Ahmadinejad once again fails to call for the annihilation of Israel, despite what you heard on CNN by Juan Cole

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by Juan Cole
Informed Comment
February 27, 2010

I saw Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN Friday afternoon. Oren said that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had called for the annihilation of Israel, and was therefore speaking of genocide.

It is dreary to see this constant drumbeat of dishonest propaganda. Whatever one thinks of Ahmadinejad or the Iranian regime, one should not misrepresent their statements, since that will lead to bad policy-making.

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Conspiracy Theory Proved True! + Bush Admin. worse than our Nightmares

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Updated

MoxNewsDotCom
August 20, 2009

Rachel Maddow

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Updated

Bush Admin. worse than our Nightmares

by Juan Cole
Informed Comment
Friday, August 21, 2009

It was worse.

Back in the bad old days of Bush’s corrupt gang, we on the left were pilloried for suggesting that the administration was manipulating terrorism-related news in order to win the 2004 elections. But when Tom Ridge says it . . .

In fact, I argued in summer, 2004, that when Ridge did raise the terrorism alert, it had the unfortunate effect of outing an al-Qaeda double agent who had been turned by the Pakistani government and was helping set a trap for al-Qaeda in the UK. In turn, that caused the British government to have to move against the people it had under surveillance prematurely, harming the case.

[…]

And if any of us had said that Dick Cheney was setting up civilian mercenary assassination squads (at least 007 works for the British government), and set things up so that perhaps neither the CIA director nor the president even knew about it, we would have been branded moonbats. But well, that is today’s story

[…]

via Informed Comment: Bush Admin. worse than our Nightmares.

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Countdown: Jeremy Scahill on Blackwater assassination contractors: Lord Of The Christian Supremacist Flies

Bill Moyers Journal: Juan Cole & Shahan Mufti on Pakistan + Daniel Goleman on Sustainable Economy

Dandelion Salad

Bill Moyers Journal
May 15, 2009

Juan Cole & Shahan Mufti

As the world follows the violence and unrest in Pakistan, Bill Moyers speaks with historian Juan Cole and journalist Shahan Mufti about the U.S. relationship with Pakistan, how it relates to the war in Afghanistan, and why they think Pakistan is not likely to become a failed state anytime soon.

via Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS.

PBS

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Daniel Goleman

Daniel Goleman explains to Bill Moyers how better educated consumers can help build a sustainable economy.

via Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS.

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“We Are Helping The Taliban” By Ron Paul

Afghanistan on Dandelion Salad

The Story of Stuff By Robert Weissman (+ video)

Obama’s Domino Theory By Juan Cole

Dandelion Salad

By Juan Cole
ICH
March 31, 2009 “Salon

President Barack Obama may or may not be doing the right thing in Afghanistan, but the rationale he gave for it on Friday is almost certainly wrong. Obama has presented us with a 21st century version of the domino theory. The U.S. is not, contrary to what the president said, mainly fighting “al-Qaida” in Afghanistan. In blaming everything on al-Qaida, Obama broke with his pledge of straight talk to the public and fell back on Bush-style boogeymen and implausible conspiracy theories.

Obama realizes that after seven years, Afghanistan war fatigue has begun to set in with the American people. Some 51 percent of Americans now oppose the Afghanistan war, and 64 percent of Democrats do. The president is therefore escalating in the teeth of substantial domestic opposition, especially from his own party, as voters worry about spending billions more dollars abroad while the U.S. economy is in serious trouble.

[…]

via Information Clearing House – ICH.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Escobar: The secrets of Obama’s surge + Obama’s Afghan plan + The rights of women

Afghanistan on Dandelion Salad

Cheney’s Mission Accomplished By Juan Cole

Dandelion Salad

By Juan Cole
March 17, 2009 “Information Clearing House

Dick Cheney: “I guess my general sense of where we are with respect to Iraq and at the end of now, what, nearly six years, is that we’ve accomplished nearly everything we set out to do….”

What has Dick Cheney really accomplished in Iraq?

An estimated 4 million Iraqis, out of 27 million, have been displaced from their homes, that is, made homeless. Some 2.7 million are internally displaced inside Iraq. A couple hundred thousand are cooling their heels in Jordan. And perhaps a million are quickly running out of money and often living in squalid conditions in Syria. Cheney’s war has left about 15% of Iraqis homeless inside the country or abroad. That would be like 45 million American thrown out of their homes.

It is controversial how many Iraqis died as a result of the 2003 invasion and its aftermath. But it seems to me that a million extra dead, beyond what you would have expected from a year 2000 baseline, is entirely plausible. The toll is certainly in the hundreds of thousands. Cheney did not kill them all. The Lancet study suggested that the US was directly responsible for a third of all violent deaths since 2003. That would be as much as 300,000 that we killed. The rest, we only set in train their deaths by our invasion.

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Coup Plot Foiled By Juan Cole

Dandelion Salad

By Juan Cole
December 18, 2008 “Information Clearinghouse

18 Dead, Dozens Wounded in Baghdad Bombings;

Coup Plot Foiled;

US Fires on Fallujah Shoe-Throwers

The news from Iraq on Wednesday shows that the Iraqi government’s hold on power is fragile, and that it faces shadowy coup plotters from within and a continued guerrilla insurgency from without. Parliament is so divided that it had to go home after vehement wrangling in which the shoe-throwing journalist, Muntazar al-Zaidi, figured prominently. Al-Zaidi continued to be lionized by many Iraqis, including in Fallujah, where a student rally in his defense drew the fire of the US military. The British prime minister, Gordon Brown, showed up unexpectedly in Baghdad, to announce that British troops would be out of the country by June. Turkey bombed positions of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq for a second straight day.

