Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Photo: A view of the dozens of corpses lying in the streets of Baghdad, often for weeks. These scenes of Iraq's civil war have become such a daily part of people's lives so much that they don't bother to remove the bodies. Those were taken in Adhamiya a month ago and the victims were judged as "strangers" or "spies" before they were shot and thrown with the garbage in the street. People in the neighbourhood just covered them with blankets and moved on. Those bodies are rarely counted in the daily death toll, and when they are counted they're just "unknown corpses." ("Scenes from Baghdad", Healing Iraq blog)
Bring 'em on: On Feb. 27, an MND-B unit was conducting a joint patrol with the Iraqi national police in order to provide continuous security and reduce the levels of violence in a western urban district of the Iraqi capital when they received small arms fire, killing one Soldier. (CENTCOM)
Bring 'em on: It is with deep regret that the MOD must confirm the death of a British soldier in Iraq as a result of an incident on the morning of 27 February 2007. The soldier was serving with the 2nd Battalion The Rifles (formerly 1st Battalion Royal Green Jackets). He was on a routine patrol in the Al Maqil district of Basra which was attacked by small arms fire. (MoD UK)
A car bomb killed at least ten people in a crowded commercial area of western Baghdad on Wednesday, police said. The blast occurred in Baiyaa, a mixed neighborhood, just after the morning rush hour, police said. At least 20 people were wounded, they said. Baiyaa is one of Baghdad's most popular shopping districts, with hundreds of stores and kiosks. Witnesses said several shops and stalls were damaged, and four cars were incinerated by the explosion. Charred clothes hung from vendors' stalls
Shortly after the Baiyaa blast, at least four more explosions rang out across the Iraqi capital. It was unclear whether they were additional bombs or controlled blasts set off by the U.S. military. Sirens blared through the streets.
U-S commanders in Iraq report U-S forces have killed eight more suspected militants and captured a-half dozen others.A statement today says the eight deaths happened when U-S helicopters and jets fired on insurgents hiding in a palm grove on the northern outskirts of Baghdad. U-S intelligence had linked the militants to attacks on American troops. Two other suspects were captured in that operation.
The military says four more suspects have been captured in raids today elsewhere in Baghdad.
A suicide car bomber struck a police station in a busy area in central Baghdad on Wednesday, wounding two policemen, an Interior Ministry source said. "A suicide bomber drove an explosive-laden car into the entrance of the Bab al-Shiekh police station at around 3:00 p.m. (1200 GMT), but the guards shot the driver dead while the explosives partially detonated," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The attack occurred in a busy area where the key parking lot of Garage al-Nahdhah is located, the source said. "Some of the explosive charges did not immediately explode, but were gradually detonated later, which gave enough time for people and policemen to flee the scene," the source added.
A suicide car bomber attacked a police station in Nahdha district in central Baghdad, killing two policemen and wounding another two, police said.
A mortar round landed on the heavy fortified Baghdad Hotel in the eastern part of central Baghdad, which houses foreign contractors, the source said. It was not clear whether there was any casualty as the area is protected by U.S. and others foreign forces.
The tortured body of a senior police officer was discovered in central Baghdad, about two months after the man disappeared, an Interior Ministry official said.
Five mortar rounds landed at a crowded market in the Shurta al-Rabia neighborhood in southwestern the capital on Wednesday afternoon, killing four people and wounding 20 others," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Diyala Prv:
Iraqi police forces killed a gunman and freed a captive during a security crackdown in west of Diala province, 57 km northeast of Baghdad, a police source said. "A U.S. and Iraqi combined force launched last night a security crackdown in al-Hadid district, west of Baaquba", the source, who asked not to be named, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
"Fierce clashes erupted during the operation between gunmen and Iraqi forces, which led to the killing of a gunman, while other gunmen fled the scene", he added. The source said "no casualties were reported among the combined force", he noted. He said that the forces managed to free a civilian, who was kidnapped by a group of armed men.
Two brothers of a prominent Sunni Iraqi member of the parliament were shot dead Wednesday, an Iraqi police source said. Unidentified gunmen shot dead the two brothers of MP Salim Abdullah, spokesman for the Sunni National Concord Front, in Muqdadiya, some 100 kilometres north-east of Baghdad, the source added. Abdullah is also a member in the Iraqi Islamic party led by the Iraqi Vice President Tarek al-Hashimi.
