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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are far-reaching consequences of this
current Imperial US/G8 plan for 'handling' Iraq.

Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control

Bush wants 50 military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and
legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors

By Patrick Cockburn - Independent UK, Thursday, 5 June 2008

A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.

The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.

But the accord also threatens to provoke a political crisis in the US. President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated. But by perpetuating the US presence in Iraq, the long-term settlement would undercut pledges by the Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to withdraw US troops if he is elected president in November.

The timing of the agreement would also boost the Republican candidate, John McCain, who has claimed the United States is on the verge of victory in Iraq – a victory that he says Mr Obama would throw away by a premature military withdrawal.

America currently has 151,000 troops in Iraq and, even after projected withdrawals next month, troop levels will stand at more than 142,000 – 10 000 more than when the military "surge" began in January 2007. Under the terms of the new treaty, the Americans would retain the long-term use of more than 50 bases in Iraq. American negotiators are also demanding immunity from Iraqi law for US troops and contractors, and a free hand to carry out arrests and conduct military activities in Iraq without consulting the Baghdad government.

The precise nature of the American demands has been kept secret until now. The leaks are certain to generate an angry backlash in Iraq. "It is a terrible breach of our sovereignty," said one Iraqi politician, adding that if the security deal was signed it would delegitimise the government in Baghdad which will be seen as an American pawn.

The US has repeatedly denied it wants permanent bases in Iraq but one Iraqi source said: "This is just a tactical subterfuge." Washington also wants control of Iraqi airspace below 29,000ft and the right to pursue its "war on terror" in Iraq, giving it the authority to arrest anybody it wants and to launch military campaigns without consultation.

Mr Bush is determined to force the Iraqi government to sign the so-called "strategic alliance" without modifications, by the end of next month. But it is already being condemned by the Iranians and many Arabs as a continuing American attempt to dominate the region. Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the powerful and usually moderate Iranian leader, said yesterday that such a deal would create "a permanent occupation". He added: "The essence of this agreement is to turn the Iraqis into slaves of the Americans."

Iraq's Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is believed to be personally opposed to the terms of the new pact but feels his coalition government cannot stay in power without US backing.

The deal also risks exacerbating the proxy war being fought between Iran and the United States over who should be more influential in Iraq.

Although Iraqi ministers have said they will reject any agreement limiting Iraqi sovereignty, political observers in Baghdad suspect they will sign in the end and simply want to establish their credentials as defenders of Iraqi independence by a show of defiance now. The one Iraqi with the authority to stop deal is the majority Shia spiritual leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. In 2003, he forced the US to agree to a referendum on the new Iraqi constitution and the election of a parliament. But he is said to believe that loss of US support would drastically weaken the Iraqi Shia, who won a majority in parliament in elections in 2005.

The US is adamantly against the new security agreement being put to a referendum in Iraq, suspecting that it would be voted down. The influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called on his followers to demonstrate every Friday against the impending agreement on the grounds that it compromises Iraqi independence.

The Iraqi government wants to delay the actual signing of the agreement but the office of Vice-President Dick Cheney has been trying to force it through. The US ambassador in Baghdad, Ryan Crocker, has spent weeks trying to secure the accord.

The signature of a security agreement, and a parallel deal providing a legal basis for keeping US troops in Iraq, is unlikely to be accepted by most Iraqis. But the Kurds, who make up a fifth of the population, will probably favour a continuing American presence, as will Sunni Arab political leaders who want US forces to dilute the power of the Shia. The Sunni Arab community, which has broadly supported a guerrilla war against US occupation, is likely to be split.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

this should help things in the region Very Happy
no wonder after all the candidates "kissed ass" at AIPAC meeting


Israel to attack Iran unless enrichment stops: minister

Birth is the first example of " thinking outside the box"
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First the admiral and now the air-force general to be replaced by more Bush yes-men.

It’s getting darker and darker.

Gates ousts Air Force leaders in historic shake-up
By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer.

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Robert Gates ousted the Air Force's top military and civilian leaders Thursday, holding them to account in a historic Pentagon shake-up after embarrassing nuclear mix-ups.

Gates announced at a news conference that he had accepted the resignations of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley and Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne — a highly unusual double firing.

Gates said his decision was based mainly on the damning conclusions of an internal report on the mistaken shipment to Taiwan of four Air Force electrical fuses for ballistic missile warheads. And he linked the underlying causes of that slip-up to another startling incident: the flight last August of a B-52 bomber that was mistakenly armed with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.

The report drew the stunning conclusion that the Air Force's nuclear standards have been in a long decline, a "problem that has been identified but not effectively addressed for over a decade."

Gates said an internal investigation found a common theme in the B-52 and Taiwan incidents: "a decline in the Air Force's nuclear mission focus and performance" and a failure by Air Force leaders to respond effectively.

In a reflection of his concern about the state of nuclear security, Gates said he had asked a former defense secretary, James Schlesinger, to lead a task force that will recommend ways to ensure that the highest levels of accountability and control are maintained in Air Force handling of nuclear weapons.

In somber tones, Gates told reporters his decision to remove Wynne and Moseley was based on the findings of an investigation of the Taiwan debacle by Adm. Kirkland Donald. The admiral found a "lack of a critical self-assessment culture" in the Air Force nuclear program, making it unlikely that weaknesses in the way critical materials such as nuclear weapons are handled could be corrected, Gates said.

Gates said Donald concluded that many of the problems that led to the B-52 and the Taiwan sale incidents "have been known or should have been known."

The Donald report is classified; Gates provided an oral summary.

"The Taiwan incident clearly was the trigger," Gates said when asked whether Moseley and Wynne would have retained their positions in the absence of the mistaken shipment of fuses. He also said that Donald found a "lack of effective Air Force leadership oversight" of its nuclear mission.

The investigation found a declining trend in Air Force nuclear expertise — not the first time that has been raised as a problem, Gates said — and a drifting of the Air Force's focus away from its nuclear mission, which includes stewardship of the land-based missile component of the nation's nuclear arsenal, as well as missiles and bombs assigned for nuclear missions aboard B-52 and B-2 long-range bombers.

Gates also announced that "a substantial number" of Air Force general officers and colonels were identified in the Donald report as potentially subject to disciplinary measures that range from removal from command to letters of reprimand. He said he would direct the yet-to-be-named successors to Wynne and Moseley to evaluate those identified culprits and decide what disciplinary actions are warranted — "or whether they can be part of the solution" to the problems found by Donald.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said President Bush knew about the resignations but that the White House had "not played any role" in the shake-up.

Early reaction from Capitol Hill was favorable to drastic action.

"Secretary Gates' focus on accountability is essential and had been absent from the office of the secretary of defense for too long," said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "The safety and security of America' nuclear weapons must receive the highest priority, just as it must in other countries."

