February 3, 2005
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq's interim prime minister declared Wednesday that the success of the national elections had dealt a major blow to the insurgents -- who have not carried out a major attack since the balloting -- and he predicted they will be defeated within months. [Was he talking about the insurgency or the new "government?"]
"Within months" of that very prescient prediction.
April 21, 2005
"BAGHDAD (Reuters)- Iraq's caretaker prime minister Iyad Allawi escaped an assassination attempt on Wednesday night when a suicide bomber in a car attacked his convoy near his home, a government spokesman said."
Also White House spokeswoman Clare Buchan said:
"I think part of what you're seeing and what you've heard the President talk about is that the terrorists are seeing the progress that's being made, and that is making them more desperate."
No wait, that was from August 26, 2003. Oh well, just fill in the blank, they're desperate.
In another sign of desperation insugents shot down a Bulgarian helicopter killing 11 including 6 Americans.
We're not ever leaving are we?
(Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Wednesday agreed to spend $592 million for a new embassy in Iraq..."
[Way to get that budget deficit under control.]
I found this at Asia Times online, which kind of continues what I was talking about yesterday about us ever getting out of Iraq.
"The only way Iraq's transitional government can garner any measure of popular credibility is to demand a firm deadline for total American withdrawal. This is what the Shi'ite masses voted for. Yet this is the last thing on the minds of the White House/Pentagon/Green Zone axis that controls -or will control - the country.
Whenever there is a so-called "transfer of power" in Mesopotamia, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, like clockwork, steps on a plane to Baghdad. On his latest trip designed to issue orders for the new, supposedly sovereign Iraqi government, Rumsfeld, in a splendid Freudian slip, let it be known on the record the US "does not have an exit strategy" in Iraq: only a "victory strategy". This is code for "we're not going anywhere"
On democracynow.org yesterday Naomi Klein and Eric Gustafson, a Gulf War veteran and founder and director of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center debated the pros and cons of us pulling out.
"The resistance largely controls Baghdad at this point, a situation where there are between 50 and 60 attacks a day. The militias that Eric is warning about already control large sectors of Iraq, because providing security for the people of Iraq has never, from day one, been a priority of this occupation.
We saw the abandonment immediately by allowing the looting to take place and only guarding the Ministry of Oil, and it?s only gotten worse. You know, when I was in Iraq a year ago, this was the most persistent complaint -- was spiraling crime. And that's actually how the militias were created. They were created as a response to the fact that US Occupation never, ever prioritized giving security to Iraqis."
The militias are the key to this whole thing, I think. We've got big problem of our own making.
In the LA TIMES there is an article about the worsening situation in Basra, which was thought to be more or less stable. As I've noted on this blog before, the Brits are nowhere to be found. [Brit soldier to victim asking for help, ?You?re a sovereign country now. We can?t help. You have to go to the Iraqi authorities."]
"A series of recent daytime assassinations of Shiite and Sunni Muslim officials here has led to fears that Sunni insurgents, Shiite radicals and Iranian agents may be seeking to destabilize this southern city...
Tensions also have increased among Shiite groups as a result of a bloody raid staged by Shiite followers of radical cleric Muqtada Sadr on dozens of university students attending a coed picnic this month. The Sadr movement's Council for Vice and Virtue claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the students were beaten with clubs and shot at for ignoring religious prohibitions including mixing of the sexes. Several students were injured.
Essa blamed Iranians for some of the violence. Basra, which sits near the Iranian border, is a thoroughfare for many Iranian Shiites making pilgrimages to the Iraqi holy cities of Najaf and Karbala.
But Essa [Sheik Khalaf Essa, a Sunni cleric and leader of Basra's Iraqi Islamic Party] has also acknowledged that Sunnis involved in the nationwide insurgency as well as local Sunnis probably had committed some recent attacks.
This month they were selling DVDs of the picnic incident in the Basra market to justify the attack and shame the students.
The disc shows male and female students socializing on a parched field. The Sadr supporters added a mournful soundtrack to the video: songs recounting the death of Imam Ali, the son-in-law of the prophet Muhammad and the founder of Shiite Islam."
The main power broker in Iraq, the man who arranged the elections just the way he wanted it, the man the U.S. can't say "no" to, Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Husaini Sistani is likely to push for a wider role for Islam in the government. This stuff going on in Basra could be a preview of what's to come nationwide.