Today, the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier was killed and two Soldiers were wounded during combat operations in an eastern section of the Iraqi capital Aug. 5."
In news of yesterday's violence (which claimed the lives of over 100 Iraqis), Martha notes Megan Greenwell's "Mortar Attack Kills 13 in East Baghdad" (Washington Post):
At least 13 people were killed Sunday morning when mortar shells rained down on their east Baghdad neighborhood, police said.
At least three mortar rounds hit a major thoroughfare in Mashtal, a predominantly Shiite neighborhood on the eastern outskirts of the capital, according to police. Most of the victims were waiting in line for fuel, an officer said.
Gas station lines have increasingly been targeted in car bomb and mortar attacks because of the potential for a large number of victims. With severe fuel shortages, ever more cars on the streets and the growing popularity of generators, lines often stretch more than a mile. Drivers generally budget six to nine hours to fill their gas tanks.
At least 65 people were killed Thursday in car bomb attacks near two gas stations.
Yesterday, the news was that puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki was refusing to accep the resignations of the six cabinet members who quit last week. Today Stephen Farrell (New York Times) reports:
President Jalal Talabani shuttled between Shiite and Sunni leaders in Baghdad on Sunday, trying to find a way to bring Sunnis back into the fold after they walked out of the government last week.
[. . .]
The withdrawal of Sunni cabinet ministers on Wednesday gravely damaged the government's credentials as a national unity coalition. They complain that they have been excluded from decision-making on security matters, and they demand that Shiite militias be disbanded and prisoners being held without charge be released.
And we'll drop back to yesterday's Los Angeles Times to note Molly Hennessy-Fiske's report on the realities of 'democracy' in 'liberated' Iraq for gays and lesbians:
Human rights groups say that Iraqi gays are increasingly targeted by militias and police. The United Nations and State Department have issued reports documenting some of the more recent killings.
A U.N. report in January cited attacks on gays by militants, as well as the existence of "religious courts, supervised by clerics, where homosexuals allegedly would be 'tried,' 'sentenced' to death and then executed."
Iraqi leaders dismiss those allegations, and Middle East experts say it's difficult to tell whether the attacks are state-sanctioned.
"Nobody's paying attention to this issue," said Ali Dabbagh, spokesman for Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. "It is not the custom of the people of Iraq. Not only Iraq, but the whole region."
In October 2005, Iraq's leading Shiite Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, issued a fatwa, or religious decree, on his website forbidding homosexuality and declaring that gays and lesbians should be "punished, in fact, killed."
"The people involved should be killed in the worst, most severe way," the decree said.
The fatwa against gay men was removed from Sistani's website last year, but it was not revoked, said Ali Hili, an Iraqi gay-rights activist living in London who petitioned Sistani's office to remove it.
That's cute how al-Maliki's flack claims no one's paying attention but a fatawa is issued.
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