Tuesday, February 10, 2009

4 US service members killed yesterday doesn't result in huge coverage

Yesterday the US military announced four deaths from a car bombing in Mosul. Ernesto Londoño and Qais Mizher's "4 U.S. Troops, Interpeter Killed in Blast in N. Iraq" (Washington Post) is the most in depth article offered by a US outlet. They explain:

An Iraqi official in Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital, said a person driving a pickup truck loaded with explosives rammed into a U.S. armored vehicle about 11 a.m. in the city's Jadid district.
The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said the attack also wounded two Iraqi policemen and a civilian.

Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) adds, "They were the first American military deaths blamed on hostile action since Jan. 18, and the attack was the worst since May, when four troops also died in a single incident." Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) has nothing but the military press release and rounds out her report noting violence in Mosul on Monday: "In one of those attacks, two Iraqi police officers, both on their day off, were shot to death by unidentified gunmen. A roadside bomb that appeared to be aimed at an Iraqi Army convoy exploded, killing a passer-by and a soldier in the convoy, and a 17-year-old girl was shot to death by an unidentified gunman." Trenton Daniel (McClatchy Newspapers) also offers other Mosul violence: "Two children were wounded in a roadside bombing, and a mortar attack in downtown Mosul killed three people, two of whom were police officers. Seven others, including a police officer, were wounded. Separately, seven people were wounded Monday evening in northern Baghdad in a mortar attack. In the southern port city of Najaf, a roadside bomb blew up in front of a police official's home, but no casualties were reported."

It's truly amazing how little attention the deaths of four US service members in Iraq receives. And look for it to receive even less attention from Panhandle Media which is largely incapable of doing its own thinking and takes its cue from dash-in-and-out-of-Iraq Patrick Cockburn who's fallen in love with Nouri al-Maliki.

A real journalist who covered Iraq is Thomas E. Ricks. Tim Rutten (Los Angeles Times) reviews Ricks' new book The Gamble and notes, "This is contemporary history of a vivid and urgent sort, and Ricks has produced a book that deserves to be read by any American who realizes that something other than today's economic news also is of vital interest to the nation." Michiko Kakutani (New York Times) also reviews the book today and notes, "Mr. Ricks writes as both an analyst and a reporter with lots of real-time access to the chain of command, and his book's narrative is animated by closely observed descriptions of how the surge worked on the ground, by a savvy knowledge of internal Pentagon politics, and by a keen understanding of the Iraq war's long-term fallout on already strained American forces." From Rick's "The right way to do Iraq, and the wrong way" (Foreign Policy):

Two excerpts from my new book The Gamble are running in the Washington Post Sunday and Monday. There also are some cool on-line only things -- not just another excerpt, but also a great video about how one officer, Capt. Samuel Cook of the 3rd Armored Cavalry, conducted counterinsurgency operations in one part of Iraq last year. (To read more about how Cook talked an insurgent leader into cooperation, read this excerpt from the book, a section called "The Insurgent Who Loved Titanic.")

FYI, Ricks is of the opinion that the US cannot leave Iraq and clearly everyone in this community (including me) disagree with that call. But that's an opinion expressed in the book and not what his book's about. It's offering a serious look at events on the ground in Iraq and it is as strong a read as his previous book Fiasco (my opinion).

The KRG updates the release noted yesterday morning to add:

Kurdistan Regional Government and Qatar sign MOU
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed on Sunday between the Kurdistan Regional Government and Qatar covering cooperation on infrastructure, agricultural development, agricultural investment, tourism and air transport.
The memorandum also refers to the possibility of opening diplomatic offices in both Qatar and the Kurdistan Region as part of plans to develop diplomatic and trade ties.

Meanwhile Iraq's Foreign Ministry notes:

10 February, 2009

Undersecretary for Policy Planning and Bilateral Relations Meets Norwegian Delegation

Undersecretary for Policy Planning and Bilateral Relations Mr. Labeed Abbawi met with the Norwegian Ambassador Mr. Peter Ridder , the Norwegian non-resident Ambassador in Iraq Mrs. Mette Raven and Mrs. Anita Crocken Official at the Norwegian Foreign Ministry on Monday morning 9/2/2008.

The two sides reviewed bilateral relations between the two countries and ways of strengthening them, as well as the conditions of Iraqi refugees in Norway. Mr. Abbawi stated that Iraq is working to provide a safe atmosphere necessary for the reception of refugees and displaced Iraqis because Iraq needs them in rebuilding their country emphasizing at the same time on the human nature and voluntarily of the process of Iraqi citizens abroad.

The delegation made an invitation to Mr. Abbawi to visit Norway for the opening of the Iraqi embassy in Oslo, and to follow up on the discussion related to bilateral relations and other common interest.

On his part, Mr. Abbawi reviewed the political and security developments and the results of provincial elections, adding that the situation in the country is stable and safe and called on Norwegian companies to work and invest in Iraq. The meeting was attended by Ambassador Hussein Moalah, Head of Europe Department and Ambassador Kassem Abdolbaqi Head of the Legal Department and Deputy Head of Europe Department Mr. Shamil Abdel Aziz Mohamed.

Mette Ravn presented her credentials in 2007. From Norway's offical embassy site:

The Ambassador of Norway presents her Letter of Credentials to the President of Iraq

The Ambassador of Norway, Mrs. Mette Ravn, presented her Letter of Credentials to the President of Iraq, His Excellency Jalal Talabani, in Baghdad on the 4th of December 2007.

14/02/2008 ::

Ambassador Ravn expressend Norway’s confidence in the ability of the Iraqi people to build a strong, unified nation and Norway’s readiness to continue to assist with the reconstruction of Iraq.

Ambassador Ravn, who was accompanied by First Secretary Hanne Ulrichsen, also met with Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Vice President Abdel Abdul-Mehdi, some resident Ambassadors, and the UN SRSG to Iraq, Staffan de Mistura, during her visit which lasted five days.

The Ambassador presents her Letter of Credentials to President Talabani.

The following community sites updated last night:

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

the washington post the los angeles times
 tina susman
the new york times
alissa j. rubin
mcclatchy newspapers

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends