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Tag: Baghdad

Tentative Security Gains in Baghdad?

The New York Times reports that in certain areas of Baghdad, such as the Dora neighborhood in the south of the city, residents are cautiously returning to their homes and attempting to resume some semblance of normal life by taking advantage of a recent lull in violence.  How long it will last, however, remains to be seen.

Posted on Nov 19, 2007 READ MORE


British troops in Basra
AP photo / Nabil al-Jurani

Violence in Basra Drops 90% After British Withdrawal

Perhaps Basra can be seen as a test case for the rest of Iraq with regard to withdrawal and its effects:  According to Maj. Gen. Graham Binns, the commander of British forces in Basra, there has been a “remarkable and dramatic drop in attacks” since the majority of his troops withdrew from the city.

Posted on Nov 17, 2007 READ MORE


Nisour square
nytimes.com

FBI Blames Blackwater in 14 Civilian Deaths

The FBI, which is still investigating Blackwater’s Sept. 16 killing rampage in Baghdad, has determined that at least 14 of the 17 shootings were unjustified and in violation of deadly-force rules. The Justice Department is looking into whether to press charges, if it even has the authority, which means that Blackwater could very well get away with murder.

Posted on Nov 14, 2007 READ MORE


Profiles in Courage: Women Journalists Speak Out

This year’s winners of the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Courage in Journalism Awards are truly remarkable journalists who uphold the highest standards of the profession—and, as they reveal in their speeches, risk paying the highest price for their perseverance and dedication.

Posted on Nov 8, 2007 READ MORE


mercenaries
chinadaily.com.cn

State Dept. Gave Blackwater Shooters Immunity

Three senior law enforcement officials have revealed to the Associated Press that the State Department gave all of the Blackwater guards involved in the Sept. 16 killing of 17 Iraqi civilians immunity from prosecution.

Posted on Oct 29, 2007 READ MORE


Sadiyah camp
AP photo / Wisam Sami

Front-Line View: Iraq Isn’t ‘Worth Another Soldier’s Life’

Here’s a good way we can all support our troops:  by listening to them when they tell us how the Iraq war is really going.  Take this account from Sgt. Victor Alarcon and others in his battalion, who in Saturday’s Washington Post give their frank, and stark, assessment of the situation in Baghdad’s Sadiyah district.

Posted on Oct 27, 2007 READ MORE


Rice Takes a Licking in Congress

Typically cool as a cucumber, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice struggled to hold it together Thursday as members of the House Oversight Committee let her have it on everything from the enormous, expensive and incomplete U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to Blackwater’s killing spree.

Posted on Oct 25, 2007 READ MORE


Iraq power line
nytimes.com

Iraq Awards Iran Contracts, U.S. Sulks

Determined to show just how adolescent they can be, U.S. representatives in Baghdad have expressed dissatisfaction and suspicion over a pair of power plants that Iranian and Chinese companies plan to build in Iraq. One American military official described the contracts this way: “As you know, it’s not always as it appears.”

Posted on Oct 18, 2007 READ MORE


bloody car
AP Photo

Security Guards Kill 2 Women in Baghdad

Two women were shot and killed on Tuesday when private security contractors guarding a convoy of four cars in Baghdad’s Karrada neighborhood opened fire on the women’s Oldsmobile as it moved toward the convoy.  Unfortunately, it was not the day’s only violent episode in Iraq. According to The Washington Post, a series of bombings claimed at least 34 lives in and around Baghdad.

Posted on Oct 9, 2007 READ MORE


wounded man
AP photo / Hadi Mizban

The State Dept.‘s Murderous Guardians

How did it come to be that the ostensibly best-educated and most refined representatives of the United States in Iraq are guarded by gun-toting mercenaries who kill innocent civilians?  More urgently, why did State Department employees and their bosses in Washington tolerate—and pay to conceal—the wanton murder conducted on their watch?

Posted on Oct 2, 2007 READ MORE


Heavy Metal in Baghdad

Iron Maiden Meets IEDs in ‘Heavy Metal in Baghdad’

Well, this particular motion picture decidedly won’t be the feel-good family drama of the year—and that’s just one more excellent reason to go see “Heavy Metal in Baghdad,” an inside glimpse into the Baghdad metalhead scene, when it (hopefully) comes to a theater near you.  Meanwhile, check out the theatrical trailer here.

Posted on Oct 2, 2007 READ MORE


Biden
uncorrelated.com

Iraqis Unite Against Splitting the Nation

Sen. Joe Biden’s plan to divide Iraq along sectarian lines has had an unintended consequence: It has united much of the country, Shiite and Sunni alike, in opposition to the measure.

