Sunday, August 25, 2013


Violence rolled Iraq today.  Citing security sources, KUNA notes, 52 Iraqis were killed, among them five soldiers, and 119 injured in central Iraq on Sunday."  Press TV speaks with Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation's Sabah Jawad (link is video) who states, "There are two reasons underlying this surge in the terrorist activities in Iraq.  Firstly, that there is the deep political divisions taking place in Iraq between the political parties including the government.  That doesn't help at all in fighting terrorism.  And the creations -- There are many institutions in Iraq that were created by the Americans therefore they're heavily infiltrated by the al Quds forces which support -- one way or another -- the terrorists' activities."

From possible explanations to concrete deaths and injuries, Ziad al-Sanjary, Ghazwan Hassan, Suadad al-Salhy and Louise Ireland (Reuters) report the 5 Iraqi soldiers shot dead in Qiyara were then set on fire.  Sinan Salaheddin (AP) calls that "the boldest attack" while noting a Madain car bombing claimed 4 lives with twelve more injured and a second Madain bombing hit an area where kids were engaged in a soccer match resulting in 4 deaths and thirteen people injured.  Agencia EFE reports, "The deadliest attack came at a popular market in the eastern city of Baquba, killing 13 and wounding 36 when a vehicle exploded."  Fars News Agency zooms in on the capital, "In Baghdad, gunmen in a car shot dead an employee of the Sunni endowment in a drive-by shooting while he was in his car in the predominantly Sunni district of Adhamiyah, a police officer anonymously said. Separately, two roadside bombs detonated near a Sunni mosque during sunset prayer in Baghdad's Western district of Ghazaliyah without causing human casualty, the officer said." Deutsche Welle offers, "At least four bombs reportedly exploded in the capital itself, with officials putting the death toll at 16 and the number of injured at 53. The blasts occurred in the afternoon and evening, marking a growing trend away from the typical morning attacks carried out in previous years to strike during the city's rush hour."  KUNA reports Balad saw a car bombing "targeting a courthouse, killing six Iraqis and wounding 14 others, including a judge" and the bombing left  the courthouse damaged but attention quickly shifted to a second Balad bombing, this one targeting a market, which claimed 8 lives and left nineteen people injured.  The Latin American Herald Tribune identifies the injured judge as Judge Hazem al Azaui.   Kevin Rawlinson (Guardian) adds, "In Mosul, gunmen in a speeding car shot and killed a grocer, he said, though the motive was not immediately clear. The grocer was a member of the Shabak ethnic group, which has its own distinct language and religious beliefs."  The Oman Tribune explains, "The 30,000-strong Shabak community mostly lives near Iraq’s border with Turkey."

Turning to some violence not mentioned in the reports above, NINA notes a Falluja bombing left two people injured, a Ramadi roadside bombing left two people injured, and a Hilla car bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer while leaving three more injured.

Of the ongoing destruction, BBC News points out, "Violence during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which ended in early August, left more than 670 people dead - one of the highest tolls for years."  Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) observes, "Iraq is witnessing its worst eruption of violence in recent years, which raises fears that the country is sliding back to the full-blown civil conflict that peaked in 2006 and 2007, when monthly death toll sometimes exceeded 3,000.Al Jajazeera notes today witnessed "car bombs, roadside bombs and shootings." Iraq made NBC Nightly News:

Guest Anchor Carl Quintanilla:  Still in the region, it was a very violent Sunday in Iraq where a wave of attacks claimed dozens of lives.  Many of the victims were people going about their normal affairs at a coffee shop, a wedding party and a security checkpoint.  The attacks are part of a months long wave of killings that is the country's worst fate of bloodshed since 2008, more signs that insurgents are pushing Iraq back to the brink of civil war.

 AFP adds, "Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki has vowed to continue with an anti-insurgent campaign, which is one of the biggest since US forces withdrew from Iraq in December 2011, but analysts and diplomats say authorities have repeatedly failed to address the root causes of the violence."  Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) shares, "The bloodshed appears to mark a new round of violence to hit Iraq in recent months, much of it stemming from decades-old discord between the nation's Sunnis and Shiites, the two largest branches of Islam."

NBC News' Richard Engel Tweeted the following:

  1. Richard Engel         @RichardEngel
    @Patrick_Baz: attacks including blasts kill 48 AFP  via @YahooNews” when does it end?

Al Mada reports that the collapse in security is forcing some Baghdad officials to consider returning to a full force of Sahwas.  Sahwa, "Awakenings" and "Sons Of Iraq" are some of the names. Who are they? BBC News offers a fact sheet here. Please note, despite what the BBC says, Sahwa were apparently not all Sunnis. According to Gen David Petraeus when he testified before Congress in April 2008, there were some Shi'ites as well. For example, from the April 8, 2008 snapshot:

The most dramatic moment came as committee chair Carl Levin was questioning Petraeus and a man in the gallery began exclaiming "Bring them home!" repeatedly. (He did so at least 16 times before he was escor[t]ed out). The most hilarious moment was hearing Petraeus explain that it's tough in the school yard and America needs to fork over their lunch money in Iraq to avoid getting beat up. In his opening remarks, Petraues explained of the "Awakening" Council (aka "Sons of Iraq," et al) that it was a good thing "there are now over 91,000 Sons of Iraq -- Shia as well as Sunni -- under contract to help Coalition and Iraqi Forces protect their neighborhoods and secure infrastructure and roads. These volunteers have contributed significantly in various areas, and the savings in vehicles not lost because of reduced violence -- not to mention the priceless lives saved -- have far outweighed the cost of their monthly contracts." Again, the US must fork over their lunch money, apparently, to avoid being beat up.                 
How much lunch money is the US forking over? Members of the "Awakening" Council are paid, by the US, a minimum of $300 a month (US dollars). By Petraeus' figures that mean the US is paying $27,300,000 a month. $27 million a month is going to the "Awakening" Councils who, Petraeus brags, have led to "savings in vehicles not lost". Again, in this morning's hearings, the top commander in Iraq explained that the US strategy is forking over the lunch money to school yard bullies. What a pride moment for the country.               
Crocker's entire testimony can be boiled down to a statement he made in his opening statements, "What has been achieved is substantial, but it is also reversible." Which would translate in the real world as nothing has really changed. During questioning from Senator Jack Reed, Crocker would rush to shore up the "Awakening" Council members as well. He would say there were about 90,000 of them and, pay attention, the transitioning of them is delayed due to "illiteracy and physical disabilities."           

If reconstituted, they would have to be paid.  Nouri has balked at that and attempted to disband then.  Though he was supposed to integrate them into Iraqi forces and into government jobs, he refused that as well.  All of this and the targeting of Sahwa with assassination attempts as well as with arrests from Nouri's forces have left them distrustful of Nouri and his government.  There are some who believe this has led some Sahwa members to join the rebels, militants or even al Qaeda in Iraq.

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

 The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4488.

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