The bottom line is clear: Our vital interests in Afghanistan are limited and military victory is not the key to achieving them. On the contrary, waging a lengthy counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan may well do more to aid Taliban recruiting than to dismantle the group, help spread conflict further into Pakistan, unify radical groups that might otherwise be quarreling amongst themselves, threaten the long-term health of the U.S. economy, and prevent the U.S. government from turning its full attention to other pressing problems. -- Afghanistan Study Group

Thursday, January 31, 2008

News & Views 01/31/08

Photo: Students attend a photo exhibition of their late colleagues who were killed in a bomb attack, during a ceremony at Munstansariya University in Baghdad January 31, 2008. REUTERS/Kareem Raheem (IRAQ)

REPORTS – LIFE IN IRAQ

Thursday: 1 US Soldier, 20 Iraqis Killed; 20 Iraqis Wounded

Horrors rampant in city 'full of sorrow'

Shaima, a 29-year-old artist, proudly displays her latest work in progress. White streaks stand out against a bright, burnt orange background -- an abstract painting that she says signifies the reality of life in Baghdad for the last five years. "I am trying to show scattered body parts flying around," she says. Dressed in a sleek gray shirt and spiked heels, Shaima looks like she belongs at an art gallery in Paris, not a run-down studio with no power in Baghdad. Her art used to be as lively as her persona, but since the U.S.-led war began, she only expresses tragedy. It's the reality inside her, the death and destruction she has witnessed firsthand.

IRAQ: Violence Draws Veil Over Women

As in all conflict areas, women, along with children and the elderly, have suffered most. A large number of women have been killed or kidnapped during close to five years of occupation. Before the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, women in Iraq had jobs and enjoyed civil rights they can hardly dream of any more. "My neighbour was killed because she was accused of working in the directorate-general of police of Diyala," resident Um Haider told IPS. "This woman worked as a receptionist in the governor's office, and not in the police. She was in charge of checking women who work in the governor's office." Killings like this have led countless women to quit jobs, or to change them. "I was head of the personnel division in an office," a local woman speaking on condition of anonymity told IPS. "On the insistence of my family and relatives, I gave up my position and chose to be an employee." Women's lives have changed, and they are beginning to look different. They are now too afraid to wear anything but conservative dresses -- modern clothes could be a death warrant. The veil is particularly dominant in areas under the control of militias.

Iraq to scrap subsidized food rations by June

The government has decided to end the rationing food program which has staved millions of Iraqis from starvation. The decision, the government said, was in line with the obligations it has made to the World Bank. [The World Bank should be shut down. Shame on them for making people go hungry – except, of course, they have no shame. – dancewater]

Iraqi policewomen once again armed

Police officials said today they had rescinded an order requiring all policewomen to turn in their weapons that had angered women's activists and U.S. officials trying to bring females into the security forces. A spokesman for the Interior Ministry, which oversees police, said the order was revoked after objections were raised both within the ministry and from outside. A memo dated Jan. 17 said the ministry had "reconsidered" and "decided to return all the pistols" to the policewomen.

Iraq's Turkmen appeal for protection

"Violence continues to harvest the lives of innocent Turkmen; their mosques, their cafes and the playgrounds of their children are all targets ... Abductions are continuing on the roads." The statement claimed that the plight of the Turkmen is being ignored by the local and central authorities. It demanded the "formation of a Turkmen military force within existing Iraqi military units to protect Turkmen territories." If the demand is not met, Turkmen might create their own militia to protect their communities, the statement implied, by quoting a verse of the Koran.

Iraq's civilian toll falls again in January

Violent civilian deaths in Iraq fell again in January, figures showed on Thursday, and were significantly lower than a year ago after nationwide security crackdowns. According to figures compiled by the interior, defence and health ministries, 466 civilians died violently during January, down 15 from the previous month. The January 2008 figure was more than 76 percent lower than the 1,971 civilians killed in January 2007 when Iraq was on the brink of sectarian civil war.

Iraqi city jolted by two quakes

Two earthquakes jolted the southeastern Iraqi city of Kut, causing no injuries or damage but panicking residents, the meteorological department and residents said on Thursday. The first tremor, measuring 4.0 on the Richter scale, struck around 2 pm (1100 GMT) on Wednesday and the second, measuring 4.3, followed at about 10 pm, the meteorological department said.

Rights eroded in Iraq in 2007 with civilians targeted: HRW

Human rights in Iraq deteriorated for much of 2007 while sectarian violence targeting civilians swelled the number of displaced to around 4.4 million, half of them abroad, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday. "Attacks on civilians by various insurgent and militia groups continued," HRW said in a bleak assessment of Iraq in its annual report. This included the single deadliest attack since the war began in 2003, which in August targeted the Yazidi minority "resulting in the deaths of almost 500 civilians." It said the "sectarian cleansing" of Baghdad by both Sunni and Shiite groups proceeded despite a US troop "surge" aimed at halting the killings. "US military operations continued against Shiite and Sunni insurgents throughout the country, leading to an unknown number of civilian casualties."

Fadel: Baghdad Sunni citadel against 'Iranian invaders'

Life is slowly returning to normal in the miserable grimy streets of Baghdad's Fadel district, heartland of Iraq's Sunni "resistance." But behind a facade of normality, the will of the mujahedeen (holy warriors) to stand against any "invasion of the Iranian agents" -- Shiite militia -- remains evident, auguring ill for the reconciliation sought by so many Iraqis. For four years, as insurgents and supporters of Al-Qaeda, the mujahedeen defended this enclave in the heart of historic Baghdad, encircled by Shiite districts. Fadel today remains under their control, although they have reached a deal with their American enemy of yesterday to turn their guns against Al-Qaeda, and setting up an "Awakening" militia force like those in other Sunni zones.

Iraqis Come Back to Bombed-Out Village, Seeking Care, Shelter

An old woman wailed crazily as a man whose feet were blown off months ago was wheeled past the concertina wire. Hundreds of people, virtual refugees in their hometown, lined up amid mud and rubble for a medical clinic held by American troops in this rural village northwest of Iskandariyah. The rubble that surrounded the crumbling schoolhouse at the center of Monday’s clinic included the remains of an Iraqi health clinic. Like much of the town, it was destroyed late last year in fighting between al-Qaida in Iraq and troops from the Army’s 3d Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment. “The people here got run out when al-Qaida took over their houses,” said Sgt. Jeremy Ireland, a 24-year-old civil affairs specialist from Erie, Pa. “Then the U.S. came in and blew up their houses.” [In this article, the US forces claim that the Iraqis are within traveling distance of seven hospitals but “Nobody wants to walk half a day to get to a clinic.” I guess they think “traveling distance” is a half day’s walk, which the vast majority of sick people could not do! Sometimes, I think our military is full of idiots, but maybe it is the US press. – dancewater]

Bomb takes death toll of journalists in Iraq to 126

Iraq confirmed its reputation as the most dangerous country in the world for journalists this week when a roadside bomb killed an Iraqi television cameraman, Alaa Abdul-Karim al-Fartoosi, the first journalist to be killed in Iraq this year and the 126th since the start of the war.

