Sunday, September 10, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2006 Iraqis fill drinking water and wash clothes at a broken water pipeline, in Shiite district of Sadr city, in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday Sept.10, 2006. Sadr City is a squalid urban landscape with 2 million impoverished Shiite Muslims, where drinking water is the main problem as the water lines are broken, which allow raw sewage to seep into the regular water supply. Frequent electrical shortages stop the municipal water pumps, and innovative means of pumping water from the dry pipes end up bringing in extra sewage.(AP Photo/Karim Kadim) Bomb in central Baghdad kills 5, injures 17 Car bomb behind police station in al-Alwiya district of the capital kills one police officer, injures 5 police commandos and 2 civilians Six bodies, bound, tortured and shot, fished from Tigris south of the capital, taken to the morgue in Kut. AFP gives the number of bodies in what appears to be the same incident as 7, identifies the exact location as the town of Suwayrah. AFP also reports: OTHER NEWS OF THE DAY Parliament delays debate on proposal to create an autonomous region in the Shiite south From the AFP report:
BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraq's dominant Shiites were on a collision course with the Sunni Arab former elite after parliament delayed a controversial debate on dividing the war-torn country into autonomous regions. The 275-member parliament had been due to begin discussing proposals for an autonomous region in Shiite areas of central and southern Iraq like that in the Kurdish north. But stiff opposition from the Sunni Arabs, who threatened to boycott the debate, along with splits within the main Shiite bloc that heads the government forced leaders to announce a postponement. Shiite deputy parliament speaker Khalid al-Attiya told reporters that the debate on the bill proposed by the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance would now begin on September 19. He said Sunday there would be a second reading on September 21 to be followed by a "vote four days after that." Attiya said "parliament's legal committee and the committee to review provinces and regions will first discuss the draft among themselves." One of the main factions in the Shiite bloc -- the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) -- has been championing proposals for a fully federal system. But the Sunni Arab minority, which dominated Saddam Hussein's regime and all previous Iraqi governments, is fiercely opposed to a federal Iraq for fear it will leave the country's northern and southern oilfields in the hands of the Kurds and Shiites. On Sunday, their main parliamentary bloc -- the National Concord Front -- announced it would boycott debate on a proposal it believes will lead inexorably to Iraq's break-up. "We will boycott the session on the first reading of the draft law and we will stand in the face of all those who want to partition Iraq," said the bloc's leader, Adnan al-Dulaimi. He said there should be no debate until the review of the constitution had been completed. Dulaimi's bloc is part of the national unity government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and its continued participation is seen as essential to preventing Iraq's sectarian divisions escalating into all-out civil war. Amid the sharp divisions over the proposal, other factions too called for a pause for reflection. "We ask the leaders who proposed the draft not to hurry and postpone it until the review of the constitution," said secularist MP Sayed Ayad Jamaluddin, whose Iraqi National List has 25 seats in parliament. Even one faction within the Shiite bloc called for the proposals to be put off until the political climate cools. The Fadhila party, which has 15 MPs among the bloc's 128, said that adopting a federal structure would be dangerous while US forces and unofficial militias remain deployed in Iraq. "We have to prepare the political and popular climate to dispel all misunderstandings about federalism," Fadhila spokesman Hassan Shammari told AFP.
Read in Full Juan Cole discusses the report in al-Sharq al-Awsat [Ar.] on this issue.
