Friday, October 20, 2006


PHOTO: Iraqis clear up an office at a Shiite mosque in Baghdad's al-Risala neighborhood, which according to local witnesses was raided by US troops. Shiite militiamen have fought deadly street battles with Iraqi police in the southern city of Amara, after overnight clashes left 15 dead, witnesses and medics said.(AFP/Ali Al-Saadi) [Winning friends and influencing people. One person reported killed in this incident. – dancewater]

Security Incidents for October 20, 2006


Now we have been informed that a mortar attack last night in Baghdad's Palestinian neighbourhood of Al Baladiya left four Palestinians dead, a dozen wounded and many people displaced. Some of the wounded are in serious condition. Ambulances trying to reach the area right after the attack were reportedly turned away by armed militia.

U.S. forces raided a Shi'ite mosque in the Risala district in southern Baghdad, killing one person and detaining two, police and witnesses said. The mosque was damaged during the raid. The U.S. military did not immediately respond to a request for information on the raid.

A roadside bomb killed one civilian and wounded three more in the southern Dora district of Baghdad, police said.

Camp Bucca:

A security detainee died Oct. 19 at Camp Bucca, Iraq, from what appears to be natural causes. An autopsy is pending to determine the cause of death, a standard procedure for detainees who die while in custody of Multi-National Force - Iraq. At approximately 10:00 a.m. Oct. 19, the detainee was found to be unresponsive, was not breathing, and had no pulse. A guard and medic began CPR and the detainee was evacuated to the facility hospital. All efforts to resuscitate the detainee failed. An attending physician pronounced him dead at 10:48 a.m. Oct 19.


Gunmen killed one worker and wounded three others working for the U.S. base near the oil refinery city of Baiji, police said.


Three civilians were killed Friday and three others wounded when gunmen launched an attack on Khalis, a Shiite market town north of Baghdad at the centre of a recent spike in sectarian killings.


The Shiite militia run by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr seized total control of the southern Iraqi city of Amarah on Friday in one of the boldest acts of defiance yet by one of the country's powerful, unofficial armies, witnesses and police said. The Mahdi Army fighters stormed three main police stations Friday morning, planting explosives that flattened the buildings, residents said. About 800 black-clad militiamen with Kalashnikov rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers were patrolling city streets in commandeered police vehicles, eyewitnesses said. Other fighters had set up roadblocks on routes into the city and sound trucks circulated telling residents to stay indoors. At least 15 people, including five militiamen, one policeman and two bystanders, have been killed in clashes since Friday, Dr. Zamil Shia, director of Amarah's department of health, said by telephone from Amarah. Nine people were killed and 59 wounded in fighting between the militiamen and the city's police, officials said.


Nine people were killed by mortars in the Shi'ite city of Balad and militias attacked two Sunni villages nearby, police said on Friday, in a new round of sectarian attacks in an area where dozens were killed this week.

Police said at least 15 mortars hit Balad on Thursday and shortly afterwards gunmen wearing the black outfits associated with local Shi'ite militias attacked two Sunni villages. They had no information on casualties in those attacks. Police said the black-clad gunmen took over an Iraqi army checkpoint between Balad and Dhuluiya, a mostly Sunni town involved in the reprisal killings over the past week, and tensions remained high in Balad on Friday.


The dead included the Anbar province police commander, slain by gunmen who burst into his home in Ramadi.


A former police chief, Brigadier Sabar al-Janabi, was killed in front of his home in Falluja, west of Baghdad, on Thursday, police said. He had been detained by U.S. forces and released two weeks ago


REPORTS – Everyday Life in Iraq Today

Unemployment and Violence Increase Poverty [No joke. – dancewater]

"Nearly 5.6 millions Iraqis are living below the poverty line, according to our most recent studies. At least 40 percent of this number is living in absolute and desperate deteriorated conditions," said Sinan Youssef, a senior official in the strategy department of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, adding that this level of poverty is a 35 percent increase over the level before 2003. According to Youssef, there are a number of factors causing this downward spiral of living conditions countrywide, the most important being unemployment, which has led to more violence and terrorism. When people find that they cannot support their family with food and other supplies, they search desperately for any kind of job. Insurgents use this weakness. They use these guys for terrorist activities in exchange for the promise of good money," Youssef said. Local officials and NGOs put the unemployment rate countrywide to be more than 60 percent. Compounding the unemployment problem is the fact that the price of basic necessities in Iraq has skyrocketed over the past year. A report by Iraq's central office for statistics cited by NGO Coordination Committee for Iraq suggests a 70 percent rate of inflation from July 2005 to July 2006.

