq, and that the Pentagon “psych-ops” campaign was indeed successful, meaning they are great LIARS. – dancewater]
Reality Bites Peter Rodman, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, said, “The last quarter, as you know, has been rough, and the levels of violence are up. And the sectarian quality of the violence is particularly acute and disturbing.” [Now, who would have guessed that violence begets more violence, instead of flowers and sweets? – dancewater]
U.S. Sniper Kills Family of Four in Ramadi A man, his wife and two children were walking home in al-Huz neighborhood when a U.S. sniper shot them dead at 11:00 a.m. in al-Ma’ared Street.
Marines Admit to Abducting, Killing Iraqi Two Marines have confessed to kidnapping and killing a 52-year-old Iraqi man in Hamandiya, west of Baghdad, a military prosecutor said Wednesday at a preliminary hearing.
Mercenaries for Hire A piece of popular wisdom passed around by contractors working in Iraq says, "You know you've been in Baghdad too long when hearing Afrikaans at the pool is normal." [So, what’s the difference between paying death benefits to the family of a mercenary and paying death benefits to the family of a suicide bomber, beyond the fact that one is sure to die? Inquiring minds want to know. – dancewater]
Variation on “Last Throes” Nonsense This time from the US Military
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann Speaks Truth to Power "The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack. Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet."
Editorial Boards Around the Country Join In The public now recognizes that his detour into Iraq was an epic blunder, that it has weakened the nation against the true terror threat and that it has damaged the nation's standing in the world.
Bush Latest Dumb Speech But one passage in particular reveals that the campaign is getting desperate: “The security of the civilized world depends on victory in the war on terror, and that depends on victory in Iraq.” Here's the question: Does anybody believe this? If you do, then you must ask the president why he hasn't reactivated the draft, printed war bonds, doubled the military budget, and strenuously rallied allies to the cause.
The True Iraq Appeasers The Reagan administration offered Hussein financial credits that eventually made Iraq the third-largest recipient of US assistance. It normalized diplomatic relations and, most significantly, began providing Iraq with battlefield intelligence. Iraq used this information to target Iranian troops with chemical weapons. As it turned out, the Reagan administration agreed that Iraq had gassed the Kurds, but strongly opposed sanctions, or even cutting off financial assistance. Colin Powell, then the national security adviser, coordinated the Reagan administration's opposition. [That opposition was to a bill in Congress to end US financial support for Hussein and to impose trade sanctions. It is Reagan, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Powell who are the true Saddam appeasers. – dancewater]
A Lesson From Jill Carroll’s Kidnappers We've all heard Bush say that the "islamofacists" hate us and everything we stand for, and that if we leave Iraq they will follow us back and kill us all. But her chief captor, allegedly one of al-Zarqawi's top lieutenants and a major insurgent leader, told Carroll quite the opposite.
To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before Those few, enlightened individuals in our histories - the Ghandis, Mandelas, Martin Luther Kings, Mother Theresas and so on - are such rare occurrences that our societies revere them, put them on pedestals for all to gaze upon with awe and austere hope. But that is defeatism at its loudest. It is not these people that should be held up high but the clarity of vision they sacrifice all for. The ethos they promote, the hope for the betterment of the human condition. That is what should be on the pedestal.
The Final Destruction of Babylon We can now add to the costs of that invasion the elimination of an important cultural element that might have helped salvage some sense of Iraqi national unity, at a time when that unity is direly threatened, if not irretrievable. But in the long view of humanity's sojourn on this planet, he may have imposed an even severer price: the lost legacy of several millennia of Iraq's great ancient civilizations.
PEACE ACTION: Take the voters’ peace pledge. "I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq, and preventing any future war of aggression, a public position in his or her campaign."
QUOTE OF THE DAY: IMPEACH