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Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Post-Dome Attack: 1,300 Deaths in Iraq
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:16 am

Via WaPo: Toll in Iraq’s Deadly Surge: 1,300

Grisly attacks and other sectarian violence unleashed by last week’s bombing of a Shiite Muslim shrine have killed more than 1,300 Iraqis, making the past few days the deadliest of the war outside of major U.S. offensives, according to Baghdad’s main morgue. The toll was more than three times higher than the figure previously reported by the U.S. military and the news media.

Hundreds of unclaimed dead lay at the morgue at midday Monday — blood-caked men who had been shot, knifed, garroted or apparently suffocated by the plastic bags still over their heads. Many of the bodies were sprawled with their hands still bound — and many of them had wound up at the morgue after what their families said was their abduction by the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

[…]

Morgue officials said they had logged more than 1,300 dead since Wednesday — the day the Shiites’ gold-domed Askariya shrine was bombed — photographing, numbering and tagging the bodies as they came in over the nights and days of retaliatory raids.

And then today: Baghdad bombs kill 30:

Bombs killed at least 30 people in Baghdad and wrecked the tomb of Saddam Hussein’s father on Tuesday as the ousted leader was in court for the first time since days of sectarian violence pitched Iraq toward civil war.

[…]

Twenty-three people were killed when a bomb left at a fuel station in eastern Baghdad blasted people lining up for petrol, police said. At least seven were killed in two other explosions, including an apparent car bomb in a busy street across the Tigris river from the trial in one of Saddam’s former palaces.

Some 115 people were wounded in all, police said, in the bloodiest onslaught in the capital in two months and among the most serious since an alleged al Qaeda bomb destroyed a Shi’ite shrine in Samarra on Wednesday, sparking tit-for-tat reprisals.

And this lacks a certain, well, credibility:

U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, closely engaged in efforts to forge a national unity government, told CNN that Iraq “came to the brink of civil war” but said the present “crisis is over.” He warned, however, that further flare-ups were possible.

He way be right: the bombing today, sadly, could be seen to be part of the pre-Dome pattern of violence. Still, it seems a bit soon to declare the crisis over, since the quelling of the violence came about as a result of a curfew.

Filed under: Iraq, Global Politics | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Monday, February 27, 2006
Zarqawi Aide Captured?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:07 am

Via Reuters: Iraqi forces capture Zarqawi aide: TV

Iraqiya named the man as Abu Farouq and said he was captured with five others in the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Ramadi, west of the capital.

It said Abu Farouq al-Suri, previously unknown to the media, was captured by the Wolf Brigade, one of several counter-insurgency units operating within the Shi’ite-run Interior Ministry but accused by Sunnis of targeting civilians in their community.

Of course, the burning question is whether or not he is al Qaeda’s #3 man in Iraq.

Filed under: Iraq, Global Politics, War on Terror | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
I Guess the New Doritos Shipment Arrived
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:59 am

Via Reuters: Saddam Hussein ends hunger strike: lawyer.

I am so relieved!

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Sunni Bloc Cancels its Withdrawl from Talks
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:28 am

Via the NYT: Iraqi Sunni Bloc to Rejoin Talks on Government

While the Sunni bloc, the Iraqi Consensus Front, has not publicly announced its decision and could still reverse course, Iraqi officials say the talks may resume as early as this week, depending on the level of tension in the streets.

Always nice to retain one’s options, I suppose.

More:

The Sunni negotiator, Mahmoud al-Mashhadany, said Sunni politicians now recognize the need to form a widely inclusive government as quickly as possible to succeed the current interim government, dominated by religious Shiites and Kurds.

We’ve canceled our withdrawal from the talks,” Mr. Mashhadany said in a telephone interview. “We should hurry up and form a national unity government, to change this hopeless government. In the new government, everyone will handle responsibility.”

Nice turn of phrase.

Now, do the Shiites see the need for a national unity government-that’s the next question.

Filed under: Iraq, Global Politics | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Not Good
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:08 am

Via CNN: Pentagon: Iraqi troops downgraded

The only Iraqi battalion capable of fighting without U.S. support has been downgraded to a level requiring them to fight with American troops backing them up, the Pentagon said Friday.

The battalion, made up of 700 to 800 Iraqi Army soldiers, has repeatedly been offered by the U.S. as an example of the growing independence of the Iraqi military.

[…]

Though officials would not cite a specific reason for downgrading the unit, its readiness level has dropped in the wake of a new commander and numerous changes in the combat and support units, officials said.

Not only is that bad news in general, but the timing’s not too hot, either.

Filed under: Iraq, Global Politics | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Dome Graphic
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:30 am

A great graphic from the AP:

Filed under: Iraq, Global Politics | Comments (3) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

Fruits and Votes linked with The Iraqi crisis
Well, it Worked…
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:49 am

Those who wanted to spark serious sectarian violence in Iraq by destroying the golden dome of the Askariya Shrine suceeded (via the NYT: Blast at Shiite Shrine Sets Off Sectarian Fury in Iraq

Shiite militia members flooded the streets of Baghdad, firing rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns at Sunni mosques while Iraqi Army soldiers who had been called out to stop the violence stood helpless nearby. By the day’s end, mobs had struck or destroyed 27 Sunni mosques in the capital, killing three imams and kidnapping a fourth, Interior Ministry officials said. In all, at least 15 people were killed in related violence across the country.


