Sunday, January 25, 2009

And the war drags on . . .

In today's New York Times, Timothy Williams reports on a Saturday raid by US forces in Hawija in which a husband and wife were killed by US forces and their young daughter was wounded. The house raid, Williams reports, required helicopters and was done at two in the morning. For killing the wife, the official story is she reached for something and, later, a gun was allegedly found under a mattress. After he saw his wife slaughtered, the husband went after the US soldiers and was killed. Ahlam Dhia, the eight-year-old daughter, was shot by US soldiers for no official reason cited and she is quoted stating, "They killed my mother and father right in front of me. I was under the blanket. I heard my mom screaming, and I started to cry." Based on descriptions, Williams hypothesizes the soldiers were American Special Ops. It is interesting that when Iraq supposedly has control over their country, US forces -- not Iraqi forces or, for that matter, US forces and Iraqi forces -- are conducting house raids. Ned Parker and Saif Hameed (Los Angeles Times) report, "The chairman of the Hawija Council said the woman's husband, Dhia Hussein, had not been linked to Al Qaeda in Iraq, as the U.S. military claimed" and quote Hussein Ali Salih (the chair) stating, "I personally know Col. Dhia Hussein; he is one of the former army officers and he was trying to return to the new Iraqi army. He has no affiliations with any armed groups." NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro (All Things Considered -- link has video and text) reports:

The U.S. military said the operation was conducted with and approved by Iraq's security forces, as stipulated by a security agreement that went into effect at the beginning of the year. But a senior Iraqi government spokesman said there were no Iraqi forces present and is calling for an investigation of the deaths.
"The Americans were on foot," said Hussein Ali, the father of the man who was killed. "They threw percussion hand grenades at the door, then they started shooting. When I got inside the house, the Americans were gone. I found [my son and daughter-in-law] in the bedroom, dead beside each other. They shot my son at close range. His blood was all over the wall."

Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) waits until paragraph eight to note that Iraqi officials say they did not approve the raid and that it wasn't an Iraqi operation. The first seven paragraphs are the US military's assertion (presented as fact) that the US military, with Iraqi forces and Iraqi approval, conducted the house raid. China's Xinhau cites an unnamed police source, "The source also said that local security forces were not informed about the raid and that the reasons behind the killings are unclear yet."

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 was 4228 and tonight? 4232. Yesterday the US military announced: " A Multi-National Division – Center Soldier died of non-combat related causes in southern Iraq today." And [PDF format warning] they announced, "A 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldier died as a result of non-combat related injuries Jan. 24." The Seattle Times identifies the second death ["A 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldier] as "24-year-old Sgt. Kyle J. Harrington" and notes he is survived by Faith, his wife, and by Joshua (their five-year-old son) and Kaylee (their two-year-old daughter). Just Foreign Policy's counter estimates the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war to be 1,307,319 . . . same as last week and the same as the week before and the week before. Leaving one to wonder if JFP just thinks it's important to track the deaths of Iraqis when Republicans are in the White House?

Turning to some of the reported violence that JFP elects to ignore because Iraqi lives are apparently so unimportant . . .


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that left four people wounded and a Mosul pushcart bombing that wounded three. McClatchy's Hussein Kadhim reported Saturday a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed the life of 1 police officer and left two people injured, another Baghdad roadside bombing that resulted in one person being injured, a Baghdad grenade attack that wounded three people, a Baquba roadside bombing that left three people wounded, and a Shihabi car bombing that cliamed 5 lives and left twenty people injured. Reuters notes two Mosul roadside bombings on Saturday that resulted in 1 death and five people being wounded.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an attack on the Ministry of Science and Technology that left the building in flames.


McClatchy's Hussein Kadhim reported a Saturday Babil attack on the home of "an independent candidate of the Independent list . . . in downtown Hilla."

Provincial elections are scheduled to be held in fourteen of Iraq's eighteen provinces on January 31st. Anthony Shadid (Washington Post) continues reporting on various regions and today offered a look at Ramadi:

In rugged western Iraq, once the bastion of the insurgency against the American occupation and now a freewheeling arena of electoral politics steeped in payola, the conversation in the tribal guesthouse in Anbar province was the equivalent of a stump speech.
"If anything happens to any of our candidates, even a scratch on one of their bodies, we will kill all of their candidates!" bellowed Hamid al-Hais, a tribal leader and party boss whose voice was like his build -- husky, coarse and forceful.
"That's right," shouted another sheik, who had suggested -- in jest, inshallah -- that a friend resolve a dispute by strapping on explosives and blowing himself up.
"Of course!" yelled another, who had accused the governor of urinating on Anbar.
"We'll break all the ballot boxes on their heads!" Hais declared, wagging a finger.

