Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Photo: An Iraqi soldier fires his machinegun at suspected insurgents during clashes in Baghdad's Doura district, March 7, 2007. (Ali Jasim/Reuters)
Bring 'em on: On March 7, an MND-B unit was conducting a route clearance patrol in order to secure a commonly traveled route of improvised explosive devices northwest of the Iraqi capital when they were struck by a roadside bomb, killing three Soldiers and wounding another. (CENTCOM)
In Country:
A Georgian helicopter involved in humanitarian operations in Iraq has crashed, Georgia's Imedi TV company reported Wednesday. The crew - three Ukrainian pilots, who sustained minor injuries - and an undisclosed number of Iraqi passengers have been taken to a U.S. military hospital, the TV company said. The Novosti-Georgia news agency reported that the Tusheti airline, which owns the helicopter, excluded the possibility of a terrorist act and said that technical failure was the most likely cause of the crash.
The biggest attack on pilgrims Wednesday occurred in Dora, a mostly Sunni neighborhood of southern Baghdad, where a roadside bomb killed at least seven people, police said. Immediately after the blast, gunmen moved in and fired on the victims. About 14 were wounded, they said.
Gunmen also opened fire on Shiite pilgrims on a bridge in southeastern Baghdad, killing three and wounding five, police said.
Another shooting left one pilgrim dead and four wounded in central Baghdad, police said.
Gunmen wounded six pilgrims in Baghdad as they were heading to the holy city of Kerbala to commemorate the Arbain, the end of 40 days of mourning since Ashura, which marks the death of Prophet Mohammad's grandson in 680, police said.
The Iraqi army killed 13 insurgents and arrested 157 others during the last 24 hours in different parts of Iraq, the Defence Ministry said.
A suicide car bomber killed one policeman and wounded 17, including 10 policemen, in Saidiya in southern Baghdad, police said. The bomber targeted police who were marshalling Shi'ite pilgrims walking to Kerbala and the wounded included seven pilgrims.
A suicide car bomber struck an Iraqi police checkpoint in a southwestern Baghdad suburb and killed seven police officers and one pilgrim, police said. The blast injured at least 25 others.
The head of relations and media department in tourism committee Ahmed Gati’a was killed when gun men shot him in Al-Iskandariya district (South of Baghdad).
An official at Yarmukh hospital in Baghdad said the bodies of eight pilgrims were brought in overnight -- seven killed by a roadside bomb and one shot -- and that 23 wounded were treated
24 anonymous bodies were found in Baghdad. 23 were found in Karkh, the western part of Baghdad in the following neighborhoods (7 bodies in Dora, 5 bodies in Hay Al Amil, 3 bodies in Baiyaa, 2 bodies in Ghazaliya, 1 body in each of Saidiya, Hurriya, Abo Disheer, Jami'aa and Amiriya). A body was found in Al Ameen one of the neighborhoods of Rosafa, the eatern part of Baghdad.
Diyala Prv:
A suicide bomber blew himself up in a cafe in a town northeast of Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least 26 people, police said. The blast occurred in the town of Balad Ruz, in the religiously mixed province of Diyala. Balad Ruz police chief Faris al-Umayri said the bomber killed 26 people and wounded 25 others. Another police source put the death toll at 30.
Six Shi'ite pilgrims were killed and 13 were wounded
after they were hit by mortar bombs in the town of Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad.
(update) The targeted violence came a day after two suicide bombers exploded themselves among pilgrims lining up at a checkpoint, killing at least 120 people and wounding about 190, police and hospital officials said.
Gunmen killed a police officer along with his 10-year-old son on Tuesday in a drive-by shooting in Diwaniya, 180 km (110 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.
A gunman was wounded by British forces when he attacked along with an armed group a British base in the city of Basra, 550 km south of Baghdad, the spokeswoman for the Multi-National forces in the southern Iraq said on Wednesday.
"A British military base in central Basra came over night under attack with light-arms," Captain Katie Brown told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI) over the phone. "The British forces started a shootout with the attackers, causing the injury of a gunman", she added.
"Another British base at the Shatt al-Arab hotel came under two separate attacks late Tuesday", the spokeswoman noted, underlining that the attacks caused no damage inside the base.
