The Ashura pilgrimage is going on Iraq. Shi'ite Muslims head to Krbala for rememberance and mourning. As with all pilgrimages in Iraq -- and despite Nouri al-Maliki's claims of having brought 'security' to Iraq -- the pilgrims are targeted. AP reports 11 dead and seventy wounded in bombing attacks on the Pilgrims today in Babil Province. Al Jazeera notes yesterday's attacks which led to the deaths of 4 pilgrims in Baghdad and twenty-eight more injured. CNN adds, "Ashura commemorates the martyrdom of Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Hussein was killed in battle in Karbala in 680, one of the events that helped create the schism between Sunnis and Shiites, the two main Muslim religious movements."
Iraqi Christians are again targeted in Iraq as well. Catholic News Service provides some of the recent history of targeting:
International news agencies reported that Christians in Iraq had received threats because Christmas falls just two days before Ashoura, the Shiite Muslim holiday marking the death of Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed, at the Battle of Karbala in present-day Iraq in the seventh century.
In July, a series of church bombings in Mosul left at least four dead and more than 30 injured. A flare-up in violence in October 2008 claimed the lives of 13 Christians and forced thousands to flee the city.
In February 2008 Chaldean Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho of Mosul was kidnapped, and his driver and two bodyguards were killed. Two weeks later his body was recovered after kidnappers revealed where it was buried.
His replacement, Archbishop-elect Emil Shimoun Nona of Mosul, is scheduled to be ordained in January. Pope Benedict XVI confirmed his election in November.
Alsumaria reports, "Iraqis are celebrating Christmas discretely due to deteriorated security and because of mounting attacks against Christians. Christmas ornament is decorating timidly Iraqi streets and Christian families are staying home after Mass." AFP explains, "Since the US-led invasion of 2003, hundreds of Iraqi Christians have been killed and several churches attacked. Around 800,000 Christians lived in Iraq at the time of the invasion, but their number has since shrunk by a third or more as members of the community have fled abroad, according to Christian leaders."
As various religious groups are targeted in Iraq, it's probably not a good time for Iraqi officials to be using certain terms. Hassan Hafidh (Dow Jones) reports, "Iraq is working on a 'master plan' to construct new infrastructure to boost the country's oil export capacity, after the award earlier this year of 10 large contracts to international oil companies, the country's Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani said Wednesday."
Tonight, there will be a Thursday night entries. In it the topic of Iraqi Christians will be touched on. Tomorrow (and Saturday and Sunday) there will be entries. The only real change is that there may not be a Friday snapshot. Whether there is or not will depend upon how much news is coming out of Iraq. (And whether I think it's important enough to justify others posting at their sites because if I do a snapshot, others have already said they'll post something to include it.) We'll probably do a talking entry or two between now now and Monday. Mike plans to blog on Friday. That's snapshot or not. So be sure to visit his site (as if you don't already).
Dmitry Babich (Russia's RIA Novosti via the Telegraph of London) reports:
As the investigation into the circumstances of the US-British invasion of Iraq in 2003 continues, Russia unexpectedly popped up as one more brick in the defensive wall that former officials of Tony Blair's government are building around their actions in 2001-2003.
Blair's ex-foreign policy adviser Sir John Sawers said Russia blocked the "smart sanctions” against Iraq, which the US and British delegations lobbied for in the UN Security Council in 2001. In Sawers' view, this stance of Russia made the war inevitable.
Andrew Gilligan, the former defence and diplomatic correspondent at BBC's Radio 4, is rather sceptical of Sawers' allegations. "I would say to John Sawers: 'Nice try.' But I don't think there is any truth in what he said at all,” Gilligan said in an interview to Moscow-based Russia Today television channel.
"An awful lot of countries have been breaking sanctions against Iraq… It was clear that the United States and Britain wanted a war.”
Thursday, Chrismas Eve, Free Speech Radio News examines the costs to Iraqis of the Iraq War in a special half-hour broadcast:
Iraqis make up the world's largest population of refugees. The 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq released a wave of violence and economic instability and brought with it the destruction of key infrastructure and the near-collapse of basic services. More than 2.7 million Iraqis have been displaced within their borders and another two million have fled their country, largely to Syria and Jordan. Today we bring you a special FSRN documentary called, "Guests in the Waiting Room: Iraqi refugees in Jordan," produced by Hanan Tabbara and Salam Talib.
We'll close with this from Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff's "Inside the Military Media Industrial Complex: Impacts on Movements for Peace and Social Justice" (Dissident Voice):
Omitted or Undercovered Stories- The failure of the corporate media to cover human consequences, like one million , mostly civilian deaths of Iraqis, reduces public response to the wars being conducted by the US. Even when activists do mobilize, the media coverage of anti-war demonstrations has been negligible and denigrating from the start. When journalists of the so-called free press ignore the anti-war movement, they serve the interests of their masters in the military media industrial complex.7
Further, the corporate mainstream press continues to ignore the human cost of the US war in Iraq with America’s own veterans. Veteran care, wounded rates, mental disabilities, VA claims, first hand accounts of soldier experiences, and pictures of dead or limbless soldiers are rare. One of the most important stories missed by the corporate press concerned the Winter Soldier Congressional hearings in Washington, D.C. The hearings, with eyewitness testimony of US soldiers relating their experiences on the battlefield and beyond, were only covered by a scant number of major media, and then only in passing. In contrast to the virtual corporate media blackout concerning American soldiers’ views of the war, the independent, listener sponsored, community Pacifica Radio network covered the hearings at length.8
March 20th there's a DC action being called by A.N.S.W.E.R. and others.
And Cedric's "It's not complicated" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! THE GIFT OF LOGIC!" went up this morning.
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