Al Maail:
Six mortar shells landed on the Shiite Muslim village of al-Maail
south of the Iraqi capital, killing one person and wounding 14, police said.
Al Rasheed:
A roadside bomb detonated on the mainroad at the al-Rasheed town, killing a civilian and wounding two others.
Several mortar rounds landed in a residential district, killing a man and woman, in the town of Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.
Three roadside bombs exploded in Mahmoudiyah, about 18 miles south of Baghdad. One civilian was killed and three others were wounded, police said.
Mortars killed one civilian and wounded another four from the same family in the town of Mahmudiya, 30 km (20 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.
Two Iraqi policemen were killed when mortar shells landed onto a police checkpoint north of Hilla, 100 km south of Baghdad, a police source said. "Two policemen were killed today when three mortar rounds hit a police checkpoint manned on the highway about 60 km north of Hilla city," the source, who asked not to be named, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). He added "a building near the checkpoint was also damaged in the attack
Three British bases were attacked with Katyusha rockets
, but there was no damage. "The British bases at former President Saddam Hussein's palaces in central Basra, at Shatt al-Arab Hotel in north of the city and at Basra International Airport were attacked over night with Katyusha rockets and no damage was reported", Captain Katie Brown told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI) over the phone.
An eyewitness in a residential area near Basra International Airport said that the British base there witnessed three different rocket attacks on Tuesday. "Warning sirens kept wailing in the base three times," he added.
Gunmen shot dead a man inside his car on Tuesday in Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
Unidentified gunmen killed a taxi driver while on his way home late Tuesday in al-Suqour neighborhood , north of Tikrit, the source added.
"U.S. soldiers opened fire late Tuesday at a civilian vehicle with two young men aboard, killing them on the spot", the source, who asked not to be named, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). He said "the forces suspected that the two young men were gunmen trying to plant bombs that would target U.S. vehicle patrols."
Police forces found an unidentified body that had shot wounds in north of Tikrit, he said.
Police said a high-ranking officer and his driver were killed in a drive-by shooting in Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad,. Col. Abdul-Hadi Mohammed Saleh was on his way to work when gunmen sprayed his car with machine gun fire, Brig. Abdul-Karim al-Jabouri said. Saleh's driver was killed and his bodyguard injured, al-Jabouri added.
Police found a body shot in the head in the town of Himreen, 120 km (75 miles) south of the northern oil city of Kirkuk, police said.
Four Iraqi soldiers were wounded when an explosive device went off on the highway southwest of Kirkuk, 250km northeast Baghdad, while an official in Kirkuk police department survived an attempt on his life in south of the city, a police source said.
At least four Iraqi soldiers were seriously wounded when a roadside bomb struck their patrol in the town of Riyadh, 60 km (40 miles) southwest of the northern oil city of Kirkuk, an army source said.
Al Anbar Prv:
At least four people were killed and six others were wounded when two mortar shells were fired onto al-Khalidiyah city, east of Ramadi, 110 km west of Baghdad, an eyewitness said on Wednesday. "Two unidentified mortar shells landed over night on al-Khalidiyah marketplace, killing four civilians and wounding six others, including a boy", an eyewitness told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI) over the phone. The wounded were rushed to the city's medical centre, he added, highlighting that the attack caused severe material damage to several stores near the main mosque in the city.
An Iraqi army base was attacked with mortar shells near Falluja city, 45 km west of Baghdad, a security source said. "Three mortar shells landed today afternoon onto the Iraqi army base in Garma town," the source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). Garma town is 10 km west of Falluja city. The source who could not say if there were casualties among the Iraqi soldiers said "the Iraqi troops blocked all the ways leading to the base after the attack."
In Country:
(update) THE RAF Hercules transport aircraft destroyed in Iraq two weeks ago was crippled by an insurgent booby-trap as it landed under cover of darkness on a remote desert airstrip, The Herald can reveal. Sources say an initial investigation report on the incident in Maysan province said the special forces' C130 aircraft was hit when it touched down to deliver rations and fuel for mobile patrols along the Iranian border. The £45m J-model Hercules suffered "significant damage" which insiders say might have included a fuel tank fire after the bomb detonated, although all 38 crew and passengers escaped with minor injuries.
(update) A report that 18 boys were killed this week in a car bombing in Ramadi is "false," a senior U.S. military official said Wednesday. Iraqi state television reported Tuesday that the attack occurred that day in the Sunni insurgent stronghold west of Baghdad. Iraqi police and military confirmed the account, but later said the bombing took place Monday.
