Daily Archives: August 1, 2007

Sunnis pull out of al Maliki’s Iraq government

link

The main Sunni Arab political bloc quit the Iraqi cabinet on Wednesday, plunging the government into crisis on a day when suicide bombers killed more than 70 people with massive strikes in the capital.

The Sunni Accordance Front said its five cabinet members and deputy Prime Minister Salam al-Zobaie would resign from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki‘s government.

“This is probably the most serious political crisis we have faced since the passage of the constitution. If unresolved the implications are grave,” the remaining deputy prime minister, Barhim Salih, a Kurd, told Reuters.

It seems likely that the al Maliki is going to fall; I look for some sort of US sponsored event in the next few days.

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“Fear,” death, and danger in Iraq: getting worse

US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker said the one word that would best describe the situation in Iraq was “fear.” And with good reason.

from Juan Cole:

2007 saw the deadliest July for US troops since the Iraq War began. It also saw a 23% rise in Iraqi deaths over June. July is like a blast furnace in Iraq, with temperatures approaching 120 degrees F. in the shade. Guerrillas typically lie low in this unfavorable environment, compared to other seasons, and so the casualty rates go down. Instead, this year the killing season has gone on as if it were spring.

Number of US troops killed in Iraq, July, 2007: 74

Number of US troops killed in Iraq, July, 2006: 43.

Not only were the US deaths unprecedentedly high in July, the March through June death statistics were also very high.

And, June saw the highest number of over-all attacks since the war began.

AP adds: “Iraqi deaths rose, with at least 2,024 civilians, government officials and security forces killed in July, about 23 percent more than the 1,640 who died violently in June, according to Associated Press figures compiled from police reports nationwide.”

Pentagon spokesmen are attempting to portray this near doubling of July troop deaths as a sign of improvement on the security side, counting from June rather than looking at past July figures– and I fear some corporate media are falling for it.

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McClatchy News: Bush’s al-Qaeda stories are horseshit

McClatchy News, as usual, the only organization interested in telling the truth about Iraq:

Despite President Bush’s recent insistence that al Qaida in Iraq is the principal cause of this country’s violence, senior American military officers here say Shiite Muslim militias are a bigger problem, and one that will persist even if al Qaida is defeated.

“The longer-term threat to Iraq is potentially the Shiite militias,” one senior military officer said, echoing concerns that other American officials raised in recent interviews with McClatchy Newspapers.

Military officers hail the fact that violence is down as evidence that their campaign against al Qaida in Iraq is succeeding. But there’s no sign of reconciliation between Sunni Muslims and Shiites, the rationale the Bush administration cites for increasing the number of U.S. troops in the country.

In the months since, as congressional criticism grew, Bush has gone even further, calling al Qaida in Iraq “the same people” responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, though al Qaida in Iraq didn’t form until after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and has at best only hazy ties to the al Qaida of Osama bin Laden.

Few officials on the front lines, moreover, think that defeating the terrorist organization would end Iraq’s troubles. They paint a far more complex vision of the violence than is evident in Washington-based pronouncements about al Qaida’s involvement.

….

The Shiite Mahdi Army militia continues to drive Sunni residents from neighborhoods in Baghdad, a development that one American officer called “disappointing.” Shiite politicians show little sympathy for the expelled Sunnis or interest in stopping the expulsions. In interviews, they argued that the drive against Sunnis is a justified response to Sunni campaigns to drive Shiites from their neighborhoods, a position that American military officers reject.

American officials say they’re hopeful about the recent decision by some Sunni insurgent groups to cooperate with U.S. troops to defeat al Qaida in Iraq. But some of America’s new Sunni allies warn that once they’ve disposed of the religious extremists in their midst, they’ll return to battling rival Shiites — and American occupiers.

Meanwhile, Sunni politicians are boycotting the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki and threatening to withdraw permanently if 12 demands aren’t met, including an end to Shiite militias’ infiltration of Iraqi security forces.

More alarming, American officers say that battles for supremacy among armed Shiite groups will be the next challenge, and that U.S. forces are likely to be drawn into those disputes. Already, the U.S. is taking sides, sending attack aircraft to back Iraqi security forces against radical cleric Muqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army.

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