Gates said he would make recommendations to Bush shortly on a new Air Force chief of staff and civilian secretary. Gates has settled on candidates for both jobs but has not yet formally recommended them, one official said.

Gen. Duncan J. McNabb is the current Air Force vice chief of staff.

Moseley, who commanded coalition air forces during the initial invasion of Iraq in March 2003, became Air Force chief in September 2005; Wynne, a former General Dynamics executive, took office in November 2005.

Wynne is the second civilian chief of a military service to be forced out by Gates. In March 2007 the defense secretary pushed out Francis Harvey, the Army secretary, because Gates was dissatisfied with Harvey's handling of revelations of inadequate housing conditions and bureaucratic delays for troops recovering from war wounds at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Wynne and Moseley issued their own written statements.

"As the Air Force's senior uniformed leader, I take full responsibility for events which have hurt the Air Force's reputation or raised a question of every airman's commitment to our core values," Moseley said.

Wynne said he "read with regret" the findings of the Donald report.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Translation: The only things keeping the lid on Iraq are
the 150,000 US troops and another 50,000 contractors,
plus a whack of Saudi money for another 10,000 Sunni

Pull even 20,000 US troops out of that equation and
the resistance will move straight into the opening.

Not that they need to pull them out for political reasons....
The Obama-Hillary circus gave the left such
a heavy dose of timely 'anti-war amnesia'.

Petraeus: No Major Iraq Troop Drawdown in '08

General to Recommend Sending About 1,500 Marines
to Afghanistan to Replace Battalions Leaving Iraq

By JONATHAN KARL - Sept. 4, 2008

Gen. David Petraeus has recommended against any significant reduction
of U.S. forces in Iraq before the end of the year, ABC News has learned.

The only drawdown Petraeus has called for, according to a senior military
official familiar with his recommendation, is a modest reduction of two
Marine battalions, or about 1,500 Marines, a tiny fraction of the 146,000
U.S. troops now in Iraq

Under Petraeus's plan, the number of combat brigades -- which now
stands at 15 -- would remain unchanged until next January at the earliest.

The recommendation is now being considered by top officials at the White
House and the Pentagon. A final decision on future force levels is
expected to be announced by President Bush early next week.

Under the plan, two Marine battalions due to go home this fall will not be
replaced. The units that would have replaced them are likely to head to
Afghanistan instead
. There are currently about 25,000 Marines in Iraq,
almost all of them in Anbar Province, which was turned over to Iraqi
control earlier this week.

If Petraeus's recommendations are accepted, there would be no further
reduction until early 2009
, when one Army combat brigade that is due to
go home would not replaced. Instead, the troops that would have
replaced them are likely to go to Afghanistan.

In Petraeus's view, a quicker or deeper reduction of U.S. forces over the
next several months would jeopardize the dramatic security gains Iraq
has witnessed over the past year.

"What's in front of the commander between now and the end of the year
is a great deal of uncertainly," a senior military official told ABC News.
"He's using everything he's got, and we don't see the landscape changing
dramatically between now and the end of the year."

Among the factors Petraeus cites are security needs surrounding
upcoming provincial elections and the continued threat of Al Qaeda in
Iraq. Another concern cited is uncertainty about the future of the so-
called Sons of Iraq, the Sunni tribesman and former insurgents now
working informally with coalition forces.

It had been widely anticipated that there would be troop reductions of up
to 7,000 troops before the end of the year, although neither the White
House nor the Pentagon had committed to those reductions.

Last month, however, the White House for the first time said the president
was prepared to accept a "time horizon" for the withdrawal of U.S. troops
in its negotiations with the Iraqi government over a long-term security

Such a slow reduction of forces in Iraq may complicate U.S. efforts in
Afghanistan. Commanders in Afghanistan have said they need at least
another three combat brigades, or about 10,500 troops, but Pentagon
officials have said those troops won't be available until force levels in
Iraq are reduced.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


First, the latest spin from the CFR:

September 10, 2008
Council on Foreign Relations-Brookings’
Experts Call for Patience In Iraq

In the September/October 2008 issue of Foreign Affairs Stephen Biddle of
the Council on Foreign Relations, and Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth
Pollack of the Brookings Institution wrote a piece entitled “How to Leave a
Stable Iraq, Building on Progress.” As reported earlier, all three went on a
tour of Iraq this summer. Stephen Biddle is a military expert and former
advisor to General David Petraeus
. Michael O’Hanlon is a national security
expert, while Kenneth Pollack is a senior fellow at the Saban Center for
Middle East Policy. Their main point is that while Iraq has a new status
quo characterized by less violence, American forces are still going to be
needed for years to come because a new set of issues is facing the

The Council on Foreign Relations and Brookings’ experts end by making
their argument for a long-term commitment by the U.S. in Iraq. They
believe large numbers of American troops should be kept in Iraq until
provincial and parliamentary elections are held. They don’t think that
troops should be pulled out until at least 2010 if the voting goes well.
American forces could be cut in half by 2011 if they do.

America also needs to stay to maintain the cease-fires they have made
with the Sunnis, to force the government to integrate the Sons of Iraq,
and to oversee reconciliation. They argue against those that think a
withdrawal will make Iraq take these steps sooner by saying that Iraq is
changing without a troop pull out. It might also lead to hasty deals by
Iraqi politicians that may not stand..... In the end, they say Iraq may end
up like Bosnia and Kosovo where U.S. troops have been gradually
reduced, but they are still needed there as peacekeepers.....

......Biddle, O’Hanlon, Pollack, and others may want large numbers
of troops to stay for the next couple years, but the U.S. may not be able
to because of demands by Iraqi politicians. As Iraq becomes more
secure, it also means that its politicians will become more assertive, and
look less to the U.S. for guidance and support
. That’s playing out today in
the on-going negotiations over security and diplomatic deals between the
two countries, as Iraq is calling for more autonomy.


As background, the Iraqi people are becoming ineasingly hostile to
Iraqi politicians who underwrite the continuation of the occupation.
Only a paltry few precent have bothered to register for upcoming
elections -an indication of disillusion with existing politicians.

So why would the U.S. allow it's puppet regime in Iraq to block the
granting of jobs to the Sunni Awakening fighters who --more than
'the Surge'-- are responsible for the sharp decline in U.S. fatalities?

Wouldn't that be a really, dumb move? Or would it?

Answers on a postcard to "Deep NWO-IRAQ Games" at BreakForNews.
The Winner get a three day stay in the Al-Rasheed Hotel in Baghdad.
Runner up gets a two week stay.

This is a hint:
"the awakenings could end up joining together as a nationalist
front against major parts of the American/Hakim scheme."

