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Hello tsunami, goodbye Iraq

By jardinier ·
Well I hate to be the one to bring everyone crashing back to earth, but the fact is that while the news has been dominated by the tsunami tragedy, to the point where Iraq hardly gets a mention, the fact is that violence and civil disorder continue to escalate.

The insurgents are apparently determined to do everything possible to ensure valid elections cannot be held by the agreed date.

Here is the latest bad news from Iraq:

Gunmen have killed the Baghdad governor in Iraq's highest-profile assassination in eight months, and a suicide bomber killed 10 people near the Green Zone in an escalating campaign to wreck the January 30 election.

The targeting yesterday of Ali al-Haidri raised fresh doubts whether Iraqi security forces can protect politicians and voters as the national ballot draws near.

The assassination took place just hours after a suicide bomber rammed a fuel truck into a checkpoint near Baghdad's Green Zone, a sprawling complex housing the Iraqi Government and the US and British embassies. It created a giant fireball that rocked the capital, police and hospital sources said.

The bombing, which also wounded 58 people, brought new scenes of bloodshed and destruction to Baghdad a day after 17 security men were killed in a string of ambushes and explosions across the country.

These included an attack in west Baghdad early on Monday when an explosives-laden car tried to ram through a checkpoint on a road leading to the headquarters of the National Accord party of the Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi.

Three British nationals and an American were also killed in an attack on an American convoy in Baghdad on Monday.

Details of Mr Haidri's death remained sketchy. As the head of Baghdad province he was the most senior Iraqi official to be assassinated in Baghdad since Izzedin Salim, the president of the Governing Council, was killed by a suicide bomb last May.

Hours after Monday's bombings Dr Allawi spoke to the US President, George Bush, although US officials insisted that the Prime Minister did not tell Mr Bush that elections should be delayed.

"There was no substantive conversation about delay," an Administration official said. Dr Allawi"wasn't even a bit wobbly" on that point.

But some officials in Washington and in Iraq interpreted the call as a sign that Dr Allawi, who is clearly concerned that his party could be heading for defeat if the election is held on schedule, may be preparing the ground to make the case for delay to Mr Bush.

While White House officials were hesitant to give many details of the discussion between Dr Allawi and Mr Bush, they said the Iraqi leader brought up questions of security and the ferocity of the insurgency.

Yet Dr Allawi's cabinet is already showing signs of weakening on the question of holding the elections this month.

The Defence Minister, Hazim al-Shaalan, said in Cairo on Monday that the voting should be postponed to ensure greater participation by Sunnis.

[Reuters, The New York Times]

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I was getting bored with Iraq anyway

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Hello tsunami, goodbye Ir ...

Presumably when the tsnuami is no longer newsworthy. Iraq will come back to the fore unless we get another disaster to take their minds off it.
Can't wait for the election, any sensible government's first issue will be getting all the foreign troops out of their country. Which unless the american public can convince Mr Bush that it's in his political interest will happen on the same day as the Iraqi people formally express their unamimous gratitude for being liberated.

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Tell the troops you are bored of them......

by IT_Lobo In reply to I was getting bored with ...

putting their lives on the line to ensure Iraq has a shot at being free.

I have alot of friends in the military serving in Iraq and all they want for the people of the USA is to support them. It does not matter your views on the war itself you can still support the troops.

Remember the men and woman of the military has fought for rights, including freedom of speach.

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Actually I have to completely agree here

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Tell the troops you are b ...

But wouldn't it be far better if it was the Politician's who fought the wars instead of being the ones who are responsible for sending our troops to these places?

Col

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You lit the blue touch paper with that one, extensive rebuttal

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Tell the troops you are b ...

I'm sure they do, and very few in your country or mine would withhold that support.
And if you'd have stuck simply to that point instead of attempting to justify the war, I would eaten the humble pie and apologized for any offense my tongue in cheek comment might have given.

However you did n't did you .

A shot at being free ?
They are shooting at people who want to be free of western/christian influence and to run their country as they see fit. Don't get me wrong, anyone who can implement rape clinics, torture, and genocide needs their hair parting with an armalite, but they think they should be free to do it.
Fought for free speech, you could describe any conflict in those terms, but you'd be missing the point.
The right to free speech in the UK was won mainly by the people against the army. So was your independence and subsequent constitution and if you are of african descent racial equality. The military (professional or conscript) is a tool of government, they are the ones who do the killing and the dying to enforce policy. It's just nice when the policy is freedom or at least can be described as it at home, makes all the deaths seem worthwhile.

Hitler described World War II as a pursuit of German freedoms. History has judged him wrong, or maybe it was losing the war.