[Shiite cleric Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, titular leader of the United Iraqi Alliance, the largest bloc in parliament] demanded a superprovince stretching from Kut to Basra, encompassing 8 provinces. He said this arrangement constitutes "a guarantee that there will be no return to the dictatorship." Adnan Pachachi, an old time Sunni Arab nationalist and member of parliament in the National Iraqi List, condemned the plan as "inappropriate to the present circumstances." Salih Mutlak, leader of 11 secular Sunni MPs in parliament, warned that "insisting on achieving this confederacy means civil war." Adnan Dulaimi, a leader of the religious Sunnis in the Iraqi Accord Front (44 seats) said that "there is no justification for it save sectarianism." Al-Hakim spoke on the occasion of the birthday of the Twelfth Imam, saying, "Whoever accepts the Kurdistan Region must accept the Region of the Middle Euphrates and the South, and that of Baghdad, and other regions . . . Federalism is a demand of the masses that we strongly support, for it is a guarantee that there will be no return to the dictatorship and everyone will enjoy this right. Federalism leads to stability in Iraq, and is the hope of Iraqis . . . The example of federalism in Kurdistan, which is witnessing a big renaissance, is a proof of the success of this form of government." [Iraqis do not mean just "federalism" when they use the word, but rather the erection of provincial confederacies where you take several provinces and make a superprovince with its own parliament and prime minister.] Al-Hakim continued, "Reconciliation has become necessary, but its signposts must be known. It must not become a bridgehead for the return of killers [i.e. Baathists] to Iraq." Pachachi said that unlike the Kurds, who had had their own Region for a decade and a half, the Shiites in the south had no experience in administering themselves. He warned that a federal region "like the region of Kurdistan would mean that they would have armed forces and foreign relations and control over petroleum resources, and that means the partition of Iraq into weak statelets that will be threats from large, powerful neighboring states. He said it would be a matter of great regret "if a great and powerful country such as Iraq should become weak statelets when the age of the modern state is about a century. It has lived through a distinguished experience of national unity. We see today how Europe is uniting to become a single entity, while a country such as Iraq is dividing up. It is a shame, and utterly regrettable." Al-Hakim is among the more powerful politicians in Iraq. He has become among the more pernicious, as well. You'll never get social peace as long as the ex-Baathists are discriminated against so badly. And Iraq will not survive as a country if the Shiite super-province is created-- it is just too overwhelming to any central government to have a rival prime minister in charge of half of its provinces.
Read in Full IRBIL reports that Maliki's visit to Iran will be delayed till Sept. 19. No reason given. Patrick J. McDonnell of the LA Times discusses the manipulation of statistics on violence in Iraq by the U.S. military.
BAGHDAD — In this besieged capital, it was a rare good-news story: Killings had plummeted by as much as 50% since U.S. and Iraqi forces hit the streets last month in a show of strength after the sectarian bloodbath of July. "We're actually seeing progress out there," Army Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, the chief military spokesman here, said when making the announcement. Not so fast. Last week, Iraqi officials released new figures showing the city morgue had received more than 1,500 victims of violent death in August — a significant drop of about 17% from the record of more than 1,800 killings in July, but hardly a great leap forward. How the U.S. military arrived at the 50% figure remains a mystery. Commanders won't release the raw data, saying such specifics could help the enemy. In the volatile atmosphere of today's Iraq, numbers can lie and statistics can be notional, be they from U.S. or Iraqi sources. Government agencies here rarely keep reliable statistics. Fear and partisan agendas sway Iraqi officials, making them reluctant to divulge what little data they collect. The U.S. military's fondness for secrecy tends to clash with the brass' demands for "metrics" to quantify any progress. This tension often leads to curious contortions of numbers and nomenclature. During weekly news briefings deep inside barricaded compounds, commanders regularly display slick charts, multicolored bar graphs and PowerPoint presentations, all heralding good news. "One more indicator that operations are in fact reducing the amount of attacks on civilians is shown here on this graph," Caldwell assured reporters the other day, pointing to a bar chart dutifully placed on an easel by a stone-faced uniformed subordinate. But all the numbers had been carefully scrubbed. They were classified. "We typically characterize trends in ways that do not divulge raw data," explained a military spokesman, Lt. Col. Barry Johnson. Commanders have consistently declined to say how many civilians have been killed by U.S. forces, although officials have acknowledged tracking the number. Avoiding the Vietnam-era stigma of "body counts," authorities also refuse to divulge "kill" totals for suspected insurgents. A similar imprecision applies when it comes to describing the enemy. At the conflict's outset, U.S. officials used phrases such as "dead-enders," Saddam Hussein "loyalists" and "foreign terrorists" in an attempt to label the armed opposition a marginal force. Gradually, as it became clear that Iraq was in the midst of a protracted guerrilla war, the U.S. military rejected the title "resistance," with its connotations of legitimacy, and settled on "insurgents" or "terrorists" as operative labels. But the evolving nature of the battle has thrown those terms into question too. "The core conflict in Iraq [has] changed into a struggle between Sunni and Shia extremists," the Pentagon wrote in an unusually frank report to Congress last month. "Death squads and terrorists are locked in mutually reinforcing cycles of sectarian strife." Trained and equipped by the U.S. government, Iraq's security forces have been infiltrated by thousands of militiamen loyal to Shiite clerics and factions. There is widespread agreement among military commanders that Shiite militiamen are behind most death squad killings. The term "death squad" entered public discourse during the dirty wars in Central America to describe clandestine assassins who often plied their trade with the tacit approval of government authorities in the region. But the issue of Shiite death squads is an extremely touchy one for the U.S.-backed, Shiite-dominated government.
