Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 and chaos and violence continue in Iraq claiming the lives of at least 39 Iraqis (AP), occupation puppet Nouri al-Maliki continues his Tehran visit, the US military announces two deaths (one soldier died Monday, the other Tuesday), United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Anan tells some hard truths, and  Camp Democracy continues in Iraq.
As reported by CNN yesterday, at least 60 corpses were discovered in Baghdad on Tuesday.  The BBC reports: "They were found all over the city, from Sunni areas in the west to Shia districts in the east -- but most were found in largely Sunni west Baghdad.  Secretarin killings are not unusal in the city but this is a large number for oen day, a BBC corrspondent says."  Reuters reminds of the UN estimate in July (100 people killed each day in Iraq from violence) and notes that "[m]orgue officials" have stopped providing figures. CBS corrspondent Pete Gow provides an audio report here that calls into question the 'success' of the 'crackdown' that's been going on in Baghdad since June.  CNN also raises questions about the 'crackdown' and notes: "On Monday, the U.S. Command acknowledged that its [own] report of a dramatic drop in murders in Baghdad last month did not include people killed by bombs, mortars, rockets or other mass attacks, The Associated Press reported.  The count only included victims of drive-by shootings and those killed by torture and execution."
Puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki continued the second day of his visit to Tehran.  Devika Bhat (Times of London) reports: "Yesterday, Washington reacted with caution to comments from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran that he would offer full support in restoring security to Iraq. . . . A member of Mr al-Maliki's Dawa party said . . . Today Ayatollah Ali Khameni, Iran's supereme leader, . . . [blamed] US troops for Iraq's misfortunes and [told] Mr al-Maliki that the way to end instability was for American forces to withdraw altogether."  CNN quotes Kahmenei: "A major portion of Iraq's problems will be solved when the occupying forces leave that country, and that is why we desire and hope that occupiers leave Iraq."
Kahmenei's opinions are hardly surprising and, Nick Wadhams (AP) reports, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, declared today "that most leaders in the Middle East believe the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and its aftermath" is "a real disaster".  Annan: "Most of the leaders I spoke to felt the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath has been a real disaster for them.  They believe it has destabilized the region."
So it's also not surprising that the  AP reports "a resolution setting a timetable for the withdrawal of all foreign troops" managed to get 104 members of the 275 member Iraqi parliament "before [it] was effectively sheleved by being sent to a committe for review."
In the United States, as Robert Knight noted on KPFA's Flashpoints yesterday, the Government Accountability Office issued a report on Monday that also recommended Congress members ask themselves several questions such as:
-- What political, economic and security conditions must be acheived before the United States can draw down and withdraw military forces from Iraq?
-- Why have security conditions continued to worsen even as Iraq has met political milestones, increased the number of trained and equipped forces and increasingly assumed the lead for security?
Drew Brown (McClatchy Newspapers) reports on the findings and notes: "Though the Bush administration has hailed each political milestone in Iraq as another step on the march to freedom, the report cited a Defense Intelligence Agency finding that 'the December 2005 elections appeared to heighten sectarian tensions and polarize sectarian divides'."
The AFP reports that the US military "announced the deaths of two of its servicemen, taking its total losses in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion to 2,670, according to an AFP count based on Pentagon figures. A soldier was killed on Tuesday, south of Baghdad, while another died of wounds on Monday in the western Al-Anbar province, the military said."
Al-Anbar?  On Monday, Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) reported on the assessment of Col. Pete Develin, "chief of intelligence for the Marine Corps in Iraq,"
that "prospects for securing that country's western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there".  Today, Ricks reports that Marine Maj. Gen. Richard C. Zilmer "agrees with the findings of a pessimistic classified report recently filed by his top intelligence officer but also insisted that 'tremendous progress' is being made in that part of the country."  Ricks also notes: "According to several Defense Department officials who have read the report, Devlin also argued that the lack of political progress has crated a political vacuum in the province."
And as the war drags on . . .