Meanwhile Vice President Joe Biden appeared on CBS Face The Nation (link has text and video) and told Bob Schieffer ("I hate to say it") that the US should expect an increase in the number of US service members killed in Afghanistan in the immediate future. One way not to have to say it is to stop pretending that the Afghanistan War is a noble war and admit it was nothing but a revenge war on the part of the Bully Boy. When Barack continues it, it becomes his own revenge war against innocents. This is the section on Iraq:

On the state of Iraq, Biden used a football metaphor, in honor of the impending Super Bowl: "I think we're basically on the 20-yard line, 20 yards to go. But now comes the really hard part. The surge did work. Our military has done everything we've asked of them, but there needs to be a political reconciliation in Iraq.
"You've heard me on your program many times talking about in the past the need for the Iraqis to determine whether they have a federal system or a strong central government. They're in a debate on that. There is going to be three major elections that are going to take place this year … The bottom line is that a political reconciliation among Sunni, Shia and Kurds, Arab and Indo-European, Arab and Kurd - all of that is still in flux.
"There's progress being made on it, but we need a much stronger push. And there has to be an additional, I think, show of responsibility on the part of the Iraqi leaders that they're able to govern.
"Last point: There's a need for a petrochemical law, an oil law. How do they divide up the revenues? It's a big, big, big, big deal."

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Isaiah's latest goes up after this. Pru highlights this article from Great Britian's Socialist Worker:

This article should be read after: » Eyewitness report: Israel is guilty of war crimes
Student occupations in solidarity with Gaza spread around Britain
A wave of student occupations in solidarity with the people of Gaza is continuing to spread across Britain. There are currently occupations at Kings College London and Oxford, Sussex, Newcastle and Kingston universities. There have also been sit ins at Warwick and Manchester Metropolitan.
These have been inspired by successful protests and occupations at Soas and LSE in London and Essex University. The first three occupations have all ended now, as their main demands have been met.
In Oxford more than 80 students have occupied the historic Bodleian building.
The demands put forward by individual universities are similar, but vary depending on the specific circumstances of each institution. Oxford's give a typical flavour.
Oxford University should release a statement in support of the right of Palestinians to education and its support to the Palestinian Academic community. The University should condemn in particular the attack on the Islamic University in Gaza.
Oxford University currently holds investments in BAE Systems, a firm that the Campaign Against the Arms Trade ( states provides weapons and ammunition for the Israeli military. This means that our university is being directly funded by the Israeli war on Gaza. Oxford University must divest from BAE and other companies which supply arms to Israel.
Five fully paid scholarships for Palestinian students
Particularly after the attack on Gaza and the ongoing hardships suffered by Palestinians, Oxford University should offer 5 fully-funded scholarships to Palestinian students as a way to contribute to greater access to education for those affected by the conflict.
Cancellation lecture series inaugurated by Shimon Peres
The group demands that the Master of Balliol College cancel the lecture series that was inaugurated by the Israeli President Shimon Peres. It is not appropriate to have such a lecture series in light of the attack on Gaza and the ongoing siege.
Resources for EducationThe Oxford University should donate resources to, and support, the University and educational infrastructure that have been bombed in Gaza.
Right to Peaceful Protest
Oxford University has a proud history of student activism. Students united to campaign against apartheid, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All students have a democratic right to peaceful protest and students should not be prevented from expressing their opinions by fear of reprisals.
Occupation blogs
Kings »
Manchester Metropolitan »
Oxford »
Soas »
Sussex »
Warwick »
The following should be read alongside this article: » Eyewitness report: Israel is guilty of war crimes» Gordon Brown gives Israel a licence to kill» Israel’s bloody war fails to achieve aims» Beirut conference calls for solidarity with Palestine» A revival of student militancy over Gaza» Activists take to the streets against the slaughter in Gaza» Councillors condemn Israeli terror» London demo targets Israeli embassy» Mass march in Middlesbrough» Gaza protests continue around Britain» Pictures of Gaza protests around Britain (1)» Pictures of Gaza protests around Britain (2)» Pictures of Gaza protests around Britain (3)» Outrage as BBC blocks charity appeal for Gaza» Scottish anti-war protesters occupy BBC headquarters in Glasgow
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