DAILY WAR NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, January 3, 2007
Cartoon by Pablo (See below "Sacrifice!")
Bring 'em on
: An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier south of the Iraqi capital Dec. 31. The unit was conducting a security patrol for an explosive ordnance team returning from picking up unexploded ordnance from an Iraqi Army compound when they were struck by a roadside bomb killing one Soldier.
Heavy clashes erupted on Wednesday in the Iraqi town of Deloiya between unidentified gunmen and U.S. troops which used aircraft to shell several farms in the town, a Deloiya police source said.
Several U.S. armored vehicles "raided al-Jubur district in central Deloiya (90 km north of Baghdad) at noon supported by Apaches," the source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
He said the forces were attacked by unidentified gunmen using RPG7 rockets and machineguns and several mines exploded at the armored vehicles.
"Heavy clashes erupted between the two sides and lasted more than an hour during which the U.S. forces used the choppers to return fire at the attackers in the farms area east of Deloiya," the source added.
The source could not tell the casualties among the gunmen or the U.S. troops which blocked all roads leading to Deloiya and placed the town under embargo until further notice.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS:
A car bomb near an intersection wounded one person in Mansour district in west-central Baghdad.
Two bombs exploded in quick succession in central Baghdad, causing no casualties. The blast, which took place in the mainly Shi'ite district of Kerrada, was caused by two bombs placed under a parked car in a residential street of the district. The blast demolished part of the outer wall of a house and shattered glass the windows.
Gunmen killed two former Baath party officials near the town of Hilla, 100 km (62 miles) south of Baghdad.
Gunmen stormed a house and killed six members of a family in the town of Yathrib, near Balad, 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad.
Police patrols found two dead bodies in the old industrial area west of Mosul, one of them was of a policeman, noting that the bodies were shot several times.
Police patrols found the dead bodies of three brothers in western Mosul
, noting that the bodies were shot several times.
The corpse of a man was found shot dead and tortured in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk
, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad.
An Iraqi soldier was killed, three were wounded, today when an explosive device targeted an Iraqi Army patrol west of Kirkuk.
Three policemen were wounded when an armed group attacked their patrol vehicle near Muqdadiyah district of Diala province.
The U.S. army said 23 gunmen were arrested during several raids in the western Iraq's city of Ramadi.
U.S.-led forces are likely to launch a limited New Year offensive against al-Sadr's Mehdi Army militia, blamed for sectarian death squad killings, senior Iraqi officials say.
The Pentagon, in a report last month, described Mehdi Army militias as the biggest threat to Iraq's security and diplomats say Washington is impatient to confront them.
Several officials in the Shi'ite political parties that dominate Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's unity government also say they are losing patience with Sadr's supporters and predict more raids like last week's joint U.S.-Iraqi operation in which a senior Sadr aide was killed.
"There will be limited and targeted operations against members of the Mehdi Army," a senior Shi'ite official told Reuters. "The ground is full of surprises but we think around Jan. 5 there will be some operations. I can say no more."
The Kurdish leaders were not notified of Saddam's execution date and no Kurdish officials were among the 25 people who attended the execution, legislator said on Wednesday.
"None of the Kurdish officials attended Saddam's execution at dawn on Saturday," lawmaker Mahmuod Othman, of Kurdistan Coalition, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
Mr. Othman denied that Kurdish officials were notified of the date set to hang the former Iraqi President adding "we only learnt about Saddam's execution from media reports aired on Friday by satellite channels."
"Why did President Jalal Talabani and Kurdistan President Massoud al-Barazani refrain from declaring their stand about the non-notification of the Kurdish leaders as to when the death sentence against the former Iraqi President was planned to be carried out" Othman wondered.
"The Kurds were wronged with the death of Saddam Hussein," said the legislator and added "how can we know now that he is dead about the companies which gave Iraq the chemical weapons used to gas and kill the Kurds during the anti-Kurds Anfal in 1980s."
Maliki says he wants to step down as prime minister of Iraq.
