Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Other Items

Today, the US military announced: "Three Task Force Marne Soldiers were killed when an improvised explosive device struck their convoy August 4, south of Baghdad." And, from yesterday, they announced: "One Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed and another wounded when an explosively-formed penetrator detonated targeting their vehicle during combat operations in a western section of the Iraqi capital Aug. 6." (Two other announcements, 5 deaths, were covered in the snapshot yesterday. I missed the one noted today.) Right now, ICCC lists the number of US service members killed in Iraq thus far this month at 18 with 3677 since the start of the illegal war.

Lloyd highlights the following from Karen DeYoung and Thomas E. Ricks' "As British Leave, Basra Deteriorates" (Washington Post):

For the past four years, the administration's narrative of the Iraq war has centered on al-Qaeda, Iran and the sectarian violence they have promoted. But in the homogenous south -- where there are virtually no U.S. troops or al-Qaeda fighters, few Sunnis, and by most accounts limited influence by Iran -- Shiite militias fight one another as well as British troops. A British strategy launched last fall to reclaim Basra neighborhoods from violent actors -- similar to the current U.S. strategy in Baghdad -- brought no lasting success.
"The British have basically been defeated in the south," a senior U.S. intelligence official said recently in Baghdad. They are abandoning their former headquarters at Basra Palace, where a recent official visitor from London described them as "surrounded like cowboys and Indians" by militia fighters. An airport base outside the city, where a regional U.S. Embassy office and Britain's remaining 5,500 troops are barricaded behind building-high sandbags, has been attacked with mortars or rockets nearly 600 times over the past four months.

The British were forced to leave a base in southern Iraq in August of 2006 (domestic press largely skipped that story) which was ripped apart (for scrap materials) by Iraqis shortly after they pulled out. Staying with the UK, Deborah Haynes, Richard Beeston and Greg Hurst (Times of London) report that it's not just the US that refuses grant to asylum to Iraqis:

Britain was accused yesterday of abandoning 91 Iraqi interpreters and their families to face persecution and possible death when British forces withdraw.
The Times has learnt that the Government has ignored personal appeals from senior army officers in Basra to relax asylum regulations and make special arrangements for Iraqis whose loyal services have put their lives at risk.
One interpreter, who has worked with the Army since 2004 and wanted to start a new life in Britain after British Forces pull out was told by Downing Street that he would receive no special favours and to read a government website.

And in the US, Geoff Boucher (Los Angeles Times) reports that the Dixie Chicks and the Eagles will perform joint concerts in LA on October 18th and 20th:

The Eagles plan an October release for "Long Road Out of Eden," their first studio album since "The Long Run" in 1979. The band -- Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit -- is expected to tour throughout 2008 to support the new collection. Henley told The Times in February that the CD will be sold exclusively through Wal-Mart for the first year, a deal that Henley said was spurred by the environmental initiatives by the world's largest private employer. Henley also said the title track was "about the war in Iraq and the evolution of man." He added, with tongue in cheek, that "there's a portion of a song you can dance to." The album as whole is laced, he said, with dark humor and political themes.

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