Sunday, October 05, 2008

And the war drags on . . .

Mahdi Saleh Abd, 32, is scarred by the images of his dead brothers. Gunmen shot two in their home. The Shiite family fled the city of Habbaniyah in mostly Sunni Arab Anbar province. But before they could get away thugs ambushed the family and slit a third brother's throat in front of Abd and his mother.
That was two years ago, but as he told his story inside a trailer at a displaced persons camp in southern Iraq, his face was rife with worry.
The Ministry of Displacement and Migration has ordered closure of the tent and trailer camp in the desert where Abd’s family lives along with 230 other Shiite Muslim families just outside the southern city of Najaf -- almost all displaced from Sunni-dominated Anbar province or Sunni neighborhoods of Baghdad. Officials said the government plans to close all other camps for the displaced in Iraq. One official described them as “fake camps,” filled with people who are criminals taking advantage of the aid provided by non-governmental organizations.
"I've looked for work for two years. We have nowhere to go," Abd said, his eyes filled with tears at the thought of returning to the place where his brothers were killed. "Habbaniyah only has Sunni people. When you need them they will not defend you. They killed three of my family."

The above is from Leila Fadel's "Displaced Iraqis, now told to go home, fear for their lives" (McClatchy Newspapers) and it's an examination of what's happening to the internal refugees which shouldn't be at all surprising considering it's time for the puppet government to yet again insist that 'progess' has been made. It's behind the supplying of Iraqi oil to Jordan which has been used as a leverage to cajole Jordan into sending some Iraqi refugees home. The United Nations and the International Red Cross continue to warn against Iraqis returning due to the continued violence. But it's such good p.r. for the puppet government, how can they resist. And if it's anything like last year's Myth of the Great Return, they'll get anywhere from six to eight weeks where they're allowed to make false claims before some in the press finally out their lies.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war hit the 4,174 was the number. And tonight? 4177 is ICCC's count. Just Foreign Policy's counter estimates the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war to be 1,273,376 up from 1,267,401 up. Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 people shot dead at a Mosul funeral (six more wounded), two police officers wounded in another Mosul attack, 3 people shot dead in Diyala Province and a US raid in Mosul led to 11 Iraqi deaths. Corinne Reilly and Yassem Taha (McClatchy) add, "Neighbors told Iraqi police in Mosul that the family was peaceful, but the U.S. military said five of the dead were terrorists who had targeted American soldiers. A military spokesman said at least some of the Iraqis were killed when a member of the family detonated a suicide bomb inside the house the Americans were raiding." Reuters notes 1 Iraqi Christian was shot dead in his store on Saturday in Mosul and, back to Sunday, 1 butcher was shot dead in Mosul and his son injured.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClathcy Newspapers) reports 3 corpses discovered in Mosul and 1 found in Kirkuk (all four had been kidnapped the day prior).

CNN reports that Saturday night saw the collision of 2 "UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters" resulting in the death of 1 Iraqi soldiers and 4 soldiers (2 Iraqi, 2 US soldiers) being wounded and that "two Interior Ministry officials said that a U.S. helicopter crashed in northeastern Baghdad as a result of clashes between U.S.-backed Iraqi forces and gunmen." Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) reports, "Local Iraqi police officers said the tail of one of the helicopters caught fire before it crashed and taht there was shooting from the surrounding area when it came down."

On the diplomatic front, Corinne Reilly and Yassem Taha (McClatchy) report that a visit to Bagdady ("one-day stop") today by Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Foreign Minister of Egypt "was the first visit to Iraq in nearly 20 years by a high-ranking Egyptian delegation." Mohammed Abbas(Reuters) notes that the minister "promised to reopen an embassy in Baghdad soon".

Kat's "Kat's Korner: Aimee Mann ain't smiling" went up last night and new content at Third:

Truest statement of the week
Truest stament of the week II
A note to our readers
Editorial: Sour Grape Girls, Tears Dry On Their Own
TV: The Comedy of Errors
The Vagina Strikes Back! (Ava and C.I.)
Again, whose media center?
Goodbye To All That WMC Style
Bail Out Barry screws the tax payers
Green Party Women's Caucus stands up
Authoritarina Fool of the Week
Sponsor a Team Nader volunteer

Pru notes the following from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