The NYT reports that an elite counter-terrorism unit that reports directly to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has arrested 38 officials in the Interior Ministry (similar to US Homeland Security). They are accused of belonging to the neo-Baath “al-`Awdah” party and of plotting a coup against the Iraqi government.

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This Is The Lowest McCain Has Sunk Yet By Juan Cole + Campaign Comment (videos)

Updated: added Olbermann’s Campaign Comment; see below

By Juan Cole
ICH
October 30, 2008 “Juan Cole

McCain Racism, Hypocrisy on Khalidi Issue

The increasingly sleazy John McCain, who once promised to run a clean campaign, has now attacked my friend Rashid Khalidi and attempted to use him against Barack Obama. Khalidi is an American scholar of Palestinian heritage, born in New York and educated at Yale and Oxford, who now teaches at Columbia University. He directed the Middle East Center at the University of Chicago for some time, and he and his family came to know the Obamas at that time. Knowing someone and agreeing with him on everything are not the same thing.

Scott Horton has a fine, informed and intelligent discussion of the issue.

I know it may seem a novel idea to people like McCain and Palin, but it would be worthwhile actually reading Khalidi’s book on the Palestinian struggle for statehood. (I urge bloggers interested in this issue to link to his book, which the American reading public should know).

At the least, read a whole essay Khalidi has written.

Far from being a knee-jerk nationalist, Khalidi has been critical of the decisions of the Palestinian leadership at key junctures in modern history.

Charlie Rose – Rashid Khalidi / Antonia Fraser

CharlieRose
August 26, 2007

Segment 1: Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi discusses his book “The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood”.

Segment 2: Antonia Fraser, author of “Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King”.

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The FBI’s Plan to ‘Profile’ Muslims By Juan Cole

Dandelion Salad

By Juan Cole
ICH
07/10/08 “Salon”

The U.S. Justice Department is considering a change in the grounds on which the FBI can investigate citizens and legal residents of the United States. Till now, DOJ guidelines have required the FBI to have some evidence of wrongdoing before it opens an investigation. The impending new rules, which would be implemented later this summer, allow bureau agents to establish a terrorist profile or pattern of behavior and attributes and, on the basis of that profile, start investigating an individual or group. Agents would be permitted to ask “open-ended questions” concerning the activities of Muslim Americans and Arab-Americans. A person’s travel and occupation, as well as race or ethnicity, could be grounds for opening a national security investigation.

The rumored changes have provoked protests from Muslim American and Arab-American groups. The Council on American Islamic Relations, among the more effective lobbies for Muslim Americans’ civil liberties, immediately denounced the plan, as did James Zogby, the president of the Arab-American Institute. Said Zogby, “There are millions of Americans who, under the reported new parameters, could become subject to arbitrary and subjective ethnic and religious profiling.” Zogby, who noted that the Bush administration’s history with profiling is not reassuring, warned that all Americans would suffer from a weakening of civil liberties.

In fact, Zogby’s statement only begins to touch on the many problems with these proposed rules. The new guidelines would lead to many bogus prosecutions, but they would also prove counterproductive in the effort to disrupt real terror plots. And then there’s Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s rationale for revising the rules in the first place. “It’s necessary,” he explained in a June news conference, “to put in place regulations that will allow the FBI to transform itself as it is transforming itself into an intelligence-gathering organization.” When did Congress, or we as a nation, have a debate about whether we want to authorize the establishment of a domestic intelligence agency? Indeed, late last month Congress signaled its discomfort with the concept by denying the FBI’s $11 million funding request for its data-mining center.

Establishing a profile that would aid in identifying suspects is not in and of itself illegal, though the practice generally makes civil libertarians nervous. When looking for drug couriers, Drug Enforcement Agency agents were permitted by the Supreme Court in United States v. Sokolow (1989) to use indicators such as the use of an alias, nervous or evasive behavior, cash payments for tickets, brief trips to major drug-trafficking cities, type of clothing, and the lack of checked luggage. This technique, however, specifically excluded the use of skin color or other racial features in building the profile.

In contrast, using race and ethnicity as the — or even a — primary factor in deciding whom to stop and search, despite being widespread among police forces, is illegal. Just this spring, the Maryland State Police settled out of court with the ACLU and an African-American man after having been sued for the practice of stopping black and Latino men and searching them for drugs. New Jersey police also got into trouble over stopping people on the grounds of race.

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled last year in State v. Calvin Lee that a defendant’s plausible allegation that the arrest was initiated primarily because of race would be grounds for discovery: The defense attorney could then request relevant documents from the prosecution that might show discriminatory attitudes and actions on the part of the police. Because racial profiling is most often felt by juries to be inappropriate, its use could backfire on the FBI. Suspects charged on the basis of an investigation primarily triggered by their race could end up being acquitted as victims of government discrimination.

If the aim is to identify al-Qaida operatives or close sympathizers in the United States, racial profiling is counterproductive. Such tiny, cultlike terror organizations are multinational. Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, is a Briton whose father hailed from Jamaica, and no racial profile of him would have predicted his al-Qaida ties. Adam Gadahn, an al-Qaida spokesman, is from a mixed Jewish and Christian heritage and hails from suburban Orange County, Calif. When I broached the topic of FBI profiling to some Muslim American friends on Facebook, a scientist in San Francisco replied, “Profiling Muslims or Arabs will just make al-Qaida look outside Islam for its bombers. There are many other disgruntled groups aside from those that worship Allah.”