Iraqi government reassures the Awakening, but fighters are wary

September 11, 2008
By Nicholas Spangler and Mohammed al Dulaimy | McClatchy Newspapers

BAGHDAD — The Iraqi government will not turn its back on the men who
paid in blood for the country's fragile peace, said the officials on stage in
the ballroom at Baghdad's al-Rasheed Hotel, referring to U.S.-paid Sunni
militias. But the Awakening leaders listened warily. "I don't trust a word
they said," said one, afterward.

The Shiite-led Iraqi government is due to take control of the 99,000-
strong militias Oct. 1, absorbing 20,000 into the police and army and
providing jobs, schooling or vocational training for the rest.

For almost two years the Pentagon paid men in the mainly Sunni group at
least $300 a month each to fight al Qaida and other Sunni extremist
They were key in breaking the terrorist group's stranglehold in
parts of Anbar and Diyala provinces and still face kidnappings, executions
and suicide bombings there.

But the recent alliance was not entirely comfortable at all times for any of
the parties involved. Many of the rank and file from the U.S. military and
Iraqi security forces were at first reluctant to fight alongside men who,
before they were put on payroll, sometimes tried to kill them. Last month,
U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus said the Iraqi government had been
deliberately slow bringing them into the security forces here.

On the other side, Awakening fighters fear prosecution for past crimes,
and question whether the government will make good on its promises.

There have been many promises, and on Thursday the officials reiterated

"The government has ordered that monthly salaries be paid until we can
put (Awakening members) into security forces or the ministries," said
Gen. Abud Ganbar, the Baghdad operations commander. "Payments will
continue until they find jobs."

All fighters who fought on the U.S. payroll and register with the
government office for disarmament and merging of militias will be paid,
said that office's head, Khaleem al Rubaiee.

Awakening men cannot be immune from prosecution, said Mohammed
Salman, of the national reconciliation committee, but the government will
not permit vendettas against them inside or outside the courts. "The
coming days will prove the extent of our commitment," he said.

The Awakening leaders were not optimistic.

"The leaders of the Awakening never expected the Americans to leave
them in such a time
," said Firas Qaasim Khalef, commander of 475 men
in the al Amil neighborhood of western Baghdad.

"I see this will be a big mistake," said Naji Rahal, commander of 400 men
in Taji. Over the years, 14 of his men have been killed, 23 injured, and
six had their homes destroyed. Some of his men now wear police
uniforms, but they have not been put on permanent staff, and he
distrusted the leadership.

"It is breached," he said. "I saw an al Qaida member, a killer, who is a
colonel in the (police) now. "If a report is written, who would the
government listen to, this colonel or me?"

Said Jassim, who commands 5,000 men in Tarmiyah, said two of his sons
had been killed fighting; a third lost his leg just two weeks ago. His men
had sacrificed their lives, he said, and now their weapons were being

"If they are left in the street, they will be targets for al Qaida."

He warned of another problem: "There are areas even the state cannot
secure," he said. "No one can secure them but the tribal men."

The officials on stage did not address that point directly, but made it clear
that the war of the Awakening will end one day, whether they want it to or

"We do not have three forces," said Gen. Ali Ghaidan, commander of
Iraqi ground troops. "We have police and army."


Key U.S. Iraq strategy in danger of collapse

August 20, 2008 - By Leila Fadel | McClatchy Newspapers

BAGHDAD — A key pillar of the U.S. strategy to pacify Iraq is in danger of collapsing because the Iraqi government is failing to absorb tens of thousands of former Sunni Muslim insurgents who'd joined U.S.-allied militia groups into the country's security forces.

American officials have credited the militias, known as the Sons of Iraq or Awakening councils, with undercutting support for the group al Qaida in Iraq and bringing peace to large swaths of the country, including Anbar province and parts of Baghdad. Under the program, the United States pays each militia member a stipend of about $300 a month and promised that they'd get jobs with the Iraqi government.

But the Iraqi government, which is led by Shiite Muslims, has brought only a relative handful of the more than 100,000 militia members into the security forces. Now officials are making it clear that they don't intend to include most of the rest.

"We cannot stand them, and we detained many of them recently," said one senior Iraqi commander in Baghdad, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the issue. "Many of them were part of al Qaida despite the fact that many of them are helping us to fight al Qaida."

He said the army was considering setting a Nov. 1 deadline for those militia members who hadn't been absorbed into the security forces or given civilian jobs to give up their weapons. After that, they'd be arrested, he said.

Some militia members say that such a move would force them into open warfare with the government again.

"If they disband us now, I will tell you that history will show we will go back to zero
," said Mullah Shahab al Aafi, a former emir, or leader, of insurgents in Diyala province who's the acting commander of 24,000 Sons of Iraq there, 11,000 of whom are on the U.S. payroll. "I will not give up my weapons. I will never give them up, and I will carry my weapon again. If it is useless to talk to the government, I will be forced to carry my weapons and my pistol."

The conflict over the militias underscores how little has changed in Iraq in the past year despite the drop in violence, which American politicians often attribute to the temporary increase of U.S. troops in Iraq that ended in July.

American military officials here have always said that the creation of the Sunni militias was at least as important to the precipitous drop in violence as the presence of 30,000 more U.S. troops, and that incorporating them into the security forces would go a long way toward bringing about the sort of reconciliation needed for long-term stability.

After initially embracing the idea of bringing the militia members into the security forces, however, Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki hasn't followed through. A committee that Maliki formed to organize the militias' transition to full-fledged government security troops fell apart and was reconstituted only recently. U.S. officials acknowledge that the hiring of the Sunnis has slowed to a crawl.

U.S. and Iraqi officials agree that the Maliki government never agreed to hire more than 20 percent of the militia members. A Maliki ally said it was unreasonable to expect otherwise.

"All the Americans are doing is paying them just to be quiet," said Haider al Abadi, a leading member of Maliki's Dawa political party and the head of the economic and investment committee in the parliament. The Iraqi government, he said, can't "justify paying monthly salaries to people on the grounds that they are ex-insurgents."

The best that most of them could expect is to be placed in vocational training for trades such as bricklaying and plumbing, along with a slew of other unemployed people.

The government has allocated $150 million for such training. So far this year, the U.S. military has spent $303 million on Sons of Iraq salaries.

American officials declined to be interviewed on the issue without a pledge of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the subject. But privately they expressed concern.

"If they only take a portion of them it's possible they will return to their insurgent ways," one senior intelligence analyst said, acknowledging that most of the men now called the Sons of Iraq had been insurgents, for al Qaida in Iraq and other groups that considered themselves resistance fighters against Americans.

He called the issue the "long-term threat."

"People need to be busy, industrious, just like us," he said. Without jobs, he said, they'll "revert back to how they received money before."