Overwhelmed Iraqi Doctors

More than half the civilians who die as a result of attacks in Iraq could have been saved if better medical equipment and more experienced staff were available, a team of doctors working there said on Friday. In addition to doctors' daily struggle without the necessary equipment or training, they face regular attacks on their lives, Bassim Al Sheibani and his Iraqi colleagues wrote in the British Medical Journal. "As the violence escalates and we attempt daily to deal with the devastating effect of multiple deaths and severe injury, the reality is that we cannot provide any treatment for many of the victims," they wrote. Emergency medicine in Iraq is not sufficiently developed to cope with such overwhelming demand while doctors lack adequate emergency training, the article said. Many victims are killed outright in attacks, but far more are wounded. Lack of expertise is made worse by lack of basic equipment, supplies and drugs. "Many emergency departments are no more than halls with beds, fluid suckers and oxygen bottles. Radiography facilities, sonar machines and laboratory services are unattainable luxuries," the doctors wrote. Ambulance drivers have no paramedical training, only a handful of hospitals have emergency departments and injured people are usually escorted by family members with no knowledge of using any medical equipment, the doctors said.

The authors of the article appealed for help in order to establish a unit specialised in emergency medicine to train medical students and doctors. "Iraqi doctors are doing their best in difficult circumstances," they said. "But despite the daily violence that is crushing Iraq, the international medical community is doing little more than looking on," they concluded.

School Attendance Rates Drop Drastically

Thousands of students have been forced to stay at home due to escalating violence across the country. Attendance rates for the new school year, which started on 20 September, are a record low, according to the Ministry of Education. Recently released statistics from the Ministry indicate that only 30 percent of Iraq's 3.5 million students are currently attending classes. This compares to approximately 75 percent of students attending classes the previous year, according to UK-based NGO Save the Children. "Last year I had nearly 80 students in my class. Today, there are less than 25. Families are keeping their children safe at home, waiting to see how violence will spread, particularly after many schools were targeted countrywide," said Hiba Addel Lattef, a teacher and coordinator at Mansour Primary School in the capital, Baghdad.

"Education [levels are] deteriorating as a result of violence," Lattef added. According to the Ministry of Education, 2006 is the worst year for school attendance since US-led coalition forces invaded Iraq in 2003. The immediate post-war level of attendance in 2003 was almost 100 percent. Ali al-Ka'abi, public officer at the Ministry of Education, said the problem is worse in the capital and in cities of the western Anbar Governorate, where up to 30 percent of schools are being used by US and Iraqi troops.

Baghdad Violence Up 22%

A two-month U.S.-Iraqi military operation to stem sectarian bloodshed and insurgent attacks in Baghdad has failed to reduce the violence, which has surged 22 percent in the capital in the last three weeks, much of it in areas where the military has focused its efforts, a senior U.S. military spokesman said Thursday. The assessment by Army Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV followed a 43 percent spike in attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces in the capital since midsummer that has pushed U.S. military fatalities to their highest rates in more than a year. The military reported that three soldiers were killed in Anbar province west of Baghdad on Wednesday, bringing the number of U.S troops killed so far this month to 74. Caldwell's appraisal of the Baghdad campaign known as Operation Together Forward was in stark contrast to reviews during the opening weeks. At that time, U.S. military leaders said the deployment of 12,000 additional U.S. troops in Baghdad's most violent neighborhoods was significantly improving security for residents.