It is a mystery why the Department of Justice has not learned the lesson that terrorists are best tracked down through good police work brought to bear on specific illegal acts, rather than by vast fishing expeditions. After Sept. 11, the DOJ called thousands of Muslim men in the United States for what it termed voluntary interviews. Not a single terrorist was identified in this manner, though a handful of the interviewees ended up being deported for minor visa offenses. Once it became clear that the interviews might eventuate in arbitrary actions against them, the willingness of American Muslims to cooperate declined rapidly, and so the whole operation badly backfired.

The fiasco of the prosecution of the Detroit Four should also have been instructive. These four Arab men apparently had the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, having moved into an apartment in southwest Detroit recently vacated by a man suspected of al-Qaida ties. The prosecution alleged that innocent vacation videotapes of places such as Disneyland found in the apartment were part of a terror plot, and that vague doodles in a notebook depicted targets abroad such as a Jordanian hospital and Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey. The prosecution relied heavily on an Arab-American informer who might reduce his own prison sentence for various acts of criminal fraud if a conviction were obtained, and whose testimony against the four suspects evolved dramatically over time. The initial conviction of two of the men, Karim Koubriti and Abdel-Ilah Elmardoudi on charges of giving material support to terrorism, which was hailed as an achievement by the Bush administration, was overturned when the prosecution was discovered to have withheld key exculpatory evidence.

In a startling reversal, two members of the prosecuting team were tried for criminal misconduct, and although they were acquitted, their misconduct was not in question. A Detroit judge even apologized to a third man, who was held for three and a half years on a minor fraud charge and then deported. The entire affair raised questions about whether Muslim-Americans could hope for justice if for any reason they got accidentally caught up in the Justice Department’s frantic search for Muslim terror cells on American soil (very few have been found). The flimsy case against the four men would have had no plausibility at all had they been white upper-middle-class residents of Connecticut.

Not only has the Justice Department engaged in prosecutorial misconduct with regard to Muslims, but at least one FBI operation also appears to have involved actual entrapment. Narseal Batiste, Patrick Abraham, Burson Augustine, Rothschild Augustine, Stanley Grant Phanor, Naudimar Herrera and Lyglenson Lemorin were arrested in June 2006, and accused of being an al-Qaida cell plotting to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago. Batiste, aka Brother Naz or Prince Manna, led a small cult in a poor neighborhood of Miami called Seas of David, which was apparently an offshoot of the Moorish Temple Science, an African-American folk religion. The cult mixed themes from Judaism, Christianity and Islam but was not identifiably Muslim. The group met in a warehouse and talked big.

The FBI put an informant among them who repeatedly offered them money and equipment for their activities, some of which he appears to have suggested. Batiste maintained in the trial that he was just stringing along the informant in hopes of extracting a promised $50,000, and that he was insincere in pledging allegiance to al-Qaida. When the Justice Department announced the arrest in 2006, the indictment went on about the belief of the group in jihad, or Muslim holy war, but it is a little unlikely that these individuals knew anything about Islam at all. Both attempts to prosecute them ended in mistrials, primarily because the FBI could produce no evidence that when they were arrested they had any weapons or explosives in their possession. They were full of crazy talk, but even some of that was suggested to them by the Department of Justice.

Muslim Americans and Arab-Americans, along with members of some other ethnic groups, are therefore understandably alarmed that the Department of Justice may soon have the tools to bring them under investigation without any proof of wrongdoing. As CAIR national legislative director Corey Saylor noted in a statement, “Any new Justice Department guidelines must preserve the presumption of innocence that is the basis of our entire legal system … Initiating criminal investigations based on racial or religious profiling is both unconstitutional and un-American.” Muslim Americans and Arab-Americans have already suffered from being profiled in a de facto sense. Unsurprisingly, to have that injustice become policy concerns them. The protests would be even louder if so many in the community were not afraid to speak up and draw attention to themselves, as one of my Muslim American Facebook correspondents pointed out to me. Another remarked sadly that not only had George W. Bush not brought democracy to the Muslim Middle East, but he had also damaged its prospects in America itself.

Juan Cole teaches Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan. His most recent book Napoleon’s Egypt: Invading the Middle East (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) has just been published. He has appeared widely on television, radio and on op-ed pages as a commentator on Middle East affairs, and has a regular column at Salon.com. He has written, edited, or translated 14 books and has authored 60 journal articles. His weblog on the contemporary Middle East is Informed Comment.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Juan Cole on Antiwar Radio (videos)

Dandelion Salad

AntiwarRadio

Juan Cole, professor of history at the University of Michigan, discusses the American media’s abandonment of the Iraq war as a topic worth covering, the humanitarian catastrophe that continues to deteriorate, the “excess deaths” in Iraq since the invasion, the total number of Iraqis killed with American complicity over the years, America’s government’s on-off relationship with Saddam Hussein, the failure of the “surge” to allow for 5 million refugees to return to their homes.

Juan R. I. Cole is Professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian History at the University of Michigan. He has written extensively about modern Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf, and South Asia. His most recent book is Sacred Space and Holy War. His blog, Informed Comment, is a widely read source for Middle East news and commentary.

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The Real State of Iraq By Juan Cole

Iraq story buried by US networks

The Real State of Iraq By Juan Cole

Dandelion Salad

By Juan Cole
06/23/08 “ICH”

American television loves natural disasters. The Burmese cyclones that may have carried off as many as 200,000 people offered the cameras high drama.

The floods in Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri along the Mississippi River, which have wiped out thousands of homes, have been carefully detailed hour by hour.