REPORTS – US/UK/OTHERS IN IRAQ

Judge allows Iraq 'abuse' reports

A legal order which had stopped the media from reporting allegations of torture by British troops in Iraq has been lifted by the High Court. The abuse is said to have taken place after British soldiers were ambushed between Basra and Amara in May 2004. After the exchange of fire that followed, 31 Iraqis were reportedly taken into British custody at Abu Naji. Their families allege that 22 of them died and nine were tortured. The MoD denied any wrongdoing by UK troops. Iraqi death certificates are said to state that the dead Iraqis showed signs of torture and mutilation. The testimonies of five witnesses "combine to give a harrowing account of what took place", according to their lawyers.

COMMENTARY

Another slap in the face for Iraq

There have been many terrible decisions by the British government when it comes to Iraq. Covering up the sale of a super gun to Saddam Hussein? Pretty bad. Going to war without having a clue about what to do when Saddam was toppled? Simply tragic. But they haven't learnt their lesson when it comes to poor policy in the region. Today it's the little stories that emerge from Iraq that give us a snapshot of their ineptitude, from refusing work permits to translators who risked life and limb to work for the coalition, to the refugees living in squalor in Amman because the UK and US refuse to take their share of the problem. This week the government made yet another poor decision when they denied Nashat Akram, Iraq's brilliant midfielder, a work permit to play for Manchester City.

LTE: Iraq failure equals success for neocons

It was fascinating reading Jonathan Steele's articles about the lack of planning for the occupation of Iraq (G2, January 21, 22 & 23). However, he assumes that this equates with failure and that the current mayhem is a catastrophe. For all decent people, of course, it is; but as Naomi Klein indicates in her book, The Shock Doctrine, the lack of planning was actually planned. For the neocons who run the US the disaster has been a success. The Americans have an excuse to have permanent bases as long as the insurgency lasts; a largely state-run economy has been opened to foreign capital; America has control of large oil reserves; the Middle East has a wedge of US military to control and threaten any uppity Islamic state that dares threaten its interests or those of Israel; Halliburton and other American firms have made a packet. What's to regret?

Quote of the day: Women have nowhere to go to spend leisure time," Um Ali, a married woman, told IPS. "Our time is spent only at home now. I have not travelled outside Baquba for more than four years. The only place I can go to is my parents' home. Housekeeping and children have been all my life; I have no goals to attain, no education to complete. Sometimes, I can't leave home for weeks."

War News for Thursday, January 31, 2008

Baghdad:
#1: A roadside bomb went off near a police patrol near the Zaiyouna bridge in eastern Baghdad's Baladiyat neighborhood, damaging a police vehicle and wounding three policemen on board in addition to three passing civilians, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Three policemen and three civilians were killed by a roadside bomb targeting a police patrol in the Zayouna district of eastern Baghdad, police said.

#2: He said that another roadside bomb detonated near the Musa Bin Nassir fuel station in Karradah neighborhood in central the capital, wounding two civilians.

#3: The source quoted Iraqi police patrols as saying that a U.S. armored vehicle was set on fire before dawn when a roadside bomb struck the military patrol on the al-Qanat street that passes through al-Amin neighborhood in eastern Baghdad. The burning vehicle ignited several secondary explosions more than two hours after the roadside bomb attack, the source said.

#4: Two roadside bombs detonated near the convoy of an Iraqi deputy minister of electricity in eastern Baghdad on Thursday, wounding two bodyguards and a civilian, an Interior Ministry source said. "Two roadside bombs detonated simultaneously near the convoy of Salam al-Qazaz, deputy minister of electricity, in the al-Aqari neighborhood near the Palestine Street, wounding two of his bodyguards and a civilian," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

#5: In a separate incident, a roadside bomb went off in the al-Ghadeer neighborhood in eastern the capital wounding four people, the source added.

#6: One person was killed and four wounded when a car bomb exploded in Kadhimiya, a Shi'ite district in northwestern Baghdad, police said.


Diyala Prv:

Baquba:
#1: Clashes between gunmen and police in al-Tahrir neighbourhood, central Baquba left 2 civilians wounded

#2: 2 women, ages 50 and 55, cousins to the governor of Diyala, Raad al-Mulla were abducted by gunmen who had put up a false checkpoint between al-Abbara area and Baquba city last night. Their fate remains unknown.

Khamqeen:
#1: Two policemen were wounded on Thursday morning in an armed attack by scores of al-Qaeda gunmen on a governmental building in Khanqeen in Diala, a police source said. "Dozens of al-Qaeda gunmen waged an armed attack at dawn on the headquarters of al-Saadiya district in Khaneqeen, northeast of Baaquba, injuring two policemen and causing some material damage to the building," the source, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq

#2: Suspected al-Qaeda armed men set up a fake checkpoint on the road linking Balad Ruz to Mendli district in Khaneqeen city, where they stopped a civilian car and took its six passengers to unknown place," the source, who preferred anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq


Basra:
#1: Rockets slammed into the British base near the southern Iraqi city of Basra on Thursday, slightly wounding three British soldiers, a spokesman said.

A spokesman for the Multi-National Forces in southern Iraq said on Thursday a British helicopter was destroyed when the British base at Basra international airport came under attack and two soldiers were wounded.

"News indicated that a British chopper had been destroyed at the Basra international airport were groundless," the spokesman told Aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq- (VOI) over the phone.Spokesman for the Multi-National Forces in southern Iraq Captain Finn Aldrich had said earlier a British helicopter was destroyed when the British base at Basra international airport came under attack and two soldiers were wounded.


Sulaiman Pek:
#1: A severed head was found in the town of Sulaiman Pek, 160 km (100 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.


Baiji:
#1: A father and his son were shot to death by gunmen near al-Zaitoon restaurant in the north of Baiji. The man was a labourer from the village of Albu Jwari, 5 kn to the north of Baiji.



Afghanistan:
#1: A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a mosque in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing Helmand province's deputy governor and five other people, officials said. The bomber struck while people were praying inside the mosque in the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, provincial police chief Mohammad Hussein Andiwal said. Helmand's deputy governor, Pir Mohammad, was killed in the blast, said Nisar Ahmad, a provincial health official. The blast killed five other people and wounded 18 others, seven seriously, Andiwal said.

#2: A car bomb exploded next to an Afghan army bus in Kabul on Thursday, wounding four civilians and a soldier, a police officer said. The blast shattered the bus windows and badly damaged a passing taxi in Kabul's Taimani neighborhood, said police officer Jan Agha.


Casualty Reports:

Pfc. Chris Parish recalled the day last June when the Humvee in which he was a gunner was struck by an explosively formed projectile as his convoy was traveling from one combat outpost to another in Iraq. "I would have bled out," he said, as the picture behind him showed the Humvee in flames, "if it hadn't been for my Battle Buddy. He obviously paid attention in the Combat Lifesaver Course."Pfc. Jesse Garza, who was riding in another vehicle that June day, rushed to the burning Humvee, tore off the canopy and pulled Parish to safety. "I was covered in blood and so was he. He laid me down in the back of a Bradley, applied pressure dressing and a tourniquet. In cutting off my pants legs, he cut into my right leg by mistake. I still have that scar. But I owe him my life." Shrapnel had shredded the 25-year-old soldier's left quadricep and hamstring and damaged his sciatic nerve. Parish has had 10 surgeries on his left leg with at least one more on the horizon.