Over 35,000 Christians Have Fled Iraq

More than 35,000 Iraqi Christians have fled to Syria to escape the violence in their country, the leader of an Iraqi Christian group said Thursday. Christians, who make up three percent of Iraq's 26 million people, are leaving because of individual threats from Muslim extremists and the general deterioration of security in Iraq, said Emmanuel Khoshaba, the Syrian head of the Assyrian and Democratic Movement. His figure indicates an increase of 75% from the 20,000 Iraqi Christians who were said to have moved to Syria in 2004, the year after US-led forces invaded Iraq and began the conflict. "There is no hope of going back home as the security situation is very bad and there is no indication that it would get better soon," Wissam said. "We want to live in safety. We don't want to be killed. We love life," said another Christian refugee, Saddallah Mardini, 43. Mardini said US forces should leave Iraq now. "The occupation has brought destruction to Iraq," he said.

914,000 Have Fled Homes in Iraq

At least 914,000 Iraqis have fled their homes since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, more than a third since an increase in sectarian bloodshed at the start of this year, the U.N. refugee agency said Friday. The overall number is likely to be much higher, said Ron Redmond, chief spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. The agency has concluded that 754,000 displaced Iraqis remain in the country, while tens of thousands more have sought refuge abroad. “We remain extremely concerned about the rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq and the ongoing displacement this is creating both inside and outside Iraq," Redmond told reporters. Redmond told The Associated Press that at least 40,000 Iraqis have arrived in Syria every month for the last four months.

REPORTS – Other Aspects of Life in Iraq

$500 Million Stolen From Iraq’s Treasury

More than half a billion dollars earmarked to fight the insurgency in Iraq was stolen by people the U.S. had entrusted to run the country's Ministry of Defense before the 2005 elections, according to Iraqi investigators. Iraq's former minister of finance says coalition members like the U.S. and Britain are doing little to help recover the money or catch suspects, most of whom fled the country. The 60 Minutes investigation also turned up audio recordings of a suspect who seems to be discussing the transfer of $45 million to the account of a top political adviser to the interim defense minister. Correspondent Steve Kroft reports on this mother of all heists this Sunday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m. ET/PT. "We have not been given any serious, official support from either the United States or the U.K. or any of the surrounding Arab countries,”" says Ali Allawi, who was confronted with the missing funds when he took over as Iraq’s finance minister last year. He thinks he knows why Iraqi investigators have gotten little help. "The only explanation I can come up with is that too many people in positions of power and authority in the new Iraq have been, in one way or another, found with their hands inside the cookie jar," says Allawi, who left his post when a new Iraqi government was formed earlier this year. "And if they are brought to trial, it will cast a very disparaging light on those people who had supported them and brought them to this position of power and authority," he tells Kroft. One of the people praised in former U.S. Ambassador L. Paul Bremer's memoirs is a major suspect in the case. Ziad Cattan was in charge of military procurement at a time when the ministry of defense went on a $1.2 billion buying spree. Allawi estimates that $750 to $800 million of that money was stolen. Judge Radhi al-Radhi, head of Iraq's Commission on Public Integrity, which investigates official corruption, tells Kroft that a lot of the money that wasn't stolen was spent on outdated, useless equipment.

Iraq has resumed pumping along its northern pipeline to Turkey from its Kirkuk fields following a halt last week, a shipping source said on Thursday. Pumping resumed on Wednesday at a rate of about 18,000 barrels per hour and total stocks at Ceyhan are now 2.15 million barrels, the source said. Iraq exported oil through the line on Oct. 11 for the first time since Sept. 3, but pumping was halted late on Friday.

Iraqis Protest on “Jerusalem Day”

In the impoverished Baghdad Shiite suburb of Sadr City, a bastion of the Mahdi Army militia, militants staged a small-scale street protest to mark "Jerusalem Day", chanting anti-Israeli and anti-American slogans. "No, no to Israel. No, no to America. Victory to the resistance in Lebanon and Palestine," they chanted, brandishing the banner of the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah, which recently fought a month-long war with Israel.