Posted on Sep 30, 2007 READ MORE


contractors
unitedcats.wordpress.com

More Bad News for Blackwater

Any lingering question as to whether Blackwater USA security contractors were to blame in the Sept. 16 shootout in Baghdad that left 11 Iraqis dead and 12 wounded may be cleared up by a videotape of the incident, which was reportedly filmed from a nearby police station.

Posted on Sep 23, 2007 READ MORE


Maclean's cover
Macleans.ca

Canadian Mag Calls Bush ‘The New Saddam’

Chances are pretty darn slim that this is President Bush’s favorite cover model moment: Canadian magazine Maclean’s whipped up quite a provocative picture for its latest cover story, which makes the claim that “a desperate Washington is reaching out to the late dictator’s henchmen.”

Posted on Sep 20, 2007 READ MORE


Privatizing Murder

There is no set piece more emblematic of the tragic farce that is the American involvement in Iraq than the grotesque episode of Blackwater USA and the killing of civilians in Baghdad—at least nine and as many as 28—on Sunday.

Posted on Sep 20, 2007 READ MORE


embassy pool
jfkclub.com

U.S. Diplomats Confined to the Green Zone

The State Department has restricted all U.S. diplomats to the Green Zone in Baghdad while it conducts a security review, presumably inspired by the suspension of its preferred mercenary bodyguards.

Posted on Sep 19, 2007 READ MORE


Whistleblowers Expose State Department Bushie

Rep. Henry Waxman has accused the State Department’s top oversight official of looking out for the best interests of the Bush administration, and not the American taxpayer. A number of current and former subordinates of the State Department’s inspector general contacted Waxman to report interference with investigations into fraud and corruption in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Posted on Sep 18, 2007 READ MORE


Blackwater helicopter
iraqfact.com

Checkbook Imperialism:  The Blackwater Fiasco

The latest Blackwater USA scandal, in which privately contracted American security troops gunned down innocent bystanders in Baghdad, might cause the Iraqi government to finally give firms like Blackwater their marching orders—if only it could command the power to order these mercenary operations out of the country.

Posted on Sep 18, 2007 READ MORE


Blackwater
change-links.org

Iraq Bans Blackwater, Launches Investigation

The Iraqi government has ordered employees of the North Carolina-based security firm Blackwater USA to leave the country and is opening a criminal investigation following Sunday’s deadly shootout in Baghdad, during which a group of Blackwater contractors escorting a convoy of U.S. officials opened fire on nearby civilians.

Posted on Sep 17, 2007 READ MORE


Help With Petraeus’ Testimony

Political comedian Will Durst provides the answers to some frequently asked (and vexing) questions about Gen. David Petraeus’ testimony.

Posted on Sep 16, 2007 READ MORE


Security Crew in Deadly Baghdad Shootout

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other officials have condemned the actions of security contractors who were guarding a State Department convoy that came under fire in downtown Baghdad on Sunday. The unnamed contractors are accused of firing indiscriminately and escalating the violence, which killed nine civilians. Update: The security firm in question was Blackwater USA.

Posted on Sep 16, 2007 READ MORE


Coming Apart at the Seams

Gen. David Petraeus likes to describe the Iraq he envisions as a patchwork quilt. You establish security in a neighborhood over here, bring peace to a village over there, create more and more of these scraps of relative tranquility—and then stitch the heterogeneous pieces together. The problem is with the seams. They have a tendency to unravel.

Posted on Sep 14, 2007 READ MORE


The Illusion of Progress in Iraq

Following two days of carefully staged theatrics on Capitol Hill and cable television, the essential facts about Iraq remain unchanged. Despite the big charts and the blustering fanfare highlighted by Fox News, neither Gen. David H. Petraeus nor Ambassador Ryan Crocker could convincingly claim that the American military escalation in Iraq is achieving its original goals.

Posted on Sep 14, 2007 READ MORE


The Iraqi View: ‘Surge’ Has Failed

The definition of “progress” in Iraq clearly depends upon whom you ask—while the Petraeuses and Crockers of the world are claiming that the U.S. troop “surge” is (slowly) showing signs of success, a BBC/ABC/NHK poll of 2,000 Iraqis suggests quite a different story.

Posted on Sep 11, 2007 READ MORE


Looking Beyond the ‘Surge’

This week’s highly anticipated Iraq progress report will no doubt be highly predictable, says The New Yorker’s George Packer, who’s more concerned about the longer view than America’s current leadership, whom he considers to be “trapped in the eternal present” in ways that can only spell trouble for Iraqis.