Gunmen killed four Shi'ite men and wounded another on Tuesday in a drive-by shooting near the town of Dujail, police said.
Two Iraqi policemen were wounded on Wednesday
when an explosive charge went off near their police vehicle patrol in Kirkuk, 250km northeast Baghdad, said a police source.
A gunman was killed on Wednesday in clashes with Iraqi soldiers in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, a security source said.
During Wednesday afternoon unidentified gunmen attacked the Iraqi army military base in al-Ressala neighborhood, west of Falluja," the source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). "The armed men used machine guns and Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) in their attack," he added. Fierce clashes then broke out between the two sides. There was no immediate comment on the number of casualties, the source noted.
Falluja police found the bodies in a street in al-Baath neighborhood, in central Falluja, with signs of gunshots to the head and chests, he highlighted.
Iran confirmed it will take part in an international conference alongside the United States in Baghdad on Saturday, a gathering Iraq hopes will break the ice between the bitter rivals to help end its bloody conflict.
In a sign of how difficult it will be resolve the differences separating the various sides, the conference of Iraq's neighbors, the United States and the U.N. Security Council powers will be attended by officials on the level of deputy foreign minister. A hoped-for session of higher level diplomats has been postponed until later.
More than 30 Vermont towns passed resolutions on Tuesday seeking to impeach Bush, while at least 16 towns in the tiny New England state called on Washington to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.
A new video released by insurgents in Iraq profiles the different kinds of armored vehicle used by U.S. forces and shows successful attacks against each type.
The 25 minute video was posted on Islamic extremist Web sites Monday by the media arm of the Islamic State of Iraq -- an umbrella organization for Sunni Islamic extremist groups, believed to be led by al-Qaida. Details were provided to United Press International by IntelCenter, a counter-terrorism consultancy that tracks such Web sites for clients including U.S. government agencies.
The video profiles the Buffalo, Cougar, RG-31 and Meerkat armored vehicles, according to the consultancy. "This is the first video we are aware of that profiles U.S. vehicles and then shows attacks against them," said IntelCenter's Ben Venzke in a statement.
It was a country full with scientists and researchers, now the “Green Zone” government can’t find a single person to work as an advisers for Maliki.
The US department of State mobilized its embassies in European capitals to search advisers who are ready to work inside the “Green Zone”.
Elaph manged to hold its hand on an official documents in three pages issued by the US Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the American embassy in Baghdad containing terms and skills regarding the selection of advisers for Maliki for the fields: Political affairs and international relations, agriculture, oil and gas, electricity, planning and financial affairs, housing, transport, social health, water and sewage treatments and education.
Conditions required are: speaking Arabic and English fluently, decisions making, and the place of work inside the “Green Zone” in center of Baghdad, enjoying all the facilities of the compound [restaurants, swimming pools and sport centers] protected by military forces, advisers transport will by protected by military forces
The documents did not specify the nationality of the applicants but proffered to be Iraqis, interviews will be conducted in a Hotel in London.
Video: Sue Harris: POISON DUst
Poison DUst tells the story of young soldiers who thought they came home safely from the war, but didn't. Of a veteran's young daughter whose birth defect is strikingly similar to birth defects suffered by many Iraqi children. Of thousands of young vets who are suffering from the symptoms of uranium poisoning, and the thousands more who are likely to find themselves with these ailments in the years to come. Of a government unwilling to admit there might be a problem here. Filmmaker Sue Harris skillfully weaves the stories of these young veterans with scientific explanations of the nature of "DU" and its dangers, including interviews with former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, New York Daily News reporter Juan Gonzalez, noted physicist Michio Kaku, Dr. Rosalie Bertell, Dr. Helen Caldicott and Major Doug Rokke- the former U.S. Army DU Project head.
Every American who cares about our troops should watch this film. Everyone who cares about the innocent civilians who live in the countries where these weapons are used should watch this film. And everyone who cares about the hatred of Americans that may result from the effects of our government's actions in using these weapons, should watch this film. Is there a cover-up?