REPORTS – Iraqi Politicians and Power Brokers and Militias

Shi’ite Milita Takes Over Iraqi City

The Shiite militia run by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr seized total control of the southern Iraqi city of Amarah on Friday in one of the boldest acts of defiance yet by one of the country's powerful, unofficial armies, witnesses and police said. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki dispatched an emergency security delegation that included the Minister of State for Security Affairs and top officials from the Interior and Defense ministries, Yassin Majid, the prime minister's media adviser, told The Associated Press. The Mahdi Army fighters stormed three main police stations Friday morning, planting explosives that flattened the buildings, residents said. About 800 black-clad militiamen with Kalashnikov rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers were patrolling city streets in commandeered police vehicles, eyewitnesses said. Other fighters had set up roadblocks on routes into the city and sound trucks circulated telling residents to stay indoors. Fighting broke out in Amara on Thursday after the head of police intelligence in the surrounding province, a member of the rival Shiite Badr Brigade militia, was killed by a roadside bomb, prompting his family to kidnap the teenage brother of the local head of the a-Madhi Army. The Mahdi Army seized several police stations and clamped a curfew on the city in retaliation. At least 15 people, including five militiamen, one policeman and two bystanders, have been killed in clashes since Friday, Dr. Zamil Shia, director of Amarah's department of health, said by telephone from Amarah.

What is the Facilities Protection Service?

The establishment of the ‘Facilities Protection Service’ was on 04.10.03, according to Paul Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 27 (see appendix one). This document says that “The FPS may also consist of employees of private security firms3 who are engaged to perform services for the ministries or governorates through contracts, provided such private security firms and employees are licensed and authorized by the Ministry of Interior as provided in Section 7 herein.” According to Global Security.org, “The Facilities Protection Service works for all ministries and governmental agencies, but its standards are set and enforced by the Ministry of the Interior. It can also be privately hired. The FPS is tasked with the fixed site protection of Ministerial, Governmental, or private buildings, facilities and personnel. The FPS includes Oil, Electricity Police and Port Security. The majority of the FPS staff consists of former service members and former security guards. The FPS will now secure public facilities such as hospitals, banks, and power stations within their district. Once trained, the guards work with US military forces protecting critical sites like schools, hospitals and power plants.”

Pictures and Comments on the Iraqi Death Squads [I cannot vouch for the accuracy of their interpretation, but the pictures alone are worth looking at and thinking about. – dancewater]

Government Death Squads Ravaging Baghdad

Death squads from the Ministry of Interior posing as Iraqi police are killing more people than ever in the capital, emerging evidence shows. The death toll is high - in all 1,536 bodies were brought to the Baghdad morgue in September. The health ministry announced last month that it will build two new morgues in Baghdad to take their capacity to 250 bodies a day. Many fear a government hand in more killings to come. The U.S. military has revealed that the 8th Iraqi Police Unit was responsible for the Oct. 1 kidnapping of 26 Sunni food factory workers in the Amil quarter in southwest Baghdad. The bodies of ten of them were later found in Abu Chir neighbourhood in the capital. Minister for the Interior Jawad al-Bolani announced he is suspending the police unit from official duties, and confining it to base until an investigation is completed. But sections of the ministry appear responsible for the abductions and killing. Ministry of Interior vehicles were used for the kidnapping in this case, and most men conducting the raid wore Iraqi police uniforms, except for a few who wore black death squad 'uniforms', witnesses told IPS. The leader of the police unit is under house arrest and faces interrogation for this and other crimes, according to an official announcement. "It is for sure that they did it," one of the victim's neighbours told IPS on condition of anonymity. "The tortured bodies were found the second day. They came in their official police cars; it is not the first time that they did something like this. They do it all over Baghdad, and we hope they will get proper punishment this time." Men of the police unit meanwhile do not face imminent punishment. "They are going to be rehabilitated and brought back to service," director-general of the Iraqi police Adnan Thabit told IPS. The Iraqi Islamic Party, the largest Sunni party, blamed militias with ties to the government and the U.S. military. "The Iraqi Islamic Party asks how could 26 people, women among them, have been transported from Amil to Abu Chir through all those Iraqi and U.S. army checkpoints and patrols," it said in a statement. The U.S. military has denied any involvement in the killings.