Posted on Sep 8, 2007 READ MORE


Couric and troops
AP Photo / Charles Dharapak

Reporting From Baghdad

Katie Couric’s “entertainment-as-news” excursion to Baghdad, Ritter argues, is symptomatic of an America that consistently refuses to properly identify and address the real problems in Iraq.

Posted on Sep 6, 2007 READ MORE


GAO Report Gives Iraq Gov’t an ‘F’

Well, it’s not as bad as last week’s leaked version, but the Government Accountability Office’s Iraq progress report is still pretty grim.  According to the GAO’s findings, the current Iraqi government has failed to meet 11 out of 18 benchmarks set last May by U.S. officials.

Posted on Sep 4, 2007 READ MORE


Got Debt?  Head to Iraq

Being heavily in debt is prompting some U.S. military members to volunteer to serve in Iraq or Afghanistan. Take Air Force Capt. Nick Sloan, who admits that the need to get out of debt was a significant factor in his choice to go to Iraq.

Posted on Sep 3, 2007 READ MORE


Congressmen’s Plane Dodges Fire in Iraq

Three U.S. senators and a member of the House got a taste of life in the combat zone when their military cargo plane came under attack by rocket-propelled grenades as they left Baghdad en route to Jordan Thursday night.

Posted on Aug 31, 2007 READ MORE


Riggle

‘Daily Show’ in Iraq: Just Like Home

“The Daily Show,” on the scene in Iraq, goes to town on the ridiculous yet timelessly entertaining assertion of Rep. Mike Pence that a particularly deadly Baghdad market he visited was “like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime.”

Posted on Aug 22, 2007 READ MORE


Baghdad burning
AP Photo / Dusan Vranic

Bye-Bye Baghdad

A self-confessed “overpaid Department of Defense contractor” writes about his experiences living and working in Baghdad and the suffering of his Iraqi friends, who risk life and limb every day to get by in the “sinking ship” of Iraq.

Posted on Aug 17, 2007 READ MORE


U.N. to Expand Iraq Mission Despite Protest

The Security Council is set to approve an expansion of the U.N.‘s presence in Iraq. Meanwhile, the organization’s staff association, representing thousands of employees around the globe, voted unanimously to oppose the measure and recall U.N. workers already in Baghdad.

Posted on Aug 8, 2007 READ MORE


sadr city
AP Photo / Karim Kadim

Baghdad Raid Kills 32, Sparks Protests

An overnight attack carried out by American and Iraqi forces against an alleged militant cell killed 32 people in Sadr City, U.S. military sources reported Wednesday.  The raid targeted members of the Mahdi Army militia believed to be smuggling weapons and working in tandem with Iranian militants against U.S. forces, but other sources claimed that women and children numbered among the dead.

Posted on Aug 8, 2007 READ MORE


asian cup
AP Photo / Irwin Fedriansyah

Iraqis Celebrate Asian Cup Win

At least some of the gunfire heard in Baghdad on Sunday was celebratory, for a change:  Jubilant Iraqis flouted a government ban by firing shots into the air following Iraq’s 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in the final match of the Asian Cup soccer tournament.

Posted on Jul 29, 2007 READ MORE


The First Victims of America’s Mega-Embassy

According to the testimony of two American civilian contractors, the construction of the massive U.S. Embassy in Iraq involved the tacit abduction and abuse of migrant workers. One contractor testified that he was told to furtively escort a group of Filipinos onto a Baghdad-bound plane even though their tickets read “Dubai,” while another called working conditions at the $600-million project “deplorable.”

Posted on Jul 27, 2007 READ MORE


Iraqi soccer player
iraqsport.com

Car Bombs Target Soccer Celebration

Multiple car bombings killed at least 50 Iraqis in Baghdad on Wednesday as thousands celebrated a victory in the Asian Cup that advanced Iraq to the finals for the first time.

Posted on Jul 25, 2007 READ MORE


Al-Qaida Blamed for Iraq Village Massacre

Iraqi officials are attributing the deaths of 29 people in Duwailiya, in Diyala province north of Baghdad, to al-Qaida militants who disguised themselves in military uniforms and surrounded the village before opening fire Tuesday on men, women and children.  This latest report follows other news of widespread violence as the U.S. troop “surge” continues.

Posted on Jul 17, 2007 READ MORE


Your Tax Dollars at Work

Looks like war isn’t hell for everyone,  at least not for some employees of KBR, a company that contracts with the U.S. government.  KBR, once a Halliburton subsidiary, allegedly put its workers in larger than warranted living spaces and served meals that cost more than necessary under a government contract, The Washington Post reported.