But American television is little interested in the massive disaster blithely visited upon Iraq by Washington. Oh, there is the occasional human interest story. Angelina Jolie’s visit sparked a headline or two. Briefly.

By now, summer of 2008, excess deaths from violence in Iraq since March of 2003 must be at least a million. This conclusion can be reached more than one way. There is not much controversy about it in the scientific community. Some 310,000 of those were probably killed by US troops or by the US Air Force, with the bulk dying in bombing raids by US fighter jets and helicopter gunships on densely populated city and town quarters.

In absolute numbers, that would be like bombing to death everyone in Pittsburgh, Pa. Or Cincinnati, Oh.

Only, the US is 11 times more populous than Iraq, so 310,000 Iraqi corpses would equal 3.4 million dead Americans. So proportionally it would be like firebombing to death everyone in Chicago.

The one million number includes not just war-related deaths but all killings beyond what you would have expected from the 2000-2002 baseline. That is, if tribal feuds got out of hand and killed a lot of people because the Baath police were demobilized or disarmed and so no longer intervened, those deaths go into the mix. All the Sunnis killed in the north of Hilla Province (the ‘triangle of death’) when Shiite clans displaced from the area by Saddam came back up to reclaim their farms would be included. The kidnap victims killed when the ransom did not arrive in time would be included. And, of course, the sectarian, ethnic and militia violence, even if Iraqi on Iraqi, would count. And it hasn’t been just hot spots like Baghdad, Basra, Mosul and Kirkuk. The rate of excess violent death has been pretty standard across Arab Iraq.

As for the Iraqis killed by Americans, like the 24 civilians in Haditha, the survivors are not going to be pro-American any time soon. The US can always find politicians to come out and say nice things on a visit to the Rose Garden. But the people. I don’t think the people are saying nice things in Arabic behind our backs.

The wars of Iraq– the Iran-Iraq War, the repressions of the Kurds and the Shiites, the Gulf War, and the American Calamity, may have left behind as many as 3 million widows. Having lost their family’s breadwinner, many are destitute.

Although it is very good news that the number of Iraqis killed in political violence fell in May to 532 according to official sources, the number was twice that in March and April. And, it should be remembered that independent observers have busted the Pentagon for grossly under-reporting attacks and casualties. If someone shows up dead and they aren’t sure exactly why, it isn’t counted as political violence, just as an ordinary murder. Attacks per day are measured by whether the mortar shell scratches any US equipment when it explodes. If not, it didn’t happen. McClatchy estimated a year and a half ago that attacks were being underestimated by a factor of 10.

By the way, isn’t is a little odd that the death rate fell in the month of the Great Mosul Campaign? I conclude that either it can’t have been much of a campaign or someone is cooking the death statistics.

But over 500 a month dead in political violence is appalling enough. The Srebenica massacre in 1995 killed 8,000. At the average rate of death in Iraq this winter and spring, a similar massacre will have been racked up in 2008. In the Northern Ireland troubles over 30 years, about 3,000 people died, and it was widely considered a bad situation. That death toll is still being achieved every 6 months in Iraq according to the official May statistics.

And, of course, by the rule of 11, that death toll would be like nearly 6,000 Americans dying in political violence every month, or 72,000 a year. (Note that this 72,000 figure would only be political deaths, since it does not include criminal homicides). The annual total murder rate in the US is about 16,000, including political violence, what little there is. The US is one of the most violent societies on earth, and Iraq in May makes it look like a pacifist convention.

In these situations, typically 3 persons are wounded for every one killed. In Iraq, I suspect it is higher, because US bombings and guerrilla bombings are such a big part of the violence. But let us be conservative.

That would mean 3 million Iraqi wounded in the past five years.

Equivalent to 33 million Americans wounded, that is, the entire state of California crippled or in bandages.

As for the displaced (i.e. homeless), they amount to a startling 5 million persons. There were 1.8 million internally displaced in January of 2007, and by December it had risen to 2.4 million. There are 2.3 million externally displaced, 2 million of them in Jordan and Syria.

In fact 5 million displaced persons is almost the entire population of nearby countries such as Jordan or Israel! 5 million is about the number of Jews in Israel, for instance. In absolute numbers, that is how many Iraqis are living in some other country or some other province, having lost their homes.

Some 1.4 million Iraqis are stuck in Syria, many becoming increasingly penniless. Another 500,000 to 800,000 have been displaced to Jordan, which has now closed its borders to them. Please read this excellent piece of reporting, which points out that the US has done diddly squat for these millions of people upon whom it has visited a world class catastrophe, neither allotting meaningful amounts of aid nor admitting more than a token number as immigrants. Sweden has admitted 40,000 Iraqis, nearly 4 times what the US even plans to. Please write the Senate and the Congress and demand that something be done for these, our victims.

40% of Iraq’s middle class is outside the country.

Very few of the refugees abroad have returned, only a few thousand. Only 12% of the returnees say they are going back because they think it is safe now, according to UN border polls.

The refusal of the refugees to return makes me suspicious of the good news stories about security improvements in Iraq. There is an Arabic proverb that “The people of a house know best what is in the house.”

2 Shiite brothers who returned home to Baquba an hour northeast of Baghdad were just kidnapped and killed by Sunnis.

5 million displaced Iraqis would be like 55 million displaced Americans, or the equivalent of everybody in California and New York combined

American commentators peculiarly lack a social dimension to their analyses. So if PM Nuri al-Maliki sends some troops up to Mosul and the guerrillas there lie low for a while, that is “progress” and “good news.” Well, maybe it is, I don’t know.

