Saturday, November 26, 2011

Violence breaks out throughout Iraq

Al Mada reports Baghdad awoke to bombings today. Laith Hammoudi (Miami Herald, McClatchy Newspapers) explains, "Some analysts fear that this year will mark a return to that bloodshed after the last two months, when the Shiite-led Iraqi government has undertaken a nationwide crackdown on former members of Saddam Hussein's Baathist party, especially in the country's southern provinces, where Shiites are the majority. The arrests have been criticized by Sunni Muslim leaders as illegal, but the government has defended them, claiming those arrested have ties to terrorist activities and are based on warrants issued by courts."

Andrew E. Kramer (New York Times) reports the bombings "shattered the stillness of a crystalline autumn day in the desert". Zhang Xiang (Xinhua) provides the walk through, "In the morning, eight construction workers were killed and 13 others wounded when two roadside bombs went off almost simultaneously near their bus while travelling in the Abu Ghraib area, some 20 km west of Baghdad, a local police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. [. . .] Separately, up to seven people were killed and 28 wounded before midday when three bombs went off successively at the crowded commercial area of Bab al-Sharji, where dozens of stalls scatter at the popular open market, an Interior Ministry source anonymously told Xinhua." Press TV quotes an eye witness, "Three bombs exploded one after the other. I saw a woman serving tea to customers, lose a leg in one of the explosions." Of the construction workers, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) quotes police officer Ahmed Salman, "The victims were traveling every day in a minibus from Abu Ghraib to Falluja to work in a number of reconstruction sites."

In addition, Reuters notes an attack on Mayor Othman Ahmed al-Douri's Dour farm in which the mayor was injured and 1 guard was killed and a Baquba roadside bombing claimed one life. Aswat al-Iraq adds, "An official working at the Premiership office was assassinated today, security sources said here [Baghdad]" and "An Iraqi traffic police officer has been injured and his daughter was killed in an armed attack by unknown gunmen south of Baghdad on Friday night, a police source reported on Saturday."

Today's Baghdad attacks follow Thursday's Basra ones and Andrew E. Kramer notes the death toll for the Basra attacks has now risen to 25. Al Mada notes State of Law has announced that a joint committee composed of the Ministries of Defense and Interior and headed by Nouri al-Maliki -- who heads both ministries having never managed to appoint people to head them -- will be investigation the Basra attacks. Al Mada also reports that Major General Qassim Atta, head of the Baghdad operations command, declared Saturday that they will be putting up cameras to monitor the streets of Baghdad. Well it's certainly better than a moat around Baghdad. Remember that one? Edward Wong reported on that with "Iraqis Plan to Ring Baghdad With Trenches" on September 16, 2006:

The Iraqi government plans to seal off Baghdad within weeks by ringing it with a series of trenches and setting up dozens of traffic checkpoints to control movement in and out of the violent city of seven million people, an Interior Ministry spokesman said Friday.
The effort is one of the most ambitious security projects this year, with cars expected to be funneled through 28 checkpoints along the main arteries snaking out from the capital. Smaller roads would be closed. The trenches would run across farmland or other open areas to prevent cars from evading checkpoints, said the ministry spokesman, Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf.
"We're going to build a trench around Baghdad so we can control the exits and entrances so people will be searched properly," he said in a telephone interview. "The idea is to get the cars to go through the 28 checkpoints that we set up."

Well they never got the moat. But let's drop back to the May 4, 2010 snapshot:

Occupied Iraq, ruled over by a US puppet whose fighting like crazy to hold on to the position. If US service members leave the Green Zone, Nouri falls. He knows that. The US military knows it, the US government knows it. So he's proposed madcap schemes to ensure his reign since he became prime minister in April of 2006. Two Circles Net reports, "Iraqi authorities have started the construction of a security wall around the capital Baghdad, reports the country's Al-Iraqiya TV citing a Baghdad security spokesperson. The concrete wall with eight checkpoints is to be completed in mid-2011." Once upon a time, Nouri proposed building a moat around Baghdad. A moat. Stagnant water. Just what Baghdad needs more of. Especially with all the cholera outbreaks. Nouri never got his moat but he will apparently get his walled-in-city.

But he didn't get that either. Yet he still hasn't give up on it. Dar Addustour quotes Atta from the same press conference today declaring that Nouri has ordered a security wall be constructed around Baghdad in early 2012. If there's anything sadder than having run out of ideas it would have to be repeatedly promising you're about to implement one of your tired ideas.

Walls can keep certain things out, they can also keep certain things in. It wasn't all that long ago that Nouri made a big-to-do out of taking down security walls within Baghdad. How telling that the US puppet has to resort to a wall to, grasp this, protect himself from the people of the country he supposedly represents.

The following community sites -- plus Jane Fonda, Watching America, the Guardian and -- updated last night and this morning:

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Trudy Rubin has an important column ("An Iraqi regrets helping United States") and we'll note this from it:

Salam Hamrani is safe -- for now. My Iraqi fixer and friend endured two years in a Baghdad jail. His crime: helping American troops nab Shiite militants who were killing his Sunni neighbors. He was finally freed and escaped with his family to Greek Cyprus.
Our reunion in Larnaca, Cyprus, was emotional and full of laughter. But Salam's story is a sad tale of U.S. failures and betrayals in Iraq.
A Shiite whose uncle was hung by Saddam Hussein, Salam was thrilled when U.S. troops ousted the dictator. As Iraq collapsed into civil war, he was furious when the militant Shiite Mahdi army moved into his mixed neighborhood and started killing Sunnis. So he started tipping U.S. officers at a forward operating base in his district about the worst of these killers.
When U.S. troops withdrew, family members of one of these thugs got friends in the Iraqi army to arrest him, along with his two sons. A Shiite army general who was chummy with the killer's mother and sister made sure Salam stayed in prison.

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