The Iraqi Prime Minister's political adviser Sami al-Askari said the death sentence against Saddam's half brother and the head of the former Revolutionary Court will probably be carried out next week.
Two senior Iraqi governmental officials were responsible for filming and leaking the cell phone video of Saddam's execution
, prosecutor Munqidh Al-Far'awn, who also attended the hanging, said Tuesday. Far'awn said that all witnesses who attended the execution were thoroughly searched by U.S. troops and cell phones and cameras were confiscated. "I don't know how and where they got the equipment to film," he said.
Tribal delegations from the governorates of Anbar, Ninewa, Salah Al-Din, Kirkuk and Diyala arrived in Tikrit Wednesday to visit Saddam Hussein's grave at his hometown of Al-Ouja. Relatives of Saddam in Tikrit stated that delegations of well-known Arab tribes also came from Basrah, Nasiriya, Karbala and other southern Iraqi governorates to pay respect for Saddam's tribe, Al-Bu Nasir. Several Iraqi websites had also reported that a delegation representing the Shi'ite Khazraj tribe from Dujail - the town where Saddam's assassination attempt took place in 1982, and for which he was sentenced to hang for killing 148 of the townspeople - also took part in the mourning reception at Al-Ouja, according to tribesmen who mentioned that they had covered their faces out of fear of retribution from "Iran and its militias in Iraq."
Four Americans and an Austrian abducted in November in southern Iraq spoke briefly and appeared uninjured in a video
believed to have been recorded nearly two weeks ago and delivered Wednesday to The Associated Press.
The men - security contractors for the Crescent Security Group based in Kuwait - appeared separately on the edited video, and three of them said they were being treated well. They were kidnapped Nov. 16 when suspected militiamen in Iraqi police uniforms ambushed a convoy of trucks being escorted by Crescent Security on a highway near the southern border city of Safwan.
Do you feel the situation in the country is better today or better before the U.S.-led invasion?
Better today - 5%
Better before - 90%
Not sure - 5%
Source: Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies / Gulf Research Center_Methodology: Face-to-face interviews with 2,000 Iraqi adults in Baghdad, Anbar and Najaf, conducted in late November 2006. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.
read in full...
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Keith Olbermann: SACRIFICE!
Jan. 2: The BBC is reporting President Bush is about to announce a plan to increase troops levels in Iraq via a speech with the theme of “sacrifice.” Keith Olbermann responds in a special comment.
If in your presence an individual tried to sacrifice an American serviceman or woman, would you intervene?
Would you at least protest?
What if he had already sacrificed 3,003 of them?
What if he had already sacrificed 3,003 of them - and was then to announce his intention to sacrifice hundreds, maybe thousands, more?
This is where we stand tonight with the BBC report of President Bush's "new Iraq strategy," and his impending speech to the nation, which, according to a quoted senior American official, will be about troop increases and "sacrifice."
The president has delayed, dawdled and deferred for the month since the release of the Iraq Study Group.
He has seemingly heard out everybody, and listened to none of them.
If the BBC is right - and we can only pray it is not - he has settled on the only solution all the true experts agree cannot possibly work: more American personnel in Iraq, not as trainers for Iraqi troops, but as part of some flabby plan for "sacrifice."
read in full...
Information Clearing House: MOVIE NIGHT
On July 20th 1944 plotters led by Klaus Von Stauffenberg attempted to assassinate the lawful ruler of Germany but fate intervened and Hitler survived. However the blood lust of this psychopathic serial killer would take weeks and thousands to satiate. It is important to understand the motivations of a psychopath, Hitler in his rage ordered everyone in Germany with the name Stauffenberg to be executed.
You see it's not just about murder it is about power; Klaus had broken into Hitler's psychotic delusions with the reality of possible sudden death. The psychopathic serial killer lives in a tower of fantasies of their own making, not just of power but also of intelligence. They strive to prove to the world not only are they powerful but they're more intelligent as well. When ever anyone questioned Hitler's military planning he would berate them and explain his past glories, and if you make a habit of it and your career would be short.