Read in Full Human Rights Watch again draws attention to persecution of Palestinian refugees in Iraq. This has been reported before, of course, but we need a reminder -- C. Excerpt:
CAIRO (AFP) - Palestinian refugees in Iraq have faced widespread threats, including attacks by Shiite militias and harassment from the authorities, since the ouster of Saddam Hussein, US-based Human Rights Watch said. HRW said neighbouring countries such as Syria and Jordan should open their borders to Iraqi Palestinians at risk. "Since the fall of Saddam Hussein's government, Palestinian refugees in Iraq have increasingly become targets of violence and persecution," said Sarah Leah Whitson Sunday, HRW's director for the Middle East and North Africa. "Shia militant groups have murdered dozens of Palestinian refugees, and the Iraqi government has made it difficult for these refugees to stay legally in Iraq by imposing onerous registration requirements." The report documents the drastic deterioration in the security of the estimated 34,000 Palestinian refugees in Iraq since the fall of Baghdad to US-led forces in April 2003. It says Shiite militiamen have attacked them and evicted them from their homes, largely because of the benefits they received from Saddam's Sunni-dominated regime and their perceived support for the insurgency. HRW said available evidence suggested the involvement of Shiite militias in attacks on the Palestinians, which have intensified since the bombing of a revered Shiite shrine north of Baghdad on February 22. Since then, more than a dozen Palestinian refugees have been murdered and entire Palestinian refugee communities have received death threats.
Read in Full Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh told a conference of Western donors in Abu Dhabi that Iraqi leaders are nearing agreement on a long-awaited hydrocarbon law that would, he said, allow potentially huge investments by foreign companies in Iraq's oil sector. Well then, Mission Accomplished after all -- C A NOTE ON COMMENTS This is a slightly abbreviated post, since Matt posted late yesterday and he plans a second post later today on the War on Terra. So I thought I'd take this opportunity to remind people of the ground rules for commenting. As a general principle, we do not like to censor comments. As you have no doubt noticed, we allow people to defend the war, praise the Noble Cause, and extol the wisdom and compassion of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. And, as you have also noticed, other commenters are not shy about responding. However, there are some categories of comments which are not allowed, which we delete. 1) The editors have made a consensus decision that theories about the events of Sept. 11, 2001 are off topic. Obviously, the ways in which the U.S. and British administrations exploited these events in order to drum up support for the war, and the various lies they have told about them, are appropriate for discussion here. But the tectonic plate shifting discovery that Dick Cheney masterminded the attacks and hired the Albanian secret service to carry them out is not. We are agnostic about this, but it's a distraction from our purpose. Repeat offenders will be banned. 2) Racism, anti-semitism, bigotry or hatred expressed toward any ethnic, racial, religious group or nationality, sexism, homophobia and other forms of disparagement of people because of who they are prohibited. First offense is grounds for banning. 3) We understand the strong emotions that produce strong language, and we tolerate the words the FCC doesn't let you say before 10:00 pm on broadcast television. Hell, we occasionally use them ourselves. But grossly offensive or antisocial behavior is not okay and will be deleted. Banning at discretion of the editors. 4) Threats, vicious ad hominem attacks, calls for extrajudicial violence, get you banned. Note that it is legitimate to endorse the right of self defense and to reasonably discuss who is and is not legitimately engaged in same. We don't have any systematic schedule for moderating comments and sometimes material that should not be allowed stays up for a while before anybody catches it. We assume that everybody understands that we are not responsible for the comments on this site, but we don't want malicious or misguided commenters to undermine the dialogue and community that happens here, or to damage the reputation of TiI. We're all volunteers and we aren't always on top of things but we do have standards. Finally, my personal thanks to so many of our commenters who add immeasurably to the value of this site. We want to keep it clean to honor your contribution. -- C. WHISKER'S ROUNDUP OF THE WOUNDED Sgt. Brantley Ravencraft, 25, received shrapnel wounds to the left thigh, back and arm and sustained a ruptured ear drum in the blast that took place more than a week ago, his mother, Charlotte Ravencraft of Gloster, told