In August last year, the United States admitted dropping the internationally-banned incendiary weapon of napalm on Iraq, despite earlier denials by the Pentagon that the “horrible” weapon had not been used in the three-week invasion of Iraq.
Some 10,000 US marines and army forces, alongside some 2,000 Iraqi national guardsmen unleashed a long-expected onslaught on the resistance hub on November 8, capping long nights of massive US raids.
The US onslaught left at least 700 people killed, including children and women, and thousands injured.
Amnesty International harshly criticized the US for killing dozens of civilians in a number of deadly consecutive air strikes into the war-battered city.
Kyle e-mails to note "US Used Chemical Weapon on Fallujah: Independent" (IslamOnline.net). It's Sunday and this is where we focus on reporting from outside the US mainstream. This entry focus on Iraq.
The slaughter continues and Dominick e-mails to note Sameer Yacoub's "Sunnis call for halt to US military offensive" (The Irish Examiner):
SUNNI Arab leaders demanded yesterday that US and Iraqi troops suspend military operations in heavily Sunni areas, accusing the Shiite-led government of trying to divide the nation ahead of next month's legislative elections.
Some 1,100 Iraqi lawyers, meanwhile, said they withdrew from Saddam Hussein's defence team over the slayings of two colleagues representing co-defendants of the ousted leader.
The US military reported two marines were killed on Saturday by a bomb west of Baghdad and an American soldier died in a vehicle accident in western Iraq. At least 2,065 US military personnel have died since the war began in 2003.
Kyle also noted "Iraq's Anti-terror Law Muzzles Opponents: Scholars" (IslamOnline.net):
Iraqi scholars have denounced the newly-drafted anti-terror law as mainly aimed to "muzzle" the anti-US occupation powers under the wrap of terror combat.
"The law has many defects," Sheikh Munir Al-Ubeidi, imam of Al-Shahid Sabry mosque in Baghdad, told IslamOnline.net Sunday, November 13.
"The law brands as "terrorism" any anti-government word or stance."
The new anti-terror law was endorsed by Iraqi parliament in October and put into force on November 11.
The law criminalizes all acts "condoning and inciting violence".
"Any Iraqi who wants to see his homeland liberated from the occupiers would be indicted under this flawed law," Ubeidi added.
Security teams have been formed under the anti-terror law to monitor imams and mosque finances, according to Iraqi Interior Minister Jabr Sulagh.
"We have also had special devices to tap speeches and inciting languages," he said.
Article 1 of the controversial law says terrorism is "any criminal act that targets individuals, groups or institutions, destroys public or private properties, destabilizes the country, shakes national unity, terrorizes people and spreads chaos."
Article 2 brands terrorist acts as "kidnappings, sabotage, attempts to spark sectarian strife, attack on police stations, embassies or diplomatic bodies and the use of explosives."
Similar concerns were echoed by Sheikh Mahmoud Al-Sumaidi, imam of the Um Al-Qura mosque, the headquarters of the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS), Iraqi's highest Sunni authority.
"The law gives no security guarantees to mosque imams who oppose the government policies or security agencies and poses threats to people of conscience," he told IOL.
"Is this the form of freedom the US has promised us?" he questioned.
Is it freedom? Looks like more of what Bully Boy's attempted in the United States. And while the Bully Boy trots out another attempt to scare America, things are heating up for Tony Blair in England.
Brendan e-mails to note James Cusick's "Impeachment campaigners claim former ministers will join 200 supporters to force Commons probe" (Scotland's Sunday Herald):
MPs organising the campaign to impeach Tony Blair believe they have enough support to force a highly damaging Commons investigation into the Prime Minister's pre-war conduct.
A renewed attempt to impeach Blair over claims he misled parlia ment in making his case for war against Iraq, will be made in the Commons within the next two weeks.
The impeachment process effectively stalled last year when just 23 MPs signed a Commons motion. But the scale of the government’s defeat on its anti-terror legislation last week -- where 49 Labour MPs rebelled -- has galvanised the momentum for proceedings to be invoked.
