Sunday, January 15, 2012

And the war drags on . . .

Today's major attack in Iraq took place in Ramadi. The Irish Times notes, "Gunmen wearing explosive belts stormed an anti-terrorism police building in the Iraqi city of Ramadi today and at least ten people died in the attack, police and provincial officials said." Citing local officials and the Ministry of Interior, Sam Dagher and Jabbar (Wall St. Journal) add this context, "They said a total of 18 people, including the attackers, were killed in the standoff. It came one day after 53 Shiite pilgrims were killed and dozens wounded by a suicide bomber near the southern city of Basra. Almost 150 people have been killed in violence throughout the country since the start of the year." AFP explains, "The assault in Ramadi was reminiscent of a siege three months ago at a police station in the nearby town of Al-Baghdadi, also in Anbar province. At the time, the local police chief and four others were killed when gunmen disguised in police uniforms set off explosions, clearing the way for them to overrun the building." Dan Morse, Uthman al-Mukhtar and Azia Alwan (Washington Post) report 21 dead (8 police officers, 7 assailants and 6 civilians) quote Anbar Province's Brig Gen Khamis Jasem stating, "It was a bold attack, surprising attack. They made the security forces busy with explosives here and there. Then they attacked."

Michael S. Schmidt and Duraid Adnan (New York Times) quote Sadoon Abed, who serves on the Anbar Provincial council, stating, "The government must be careful in the coming days because the political problems are being reflected on the ground. Al Qaeda wants to return to show that they still have the power to carry out such attacks. We fear the return of the sectarian war." The political crisis Nouri started last month continues. Among other things, Nouri has charged that Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi is a terrorist. Bushra Juhi (AP) reports that a Baghdad court has issued a ruling that al-Hashemi must be tried in Baghdad.


Tareq al-Hashemi remains in the KRG and, last week, the spokesperson for the KRG court made clear that they are under no obligation to turn al-Hashemi over to Baghdad despite the formal order Baghdad had sent them. Last week it was a stand-off on this issue, this week it remains one.

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, the number of US military people killed in the Iraq War since the start of the illegal war was 4486. Tonight? PDF format warning, DoD lists the the number of Americans killed serving in Iraq at 4487. (Yes, they fixed their error. Refer to last week.) Here's the screen snap.


Martin Chulov (Guardian) offers this analysis of the political crisis:

The move by the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, in mid-December against the country's Sunni vice-president, Tariq al-Hashemi, was always going to be provocative. Maliki, who in a recent interview said his primary identity was Shia, insists Hashemi was directing hit squads. He said he had known about the vice-president's "terror activities" for years, but had waited for the right time to go after him. The moment he chose could not have been more potent – the US army had hardly shut the gate into Kuwait behind them. The remaining strongman in town was marking his patch. The rest of Iraq would have to live with it. Maliki would surely have expected a backlash. He has never been popular with the country's disenfranchised Sunnis and has had a workable, though strained, relationship with the increasingly disengaged Kurds. Yet he doesn't seem to have factored in the strength of the resentment – and its capacity to seriously undermine the power base he seems intent on building for himself. Iraq now finds itself at a juncture that in many ways is more dangerous and instructive than the darkest days of 2006, when all remnants of state control crumbled as sectarian war took hold. Back then there was no expectation the state could lead Iraq to a better place. Six years on, and with violence much lower, Iraqis have even less faith in the state, despite it being much better placed – at face value – to provide for its citizens.
Equally true, Nouri doesn't have 100% of the support of Shi'ites. Certainly not voters, but not politicians either. Nouri was opposed by the National Alliance and Moqtada al-Sadr at different points in 2010 when he insisted he remain as prime minister. Nouri seems unsure of how to now preserve his position and this has led him into talks with the League of Righteous (but, reportedly, Moqtada's having his own talks with the group). Other outlets note that Nouri is expanding the crisis beyond Iraq. Today's Zaman explains:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's harsh criticism of Turkey for what he considered interference in the domestic realm of Iraq is sure to draw the ire of Turkey, as observers have already labeled Maliki's reaction “a regrettable move” that will undermine his capacity to cooperate with neighbors that are hoping for stability in Iraq. In a televised interview with Alhurra TV on Friday, Maliki slammed Turkey for its “surprise interference” in his country's internal affairs, claiming that Turkey's role could bring disaster and civil war to the region -- something he claimed will make Turkey suffer just the same.
Busy night and this post is further harmed by my thinking it would be a cinch on the iPhone. Wrong. New content at Third:

The editorial? We note the silence from the media on Nouri having Americans detained in Iraq. Michael S. Schmidt and Eric Schmitt (New York Times) report on that topic and insanely open with, "Iraqi authorities have detained a few hundred foreign contractors in recent weeks, industry officials say, including many Americans who work for the United States Embassy, in one of the first major signs of the Iraqi government’s asserting its sovereignty after the American troop withdrawal last month. " You detain someone for three weeks without charges and it's just "asserting" your "sovereignty"?