Thousands were taken and suspended by meat hooks and then hung with piano wire, and at the express orders of Adolph Hitler the executions were filmed. At his first viewing of the films Hitler was jubilant as he watched the films with glee, innocent guilty made no difference to him it was about power. The power to inflict suffering on those perceived to threaten his fantasy. Psychopaths are the most dangerous of all mentally ill; for all intents and purposes they can appear completely normal. Like all of us the have a public personality but behind that is a hidden murderous rage, they are very ill, abused as children they seek out revenge on those that hurt them and those who threaten their fantasy.
Hitler living in Vienna out of work and down on his luck was befriended by a Jewish man who operated second hand store, the man feeling sorry for Hitler seeing he had no over coat gave him one. To you and I this would be considered and act of kindness but to the psychopath Hitler this was an affront. He was Adolph Hitler and Jews were feeling sorry for him? The nerve! If the Jews in Vienna were successful and he was not then whom he thought was responsible for that? George Bush as a make believe Texas oil man was bailed out financially time and again by Arab investors, to you and I that might be considered and act of kindness...
Hitler ordered the execution films shown to the troops but the troops refused to watch in mass. They were soldiers not psychopaths if it had been presented with the choice of executing only they guilty and freeing the innocent they would have released the innocent immediately. To Hitler it was sending a message to those who would threaten his fantasy that he had the power and enjoyed their sufferings.
When then Governor George Bush refused the last minute death row appeal for clemency from Carla Faye Tucker he mocked her sufferings to a reporter. Tucker had been born again while in prison and many evangelicals endorsed her appeal. But then Governor Bush showed her no clemency nor anyone else for that matter as Governor for eight years not once was clemency ever granted, I wonder why? Setting the record for the most executions not only as Texas governor but also anywhere in the United States.
Bush as a child had a history of tormenting small animals and while in a fraternity at Yale added the burning of pledges to the initiation ritual. To willfully inflict pain on others is a clear sign of mental illness, to do so as a child is a warning sign. To do so in college is to prove your power over others. During the blitz in London during WW2 Churchill made a point to tour the most devastated areas to show solidarity with the people to empathize with their sufferings. Hitler never once toured devastated areas of Germany because it threatened his fantasy his inviolability is it any wonder then why the President doesn't attend soldier's funerals or allows photographs? He wants to be able to watch TV too.
Towards the end Hitler submerged in his bunker under the chancellery began to give grandiose orders to non-existent forces. When advised by Albert Speer his ministry of supply that Germany would be out of fuel in days Hitler advised we will fight on to the end with a policy of scorched earth! Speer asked, what about the German people how will they survive? Hitler said they have failed me and do not deserve to survive. What is the administrations newest talking point? Why are we failing in Iraq? Because... It's the Iraqi's fault! They have failed us!
So Saddam has been murdered excuse me executed and at someone's orders the execution was filmed, hmm, I wonder whom? But why did Iraqi Judges try Saddam in Iraq? His defense was always under the Iraqi constitution he was the head law enforcement official in the country, which was true. But he was tried under the new Iraqi constitution written by Paul Bremer under that constitution Saddam did not have that right. I wonder if that's why occupying powers are not allowed to change the occupied country's laws under the Geneva Convention? But why not take him to The Hague then to be tried? Don't we want to bring Iraq into the civilized family of nations? Isn't that our stated goal du jour?
I think it might have gone something like this, "Mr. Hussein when you gassed the Kurds who supplied you with these horrible weapons?" "Mr. Donald Rumsfeld sir of the United States." And Mr. Hussein how did you know where the Kurds were?" "The US CIA was supplying us with satellite photo's but they were out of date." "Out of date what do mean sir?" "We were trying to gas the Iranian military but we got bad intelligence in the form of out of date satellite photos that showed Iranian troops occupying the village." "Mr. Hussein do you honestly expect the court to accept as your defense that because you've gotten bad intelligence the deaths of these people can be excused!"