Militias Splintering Into Radicalized Cells

In the void forged by the sectarian tensions gripping Baghdad, militias are further splintering into smaller, more radicalized cells, signifying a new and potentially more volatile phase in the struggle for the capital. Iraqis and U.S. officials blame militias for mass kidnappings and slayings, for setting up unauthorized checkpoints and for causing much of the recent carnage. Senior U.S. military and intelligence officials say they have identified at least 23 militias - some are Sunni, but most are Shiite. Some are paramilitary offshoots of the Mahdi Army or have broken away entirely from Sadr's command structure. Others seem inspired by Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah guerrilla movement. The fragmentation poses new obstacles to U.S. and Iraqi forces trying to quell the sectarian strife that U.S. commanders fear could plunge the nation into civil war. Militias have already replaced the Sunni Arab insurgency as the biggest challenge to U.S. efforts to bring stability to Iraq. Senior U.S. military officials privately acknowledge they do not have the manpower to conduct urban sweeps in every neighborhood or prevent areas they have cleared from again becoming havens of lawlessness and killing.

VIDEO: Sniper’s Chilling Work in Iraq

Iraq ‘Hiding True Casualty Figures’

The Iraqi Government has told medical authorities not to reveal to the UN the true extent of civilian casualties in the country's conflict, French newspaper Le Monde said today. The daily quoted a telegram sent by the head of the UN mission in Iraq, Ashraf Qazi, to headquarters in New York, in which he said: "This development risks damaging the capacity of the UN's Assistance Mission to report the number of civilians killed or injured." Since July 2005 the UN has used data provided by Baghdad's Forensic Institute and the Iraqi health ministry to form an estimate. The estimate "was certainly imperfect but an indicator nonetheless of the growing number of civilian victims", the telegram said. The latest report said that 3590 civilians died a violent death in July and 3009 in August, figures which it said were "unprecedented". But the telegram quoted by Le Monde said that on September 21, one day after publication of the report, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki wrote to the health ministry with instructions not to disclose more figures. In an investigation published in British medical weekly The Lancet earlier this month, US and Iraq specialists estimated that more than 600,000 civilians died a violent death between March 2003 and July 2006. US President George W. Bush questioned the investigation

Premier of Iraq Seeks Assistance of Shiite Clerics

Prime Minister Maliki flew to the holy city of Najaf Wednesday to plead for help from Iraq's two most influential Shiite clerics, in a sign of the crisis surrounding the Iraqi government as it faces mounting American pressure to quell sectarian violence by reining in Shiite militias. Maliki returned to Baghdad without any clear breakthrough in his meetings with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's most revered Shiite cleric, and Moktada al-Sadr, the anti-American leader of the Mahdi Army militia, which has been accused of a wave of sectarian attacks on Iraq's Sunni minority. Ayatollah Sistani is widely viewed in Iraq as the only Shiite leader with the potential authority to subdue the Shiite militias. Maliki is regarded as a prot�g� of Ayatollah Sistani's, but is also politically indebted to Sadr, whose party holds a crucial bloc of seats in Iraq's Parliament. Maliki intervened Wednesday to win the release of one of Sadr's prominent loyalists, who was seized in an American-led raid on Tuesday and suspected of complicity in death squads. The release provoked a wave of exasperation among American officials and military commanders, who have made little secret of their growing doubts about Maliki's political will or ability to stop the killings.

Iraq Clerics Hope to End Violence

Religious leaders from across Iraq's sectarian divide are holding talks in Saudi Arabia on Friday aimed at reducing the level of violence in Iraq. They are gathering in the holy city of Mecca where they are expected to sign a document drawing on Islamic texts which say shedding Muslim blood is forbidden. The meeting is being held by the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Scores of Iraqis are killed on a daily basis in tit-for-tat violence between the Shia and Sunni Muslim communities. The OIC says the initiative is aimed at quelling religious conflict and cannot hope to achieve reconciliation among Iraq's different communities. The conference organisers hope that once the document is adopted it will be put on display in mosques throughout Iraq and published in the Iraqi media.

