- The mayhem continues in Iraq, with today at least 40
people dead, including five US soldiers in Diyala province as the meltdown
of the failed US-led occupation continues.
- Two suicide bombers detonated themselves after walking
into a crowd of police officers in Hilla, south of Baghdad. The policemen
were demonstrating outside the mayor's office to protest a government decision
to disband their Special Forces unit.
- In yet another horrible PR move (or attempt to raise
sectarian tensions?) by the US military the head of Iraq's largest Sunni
political party, Mohsen Abdul Hamid was detained from his home early this
morning in western Baghdad. Of course his head was promptly bagged and
his hands tied before he was taken away to be interrogated. His three sons
were also detained with him. Stun bombs and bullets were said to be used
during the raid, according to his wife.
- It just so happens that his party, the Islamic Party,
opposes the new US-backed security operation now engulfing Baghdad because
they believe the security forces will disregard the rights of innocent
- Later today he was released and the military admitted
it made a mistake.
- The military statement concerning the matter said, "Coalition
forces regret any inconvenience and acknowledge (Abdul-Hamid's) cooperation
in resolving this matter."
- Abdul Hamid refused their apology in the Arab media,
and stated that he was humiliated when US soldiers held their boots on
his head for 20 minutes. It was also stated that he accused American soldiers
of removing items from his home, including a computer. This is standard
operating procedure with home raids-I can't tell you how many Iraqis I've
interviewed after their homes were raided who complained of money, jewelry
and other belongings being looted by American soldiers.
- The Islamic Party released a statement after the release
of Abdul Hamid which said, "The U.S. administration claims it is interested
in drawing Sunnis into the political process but it seems that their way
of doing so is by raids, arrests and violating human rights."
- At least 740 Iraqis have been killed since the new "government"
took power in late April, and with the ongoing operations sparking more
attacks each day, it doesn't look like there is an end in sight. Keep in
mind, the vast majority of the Iraqi security forces are either Shia or
Kurdish battling against a primarily Sunni resistance (for now). It can
easily be argued that we are witnessing a US-backed Iraqi government who
is deliberating using its power to wage a civil war.
- On that note, today Major General Ahmed al-Barazanchi,
a Kurdish man who was the director of internal affairs of Kirkuk province
died this morning after being shot yesterday.
- My sources in Baghdad also said there have been fierce
clashes today in the al-Amiriya district of Baghdad between resistance
fighters and Iraqi and US soldiers. "Open gun battles in the streets,"
as one friend told me, "And as soon as the Iraqi and US soldiers leave
the area, the resistance takes it back over."
- Keep in mind that all of this is against the backdrop
of well over 50% unemployment, horrendous traffic jams, and an infrastructure
in shambles that continues to degrade with next to no reconstruction occurring
- "Electricity shut offs drive us crazy in this hot
summer," one of my friends wrote me recently, "Even we can,t
read at night because of long hours of electricity cuts and because the
outside generators can,t withstand running these long hours and we have
to turn these generators off for some time to cool them!"
- He continues, "Two years of occupationfor God sake
where is the rebuilding, where the hell are these billions donated to Iraq?
Even not 1% improvement in services and electricity! They say again and
again the terrorists are to blame and I would accept this, but why they
do not protect these facilities? Do the American camps have cuts of electricity?
No, no, and nobody will allow this to happen...but poor Iraqis, nobody
would be sorry for them if they burn with the hell of summer, small kids
and old men they get dehydrated because no electricity, no cold water,
etc. Have you heard about the tea that is mixed with iron particles? It
is real in our life. People have to make sure their tea is not mixed with
iron by use of magnets."
- He concluded his email with, "Things are getting
worse day by day. Iraq has become a country not for its people, every day
thoughts jump into the mind that sooner or later we have to leave this
country, searching for another. And there is a saying, "your home
is where you sleep safe," but this is not true in Iraq anymore."
- He sent me that email three days ago.
- Yesterday the Iraqi government announced that it may
decrease subsidies for fuel and electricity, despite a severe shortage
of both in the country, according to the electricity minister who warned
Iraqis to prepare for more blackouts this summer.
- Ongoing fuel, electricity and drinking water shortages
persist, and only 37% of Iraqis have a working sewage system.
- As so many of my Iraqi friends continue to say, "This
is the freedom and democracy that America has brought us."
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