Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Baghdad slammed by bombings

Baghdad has again been slammed by bombings. BBC News counts "at least 28 people" dead and another seventy-five injured following multiple bombings in the Iraqi capital. The link has video as well as text and the video shows rubble and people attempting to clear it, Xiong Tong (Xinhua) adds that the death toll increased to 35 and the number injured to 140 and cites a source in the Ministry of the Interior for those numbers and for the assertion that there were seven bombings today. DPA observes, "Tuesday's deadly attacks came only two days after three, apparently coordinated, car bombs killed dozens of people and injured hundreds in the capital, amid tense negotiations on forming a new government after March 7 parliamentary polls." On NPR's hourly news break, Quil Lawrence went with 35 dead and 140 injured as well and noted seven bombings some of which were strong enough to "bring down buildings." Timothy Williams and Yasmine Mousa (New York Times) report on it here. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) adds:

Security sources said the attacks were implemented by bombs planted near the gates of the buildings in the neighborhoods of Chkook, Shaula, Alawi Al Hilla , Shurta the 4th, Amil and Elam. The attacks came two days after explosions that targeted diplomatic missions in the Iraqi capital, in which more than 40 Iraqis were killed and 224 were wounded.Conventional wisdom continues to be that Iraq's elections resulted in 'confusion' and a 'power vacuum' now exists leading to violence. Sounds like too many reporters talking to themselves. It's not as if Nouri doesn't remain sitting prime minister today with the same security forces and militia at his command. Violence has increased? Following the election? Like the 2005 election? Well the key there, according to poli sci analysts, was not a power vacuum but the stoking of sectarian tensions as campaign strategy. That may or may not be what's happening currently. However, the conventional wisdom doesn't hold up to scrutiny though it does increase in popularity (Allawi is now repeating it).

Zvi Bar'el (Haaretz) offers a take on Nouri al-Maliki and Ayad Allawi and notes that al-Maliki was always a favorite of George W. Bush:

When Barack Obama was elected U.S. president, the criticism was replaced by esteem. The demands to remove him from power vanished from Washington but increased in Iraq, where he is accused of corruption and failing to develop infrastructure. His battle against Sadr, considered a victory in the West, is perceived as a betrayal by extremist Shi'ite groups, who will have to decide which of the election winners they prefer to support.
Allawi is a a secular Shi'ite, who during Saddam's era spent 30 years as an expatriate in Britain. In exile he planned Saddam's downfall with the American and British intelligence agencies. Upon his return to Iraq, he established the Iraqi intelligence services under the guidance of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. This does not mean his victory was achieved thanks to this cooperation but if he does put together a government, they will no doubt be pleased in Washington.
Both Maliki and Allawi have glorious pasts as militant oppositionists against Saddam Hussein's regime. Maliki fled Iraq in 1980, after Saddam issued a death warrant against him. Initially, he found refuge in Syria and then in Iran, where he spent several years and controlled subversive networks inside Iraq.

In the US, Ben Hillyer (Natchez Democrat) reports Monday was an exciting day for third grader Tania Dixon as she waited for school to let out so she could see her mother Audrey Dixon who would be returning from Iraq but instead her mother surprised her by showing up at school. Meanwhile Jeffrey Raizner (Doyle Raizner LLP) notes, "Today Houston Chronicle reporter Mary Flood published an article on the re-filing of the suit on behalf of about 50 members of the Indiana National Guard against KBR. The Guardsmen were assigned as protection detail for KBR workers restoring a water treatment plant at Qarmat Ali in Southern Iraq. They were exposed at that plant to the toxic chemical sodium dichromate, which had been used by the Iraqi's as an anti-corrosive in their oilfield water supply pipes. The suit was originally filed in Indiana, but the federal district court there determined that the court lacked personal jurisdiction over KBR. The refiled suit in Houston has been assigned to District Judge Vanessa Gilmore. The chronicle article can be found at this link: Houston Chronicle Article."

Lastly, the Democratic Policy Committee notes:

The Democratic Policy Committee has updated its Special Report on the benefits of health reform in every state, available via the link below, both on and off the Hill. The number of small businesses in each state estimated to qualify for the small business tax credit has been updated to reflect final bill language of firms with fewer than 25 employees and average annual wages of less than $50,000. The previous report used the lower average annual wage threshold of $40,000, which was included in the bill as introduced. The effect has been to increase the number of small businesses estimated to qualify for the tax credit in every state and the District of Columbia .

The Benefits of Health Reform (State-by-State Reports)

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