Thursday, March 14, 2013

Baghdad slammed by bombings

The death toll varies by outlet but Baghdad has been slammed with a series of bombings today.  Reuters reports a series of "co-ordinated blasts" have claimed 21 lives and left at least fifty injured according to various sources.  Al Arabiya says at least one was a car bomb and that "blasts went off near the foreign ministry, culture ministry and an office of the communications ministry in the Allawi neighbourhood in the centre of the capital."  Adam Schreck, Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) add that in addition to a car bomb, it is thought that a suicide bombing also took place.  BBC News reveals, "Reports say least three explosions, including two car bombs and a suicide blast, went off near a building currently housing the justice ministry. A police officer, who was among the security forces sent to clear the building, said about six gunmen wearing police uniforms were still inside the building."

Yan Yi (Xinhua) counts "at least three explosions."  Yang Yi elaborates with two car bombs and a suicide bomber  and that 1 bomb "was close to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and another near the Ministry of Justice in the nearby a- Salhiyah area, while the third detonated near the building of the communications institute in Alawi area, the [Ministry of Interior] source added.Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) counts four bombings and notes, "Black smoke filled the sky as fires raged for nearly two hours and frantic Iraqis shouted out for their loved ones. One woman screamed, 'My son!'"  Reuters has a photo by Saad Shalash of an Iraqi Red Crescent ambulance carrying victims of the blast.

Other violence today?  The National Iraqi News Agency notes that a sticky bomb was used to target Hassan al-Daraji (former Governor of Salahuddin Province and a candidate in the local elections which are supposed to take place next month) resulting in the death of his driver and of three people who were in the car with him, 2 people were shot dead in the center of Falluja, a Ramadi roadside bombing left five people injured (three are police officers), and, in Baghdad, assailants shot up the car of a brigadier with the Ministry of the Interior leaving one bodyguard and the driver injured All Iraq News adds a Mosul bombing has injured a member of the federal police.

We'll cover another act of violence in the next entry.  But through yesterday, March 13th, Iraq Body Count counts 129 violent deaths so far this month.  And it's not even the half-way mark for March yet.

Sami Ramadani shares his thought on the pain of the last ten years at the Guardian:

We haven't even counted the dead yet, let alone the injured, displaced and traumatised. Countless thousands are still missing. Of the more than 4 million refugees, at least a million are yet to go back to their homeland, and there still about a million internal refugees. On an almost daily basis, explosions and shootings continue to kill the innocent.
The US and UK still refuse to accept the harmful consequences of radioactive depleted uranium munitions, and the US denies that it used chemical weapons in Falluja – but Iraqis see the evidence: the poisoned environment, the cancer and deformities. Lack of electricity, clean water and other essential services continues to hit millions of impoverished and unemployed people, in one of the richest countries on the planet. Women and children pay the highest price. Women's rights, and human rights in general, are daily suppressed.
And what of democracy, supposedly the point of it all? The US-led occupying authorities nurtured a "political process" and a constitution designed to sow sectarian and ethnic discord. Having failed to crush the resistance to direct occupation, they resorted to divide-and-rule to keep their foothold in Iraq. Using torture, sectarian death squads and billions of dollars, the occupation has succeeded in weakening the social fabric and elevating a corrupt ruling class that gets richer by the day, salivating at the prospect of acquiring a bigger share of Iraq's natural resources, which are mostly mortgaged to foreign oil companies and construction firms.

Yesterday's snapshot covered the first two panels of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel hearing.  For the third panel, see Kat's "Senate hearing on assault and rape" where she reports on it.  Today, we'll cover the House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing from yesterday afternoon. 

A few e-mails on why we didn't cover it in yesterday's snapshot? 

There wouldn't have been room for Iraq and anytime two hearings get covered by me in the same snapshot, one gets short changed.  That will happen this Congressional session.  The hearings will start adding up, as they always do, and there'll be a week where we have to grab two in one snapshot.  But that didn't have to be the case for these two hearings.  They were both important and they'll both be covered.  Some felt I made the choice to make the House wait because of the topic.  No.  The House waited because it was an afternoon hearing and the Senate had the morning hearing.

Why didn't we all cover the Senate hearing.  Ava's filling in for Trina tonight (I'll do links in the snapshot, I'm rushing to get this up tonight) and she'll be covering the House hearing. Ava and Wally were at the House hearing (as was I).  Only Kat attended the afternoon session (third panel) of the Senate hearing yesterday.  Ava will note the Senate hearing in a sentence or two (she says right now "Probably three") and you'll understand why tonight.  Please note, she's the mother of a very young little girl.  She doesn't need an excuse not to cover a hearing but, yes, she did have a reason other than the demands of daily life and she'll share it tonight.  (I agree with her take, by the way, it's one of the reasons that I went to the House hearing with no "I wish I could stay for the third panel" guilt yesterday.)

On Senate hearings:


There will be a meeting of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in SR-418, Russell Senate Office Building, on Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. to conduct a hearing titled “VA Mental Health Care: Ensuring Timely Access to High-Quality Care”.

Jeff Johnson 
Deputy Clerk/Systems Administrator 
U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs 
412 Russell Senate Office Bldg. 
Washington, DC 20510 | 202.224.6478

Bernie Sanders is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  His Facebook page is here, Twitter here and YouTube Channel here.

The following community sites -- plus NPR music, The Diane Rehm Show, On the Wilder Side,, Iraq Veterans Against the War, PBS' NewsHour, Senate Foreign Relations Committee,  Susan's On The Edge, Ms. magazine's blog and the Pacifica Evening News updated last night and this morning:

The e-mail address for this site is

the associated press
qassim abdul-zahra
sameer n. yacoub


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