"Mr. Prosecutor if you want me to plead guilty to gassing thousands of Iranians I will do that now!" "No, Mr. Hussein you can gas as many Iranians as you like we don't care it is only when you gas people unintentionally that concerns us here. I want to get back to your defense of bad intelligence."
So, it's Movie night at the White House, the death toll is now 600 thousand and one. And now it's all the Iraqis fault and after all we've done for them! May be they don't deserve to survive. Try to be on time but if you are late don't worry I'm sure the boss will be running it over and over.
-- comment by Daveparts | 01.02.07 - 3:17 pm in 'Illegal' Execution Enrages Arabs by Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily
Kristen Ess: THE STRENGTH OF A REGIONAL SUNNI-SHI'I ALLIANCE EXECUTED ALONG WITH SADDAM
Why execute Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on Eid Al-Adha, the Muslim holiday of sacrifice and feast; the time to slaughter the sheep and give the meat to the poor, money to relatives and the impoverished, and toys to the children?
Why did the United States choose a Shi'i client government after it captured Saddam Hussein?
The "divide and conquer" technique seems so easily employed in the Middle East. Under US occupation, Iraq has fallen apart in Sunni - Shi'i fighting, not that it did not exist before, but not to the same extent in intention. Under Israeli occupation, Palestine has fallen apart with the Hamas - Fateh fighting. But the issue of timing and political party in Iraq may have more to do with the United States' publicly stated plan this summer for its "New Middle East" than originally thought. (...)
Why are the American newspapers so heavily promoting the Sunni - Shi'i divide?
It is not only to remove US culpability, after all that was the original intention behind the US war on Iraq: to take down Saddam. But after years of the American press vilifying the Shi'is as the "fanatics," as the "fundamentalists," the Shi'is suddenly now have the moral authority in the United States.
Simply because Saddam was a Sunni?
Or perhaps the US corporate media outlets know no better and are basing their limited analysis on the Sunni-Shi'i divide that has existed in Iraq, but that was hardly insurmountable, even now given the current conditions.
If that divide were cleverly exploited, it could certainly guarantee a non-unified Middle East.
But if it were not, that would mean a strong Middle East, undivided, and not in keeping with the US vision of the "New Middle East."
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Canada Watch: SADDAM'S EXECUTION: QUESTIONS
According to the official reports, the execution was witnessed by 14 members of Iraqi government. This means that the voices, we hear in the video, belong either to the three executioners, or to Saddam Hussein, or to the members of the Iraqi government. If this is true, then:
. Who and why shouted, "Long live Muhamad Baqir al Sadr!", and then, "Muqtada, Muqtada, Muqtada"? Why would members of Iraqi government want to do this? This does not make any sense. If they didn't, who did? Was the execution contracted out to the Mahdi Army? Who contracted it out, Americans or the Iraqi government? Why?
. Why the chanting, we hear in the video, sounds like a bunch of young guys from the street, rather than "distinguished" members of the government? One would expect members of the government to behave in a more professional way.
. Why the three executioners look, dress, and act like civilian guerrilla fighters rather than professional officers that would be expected to carry out a sentence of such historical and political importance in front of the members of the government?
. Who recorded the cell phone video and published it on internet fully knowing that this would provoke a long lasting violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims in Iraq. The video seems to clearly "prove" that Shia government and Mahdi Army executed Saddam. Who wants and needs a bloody, full scale civil war i Iraq? The timing of the execution, that was carried out on the morning of the Eid al-Adha, can only be explained by a desire to upset both radical and moderate Muslims and therefore to increase the size and scope of the expected conflict.
It is highly unlikely that "the organizers" of Saddam's execution did not and would not think about the above questions and consequences. What is really going on here?