An interview with General Wesley Clark, ICH: SEVEN COUNTRIES IN FIVE YEARS
AMY GOODMAN: Do you see a replay in what happened in the lead-up to the war with Iraq -- the allegations of the weapons of mass destruction, the media leaping onto the bandwagon?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, in a way. But, you know, history doesn’t repeat itself exactly twice. What I did warn about when I testified in front of Congress in 2002, I said if you want to worry about a state, it shouldn’t be Iraq, it should be Iran. But this government, our administration, wanted to worry about Iraq, not Iran.
I knew why, because I had been through the Pentagon right after 9/11. About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” I said, “Well, you’re too busy.” He said, “No, no.” He says, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.” This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, “We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?” He said, “I don’t know.” He said, “I guess they don’t know what else to do.” So I said, “Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?” He said, “No, no.” He says, “There’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.” He said, “I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.” And he said, “I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.”
So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” -- meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office -- “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”
read in full…
Sometimes I wonder if Americans are unaware of the malicious devastation the Bush administration is wreaking upon this good earth and its inhabitants, or if they just don't give a damn. I wonder if they ever put a "face" on even one of the hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children who are lost forever -- victims of arrogance, lust for power, insatiable greed. And lies .. all lost because of evil, deliberate lies.
I wonder why so many denizens of this Christian nation seem unable or unwilling to wrap their minds around the reality that Iraqi people are human beings just as they, themselves, are -- not rabid dogs to be hunted down and slaughtered. Perhaps it's because, in order to remain sane or to avoid being targeted by the Bush administration, they traded their Christianity for Religion, their Love for Hate -- their Life for Death. For protection from the Butcher of Baghdad, far too many Americans far too easily traded their souls to the Werewolf of Washington.
They don't want to know what it's like for families to cower in terror as their doors are kicked in, mothers and daughters raped, fathers and sons dragged off, never to be seen again. They don't want to know about prisoners being humiliated and tortured, secretly "rendered" to countries for more torture, held captive for endless years without charges, without hope, without life. They don't want to know about Iraq's rich culture, its secular society, its formidable institutiions of learning. According to the late Columbia University professor Edward Said, all of this, along with Iraq's "long-suffering people were made invisible, the better to smash the country as if it were only a den of thieves and murderers." (Al-Ahram Weekly, 24 - 30 April 2003)
read in full…
Stephen P. Pizzo, Atlantic Free Press: SURGING FOR SHIITES
What They Say: Less than a month into the surge the level of violence in and around Baghdad has fallen sharply. US and Iraqi government troops have moved peacefully into Sadr City, the stronghold of the powerful Shia Mahdi Army.
All that is true. Violence has dropped and the Mahdi Army has become all but invisible.
The question is not what's happening, but why it's happening. Why has the violence dropped?
The administration believes it's because their latest "clear and hold," surge strategy has finally turned the trick for them. High fives all around.
Wrong. Quite the opposite in fact. Here's what's really happening.
When Bush first announced his surge plan Shiite leaders, (particularly that little two-legged tumor, Muqtada al-Sadr,) took stock of the situation and decided that, rather than being a threat to them, Bush's surge was a potential solution – to the "Sunni problem."
The last time Americans tried to pacify Baghdad, including Sadr City, both Shia and Sunni engaged US troops and took a beating. They weren't defeated, but they lost lots of fighters, expended valuable resources and their own neighborhoods were left shattered.
This time, Shiites decided why not just lay low, just sit out the surge. It;s a luxury Shiites knew their Sunni opponents could not afford. The Sunnis, Iraq's minority sect, is fighting for nothing less than its very survival. And the day the Sunnis stop fighting is the day they lose, in a region where "losing" doesn't mean "wait til next season." Because there will be no next season for the losers.
And so it has come to pass. The car and suicide-bombs going off in Baghdad today are almost entirely Sunni inspired attacks. Those attacks will spark precisely the kind of counter-attacks by US/Iraqi troops in Sunni strongholds Shiites are counting on.
read in full…
Yesterday Adnan al-Dulaimi announced that the bloc he leads (Iraqi Accord Front, Sunni, 44 parliamentary seats) is joining with the Iraqi List or Wifaq party (25 seats) led by Ayad Allawi. (This was the first actual announcement of any other group joining with Allawi, although there have been a lot of premature claims along those lines).