The offices of the president and prime minister had also denounced the reported attack. On Tuesday, a military statement said 30 civilians and one Iraqi soldier were injured by flying debris when troops destroyed 15 bags of explosives. None of the injuries was life-threatening, it added. "There was no second blast," Fox told reporters, "and there was no 18 children killed."
Iran is reviewing Baghdad's invitation to attend a regional conference on ways of easing tensions in Iran's neighbor, a senior official said on Wednesday.
The United States has said it will attend both a mid-level meeting in March and a ministerial meeting that may be held in April. Syria, accused by Washington of igniting tension in Iraq by failing to control its border, has also been invited.
Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said Tehran was considering the offer.
Iranian officials had previously said Tehran was not interested in discussions before U.S. troops pulled out of Iraq.
"In order to help resolve problems in Iraq, Iran will do its utmost. We will attend the meeting if (we reach the conclusion) that it is in Iraq's interests," Larijani was quoted by Iran's state television as saying.
It's been almost 13 days since the Iraqi army and police supported by American troops started to carry out the new security plan, did anything change??
I think, yeah, actually there are things that have changed, now we have more blocked streets, and more fake checkpoints and patrols who practice sectarian violence in day and night.
It became almost impossible for people who lives in Karkh side to come to Alrasafa side on time and vice versa.
During my final exams in college, some students couldn't make it to college, others were like 2 hours late, because all streets and bridges are blocked, the rest suffered a lot to come to college and they had to bear the bad language and tirades of the soldiers in every single checkpoint.
The streets are still empty and filled with horror, gunmen and militias are still roaming the streets even in the presence of American or Iraqi patrols.
its really funny that the policy of those patrols is that if those gunmen won't hit us we won't hit them, so they can do whatever they want to do to the harmless people as long as they don't shoot us.
I think this is really what making Maliki and his crap security plan successful.
Nearly two weeks into the newest Baghdad security plan, the daily count of murder victims dumped on the city's streets has declined significantly, a likely sign that Shiite Muslim militia groups aligned with the Iraqi government have reined in their members or sent them out of the capital.
But deaths from bombings and mortar attacks, after an initial decline, have returned to the levels of the previous two months, suggesting that the plan's initial measures have had little impact on the Sunni insurgent groups believed to be responsible for most of that violence.
U.S. and Iraqi officials have released only limited information about what steps they've taken to secure the city since the plan's official kickoff on Feb. 15. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told President Bush last week that the plan, dubbed Operation Enforcing the Law, so far had been a "dazzling success." U.S. officials have been more cautious, saying that it may be months before the plan can be labeled a success or a failure.
Statistics compiled from official daily reports of the Interior Ministry and other Iraqi government sources, as well as interviews in 20 Baghdad neighborhoods about the plan's initial measures, however, show that some early judgments are possible about the plan's effectiveness. With most members of Congress expressing skepticism about the plan's prospects for success, such information could prove useful in the debate over Bush's plan to commit a total of 17,500 additional troops to the plan in the coming months.
From Dec. 1, 2006, through Feb. 14, the number of people killed in public places from violent attacks averaged 14.8 a day. From Feb. 15 through Monday, the number declined, but just barely, to 13.8. Car bombs were up slightly, from an average of 1.2 a day to 1.6, while roadside bombs were identical at 1 per day.
Injuries, on average, rose from 40.4 a day to 52.8 since the start of the plan, while bodies dumped by death squads declined from 22.8 a day to 14.6.
The increase in car bombs is particularly troubling. Members of Shiite militias often have cited Sunni car bombings as the driving force for their activities, which include targeting Sunnis for kidnapping and execution. On Sunday, the government announced new measures to stop car bombs, including prohibitions against parking or standing along major streets.
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ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff was nearly killed a year ago in an IED attack in Iraq. He's made a near-miraculous recovery. Bob Woodruff's hour-long documentary was broadcast last night on ABC. For those who missed it and for those in Iraq and elsewhere who couldn't see the ABC telecast, you can watch the entire program in six segments here:
-- Part one: The explosion (9'15")
-- Part two: The 36-day coma (12'16")
-- Part three: Wounded warriors (8'33")
-- Part four: Are we ready for our injured? (7'45")
-- Part five: The human cost of war (7'52")
-- Part six: Closing thoughts (52")
Woodruff will appear on CNN's "Larry King Live" program tomorrow night.