U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua Cope lost his legs and full use of his right hand in a 2006 roadside blast in Iraq, is rehabilitating at Naval Medical Center San Diego.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Cost of War

Made by the American Friends Service Committee

News & Views 01/30/08

Photo: Former Iraqi insurgents, members of the Sunni Anbar Awakening, guard a meeting between Sunni and Shiite tribe leaders and clerics in al-Duwanem, southwest of Baghdad, in 2007. Some 9,000 members of anti-Qaeda "Awakening" fronts in Iraq have been screened and lined up for training as regular police or soldiers, the US military said on Sunday. (AFP/File/Ahmad al-Rubaye)

REPORTS – LIFE IN IRAQ

Tuesday: 1 US Soldier, 61 Iraqis Killed; 56 Iraqis Wounded

Wednesday: 28 Iraqis Killed, 35 Wounded

Iraq Conflict Has Killed A Million: Survey

More than one million Iraqis have died as a result of the conflict in their country since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, according to research conducted by one of Britain's leading polling groups. The survey, conducted by Opinion Research Business (ORB) with 2,414 adults in face-to-face interviews, found that 20 percent of people had had at least one death in their household as a result of the conflict, rather than natural causes. The last complete census in Iraq conducted in 1997 found 4.05 million households in the country, a figure ORB used to calculate that approximately 1.03 million people had died as a result of the war, the researchers found. The margin of error in the survey, conducted in August and September 2007, was 1.7 percent, giving a range of deaths of 946,258 to 1.12 million.

More about us....

The day before yesterday at 4:30 pm a building exploded in a nearby neighborhood ,our house was quaked without any damages , the windows’ handles were opened so they only clapped strongly. while we were checking the house immediately after the explosion we saw a huge orange cloud over the area of the blast .I had never been scared the way I felt ,I quickly picked up the phone to call a doctor friend to see what should we do if this explosion happened due to some chemical blast , and to inform me if there were any measures we should follow to avoid suffocation or any other symptoms ,but there were no phone services (out of coverage). I gave my children wet towels to put it on their noses, and we began to close the windows tightly. Then we saw in the Mosul local TV channel ,that the explosion had no chemical damages but the tragedy took so many innocent souls . 50 houses and 200 store shops were destroyed .147 injured, and 39 died with so many bodies are still under the debris.

Next day my husband, my uncle and I went to work ,but my daughters didn’t go to their schools. as I work near the main hospital , the forensic office and the emergency hospital you can imagine how my day was. As soon as I entered my room,I saw my mate wearing black. with teary eyes she said they murdered my dear uncle in front of his 19 years old daughter and his two little boys. He was a prophesier had his degree from UK. She started to talk about the funeral and how the explosion damaged her parents’ house and her sister’s . her sisters’ 4 children and husband were injured while she was in the funeral.
After the tragedy the roads and the bridges were blocked and the mother couldn’t make it and reach her injured family,, she even could not call them and know how serious their injuries were until the next day. While we were talking, her injured brother in law came to seek for her help, because his 13 years old daughter did not get help yet in the crowded emergency room .the girl had deep long injury on her lovely face and wasn’t sutured yet. my friend went with them to look for a doctor that can aid.

Just then my boss came and asked every one to go home because he had received a notice about a hasty stroll ban. My driver could not take me home because of the locked roads ,I had to go home walking among the soldiers and their shootings in the air ( the Iraqi way to inform people about blocked roads). When my friend left the emergency room , she couldn’t reach her home as it was across the bridge ,and had to sleep in her parents house .her mother wasn’t their because she was in her dead brother’s house to receive the comforters. her husband also couldn’t reach home or his sad wife at her parents house.
My husband had to pass the river with a launch to the other strand , then walked to the house, he walked over 15 kilometer. my uncle (father in law) walked over 7 kilometers ,he is 70 years old.

A Disaster

i ve tried my best to avoid passing along the streets of the explosion site but as soon as i reached to the main street one of the iraqi soldiers prevented me to go along straight ahead and instead i had to take the way along affected area. it was a DISASTER. even the word disaster doesnt describe the crime happened there. as if a nuclear bomb were thrown there.the trees were 100metre away. the bricks of the buildings were everywhere.the power cables were in pieces allover the place. i couldnt distinguish the houses from each other and from the shops. a cyclon is less less destructive. i stood astonished there. i havent seen like this only when the b52 aircraft bombed one of the buildings during war in baghdad. without any exaggeration 20 houses were severly ruined up and nearly 35 affected. who was that monster who did it? he is the evil himself.the people who live in this area are poor and lovely and they can't harm a creature. one is working and doing his best to build a house and to grow his children up in a life with dignity and in a second all this just vanished so easily.after all i have seen I went back home and pain was tearing my heart.

False Sense of Security in Iraq

With Iraq’s oil production at prewar levels, production capacity for electricity is barely at 50% of the country’s current demand. The urban environments benefit most while the rural towns remain dark. Baghdad had 9 hours of electricity daily at the end of 2007 while rural residents in Hawijah, for example, hardly got half that at 4 hours a day. When all 700,000 displaced Baghdadis return to their capital city, convinced by U.S. forces that the troop surge is working and that security has improved, electricity capacity will be quickly compromised. Clean water and sanitation capacity is certainly no better. A 2007 report by international aid organization Oxfam concluded that nearly 70% of Iraq remained without access to clean water with a higher majority, 80%, still lacking effective sanitation. Petraeus is right in one sense; a flood of refugees might result in higher levels of violence, but not because of sectarian reasons. The national utilities sector is saddled in servicing even its non-displaced. More numbers, then, mean more insecurity-explaining, perhaps, why Petraeus is protesting plans for resettlement.

Health services remain the least secure, bordering on catastrophic. Ninety percent of the hospitals in Iraq lack basic medical and surgical supplies. Even if the hospitals were fully equipped, few professionals remain in-country, able to use the equipment. Fifty percent of the country’s trained medical staff fled in recent years, leaving a nation with nearly half its population struggling in absolute poverty. One wonders, then, how the United States can call this country secure. If attacks were the sole barometer of security and the key indicator of state stability and military success, then yes, America’s New Year’s message might make sense. But with 4 million of Iraq’s citizens still displaced and electricity, water, sanitation, and health services struggling, calling this country secure is not only indefensible but unethical.

CHRONOLOGY: Journalists killed in Iraq

Iraq is the most dangerous place in the world to report. At least 122 journalists and 41 media support staff have been killed in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003, the New-York based Committee to Protect Journalists says. About 85 percent of those were Iraqis.

Generator Man: current affairs in Baghdad

Beneath the row of concrete houses in central Baghdad, a spider's web of electric wires emerges from a pillbox made of metal sheeting and wood, stretching out and up to the balconies of nearby buildings. In the centre of this multi-coloured wire web, Othman Aku and his backfiring generator supply electricity to some 100 families in the Al-Salhiya district of the Iraqi capital. Five years after the US invasion toppled the former regime many areas of the city still receive only sporadic electricity supplies, and increasing numbers of residents rely on generators to ensure a steady flow of precious power. Profiting from the shortage, canny entrepreneurs have installed private generators in the heart of many districts.