Posted on Jun 25, 2007 READ MORE


Inside the Green Zone Bubble

Living inside Baghdad’s Green Zone seems to encourage a dangerous disconnect between its occupants—American or Iraqi—and the chaotic and violent reality outside its bounds.  American journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran takes a sobering look inside for the UK paper The Sunday Times.

Posted on Jun 24, 2007 READ MORE


U.S. Death Toll for June Climbs to 78

Saturday was a particularly deadly day in and around Baghdad.  Eight U.S. soldiers were killed by explosions or gunfire in different parts of the capital, raising the fatality count to 30 in the last six days, according to The Washington Post.

Posted on Jun 23, 2007 READ MORE


Bloody June in Iraq

The U.S. troop surge is topping out in terms of numbers—and, unfortunately, the death toll for American forces and Iraqis is also climbing this month.  The BBC reports that 14 U.S. soldiers were reported killed Wednesday and Thursday, and suicide bombings continued to claim lives elsewhere in the country.

Posted on Jun 21, 2007 READ MORE


mosque
news.bbc.co.uk

Mosque Bombing Kills Dozens

A devastating explosion near a Shiite mosque in the center of Baghdad has killed at least 78 people and injured more than 200. The mosque’s imam said the attack was carried out by “sick souls” who targeted worshipers as they left the prayer hall. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that such attacks have “scarred the beautiful face of Baghdad by destroying the religious landmarks it has known over the centuries.”

Posted on Jun 19, 2007 READ MORE


gates
AP Photo / Andrew Gray, pool

No End in Sight

It’s now five months into the U.S. troop “surge” in Iraq, and although Defense Secretary Robert Gates (center) claimed during his visit to Baghdad this weekend that it’s still too early to tell if the surge is working, one U.S. military higher-up, Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, admitted that only 40 percent of Iraq’s capital city is consistently safe.

Posted on Jun 16, 2007 READ MORE


soldiers
AP Photo / Charlie Riedel

The ‘Surge’ Bait and Switch

Here’s a surprise: Remember how we were told that if we just waited until the fall, we’d see that George W. Bush’s “surge” was working in Iraq? Well, now it turns out that we shouldn’t expect answers in September after all.

Posted on Jun 15, 2007 READ MORE


Pentagon Report: ‘Surge’ Only Shifts Violence

Further evidence that the U.S. military buildup in Iraq is failing to quell violence in the country came Wednesday with the release of a Pentagon report detailing the sobering statistics about widespread bloodshed in Baghdad and other areas.

Posted on Jun 14, 2007 READ MORE


Dr. Dahlia Wasfi

The Lose-Lose War

Dr. Dahlia Wasfi joins Robert Scheer and James Harris to discuss the past, present and future of the Iraq war. Wasfi (pictured), who has twice visited Iraq during the occupation, says it is only a matter of time and casualties before the U.S. leaves: “It’s really simple: You bring the troops home, they stop dying there.” Update: Full transcript now available.

Posted on Jun 14, 2007 READ MORE


Pelosi, Reid:  ‘Surge’ Has Failed

Top congressional Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid sent President Bush a pre-emptive strike in the form of a letter Wednesday, prior to a meeting with him later in the day, declaring that the “surge” strategy in Iraq was a failure on several fronts.  Reid and Pelosi’s challenge came on the same day as news broke about an “indefinite” curfew imposed in Baghdad.

Posted on Jun 13, 2007 READ MORE


lieberman
AP Photo / Karim Kadim, file

‘President’ Lieberman: A Cautionary Tale

What would have happened if, by some twist of political fate, Sen. Joe Lieberman had assumed the U.S.‘s highest office instead of George W. Bush?  Judging by his hawkish leanings of late, particularly vis-à-vis Iran, the man who ran alongside Al Gore in 2000 proves the point that not every (once) Democratic candidate would have been better than Bush.

Posted on Jun 12, 2007 READ MORE


Dr. Dahlia Wasfi

The Lose-Lose War

Dr. Dahlia Wasfi joins Robert Scheer and James Harris to discuss the past, present and future of the Iraq war. Wasfi, who has twice visited Iraq during the occupation, says it is only a matter of time and casualties before the U.S. leaves: “It’s really simple: You bring the troops home, they stop dying there.”

Posted on Jun 12, 2007 READ MORE


Iraq Bridge Blast Kills 3 U.S. Soldiers

A group of U.S. troops were posted at a checkpoint on a bridge near Baghdad Sunday when a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb from below, killing three American soldiers and wounding six others.  The BBC reports that this latest attack brings the death toll of U.S. troops to at least 28 already this month.

Posted on Jun 11, 2007 READ MORE


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