I do know that the apocalypse that the United States has unleashed upon Iraq is among the greatest catastrophes to befall any country in the past 50 years. It is a much worse disaster over time than the Burmese cyclone or the Mississippi floods.

You won’t see it on television very much these days.

Even if it gets better, it won’t get better very fast for all those millions wounded, widowed, orphaned, and displaced; as for the 1 million dead, as they say in Arabic, God have mercy on them (Allah yarhamhum). Maybe it will get better sooner for the politicians in the Green Zone. They are the sort of people that the think tanks in Washington seem to care about.

McClatchy reports political violence in Iraq on Saturday:

‘ Baghdad

– Around 1 p.m. a bomb planted in the car of the office manager of the Iraqi minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research exploded in Al Tobchi neighborhood injuring three including the minister’s office manager.

– Around 4 p.m. a bomb planted in a civilian car exploded in Al Nidhal Street injuring two Iraqi employees of a local LG Company branch.

– Around 5 p.m. a bomb planted in a police vehicle exploded in Al Andalus square injuring two policemen.

– Police found two dead bodies throughout Baghdad; one in Al Baladiyat, one in Mansour.

Diyala

– Police found the bodies of two brothers, Ali and Mohamed Zaid, in Al Tahrir neighborhood in Baquba . . .

Kirkuk

– Around 8 a.m. a car exploded in central Kirkuk injuring the two passengers in the car. Police said they suspect the two passengers were planning a car bomb attack. The two suspects are under investigation, police said.’

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

War Without End: 2007 + 2008

Dandelion Salad

Warning

This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

MegaNewsbreak

AlJazeeraEnglish

War Without End: 2007

Added: June 03, 2008
Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel Hamid looks at the major events of the Iraq war in 2007.

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Rice: Muqtada a Coward + Najaf Tense; Veterans Depressed, Unemployed

Dandelion Salad

By Juan Cole
04/21/08 “ICH”
Informed Comment

Ned Parker, Raheem Salman and Saad Fakhrildeen get the story in Najaf, the Shiite holy city south of Baghdad. The four grand ayatollahs, pillars of middle and upper class Shiite orthodoxy, are fearful of the influence of young Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the millenarian workers and the poor. The authors do not note the irony, but I thought it amusing that both sides were blaming Iran for their troubles, which suggests that the troubles are indigenous. It is an excellent article; I wish it had said more about the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, from which the governor comes, and the Badr Corps, from which the deputy governor comes; both have strong Iran ties and they are the powers that be in Najaf; it is they the Mahdi Army mainly challenges, not just the four grand ayatollahs. Also, they did not say anything about the rumors that the chief grand ayatollah, Ali Sistani, is in bad health.

Rice has her ‘bring’em on moment’ in Iraq, talking trash to the Mahdi Army and calling Muqtada al-Sadr a ‘coward.’ Muqtada al-Sadr eluded Saddam Hussein for 4 years after Saddam killed his father and two elder brothers; and in 2004 he twice took on the US military. He may be a lot of things, but he is not a coward. Has Rice ever said anything about Iraq that was true or useful? Even as she was talking up ‘improved security’ in Baghdad, mortar shells were falling about her in the Green Zone.

Over the weekend there were clashes in Nasiriya between Mahdi Army militiamen and the Iraqi army. Although this official Iraqi government communique suggests that 40 militiamen were killed and 40 captured and does not mention government casualties, I’d take it all with a grain of salt. What is not apparent from the squib is that the Iraqi government is so weak it is having to fight for a toehold in one of its own cities.

Another mass grave found in Iraq. These sites are evidence of militia activity– the victims were likely either accused of collaboration with the central government or members of the opposite religious sect.

The American Right is always droning on about the need to support our troops (i.e. to support the Right’s war). But the rich who send poor young men off to foreign wars of course don’t really care about the young men themselves (because they don’t care about the poor in general; right wing politicians are elected by the rich, for the rich and of the rich). Cases in point:

Health care eludes Iraq vet.

Veterans having a hard time finding jobs.

A third of a million veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq are depressed, suffering from PTSD (the proportion suffering is about 1 in five).

The way to support our troops is to get them out of a fruitless and unnecessary war, before more thousands are killed and wounded, whether physically or psychologically or socially.

Tom Engelhardt gives 12 reasons to get out of Iraq.

McClatchy reports political violence in Iraq on Sunday:


‘Baghdad

Around 11:00 pm on Saturday, a mortar shell hit al Qanat Street in east Baghdad. No casualties reported.

Around 1:30 a.m. four mortar shells hit al Husseiniyah area in north Baghdad. No casualties reported.

Seven civilians were wounded when a Katyosha rocket hit a house in Abo Desheer neighborhood ij south Baghdad around 8:00 a.m.

Clashes broke out between Mahdi army militia and the Iraqi national police in New Baghdad area in east Baghdad around 10:00 a.m. No information about the casualties provided on time of publication.

Clashes broke out between Mahdi army militia and the American forces in Kubra al Ghizlan area in the outskirt of Sadr city in east Baghdad around 11:00 am. No casualties reported on time of publication.

2 civilians were killed and 14 others wounded when two mortar shells hit Kadhemiyah neighborhood north Baghdad around 5:00 p.m.

Five people were wounded including two policemen when a road side bomb exploded targeting the police patrol in New Baghdad neighborhood in east Baghdad around 7:00 p.m.

Two policemen were killed and four others wounded by a bombed placed bicycle in Abo Graib area west of Baghdad around 8:30 p.m.