FEATURE-Iraq has million-woman social time-bomb

Each sister has four children they are trying to raise in the same tiny house in Baghdad's sprawling Shi'ite slum district of Sadr City, with precious little support from their families and even less from the government. …..Of Iraq's widows, only 84,000 receive government support from the Ministry of Labour and Social Support -- between 50,000 and 120,000 Iraqi dinars -- $40-$95 -- a month. "This is an analgesic ... not a solution," Moussawi said. Her committee has presented a draft law to parliament that would provide women without breadwinners with housing, to prevent them from resorting to desperate measures such as prostitution or from being exploited by militants. Pleas to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shi'ite-led government have fallen on deaf ears: the draft bill has yet to be voted on, despite being read in parliament twice.

Baghdad's Housing Boom

Last year, home prices plummeted and rents dropped as Iraqis left town in search of more stability. But now, some say it's almost impossible to find a suitable place to live, with sales prices doubling in certain neighborhoods and the most affordable homes being snatched up as soon as they're on the market. "Day by day the prices are increasing, and I keep on decreasing my options," said Hussam Jassem, 35, a government worker who earns about $400 a month, a typical middle-class salary. A 750-square-foot home in a lower-middle-class neighborhood costs about $150,000. In the upper-middle-class neighborhood of Karada, a 2,300-square-foot plot of land alone costs $350,000.

REPORTS – IRAQI MILITIAS, POLITICIANS, POWER BROKERS

REPORTS – US/UK/OTHERS IN IRAQ

US troops reductions may slow or stop

[Or bush may surge again – who knows? – dancewater]

U.S. troops allegedly killed detainees

U.S. Army officials are investigating allegations that American soldiers killed several detainees after they were captured on a battlefield in southwest Baghdad last year, officials said Tuesday.

Bush asserts authority to bypass defense act

President Bush this week declared that he has the power to bypass four laws, including a prohibition against using federal funds to establish permanent US military bases in Iraq, that Congress passed as part of a new defense bill. Bush made the assertion in a signing statement that he issued late Monday after signing the National Defense Authorization Act for 2008. In the signing statement, Bush asserted that four sections of the bill unconstitutionally infringe on his powers, and so the executive branch is not bound to obey them.

Weapons Meant for Iraqi Forces Being Diverted

Weapons the U.S. provides to Iraqi security forces may still be ending up in the hands of terrorists, insurgents and criminals, the Defense Department inspector general told Congress on Tuesday.

VIDEO: The state of the Iraq surge

While the troop buildup in Iraq has been successful in quashing violence in Iraq, it may also be hampering reconciliation, some analysts say. While the US working with Sunni tribes has helped to reduce violence, some analysts say it may also be one of the reasons blocking political reconciliation.

Iraq oil cash not spent for reconstruction

Increased Iraqi oil revenues stemming from high prices and improved security are piling up in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York rather than being spent on needed reconstruction projects, a Washington Times study of Iraq's spending and revenue figures has shown. U.S. officials and outside analysts blame the collapse of the country's political and physical infrastructure for Baghdad's failure to spend the money on projects considered vital to restoring stability in the country. Out of $10 billion budgeted for capital projects in 2007, only 4.4 percent had been spent by August, according to official Iraqi figures reported this month by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report cited unofficial figures saying about 24 percent had been spent.

US Contractors in Iraq Get New Rules

Under pressure to exercise greater control over private security contractors in Iraq, Bush administration officials outlined stricter rules for these armed guards during a three-hour meeting Wednesday at the Pentagon with 20 companies. The top executives from the largest security firms working in Iraq attended the meeting, which was hosted by Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England and Deputy Secretary State John Negroponte. The session comes nearly four months after a shooting incident involving Blackwater Worldwide that left 17 Iraqi citizens dead. The incident, which created a worldwide furor and put the White House on the defensive, led to a December agreement between the Defense and State Departments that gave U.S. military commanders a stronger hand in managing security workers. Senior representatives from Blackwater, DynCorp, Triple Canopy and Aegis Defence attended. Chris Isleib, a Pentagon spokesman, said the closed-door meeting was an opportunity for both sides to exchange opinions and ideas. [I believe Blackwater and DynCorp are mercenaries, not security contractors. – dancewater]

"Jackasses with Guns": Mercenaries Terrorize Iraq

HISTORY

Abu Ghraib documentary to premiere at Berlinale

A picture about the prisoner abuse scandal at Iraq's Abu Ghraib jail will become the first documentary ever to enter the competition at the Berlin Film Festival next month, organisers said Tuesday. "Standard Operating Procedure" by Oscar-winning director Errol Morris uses recovered footage, reenactments and the notorious photographs published round the world to shed light on the sexual and physical abuse of Iraqi inmates by US troops at the notorious prison outside Baghdad.

COMMENTARY

Iraq in the state of the Union Speech

Understanding the nuances of the Iraqi-Iraqi conflict will show how it is a political struggle that will end as soon as the U.S. withdraws, not a religious war that will intensify after Iraqis take their country back. The U.S. is not playing the role of a peace-keeping force, or a convener of reconciliation. It is seen by a majority of Iraqis as one side of the conflict, and will never be a part of the solution. On this side of the ocean, the U.S. government has managed to convince large portions of the “right” that the war and occupation of Iraq is “good for our safety” because it’s better to “fight the terrorists overseas so we do not have to face them here at home”. Simultaneously, the same government managed to manipulate many people in the “left” into believing that a prolonged U.S. occupation is “good for the Iraqis”, and that a U.S. withdrawal would cause an unprecedented bloodshed. “The invasion was not a good idea” some would say, “but now that we are there, let’s fix it before we leave”. From an Iraqi perspective, both groups promote interventionist foreign policies that have no respect for sovereignty, independence, or international law. [And from my perspective, I believe it is evil to wish continuing misery and hardship on others who never harmed you in the first place. – dancewater]

Normalizing Air War from Guernica to Arab Jabour

Note that both pieces started with bombing news -- in one case a suicide bombing that killed several Iraqis; in another a roadside bombing that killed an American soldier and wounded others. But the major bombing story of these last days -- those 100,000 pounds of explosives that U.S. planes dropped in a small area south of Baghdad -- simply dangled unexplained off the far end of the Los Angeles Times piece; while, in the New York Times, it was buried inside a single sentence. Neither paper has (as far as I know) returned to the subject, though this is undoubtedly the most extensive use of air power in Iraq since the Bush administration's invasion of 2003 and probably represents a genuine shifting of American military strategy in that country. Despite, a few humdrum wire service pieces, no place else in the mainstream has bothered to cover the story adequately either. For those who know something about the history of air power, which, since World War II, has been lodged at the heart of the American Way of War, that 100,000 figure might have rung a small bell.

The antithesis of ethics

Right away Bush leaps to Iraq, which had nothing to do with the attacks on September 11, 2001, and which was invaded because that was what Bush, president of the United States, and his closest collaborators decided to do, with nobody in the world harboring any doubt that the aim was to occupy the oilfields; this action has cost that people hundreds of thousands of dead and millions of people uprooted from their homes, or forced into emigration.

