Monday, July 16, 2007

Iraq News Update

- (Booted but not yet gone) Peter Pace seems to be preparing Americans for a possible troop buildup in Iraq this fall. This, after Bush et al have all been reminding everyone that the last bunch of surging soldiers, who are supposedly going to make this so-called surge successful, [insert chuckle here] just got there recently and need time to prove Bush is right [insert next chuckle here]. It looks like they may have just until September to do that.

- Is Bush setting up Petraeus to be the next fall guy? Does the moon shine in Miami?

- Meanwhile, the Democrats have announced they'll have an all nite debate about Iraq on Tuesday nite in the senate. What's to debate? Cut the funding and be done with it. Does the Vietnam war ring a bell with any of them? Hello?

- Horror in Kirkuk while the US congress plans its stay-awake-a-thon:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - At least 85 people were killed on Monday by a suicide truck bomb in the volatile Iraqi city of Kirkuk, some of them trapped on a bus where they burned to death, a witness said.
Police also said 180 people were wounded in a blast that heightened tension in the oil-producing northern city, shared by Kurds, Turkmen, Shi'ite and Sunni Arabs. The city plans to hold a crucial referendum later this year on its future status.
Kirkuk is not far from Tuz Khurmato, where a massive truck bomb in a crowded market killed at least 130 on July 7, in one of the deadliest single insurgent attacks since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

- Check out Dahr Jamil's related latest: Partition Fears Begin to Rise.

- And, for those of you who don't know about Saudi involvement in the Iraq war, the LA Times notes that "About 45% of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are from Saudi Arabia" and "fighters from Saudi Arabia are thought to have carried out more suicide bombings than those of any other nationality." Of course, SA has a vested interest in doing what it can to keep the Shiite gov't in check in Iraq and had warned publicly months ago that it would intervene in Iraq to take care of its own interests.

- From USA Today: A Marine corporal testifying in a court-martial said Marines in his unit began routinely beating Iraqis after officers ordered them to "crank up the violence level." Because there just isn't enough violence going on over there already. "Within weeks of allegedly being scolded, seven Marines and a Navy corpsman went out late one night to find and kill a suspected insurgent in the village of Hamandiya near the Abu Ghraib prison."

- Via The Guardian's report on the Kirkuk bombings we learn that al-Maliki's bark is worse than his bite, again:

The attack came as Mr Maliki sparked consternation in Washington by saying Iraqi forces were ready to take over responsibility for security and the US could leave "whenever they want". That is not helpful to Mr Bush, who claims a premature departure would produce more bloodshed.

Mr Maliki backtracked yesterday, saying he needed US support until the end of the year and that talks on withdrawal could begin in January. He is struggling to avoid being voted out of office and his claim may be aimed at placating Shia Muslim politicians who want the US to leave.

Which was my suspicion when he made that pronouncement too. (I'm sure he also got a phone call from the WH and was told to STFU as well.)

Just another day in paradise where freedom is on the march [insert last chuckle here].

Update: Hundreds of Iraqis protest draft oil law

BASRA, Iraq (AFP) - About 300 oil industry workers gathered in Iraq's main oil port of Basra on Monday to protest a draft law that they said would allow foreigners to pillage the country's wealth.

Well, that was the plan from the beginning. Glad to see those Iraqis were brave enough to take to the streets amid the chaos to make their voices heard. Let's hope more will join them.

Scaife-Owned Newspaper Calls for Iraq Troop Withdrawal -- Questions Bush's 'Mental Stability'

NEW YORK The Pittsburgh newspaper owned by conservative billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife yesterday called the Bush administration's plans to stay the course in Iraq a "prescription for American suicide."

The editorial in the Tribune-Review added, "And quite frankly, during last Thursday's news conference, when George Bush started blathering about 'sometimes the decisions you make and the consequences don't enable you to be loved,' we had to question his mental stability."

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