In Baghdad, as reported by Amit R. Paley (Washington Post), "a car bomb exploeded near an indoor stadium" killing and injuring a number of people and then, as people came forward to help, "another bomb detonated".  CNN puts the toll at 14 dead and 67 wounded. AP later raised the death toll to 19 and noted "[b]ut the U.S. military reported the death toll at 15 killed and 25 wounded, and said the blast was caused by two car bombs."  
Also in Baghdad, Reuters reports a car bomb that was aimed at "police protecting an electricity distribution plant [which] killed eight people and wounded 19."  The AP reports that the U.S. military states the bomb ended up "killing at least 12 people and wounding 34."
Still in Baghdad, Al Jazeera notes two separate mortar attacks the claimed one life (police officer) and left six wounded. Reuters reports that mortar attacks wounded four in Samawa.  Back to Baghdad, Demka Bhat (Times of London) reports a mortar attack that killed "[a] further two police" officers.
AP reports that, in Falluja, "two pedistrians were killed and two others injured apparently in the crossfire between U.S. troops and unidentified gunmen" and that a man in his car was shot dead in Baghdad. Reuters reports that an attempted kidnapping of "the owner of a currency exchange shop" in Baghdad resulted in the death of "[t]wo bystanders" and two more wounded.
Reuters reports four corpses were discovered in Suwayra. Reuters also notes that Safaa Ismail Inad's corpse was discovered ("journalist at al-Watan Newspaper") in Baghdad.
In peace news, Cindy Sheehan (Common Dreams) advises: "Don't wait until the creeping militarism and budding fascism of the Bush State comes knocking at your door for one of your loved ones.  It will happen unless we stand up and say 'no' with our loudest and most annoying voices" and urges people to take part in  Camp Democracy which is ongoing in Washington, DC and free and open to the public.
Ann Wright (Scoop) writes of the genesis for the Camp (from Camp Casey to Camp Democracy): "Since we were in Bush's backyard in Crawford, why not bring our concerns on the direction of America and the need to use and preserve our democracy to the backyard (or frontyard) of Bush in the White House and to other government officials and lawmakers?  Well, that's what Camp Democracy is doing right now.  Every day concerned Americans are coming to Camp Democracy to think, listen, and act on important concerns."
Today's events included The Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration release of their verdict: GUILTY: "The panel of jurists consisted of Adjoa A. Aiyetoro, William H. Bowen School of Law, Little Rock; former executive director, National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL). Dennis Brutus, former prisoner, Robben Island (South Africa), poet, professor emeritus, University of Pittsburgh. Abdeen Jabara, former president, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Ajamu Sankofa, former executive director, Physicians for Social Responsibility-NY. Ann Wright, former US diplomat and retired US Army Reserve Colonel."
Tomorrow's events include peace and election education with Danny Schechter  scheduled to be among the participants with a screening of his documentary WMD: Weapons of Mass Deceptions. And on Sunday, Camp Democracy will host a number of events and the theme will be Impeachment Day.  Among those participating:  Elizabeth Holtzman, Michael Avery, Ray McGovern, David Green, John Nichols, Marcus Raskin, Elizabeth De La Vega, Dave Lindorff, David Swanson, Jennifer Van Bergen, Geoff King, David Waldman, Dan DeWalt, Steve Cobble, Anthony St. Martin, Cindy Bogard, Mubarak Awad, Susan Crane, Frank Anderson.  The camp has daily activities and admission is free.  A complete schedule can be found here.
In election, John Nichols (The Nation) examines the primary win of Keith Ellison in Minnesota: "The Ellison victory was one of several for anti-war Democrats seeking open seats.  Others came in in New York, where City Council member Yvette Clarke won a fierce fight for a Brooklyn seat once held by Shirley Chisholm, and in Maryland, where John Sarbanes, the son of retiring Senator Paul Sarbanes, led in a crowded House race.  In Maryland's highest-profile race, however, former NAACP head Kweisi Mfume, who was outspoken in his opposition to the war, lost to the decidely more cautious Representative Ben Cardin by a 46-38 margin."
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