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05 August 2006


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Apropros of civil war here's the latest from Baghdad Burning, a blog by an Iraqi woman in Baghdad:

Summer of Goodbyes...
Residents of Baghdad are systematically being pushed out of the city. Some families are waking up to find a Klashnikov bullet and a letter in an envelope with the words “Leave your area or else.” The culprits behind these attacks and threats are Sadr’s followers- Mahdi Army. It’s general knowledge, although no one dares say it out loud. In the last month we’ve had two different families staying with us in our house, after having to leave their neighborhoods due to death threats and attacks. It’s not just Sunnis- it’s Shia, Arabs, Kurds- most of the middle-class areas are being targeted by militias.

Other areas are being overrun by armed Islamists. The Americans have absolutely no control in these areas. Or maybe they simply don’t want to control the areas because when there’s a clash between Sadr’s militia and another militia in a residential neighborhood, they surround the area and watch things happen.

Since the beginning of July, the men in our area have been patrolling the streets. Some of them patrol the rooftops and others sit quietly by the homemade road blocks we have on the major roads leading into the area. You cannot in any way rely on Americans or the government. You can only hope your family and friends will remain alive- not safe, not secure- just alive. That’s good enough.

For me, June marked the first month I don’t dare leave the house without a hijab, or headscarf. I don’t wear a hijab usually, but it’s no longer possible to drive around Baghdad without one. It’s just not a good idea. (Take note that when I say ‘drive’ I actually mean ‘sit in the back seat of the car’- I haven’t driven for the longest time.) Going around bare-headed in a car or in the street also puts the family members with you in danger. You risk hearing something you don’t want to hear and then the father or the brother or cousin or uncle can’t just sit by and let it happen. I haven’t driven for the longest time. If you’re a female, you risk being attacked.

The whole piece is well worth reading:



McClatchy owns a bunch of city newspapers, including the Minneapolis Star Tribune. They recently bought Knight Ridder. I couldn't find the piece on the Strib's website, but with the link below you may be able to locate the paper it's in with some effort.

Green Zone Cafe

I'm back here now, but friends say indirect fire to the Green Zone is way up.


Simple question: What are our troops doing there besides defending civilian contractors? They clearly are not defending Iraqis. On the positve note, Halliburton painted one school today.


How is this Administration going to portray this? They have so consistently misled this country on the situation in Iraq that it may be hard to explain how they blew this one, in even less time than it took for Vietnam. Your thoughts?


In regards to my previos comment, I didn't mean to sound flip or cavalier about the situation. Its just that after listening to the arrogance and viciousness with which they attacked anyone who questioned their competence to run this war, this is a sad ending, for our military, and the people of Iraq. I have a great love for my country, and am just, uhm heartbroken, over what has occurred. These people (PNAC) should be in jail for what they have done.

W. Patrick Lang


What sort of fire and how much? pl



Here's the link:



its all maddness

Green Zone Cafe

122mm rockets and mortars of varying calibers, landing all over the place nightly.

I've seen it wax and wane, starting in October 03, a few rounds a night, to a lot in early-mid 04, down to almost nothing last year, only a about ten rounds total in 7 months, a couple when I was there in March, now several rounds a night in the last few nights.


"I don't think there's any winning here. Victory for us is withdrawing,"

Well I think Sgt. Ellis has it right.

I may not have the correct picture, but I believe the Sunni insurgents were determined to provoke a civil war. They worked it for a couple years. Now its there. With the Shia in the majority and in control of the government how will the Sunni fare in this unfolding sectarian war?

The "failed" state of Iraq, a direct outcome of our neocon project will add to the expansion of violence and instability in the Middle East now further inflamed by the Israel-Hizbullah war. Unfortunately we can't do much to dampen the fires. Hopefully the Arabs and Persians and Israelis will sort it out. I am not very optimistic about a sanguine outcome. I feel for the misery of the innocent civilian populations caught in the middle.


Summer reading for anyone interested. I will read but have not yet so I have no comment on it.



Here is a link to summary of the paper I linked to in my previous post. So people can see what its about. At least from one perspective anyway. Sorry I did not put this in before.



