Sunday, August 08, 2010

And the war drags on . . .

Atul Aneja (The Hindu) refers to the country's "weekend of violence" and if you wonder why, you've missed the news. Yesterday's Basra bombings have a death toll that climbed to 43, according to BBC News. Michael Jansen (Irish Times) notes the weekend of violence resulted in at least 63 deaths from bombings alone. Liz Sly and Riyadh Mohammed (Los Angeles Times via Bellingham Herald) note that when you include shootings, the death toll rises to "at least 69" for the weekend.

Let's count Saturday and we'll change the 20 dead in Basra bombing to 43 but leave out Friday deaths reported on Saturday. Counting the Baghdad overnight clash (which began at midnight making it Saturday morning), there were at least 55 reported deaths using Reuters, NYT and McClatchy only. (Again, we've gone with 43 for the death toll in Basra.) (And it's 56 if you count a US service member but we'll cover that in a bit.) Reuters notes 185 people injured in the Basra bombing so let's count the wounded: at least 213 wounded.

Now for today's reported violence . . .


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing which wounded three people (two were traffice police officers), a Baghdad roadside bombing which injured four traffice police officers, 2 Baghdad roadside bombings which injured five people, a Ramadi suicide car bomber who took his own life and the lives of 9 other people (fifty were injured), a Falluja car bombing which claimed 2 lives and left four people injured, a second Falluja car bombing (this time at a police checkpoint) which claimed the life of the bomber and the lives of 2 police officers (nine more people wounded), a third Falluja suicide car bomber who took his/her own life and claimed the life of 1 police officer (seven other people were wounded), two Mosul roadside bombings in "minutes" of each other that left three police officers injured, a Mosul roadside bombing which left three people injured (two were Iraqi soldiers) and, dropping back to Saturday, a Sadiyah roadside bombing which injured one Iraqi soldier a Jalawla bombing which killed 2 people (allegedly assailants). Reuters notes a Mosul roadside bombing injured one woman.


Mohammed Al Duliamy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 money exchange owner shot dead in front of his Falluja home.

At least 90 wounded, at least 20 dead. Adding that to Saturday's reported wounded and dead -- 213 and 55 -- you come up with at least 303 wounded and 77 dead in Iraq's weekend of violence. One of the threads of weekend violence was assault on police officers. Raheem Salman (Los Angeles Times) reports, "Traffic police are among the most vulnerable of victims, because they only carry pistols and don't wear body armor. They are accustomed to having their colleagues blown up in random roadside bombings but not to being targeted in such a specific way, said Ali Mohammed Abdul Rahman, a 19-year veteran of the force." But of course, the average Iraqi civilian never wears body armor. Xinhua feels the violence can be traced to one and only one group: "The insurgents, who have been lying low months ago, are changing into a rampant and high profile style in recent crimes. The so-called Islamic State of Iraq, a al-Qaida local branch, has claimed more than five major attacks launched on banks and security forces, while more provocatively, criminals took credit by rising their black flag in central Baghdad before fleeing the scene, in day time." Eric S. Marolis (Gulf Times) observes, "Has America's goodbye to Iraq really begun? One suspects it's more a question of re-branding than retreat. The 50,000 US troops left in Iraq will supposedly 'advise and assist' and perform 'anti-terrorism' missions, and training. To this old war correspondent, that sounds a lot like white officers leading native troops."

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4413. Tonight? 4414 -- they're walking their total back. Thursday night, they had 4415 and that was based on this Reuters report of: "Two U.S. soldiers were killed and one was wounded on Monday when a bomb struck their vehicle in eastern Baghdad, the U.S. military said." Reuters hasn't issued a correction. They stand by their report. Is there a reason that on Thursday night, ICCC went with the report and now walks it back? If Reuters stands by their report, I believe Reuters. This morning CNN reported a US soldier died in Babil yesterday. The US military announced today: "CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE BASRA, Iraq – A United States Division- South Soldier was killed Saturday in Babil Province while in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The names of service members are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense official website at The announcements are made on the Web site no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member's primary next of kin. The incident is under investigation." The ICCC count should be 4416. But for some reason, ICCC has walked their count back by two.

March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's now 5 months and 1 day.

Saad N. Jawad (Lebanon's Daily Star) observes
, "The former US ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, recently described the Iraqi elections and their aftermath as 'high drama and low comedy.' It is the perfect description, yet he should have added that this was a natural outcome of the occupation, Iraq’s vague and divisive Constitution, Washington's insistence on standing by the corrupt and failing people who came in with American forces after the invasion, and the sectarian-quota policy." Al Jazeera notes many of the problems facing Nouri al-Maliki's desire for a second term as prime minister. Liz Sly and Riyadh Mohammed believe he "received a boost" by a non-endorsement from KRG President Massoud Barzani whom he met with today. That would be difficult for that to translate into a boost. The KRG does not have enough votes to put him over the top and any embrace by the KRG of Nouri will be interpreted by Shi'ites as an under the table deal being made on Kirkuk which has long been a tug-of-war point between Shi'ites and Kurds. Just meeting with Barzani leads to those accusations, cries of "Nouri's giving the Kurds Kirkuk!" Which should make it hard for Nouri to pull off support from the Iraqi National Alliance (which is his only hope short of making some deal with Iraqiya).

