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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Iraq news worse still... 

Of course Iraq is in the grips of a Civil War. The problem being, like that in Russia in 1917, that there are currently so many combatants it's hard to even tell what the sides are. The shia and sunni control many of the mesopotamian provinces, the kurds the northeast, and apparently the "resistance" (whatever that means) the west. As CommonDreams.org reports, the west really couldn't be worse.

Now, given that Pakistan has today declared (and later denied) Bin Laden is free to live "peacefully" in their country, you have to wonder how in hell the US is going to get its troops, including friends of yours Vulfy, out of Iraq. Here is news on the ground in western Iraq:

According to the group Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, 964 coalition soldiers have been killed in al-Anbar, more than in any other Iraqi province. Baghdad is second, with 665 coalition deaths.

Residents of Ramadi told IPS that the U.S. military has knocked down several buildings near the government centre in the city, the capital of the province. In an apparent move to secure their offices, U.S. Army and Marine engineers have started to level a half-kilometre stretch of low-rise buildings opposite the centre. Abandoned buildings in this area have been used repeatedly to launch attacks on the government complex. "They are trying to create a separation area between the offices of the puppet government and the buildings the resistance are using to attack them," a Ramadi resident said. "But now the Americans are making us all angry because they are destroying our city." U.S. troops have acknowledged their own difficulties in doing this.

"We're used to taking down walls, doors and windows, but eight city blocks is something new to us," Marine 1st Lt. Ben Klay, 24, said in the U.S. Department of Defence newspaper Stars and Stripes. In nearby Fallujah, residents are reporting daily clashes between Iraqi-U.S. security forces and the resistance. "The local police force which used to be out of the conflict are now being attacked," said a resident who gave his name as Abu Mohammed. "Hundreds of local policemen have quit the force after seeing that they are considered a legitimate target by fighters."

The U.S. forces seem to have no clear policy in the face of the sustained resistance. "The U.S. Army seems so confused in handling the security situation in Anbar," said historian Salman. "Attacks are conducted from al-Qa'im on the Syrian border to Abu Ghraib west of Baghdad, all the way through Haditha, Hit, Ramadi and Fallujah on a daily basis." He added: "A contributing factor to the instability of the province is the endless misery of the civilians who live with no services, no infrastructure, random shootings and so many wrongful detentions."

According to the new Pentagon quarterly report on Measuring Security and Stability in Iraq, Iraqi casualties rose 51 percent in recent months. The report says Sunni-based insurgency is "potent and viable." The report says that in a period since the establishment of the new Iraqi government, between May 20 and Aug. 11 this year, the average number of weekly attacks rose to nearly 800, almost double the number of the attacks in early 2004. Casualties among Iraqi civilians and security forces averaged nearly 120 a day during the period, up from 80 a day reported in the previous quarterly report. Two years ago they were averaging roughly 30 a day.

On Aug. 31 the Pentagon announced that it is increasing the number of U.S. troops in Iraq to 140,000, which is 13,000 more than the number five weeks ago. At least 65 U.S. soldiers were killed in August, with 36 of the deaths reported in al-Anbar. That brought the total number killed to at least 2,642.

It's starting to sound like what, inevitably happens, to any bully. Can the US (and its 51st state, Israel) run over Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon? Sure, but not all at the same time. And those "little" guys are ganging together now to fight a common menace. By the way, the populations of these five countries? Try 296 million...that's right, 99% as much as the United States. Looks like the US is going to need more allies, or more of its 299 million citizens, half of whom are against the war, to sign up. Did we forget about North Korea, too?

Outmaneuvered, outsmarted, now outnumbered in the Middle East. Let's make it happen in the House and Senate. Get the vote out to get the criminals out. Time for change, time for subpoenas, time for a new day.

-Vulf

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