Sunday, April 30, 2006

Iraq: Five snapshots show a deadly week

If you haven't heard the news yet, American military fatalities in Iraq have hit (official count) 2400. It seems like moments ago when our press organs were predicting a 'corner turned' and citing figures and shuffled decks as proof that things had changed. Things have changed. The violence only increases.

If you weren't following the events last week, we'll offer a Monday through Friday recap via C.I.'s "Iraq Snapshot."


The Associated Press notes that on Sunday "at least three U.S. soldiers and 31 Iraqis were killed, including seven who died when mortars hit just outside the heavily guarded Green Zone." The Chicago Tribune reports that private contractors in Iraq have been confiscating passports from labor brought in (from outside Iraq) and that General George Casey has ordered that all passports must be returned by May 1st. Reuters notes that Iraqi firefighters are fighting "a large blaze" at an oil center between Kirkuk and Baiji. Australia's ABC notes that John Howard, that country's prime minister who is saying the illegal war is not "a disaster," stated today that the prospect of US troops was conditional (and didn't appear optimistic it would happen).
Ian Bruce, with the UK Herald, reports that Carle Selman, James Cooke, Joseph McCleary and Martin McGing will stand trial (court martial) in Colchester, Essex for their actions in the death of Iraqi Ahmed Jabber Kareem. Seventeen-year-old Kareem was beaten along with three others and then ordered "into the Shatt al Basra waterway." Kareem, who could not swim, drowned. Bruce notes that an estimated 30 British soldiers "have either been convicted, are awaiting court-marital, or are being investigate" for their actions in Iraq. China's People's Daily Online reports that the costs of the (illegal) Iraq war are rising to one trillion in US dollars. Meanwhile, New York Daily News notes that costs for Iraq and Afghanistan will hit $117.9 billion and that the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments is predicting the cost could reach 660 billion dollars by the year 2016.
In Tikrit, four Iraqi police officers were killed during a gun battle and two more were killed after the attack on the police station. In Mosul, Sandra Lupien noted, three corpses were found andAl Jazeera notes that at least seven car bombs have gone off in Baghdad ("two of them at a Baghdad university"), CNN reports eight (a more recent report). The Los Angeles Times (going with the figure of seven) reports the death of at least 14 civilians and the wouding of at least 139 -- Sandra Lupien noted that the 139 included "a ten-year-old boy."Seventeen corpses were found in Iraq today, the Associated Press reports. Sandra Lupien (a more recent report) noted at least 20 from secratarian violence with many, if not all, showing signs of torture.
Sandra Lupien does newsbreaks on KPFA in the early half of the day, including during one of Ruth's favorite programs: The Morning Show. Please note audio reports whenever one stands out -- not all members have the same abilities -- and Lupien has four news breaks in the now archived broadcast of The Morning Show, click on the links in the previous paragraphs and you'll be taken to today's two hour broadcast -- Lupien comes in on the hour and half hour. Lloyd has reminded me to add a radio show to the permalinks -- added last night. It's not showing up. But as I dictate this, nothing is showing up. Hopefully members are using the mirror site where this morning's entries (thanks to Jess) are up and VISIBLE.


While Bully Boy uses current oil prices to push "the appearance of a gas shortage to push for the drilling" in ANWR (as Sandra Lupien noted), chaos and violence continues in Iraq. Yesterday, in Baghdad, eight bombs went off and CNN puts the toll at "at least eight people died and 90 others were injured."
Today? First, not a roadside bomb, but one inside a "minibus" exploded in Baghdad leading to at least two deaths and at least five wounded, according to Reuters. Also in Baghdad, the Associated Press notes that two more corpses have been found (with signs of torture). Reuters reports that Ibrahim al-Hindawi, "a senior judge in Baghdad," has been kidnapped by gunmen. Still in Baghdad, along with the bomb in the minibus, two roadsides bombs did go off -- at least three Iraqis were wounded. A "car bomb" in Baghdad resulted in at least four Iraqi police officers being wounded.
Police officers were targeted elsewhere as well. In Tal Qasir, four were killed during an attack on a police station, and "near Kirkuk," two Iraqi soldiers and a police officer were killed. Another Iraqi soldier was killed on "the main road between Tikrit and Kirkuk" -- the oil blaze, for those following (obviously the New York Times isn't).
At least three American soldiers were wounded when a roadside bobm went off in Haqlaniyah. And if you check the current tally, you'll see we're not that far away from another milestone: 2390 dead from the illegal 'cake walk.' This as Borzou Daraghi reports for the Los Angels Times that American ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad (the US ambassador to Iraq) has declared that America "must, perhaps reluctantly, accept" that US forces will continue to occupy Iraq for . . . "Long stay" is the the term that pops up in the headline. Permanent bases and the lust for the emerging markets would seem to indicate the need for a stronger term.