COLUMN-Iraq, refugees and moral obligations:Bernd Debusmann

Critics of the Bush administration have harsh words for its handling of the refugee crisis triggered by the war in Iraq. A sampler: lack of leadership, ineptitude, lethargy, abdication of responsibility, moral bankruptcy, neglect. Those involved in bringing Iraqis to the United States say they are doing the best they can. That translates into trying to meet a newly-set target of 1,000 a month for the current budget year, a huge increase over last year when resettlements averaged 134 a month.

Al Qaeda loves Bush: Thanks for the free advertising

It shouldn’t come as a surprise at this point that the president uses al Qaeda as code. Last night, in his State of the Union address, he mentioned al Qaeda 10 times, terrorism 23, extremism eight, Osama bin Laden once. Sure we are fighting a war against terrorism, and al Qaeda is always a ready reminder of Sept. 11. But the president uses this code as much to describe our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, in that, he purveys a brand of confusion and surrender. First, confusion: Al Qaeda in Iraq, whatever it is, is just one of many organized groups fighting the United States and its military coalition, fighting the Iraqi government, and seeking to create enough chaos and insecurity to defeat both. Since the very beginning of the Iraq war, when Donald Rumsfeld dismissed those attacking U.S. troops as “dead enders” and Baathists, the American description of the enemy in Iraq has contained an element of self-deception: if the enemy were just Saddam recalcitrants, then we could convince ourselves that everyone else welcomed us and was on our side.

Quote of the day: Petraeus wants us to celebrate the return [to Baghdad] of 50,000 Iraqis who were starving in Syria, when 5 million remain in exile and internally displaced. What he conveniently forgets to mention is that those who returned found their houses either destroyed or occupied by others. ~ Maki al-Nazzal ~ from A bitter taste to Iraqi reality

War News for Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The DoD is reporting the death of a soldier at the National Naval Medical Center on Sunday, January 27th. Sgt. Mikeal W. Miller was wounded in an IED attack in Baghdad on July 9, 2007.


Security incidents:

Baghdad:
#1: "A roadside bomb struck a police commando patrol while passing near the al-Mustansriya University in eastern Baghdad, killing a policeman and wounding four others," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

A policeman was killed and five wounded by a roadside bomb targeting their patrol near al-Mustanssiriya Square in eastern Baghdad, police said.

#2: Also in the morning, two roadside bombs detonated in a quick succession near another police commando patrol near a bridge in Baghdad's eastern neighborhood of Ghadeer, damaging a police vehicles and wounding five policemen aboard, the source said.

Five police commandos and two civilians were wounded by a roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad's al-Ghadir district, police said.

#3: Another roadside bomb went off near a police patrol close to a church in the al-Nidhal street in Baghdad's central neighborhood of Karrada, wounding two civilians, he said.

Two people were wounded by a roadside bomb in al- Nidhal Street in central Baghdad, police said.

#4: In addition, a mortar round landed on Baghdad's western neighborhood of Mansour, leaving three people injured, he added.

Three people were wounded by a mortar attack in western Baghdad's Mansour district, police said.

#5: Five people were killed and two wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle on the southern outskirts of Baghdad on Tuesday, police said.

#6: (Tuesday) 3 Katyusha missiles hit the green zone starting at 02:50 this afternoon at almost 30 minute intervals. No casualties were reported.

#7: (Tuesday) 3 bodies were found in Baghdad today by Iraqi Police. 1 in Ma’amil, 1 in Shaab and 1 in Doura.

#8: (wednesday) Police found three anonymous bodies in Baghdad. Two bodies were found in Rusafa, the eastern side of Baghdad in the following neighborhoods (1 body in al Qanat Street and 1 body in Sleikh). The third body was found in Saidiyah neighborhood in Karkh, the western side of Baghdad.


Diyala Prv:
#1: U.S. soldiers killed four suspected militants north of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, and detained two others on Wednesday during raids against al Qaeda, the U.S. military said. A weapons cache and materials used to make explosives were also found, it said

#2: Gunmen attacked abdul Hameed village, 10 Kms north of Baquba kidnapping three civilians.

Khalis:
#1: Suspected militants killed one civilian and wounded three others from the same family in Diyala province, north-east of Baghdad, media reports said Wednesday. The Iraqi News Agency Voices of Iraq (VOI) said militants attacked the civilians on the main road leading to al-Khales district.

Baquba:
#1: In Baquba, the capital of Diyala, two members of the Awakening Council were killed, while another three were injured, security sources told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. Sources said the militants shot the vehicle of the dead near Aswad village in northern Baquba.


Tuz Khurmato:
#1: The beheaded bodies of two brothers were found in the town of Tuz Khurmato, 180 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. They had been kidnapped by gunmen a week ago.


Balad:
#1: A roadside bomb detonated near the vehicle of an Iraqi television crew in Salahudin province in north of Baghdad, their television reported on Wednesday. Alaa Abdul Kareem al-Fartousi, a cameraman for the al-Furat television, was killed by the blast near the town of Balad on Tuesday, while his deputy cameraman and a female journalist were seriously wounded, the television said.

An Iraqi television cameraman and his driver were killed in a roadside bombing north of Baghdad, Al-Forat TV reported on Wednesday. The female correspondent and camera assistant traveling with them were wounded.


Dalouiya:
#1: Police patrols found an unknown body of a young man in Dalouiya district, north of Baghdad," the source, who asked to remain anonymous, told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq


Tikrit:
#1: (Tuesday) Fatma al-Haseni was seriously injured and her two colleagues were killed by gunmen in the Mahatta neighbourhood on the way between Baghdad and Tikrit this afternoon. Al-Haseni and her deceased colleagues worked for the Furat satellite station.


Tuz:
#1: (Tuesday) District Commissioner of Salman Bek district and member of the provincial council for the Kurdistan Coalition party, Talib Mohammed Mustafa survived an assassination attempt. He and his driver got away from the attack that was carried out with machine guns and other light weapons on the main road to the south of Tuz.


Mosul:
#1: Iraqi army forces killed a gunman while planting a bomb in Mosul al-Jadida region in western Mosul," Brig. Abdul Karim al-Juburi told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq

#2: Security forces found two unidentified bodies last night in al-Islaah al-Zeraai region in western Mosul," he added.

#3: Gunmen killed Khalil Ibrahim, a university professor from the Islamic Sciences College, in a drive-by shooting in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. Another person in the car was seriously wounded.


Al Anbar Prv:
Fallujah:
#1: (Tuesday) An armed group attacked a police commander’s motorcade which was also carrying some high ranking officials of the Tharthar area near Saqlawiyah town 20 km to the north of Fallujah, but were unsuccessful in their attempt. A police force was sent on their trail, with allegedly Sahwa members. They rounded up 20 people suspected of being amongst the attackers and executed them in the same neighbourhood.

#2: (Tuesday) Two truck drivers were abducted and taken along with their trucks on the route between Fallujah and Tharthar. Their hands were bound and they were killed by releasing their freight of pebbles upon them

#3: (Tuesday) The police at Saqlawiyah police station opened fire upon two suspicious men headed for the police station. The two men then exploded and it was found that they had been wearing explosive belts. 5 policemen were superficially injured.