From Juan Cole’s blog:

Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports [Ar.] that tribal leaders and Baathists have recently formed protest groups in Tikrit and Kirkuk aimed at lobbying for the release of deposed president Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi Ministry of the Interior reacted with alarm to this development, threatening to arrest the founders of such pro-Saddam organizations.

Al-Hayat reports that [Ar.] representatives of the Islamic Army of Iraq, a major Sunni Arab guerrilla group, are secretly meeting in Amman with an American delegation. The meeting is also being attended by representatives of major tribes and by the Iraqi Accord Front, the fundamentalist Sunni coalition with 44 seats in the Iraqi parliament. The visit over the past 3 days to Amman of Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, who is from the IAF, may have included helping make secret arrangements for this clandestine summit. While in Amman he called for Sunni Arab guerrillas to talk to the Americans, and he was threatened for it by the 1920 Revolution Brigades, which still is rejectionist.

REPORTS – US Military in Iraq

8 Courts-Martial Ordered in Rape, Murder Cases

4 U.S. soldiers face charges over 14 year old girl's death in Iraqi town of Mahmoudiya.

Military Will Try 11 in Iraq Slayings

U.S. service members will face military trials in three separate cases in the deaths of Iraqi civilians, including the gang rape and slaying of a teenage girl and the killing of her family in their home in Mahmudiyah, the military said yesterday. An Army general ordered the courts-martial of four soldiers in the Mahmudiyah case and said two of the four could face death if found guilty. One of the accused will testify against the others, according to his attorney. Army Maj. Gen. Thomas Turner also ordered military trials for four soldiers accused of murdering three Iraqi detainees during a raid on a suspected insurgent camp near Tharthar Lake, southwest of Tikrit. In the third case, three U.S. Marines will be tried on murder charges in the death of an Iraqi grandfather kidnapped from his house in Hamdaniyah in the middle of the night, the Marine Corps said. Those cases, particularly the alleged Mahmudiyah gang rape, as well as the killing of 24 people in Haditha, have sparked outrage among Iraqis. The Mahmudiyah case led Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to call for a review of foreign troops' immunity from Iraqi prosecution. The Haditha allegations are still being investigated, and no Marines have been charged.

Propaganda Program In Iraq Legal [And who cares about morality? Or the truth? Or a free press? Not these folks. – dancewater]

A classified Defense Department inspector general's report said regulations were followed when the military paid to have favorable stories about coalition forces planted in Iraqi newspapers, according to the unclassified executive summary obtained Thursday by The Associated Press. "Psychological operations are a central part of information operations and contribute to achieving the ... commander's objectives," the summary said. They are aimed at conveying "selected, truthful information to foreign audiences to influence their emotions ... reasoning, and ultimately, the behavior of governments" and other entities, it said. It faulted only one contract, saying the military hadn't maintained required documentation. Republican and Democratic critics had complained that secretly planting stories set a bad example in a country where the U.S. was trying to establish democracy and a free press. "We concluded that (commanders in Iraq) complied with applicable laws and regulations in their use of a contractor to conduct psychological operations and their use of newspapers as a way to disseminate information," the executive summary says.

VIDEO: Catastrophic Success: A Visual

Major Change Expected in Strategy for Iraq War

The growing doubts among GOP lawmakers about the administration's Iraq strategy, coupled with the prospect of Democratic wins in next month's midterm elections, will soon force the Bush administration to abandon its open-ended commitment to the war, according to lawmakers in both parties, foreign policy experts and others involved in policymaking. Senior figures in both parties are coming to the conclusion that the Bush administration will be unable to achieve its goal of a stable, democratic Iraq within a politically feasible time frame. [Or ever. – dancewater] Agitation is growing in Congress for alternatives to the administration's strategy of keeping Iraq in one piece and getting its security forces up and running while 140,000 U.S. troops try to keep a lid on rapidly spreading sectarian violence. On the campaign trail, Democratic candidates are hammering Republican candidates for backing a failed Iraq policy, and GOP defense of the war is growing muted. A new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll released this week showed that voters are more confident in Democrats' ability to handle the Iraq war than the Republicans' -- a reversal from the last election.

