American-backed Sunni militias who have fought Sunni extremists to a standstill in some of Iraq's bloodiest battlegrounds are being hit with a wave of assassinations and bomb attacks, threatening a fragile linchpin of the military's strategy to pacify the nation.
At least 100 predominantly Sunni militiamen, known as Awakening Council members or Concerned Local Citizens, have been killed in the past month, mostly around Baghdad and the provincial capital of Baquba, urban areas with mixed Sunni and Shiite populations, according to Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani. At least six of the victims were senior Awakening leaders, Iraqi officials said.
The above is from Solomon Moore and Richard A. Oppel Jr.'s "Attacks Imperil Militiamen in Iraq Allied With U.S." in this morning's New York Times and while it's good that the paper can finally cover that aspect which has been ongoing, it's also a really one-sided article. They really can't 'report' on the violence without noting the violence that the 'Awakening' Council itself is responsible for. It was just Tuesday that the paper was cleaning up for the 'Awakening' Councils attack on a family, burning their home down, refusing to allow them the head of a dead member for a burial. The 'Awakening' Council are thugs who have 'reformed' because they're being thugs for the US and taking US coin. The article notes what's been noticeable for some time in terms of the attacks on the increasingly unpopular 'Awakening' Councils; however, it's one-sided and refuses to note the very real violence that the thugs are inflicting. Not surprising since, as a general rule, anyone who has to be paid/bribed to 'come over' to a side isn't generally thought of as 'trust worthy' or 'noble.'
Alissa J. Rubin contributes "14 Are Killed in Explosion at Building in Mosul:"
Victims were still being pulled from the rubble late Wednesday night in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, where a building used by insurgents to store ammunition and other explosives blew up in a crowded neighborhood, killing at least 14 people and wounding 134, according to the police.
The numbers were expected to climb as people were pulled from beneath the collapsed walls of nearby houses and shops, which were destroyed by the blast.
The explosion took place in Al Zinjeli, a poor neighborhood on the western side of Mosul. Plumes of smoke could be seen from miles away.
Yes, the number dead did climb. Reuters puts the number dead at 36 currently with 169 wounded. A huge death toll but I'm sure Little Media has somewhere else to go today, as they did yesterday, as they did the day before, as they do always.
And the violence in Mosul continues today. From Matthew Weaver's "Police chief killed by suicide bomber in Iraq" (Guardian of London):
An Iraqi police chief and two other officers were killed by a suicide bomber in Mosul today as they were touring the wreckage of another blast which killed 18 people.
Brigadier General Saleh Mohammed Hassan, the director of police for Ninevah province, was assassinated by a man wearing an explosives vest under an Iraqi police uniform. A US soldier and an Iraqi soldier were also wounded.
Weaver informs that the police were searching for survivors of the bombing yesterday (the empty building that Rubin was noting).
Martha notes Michael Abramowitz' "Democrats Attack Iraq Security Proposal" (Washington Post):
The leading Democratic presidential candidates and their allies on Capitol Hill have launched fierce attacks in recent days on a White House plan to forge a new, long-term security agreement with the Iraqi government, complaining that the administration is trying to lock in a lasting U.S. military presence in Iraq before the next president takes office.
Among the top critics is Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). She has used the past two Democratic presidential debates to blast President Bush for his effort, as she put it Monday in South Carolina, "to try to bind the United States government and his successor to his failed policy."
Yes, Hillary did again bring it up Monday night. And it is important. From Tuesday's "Iraq snapshot:"
Hillary Clinton: We don't know what we're going to inherent from President Bush, but there is a big problem looming on the horizon that we had better pay attention to, and that is President Bush is intent upon negotiating a long-term agreement with Iraq which would have permanent bases, permanent troop presence. And he claims he does not need to come to the United States Congress to get permission, he only needs to go to the Iraqi parliament. That is his stated public position. He was recently in the region, and it is clear that he intends to push forward on this to try to bind the United States government and his successor to his failed policy. I have been strongly opposed to that. We should not be planning permanent bases and long-term troop commitments. Obvioulsy, we've got to rein in President Bush. And I've proposed legislation and I know that members of the Congressional Black Caucus are looking at this, as well. We need legislation in a hurry which says, "No, Mr. Bush, you are the president of the United States of America. You cannot bind our country without coming to the United States Congress." This is a treaty that would have to be presented and approved, and it will not be.
It was pretty important but alleged 'independent' media (including Amy Goodman) couldn't note it. Partly because they've ignored this development for weeks but also because it didn't fit in with their non-stop Bambi-Love (and it's converse, Hillary Hatred). That may have been one of the most important points raised in the debate because the Constitution does not allow Bully Boy to do what he's attempting to do (nor does the Iraqi Constitution allow Nouri al-Maliki to do it on his end). Maybe at some point little media can take a moment from their non-stop travelogues to note this very real affront to the Constitution, one that could have lasting damage both in terms of Iraq and in terms of all future treaties?
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the new york times
richard a. oppel jr.
alissa j. rubin
the washington post