About 15,000 militia members have been given security jobs since the beginning of last year, according to the U.S. military. Another 2,342 have been approved for jobs with the Iraqi police after the Iraqi army opposed absorbing them.

The United States has 103,000 militia members on its payroll.

Abadi, the Maliki ally, was blunt in calling the militias a problem.

"You've created a problem here," he said. "You can't get rid of a program by shoveling it on the Iraqi government shoulders."

Colin Kahl, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a centrist policy institute in Washington, who recently visited Iraq, said the dispute over the militias could set the stage for a return of widespread bloodshed, particularly because the Maliki government seemed intent on thwarting the plan.

He noted that of the militia members slated to join the security forces, only 600 have completed the required training. Of those, most are Shiites.

Kahl, who spoke with senior U.S. officials during his visit to Iraq, said that the Iraqi government was providing jobs to the militia members in "humiliating ways." He said former Iraqi army officers were being absorbed as low-level beat cops, and men who saw themselves as the "slayers of al Qaida" were being asked to become plumbers and bricklayers.

"The last time we humiliated thousands of these guys is back in 2003, and we got the insurgency," Kahl said.

Farouk Abd al Sattar Hassan Mohammed al Obeidi, a deputy Sunni militia commander in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of Adhamiyah, wore a military uniform in an interview with McClatchy last week because he considered his men and himself to be soldiers.

He voiced frustration that his men had applied repeatedly to join the Iraqi Security Forces, to no avail.

"We wish we were part of the army. With deep remorse the government is sectarian," Obeidi said. He described his alliance with the U.S. forces as "the enemy of your enemy is your friend."

"The Sons of Iraq achieved security. Don't they deserve to enter the army?"

Obeidi will never see that happen. On Sunday, a suicide bomber on a bicycle killed him, along with five of his men and nine civilians.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm getting a bit tired of YouTube. I mention it because of the recent
deletion of the SNL Palin segments due to copyright violation
complaint by NBC.

The following video was also removed by YouTube.
Not because of complaints by NBC though......

Video Censored by YouTube

Civilians Massacred by Occupation Soldiers - video

Saturday, 28 June 2008 02:00

On May 20, 2008 in the village of Al Mazraa, near Baiji,
Salahuddin Province, Iraq, eight relatives and a neighbor on their way
to a homecoming party for a detainee released from Camp Bucca were
shot and killed by American soldiers as they waited on the road outside
the neighborhood.

American soldiers were conducting raids in the area, so neighbors had
warned the family to stay away from the area until the patrol was over.

As the two car convoy was waiting nearby, an American helicopter nearby
opened fire on the vehicles. As the vehicles were hit, the drivers
attempted to seek cover, but both vehicles were repeatedly shot and
disabled. The helicopter landed but instead of assisting those shot and
needing medical help, the American soldiers killed any survivors and then
wrote numbers on the foreheads of some.

Several children including a young girls body are clearly visible, and the
wounds suffered by the men are horrific. The vehicle is clearly shot with
many rounds and the seats and road is covered with blood. Iraqi police
were called to the scene to remove the bodies, and some video footage
was taken. It is clear that these people were unarmed civilians.

American troops did eventually enter the house where over 50 Iraqis
were gathered for the homecoming party, and the soldiers proceeded to
destroy furniture and belongings as they conducted their search. No one
in the house was harmed.

The names of those killed:

Sabah Rasheed Matrood
Saab Rasheed Matrood
Kamel Badr Daher
Ali Badr Daher
Udei Badr Daher
Fateh Haref Nouar
Abdul Rahman Kamel Badr

NOTE: This video was removed by youtube "due to terms of use violation!!!"


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A wave of bomb blasts in Baghdad in the last few days is a
sign of escalating conflict between the U.S. and the Sunni
militias whom the Saudi's funded to attack the Iraqi resistance
and "al-Qaida" foreign fighters.

It was mostly these Sunni fighters who achieved the success
which is generally attributed to the infamous troop 'surge'.

This could turn very nasty as the Sunni 'Awakening' fighters
realize that they are now expendable. They haven't been paid
in three months and they now find themselves on the hard end
of murder squads who are hunting them down.

The U.S. is deliberately moving against them now on the basis
that if there is going to be trouble then it's best to have a
showdown while high U.S. troop levels are in place.

Watch this space.

Tension Runs Deep Between Iraqi
Government And Awakening Councils

April 07, 2009 - By Ron Synovitz

As U.S. President Barack Obama called on Iraqis to "make political
accommodations" and take "responsibility" for their country during a
surprise visit to gauge progress there, officials in Baghdad were grappling
with a case that could well indicate how prepared they are to tackle a key
obstacle to progress.

Tensions are running deep in the Iraqi capital following the arrest of the
commander of a local Sunni militia group and many of his fighters -- one
of many "Awakening Councils" that were paid by the United States to
battle insurgents and Al-Qaeda militants.

Former members of the Awakening Councils now fear further arrests by
Shi'ite-led government forces, and the way the Iraqi government deals
with the issue is seen as a telling test of sectarian reconciliation.

The councils are credited with playing a crucial role in defeating Al-Qaeda
militants in Anbar Province when the U.S. military beefed up its forces
during what was dubbed "surge" operations in Iraq in 2007.

The U.S. military also credits Sunni Awakening groups with playing a key
role in a nationwide drop in violence -- including areas in and around
Baghdad -- that coincided with the increase of U.S. forces.

The awakening groups are mostly local Sunni militias -- often comprised
of former insurgents or insurgent sympathizers who took payments from
the U.S. military and turned against Al-Qaeda.

But the United States stopped paying the Awakening groups in November.

Growing Distrust?

Instead, some Sunni fighters were promised they would be integrated into Iraq's security forces. Others were told they would receive monthly payments of about $300 from Iraq's Shi'a-led government -- at least until they were reintegrated into civilian life and found other jobs.

Adel al-Mishhadani's arrest for suspected murder and extortion sparked violent clashes in the Iraqi capital.
But already, Iraq's Shi'a-dominated government is two or three months behind on many of those payments.

"The Americans used to give them fixed salaries at regular intervals. They had an understanding that they would be incorporated into the [Iraqi] army, police or even in the intelligence service," says Falih Abdul Jabbar, a sociologist and director of the Iraqi Studies Institute in Beirut. "The Iraqi government is more sensitive to the issue of reincorporation, and they are using these delays in payment as a kind of pressure tool, really, to bring those elements and groups under their control."

In an interview last month with Radio Free Iraq, Tahsin al-Sheikhly, a spokesman for Iraqi government security forces, denied that there were serious conflicts between the Sunni Awakening groups and Iraq's Shi'a-led government.

"The Awakening Councils are part of a government program. They are part of the solution to the security issue. They have the government's respect, appreciation, and attention," Sheikhly said. "The Awakening Councils are the sons of Iraq, and there no differences or problems between this institution and the Iraqi government."