Police found six unidentified bodies throughout Baghdad (2 bodies in Jisr Diyala, 1 body in Zayuna, 1 body in New Baghdad, 1 body in Bayaa and 1 body in Amil)

Diyala

Gunmen set a fake check point kidnapping three vehicles including a bus carries nine students from the University of Diyala while they were in their way to the university. The incident took place in the area between Muqdadiyah town and Kanan area east of Baquba around 9:00 a.m. The gunmen released the nine students and kept the three drivers.

Around 9:00 a.m. gunmen attacked a car carrying a policeman and his pregnant wife while they were in their way to the hospital. The incident took place in Wajihiyah area east of Baquba. The gunmen killed the policeman and the taxi driver and injured the wife.

The commander of the Diyala operations Major General Abdul Kareem al Ubaidi said that the Iraqi security forces and the Sahwa members found 30 bodies in a mass grave yard in Muqdadiyah town northeast of Baquba. Al Rubaie said that another mass grave yard was found in al Botoma village north of Baquba city confirming that 27 bodies were from the yard moved to the morgue of Diyala hospital.

Kirkuk

Gunmen killed two contractors near al Rashad area west Kirkuk on Sunday morning.

Nineveh

Police found the bodies of two members of the local council of Sinjar town west of Mosul city. The two members of the council were kidnapped on Saturday evening.

Salahuddin

Gunmen killed a police officer in front of his house in Soleman Beg town east of Tikrit around 10:00 p.m.’ Juan Cole is President of the Global Americana Institute

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Ayatollahs Decline to Ban Militia – Hundreds Flee Baghdad Clashes

Dandelion Salad

By Juan Cole
04/08/08 “ICH

I am always astounded at the combination of unrealistic optimism and foolish gullibility that marks political discourse on the Right in Washington. We were being told by Rich Lowry at the National Review that Sadr was on the ropes and on the verge of disbanding the Mahdi Army because the other political factions had turned on him, and that the others had had their militias join the regular security forces.

So let us get this straight. Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army fought off thousands of regular Iraqi army troops in Basra and Baghdad, and perhaps thousands of those troops deserted rather than fight. So the Mahdi Army won big and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki lost. Also the US military trainers of the Iraqi troops lost face.

So the next thing we hear is that al-Maliki is talking big and demanding that the Mahdi Army be dissolved. Usually you get to talk big if you win the military battle, not if you lose.

The Sadrists have no intention of dissolving the Mahdi Army, according to this Arabic source, quoting Sadrist spokesman Salah al-Ubaidi. They point out, pace that great Iraq expert Lowry, that there are 28 militias in Iraq. The Badr Corps of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) still exists as a stand alone organization. In fact it ran as a political party in the elections and holds both provincial and federal seats. It hasn’t been complete merged into the state security forces as Lowry alleged. And anyway, painting a sign on a militia saying ‘this one is legitimate because its party won the last election’ is not going to convince any real Iraqis.

As it happens, the parliamentary representatives of Mosul demanded Monday that the Kurdish Peshmerga be dissolved. (Hint: Hell will freeze over first).

Then the US press went wild for this supposed report that Muqtada al-Sadr said he would dissolve his militia if Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani ordered it. Folks, he always says that when there is a controversy. (He said the same thing in spring, 2004). He says it because he knows it makes him look reasonable to the Shiite public. He says it because he knows that the grand ayatollahs are not going to touch the matter with a ten foot pole. They are not so foolish as to take responsibility for dissolving a militia that they had nothing to do with creating. And that is probably the real meaning of this CNN report that they ‘refused’ when asked. I doubt the grand ayatollahs in Najaf actively commanded Muqtada to keep his militia. They just declined to get drawn in.

So the idea that, having lost militarily, al-Maliki and his political allies (who are a minority in parliament now) could just a couple of days later jawbone Muqtada into giving up his paramilitary was always absurd.

As for the the threat that the Sadrists would not be allowed to run in the provincial elections in the fall unless the Mahdi Army was dissolved, it is either empty or very dangerous. First of all, not only Sadrists but also other observers have pointed out that excluding parties from running in elections is not the prerogative of the prime minister. It is a matter that would have to be passed by parliament. And since the parliamentarians who would be voting to dissolve all militias ahead of elections are all in parties that maintain militias, it would be political suicide for them to vote that way. Of course, they could just play the hypocrite card and declare, as Lowry did, that their militias are not militias, whereas the Mahdi Army is a militia.

But if the Sadrists are really excluded from civil politics, and they are the majority in the South, then you will have just pushed a majority of Iraqis out of the political process and potentially into civil violence. Isn’t that the opposite of the goal here?

As for the real Iraq, Monday was a difficult day.

Guerrillas killed 4 US troops in Iraq on Monday, bringing the 2-day total to 9.
Robert Reid of AP reports that hundreds of Iraqis fled the Shiite districts of Baghdad that are under siege by American and Iraqi government forces. The US and its Iraqi allies engaged in firefights on several fronts in the Shiite neighborhoods. US helicopter gunships and fighter bombers also fired missiles into the civilian neighborhoods. The attacksleft 14 dead in the Baghdad area. The US military denies that its bombing of civilian neighborhoods kills innocent civilians. While I know they try hard to minimize collateral damage, the blanket form of the assertion is not plausible.

The Baghdad fighting is the worst in about a year.
A huge explosion in the southern port city of Basra destroyed a house and killed at least 8 persons. The origin of the blast remains controversial.

The disposition of the oil-rich province of Kirkuk remains a ticking time bomb in Iraq’s north. The Kurds intend to annex it to Kurdistan. Most Turkmen and Arabs are violently opposed to this step, as is neighboring Turkey. The referendum scheduled for last December was postponed six months, but seems unlikely to take place in June, either. Some Iraqis, including some Kurds, are talking about a negotiated settlement of the question rather than a referendum (which the Kurds would win since they have flooded Kirkuk province with Kurds).