Today, the Fadhila party, which has 15 seats in the legislature, and is probably the strongest local power in Basra, said it is withdrawing from the Shiite coalition led by Abdulaziz al-Hakim (United Iraqi Alliance UIA, alias Unified Iraqi Coalition, UIC), and will sit in parliament as an independent party, in order to underline its opposition to any coalition-forming based on religion or sect. Fadhila did not announce that it was joining the Allawi group, merely that it was withdrawing from the UIA. (The UIA includes Hakim's SCIRI, the Dawa party to which Maliki belongs, and, officially at least, the Sadrists). A report elsewhere that Fadhila and others have already joined with the Allawi group is incorrect.
Also yesterday, it was announced that the Iraqi parliament attempted to meet for the inaugural session of the new parliamentary period, but failed to reach a quorum. A member of the UIA explained to the Aswat al-Iraq reporter that they are going to try again on Monday. The reporter asked the UIA person about the list of potential criminal cases including abainst parliamentarians, said to be in the possession of Maliki, and the UIA person said: The first step will have to be a request from the judicial authorities for lifting parliamentary privilege for whatever persons they think should be investigated, and only then will parliament have to act.
The journalist notes that the new schedule means the next big political event will be the Baghdad meeting with neighboring countries, the US, and security council members, scheduled for Saturday.
A young soldier from Stellarton has been killed in a friendly-fire shooting at the NATO base in Kandahar, Afghanistan, according to a family member.
Mohammed Theib Al-Hamidani, Al Medina: WHO GAVE AMERICA THE RIGHT?
It can no longer be hidden: The extreme surge in America's global military power is suppressing heads of state who stick their necks out to expose facts and lay bare the truth. As this goes against its wishes, America alleges various pretexts to pursue its policies.
But the question here is, who granted America the right to be international judge, prosecutor, and executioner in the name of its own self-preservation? And who granted America the right to label all of its enemies as terrorists and reactionaries?
And who granted America the right to make the sound of bombs louder than the voice of the law? And why does America spend millions of dollars on mountains of weapons here and there, while children are dying everyday? How does the world benefit from War in the Stars [Star Wars]?
Is there any mercy, pity, etc. left in the armies of communications and information experts, who have been used and are still being used to brainwash the public until there's nothing but misguidance, deceit, duplicity and lies? All that seems to matter is the implementation of plans to discipline anyone who takes a stand against America.
Where are the reforms and the positive effects that America was to leave behind it in the Middle East? Where is democracy that it calls for from morning to evening? Where is the security that America claims to be working so hard to spread among the world's people?
There is nothing to refer to except blood, destruction, shame and infamy. Despite all of America's resources, failure has followed every step toward reform that it has tried to implement. So what value is there in America's presence? What lofty Semitic example does it claim as pride for itself? What was the sin of the Vietnamese when America bombed them with napalm? What crime did the children of our neighbor Iraq commit when America placed economic sanctions on them, denying them food and medicine and causing them to contract lethal illnesses, etc.? And what sin have certain weak nations such as Somalia committed, beyond lacking the domestic strength to properly manage their domestic and foreign politics?
Indeed, the policies that the world leader (America) commits today don't rise above barbarism and inhumanity. And all of these are implemented right under the ears and eyes of international organizations.
Left I on the News: THE WAR AT HOME
Armies and helicopters going after defenseless people - it's not just a scene from Iraq or Afghanistan:
An army of 300 federal immigration agents raided a New Bedford leather manufacturer today and arrested the company's owner and three managers on charges that they hired illegal workers to meet labor demands fueled by millions of dollars in contracts with the US military.
During the early morning blitz, agents also took into custody up to 350 employees who had been working at Michael Bianco Inc., a waterfront factory that employs about 500 people, predominantly immigrants from Guatemala and El Salvador. Some employees fled when agents stormed the building, and helicopters hovered overhead to alert authorities of escape routes.
This is a scene that is now being repeated all over the country. To the delight of some capitalists, however, their low-paid immigrant labor is now being replaced in some cases by even lower-paid (60 cents an hour!) inmate labor.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The Iraqi people as a whole - Shi'ite and Sunni alike - they all despise the Americans and are bristling for revenge. No amount of troops can overcome this level of hatred and determination." -- Dr Munthir al-Kewther, born in Najaf, Iraq, currently dean of the faculty of media and journalism at al-Huraa University in the Netherlands.


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