Wednesday, August 19, 2009

77 dead, 420 injured in Iraq; 1 US soldier reported dead

Violence sweeps through Baghdad on such a large scale that even the press has to pay attention. Caroline Alexander (Bloomberg News) notes the website of the political party of Jalal Talabani (president of Iraq) reports multiple Baghdad bombings (not "immediately clear how many bombs were detonated or where") with multiple deaths and hundreds injured: "The finance, foreign, health, education, and housing ministries were all targeted, the PUK said, without indicating which blasts caused casualties. State-owned Iraqiya television broadcast footage of the capital showing plumes of gray smoke rising over rooftops." CNN counts 75 dead and three-hundred and ten injured and note the targeting of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance. Liz Sly and Usama Redha (Los Angeles Times) state those were "the main targets," note mortar attacks and quote eye witness Gaith Abdulla stating, "I saw people killed and wounded on the ground and many cars were ablaze. The security forces started shooting and were firing randomly. Then another massive explosion shook the whole place." Some outlets are saying car bombs, some are saying truck bombs. Adam Ashton (McClatchy Newspapers) goes with truck bombings and quotes Katheem Hanoon who was selling snacks and water by the ministry before "[s]he was buried under her goods and shelves after the bombing": "What security? Where is it? Is it borther killing brother, son killing father?"

Oliver August (Times of London) reminds
, "Today is the sixth anniversary of a truck bombing that hit the United Nations compound in Baghdad, killing 22 people including special envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello." The link includes Sky News' video and you can see what looks like hundreds of burned out cars, some still aflame, and attempts to hose them down. Some were clearly parked (in a parking lot), others were on the road and apparently in motion when the explosions took place. August quotes a guest at the Rasheed Hotel stating, "The windows were blwon out and the doors were taken out, even the door frames went. If I had been in my room at the time I would have been seriously injured or worse. Everything is locked down now. Nobody can move anywhere, nobody is getting in or out. Even our security team cannot move." The eye witness is identified as "John Tipple, a UK solicitor". Not noted is that Tipple is one of Danny Fitzsimons' attorneys -- the British contractor who could face trial in Iraq and face the death penalty. Tipple is in Iraq attempting to have Danny Fitzsimons' case transferred to England.

Martin Chulov (Guardian) reports that the bombings, "at least six attacks," began at 10:30 a.m. in the morning "within minutes of each other, the largest being the one outside the Foreign Ministry". Chulov's report is text and video and that's from the video. Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) quotes survivor Samira Hachem (whose apartment is near the Foreign Ministry), "All these things landed on top of me. These terrorists. Many innocent people were killed." Reuters notes the death toll has risen to 77 and the injured to 420. Both tolls may rise throughout the day as rubble is cleared and as some of the wounded may not pull through. They also report, "A U.S. soldier stationed at FOB Echo in Diwaniya, 150 km (95 miles) south of Baghdad, was killed in combat, the U.S. military said. No details were provided."

No, the Iraq War has not ended.

And yet, see previous entry, so many have walked on,, away from Iraq.

We lived up in Cambridge
And browsed in the hippest newsstands
Then we started our own newspaper
Gave the truth about Uncle Sam
We loved to be so radical
But like a ragged love affair
Some became disenchanted
And some of us just got scared

Now are you playing possum
Keeping a low profile
Are you playing possum for a while
-- "Playing Possum," written by Carly Simon, from her album of the same name.

Carly has an album due out shortly, Never Been Gone (yes, that is the title of a classic song she wrote with Jacob Brackman and she performed on her Spy album -- also appears on Greatest Hits Live). Did all the people who stated they were opposed to the Iraq War just vanish? Are they playing possum? Cat got their tongue? Serving in the Cult of St. Barack require a vow of silence? Hmmm?

If they were functioning, some might call out the latest nonsense served up by 'the paper of record' Sam Dagher (New York Times) 'reports' that the US military is stating that a rocket launcher they "seized" in Basra is "Iranian-made". Shudder. Oh no. Here's the official MNF statement that Dagher's teasing out via stenography. Each day, in every way, the New York Times becomes a better Voice of America.

It's summer. What are you reading?

Zed Books

Body Politics in Development
Struggles for Citizenship in Africa
Bronwen Manby

This is a sharp, concise and convincing analysis of the ruthless manipulation of the idea of citizenship by Africa’s rulers. Manby brilliantly exposes the large scale legalised discrimination and disenfranchisement which underlie many of today’s political conflicts in Africa. A must read for policymakers and any serious student of African politics.' - Tom Porteous, author of 'Britain in Africa'

ISBN: 9781848133525 £12.99

The Middle East

The Middle East
The Politics of the Sacred and the Secular

Shahrough Akhavi

'In a sweeping survey of political ideas from early Islam until now, from Ibn Taymiyya to Shariati and Shahrur, this book makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of how the Middle East has discussed such fundamental notions as authority, individual, society, and the state. Navigating between political history and political ideas, this is an engaging exercise in the Middle Eastern sociology of knowledge.' - Asef Bayat, Professor of Sociology and Middle East Studies, Leiden University, The Netherlands

ISBN 9781842778975, £16.99

Communication for Another Development
Communication for Another Development
Listening before Telling
Wendy Quarry and Ricardo Ramirez

'Personal, funny and entertaining, this book provides a better insight into the value, potential - and ultimately hugely frustrating practice - of using communication to listen rather than tell than any I’ve come across for a very long time. Anyone interested in development will learn much from this book. Those working or interested in using communication in development could usefully place it on their required reading list.' - James Deane, Head of Policy, BBC World Service Trust

ISBN: 9781848130098 £16.99

The United Nations and Civil Society
The United Nations and Civil Society
Legitimating Global Governance - Whose Voice?
Nora McKeon

'Nora McKeon's book is a masterful investigation of how and why the UN system is (slowly) opening up to civil society - a key development in global governance. This is a major contribution and a rare bridge between academic scholarship and policy debate' - Mario Pianta, Professor of Economic Policy, University of Urbino, Italy

'This book is a tonic recipe for reinvigorating the UN by opening up its forums to the social actors most dramatically affected by globalization. This is required reading for all those concerned with global governance' - Henri Carsalade, Former Assistant Director-General of FAO

ISBN 9781848132757 £22.99

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Along with those interesting books, consider Michelle Mercer's Will You Take Me As I Am: Joni Mitchell's Blue Period examining Joni Mitchell's studio albums from Blue to Hejira. It's a very strong book (and Rebecca recommended it Monday night). (At Third, we addressed Joni's albums Sunday in "The Joni Roundtable.")

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the los angeles times
liz sly

the washington post
ernesto londono
martin chulov

sam dagher