the McComb Enterprise-Journal. She said Brantley was on foot patrol about 100 yards ahead of the other men Twenty-two-year-old Kristopher Clark recently was injured while on patrol. Clark's father, Bruce Clark, says his son was hurt when the Humvee he was traveling in drove over either a landmine or an improvised explosive device. Bruce Clark says the explosion sent shrapnel through the floor of the Humvee and struck his son in the foot. Kristopher Clark is on his way back to the U.S. to be treated at the Bethesda hospital in Maryland. His father says it appears Clark won't lose his foot from the injury. Marine Lance Corporal Cody W. Hill of Ada also was injured in the attack. Officials say the 23-year-old Hill was hit by shrapnel and suffered burns over about 50 percent of his body from the explosion. Patrick Murray was injured in an attack Monday in Al Anbar province. Murray is the son of North Kingstown Fire Chief David Murray. Patrick Murray will be transfered from a base in Germany to either a burn center in Texas or to Walter Reed Medical Center, the Marine's father said. A local couple said their son, an Army corporal, is recovering from losing his right eye in Hit, Iraq, last week. Robert Murafsky, 22, received the Purple Heart on Aug. 31 for the injuries he received during a recovery mission, his mother, Madeline "Penny" Murafsky, said. Robert, whose main station is in Baumholder, Germany, and his unit were on a foot patrol recovery mission on the streets of Hit, Iraq, she said. They were told that there was a sniper in the area," she said. "So they had all their protective gear on. If it wasn't for the safety goggles, he probably wouldn't be here. We were told the sniper had hit him dead-center in his right eye." Terrence Burke , a Dorchester native who had been on the force for two years and worked in South Boston before leaving for Iraq, sustained a leg injury and had been transported to a military hospital in Germany. ``His injury is described as critical, but thankfully he is expected to survive," Goslin said. Burke has burns and lost one of his legs near the knee when a bomb exploded Tuesday in Fallujah, said a police official with knowledge of the blast. U.S. Marine infantryman who grew up in Pinellas Park was shot and critically wounded by a sniper in Iraq while on foot patrol on Sept. 1. Lance Cpl. Michael A. Delancey, 21, a 2003 graduate of Pinellas Park High School, suffered a single gunshot wound to the back while tracking enemy insurgents, a family spokeswoman said. The sniper’s bullet penetrated his lung and came to rest in his neck, causing severe nerve damage that left him partially paralyzed. Doctors at first feared that his spinal cord was severed. During a second operation on Sept. 4 portions of both lungs were removed. Eddie Ryan, 22, who suffered serious brain damage when he was shot twice in the head while on patrol in the Iraqi city of Ramadi in April 2005, was discharged from Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw last month after nearly a year of rehab. Sgt. Thomas Slavin, who is the son of Carol Slavin of Market Square, was seriously injured two weeks ago in Iraq when the Humvee he was traveling in was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device. The driver off the Humvee was killed, a soldier in the passenger's seat was injured and Slavin sustained serious injuries when he was thrown from the vehicle. "He broke his back and legs when he landed on the hard desert sand," she said. "They are trying to save his leg." Cpl. Jose Herrera suffered a severe head wound in a roadside bombing in late July. He's being treated in Bethesda, Md. The National Guard is working with the Salvadoran military and U.S. Embassy on Herrera's treatment and trying to bring his wife to the United States to visit him. The agreement for coalition forces in Iraq does not provide for support with a soldier's family. A Broaddus native, serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq, was injured Friday when an IED, or improvised explosive device sprayed shrapnel into his left side. Spec. William Barth, 23, was critically injured while on maneuvers with the Army 82nd Airborne Division when the device hit his vehicle. The good news is that it appears that Barth will recover, according to his father, the Rev. Will Barth, who is pastor of First Baptist Church in Broaddus. When the bomb went off, Barth was hit in the left arm, his side and his left arm. Quote of the Day Here we are 3 1/2 years (into the war) and we are not able to secure the road from the airport to downtown Baghdad. It's absolutely fucking ridiculous. We don't want to secure that road, because we don't want that war to end yet because we want to bring a sense of fear to Americans... It's so sad and so pathetic. -- Notorious fat man Michael Moore (No endorsement of his analysis is implied


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?