#4: A member of Abo Zakarya Sahwa office (Abo Zakarya awakening office ) was killed and three others were wounded in a suicide car bomb that targeted the office in Thiraa’ Dijla area northwest of Baghdad on Tuesday afternoon.



Afghanistan:
#1: A suicide bomber in a vehicle tried to attack a NATO convoy in Kandahar province's Zhari district Wednesday, but instead hit a private car and wounded four civilians inside, said Kandahar's police chief, Sayed Agha Saqib. There were no casualties among NATO troops, he said.

#2: Separately, a newly planted mine exploded under another civilian vehicle in the same district on Tuesday, killing two civilians and wounding four others, Saqib said.

#3: Also Tuesday, a vehicle carrying an Afghan road-working crew hit a mine in Kandahar's Panjwayi district, killing one laborer and wounding another, Saqib said.

#4: Taliban militants beheaded four local employees of a private construction company in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, said the Interior Ministry in a press release. The militants abducted these people last week from Kamdish district of eastern Nuristan province and brutally beheaded them after the Taliban demand for ransom was not met by the families of the ill-fated men," said the press release.


Casualty Reports:

Spc. Javier Prieto, 2nd Battalion, 5th Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, recalling the patrol that took place near Forward Operating Base Warrior on Sept. 3, 2007. But the friendly mission ended abruptly when a sniper began firing at the soldiers. Prieto, a tall soldier with an ever-present smile, was hit in the right arm by a sniper's bullet. The shot went through Prieto's arm and into his chest.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dear God Why is this happening to Iraq?

A short clip of the HBO documentary shown tonight.

Baghdad Hospital: Inside the Red Zone

Short clip of the HBO documentary shown tonight.

News & Views 01/29/08

Photo: Iraqi men check bodies laid out on the ground outside a morgue in the restive city of Baquba. Iraqi police have said they have found the remains of 19 executed men in the volatile northeastern province of Diyala, including 10 severed heads. (AFP)

REPORTS – LIFE IN IRAQ

BAGHDAD - More than 500 people demonstrated in Abu Ghraib district on Baghdad's western outskirts against detentions by the Iraqi army in the area, police said.

Mosul's Zinjily final toll: 36 dead, 240 wounded

Severed heads and bodies found in Iraq field: police

Audio: Iraqi Militias Target Women

Iraqis have fanned out across the Middle East and beyond to escape violence at home. Many women say they were the targets of Islamist militias intent on imposing a fundamentalist brand of Islam.

Audio: Doctor Takes Camera 'Inside the Red Zone' of War

As a physician in Baghdad, Dr. Omer Salih Madhi decided to do what few people could: He brought a video camera into an emergency room. Madhi's graphic documentary, Baghdad Hospital: Inside the Red Zone, premieres Tuesday night on HBO. The doctor talks about making the film and the current conditions in Iraq.

Video: Basra Celebrates Ramadan With Security - 01.28.2008

Since 2003 the Basra was will known better in life then Baghdad the life at the night is lot better then Baghdad, in Baghdad the life ends at six or seven at night. In Basra the residents would only go home around 11:00PM and for the people in Baghdad it was a dream to stay out in the street till 11:00. It should be mentioned that in the last three weeks violence has returned to Basra, and more than 300 Iraqis were killed during these last three weeks because of the battles between Iraqi security forces and the militias.

War News Radio In the Line of Fire

This week on War News Radio, we hear about an ongoing initiative to re-integrate former soldiers into Iraq’s new military. Then we hear from soldiers on active duty who are also actively against the war. Also, we learn how U.S. service members in Iraq are using Facebook to keep in touch. In Iraq 101, we tell the history of the Iraqi army. And finally, in our Day in the Life series, we hear from an Iraqi policeman trying to enforce the law in a lawless city.

Iraqis mock US soldiers and themselves on You Tube

US soldiers are lampooned, policemen are shown as buffoons and Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is irreverently cheered by penguins... Iraqis are turning more and more to You Tube to express their dark-edged humour. The main butt of send-ups posted by Iraqis on the popular Internet video site is, as one might expect, the US military.

REPORTS – IRAQI MILITIAS, POLITICIANS, POWER BROKERS

New alliances not new intentions in Iraq

Iraqis are uncertain regarding the new political alliances in their country. After around five years of achieving almost no tangible accomplishments, perceptions of Iraqis interpret these coalitions as not more than speeches and slogans. The new political alliances in Iraq are considered moot issues for Iraqis, despite that these coalitions presumably have political dimensions, rather than ethnic or sectarian motivations, as they were in the near past. Observers of the situation in Iraq argue whether the new coalitions represent serious intentions of the leaders of Iraq to map a new political approach in that country, that responds to the demands of the people there.

Head of Awakening Council killed north of Baghdad

A tribal chief said on Tuesday that Head of Sabaa al-Bour Awakening Council Abbas al-Dulaimi was killed on Monday when his car exploded north of Baghdad. "Awakening Council fighters captured some of al-Dulaimi's bodyguards and admitted to planting explosive charges in his private car prior to the explosion," the chief told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq - (VOI) under condition of anonymity. "He was alone when the car went off," he added.

Inquiry demanded after bank arson

Iraqi members of parliament have asked the government to set up a commission to investigate the fires that devastated large sections of the Central Bank building in Baghdad.pppp The MPs say the blazing fires were premeditated and were an attempt by certain senior officials to obliterate documents.

Presidential Council ratifies new Iraqi flag

Iraq cuts off oil supplies to SKorea

Iraq on January 1 suspended an annual contract with South Korea's top refiner SK Energy to export 90,000 barrels per day, the energy ministry said. SK Energy said it has been told to back out of the Kurdistan deal if it wants to resume the contract. "We are trying hard to resume the contract through negotiations," a spokesman told AFP.

REPORTS – US/UK/OTHERS IN IRAQ

POLITICS-US: Bush Signs Vets Bill, Won't Ban Permanent Bases

U.S. general plans more Baghdad garrisons

The new commander of American forces in Baghdad plans to increase the number of local garrisons across the Iraqi capital even as U.S. troop levels drop in the coming months. Moving soldiers out of relatively safe bases and into Baghdad's dangerous streets was a key element in the counter- insurgency strategy implemented by the commander of U.S. forces, General David Petraeus, when he arrived a year ago. The tactic has been vital to the U.S. military's goal of not just clearing neighbourhoods of militants but then holding them. Major-General Jeffery Hammond told foreign journalists on Tuesday that he had a total of 75 joint security stations and combat outposts in Baghdad and planned to add another dozen of each from now until June. U.S. forces live and operate with Iraqi forces in such garrisons.

U.S. Army investigates detainee deaths in Iraq

The U.S. Army is investigating allegations of misconduct against soldiers over the deaths of several detainees in Baghdad last year, officials said on Tuesday. The allegations involve the deaths of several detainees captured during combat operations in the Iraqi capital by the 2nd brigade combat team of the Army's 1st Infantry Division, Army spokesman Paul Boyce said. The alleged incidents took place in spring or summer of 2007 in the southern Rashid district of the Iraqi capital, Boyce said. The brigade has since redeployed from Iraq back to its base in Schweinefurt, Germany, Boyce said. Boyce declined to specify who had made the allegations. But he said, "Traditionally, when units return after such a length of time ... (and) when an allegation comes forward, it's because soldiers may have talked about it amongst themselves."

