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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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And let's not forget that...

by Aldanatech In reply to Hello tsunami, goodbye Ir ...

since the start of the war in March 2003, the number of wounded US troops in Iraq has surpassed the 10,000 mark. However, a delayed update now reveals that the 10,000 mark is actually surpassed by 252. So out of the 10,252 total wounded, the Pentagon said that 5,396 were unable to return to duty and 4,856 sustained injuries that were light enough to allow them to resume their duties. The number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq currently stands at 1336.

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interesting timing

by apotheon In reply to Hello tsunami, goodbye Ir ...

It just so happens that, when I stumble across this thread, I'm in the middle of the first conversation in a few months (by IM) that I've had with a particular friend of mine. This friend is US Army Infantry, currently in Iraq.

He just told me about a suicide bomber that blew up the chow hall where he used to eat.

I wasn't too keen on the fact that I was in the Army while Clinton was the commander in chief. On the other hand, in retrospect, that was much better than it would have been to be working for Bush, Jr.

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Ironic that.

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to interesting timing

Actually when you are in the military, generally you tend to like someone with clear, simple and consistent goals in charge. The only 'may be' in war is may be your about to die.

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by apotheon In reply to Ironic that.

Bush's goals are so muddy that people will never, while he's in office, stop arguing about what they are. It's a mess.

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by Tony Hopkinson In reply to indeed

I thought his goal has been quite consistent, the imposition of the american way (his version) on the universe. His reasons or those he's stated have been all over the place. With Clinton it was the other way round , his reasons were constant, but his goals changed every time he read the polls. A soldier can't afford to care why he's fighting, who, when and what with are much more important.

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. . .

by apotheon In reply to Strange

You can sure boil it down to that oversimplified, overly vague statement of his purpose if you want to. In practical terms, though, that does little good. Besides, I'm not sure it's accurate: I don't think he's as worried about his version of the American Way (his version) as he is about getting his own way.

The muddy, indistinct goals are the concrete steps along the way, the true form of his final vision for things, and so on.

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I meant no disservice

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to . . .

The 'american way' was a terrible phrase, I doubt it exists as a concept except in the minds of politicians and media types. However in media presentations Mr Bush claims, is assumed, to represent mainstream american culture.

Hence me unconsciously falling into the trap of President Bush = America.

My aplogies for what to me would be a grievous insult.

I still feel his goals are far from muddy, but perhaps this is due to the limited amount of media coverage he gets in the UK, compared to the US. I'll have to start watching CNN again.

Besides I really miss Ari Fleischer, the guy was a genius. I was in holland during 9/11 and the conflict in afghanistan and the only 24 hour news channels we could get were american. I was sharing the flat with a dutch girl and an american bloke, which made for some lively discussions. Every time Ari came out to speak, I was spellbound by his ability to answer every question without answering, admitting everything while admitting nothing. Us expats used to discuss his most recent escapades over lunch.

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no big deal

by apotheon In reply to I meant no disservice

I'm not feeling particularly offended. There just really isn't a whole lot of clarity in what's going on. There are some very plausible theories floating around, but they're damned near doomsday scenario scary, and of course Bush would deny all of it if enough voters took it seriously to bother.

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Some Australian Iraqis denied the opportunity to vote

by jardinier In reply to Hello tsunami, goodbye Ir ...

According to a news report, there are 5,000 Iraqis in Australia.

However voting facilities will only be available in Sydney and Melbourne, thus denying a large number of Iraqi citizens the opportunity to participate in the upcoming election (well, that is if there is an election).

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by apotheon In reply to Some Australian Iraqis de ...

Last I checked, Australia isn't responsible for passing out Iraqi voting ballots. Iraq should be offering absentee ballots.

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