Jabbar claims the failure of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government to pay the Sunni fighters or bring most of them into Iraq's security forces has fueled resentment and distrust.

"The Awakening groups were actually encouraged, organized, funded, and equipped by the U.S. forces in Iraq," Jabbar says. "The [Iraqi] government was detached from that process. Now that [Iraqi officials] are in charge of these groups, they have views different from that of the Americans. And obviously, the awakening groups have greater expectations than the [Iraqi] government is ready to offer."

Clashes Follow Arrest

Relations deteriorated further late last month when Iraqi forces arrested Adil al-Mashhadani -- leader of an Awakening group in the Fadil neighborhood of north Baghdad -- on suspicion of murder and extortion.

The arrest triggered clashes between U.S.-backed Iraqi forces and Mashhadani's fighters in the district, which led to scores of the Sunni fighters.

Maliki later insisted that members of the Awakening groups have no immunity and that they will eventually be prospecuted for any crimes they have committed.

Jabbar says Maliki's policies toward the Sunni militias appear to be influenced by widespread fears among Shi'ite officials that former Awakening-group fighters might try to overthrow the government and reestablish the outlawed Ba'ath Party of Saddam Hussein.

"There is a kind of what we call 'coup d'etat syndrome' -- you can see it clearly in the statements of so many Shi'a Islamic leaders who fear that the [Awakening] groups intend to get reincorporated into the army in order to stage a coup d'etat and to bring the Ba'ath back to power -- which is really a myth," Jabbar says. "Yet this myth is being widely circulated here and there, and it seems to have some effect on the decisions of the prime minister."

Mustafa Kamil Shabib, leader of the South Baghdad Awakening Council, told Radio Free Iraq that none of his fighters has defected back to Al-Qaeda and that they all remain loyal to the central government in Baghdad.

"So far I am still in control of my men and they are staying the course," Shabib said. "After all, we are responsible for security in our own locality. We are responsible for maintaining security and creating a safe environment for our families, for our sons, for our government and for our homeland."

But Shabib admitted that some of the Sunni fighters in his militia are concerned about the next moves by Maliki's government.

"Frankly speaking, there are apprehensions that, God willing, will prove to be misplaced," Shabib said. "We hope the prime minister will dispel these concerns by an amnesty to awakening members for incidents that took place prior to their integration into the armed forces."

Friend Or Foe?

Maliki continues to insist that rogue elements within any Iraqi militia will face justice if they break the law -- regardless of the role they had played earlier in helping the government tame the insurgency.

Jabbar says that position could lead to more violence and unravel the security gains made in Iraq since the launch of surge operations.

Prime Minister al-Maliki (right) greets tribal leaders in Baghdad in early March."Prime Minister Maliki was very, very courageous in taking tough measures against his own Shi'ite groups -- the militias. He convinced the public that he is fair-handed and that he is against all extra-institutional forces, irrespective of their religious, sect, whatever," Jabbar says. "Now these tensions with the Sunni groups may damage the whole process."

Indeed, Baghdad has seen a wave of bombings in the last two days that killed dozens of people, many in Shi'ite neighborhoods of the Iraqi capital.

Interior Ministry officials have declined to comment on whether the bombs were a coordinated strike or reactions to the recent arrests of Awakening Council fighters.

Analyst Kadhum al-Muqdadi, a professor at Baghdad University, concludes that such a connection is "not unlikely."

Radio Free Iraq contributed to this story from Baghdad, Tikrit, and Prague


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Suicide truck bomb kills five American soldiers

April 11, 2009
Deborah Haynes in Baghdad

The US suffered its worst mass casualties in Iraq for more than
a year yesterday when five soldiers were killed by a suicide truck bomb
outside a police compound in Mosul.

Two Iraqi policemen also died and at least 20 were wounded in the
explosion after the truck – under a hail of gunfire – rammed into a
sandbagged wall surrounding the national police headquarters in the
northern city, the US military said. Iraqi police put the wounded toll at 70
people and said that five Iraq and two US armoured vehicles had been

General Ray Odierno, the top US commander in Iraq, told The Times that
al-Qaeda activities in Mosul could delay a plan to pull US combat forces out
of the city by the end of June. Under a security agreement between
Baghdad and Washington, all combat forces are due to leave Iraqi cities
within that timeframe.

Iraq's Interior Ministry said that the authorities had been warned of
yesterday's attack, which involved 1,000kg of explosives, but were
unsure when it would happen.

US and Iraqi forces opened fire on the truck after it ignored a request
to stop at a checkpoint on the approach to the base.

"The truck exploded 50 metres before reaching its target," Major General
Abdul Karim Khalaf, the Interior Ministry spokesman, said. The force of the
blast flattened three buildings close to the police headquarters, he added.

At least two people suspected of being involved in the attack have been
arrested and an investigation is under way, the US military said.

Mosul, Iraq’s third largest city, 240 miles north of Baghdad, is regarded as
al-Qaeda’s last urban stronghold in the country after the militants were
pushed out of Baghdad and the surrounding belts.

Ethnic divisions run deep in Mosul, which is inhabited by a mix of Kurds,
Sunni Arabs, Christians and other minorities. This has helped insurgent
groups to remain effective. They are also known to retreat to hideouts in
the remote and mountainous region outside the city.

Abu Adwer, a Christian in his 30s who lives in Mosul, said security was as
bad now as it was before attempts by the authorities to crack down on the
violence. “We had several car bombs in recent days. They target anyone:
Iraqi police, army, or the Americans,” he said. Fewer assassinations were
taking place, however....

Yesterday’s blast was the deadliest single bombing attack for the US
military since five soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber in March 2008.

At least 4,270 US servicemen and women have been killed in Iraq since
the March 2003 invasion. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have perished.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

US soldier killed by bomb blast north of Baghdad

3 hours ago

BAGHDAD (AFP) — A US soldier was killed in a bomb blast that targeted a
convoy north of Baghdad on Sunday, a US military statement said, taking
the number of American soldiers killed in recent days to six.

"One US coalition soldier died of wounds sustained when an improvised
explosive device detonated in Salaheddin province," the statement said.
"The soldier was in a convoy when the vehicle has hit."

The latest deaths bring the total number of US casualties since the March
2003 invasion to topple Saddam Hussein to 4,272, according to an AFP
count based on the independent website icasualties.org.

Five US troops were killed on Friday in the deadliest attack on American
forces in Iraq for more than a year when a suicide truck bomber struck a
police compound in the northern city of Mosul.

Two Iraqi police and an Iraqi soldier also perished in Friday's blast,
according to an interior ministry official.