Not every place in al-Anbar Province is yet “calm,” the CSM points out.

With regard to the kidnapping of 42 students from a bus near Mosul, who were later released, I received this from a US military observer in the area:

‘Mr. Cole,
You should check your sources closer before you report on the “impunity” of the insugents to operate in the Mosul area. My unit was involved in the location of the college students mentioned in your blog. They were not released by the insurgents at their leisure. They were found by coalition forces, engaged to disable the dump truck that the students were being transported and then freed by combined coalition, Iraqi Army and police forces. The four individuals that were driving the dump truck were all detained by Iraqi Army and police units after firing at U.S. helicopters and then hiding among women and children to avoid being fired upon. I know these items are facts as the operation occured a mere three hours after I completed my mission for the day and was briefed by the aircrews that were responsible for the capture. Please know that everyday we see dispicable acts that are perpetrated upon the Iraqi people in the name of the “insurgency”. They dare not engage directly because they have learned of the swift and deadly consequences that will occur to them if they do. Also realize that I see the Iraqi security forces taking a larger role in every operation that we conduct here in Ninevah provence of which Mosul is a part. I know that the axiom “if it bleeds it leads” is more true now than ever, but yesterday was a win in the books for the Iraqis and the coalition. Yesterday yielded 42 students that are home with their families, 4 bad guys that are not on the streets, and not a single bystander hurt by coalition or Iraqi forces alike. That is a good news story, not a bullet to show how impotent we are to what is occurring on the ground. ‘

It is great to have some background on the way the release was accomplished, information that was to my knowledge not reported in the wire services. And it was certainly good news that the students were released. But I didn’t say the US military was impotent; what I said was that if people can be kidnapped like that in broad daylight, security can’t be very good. And while it is welcome that security was restored for these victims, it still seems like a high crime area. . .

What I can’t understand is why I don’t get more letters like this one. I take eyewitness accounts seriously. I’m a classic political liberal and I think the maximization of information is intrinsically good for a republic.

McClatchy reports political violence in Iraq on Monday:


‘ Baghdad

– Around 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. two roadside bombs targeted Iraqi police vehicles in Zayouna injuring 5 policemen and 5 civilians in both attacks.

– Around 9 a.m. a mortar shell hit the Green Zone.

– Around 2 p.m. a roadside bomb targeted a police vehicle in Al Mashtal injuring 5 policemen.

– Two mortar shells hit the air force soccer club in Palestine Street, causing no casualties.

– Clashes between Mahdi army militiamen and the Iraqi army in Sadr city took place today; Iraqi police said and gave no figures for the casualties.

– Around 3 p.m. three mortar shells targeted the Green Zone, one hit Karrada neighborhood injuring two civilians and two hit inside the Green Zone. – Around 4 p.m. two mortar shells hit the Green Zone.

– Around 5 p.m. a mortar shell hit the cars’ parking area in the ministry of foreign affairs causing damages to three parking cars with no casualties.

– Around 5:30 p.m. three mortar shells hit Al Rustamiyah military camp. Minutes later the sources of fire were targeted in Al Ameen neighborhood east of Baghdad, killing 9 civilians and injuring 31, Iraqi police said. No military reepsonse was available by the time of publication of this report.

– A fire in Al Eatiman bank building in Saadon started yesterday night.

– Police found four dead bodies throughout Baghdad, one in Baladiyat, one in Jisr Diyala, one in Amil and one in Dora.

Basra

– Seven men were killed in Al Asdiqa neighborhood (5 miles north of Basra) as an explosion took place in their house.

– A roadside bomb targeted the convoy of General Abdul Kareem Khalf, the spokesman of the ministry of interior, in Al Nashwa area (about 37 miles north of Basra) injuring four body guards.

Diyala

– A roadside bomb targeted an army vehicle in Al Bu Khamis area (about 8 miles south of Baquba) killing one soldier and injuring another.’

Juan Cole is President of the Global Americana Institute

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Iran Brokers Call for Ceasefire; Bush reduced to Irrelevancy in Iraq; Fighting Continues

Dandelion Salad

By Juan Cole
Informed Comment
31/03/.08 “ICH

McClatchy provides a lot of important detail about Sunday’s surprising developments regarding the fight between the Iraqi government and the Mahdi Army. A parliamentary delegation from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s own coalition (mainly now the Da`wa Party and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq) defied him by going off to the holy seminary city of Qom in Iran and negotiating directly with Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr and with the leader of the Quds Brigades of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Brig. Gen. Qasim Sulaymani.

As a result of those parleys, Muqtada al-Sadr called on his followers to stand down, though I read his statement as permitting continued armed self-defense, as at Basra where the Iraqi Army is attacking them and the US is bombing them. Significantly, he calls on the Mahdi Army to stop attacking the HQs of rival political parties. That language suggests that the parties are suffering from such attacks and are worried that party infrastructure is being degraded ahead of the October 1 provincial elections. The southern parties have essentially defied al-Maliki and Bush to make a separate peace.

The entire episode underlines how powerful Iran has become in Iraq. The Iranian government had called on Saturday for the fighting to stop. And by Sunday evening it had negotiated at least a similar call from Sadr (whether the fighting actually stops remains to be seen and depends on local commanders and on whether al-Maliki meets Sadr’s conditions).