New content at Third:

Isaiah's latest goes up after this and Pru notes "Afghanistan: how Nato forces gunned down peaceful protesters" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

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The release by WikiLeaks of over 90,000 secret documents has underlined the vicious nature of the occupation of Afghanistan.

The papers give the lie to the claim that US-led forces are bringing peace and democracy to the country.

They reveal that between 2004 and the end of 2009, US and British airstrikes and shootings killed hundreds of civilians.

But more detailed analysis also shows the repression of protests and demonstrations by Nato forces and their Afghan partners in crime.


You will find the search engine for the WikiLeaks Afghanistan documents after the word “demonstration” has been entered. Again and again there is evidence from the occupiers themselves revealing their attacks on peaceful protests.

If you go to the report for 10 September 2009 you find:

"(NON-COMBAT EVENT) DEMONSTRATION REPORT 6 Civilians killed in action, 16 civilians wounded in action


Zone:null Placename:null Outcome:null

Size 150 – 300


Location 42SVC 46440 11330
Time 100430ZSEP09
Result 100540Z, SOMEBODY SHOOTING FROM THE DEMONSTRATION AT THE Afghan National Police, 3 x Local National Wounded in Action EVACUATED TO GHAZNI
Result 100800Z APPEARS TO BE FUNERAL, 16 x Local National WA, 6 x Local National Killed in Action, 1 x Local National Wounded in Action AND TAKEN BY DEMONSTRATORS."

Six dead and 17 wounded.

From 13 May 2005 comes:

“Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force reports demonstration In vicinity of GARDEZ. Initially approximately 60X demonstrators gathered for a protest where 1X demonstrator was shot in leg and transported to Gardez hospital.

“The Afghan National Police is dealing with demonstration. Earlier that morning Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force facilitated the establishment of the Emergency Operation Center (Emergency Operation Centre) at the local government compound. The Emergency Operation Centre is maintaining communication with Police/Government/Coalition Forces.

“The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan compound is secured by elements of Task force Thunder. At 10:05 GMT Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force reported a second group of approximately 300 locals has linked-up with first group. Demonstrators appear to be taking some direction from the police. Group is moving north toward Tera Pass (CNA).

“At 10:07 GMT a large group of demonstrators (over 100) began to move toward Forward Base Gardez.

“At 10:53 GMT the crowd was 50M from north check point throwing rocks and a second group is 300M away and moving toward the check point. During the incident, the police shot five people. One died at the hospital and four are in stable condition.

“The police verified that the individual who died was a spectator and not a demonstrator and that he was shot unintentionally. At least two of the other four were shot for attempting to wrestle weapons away from the police. It was not verified that the demonstrators were armed with anything more than slingshots.”

One dead and five wounded.

An example from 31 October 2008 reveals the divisions within the Afghan forces themselves.

"Demonstration report: 22 Host Nation Security Forces wounded in action

"Regional Command Central reported a riot between Afghan National Army soldiers within Kabul military training centre. The riot reportedly began after Hazara NCOs harassed and beat up Pashtun soldiers. Pashtun soldiers from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Kandak joined the riot and the protesting soldiers began throwing rocks at Kabul Military Training Centre Afghan National Army troops and military police. The military police fired an unknown number of warning shots; the rioters were not responsive to the shots. Kabul Military Training Centre Tactical Group Quick Response Force was deployed to the scene to assist the military police. General Ali Ahmad, also responded to the scene and was able to calm the rioting soldiers. The riot had dispersed by 2145L."

The reports need careful examination. Many say “0 casualties”, but they are still associated with death or injury.

For example, the log of an incident on 14 June 2008 is recorded as “0 casualties”. But the detail shows


No casualties? But a report of one dead and five wounded that is not disproved.

A report from 23 February 2009 which records no casualties actually says, “US Police Mentor Team conducting a framework patrol observed a group of Local National protesting about 2 x children killed by unexploded ordnance [or unfired] from old Canadian range. Friendly Forces kept their distance. There were no casualties or damage reported.”

No casualties? But a protest over two children killed.

And again from 25 December 2008 a “no casualty” report reveals “Afghan National Army report as of 09:00 GMT, there is a demonstration of approximately 2,000 Local Nationals. The demonstration is currently non-violent, but closing MSR Vermont.

“09:00 GMT: The fourth Kandak Commander is holding a Meeting of tribal elders and Afghan leaders at the location of the demonstration with the villagers to explain why a compound was raided and individuals were taken away.

“Debrief from Meeting of tribal elders and Afghan leaders:

“Local National Very upset with Coalition Forces, the capture/kill of the four individuals.

“EndState: The Afghan National Army will conduct security for funerals on 26DEC; the villagers demand the return of the detainees immediately.”

No casualties? But anger at “kills” and then the organisation of funerals.

The brutal and bloody occupation must end now.

A demonstration against the war in Afghanistan takes place in London on 20 November. Go to

A helpful glossary to understand the raw WikiLeaks document is at

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