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Tariq Ali: CONVENIENTLY FORGOTTEN
It was symbolic that 2006 ended with a colonial hanging - most of it shown on state television in occupied Iraq. It has been that sort of year in the Arab world. The trial was so blatantly rigged that even Human Rights Watch had to condemn it as a travesty. Judges were changed on Washington's orders, defence lawyers were killed and the whole procedure resembled a well orchestrated lynch mob. Where Nuremberg was a relatively dignified application of victor's justice, Saddam Hussein's trial was the crudest and most grotesque to date.
The great thinker-president's reference to it "as a milestone on the road to Iraqi democracy" is as clear an indication as any that Washington pressed the trigger. The leaders of the European Union, supposedly hostile to capital punishment, were passive, as usual.
Although some Shia factions celebrated in Baghdad, the figures published by a fairly independent establishment outfit, the Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies, reveal that more than 80% of Iraqis feel the situation in the country was better before it was occupied. (The ICRSS research is based on detailed house-to-house interviewing carried out during the third week of November.) Only 5% of those questioned said Iraq is better today than in 2003; 12% felt things had improved and 9% said there was no change. Unsurprisingly, 95% felt the security situation was worse than before.
Add to this the figures supplied by the United Nations high commissioner for refugees: 1.6 million Iraqis (7% of the population) have fled the country since March 2003, and 100,000 leave every month - Christians, doctors, engineers, women. There are 1 million Iraqis in Syria, 750,000 in Jordan, 150,000 in Cairo. These are refugees who do not excite the sympathy of western public opinion, since the US - EU-backed - occupation is the cause. Perhaps it was these statistics, and estimates of a million Iraqi dead, that necessitated the execution of Saddam.
That Saddam was a tyrant is beyond dispute, but what is conveniently forgotten is that most of his crimes were committed when he was a staunch ally of those who are now occupying the country. It was, as he admitted in one of his trial outbursts, the approval of Washington and the poison gas supplied by what was then West Germany that gave him the confidence to douse Halabja with chemicals in the middle of the Iran-Iraq war. Saddam deserved a proper trial and punishment in an independent Iraq. Not this.
The double standards applied by the west never cease to astonish. Indonesia's Suharto, who presided over a mountain of corpses, was protected by Washington. He never annoyed them as much as Saddam.
And what of those who have created the mess in Iraq today? The torturers of Abu Ghraib; the pitiless butchers of Falluja; the ethnic cleansers of Baghdad; the Kurdish prison boss who boasts that his model is Guantánamo. Will Bush and Blair ever be tried for war crimes? Doubtful. And former Spanish prime minister José María Aznar? He is currently employed as a lecturer at Georgetown University, in Washington, where the language of instruction is of course English - of which he hardly speaks a word.
Saddam's lynching might send a shiver down the spines of the Arab ruling elites. If Saddam can be hanged, so can the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, the Hashemite joker in Amman and the Saudi royals - as long as those who topple them are happy to play ball with the United States.
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Left I on the News: PTSD kills
I've written before about how, although the American press rarely if ever notices, PTSD affects Iraqis just as much, if not indeed much more, than Americans. Now along comes a new study which reports that PTSD increases the risk of heart attacks (and other diseases) in later life. So it looks like depleted uranium won't be the only thing killing Iraqis long after the Americans and their friends have finally departed.
Roads to Iraq: LONG LIVE THE FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY OF THE PUPPETS GOVERNMENT IN THE "GREEN ZONE"
Reported today "TV station shut down for sectarianism", since I am here in Lebanon right now and Beirut is the center of all Arabs TV stations, I contacted Alsharqyia TV station
Alsharqyia Chief manager is Sa'ad AlBazaz, he is also chief editor of Azzaman Iraqi newspaper based in London, Bazaz is a journalist, historian and author.
The reason that the puppets government shut down alsharqyia is:
The only Iraqi station who refers to all foreign military forces in Iraq as "the occupation Forces" in their news [Al-Zawra'a also].
QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "If the mighty U.S. troops, now numbering about 140,000, cannot placate one of Baghdad’s streets, or declare themselves victorious even in a low-level encounter with resistance groups, no one should imagine they will ever be capable of taming the militias." -- Azzaman editorial