Al-Sadr’s statement is translated here. The main points:

We have decided the following:

1. Cancel the armed manifestation in Basra and all over the governorates.

2. Stopping the illegal and random raids and arrests.

3. Demanding the government to apply the General Amnesty law and release all the prisoners that was not proved to be guilty and especially the prisoners of Sadr movement.

4. We announce our innocence from any one who caries the weapon and target the government and services apparatuses and establishments and parties offices.

5. Cooperating with the government apparatuses in achieving security and condemn criminals according to the legal procedures.

6. We assure that the Sadr movement doesn’t have any heavy weapons.

7. Working on returning the displaced people that moved due to security events to their original places.

8. We are asking the government to take care of the Human rights on all of its procedures.

9. Working on achieving the constructional and services projects all over the governorates.

[Signed and stamped Muqtada Sadr 22/Rabi Awal/1429]

The NYT notes the irony here that the al-Maliki government is dependent on Muqtada al-Sadr to pull its fat from the fire:

‘Many Iraqi politicians say that Mr. Maliki’s political capital has been severely depleted by the campaign and that he is now in the curious position of having to turn to Mr. Sadr, a longtime rival and now his opponent in battle, for a solution to the crisis.’

McClatchy reports civil war violence on Sunday, suggesting that any cease fire has not yet taken hold:

‘ Baghdad

– Rockets hit the Green Zone (IZ) in Baghdad in different times in the morning and afternoon. No casualties reported.

– Around 5 pm, gunmen attacked New Baghdad police station (east Baghdad) .Three policemen were injured.

– Around 5 pm, mortars hit Dora police station .No casualties recorded.

– Around 5 pm, clashes took place in Ur between gunmen and Iraqi police . Six people were injured including two policemen.

– At 5:10 pm, two mortars hit Karrada neighborhood , one hit Al-Hussein intersection near Al-Hussein two floor bridge killing 3 and injuring 8 others while the second shell hit a barber shop few meters of the same intersection killing 3 and injuring 13 others.

– Police found five dead bodies in . . . neighborhoods in Baghdad . . .

Basra

– Around 7:30 pm, three people were killed due to a fighter plane bombing at Abu Sukheir neighborhood (north Basra).

Diyala

– Around 9:30 am, American planes bombed Jizan neighborhood of Wajihiyah (20 east Baquba).One civilian was killed and another was injured.

– In the morning, one civilian was killed during the clashes between the Iraqi army and gunmen at Kanaan (10 km south east Baquba)

– Around 10 am, a roadside bomb targeted the convoy of Ibrahim Hassan, the head of Diyala governorate council , while it was on its way at Saadiya (90 km east Baquba) between Baquba and Khanaqeen .Two of his guards were killed in that incident.

Karbala

– Around 9.30 pm of Saturday night, a roadside bomb targeted an Iraqi army patrol at Al-Haidriyah (Khan Al-Nus) in midway between Najaf and Karbala. One officer was killed with two other soldiers.

Salahuddin

– In the morning, gunmen attacked a police check point at Bishkan village (10 km east of Dhulwiyah near Balad) .Six policemen were killed including an officer with their vehicle damaged.

– Today, an American force arrested two members of Al-Alam supporting council near AlLaqlaq village (35 km north of Tikrit) one of them is an officer .

Mosul

– In the morning, clashes took place between gunmen and police at Sahachi (west Mosul).Colonel Qasim Ziad, the commander of the first police battalion in Mosul was killed with one of his guards.

Kirkuk

– In the morning, a roadside bomb targeted a rescue police patrol at Tiseen street in Kirkuk city. Three people were injured in that incident including two women. ‘

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see

Iraq In The Balance By Scott Horton (+ video)

Sadr orders fighters to stand down

Baghdad Bombing Thoroughly Barbaric (video) + 91 Dead in 2 Baghdad Blasts by Juan Cole

Dandelion Salad

CSPANJUNKIEdotORG

February 01, 2008 BBC World

***

91 Dead in 2 Baghdad Blasts

by Juan Cole
Informed Comment
Saturday, February 02, 2008

Two women set off separate suicide bombs in two markets in Baghdad on Friday, killing at least 91 persons and wounding a similar number. Contrary to what this AP squib implies, the bombings suggest neither that “al-Qaeda” is running out of men nor that it is desperate. Women were used because they would be less likely to be closely searched, in a society where gender segregation and female honor and chastity are important values. The story that the women had Downs syndrome seems unlikely to be true; you wouldn’t trust a sensitive terror plot to someone without their full faculties. Rather, the bombings show that the Sunni Arab guerrillas seeking to destabilize Iraq have not been defeated and are still capable of making a big strike right under the noses of the surge troops. And that is how guerrilla war is– large conventional forces find it difficult to curb it.

McClatchy reports from the scene and observes, “Friday’s death toll also seemed to cement a recent steady increase in the monthly toll of Baghdad bombing deaths. In September, 164 people died from bombings, according to McClatchy statistics. That number reached a low of 76 in November, but rose to 87 in December and 100 in January. With 65 deaths on the first day of the month, February seems likely to witness another increase.”

Reuters adds other political violence on Friday:

‘TIKRIT – A U.S. soldier was killed by indirect fire in Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad on Thursday, the U.S. military said without giving further details. Another soldier was wounded in the attack.

* KUT – Gunmen killed two policemen and wounded four civilians when they stormed a bus terminal and opened fire in Kut, 170 km (100 miles) southeast of Baghdad, police said.

SAMARRA – A sniper killed one Iraqi soldier while on patrol in central Samarra, 100 km (68 miles) north of Baghdad, an Iraqi army source said.

MOSUL – U.S. forces arrested seven gunmen during operations in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said.’

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.