The deaths come amid a sudden upturn in bombings nationwide including
a series of blasts in Baghdad that have dealt a blow to recent upbeat
assessments by American commanders about Iraq's fragile security.

At least 71 people have been killed and more than 300 injured in violence
in the past week.

Lieutenant General Lloyd Austin, the US army's second-highest ranking
officer in Iraq, said in Baghdad on April 1 that recent "high-profile" attacks
were not a signal that the security situation was worsening.

US soldiers are preparing to withdraw from Iraqi cities and major towns
by June 30 and from the entire country by the end of 2011.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iraqi blasts stir worries of insurgent push

By BRIAN MURPHY – 1 hour ago

BAGHDAD (AP) — It's been a season of jarring flashbacks in Iraq: a spate of major suicide bombings, including more than 145 dead over two days of bloodshed capped by a blast Friday outside a Shiite shrine.

The spike in attacks since March suggest suspected Sunni insurgents are still capable of striking back hard and recruiting fighters even as the Pentagon increasingly shifts its attention to Afghanistan.

The violence also bring wider questions about the ability of Iraqi security forces to control a resilient insurgency led by al-Qaida in Iraq and how that could influence the U.S. military withdrawal timetable — the next step calls for American forces to leave bases inside cities by the end of June.

In Washington, the top U.S. military commander for the region, Gen. David Petraeus, told a House panel that attacks in Iraq will persist for some time. He said some of the recent suicide bombers may be linked to a network of militants from Tunisia brought in to replace dwindling ranks of Iraqis willing to carry out such attacks.

Petraeus cited some successes in Iraq but cautioned that progress continues to be fragile and reversible.

Overall violence around Iraq is significantly below the levels in past years. Yet the tally since March appears to reflect a new push by Sunni insurgents.

There's been more than a dozen significant bombings or suicide attacks in the past two months, including a series of five blasts in four hours in Baghdad on April 6 that left 37 people dead.

On Friday, at least 60 worshippers were killed in twin suicide bombings at Baghdad's most important Shiite shrine. A day earlier — the bloodiest single day in Iraq in more than a year — at least 88 people died in suicide blasts in central Baghdad and at a restaurant filled with Iranian pilgrims north of the capital.

The aftermath of the blasts Friday were scenes that many in Baghdad had hoped would never return on this scale: deep pools of blood, dozens of limp bodies scattered in the dirt and crumpled against walls, survivors wailing and many of the estimated 125 wounded crying for help.

"It is just like a massacre took place," said Laith Ali, 35, who owns a shop near the shrine in northern Baghdad.

"Where are the security precautions that the security officials are talking about?" he asked.

April is already the deadliest month in Iraq this year with at least 349 Iraqis killed in war-related violence. Suicide bombings — about half the deaths this month — have not taken such a toll on the Iraqi population since February 2008.

Casualties have been increasing since January, which had been the least deadly month for Iraqis since The Associated Press began keeping track in May 2005.

However, war-related deaths remain well below levels of a year ago. A total of 1,276 people died violently in March 2008, compared with 335 killed last month.

The strikes in Baghdad take a special toll. Security in the capital is essential to keep Iraq's government functioning and project some sense of stability. Residents also had slowly started to gain confidence that the worst days could be over as they watched stores reopen and crews dismantle some concrete blast barriers.

"To prove that (the insurgents) are still alive ... they need to continue orchestrating attacks in the center (of Baghdad)," said Farhana Ali, a regional policy specialist and former U.S. government counterterrorism analyst. "We've now seen a spate of attacks to the prove the lethality of al-Qaida in Iraq."

In March, the insurgent umbrella group believed linked to al-Qaida, the Islamic State of Iraq, announced a new offensive called "Good Harvest" after denouncing what it claimed was an alliance between the West and mostly Shiite Iran.

Assessing the strategies and strength of Iraq's insurgency is notoriously difficult. Various factions, including al-Qaida in Iraq, are believed to wage attacks, and any level of coordination is unclear.

Yet the timing and locations of the attacks — especially key sites in Baghdad — draw links to the Pentagon's plans to hand over most urban security roles in about three months. It's the first phase toward the goal of a complete exit of forces by the end of 2011.

U.S. officials insist they are still committed to the June 30 deadline to move all forces outside major cities, including Baghdad. But the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. Raymond Odierno, said earlier this month that American troops could "maintain a presence" in some cities if requested by Iraq's government.

The most likely location is the northern city of Mosul, considered one of the last bases for Sunni insurgents. Another possibility could be remaining in Baqouba, the capital of the Diyala province where U.S. combat forces are still fighting running battles with insurgents.

Diyala also runs right to the doorstep of Baghdad, and the security of the capital cannot be assured without a firm clampdown in and around Baqouba.

"The insurgents are trying to send a message," said John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, which follows security and defense issues. "Every month that went by without a major crisis is another month that they appear to be marginalized. They are telling everyone: `The Americans are pulling back and the Iraq security forces are going to have deal with us now.'"

That will remain the question as the U.S. military increasingly steps to the sidelines.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered a military task force to investigate the Friday bombings at the Shiite shrine and ordered commanders responsible for security in the area to be relieved of duty during the probe, said military spokesman Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi.

But Iraqi forces — dominated by Shiites — will be asked for much more than guard duty on specific sites. Full-scale security efforts will fall on their shoulders, including Sunni areas where al-Qaida in Iraq and other insurgents are able to maintain footholds.

Al-Maliki's government has promised to open thousands of police and military jobs to Sunni tribal militiamen who rose up against insurgents in one of the critical turning-points of the war. But the government has been accused by Sunnis of dragging its feet on integrating the tribal fighters, now widely called Sons of Iraq.

"Without accelerating this process of bringing in the (Sons of Iraq), Iraqi security forces will be at a serious disadvantage and insurgents could certainly use it to their advantage," said Stephen Biddle, a senior fellow of defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Austin Long, a researcher in security affairs at the RAND Corp. in Washington, believes the Sunni insurgents will "continue to cause problems in Iraq for several years at a minimum" and predicts an increase in attacks as Iraqi security forces move into front-line roles.

"The question is: Does this increase in violence have a strategic effect?" he said. "If it doesn't spark renewed sectarian violence, the answer is probably no."


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clinton says Iraq on right track

By MATTHEW LEE – 34 minutes ago


BAGHDAD (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Saturday that this week's deadly suicide bombings in Iraq are a sign that extremists are afraid the Iraqi government is succeeding.

Making her first trip to Iraq as America's top diplomat, Clinton said the country has made great strides despite the recent violence that killed at least 159 people on Thursday and Friday.

"I think that these suicide bombings ... are unfortunately, in a tragic way, a signal that the rejectionists fear that Iraq is going in the right direction,
" Clinton told reporters traveling aboard her plane ahead of her unannounced visit to Baghdad.