And you wonder why the New York Times was unable to tell the truth about the Iraq War in the lead up to it? Hey, maybe back in 1979, Ted Koppel could have just portrayed the hostage crisis as the newly emerging Iranian government just asserting their sovereignty as well? It would have made about as much sense.

We'll post late tomorrow and Isaiah will have a new comic. Lastly, a reminder about next month's first ever scientific symposium on Burn Pits which will be held in New York.

1st Annual Scientific Symposium on
Lung Health after Deplyoment to Iraq & Afghanistan
February 13, 2012

sponsored by
Office of Continuing Medical Education
School of Medicine
Stony Brook University

Health Sciences Center, Level 3, Lecture Hall 5
Anthony M. Szema, M.D., Program Chair
Stony Brook
Medical Center

This program is made possible by support from the
Sergeant Thomas Joseph Sullivan Center, Washington, D.C.


* Register with your credit card online at:

* Download the registration form from:
fax form to (631) 638-1211

For Information Email:

1st Annual Scientific Symposium on
Lung Health after Deployment to Iraq & Afghanistan
Monday, February 13, 2012
Health Sciences Center
Level 3, Lecture Hall 5

Program Objective: Upon completion, participants should be able to recognize new-onset of lung disease after deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.

8:00 - 9:00 a.m. Registration & Continental Breakfast (Honored Guest, Congressman
Tim Bishop

9:00 - 9:30 Peter Sullivan, J.D., Father of Marine from The Sergeant Thomas Joseph
Sullivan Center, Washington, D.C.

9:40 - 10:10 Overview of Exposures in Iraq, Anthony Szema, M.D., (Assistant
Professor of Medicine and Surgery, Stony Brook University)

10:10 - 10:40 Constrictive Bronchiolitis among Soldiers after Deployment, Matt
King, M.D. (Assistant Professor of Medicine, Meharry Medical College,
Nashville, TN)

10:40 - 11:10 BREAK

11:10 - 11:40 Denver Working Group Recommendations and Spirometry Study in
Iraq/Afghanistan, Richard Meehan, M.D., (Chief of Rheumatology and
Professor of Medicine, National Jewish Health, Denver, CO)

11:40 a.m. - Microbiological Analyses of Dust from Iraq and Afghanistan, Captain Mark

12:10 p.m. Lyles, D.M.D., Ph. D., (Vice Admiral Joel T. Boone Endowed Chair of
Health and Security Studies, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, RI)

12:10 - 12:20 Health Care Resource Utilization among Deployed Veterans at the White
River Junction VA, James Geiling, M.D., (Professor and Chief of Medicine,
Dartmouth Medical School, VA White River Junction, VT)

Graduate students Millicent Schmidt and Andrea Harrington (Stony Brook
University) present Posters from Lung Studies Analyzed for Spatial
Resolution of Metals at Brookhaven National Laboratory's National
Synchrotron Light Source

1:20 - 1:40 Epidemiologic Survey Instrument on Exposures in Iraq and Afghanistan,
Joseph Abraham, Sc.D., Ph.D., (U.S. Army Public Health Command,
Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD)

1:40 - 2:10 Overview of the Issue Raised during Roundtable on Pulmonary Issues
and Deployment, Coleen Baird, M.D., M.P.H., (Program Manager
Environmental Medicine, U.S. Army Public Health Command)

2:10 - 2: 40 Reactive Oxygen Species from Iraqi Dust, Martin Schoonen, Ph.D.
(Director Sustainability Studies and Professor of Geochemistry, Stony
Brook University)

2:40 - 2:50 BREAK

2:50 - 3:15 Dust Wind Tunnel Studies, Terrence Sobecki, Ph.D. (Chief Environmental
Studies Branch, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research
and Engineering Laboratory, Manchester, NH)

3:15 - 3:45 Toxicologically Relevant Characteristics of Desert Dust and Other
Atmospheric Particulate Matter, Geoffrey S. Plumlee, Ph.D. (Research
Geochemist, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO)

3:44 - 4:15 In-situ Mineralogy of the Lung and Lymph Nodes, Gregory Meeker, M.S.
(Research Geochemist, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO)

Continuing Medical Education Credits

The school of Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brook, is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
The School of Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brooke designates this live activity for a maximum of 6 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM. Physicians should only claim the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

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