Parsons, a U.S. builder, faulted in array of Iraq projects

Rebuilding failures by one of the most heavily criticized companies working in Iraq, the American construction giant Parsons, were much more widespread than previously revealed and touched on nearly every aspect of the company's operation in the country, according to a report released by a federal oversight agency.

IRAQI REFUGEES

Audio: Refugees Resist Returning to Iraq

Most Iraqi refugees are in Syria, Lebanon and surrounding areas. Europe and especially the U.S. have faced increasing pressure to open their borders to more Iraqis, but there is little infrastructure or funding in place to do so. Madeleine Brand talks to Andrew Harper, head of the Iraq Support Group for the UN's High Commission on Refugees, about what the U.S. is doing to help refugees.

Highly recommended:

OSI Forum: The Iraqi Refugee Crisis—Bearing Witness

The conflict in Iraq has created the greatest refugee crisis the Middle East has seen in fifty years, with more than four million Iraqis fleeing their homes. An estimated two million are refugees in neighboring countries, while another 2.5 million are internally displaced. At this panel sponsored by the OSI Middle East & North Africa Initiative, journalist George Packer discussed Betrayed, his new play about the treatment of Iraqis who risked their lives to work for U.S. forces, and photographer Lori Grinker screened a short multimedia film about Iraqi refugees in Jordan. They were joined by Refugees International advocate Kristele Younes, who recently returned from a fact-finding mission in the Middle East, and Omer Salih Mahdi, an Iraqi doctor, journalist, and documentary film director, to discuss the humanitarian and political implications of the refugee crisis.

Iraqi Refugees

Last night, I heard Sayib*, a Fulbright scholar from Iraq, tell his story. He spoke at The Iraqi Refugee Crisis—Bearing Witness, an event hosted by the Open Society Institute in New York City. His father was kidnapped and killed, a brother was almost killed, and two other brothers were kidnapped, though they later returned, shaken and upset. After all of this Sayib and his family decided to leave Iraq and they now languish in Syria, unable to work. The violence Sayib’s family experienced in Iraq and their flight into Syria are not unique. In one way or another, I have heard these stories over and over again. However, for me the compassion in Sayib’s voice truly stood out. Despite all of things that happened to him and his family, he still has great confidence in Iraq’s future. “I’ve already lost a lot of friends,” he said. Let us hope he does not lose any more.

The event also included a short lecture from Advocate Kristele Younes on what needs to be done to alleviate the crisis, as she continues to successfully publicize Iraqi refugees’ needs. In addition, Kristele and RI President Ken Bacon published an op-ed in the Washington Post Outlook section describing where Iraqi refugees have fled and the level of aid needed to help them.

'Betrayal' of Iraqi interpreters comes to NY stage

Iraqi doctor turned film-maker Omer Salih Mahdi had the strange experience of seeing his life portrayed on stage this weekend at a preview performance of "Betrayed," a play about Iraqis who worked for Americans. "It's really unbelievable to see this in the heart of New York," he said afterward during a discussion on stage with playwright George Packer, a New Yorker magazine reporter. "I watched part of my life flow in front of my eyes."

Denmark grants asylum to 370 Iraqis

How to Help Iraqi Refugees

ANOTHER Way to help: The Collateral Repair Project

COMMENTARY

Two men, two legs and too much suffering

Almost 40 years after guerrilla fighters in his country threw the limits of US military power into stark relief - during the 1968 Tet Offensive - we sit in his rustic home, built of wood and thatch with an earthen floor, and speak of two hallmarks of that power: ignorance and lack of accountability. As awkward chicks scurry past my feet, I have the sickening feeling that, in decades to come, far too many Iraqis and Afghans will have similar stories to tell. Similar memories of American troops. Similar accounts of air strikes and artillery bombardments. Nightmare knowledge of what "America" means to far too many outside the United States. ……And it turns out he has a question of his own: "Americans caused many losses and much suffering for the Vietnamese during the war, do Americans now feel remorse?" I wish I could answer "yes". Instead, I tell him that most Americans are totally ignorant of the pain of the Vietnamese people, and then I think to myself, as I glance at the ample pile of tiny, local potatoes on his floor, about widespread American indifference to civilians killed, maimed, or suffering in other ways in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The state of the (Iraqi) union

It's more a state of disunion in Iraq, where George W Bush's invasion has left a divided nation in anger, sorrow and shambles. Not one of his possible successors has detailed a realistic plan to extricate the US from the quagmire.

method of corruption

Corruption is the disease that corrodes Iraq's body from the inside. I can say that corruption one of the passages to terrorism it is the mold of terrorism. Any terrorist can join to any ministry if he has amount of money and that what made the ministries moan of corruption aches. Many parties finance their militias by stealing Iraq's fortunes every where in Iraq. If we want to weaken the terrorism we should destroy its mold the corruption.

RESISTANCE

Iraqi Refugee Crisis

Last night, in his State of the Union speech, President Bush did not even acknowledge the Iraqi refugee crisis - much less make a commitment to accept our country's moral responsibility to help the 4 million Iraqis who have been forced to flee their homes. But there's one thing he made very clear: He needs to hear from us louder and clearer than ever. This administration must fulfill our country's moral obligation to Iraq's refugees. More than 4 million Iraqis have fled their homes, and more than 2 million of that number are living in difficult and deteriorating conditions in neighboring countries. President Bush should commit to lead the international response to this grave humanitarian crisis. The administration promised to admit 12,000 Iraqi refugees by September 2008. Help us break the news: That is far too few! The administration should step up its commitment to address the crisis - by increasing humanitarian aid to the region and by increasing U.S. refugee admissions, and the annual resettlement goal itself. It is time for the United States to stop shirking its moral responsibility. The President has the power to make Iraqi refugees a priority. Now, he needs to use it. Click here to sign the petition to the US government.

Wexler wants hearings over cheney impeachment – sign the petition here.

We Support the Troops Who Oppose the War

On the weekend of 13-15 March, 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will assemble history's largest gathering of US veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Iraqi and Afghan survivors. They will provide first hand accounts of their experiences and reveal the truth of occupation. We support Iraq Veterans Against the War and their Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. Join us in supporting the effort to reveal truth in the way that only those who lived it can.

Please go to this website to sign the petition to support IVAW.

Quote of the day: Professor S Abdul Majeed Hassan, an Iraqi university faculty member wrote me the following: “The year of 2007 was the bloodiest among the occupation years, and no matter how successful the situation looks to Mr Bush, reality is totally different. What kind of normal life are he and the media referring to where four and a half million highly educated Iraqis are still dislocated or still being forcefully driven out of their homes for being anti-occupation?” From A bitter taste to Iraqi reality

War News for Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Baghdad:
#1: a bomb exploded on Saydun Street along the Tigris river in the centre of Baghdad as an Iraqi army patrol was passing, wounding six civilians and four soldiers.

#2: Three policemen and five passers-by were wounded in another bomb attack about 30 minutes later in the neighbouring district of Karrada. Two of the wounded later died in hospital

#3: In the Sunni district of Yarmuk in western Baghdad, three more civilians were wounded in an explosion

3 civilians injured in an IED explosion in al-Dakhiliya neighbourhood, al-Yarmouk, south Baghdad at 10:30 am.

