Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad came under fierce assault once again on Saturday, following two weeks of violence that left at least 300 dead and many hundreds more wounded.
Many of the recent attacks, nearly all of them in heavily Shiite areas, have occurred during the period of commemoration that leads to one of the holiest days for Shiites, an intense day of mourning known as Ashura that falls this year on Monday.
Three American soldiers died when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle on Saturday north of Baghdad, Reuters reported. The news service said that the military confirmed the deaths of two other soldiers who were killed Thursday when their patrol was attacked in eastern Baghdad, and said that two additional soldiers died in separate episodes on Friday in Diyala Province.
The above is from Marc Santora and Damien Cave's "20 Killed in Baghdad on Eve of Holiday" in this morning's New York Times. Yesterday, we noted another Santora article and Buddy notes he's joking but wonders how tired I was yesterday morning? Less tired than I this morning. (Friday night/Saturday morning was knocking out the column for Polly's newsletter -- check your inboxes -- doing the TV review with Ava for Maria, Miguel and Francisco's newsletter, doing the column for the same -- check your inboxes -- and doing the column for the special edition of the gina & krista round-robin -- check your inboxes, they return to Friday only this Friday, they end their daily run with tomorrow's round-robin.) I didn't go to sleep Friday night/Saturday morning and, as I type, we're just now posting things at The Third Estate Sunday Review -- we're waiting on illustrations to go to Flickr, it's taking forever. So I haven't slept since I woke up Friday morning (as soon as Isaiah's comic is up here, I'm going straight to bed).
That said, I read over Santora and Cave's article twice. I don't think it's a bad article and I'd even call it a good one. Cave's had those before. Santora? I'm tired, maybe I'm forgetting something, but I think yesterday's was the first time he wrote anything worth noting. The rocket attack in the Green Zone is covered. The kidnapping is covered. It seems like a strong article. The Mesopotamia bit is nonsense, but maybe they're a good team together? Maybe I'm just so ready to fall over I have on idead of what's what?
We'll note Adam Schreck, Ashraf Khalil and David Streitfeld's "Thousands join bicoastal war protest: The Washington rally draws about 100,000 people. Marchers also take to the streets in L.A. and San Francisco" (Los Angeles Times); however, there were at least 500,000 participating in DC, I don't know where they got their figure, but we made a point to ask organizers -- here's a taste of the article:
In Los Angeles, about 3,000 marchers wound through downtown on a cold, rainy afternoon, demanding in often angry speeches an immediate military withdrawal from Iraq.
They staged the first of two rallies outside the Democratic Party headquarters at 9th and Figueroa streets, intending to send a message to those now in control of Congress.
"The Democrats, like the Republicans, voted for this war because they, like the Republicans, believe that the oil in Iraq belongs to us," said Jim Lafferty, executive director of the Los Angeles National Lawyers Guild.
One man, dressed as Jesus, carried a sign saying, "Even I can only forgive so much, George." Dozens of signs declared "Impeach Bush."
Leading the march were prominent antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed while serving in Iraq, and Ron Kovic, the disabled Vietnam veteran who wrote "Born on the 4th of July."
"I'm seeing soldiers and veterans like myself who trusted and believed at first and who are realizing they've been lied to," Kovic said.
Sheehan, a Bellflower native, expressed disappointment at the size of the protest.
"There's definitely a groundswell growing. I just wish it was growing faster," she said. "If half the people of Los Angeles who disagree with this war were here, then we would have miles of people."
We have a feature on DC going up (when the illustration is ready -- I thought Hello was a program that took forever, it feels like Flickr's been in "Upload photo" mode forever). I'm not noting the San Francisco section because I've already heard about it (over the phone) and nothing in the article resembles what I was told -- nor do they note the biggest speaker.
On yesterday's violence, we'll also note Borzou Daragahi's "60 civilians, 7 U.S. troops killed in Iraq: 15 of the dead are victims of a double suicide car bombing at an outdoor market in Baghdad" (Los Angeles Times):
At least seven U.S. soldiers were killed in separate combat incidents, the U.S. military said Saturday, amid a steady swirl of violence against American troops and Iraqi civilians.
Nationwide, at least 60 Iraqis were killed or found dead Saturday as U.S. and Iraqi officials struggled to find a formula to calm sectarian passions and reduce the American troop presence.
Three U.S. soldiers were killed Saturday north of Baghdad when a roadside bomb exploded near an Army vehicle conducting a security escort mission. One soldier was wounded.
The U.S. military disclosed no further details about the attack, but a farmer in the Tarmiya region north of Baghdad described an incident in which a roadside bomb destroyed a U.S. Humvee near his home. A U.S. helicopter arrived to evacuate the casualties, he said.
Two soldiers were killed Friday in separate bomb attacks northeast of the capital in Diyala province. One was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division. The other was killed in an attack that left three soldiers wounded, the military said.
Two troops were killed Thursday in east Baghdad in a bomb attack on a combat patrol that also left two soldiers wounded.
The deaths brought the number of U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 to 3,075, according to icasualties.org.
In east Baghdad, two suicide car bombers struck a crowded outdoor market in a poor district, killing at least 15 Iraqis and injuring dozens. The bombing in Jadida was one of many recent attacks on civilians in the capital's Shiite-dominated outdoor shopping venues.
Police and witnesses said two suicide bombers driving cars plowed into the crowds within seconds of each other just after the noontime call to prayer.
"The first explosion was very powerful, then the second explosion took place," said Haidar Abdul-Mohsen, 37, a minivan driver who witnessed the attacks. "I saw some bodies of people. Two were completely charred."
And I'm not waiting any longer. We can put the illustrations in later. And as sure as I type that, the illustrations are finally up.
New content at The Third Estate Sunday Review:
Editorial: Whose War Is It Anyway?
A Note to Our Readers
TV: No Class in The Class
Show Me What Democracy Looks Like (1-27-07)
Run, Olson! Run!
Now The Nation wants to reach the country? Now?
"Occupation" or "war"
A message from Sanford Levinson (humor)
The Nation Stats
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