"I think in Iraq there will always be political conflicts, there will always be, as in any society, sides drawn between different factions, but I really believe Iraq as a whole is on the right track," she said, citing "overwhelming evidence" of "really impressive" progress.

"Are there going to be bad days? Yes, there are," Clinton said. "But I don't know of any difficult international situation anywhere in the world or history where there haven't been bad days."

Clinton arrived a day after back-to-back suicide bombings killed 71 people outside the most important Shiite shrine in Baghdad. Those attacks came after Iraq on Thursday was rocked by its most deadly violence in more than a year when 88 people were killed by suicide bombers in Baghdad and Muqdadiyah, north of the capital.

She was met at the airport by the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, also on an unannounced trip to Baghdad, and the just-arrived new U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill, who presented his credentials to the Iraqi government late Friday.

Although the violence is at its lowest levels since the months following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, the latest bombings come amid an increase in high-profile sectarian attacks that have raised concerns about the abilities of Iraq's security forces.

They have exposed gaps in security as Iraq takes over from U.S. forces in protecting the country and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered a military task force to investigate the attacks as well as shortcomings that allowed the assailants to slip through.

Clinton said she would press the Iraqis with U.S. help to create a "nonsectarian security force that will not tolerate either sectarian actions or any kind of armed assault on the people of Iraq."

She is in Baghdad, following President Barack Obama's brief visit earlier this month, to assure Iraqi authorities of the administration's support even as it moves to draw down the U.S. military presence in the country.

"We want the Iraqi people to know that the United States remains committed to helping them navigate through this period and have a better future," she said, ahead of meetings with al-Maliki, President Jalal Talibani and Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

The Pentagon plans to hand over responsibility for most urban security in about three months as part of the administration's goal of a complete exit of forces by the end of 2011.

U.S. officials say they are still committed to a June 30 deadline to move all forces outside major cities, including Baghdad. But the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. Raymond Odierno, has said American troops could "maintain a presence" in some cities if requested by the Iraqis.

Clinton, who made three trips to Iraq while she was serving in the Senate, is to begin her program in Baghdad with a closed-door briefing from Mullen and Odierno to discuss the uptick in violence.

"I want his evaluation of what these kinds of rejectionist efforts mean and what can be done to prevent them by both the Iraqi government and the U.S. forces," she said.

Clinton saw the U.N. representative to Iraq and then met with Iraqi war widows. Later she answered questions during an unprecedented "town hall" style meeting with Iraqi aid workers and others at the U.S. Embassy.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 2:21 pm    Post subject: Iraq: State of denial, again? Reply with quote


As the situation in Iraq disintegrated following the U.S. invasion, Bush administration officials famously remained in a "state of denial," insisting that everything was just fine as hundreds of people were bombed into oblivion, aid money disappeared and Iraq sank farther and farther into the mire.

For a brief time, it looked as though the "surge" had really put an end to violence. But a series of horrendous bombings in recent months, activity that seems to increase systematically as U.S. forces are withdrawn, should have served as a wakeup call. In 2008 there were at least 115 suicide bombings (not every bombing is a suicide bombing and Wikipedia has not counted all the bombings) and just about every one was reported with a reminder that the situation is much better than it was previously. But you don't need a lot of bombings to terrorize a population and destabilize a situation, especially if they are concentrated in a few key urban areas. At least 11 of the 2008 suicide bombings occurred in December. If you think the most recent bombings on April 23 and 24 are isolated instances, think again. A perspicacious analyst noted that April was a "bad month" even before those bombings, and raised the specter of Iraqi civil war. But March, February and January were not such good months either. Here is a partial listing of Iraq bombings in 2009:


January 4:Baghdad bomb kills 35 Shia pilgrims including 16 Iranians.

Janyary 21: A bomb attached to a vehicle in the convoy of a Baghdad University dean, Ziyad al-Ani, killed four people and wounded 10 others in north Baghdad's Adhamiya district; A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol killed five policemen and wounded three in Dour, near the city of Tikrit.

January 24: Five policemen killed in Iraq bombing north of Baghdad. 5 other police and 9 civilians were wounded in a separate attack in Garma.

February 3: Six people were wounded by two roadside bomb attacks in different parts of Baquba; Four people were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded targeting a U.S. military patrol in eastern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad; Roadside bomb targeting a police patrol wounded two civilians in a town near Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad.

February 8 Roadside IED kills two Shi'ite pilgrims in northern Baghdad.

February 9 4 U.S. Soldiers Killed In Mosul suicide car bomb attack. "Suicide Attack In Mosul The Deadliest Against American Forces In Over Nine Months."

February 13: 40 dead, 80 wounded in Mussayib suicide bombing.

February 15: A U.S. soldier was killed by an IED southern Iraq, the U.S. military said; Gunmen shot and killed an off-duty Iraqi soldier in western Mosul and killed another man in Western Mosul;A roadside bomb killed one person and wounded six others in Sadr City. Several civilians and a policeman were wounded in Mosul in different attacks.

February 28: A roadside bomb wounded two civilians when it exploded as a police patrol was passing in Baghdad`s southern district of Doura.

March 5: 13 killed in Hillah livestock market car bombing.

March 8: Baghdad police recruitment center bombing: suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up as he entered a crowd of people outside a police recruitment center killing 28.

March 10: Suicide car bomb went off outside a national reconciliation conference in Baghdad, killing at least 33 and wounding 46.

March 16: A roadside bomb struck a U.S.-backed neighbourhood patrol, wounding three people, including a local Sahwa fighter, in the Doura district of southern Baghdad, police said; A grenade exploded prematurely, killing a gunman and wounding three civilians in the Mansour district of central Baghdad.

March 23: Funeral bombing kills 14 in Jalawla

March 26: Car bombing kills 26 in Baghdad.

April 2: A parked car bomb killed a civilian and wounded another and two policemen when it exploded as police tried to defuse it in Tel Keif, on the outskirts of Mosul; A roadside bomb wounded four Iraqi soldiers when it struck their vehicle in northern Mosul; A roadside bomb wounded five policemen and a civilian near a police checkpoint in central Mosul; A bomb placed on a wooden cart wounded four people in southern Mosul on Wednesday; A parked car bomb wounded nine people in northern Kirkuk.

April 5: Gunmen killed a policeman and wounded another four when they opened fire at a moving police car in central Samarra, 100 km north of Baghdad, police said.

April 6: A spate of bombings in the same day kills 32 and injures another 124 more.

April 10: 5 US soldiers killed, 22 Iraqis and Americans wounded in Mosul suicide bombing.

April 13:US soldier killed by roadside (IED) bomb in Salaheddin province

April 12: At least 9 killed in suicide bombing in Babil province.