Few officials in either party are talking about an immediate pullout of U.S. combat troops. [So it’s more of the same. – dancewater] But interest appears to be growing in several broad ideas. One would be some kind of effort to divide the country along regional lines. [And these folks think that letting Iraqis decide what happens to Iraq is not the way democracy is supposed to work. – dancewater] Another, favored by many Democrats, is a gradual withdrawal of troops over a set period of time. A third would be a dramatic scaling-back of U.S. ambitions in Iraq, giving up on democracy and focusing only on stability. [There is NO WAY the US forces can bring stability to Iraq. How much evidence do they need to accept this fact? – dancewater]


The Iraq Study Group: A Bipartisan Conspiracy

The Iraq Study Group (ISG)—a Congress-mandated committee of prominent Republicans and Democrats preparing a report on “options” for US policy—can best be described as a conspiracy against both the American and Iraqi people. Confronted with a strategic and political disaster, it is emerging as the vehicle for a powerful section of the American ruling elite to make a tactical “change of course” to try to blunt antiwar sentiment in the United States, while shoring up American interests in Iraq and the Middle East. Underpinning the formation of the ISG is the undeniable fact that the invasion of Iraq has become a catastrophe for US imperialism. Three-and-a-half years on, the US is mired in a costly occupation that is descending into a bloody civil war between rival Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish factions of the Iraqi ruling class. Domestically, the Bush White House is arguably the most hated administration in American history. Communities all over the US are paying a bitter price for its lies and its program of militarism. Within the American establishment, there are political figures who are acutely conscious of the tremendous dangers that can arise from the current state of affairs. The extent of popular opposition is such that a movement is developing outside the two-party system and challenging not only the war in Iraq, but the corporate and financial elite in whose interests it was carried out.


The mantra, since the bloody and illegal war in Iraq started, has been: “we will leave Iraq when the job is done. What exactly does this mean? Why doesn’t anyone ask Mr Bush/Blair what ‘job done’ means? Yesterday, Mr Blair told MP’s at Question Time: “Troops will be out of Iraq in 16 months.” No one asked him about an earlier report by Kim Sengupta in The Independent (22.09.06), who wrote: “A force of around 4,000 British troops will stay behind in Iraq for an indefinite period, even after all provinces controlled by the UK are handed over to the Baghdad government in nine months' time, senior defence sources said yesterday. ” The soldiers will be positioned at a base in Basra ready to act to "protect the investment" made by US and British forces in the country, it was disclosed.” WHAT ‘investment’?