The March 17 March on the Pentagon is shaping up as a major step forward in the struggle to stop ongoing imperialist wars in Iraq and elsewhere. The ANSWER Coalition reports today that after a major free speech battle with various government entities for permits, the route is now fully permitted, and, in addition, a major collection of pro-impeachment groups have now signed on as endorsers, including such groups as After Downing Street, CODE PINK Women for Peace, Democrats.com, Democracy Rising, Gold Star Families for Peace, the Green Party of the United States, the National Lawyers Guild, Progressive Democrats of America, and World Can't Wait-Drive Out the Bush Regime. There are more than 200 cities organizing transportation. And there's an impressive list of speakers, which you can see at the link above.
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(…) the Al-Hayat reporter quotes a spokesman for the Iraqi Accord Front, the biggest Sunni bloc in the national parliament, Salim Abdullah, who said: "Current circumstances are not appropriate for the adoption of an oil and gas law...We look on this law with skepticism and concern, in the light of the continuing security situation, which doesn't help in establishing a low like this one, particularly since it concerns the exploitation of oil, which is the most important element in Iraqi national income". He added: "We in the Iraqi Accord Front have a feeling foreign corporations had a role in deciding on this in their own interests, and we reject what the law suggests by way of privatization of the gas sector and transferrence of its management to foreign exploitation companies." And he added that revenue distribution should be free of sectarianism.
And the reporter quotes a member of the Oil Gas and Natural Resources committee of the national parliament who said there will not be quick passage of in parliament, "because of existing differences between the political blocs..."
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Mother Jones: IRAQ 101
All right, no more excuses, people. After four years in Iraq, it's time to get serious. We've spent too long goofing off, waiting to be saved by the bell, praying that we won't get asked a stumper like, "What's the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?" Okay, even the head of the House intelligence committee doesn't know that one. All the more reason to start boning up on what we-and our leaders-should have learned back before they signed us up for this crash course in Middle Eastern geopolitics. And while we're at it, let's do the math on what the war really costs in blood and dollars. It's time for our own Iraq study group. Yes, there will be a test, and we can't afford to fail.
IRAQ 101: From Allawi to Zarqawi
Players, Haters: Iraqi Politics at a Glance
CIVIL WAR: Lost in Transition
Things Fall Apart: The Iraqi Civil War FAQ
THE COST: Paying the Price
Down the Drain
AFTERMATH: Long-term Thinking
Breaking the Army
The Iraq Effect: The War in Iraq and Its Impact on the War on Terrorism
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The number of deaths attributed to Saddam Hussein by the West is incomprehensible. If you add them all up, it seems he killed more people than the number who inhabit Iraq. He had to work overtime and must have had advanced weaponry of which no one is aware.
Numbers and techniques abound: 182,000 during the Anfal campaign (Despite the numbers, not one body has been found. Maybe Saddam had a secret vaporizing ray); 5,000 in Halabja (About 300 bodies were found and there is much doubt as to the origin of the gas used against the Kurds); and hundreds of thousands in the south of Iraq.
In November 2003, word came out that more than 400,000 bodies had been discovered in mass graves in Iraq. "The whole country is a mass graveyard" was the slogan of the day. Finally, proof of Saddam being the Butcher of Baghdad was there for the whole world to see. Case closed.
Let’s go forward a few months from the discovery of the almost half million bodies. On July 18, 2004, the headline of the day for the British paper The Independent read, "British Prime Minister Admits Graves Claim Untrue." How could that be? George Bush and Tony Blair don’t lie. If we can’t trust them, who can we trust? Certainly not Saddam, even though he told the truth about WMD. That must have been a fluke.
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Make no mistake - Team Thug will go to any lengths to justify Bush's failed war. And if it means minimizing catasrophic injury to our fighting men and women, what the hey? No skin off Jim Nicholson's nose.
WOODRUFF: You think americans fully understand how many injured there are in this war?
NICHOLSON: I think it — i think it cuts both ways. I think Americans are always very surprised to know the number of amputations, for example, which is fewer than 600 in total. They’re probably also surprised to know that 200,000 come to the VA for some kind of medical treatment. That’s probably more than they think.
WOODRUFF: You have mental disorders — 73,000; diseases of nervous system — 61,000; symtpoms, signs of ill-defined conditions — 7,000; diseases of musculoskeletal system — 87,000. These are numbers beyond the 23,000.