April 15:Car bomb in Kirkuk kills at least 10, including American troops.

April 20: 8 U.S. soldiers wounded by Iraq suicide bomber in Baqouba.

April 22:- A suicide bomber killed at least five people inside a mosque in Dhuluiya, 70 km (45 miles) north of Baghdad, also wounding 15 people,

April 23: Two suicide bombings kill at least 75 in Baghdad and Muqdadiya, including many Iranian pilgrims.

April 24: A least 60 killed in twin suicide bombings at the Shia shrine of Qaddumiyah, including 20 Iranian pilgrims.

I do not guarantee that I found every single bombing, or even all fatal ones. Hopefully, you got the idea. If Iraq was your country, would think it was "pacified?" Do you see a justification for U.S. withdrawal?

Just about every day there seem to be a few IEDs going off somewhere in Iraq. Almost every bombing report is accompanied by a fixed refrain like this:

Despite the recent bombings, U.S. military spokesman Army Maj. Gen. David Perkins told reporters Wednesday that violence in Iraq was at its lowest levels since the early months after the invasion.

"The situation is under control. Nothing can go wrong," Stop and think. Iraq is a majority Shiite country, ruled by a majority Shiite government, with a majority Shiite army. Isn't it strange that so many Shiite civilians and particularly pilgrims get killed. Isn't it strange that so many bombings are done in mosques, on Friday? What organization would deliberately outrage Muslim public opinion by killing civilians worshiping in mosques?

U.S. Secretary of state Hillary Clinton explained away the last few bombings as follows:

"I think that these suicide bombings ... are unfortunately, in a tragic way, a signal that the rejectionists fear that Iraq is going in the right direction," Clinton told reporters traveling aboard her plane ahead of her unannounced visit to Baghdad.

One wonders what Hillary Clinton thinks the right direction might be. Her American audience may not know what is happening in Iraq, but Iraqis do, and the Mukhabarat of every country in the Middle East knows as well. Later, Clinton more realistically "reassured" Iraqis that America would not abandon them. After all, the United States didn't abandon South Vietnam, did it? The same AP article told us once again:

Violence is at its lowest since the months following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion...

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered a military task force to investigate the attacks as well as shortcomings that allowed the assailants to slip through...

U.S. officials say they remain committed to a June 30 deadline to move all forces outside major cities, including Baghdad.

Over the past few months there were dozens of incidents, as we saw, in which one or two people were killed or wounded. These little murders do not count, and do not trigger any military investigative task forces. Of course, the little murders are the parents of the big ones. Each "success" helps to recruit new enthusiasts. And each bombing of one sect, triggers slightly more than one retaliation bombing attempts, The effect is something like a combination of a fusion and fission reaction. The hotter it gets, the hotter it can get, and each incident tends to fuel another and another. That's the wonderful about starting a civil war in someone else's country. It costs only a few dollars in explosives and none of your own soldiers. Iran and Syria, the main players in Iraq know this quite well. Lebanon was just practice for Iraq. Iraq will be practice for Saudi Arabia or Turkey. If you take the moderator rods out of the reactor, which the US is in the process of doing now, then each incident may trigger two or even three retaliatory incidents, and you have a fine bit of mayhem going. Every batch of U.S. soldiers that leaves Iraq is going to be marked by an increase in violence, because the Iraqi security forces are not ready to take over security, and at this rate they never well be, and because Iran and others are going to make sure that accidents keep happening. It seems rather convenient that each outrage against Shiites, and particularly Iranians, helps to lay the groundwork for the self-righteous and outraged intervention of Iran in Iraq. It is not entirely farfetched to see an Iranian hand in these provocations.

There is not the slightest sign that the security situation is really under control. If it were, there would be a growing number of attacks that were prevented and suicide bombers caught before they exploded, as happened in Israel. In Iraq, almost every bomber aiming for paradise gets to his or her destination. Iraq is not on the right road. If you travel on the wrong road for a long time, you get to a very wrong place, and that is where Iraq is going. Iran, naturally, blames Israel and the United States for the violence. Some of the latest incidents involved Tunisians. Who let them in to Iraq? Was it the United States or Israel?

Everything, however, is relative. Compared to Afghanistan/Pakistan, the situation in Iraq doesn't look nearly half as bad. In Lebanon, an upcoming election is probably going to propel Hezbollah into national political leadership. An Islamic Republic will be established on the doorstep of Turkey and Israel. That cannot be good for the United States. The United States doesn't even show signs it is aware that there is a problem in Lebanon. Compared to Pakistan, Lebanon is small potatoes.

If America wants to have a position left in the Middle East, it will have to make some hard decisions. Fine statements are not enough. Middle East states and operators are all either wolves or lambs. The lambs must find a sheep dog to protect them if the old one has lost his teeth and has let the wolves into the fold. The wolves are not going to become vegetarians.

Ami Isseroff


"Do you see a justification for U.S. withdrawal?"

Justification? You must be kidding! The US invasion of Iraq was not justified, so I can't imagine why the withdrawal should be. For that matter, I wonder why the author seems so interested in pointing out reasons that might prevent a US withdrawal.

Sooo... *why are* you so interested in maintaining the US occupation of Iraq? Is it possible that perhaps you hate to see a good occupation go to waste?

What I'm trying to point out is that we can't know if the bombings are intended to (A) drive us out, (B) divide those whom we wish to bring together, or (C) provide a justification for US forces to stay in Iraq forever -like former Vice President **** Cheney intended to do.

We really can't see that kind of answer clearly until some years after the last American soldiers and other operatives have left. We will know when the last soldier leaves, but we may never know when the last American covert operatives have left.

"After all, the United States didn't abandon South Vietnam, did it?"

An interesting question. Also a very leading question. I would say that America finally did what had to be done in Vietnam. The American public had become horrified by scenes of what US troops were doing in their efforts to implement our government's "war policy". We withdrew, and eventually things got better. -And in time most of the American public forgot the terrible things that happened.

Kind of reminds me of the terrible things Israeli troops have done to maintain Israel's on-going occupation of the Palestinian Territories. Consider the recent Israeli military operations in Gaza. I wonder if the USA ever had numbers approaching a 100 to 1 kill ratio in Vietnam?

There is one thing you didn't mention that could improve developments in the region. If the USA were to focus on establishment of a Palestinian state, the Mideast Conflict could be ended. This would remove one of the strongest motivators of the Islamic fundamentalist movement that continues to destabilize the region.

Even better, if Israel were to agree to the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, it could result in normalized relations with all Arab countries of the region. Thus Israel could become party to a coalition of mideast states if a *real* reason to confront Iran becomes apparent in the future.

So regarding long-term security and regional stability, what's good for Palestinians might also be the best thing for Israel. And what is this thing? It's called two states living side by side in peace.

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