Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Yesterday's bombings claims 37 lives

Yesterday, multiple bombs struck Baghdad. Alsumaria summarizes them: "In the details of this gory day, the first explosion in Sadr City killed at least 12 citizens and wounded 35 others while the second explosion killed 6 and wounded 17. Few hours later, two other explosions detonated in Bahi Um Al Maalef market killing 12 people and wounding 32. Moreover, two other blasts rocked a market region in Al Hussainiya killing four while the fourth blast detonated in eastern Baghdad targeting as it seems an Interior Ministry official convoy killing two of his guards and a passer by. Another explosion in Southern Baghdad market wounded two people." Usama Redha and Caesar Ahmed (Los Angeles Times) put the death toll at 36 ("at least") and the number wounded at ninety from six car bombings and they observe:

The blasts stoked fears that time was running out for the country's Shiite-led government to promote reconciliation among sects and ethnic groups. Suspects in the bombing included the group Al Qaeda in Iraq and the outlawed Baath Party as well as U.S.-backed Sunni paramilitary fighters, called the Sons of Iraq.
The explosions came a week after Iraqi forces put down an insurrection by Sons of Iraq fighters in east Baghdad, which raised fear that Sunnis who had turned against the insurgency could return to fighting the Shiite-led government.

Anthony Shadid (Washington Post) also offers observations:

The bombings shattered a semblance of the ordinary that had returned to Baghdad in past months. Six car bombs had detonated in the capital in all of January, Interior Ministry officials said, four in February and three in March. Many in the city took Monday's carnage as evidence that tensions between Iraq's Shiite parties and within Sunni communities have deepened, and that unknown new forces were at work.
In each attack, explosives were packed in a car parked near its apparent target, then detonated remotely. Although an Interior Ministry official blamed the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq, none of the attacks appeared to be carried out by suicide bombers, a favored tactic of the organization. Survivors blamed groups that ran the political gamut of Iraq, testifying to a landscape arguably murkier than at any time since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

If there's one thing that stands out in all the US reporting, it's how little represented the victims are. That may be due to the fact that there were six Baghdad car bombings (and one roadside bombing in the evening which most ignore) but it's hard to think of a bombing or series of them in Iraq that got so much (print) coverage with so little efforts to quote the victims. Laith Hammoudi and Corinne Reilly (McClatchy Newspapers) note:

"I saw a man who lost his hand and another who lost a leg and also a woman who lost both hands," said Haider Abd al Hassan, a 30-year-old merchant who was in his shop when the bomb exploded. He said he'd carried away three of the wounded.
Another witness, Hammad Radhi, said Iraqi soldiers began shooting in the air to clear the scene after the explosion. "Some people were yelling at the army not to shoot," Radhi said. "I heard others shouting not to gather because there could be a secondary explosion" targeting rescuers.

Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) cites one eye witness:

"We are all so simple," said Hussein Jawad, 40, a construction worker who was wounded in the first attack, which occurred at 7 a.m. when a parked car exploded outside a row of grocery stores and restaurants in the Alawi neighborhood in central Baghdad.
"We are all workers," said Mr. Jawad, his head swathed in bandages covering cuts from shrapnel or flying glass. He said he could not understand why a bomb had been planted there, except as sabotage. "We are not a military outpost. This is a public place."

Most telling report? Deborah Haynes (Times of London) compresses a lot in the paragraph below about UK Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Peter Mandelson:

"The perpetrators of yesterday's bombings are cowards," he told a press conference with Iraq’s Minister of Trade following a luncheon at a hotel in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone with British delegates and a selection of Iraqi ministers.

You might have to read that twice to grasp it. (If you need an EZ Guide: Mandelson's whining about "cowards." He's doing so from the "fortified Green Zone".) We said print earlier for a reason.

Did you see the garbage on network news yesterday? An earthquake in Italy? Was it news on yesterday? It was a headline at best. At best. But it made all the networks because they had 'footage.' (Remember the COWARDS of network TV have left Iraq.) And they had time to prove yet again to everyone how the propaganda model works (how curious that Cowards and Fools like John Nichols only comment on that sort of thing when a Republican is in the White House.) That had time for "senior moments" and for advertisements. After a lengthy piece of fluff about a candy store, name the anchor who declared, "By the way the owners of that desert bar alerted us to that bright spot in the economy"? Apparently in hard times, news anchors worry about their Italian villas and farm out stories to local businesses. Maybe they could instead spend some of the time worrying about reading their teleprompters better? Two networks especially had difficulties yesterday.

