Friday, May 02, 2008

Balad Ruz bombings

At least 31 Iraqis were killed and 71 wounded in a double suicide bombing north of the capital Thursday, police and hospital officials said.
The U.S. military, meanwhile, announced the death of a U.S. soldier in a car bombing in Baghdad.

The above is from Alexandra Zavis' "In Iraq, two suicide bombings kill 31" (Los Angeles Times) and staying with those twin bombings from yesterday, this is from Erica Goode and Stephen Farrell's "Double Bombings in an Iraqi Town Kill 35" (New York Times):

The bombings in Balad Ruz, northeast of Baghdad, were the latest in a string of major attacks recently in Diyala Province, a region that American officials have contended is considerably safer as a result of the joining of local forces, known as Awakening Councils, with American and Iraqi forces to fight insurgents.
Those attacks included one on April 16 in which 40 people were killed, and another one on April 18 that killed at least 30 people.

Charlie notes Sholnn Freeman's "At Least 35 Die As Bombers Hit Wedding Convoy" (Washington Post):

The double bombing was the latest in a series of high-profile attacks in Diyala, a largely Sunni area. The attackers appear to be targeting members of the Awakening movement, mainly Sunnis who have joined with U.S. forces to fight the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Women are involved in an increasing number of the attacks. On Tuesday, a female suicide bomber struck in the village of Mukhisa, killing one person and wounding five, all members of the Awakening movement. On April 21, a female bomber blew herself up in the home of a group of Sunni Awakening members, killing three people.

Meanwhile The Indianapolis Star has endorsed a candidate in the Democratic presidential primary race. From "Experience makes Clinton better choice in primary:"

As impressive as Obama appears, he is still in his first term in the U.S. Senate, and only four years ago was serving as an Illinois state senator. His inexperience in high office is a liability.
Clinton, in contrast, is well prepared for the rigors of the White House. She is tough, experienced and realistic about what can and cannot be accomplished on the world stage.
[. . .]
Clinton also was an integral part of her husband's political machine, which earned a reputation for flattening opponents. That factor understandably gives many voters pause about whether another Clinton should serve as president.
Yet, one thing is clear: The next commander in chief will take office at a time of extraordinary risk for this nation, both at home and abroad. The challenges -- including those posed by a sagging economy, rising energy and food costs, the gap in health care, wars in two countries and threats from Iran -- are complex.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is the better choice, based on her experience and grasp of major issues, to confront those challenges. She earns The Star's endorsement in Tuesday's primary.

A really important documentary comes out this month, Meeting Resistance:


Contact: Kelly Hargraves Phone: 1-323-662-1930

Toll free: 1-800-229-8575

MEETING RESISTANCE An "Astonishing" Journey into the Heart of the Iraqi Resistance
Available on DVD May 20, 2008
MEETING RESISTANCE is a daring, eye-opening film that raises the veil of anonymity surrounding the Iraqi insurgency by meeting face to face with individuals who are passionately engaged in the struggle against coalition forces. It documents for the first time the sentiments experienced and actions taken by a nation's citizens when their homeland is occupied.
With unique insight into the people involved in the resistance, this acclaimed film explodes myth after myth about the war in Iraq and the Iraqis who participate. Voices which have been previously unheard -- both male and female -- speak candidly about their motivations, hopes and goals, revealing a kaleidoscope of human perspectives. Through its unprecedented access to insurgents and clandestine groups, MEETING RESISTANCE is the missing puzzle piece in understanding the Iraq war -- not only the toll of the occupation but the mindset behind those who resist.
MEETING RESISTANCE was directed by Steve Connors and Molly Bingham. Connors was born in Sheffield, England. He began taking photographs while serving as a British soldier in Northern Ireland in the early 1980s. Connors has worked for most of the worlds' newspapers and magazines including Time, Newsweek, and The New York Times and spent fifteen months from November 2001 on in Afghanistan. During the invasion, he went to Iraq and spent fourteen months there working on MEETING RESISTANCE. The film is Connors’ directorial debut.
Molly Bingham was born in Kentucky and graduated from Harvard College in 1990. She began working as a photojournalist in earnest in 1994, traveling to Rwanda in the wake of the genocide. She has worked as a photojournalist for many different publications and has also completed projects for Human Rights Watch. Bingham teamed up with Connors in August of 2003 to begin a film about who was behind the emerging post-war violence in Iraq.
DVD Bonus Features:

Directors' Audio Commentary • Film Notes • Biographies • Theatrical Trailer
Featured on Good Morning America, National Public Radio, ABC World News, Anderson Cooper 360, This Week with George Stephanopolous, CNN, Vanity Fair, and more!


Shown to Iraq-based and Iraq-bound troops“I spent several years studying and fighting the insurgency at the tactical and operational levels, and I strongly recommend MEETING RESISTANCE. It provides the best view into the minds and motivations of Iraqi insurgents I have found in years of research.” - MAJOR DAN FICKEL (RES)

"The single most astonishing documentary yet on the Iraq war. A breakthrough film!" -- SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL, SALON.COM
"Powerful and fascinating!" -- SHAUNA LYON, THE NEW YORKER
"A remarkable piece of war reporting." -- RICHARD LEIBY, WASHINGTON POST
"DARING...COURAGEOUS...ENLIGHTENING! Sometimes a film serves as a potent weapon of endangered truth, dispelling official lies and giving voice to those whose collective pain has been silenced. MEETING RESISTANCE is that film and more, an act of resistance in its own right to the US war on Iraq." -- PRAIRIE MILLER -- WBAI RADIO
"A rare glimpse into the hearts and minds of those who have dedicated themselves to ridding Iraq of its invaders." -- RONNIE SCHEIB, VARIETY
"he documentary equivalent of a Seymour Hersh investigative story in The New Yorker. REQUIRED VIEWING!" -- JOE GARFOLI, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
More information about the film can be found at

85 minutes, color, 2007, Arabic w/English subtitles UPC: 7-20229-91324-9 Catalog #: FRF 913249D

Retail Price: $24.95 Canadian Retail Price: $29.95 Pre-book: April 15 Street Date: May 20

On the campaign front, Joan notes Harold Ickes "Memo: HRC Strongest v. McCain" (

A spate of new public polls out this week confirms what we have been arguing for some time: Hillary Clinton is the strongest candidate to beat John McCain in November.

The data shows that Clinton not only outperforms Obama in head-to-head matchups, but is also stronger in the all important subcategories that serve as bellwethers for a candidate's overall strength. In addition, new data out today in three swing states vital to Democratic prospects in November show Clinton beating McCain.

HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH MCCAIN: In a hypothetical general election match-up with McCain, Clinton wins handily (50-41) while Obama is virtually tied with McCain (46-44), according to the AP-Ipsos poll released Monday. A new poll from CBS/NYT show Clinton beating McCain by five points (48-43), while Obama ties McCain (45-45). The new Fox poll has Clinton beating McCain by one point (45-44), while Obama trails McCain by three points (43-46). And in Gallup's daily tracking poll, Clinton leads McCain by one point (46-45) while Obama trails McCain by two points (44-46).

SWING STATES: New Quinnipiac polls out today show Clinton dramatically outperforms Obama in the critical swing states of Ohio and Florida. In Ohio, Clinton beats McCain by ten points (48-38), while Obama loses to him by one point (43-44). In Florida, Clinton beats McCain by 8 (49-41), while Obama loses to him by one point (42-43). Hillary also tops McCain by 14 points in Pennsylvania (51-37), while Obama's lead over McCain is in single digits.

CLINTON BEATS MCCAIN AMONG INDEPENDENT VOTERS; OBAMA TIES HIM: The new AP poll has Clinton leading McCain among independents (50-34) while Obama is tied with him (42-42). The NBC/WSJ poll notes that Obama's negative ratings among independents are they highest they have ever been.

CLINTON IS THE CANDIDATE VOTERS TRUST WITH THE ECONOMY: The economy is the top issue among voters and is likely to remain so through November. In the CBS/NYT poll, Hillary beat both Obama and McCain as the candidate who is talking about the economy most by a margin of 25% to Obama’s 13% and McCain’s 7%.

OBAMA UNFAVORABLES RISING QUICKLY: In the CBS/NYT poll, Obama's unfavorables increased by ten points in the last month (24 to 34%) while his favorables decreased by four points. In the CBS/NYT poll, Obama’s unfavorables among independents rose to 31%. The Fox poll shows that in the last two months, Obama's unfavorables have increased by nine points (33 to 42%) while his favorables decreased by seven points (54 to 47%). In the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Obama’s negative ratings increased by five points in the last month (32 to 37%) while his positive ratings decreased by three points in the last month (49 to 46%).

CLINTON STRONGEST AMONG SWING VOTING BLOCS: The new AP-Ipsos poll shows Clinton leading McCain among seniors (51-39) but has McCain BEATING Obama (49-38). She runs stronger against McCain with those under 30 than Obama does, pulling two-thirds of the young vote while Obama gets 55% against McCain. And she wins the Catholic vote against McCain (58-35) while McCain beats Obama (46-43).

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