#4: two more people were hurt when a mortar round crashed on the eastern neighbourhood of al-Fadliyah.

#5: A female suicide bomber detonated an explosives belt hidden under her black robe at a checkpoint, killing at least two women and wounding five.

A female suicide bomber detonated an explosives belt hidden under her all-encompassing black robe at a checkpoint Tuesday in Baghdad, killing at least two women and wounding five, police said. The attack occurred just after noon as women were being searched in a room before being allowed to enter a commercial street in the predominantly Sunni Amariyah neighborhood in southwest Baghdad, according to police officials.

A bomb exploded at a checkpoint Tuesday in Baghdad, wounding five American soldiers and three civilians, the U.S. military said. Iraqi officials claimed it was a suicide bombing and said two people were killed. The attack occurred just after noon as women were being searched before being allowed to enter a commercial street in the predominantly Sunni Amariyah neighborhood in southwest Baghdad, according to a local police official and an Iraqi army officer. Navy Cmdr. Scott Rye, a U.S. military spokesman, said initial reporting indicated it was not a suicide attack but a bomb that was left at the checkpoint and later detonated. He said no deaths were reported, but five soldiers and three civilians were wounded. The Iraqi officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information, said a female suicide bomber detonated an explosives belt hidden under her all-encompassing black robe at a checkpoint. A policeman said two Iraqis were killed in the attack but the report could not be independently verified.

#6: An IED targeted an American military patrol in Canal St. east Baghdad. No casualyies reported.

Meanwhile, eyewitnesses told VOI that an explosion occurred on the main road of al-Qanah Street in Zayouna neighborhood, eastern Baghdad, but nothing was known about the blast or its results. One eyewitness told VOI plumes of smoke were seen rising from the scene of the explosion, prompting security forces to seal off the area.

#7: In Baghdad, at least two Katyusha rockets landed inside the heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses the Iraqi parliament and U.S. embassy, but there was no immediate indication of casualties or damage, police said.


Diyala Prv:
Muqdadiya:
#1: Nine bodies and 10 severed heads were found on Tuesday in an abandoned field north of Baghdad in a region where U.S. and Iraqi forces are pressing ahead with offensives against al Qaeda forces. Police made the gruesome discovery of the bodies and severed heads in a field in Muqdadiya, 90 km (55 miles) northeast of Baghdad in Diyala, one of Iraq's northern provinces where U.S. and Iraqi forces are fighting Sunni Islamist al Qaeda.


Iskandariya:
#1: One man was killed by gunmen who attacked his house in the town of Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.


Taji:
#1: Abbas Jassim al-Dulaimi, a tribal leader who organised a neighbourhood police unit in Taji, 20 km (12 miles) north of Baghdad, was killed by a bomb planted in his car on Monday, another Taji tribal leader said. Several of Dulaimi's bodyguards were detained after the blast, he said.


Dalouiya
#1: Three elementary schoolgirls were killed and two others wounded when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off on Tuesday on a road that leads to their school in al-Dalouiya district, a police source in Salah al-Din province said."A home-made explosive charge went off on a road that leads to al-Inshrah primary school in al-Huweija al-Bahariya village, (5 km) west of Dalouiya, killing three girls and wounding two others while on their way to their school," the source, who preferred not to have his name mentioned, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq


Sulaiman Pek:
#1: Gunmen attacked the convey of a local governor, wounding one of his gaurds, in a village near the town of Sulaiman Pek, 160 km (100 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.


Tikrit:
#1: A source in Tikrit University, who asked to remain unnamed, told VOI that security personnel at the Faculty of Law found an IED planted near the dean's office on Tuesday morning."The police were called and the IED was defused," the source said.


Mosul:
#1: A suicide car bomber targeted a U.S. patrol Tuesday in Mosul, killing at least one Iraqi and wounding as many as 15, military and police officials said. The attacker on Tuesday detonated his explosives-laden car, wounding 10 Iraqi civilians about 11 a.m. in a predominantly Sunni area in eastern Mosul, a police officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to release the information. The U.S. military said no American casualties were reported but one Iraqi had been killed and 15 wounded in the attack. The different Iraqi casualty tolls could not immediately be reconciled.

#2: In a separate incident on Tuesday near Mosul, 390 km (240 miles north of Baghdad, unidentified gunmen killed two off-duty police and wounded two others, police said.


Al Anbar Prv:
Fallujah:
#1: “Four missiles landed in the U.S. army base, located 3 km east of Falluja, on Tuesday,” a Falluja police officer, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq - (VOI). He added, “The missile, launched from the southern and eastern sides of the base, landed in the middle of the base where billows of smoke were seen spiraling upward. ”The U.S. side was not available to comment on the incident. A short time later, four U.S. helicopters were seen hovering over Falluja for 25 minutes.



Afghanistan:
#1: A missile destroyed a suspected militant hideout in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, killing 12 people inside, officials said. The air attack occurred after midnight in Khushali Torikhel, a village in North Waziristan, a tribal region bordering Afghanistan, intelligence and government officials in the region said. The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media.

#2: In other fighting Tuesday, one soldier was killed in South Waziristan, a neighboring region along the border, the army said in a statement. Twelve insurgents were arrested in the area, it said.

#3: In another area of North Waziristan, four members of the paramilitary Frontier Constabulary were injured when assailants fired several artillery rockets at a military base, said a local intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.


Casualty Reports:

May 7, 2007, Baghdad: Lt. Col. Gregory Gadson is driving back from a memorial service..."Then I saw the flash, it was instantaneous out of the corner of my eye. We have a noise canceling intercom system with our vehicles, He was evacuated within 45 minutes by helicopter to a hospital in the Green Zone, and doctors needed 70 pints of blood to save his life. The injuries to both legs were severe, though. Both had to be amputated.

Sgt. Kenneth Lee Cate III, 23,-- A suicide bomber detonated behind me, shattering my right leg with shrapnel, and peppering my left thigh and back. And then when I tried to get up I was shot through the right arm. My injuries hurt most days, but only enough to left me know that they're there.

Cpl. Ryan Dion, 23, of Manchester, who had his right leg amputated at the knee after he was hit by a missile in Fallujah in April.

Staff Sgt. Terry Rathbun, 36, of Norwich, who was shot in the arm and face.

Sgt. Eddie Ryan, 24, of Ellenville, N.Y., who suffered a severe brain injury after he was shot twice in the head.

Army Staff Sgt. Jack Auble, 43, suffers from severe osteoporosis of the spine, bulging discs and compression fractures.

Spc. Garrett Summers, a Squad Automatic Weapon gunner from Eureka, Mo., was wounded in his left arm while on a combat patrol to counter improvised explosive device activity. Summers' platoon conducted a ground medical evacuation, and he arrived at a medical facility within 12 minutes of the attack. After suffering a wound from a 9 mm submachine gun during the enemy encounter. He is a Soldier from 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment has been awarded a Purple Heart Medal for an injury he suffered as a result of small-arms fire while on patrol in eastern Baghdad Jan. 1.