The BBC reports:

More than 100 people have been killed in Iraq in the aftermath of a bomb attack on a key Shia Muslim shrine.

Fifty bullet-riddled bodies were found in Baghdad overnight and 47 factory workers were killed at a roadblock on the outskirts of the capital.

Filed under: Iraq, Global Politics | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Gee, Ya Think?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:37 am

Via Reuters: Iraqis say Saddam could exploit Abu Ghraib images

Filed under: Iraq, US Politics, Global Politics | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Saddam Eschews Doritos
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:23 am

Via the AP: Saddam Says He’s on a Hunger Strike

(Yes, I suppose I should take it all more seriously, but ah well).

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Monday, February 13, 2006
The Circus Returns to Court
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:12 am

Via the BBC: Uproar as Saddam returns to court

The former leader wore a blue traditional Arab robe and a black jacket in contrast to the suit he had worn previously.

“Down with the traitor, down with traitors, down with Bush. Long live the ummah (Islamic nation)… long live the ummah… long live the ummah,” Saddam Hussein shouted.

His half-brother Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti scuffled with guards as he was brought in.

Both then continued to harangue the judge throughout the early proceedings, refusing orders to sit down and be quiet.

“This is not a court, this is not a court, this is a game,” Saddam Hussein shouted.

Interesting that he chose to wear more traditional Arab clothing and made calls for the long life of the Islamic nation.

Filed under: Iraq, Global Politics | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Jaafari Likely to Remain Iraqi PM
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:49 am

Via Reuters: Iraq’s Jaafari looks set to stay as PM

“We have achieved our first mission, to nominate the alliance candidate for prime minister. We must now move ahead with the nest step, which is the formation of the new government,” said Dawa party official Jawad al-Maliki.

The stalemate in alliance negotiations on a prime minister had delayed the start of talks on formation of what Iraqi officials hope will be a united government, the first serving a full four-year term since the fall of
Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Maliki said the alliance will meet with Kurdish leaders to discuss the challenges that lay ahead in forming a cabinet, which, judging by the tortuous talks after last January’s election, could take months.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2006
Books for Baghdad: The Sequel
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 2:24 pm

The information is can be found here: Books for Baghdad Announces Second Drive

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Wednesday, February 1, 2006
That’ll Show ‘em!
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:14 am

Via Reuters: Saddam and defense team boycott trial.

Given that, as I understand it, the trial can proceed without Saddam and friends, there is a certain hollowness to the gesture.

On the other hand, it does seem as if they could bring them in in shackles and gag them if necessary if they can’t behave (the defendants anyway, I suppose bound and gagged defense attorneys wouldn’t be too useful).

If the entire trial were to go on without Saddam, it would certainly lose much of its symbolic usefulness.

Regardless, it is clear that the new judge has to establish control over this process, something that has been sorely lacking to this point.

Filed under: Iraq, Global Politics, Criminal Justice | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Trial of Errors
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:20 am

And the fun at the Saddam trial continues (via the AP): Saddam Hussein Removed From Court Room.

And, of course, they have adjourned until Wedsday or Thursday.

At this rate, they will finish in 2018.

I will say that the BBC version of the story gives one hope that the new chief judge may assert some actual control over the proceedings:Saddam walks out in trial uproar

The walkouts came after the new chief judge, Raouf Abdul Rahman, had Saddam’s half brother and co-defendant Barzan al-Tikriti removed from the courtroom.

[…]

The court proceedings started with the new chief judge saying that he would not tolerate any defendants making political speeches or disobeying his authority.

The judge then rounded on the defence lawyers, saying that they had contributed to the atmosphere that allowed defendants to think they could make lengthy speeches and disrespect the authority of the court.

Next, a defence lawyer was ejected from the court, and as a result the rest of Saddam’s defence team stormed out, despite the judge warning “any lawyer who walks out will not be allowed back into this courtroom”.

In regards to Saddam specifically:

“I want to leave the court,” Saddam demanded of the judge, who in turn ordered the former leader out.

“I led you for 35 years and you order me out of the court?” Saddam responded angrily.

“I am the judge, you are the defendant. You have to obey me,” the judge hit back.

He accused Judge Rahman of abusing his rights as a defendant who was “innocent until proven guilty”.

As the argument became more heated Saddam banged his hands on the dock and hurled insults at the judge.

Eventually, the judge said that Saddam should also be removed and he was led from the court too, shouting “Down with the traitors!” as he went.

Filed under: Iraq, Global Politics | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Too Bad He isn’t a Sleep-walker…
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 10:30 pm

…one over-active dream and adios.

Via reuters: Fugitive militant Zarqawi seeking new Iraq alliances

Citing the leader of a Sunni resistance group who said he recently spent time with Zarqawi, the newspaper said the insurgent leader wore a suicide belt at all times — even when asleep.

Filed under: Iraq, Global Politics, War on Terror | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

The Florida Masochist linked with Maybe he'll have an accident in his sleep
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