This article should be read after: » No bailout for banks - seize their profits!
US war woes intensify as instability spreads
by Simon Assaf
As the global financial markets went into meltdown on Monday, US general David Petraeus came knocking at Gordon Brown’s door.
Petraeus was demanding that Brown beef up the number of British troops in Afghanistan.
It is not known what the response was, but his visit confirmed that problems for the US are stacking up across the world.
The commitment of Canadian and Dutch governments to the military coalition in Afghanistan is now in question.
The British commander is being told that he has to do without the extra 4,000 troops he needs to secure the Helmand province.
Petraeus has warned that the planned transfer of troops from Iraq has only been partially met. While commanders on the ground were demanding a minimum of 10,000 extra troops, he can only deliver 4,000.
The Pentagon’s National Intelligence Estimate has described the Afghan war as "grim".
The Taliban and other resistance organisations have a stranglehold over the capital and seem to be able to strike at will in different parts of the country.
The consensus in countries in the Nato alliance is that the occupation is heading for defeat.
Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress recently that "we're running out of time. I’m not convinced we're winning."
He said that he has commissioned "a new, more comprehensive military strategy for the region that covers both sides of the [Afghanistan-Pakistan] border".
The first elements of this strategy are now being played out. The Pakistani army has launched a massive offensive in the tribal regions along Pakistan’s northern border.
According to the United Nations over 20,000 refugees are now pouring into Afghanistan.
The heightened tension has led to several armed confrontations between Pakistani and US troops.
The highly influential Rand Corporation, a right wing think-tank, summed it up:
"We are now at a tipping point, with about half of the country now penetrated by a range of Sunni militant groups including the Taliban and Al Qaida."
Part of the problem lies in the "fragility" of the occupation in Iraq. The US military is divided about how quickly they can transfer troops from there to Afghanistan.
Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, warned, "I believe we have now entered that endgame and our decisions today and in the months ahead will be critical to regional stability and our national security interests for the years to come."
US ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker is calling for "strategic patience" – which means don't give up Iraq to save Afghanistan. He fears the growing influence of Iran in Iraq.
Crocker claims that the Iranians have a "fundamental desire to oppose the development of a fully secure and stable Iraq. I think they would like to keep Iraq off balance as a way of being able to control events here to the satisfaction of Tehran."
Short of introducing the draft, the US military does not have enough troops to prosecute two wars. It can stabilise one occupation, but not both at the same time.
This dilemma is expressed by the different strategies presented by rival presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain.
Obama wants the US to focus on the Afghainstan-Pakistan war. McCain wants to move on Iran.
To add to US woes, Russia is now dragging its feet over reining back Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
It withdrew from a critical meeting with Western governments last week that was set to tighten economic sanctions on the Iranian regime.
Russia has also gone cold over opening up a key supply route for Nato through northern Afghanistan.
Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov announced on Monday, "The agreement that was signed with Nato at the April summit in Bucharest is still formally in effect, but there is no chance of putting it into practice."
This deal would have allowed Nato to resupply its troops without passing through treacherous regions of northern Pakistan.
Russia is throwing its weight around the former soviet states in central Asia as it is confident following its recent victory over Georgia.
To add to US nervousness, Russian warships have established control over the Black Sea and docked in their old base in Syria – marking the return of its fleet to the Mediterranean.
Another flotilla is conducting exercises with the Venezuelan navy in Caribbean.
The credibility of US power is also under question in Africa – the so called "third front on the war on terror".
The US encouraged Ethiopia to invade Somalia in its battle against "Islamist extremism".
This occupation is rapidly unravelling, threatening US plans to control the strategically important Horn of Africa.
Over the past eight years George Bush has unleashed a series of wars he hoped would increase US power. Instead these wars' failures has proved its limits.
The recent economic meltdown, although not directly affecting its ability to fight, makes this struggle even more desperate.
The spread of war to Pakistan, and possibly Iran, remains a warning that its desperate attempts to manage defeat means the US is making the world a more dangerous place.
The following should be read alongside this article: »
No bailout for banks - seize their profits!» Panic and division hits US ruling class» Europe's economies teetering on the edge» Turmoil on Wall Street hammers Moscow's markets» Africa: a continent living in fear of starvation» Shockwave hits China and Japan» Playing a dangerous game with our pensions
Afghanistan: Why we should get out, a new Stop the War Coalition pamphlet by Chris Nineham and Jane Shallice, with an introduction by John Pilger, is out now for £1. To order copies phone 020 7278 6694 or go to
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mcclatchy newspapers
mohammed al dulaimy
leila fadel
corinne reilly
the new york times
alissa j. rubin

simon assaf