Organisers say they are expecting 200 cross-party signatures, including those of former government ministers, to force the Commons to set up a Privy Council investigation that would examine in detail the case for impeachment against Blair.
The size of the Labour revolt, allied to unified opposition benches, is said to have changed the climate inside the Commons.
SNP leader, Alex Salmond, one of the key figures in the impeachment campaign, said he now believed that the cross-party attempt to bring the government to account over the Iraq war "would become more urgent than predicted problems associated with social legislation in England and Wales".
Following the Commons defeat, it was predicted that future flashpoints for Blair would include a new education reform bill, likely to be presented next spring and new legislation to broaden reform inside the NHS with greater competition from the private sector.
Potential backbench revolts are also predicted if Blair makes any move to update the Trident nuclear programme or tries to introduce a new era of nuclear-generated energy.
Next month, a Green Paper on welfare reform, expected to include moves to cut incapacity benefit, was expected to be the first attack point for Labour dissidents. However, any parliamentary success on the matter of impeachment is likely to over-shadow other issues.
Another development re: Iraq and England is noted by Gareth, Frederick Studemann's "Support for 2006 British pull-out from Iraq" (The Financial Times):
The government and senior military officers gave cautious backing on Sunday to a claim by Iraq's president that British troops could withdraw from his country by the end of next year.
John Reid, defence secretary, said that president Jalal Talabani's claim that Iraqi forces would be ready to replace British forces in the south of the country as "completely consistent" with UK policy.
But he stressed that the withdrawal of Britain's 8,000 troops was contingent on conditions on the ground being met.
Polly e-mails to note "Iraq gunmen target Oman embassy" (BBC):
Four people were wounded when gunmen attacked the Omani embassy in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, police say.
At least one embassy worker and two Iraqi guards were hit in the drive-by shooting in Mansour district shortly after 1800 (1500 GMT), they say.
The attack came hours after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on Arab nations to re-open embassies in Iraq.
Olive notes other violence in Iraq, "Blast rocks Baghdad near Green Zone" (Australia's ABC):
The explosion shook the city just as the secretary of Russia's National Security Council, Igor Ivanov, was holding a news conference in the Green Zone with Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari.
The Green Zone stretches over several square kilometres on the banks Tigris river in central Baghdad. It frequently comes under mortar attack, usually without injury.
Pru e-mails to note "'You must go now Mr Blair' says mother of British soldier killed in Basra" (UK's The Socialist Worker):
Tony Blair's grip on office weakens each passing day. Yet he remains determined to pursue his pro-market agenda to the bitter end and to shadow George Bush’s every step.
When Blair’s history comes to be written one issue must be seen to have carried him to his political demise -- Iraq.
Susan Smith's son, Phillip Hewett, was killed in Iraq in July. She says, "Blair should go. He lied over the war. He knew the truth and still sent the troops in over oil. That's the only reason for this war."
She is backing the International Peace Conference next month in London uniting all those seeking peace from the US, Britain and Iraq itself.
"I think it's incredibly important that as many groups as possible send delegates to the International Peace Conference," she says. "It will host speakers such as Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son Casey in the war.
"Sadly we will soon see the 100th British soldier die in Iraq. On that day there must be demonstrations and vigils around the country."
In the coming weeks everyone needs to get delegated to the conference on 10 December from peace organisations, trade and student unions, faith and community bodies.
Sue says, "We are fighting for an inquiry into the war and we need to stand in solidarity with other military families and anti-war campaigners. We have been refused legal aid. Despite being able to spend billions of taxpayers' money on the war, it seems not a penny can be spared to find out the truth behind it.
"Even without the war it is time for Blair to go. Just look at what he is pushing through in terms of attacks on the health service and education."
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FYI, 97 is the current count for British military fatalities in Iraq. November 2003 was the worst month for British fatalities (27). And the American count for the month of November is currently 36 bringing the total to 2065. The 2,000 mark seems so long ago but it really wasn't.
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