Upon Red Rivers of Genocide: Living Inside Hell on Earth

Daily upon the rivers that birthed civilization can the flow of crimson colored blood be seen journeying over liquid roadways through the land of Mesopotamia, its accumulated and growing volume the result of scattered bodies, bullet hole riddled men and bloated humans, all silent witnesses to the devastation that has cursed the Iraqi people. Tainted with the flow of human wickedness, the Tigris and Euphrates spread their polluted waters over the entire culture of Iraq, like sewers of human waste contaminating land, water and air, their toxins of evil and torture and murder and suffering spreading a noxious fog over cities and towns, its cocktail of death and destruction infecting the fabric of society, the very foundation of Iraq cracked and shattered by the spillage of human energy, that crimson liquid granting life. Upon red rivers of genocide do twenty five million human beings sip out of, forced to endure the aftertaste of rotting flesh, drinking from the chalice of human violence, swallowing the red liquid of their nation’s blood, bathing in its corrupted waterways as their country slowly, yet surely, hemorrhages to death. Unable to close a gaping and now pussing wound, unable to stitch back together lacerated flesh, millions upon millions of human beings have become the gangrened body infected by America’s disastrous debacle, slowly rotting from within, turning vile in color and putrid in smell with each passing day, their only salvation the amputation of the whole, the division of their nation, the destruction and partition of Iraq. To twenty five million Iraqis hell on Earth has been introduced to their land by the demons roaming the halls of American power that care not an ounce for the misery and wickedness now roaming like a vulture over Iraq’s skies. For human evil has been imported into the Cradle of Civilization, an export birthed, nurtured and molded by Old Glory itself, under the watchful eyes of Jefferson, Lincoln and Washington, crafted by debasement and corruption, becoming the most successful product launch America has sent abroad in many, many years. For the war culture has perfected the art of sadistic mass murder, a new edition introduced like a software program, resurrected every few decades to enrich war profiteers and greed mongers while making comfortable the lives of those residing inside the belly of the beast. Like a virus the American angel of death has spread far and wide, free of antidotes or miracle cures, given the freedom that is denied Iraqis, like a haze enveloping almost every city and town, village and farm, infecting madness and hatred and vengeance and anger into the minds of millions, injecting civil war upon Iraq and genocide upon the Iraqi people. The Iraq Genocide is a curse upon us all, a shame for all humanity, a crime of the highest order that should bring those responsible to deserved justice. In a more perfect world, there would be confidence that criminals and murderers and malfeasant authoritarians would be brought to justice. In the real world, however, they are promoted, elected and made much more powerful.

Upon red rivers of genocide is Iraq being flooded with, released by America through its spigots of human wickedness. May we one day be forgiven for the madness that has contaminated us. May Iraqis one day offer us the humanity we seem to have lost. May we find our way, if not for us, then for our progeny. May our children learn from our ways, evolving a better culture than we are leaving behind. Shame on us all for what we have allowed our government to become. Shame on us all for what we have allowed it to do in our name. Shame on America. Shame. Shame. Shame.

OPINION: Filmmaker Comments on Iraqi Situation

Everybody asks that question, what can be done? I think that the only way to begin to answer that question is to respond with — I would say — two things. One is that I think that Americans have a moral obligation to Iraqis right now, and they should do anything they can to help stop the bloodshed. That should be always the first question if then we're going to talk about what should the United States do. From my experience, it's hard for me to see how U.S. presence there will ever bring stability, because it hasn't in so long and because there's such a problem of legitimacy in an occupying force that is perceived as having self interest and being infidels in this country. I believe the U.S. presence in Iraq going to be a magnet for instability. However, I also think that it's not a question of an immediate withdrawal, but instead, looking at what kind of solutions could allow this country to be stable and what does that mean? I don't know what it means. I don't know if the huge amounts of resources that we're using toward the military could be used another way. I don't know if there are any other countries that we haven't alienated that could potentially be perceived as a more neutral peacekeeping force. But I do think that Americans have a responsibility to do whatever they can to help to stabilize the country. [“My Country, My Country” is a film about an Iraqi physician and will be shown on PBS this month. It looks like a worthwhile film to see. – dancewater]

To find out more about this film and the listings for local show times, please go HERE.

STOP FUNDING THE WAR: Progressive Democrats of America is committed to cutting off all funding for deployment of US troops in Iraq and for the removal of all funding for the occupation of Iraq. The PDA will be collecting 100,000 signatures over the upcoming weeks so Rep. McGovern may deliver them personally to House and Senate leaders shortly after the November 2006 election.

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:

Oh my country, may you have a happy morning.

Reunite everyone; heal your wounds.

I yearn to see you smile some day,

When will sadness set you free?

Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds,

Take them all under your wings.

You are their father; you are their mother,

Stay firm, no matter how your winds gust.

Jesus and Prophet Muhammad said,

Their unity is your weapon.

Love, peace, intellect and construction,

May God in the heavens bless your success, my country.

Oh my beloved Iraq; oh Iraq,

Oh my beloved, oh my beloved, oh my beloved Iraq. Kadhum Al-Sahir


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