Monday, August 21, 2006

NYT: "Insurgents Kill 20 in Shiite Pilgrimage" and injure 302 (Paul von Zielbauer)

A spokesman for the Defense Ministry said Sunday that the security plan consisted of four "rings" to defend the mosque and pilgrims streaming toward it. The first perimeter, around the mosque itself, was made up of armed men from the Interior Ministry, which is tightly controlled by Shiites.
A second ring consisted of Defense Ministry and national police officers at checkpoints around the city, the spokesman said. Iraqi Army soldiers cruising city streets in Humvees made up the third layer of security, with American military helicopters and surveillance as the fourth.
But by early Sunday morning, rival groups were exchanging gunfire on Baghdad’s streets, officials and residents said, as processions of pilgrims, segregated by sex, ran into apartment blocs and under highway overpasses for cover.

The above is from Paul von Zielbauer's "Insurgents Kill 20 in Shiite Pilgrimage Amid Heavy Security" in this morning's New York Times. The 'rings' were only part of the cracked crackdown that couldn't work, wouldn't work and didn't work. Body searches, vehicle bans, go down the list. At least 20 dead on Sunday and 302 injured from the snipers. And, as von Zielbuer points out, "The American military released a statement late Sunday that seemed to play down the deaths. 'Iraqi military and civil leaders provided a comprehensive security plan to ensure there would be no recurrence of violence that marred last year's event,' the American statement said. 'As a result, there were no major attacks.'" Let's repeat -- and for the Happy Talkers, let's go real slow -- in Baghdad, on Sunday, 20 dead and 302 injured. 20 dead, 302 injured.

Remember two Sunday's ago, the attack in Baghdad? No, we're not going into the laughable Caldwell again, but we will note that the death toll was in the fifties in the earlier reports with X injured. The death toll would climb to 73 from that Sunday's attack. With 302 injured, the US military must be pretty confident that reporters aren't going to follow up to see if any of the 302 switch to the fatality list.

Yesterday in Baghdad: at least 20 dead, at least 302 injured. Happy Talkers can try to paint that as success. Read the Four Rings description again and grasp that, in addition, over 3,500 American troops were added to Baghdad (7,500, if you go by John McCain's numbers) this month. All of that, closing bridges, body searches, snipers on rooftops (Iraqi soldiers and American soldiers, not referring to the ones responsible for the Sunday attacks -- at least I think I'm not but who knows these days who's on what side, something to remember when we get to Martha's highlight), and you end up with, as the Iraqi Health Minister announced yesterday, 322 killed or injured.

On this attack, Martha notes Amit R. Paley's "Iraqi Insurgents Kill 20 Pilgrims: Hundreds Hurt in Capital on Shiite Holiday" (Washington Post):

Sunni residents, meanwhile, said they were being attacked by members of Shiite militias who seemed bent on avenging the deaths of the estimated 1,000 pilgrims last year.
Makki, of the Iraqi Islamic Party, said Shiite militias, which he declined to identify, used mortars, Katyusha rockets and rocket-propelled grenades to attack Sunnis. He said the exact death toll was unknown because many Sunnis were afraid to visit Shiite-controlled hospitals.

Ahmed Abu Taha, a Sunni who lives near the city's Silikh district, said armed men wearing black clothes and green cloaks attacked a Sunni mosque with the support of Iraqi police. He said Sunnis begged members of the mainly Shiite Iraqi army for help, but they refused.
"Why is the Iraqi army not protecting the Iraqi people?" he said. The fighting did not stop until 3 p.m. when U.S. forces cordoned off the area, Taha said.

The article also notes that al-Maliki (puppet of the occupation and prime minister in name) joined the US in calling Sunday a "success." "Success"? "Iraq: This is what failure looks like."

The snapshot will probably be late today due to some speaking things I'm doing (on Iraq), just FYI. The e-mail address for this site is And Dona and Jim just said to note that this coming Sunday, The Third Estate Sunday Review will again do an Iraq focused edition with the possible exception of Ava and my TV thing.