Monday, July 17, 2006

From Dexy to reality

Gunmen in vehicles resembling those used by Iraqi security forces kidnapped the president of one of Iraq's state-owned oil companies in Baghdad on Sunday afternoon, an Oil Ministry spokesman said.
The abduction, the second of a high-profile Iraqi official in two days, underscored the danger that high-level Iraqi officials face and the power of criminal groups who strike at them seemingly at will.
In other attacks across Iraq on Sunday, at least 40 people -- and possibly many more -- were killed by explosions or gunfire, including 27 who died after a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a cafe in northern Iraq. The dead included seven brothers and their father.
An American soldier was killed by a roadside bomb near Baghdad on Sunday.

The above is from Paul von Zielbauer's "Iraqi Oil Official Abducted by Gunmen in Baghdad" in this morning's New York Times.

With more reality based reporting, Victor notes Borzou Daragahi's "Iraqi Forces Take Over Territory From U.S.: Transfers are seen as progress, but so far there's little evidence of improved security" (Los Angels Times):

With blaring trumpets and rattling drums, U.S. forces have been doggedly handing over chunks of territory to Iraqi forces. This month it was the former insurgent stronghold of Tall Afar and the entire province of Muthanna, a peaceful stretch of desert and marshland. Last month it was a 400-square-mile piece here in Iraq's dangerous Sunni Triangle.
Bush administration officials point to the transfers as a sign of progress: As large numbers of Iraqi forces take over, they say, security conditions will improve and U.S. forces can start packing up.
But so far there's been little substantive evidence of improved security for ordinary Iraqis or any signs pointing to a drawdown of U.S. forces once territory is handed over.

No there hasn't been any signs of that. Signs to the contrary for sure -- and the death of the British soldier in Basra yesterday is just one example of reality. And today in Iraq? Martha notes Robert H. Reid's "Gunmen Kill 41 People in Raid on Market South of Baghdad" (Associated Press):

Dozens of heavily armed attackers raided an open air market Monday in a tense town south of Baghdad, killing at least 41 people and wounding 42, police and hospital officials said.
Some reports put the death toll far higher. Most of the victims were believed to be Shiites.

The attack in Mahmoudiya began about 9 a.m. with a brief mortar barrage, followed by an armed assault by dozens of gunmen. They killed three Iraqi soldiers at a checkpoint, then stormed the market while firing automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades, police Capt. Rashid al-Samaraie said.

Remember this from CODEPINK:

TROOPS HOME FAST! On July 4, we launched an historic hunger strike called TROOPS HOME FAST in Washington, DC in front of the White House. While many Americans expressed their patriotism via barbeques and fireworks, we're fasting in memory of the dead and wounded, and calling for the troops to come home from Iraq. We're inviting people around the world to show their support for this open-ended fast by fasting for at least one day. Read an interview with Diane Wilson to learn more. Please sign here to to support us and encourage your friends to do the same. Click here to view photos, and read our blogs!

"Some 4000" people are engaged in the fast around the world, according to The KPFA Evening News yesterday, with the hope of keeping it active until September 21st which is International Peace Day and will have many activities on and around that date.

If you went on the fast on the Fourth for a day and would like to grab another day, you can do that. It's ongoing. And CODEPINK has more activites planned including this in August:

CODEPINK Activist Retreat! Imagine four days of contemplating peace, creating peace, being peace... Now imagine sharing those days with amazing women like Cindy Sheehan, Anne Lamott, Rhiannon, Nina Utne, Diane Wilson, the cofounders of CODEPINK, and over 100 other peace-loving women. A diverse offering of workshops and break-out sessions will help you sharpen your skills, gather more inspiration, and empower your voice and your heart. Click here for details.

The e-mail address for this site is