NICHOLSON: A lot of them come in for dental problems, others come in for a lot of the normal things that people have. We’re providing their healthcare. Some I suppose are because of their service over there. But they weren’t evacuated for that.
WOODRUFF: But they got some kind of injury, some kind of problem because of the war.
NICHOLSON: That’s possible, yes.
Nicholson is supposed to be standing up for injured service men and women, not laughing off loss of limbs and brain injuries as 'dental problems.'
This insensitive son of a bitch should resign. Today.
Some new information about the failed attempt to assassinate Abdul-Mahdi [Iraq's vice president, who escaped unhurt Monday after a bomb exploded in municipal offices in Baghdad where he was making a speech -- zig].
According Iraqirabita, a car was prepared two days before the attempt to follow his movements.
With Abdul-Mahdi himself said today that the assassination is an inside job and some influential government official behind it, Iraqirabita say that Maliki cooperating with Mahdi Army.
investigations conducted by the police, showed that a certain official behind the blast
Few weeks ago people spoke about Abdul-Mahdi, that he is the best candidate to take Maliki’s position, was it an attempt from Maliki to remove the “best candidate” from his way.
The good news about all this is; this prove that there is a hidden war inside the “Green Zone”, and the US sooner or later will join..or they are already joined.
One way to understand the effect of 9/11, in most general terms, is to see that it allowed the agenda developed in the 1990s by neoconservatives—-often called simply “neocons”---to be implemented. There is agreement on this point across the political spectrum. From the right, for example, Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke say that 9/11 allowed the “preexisting ideological agenda” of the neoconservatives to be “taken off the shelf . . . and relabeled as the response to terror.”1 Stephen Sniegoski, writing from the left, says that “it was only the traumatic effects of the 9/11 terrorism that enabled the agenda of the neocons to become the policy of the United States of America.”2
What was this agenda? It was, in essence, that the United States should use its military supremacy to establish an empire that includes the whole world--a global Pax Americana. Three major means to this end were suggested. One of these was to make U.S. military supremacy over other nations even greater, so that it would be completely beyond challenge. This goal was to be achieved by increasing the money devoted to military purposes, then using this money to complete the “revolution in military affairs” made possible by the emergence of the information age. The second major way to achieve a global Pax Americana was to announce and implement a doctrine of preventive-preemptive war, usually for the sake of bringing about “regime change” in countries regarded as hostile to U.S. interests and values. The third means toward the goal of universal empire was to use this new doctrine to gain control of the world’s oil, especially in the Middle East, most immediately Iraq.
In discussing these ideas, I will include recognitions by some commentators that without 9/11, the various dimensions of this agenda could not have been implemented. My purpose in publishing this essay is to introduce a perspective, relevant to the debates about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, that thus far has not been part of the public discussion.
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Suspected pro-Taleban militants in Pakistan's tribal areas have killed a cleric they accused of spying for US forces in Afghanistan, officials say. The man's beheaded body was found dumped in a bag by a roadside in South Waziristan on Wednesday.
The head of the US military declared "categorically" Tuesday that the United States is not planning air strikes against Iran. "It is not true," said General Peter Pace, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, when asked during an appearance in Congress about suggestions that the US military was preparing to launch air strikes on Iran.
Asked by Senator Robert Byrd if he was categorically denying the reports, Pace replied: "Categorically sir".
I represent the 7% of Americans that travel abroad each year. Ordinarily, I would be proud to belong to this statistic. Yet having done the majority of my globetrotting during the Bush Administration years, I find my nationality to be the biggest cause of stress in my travels. I have learned that being an American is something you can no longer be proud of- well, at least if you have any knowledge of global affairs. In fact I am ashamed of my nationality. But wait a second here…. before I am accosted by the headstrong patriot with ten “United we stand” bumper stickers adorning his SUV, let me say this: I understand the value of pride in opportunity, equality and justice- but NOT in nationalism for the sake of nationalism! And that is what is at stake here: American insular ideology. Traveling abroad has allowed me a new perspective on this skewed American self-image. I am grateful for my opportunities, my freedom, and my standard of living- but I am ashamed of my government’s corruption, my people’s ignorance and my nation’s neo-colonial egotism. But you needn’t be a hardcore lefty to agree with me. All you need is to go abroad to be reminded of the global hatred toward our nation.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Many parts of Iraq are stable now. But, of course, what we see on television is the one bombing a day that discourages everybody." -- Laura Bush today on CNN's "Larry King Live"


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