Iraq snapshot.
Chaos and violence continue.
The Associated Press notes that "[m]ore than 100 Iraqi civilians or police have been killed . . . since [Jawad] al-Maliki was tapped as Iraq's prime minister designate on Saturday . . ." Not a pretty picture. Thank goodness the word's premier video popped up to distract everyone with instead. (Has so much time been consumed covering a video since Madonna's "Like a Prayer"?) South of Baghdad (to use the 'location' favored by the BBC here and CNN here -- Reuters identifies it as Yusufiya), a US air strike (and "ground forces") have attacked a house in Baghdad an twelve people are dead including one woman. The media's running with the US military's statements (presented not as quotes) that it was a "safe house." The facts are, as known now, a US air strike and "ground forces" has resulted in 12 deaths "south of Baghdad." In Baghdad? China's People's Daily reports that a minibus contained a bomb which killed at least three Iraqis and wounded at least four while a roadside bomb "hit a passing police patrol" and killed at least one person and wounded at least two others.
The AP notes that four corpses were found in Baghdad. Reuters notes that the four bodies had "signs of torture and . . . gun shot wounds to their head".
Corpses continue to surface all over Iraq. As noted last week by Knight Ridder, the US administration didn't take the militia issue seriously. That may be the nicest explanation. Jawad al-Maliki is calling for the militias to disarm according to Reuters.
Knight Ridder's Lelia Fadel reports that sectarian lines are forming in Iraq's university system as well. KUNA reports that a "decomposed dead body in a bag" was discovered in Kirkuk. Reuters notes six corpses found "signs of torture and gunshot wounds" in Kerbala. In Kirkuk, "a wealthy trader" was kidnapped while, in Mahmodiya, "a bomb blast" has wounded three police officers.


Iraq snapshot.
Thursday, as Pacifica broadcasts the Iraq Forum, things remain the same in Iraq: violence and chaos. Condi and Donnie took the PR Express to Iraq. And did anything change?
CNN reports that "many of the troops stationed north of Baghdad, in Balad and Dujail, say either they didn't know about it or didn't care." No, nothing changed. But it's an election year and nothing's more likely to put the dove in the pants of an Nixon or Bully Boy than an election year. Which is why there are the grumbles of maybe we'll draw down the numbers of some troops (while increasing the air strikes). The AFP reports Muwaffaq Bubaie, national security chief of Iraq, made noises of "a sizeable gross reduction of troops" at year's end.
Far from Fantasy Island, in Baquba, at least one Iraqi civilian and four Iraqi police officers died while at least two police officers were wounded in attacks on checkpoints today. As the day continued, the number of dead would rise to at least eleven.Reuters notes a Romanian soldier and three Italian soldiers died due to a roadside bomb (Italy's Minister of Defence had revised the figures from three to two but AFP notes that the third has died and that a fourth is wounded). In Ramadi, two missiles were fired by a US plane. In Ramadi,an Iraqi soldier died from gun fire.
The Associated Press notes that today, sixteen more corpses were found (signs of torture).
As noted by Australia's ABC and WBAI's Wakeup Call, Jake Kovco remains in Iraq. Kovoco died in Iraq last week. Jacob Bruce Kovco was twenty-five years old and was to be honored this week in the Gippsland community of Briagolong. For that to happen, Kovco's body would need to make it to Australia. The wrong body was in the coffin. Brendan Nelson, Australia's Defense Minister, tells of breaking the news to Shelley Kovco and when the widow demanded to speak with Prime Minister John Howard, Nelson dialed the number. Nelson then angered family members (brother of the deceased, Benn Kovco, and mother of the deceased, Judy Kovco) by making statements regarding the death (which is still under investigation).
And in England, the Telegraph of London reports, the government's attorney general has backed off from the prosecution of of any British soldiers in the shooting death of Steven Roberts. Like the Kovco family, Samantha Roberts (wife of the deceased) continues to seek answers and feels that the government has been little help to her.


Iraq snapshot.
The Associated Press notes that despite the hoopla of the Elections Come To Iraq! spin things have not improved on the ground. Using their figures, in the last year "8,000 people have been killed and there are increasing cases of civilians being kidnapped, killed and dumped in public places." This comes while US military officials are trumpeting the death of a "key insurgent" demonstrating that, after all this time, they still fail to grasp the cycle they're in. (It's called "occupation.")
The violence continues. The AFP reports that an Iraqi army headquarters in Del Abbas was "attacke by more than 100 rebels" resulting in four resistance fighters dying, six Iraqi army soldiers dying, eight Iraqi army soldiers wounded, two civilians killed and four wounded. Baquba is under curfew after yesterday's events which included, as Reuters notes, an attack of a police station and checkpoints in Baquba which resulted in the death of at least 17 resistance fighters and one Iraqi soldier (and two more wounded). The US military credits "Iraqi forces" with coming to the aid of the police; however, "Baquba police say US forces came to aid of the police."
The BBC notes that two Iraqi police officers were killed in Falluja. Later, Reuters would report that number would rise to three.
In Baghdad, a roadside bomb claimed the life of one Iraqi police officer and wounded at least two others. In addition, two more corpses were found in Baghdad ("handcuffed, blindfolded and bullet-ridden"). CNN notes that "[t]wo mortars or rockets were fired at downtown Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone."
And, as reported yesterday by David Enders, on Free Speech Radio News and The KPFA Evening News, violence continues to target the schools in Iraq. Road blocks, traffic and loss of friends and family are among the reasons leading to absences (teachers and students). The system itself needs 4500 new schools. Fatalities have included 400 teachers and school employees, casualties include at least 170 wounded. 417 schools in Iraq have been attacked.

That was some of the known activity, some of the reported activity, in Iraq from last week. We're at 2400. Official count. No official count on the number of Iraqis who have died. Concerned?

How about this item from Democracy Now!:

Iraq War Costs Approach $320B
A new Congressional report says the cost of the war in Iraq will soon top $320 billion dollars -- a figure that will likely more than double by war's end. According to the Congressional Research Service, the ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan stand to cost nearly as much as the departments of Education, Justice and Homeland Security combined.

C.I. adds that, despite Mike's refusal to take credit, Mike probably came up with the "Iraq snapshot" title.
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