Last on a personal note you can never be given your freedom, you must take it. Because if someone has the power to give it they can also take it away. The intervention in Iraq has denied the opportunity for the Iraqi people to be free from Hussein's tyranny, so now they are going to 'fight' at the very least figuratively to be free from ours. And please don't tell me we aren't being perceived as tyrannical by many Iraqi people.
I have the utmost respect and the greatest sympathy for those who must be brutalized in this and any war, and none whatsoever for those responsible. I hold western policy in the middle east as a prime factor. If we didn't help Hussein gain power we certainly helped him keep it as he was preferable to both russian communism and Khomeini's interpretation of Islam. I'm sure he didn't suddenly come down with a dose of evilness the day before the invasion of Kuwait, they knew what he was, but the policy at the time was to ignore it, and this is what's now so important that our men and women and theirs have to die for it. Those who put this policy into place should feel every death in Iraq like a nail in their own coffin, but they won't because politics is the art of expediency.

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ALWAYS support the troops

by jardinier In reply to I was getting bored with ...

Wars are started by politicians.

It is tragic that so many service personnel and civilians are killed or maimed for life in order to satisfy some politician's (or other type of leader's) lust for power.

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Bush, Iraq and the tsunami

I bet Bush and his government are heaving a collective sigh of relief that the tragedy of the tsunami came just when it did.

Especially with the Iraq elections looming at the end of the month -- assuming they're not postponed, of course -- the fact that the eyes of the world have been taken away from the mess the US has created in that country must surely have Bush thanking whoever his God may happen to be.

I totally agree with you Julian; it's politicians who begin wars, and we all know that Bush certainly began this one, simply so he could get his hands "legally" on Iraqi oil.

That being said, it still saddens me to see anyone needlessly killed, be they soldier or civilian. The soldiers have no say about whether they WANT to fight or not; they simply go at their country's (read: President's) behest.

As for the thousands of dead and those made homeless as a result of the earthquake and tsunamis, that, I expect, has to be laid at nature's door.

However, perhaps as far as Bush is concerned, it's a blessing in disguise that the continuing help that must be given to Indonesia and the surrounding devastated area will need to go on for many months, even years, before things are restored to normal again.

This will no doubt give Bush the opportunity he needs, while the world's eyes are turned away from Iraq, to do the right thing and pull the troops out.

That's assuming he knows what the right thing is, of course. Maybe he can think of another way to clean up the mess he's made there if he doesn't want to go this far. I can't. It's really all or nothing.

Gret

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Not sure even I'd go that far.

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Bush, Iraq and the tsunam ...

Though I must admit I still don't know why the american nation or more importantly mine have decide to go over the top as it were. Every reason put forward up to press, has been either disproven, shown to be extremely dubious, or is altruistic. As soon as any politician says they doing something for the common good, you know it's an all out lie. There must have been a good reason or a substantial minority (including myself) were all halfwits for voting them into power. Being a british socialist I feel particularly betrayed as I thought I'd voted for a party that would never sacrifice so many of my principals that they could support this act.
Unfortunately the main opposition in the UK make Mr Bush look like Karl Marx, so I could be a bit stuffed come election time.

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How far is far?

Maybe it all comes down to the way the war in Iraq gets reported in different countries which dictates how much you're going to see or hear, and of course, within that, detect the truth, sometimes not very easy.

For purposes of "sanitisation", what the GP gets to see and hear on/in their media isn't what's really going on. Journos "embedded" with the troops will no doubt go all out to give the GP the truth as they see it from their -- perhaps -- somewhat confined observation point, but unfortunately, it's not the journos who have the last say about how their reporting ends up in the media. That's the editor's job, and sometimes even s/he is pressured from above -- need I say more?

So when everything starts to go so horribly wrong, as we know it has in Iraq, I imagine it's these "embedded" journos who are the first ones to be sat upon, to say nothing of their editors as well, because a turn for the worst, as has happened in Iraq, points very strongly towards government lies in the first place.

We all know what pollies are like -- most of them, anyway, especially the ones in power -- and of course, that's the way they want to keep it, with themselves holding power.

So when something else comes along, big enough to hide their mistakes, they jump to "support" it, no matter what. Which is exactly the case with Iraq on the one hand and these dreadful tsunamis on the other.

Tony, I'm only a cynic where politics and politicians are concerned; I'm not like this in every facet of my life!

However, if you ferret around enough, you can find out why the UK i) so enthusiastically went into this war with Bush -- apart from the oil, that is -- and ii) why everything's gone so dreadfully wrong and what they're really trying to hide, tsunami or no tsunami.

Gret

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It was never going to go right.

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to How far is far?

Unfortunately even if they'd gone in for all the good and pure reasons they claimed, found WMDs in every bedroom on top of active terrorist cells funded by south american communist drug lords with a non christian world view supporting abortion and gay marriages.

Lots of people would have still died.

It would still have gone on forever.

The Iraqi people would still have at least resented us while we have holes in our backsides.

Why because no matter how right you think you are no one likes you waving a gun in their face while pointing it out.

Simple human nature.

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On media reports

by jardinier In reply to How far is far?

It is extremely popular on this website especially, to assert that the media only publishes the bad news.

Well imagine my surprise when I got into conversation with a lass who is in regular communication with friends in Baghdad (by phone, until the phone line was cut off).

Her friends said the amount of violence was far worse than what is reported in the media.

There wasn't just once bomb attack each day -- they occurred continually.

I have encouraged this woman to email me more details. If she does so, I will post her comments here.

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