"During my numerous visits to Iraq and in discussion with former colleagues in the Army, one thing is clear: the UK has failed in its strategic objectives of achieving peace and stability in Iraq. The policy of handing over the provinces we control must continue and be accelerated so that we can bring our Forces home as soon as possible. Only then can we address our main effort in Afghanistan with adequate force "packaging"."
Col Tim Collins


Aside from its immorality, here's my problem with the Neo-Con ME project: it is self-defeating. First, it assumes that a healthy nationalistic Arab democracy would want to be an American client state. Second, it assumes that the aforementioned democracies wouldn't be even more forceful advocates for the Palestinians. (And, as you know, many Neo-Cons view the ME through the Israeli prism.) Many Neo-Cons talk out of both of sides of their mouthes on this issue, i.e., they claim the Arabs have done nothing for the Palestinians and then claim that Arab regimes use the Israel-Palestine conflict as cover for their own democratic failings. Well, if you fix the latter, you will get more of the former.

John Howley

Our soldiers are stuck in Iraq. Can't go up to the 300,000 necessary to police the entire country for political reasons...and because we no longer have the troops. Can't reduce the number of troops because we need to defend Green Zone and supply lines.
Bush-Rumsfeld-Cheney are merely hoping things don't go downhill too fast before the Novemeber election.
Last week, Pace warned Congress of impending disaster so that no one can claim later that he didn't speak up.
The military's mission is to avoid total collapse so that Republicans can retain control of both houses of Congress and no one will be held accountable.
They are playing political poker with other people's money and other people's kids...

Jerry Thompson

The decision to put our embassy in the International ("Green") Zone is likely to turn out to be another HUGE mistake. We're not going to be able to just "go away" as the security situation deteriorates. Whether you call it "civil war" or call it "Iraqi politics", it will be chaotic and violent and we cannot be the arbiter of it. We need to "morph" ourselves into a very different role, with a political, reconstruction and humanitarian focus, draw back our military forces and stop believing ourselves to be the "arbiter" of Iraq. To do that, we need some tactical distance. Kurdistan is not the answer -- that will turn into another kind of strategic political ambush. The Airport (?), Victory (?), maybe -- but, an embassy in the IZ is not likely to be survivable or effective or give us the flexibility we are going to need.

W. Patrick Lang


The danger is that we end with an embassy complex isolated in the midst of a hostile city. pl

John Howley

Kurds make a move...from the FT:
Iraqi Kurds publish draft oil law
August 8 2006 03:00

Iraq's Kurdish autonomous region yesterday published a draft version of a law giving itself the right to control petroleum operations in its own territory and the disputed province of Kirkuk.

A memorandum attached to the draft provided by the Kurdish regional government said a final version would be presented to the Kurdish parliament in September, and that it had also prepared a draft of a petroleum law for the entire country.


I am confused by one thing. Before the invasion, we (those that opposed the war) were screaming 2 things : 1- There were no WMDs 2-You cannot save a country by attacking it. You cannot save an abused child from and abusive father by killing the childs mother. The child will only hate you more than he hates his father.

Now I know this administration is arrogant, self gratifying and woefully narrow minded. But if it was obvious to us, mere mortals, not surrounded by the best advisors money can buy, one would have to believe that the Bush administration also must have known this and that with the limited troop numbers the arms were going to be brought into Iraq by the truckload.

Therefore, is it logical to at least suspect, that this outcome, of chaos, civil war and a break up of what would have been a very powerful nation is an intended outcome?

W. Patrick Lang


You are making the classic ME mistake of thinking that because these dummies should be wise and well advised, they are.

Not so, DORKS. pl


I have had the scary feeling of late that I was wrong to believe that what was said to the world by those in power was propaganda and that behind closed doors they knew otherwise. It is dawning on me that they actually believe what they are saying.

If that is true, the implications are very grave and hopefully the setbacks they are suffering of late will stall their plans long enough to see them out of office.

However, I still wonder if it is a coincidence that a divided, chaotic Iraq is exactly what would suit the Neo-con plan the most.



I too thought like you did that there was a grand strategy behind some of the perplexing decisions by GWB and the Cheney led neocons.

The primary reason that I felt the Iraqi invasion was wrong was because Iraq posed no real let alone existential threat to the US. Saddam's military was completely degraded after GW I and with the no-fly zones was contained.

So when they ordered our troops into Iraq despite worldwide opposition I thought it was for narrow reasons like increasing their wealth and paying off their cronies and campaign contributors. But more I see of them I have come to the same conclusion that PL did a while ago that they do this to promote their "ideology". And what is astounding is that they are very good at the domestic politics and propaganda front but fail in the governance and execution of policy aspects.

I am afraid we will have to live with the fallout of this period of "insanity" for many generations.

spanking forest

Doesn`t matter what you say, but how...!! But you said it well http://spankingforest.spazioblog.it/

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