The NewsHour (PBS) did manage to at least mention the bombings. Gwen Ifill: "In Iraq, a string of six bombings tore through Shia nieghborhoods in Baghdad. Iraqi police reported
at least 37 people were killed and more than 100 wounded. The blast sites were littered with mangled wreckage and burned out cars. The deadliest attack happened at a busy market in the western part of Baghdad. " Gwen has two sentences that follow. As read they are incorrect. She left out the word "combat." The question I'm asking PBS friends is why, with all the millions NPR spends in Iraq, are NPR's reporters not brought on The NewsHour and I'm also asking them to explain why Diane Rehm will invite non-reporters (columnists are journalists, very few of them are reporters) for her Friday wrap ups of the news but refuses to bring on Lourdes or other NPR reporters in Iraq. At a time when most outlets have pulled reporters, NPR continues to maintain a Baghdad staff.

The Kurdistan Regional Government notes:

Fourth British trade delegation visits Kurdistan Region

The 14 British company representatives together with the Middle East Association (MEA), the leading trade association for business between the UK and the Middle East, yesterday completed their six-day visit, meeting many government officials and Kurdistan’s business community.

Mr David Lloyd, the UK’s former Ambassador to Slovenia and a Senior Consultant to the MEA, said, “This is the MEA’s fourth trade mission to the Kurdistan Region, and my second visit. Each time, I have found much goodwill towards Britain, opportunities in many sectors, and a good security situation.”

Ms Leanne Case, representing the UK Department of Trade and Investment (UKTI) at the British Embassy in Baghdad, also participated in the trade mission. Now that UKTI has recently re-established a presence in Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) hopes that more British companies will use the Kurdistan Region as a gateway to doing business in all of Iraq.

Mr Lloyd and Mr Dara Jalil al-Khayat, the President of the Federation of Kurdistan Chambers of Commerce, held a meeting of the UK-Kurdistan Region Business Forum. They discussed how to encourage more British companies to enter the Kurdistan market and enable visits by Kurdistan’s chambers of commerce to the UK.

The delegation was welcomed by Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir, the Head of Foreign Relations, and the Kurdistan-UK Friendship Association. They held meetings with several KRG ministries and with Mr Nawzad Hadi, the Governor of Erbil. They also made the first visit by a MEA delegation to Dohuk Governorate where they met Governor Temer Ramazan and Dohuk Chamber of Commerce. They saw the progress being made in many sectors, visiting construction, water treatment, oil refinery and mineral water bottling projects. The MEA had visited Suleimaniah governorate on three previous trade missions.

The companies represented in the delegation were: A4e (welfare and social policy consultants), Agri-Solutions (agriculture), Bailey Tantalus (interior decor products), Blue Hackle (security), Chapman Taylor (architects and master planners), Harsco (construction products and services), London School of English (adult English-language training), MCI Diventi (IT and telecoms), RWCL (engineering consultants), TES (water and waste water treatment) and Vibropower (diesel generators). The visit was arranged by the KRG Representation to the UK and the Department of Foreign Relations.

And Iraq's Foreign Ministry announces:

6 April, 2009

Foreign Minister Receives Danish Ambassador in Baghdad

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari received in his office on Monday 6/4/2009 the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark in Baghdad, Mr. Michael Hemente Wender upon his request.
The meeting dealt with bilateral relations and ways of developing them to serve the interests of the two countries.

Minister Zebari congratulated on behalf of the Iraqi government on the election of Prime Minister Mr. Rasmussen as secretary general of NATO and wished him success in his mission.

The Danish Ambassador stated that a Danish economic and businessmen delegation will visit Iraq soon to discuss the possibility of activating economic and trade relations between the two countries and the contribution of Danish companies in the reconstruction of Iraq and to invest in Iraqi institutions.

Foreign Minister Zebari welcomed the delegation's visit and mentioned that many Arab and foreign delegations are visiting Iraq on a continuous basis.

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends