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Iraq analysis

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  • #16
    Nearly half of Iraqis support attacks on U.S. troops, poll finds:

    WASHINGTON - A new poll found that nearly half of Iraqis approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces, and most favor setting a timetable for American troops to leave....

    ....According to the poll's findings, 47 percent of Iraqis approve of attacks on American forces, but there were large differences among ethnic and religious groups. Among Sunni Muslims, 88 percent said they approved of the attacks. That approval was found among 41 percent of Shiite Muslims and 16 percent of Kurds.....

    (41% of Shi'ites, that's rather a lot, isn't it? And almost 1 in 6 Kurds too.......)

    Poll finds Iraqis want U.S. out:

    Bush paints rosy picture of Iraq, say Americans:

    Many adults in the United States remain worried about the coalition effort in Iraq, according to two recent public opinion polls. In a New York Times and CBS News survey, 50 per cent of respondents believe the U.S. should have stayed out of Iraq. In a study by TNS released by the Washington Post and ABC News, 55 per cent of respondents think the war was not worth fighting....

    ...On Jan. 23, U.S. president George W. Bush discussed the situation in Iraq, saying, "Our strategy is twofold: We’re on the hunt for the terrorists, and we’re training Iraqis. And we’re making decent progress. There are more and more Iraqi units in the fight. There’s more and more country being turned over to the Iraqis." In the New York Times/CBS poll, 58 per cent of respondents think Bush is making things in Iraq sound better than they really are, up three points in a year.....

    Blair and Bush's UN 'collusion':

    A WHITE House leak claims Tony Blair and George Bush plotted to go to war against Iraq without United Nations backing at a secret meeting.

    A new edition of a book insists the two leaders went through the motions of getting UN support for military action - but were united on invasion even if the UN failed to back them.

    The book, by London University law professor Phillipe Sands, said Mr Blair gave his total support to Mr Bush at the secret White House meeting in January 2003. After the meeting, the two leaders gave a press conference where Mr Bush appeared to support going for a second UN resolution to give specific approval for a war.

    But Prof Sands' book, entitled Lawless World, claims that president Bush had earlier displayed open contempt for the UN during the summit, made wild threats against Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein and displayed astounding ignorance of the likely post-war problems.

    U.S. military hides cause of women soldiers' deaths:

    In a startling revelation, the former commander of Abu Ghraib prison testified that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, former senior US military commander in Iraq, gave orders to cover up the cause of death for some female American soldiers serving in Iraq.....

    January 30th 2006: British MOD accused of hiding real cost of Iraq war:

    January 31st 2006: British casualty figures are 'wrong', admits Reid:

    Iraqi women seek survival not science:

    The speech made by Dr. Enise Avci, an Iraqi Turkmen, at the "Women in the Alliance of Civilizations" International Women's Congress held by the Prime Ministry of the Women's Status General Directorship at Istanbul’s Conrad Hotel Sunday, and confronted conference participants with the realities taking place in Iraq today.

    Dr. Avci’s speech entitled, "Woman's place in science- the Iraq example" in the panel themed "Women in Science and Technology" and expressed the situation in her country as "What is sought in Bagdat (Baghdad) today is survival not science."

    She said Iraq, before the US occupation, was in a good condition regarding women's scientific works when compared to other Arab and Far Eastern countries, but today Baghdad, for centuries one of the world's largest science centers, has turned into the capital of a ghost country....

    Iraq faces void from an exodus of the educated:

    BAGHDAD, IRAQ - The office of Iraq's most eminent cardiologist is padlocked. A handwritten sign is taped on his wooden door in the private clinic in Baghdad: Patients of Dr. Omar Kubasi should call him in Amman, Jordan.

    There, Kubasi, 63, spends his days sitting at a cafe with other physicians and professionals from Iraq. Frustrated, he watches from afar as the medical education system he helped set up during his 36-year career slowly disintegrates. His teaching doctors are fleeing the country in fear.

    Younger physicians are looking for other countries to train in. Even patients are leaving, no longer confident in the care they can get in Iraq.

    "I think it's part of the plan for the country's destruction," Kubasi said by telephone. "The situation in the last six months has gotten so bad, we couldn't continue."

    Kubasi left Baghdad in May after he and nine other doctors received letters, written in a childlike hand, telling them they would be killed if they did not stop working in their native Iraq. He and his colleagues had been the objects of threats before, but the last carried a foreboding urgency, he said.

    Iraq's top professionals — doctors, lawyers, professors — and businessmen have been targeted by shadowy political groups for kidnapping and ransom, as well as killing, some of them say. So many have fled the country that Iraq is in danger of losing the core of skilled people it needs most as it is trying to build a newly independent society.

    "It's creating a brain drain," said Amer Hassan Fayed, assistant dean of political science at Baghdad University. "We could end up with a society without knowledge. How can such a society make progress?"

    Professionals and businessmen with the means to escape are going to Jordan, Syria, Egypt or, if they have visas, to Western countries. Those left behind say they feel abandoned.....


    • #17
      Iraqi transport ministry freezes deals with Denmark:

      BAGHDAD - Iraq’s transport ministry said on Sunday it had frozen contracts with Denmark and Norway in protest against blasphemous cartoons published in the countries’ newspapers.

      “This decision was taken to protest the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad and we will not accept any reconstruction money from Denmark or Norway,” said a spokesman on behalf of Transport Minister Salam Al Malaki.....

      US media ignore UN study on Iraq 'peace-building' methods backfiring:

      "The United States is avoiding widely recognised peace-building processes that involve external military powers quickly creating a basic security environment and then allowing domestic peace- and nation-building efforts to succeed," says the Inter Press Service News Agency, reporting on a new book, Security Sector Reform and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, published by the United Nations University Press.

      "Instead of stabilizing places like Iraq, international efforts to centralize power are creating a more fragile security environment than ever before," the press release quotes co-editor Albrecht Schnabel, senior research fellow at swisspeace Swiss Peace Foundation, and a lecturer at the Institute of Political Science, University of Bern. "[A]lmost three years after the toppling of Saddam Hussein, Iraq is characterized by chaos, violence and disintegration. The methods used to rebuild Iraq's security sector are simply making matters worse." The IPS story goes further......

      An official in the Coalition Provisional Authority, Robert Stein, has admitted to stealing more than $2 million, and to taking bribes for giving out contracts. Some $8.8 billion is unaccounted for from the CPA period, so now only a mere $8.798 billion stolen by Americans is left to track down:

      CNN's Christiane Amanpour: Iraq war 'a disaster' - Personal opinion from chief international reporter: 'It just gets worse and worse'

      Daily attacks are up from 55 per day (December 2004) to 77 per day (December 2005), Baghdad (home to 25% of the population) is being starved of fuel and electricity, and Sunni Arabs (who almost en masse rejected the constitution) are threatening to launch a civil disobedience campaign on top of the guerrilla war -

      The truth about Iraq:


      • #18
        WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 — Virtually every measure of the performance of Iraq's oil, electricity, water and sewerage sectors has fallen below preinvasion values even though $16 billion of American taxpayer money has already been disbursed in the Iraq reconstruction program, several government witnesses said at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Wednesday.

        Of seven measures of public services performance presented at the committee hearing by the inspector general's office, only one was above preinvasion values.

        Those that had slumped below those values were electrical generation capacity, hours of power available in a day in Baghdad, oil and heating oil production and the numbers of Iraqis with drinkable water and sewage service.

        Only the hours of power available to Iraqis outside Baghdad had increased over prewar values.

        In addition, two of the witnesses said they believed that an earlier estimate by the World Bank that $56 billion would be needed for rebuilding over the next several years was too low.

        At the same time, as Iraq's oil exports plummet and the country remains saddled with tens of billions of dollars of debt, it is unclear where that money will come from, said one of the witnesses, Joseph A. Christoff, director of international affairs and trade at the Government Accountability Office.

        And those may not be the most serious problems facing Iraq's pipelines, storage tanks, power lines, electrical switching stations and other structures, said Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, an independent office.

        In one sense, focusing on the plummeting performance numbers "misses the point," Mr. Bowen said. The real question, he said, is whether the Iraqi security forces will ever be able to protect the infrastructure from insurgent attack.

        "What's happened is that an incessant, an insidious insurgency has repeatedly attacked the key infrastructure targets, reducing outputs," Mr. Bowen said. He added that some of the performance numbers had fluctuated above prewar values in the past, only to fall again under the pressure of insurgent attacks and other factors.....

        Iraq utilities are falling short of pre-war performance

        (If you meet an intercept with that url use ID mediajunkie16 and password mediajunkie to get by it)

        The only comfort to come from such tardy recognition of the misery facing the people of Iraq is the amusement to be obtained from the mental gymnastics of the terminally uninformed war groupies who cling desperately to notions that 'things aren't so bad there' and try to spin accordingly.

        People are sick, hungry, thirsty, cold, the hospital services are declining, medicines are in short supply, there is disease from tainted water, infant mortality has risen sharply, literacy levels are falling, U.S. airstrikes are a daily occurrence, thousands are held without charge in prisons and camps throughout Iraq, in the north the Kurds are systematically killing, oppressing and intimidating the Christians, Shi3a and Sunni Arabs and Turkmen, in the south hardline fundamentalist militias hold sway, women's lives and freedoms have become curtailed and oppressed, death squads, Iraqi and American, stalk the land, food rations, upon which millions depend, are being cut, the price of fuel has quadrupled in the Iraqi winter, unemployment is over 70% in many areas, Christians are fleeing, intellectuals are fleeing, kidnappings and crime are rampant, torture is commonplace in the prisons and holding centres, child prostitution is on the rise, children are dying of cold on the streets of Baghdad.......

        Spin me a happy song about that.

        [Edited by Al-khiyal on 10th February 2006 at 04:34]


        • #19
          But of course, it isn't all gloom, some productivity levels are going up:

          Report says number of attacks by insurgents in Iraq increases

          "WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 — Sweeping statistics on insurgent violence in Iraq that were declassified for a Senate hearing on Wednesday appear to portray a rebellion whose ability to mount attacks has steadily grown in the nearly three years since the invasion."


          • #20
            All signs point to a major drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq in 2006 — perhaps to fewer than 100,000 by year's end. But it is far from certain when there will be further reductions, or a total pullout, after that.

            In fact, it now looks as if the United States may have a long-term and substantial military presence in Iraq, military experts say....

            Even with a troop reduction, U.S. military appears headed for a long stay in Iraq

            The Iraqi people will have something to say and do about that.


            • #21
              If one watches corporate media or listens to Cheney Administration propaganda, one is either not getting information about Iraq at all, or hearing that things are looking up as the U.S. approaches another “phase” in the occupation.

              Just taking a brief look at the “security incidents” reported by Reuters for today, 12 February, gives a little clue as to how the occupation of Iraq, aside from being immoral and unjust, is a dismal failure.

              *RAMADI - Six insurgents were killed and another wounded on Saturday when U.S forces conducted an air strike in the city of Ramadi, 110 km
              (68 miles) west of Baghdad, the U.S military said on Sunday.
              *MUQDADIYA - Clashes between insurgents and Iraqi army soldiers conducting a raid killed one rebel in Muqdadiya, 90 km (50 miles) north east of Baghdad. The army arrested 40 suspected insurgents in the same operation.
              *BAGHDAD - A 53-year-old male detainee at Abu Ghraib prison died on Saturday as a result of complications from an assault by an unknown number of detainees, the U.S military said in a statement.
              *MAHAWEEL - The bodies of three people, bound and shot in the head and chest, were found in Mahaweel, 75 km (50 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. The bodies showed signs of torture.
              *ISKANDARIYA - The bodies of two people, bound and shot in the head and chest, were found in Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. The bodies showed signs of torture.
              *BAGHDAD - Three police commandos and a civilian were killed and four commandos wounded when a suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt blew himself up near a check point in southern Baghdad, police said.
              *KIRKUK - Gunmen killed four policemen while they were driving in a civilian car in the main road between Kirkuk and Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
              *KIFL - Gunmen wearing police uniforms killed a civilian on Saturday in Kifl, a town about 150 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.
              *NEAR LATIFIYA - Police retrieved the body of a dead person from the river on Saturday near Latifiya, south of Baghdad.
              *BAQUBA - A director of sport education of Diyala province was killed by gunmen in the city of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
              *YATHRIB - Gunmen kidnapped three truck drivers who were carrying equipment to a U.S military base on Saturday in Yathrib, a region near Balad, 90 km (55 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
              *BAIJI - Gunmen blew up a gas station on Saturday near the oil refinery city of Baiji, 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad. BAGHDAD - Twelve civilians were wounded when two roadside bombs exploded in quick succession near an Iraqi police patrol in central Baghdad, police said. SAMARRA - The Iraqi army found three Iranian Shi'ite pilgrims who were among a group of 12, including an Iraqi driver, kidnapped by gunmen in Samarra on Friday, Iraqi army officials said. HAWIJA - Gunmen shot dead a doctor and wounded an employee working in the main hospital in Hawija, 70 km south west of the northern city of Kirkuk, on Saturday, police said. KIRKUK - Four policemen were wounded when a roadside bomb went off near their patrol in the northern city of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. KIRKUK - The corpse of a Kurdish contractor working with the U.S army was found on Saturday in Kirkuk, police said. KIRKUK - Two civilians were wounded by a roadside bomb near their patrol in Kirkuk, police said. BAGHDAD - Two civilians were killed, including a child, and three were wounded, when a roadside bomb targeting police commandos exploded in a northern district of the capital, police said.

              A brief glance at recent events in Iraq shows that violence only continues to escalate and the infrastructure which U.S. taxpayers supposedly paid billions of dollars to repair is in shambles.

              While the Cheney Administration blame Iraqi resistance attacks and sabotage for the lack of reconstruction, I would like to remind people that at least $8.8 Billion of the money meant for reconstruction efforts remains unaccounted for. Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, said this is because “oversight” on the part of the Coalition Provisional Authority “was relatively nonexistent.”

              Meanwhile, the U.S. military is over a quarter of the way towards having the 3,000th soldier killed in Iraq, as 2,267 have now been killed. 25 of those deaths have occurred this month.

              But as usual, it is the Iraqis who are paying the highest price.

              Looking at Arab media outlets, evidence of this abounds.

              According to Al-Sharqiyah television:

              “The head of the Al-Fallujah Municipal Council was killed by gunshots on February 7, Iraqi Al Sharqiyah TV reported that day. In its 1100 gmt newscast, the TV said: "Unidentified armed men this morning assassinated Shaykh Kamal Shakir Nizal, head of the Municipal Council of Al-Fallujah, western Iraq.”

              The U.S. backed puppet Iraqi government continues its state-sponsored civil war. Aside from the numerous bodies found in the aforementioned Reuters report, this past week Sharqiyah also reported:

              “Iraqi and US security forces raided the Iraqi Islamic Party’s headquarters in the Al-Amiriyah area in western Baghdad. The Islamic Party, which is one of the Iraqi entities operating under the banner of the Iraqi Al-Tawafuq Front, issued a press statement today saying that last night, Iraqi forces, backed by US troops, assaulted the headquarters’ guards and the party members who were there at the time, destroyed the headquarters’ furniture and contents, seized the licensed weapons carried by the guards, and confiscated sums of money belonging to the party.”

              Of course atrocities continue at the hands of occupation forces. Video has been released which shows a group of British soldiers brutally beating and kicking defenseless Iraqi teenagers inside a military compound, and Iraqis recently released from prisons like Abu Ghraib are reporting ongoing torture at the hands of U.S. forces. This, however, should come as no surprise since Secretary of “Defense” Donald Rumsfeld issued a memo over two years ago specifying which types of “harsh interrogation techniques” he wanted used in Iraq.

              This is just a brief overview of recent events in Iraq.

              When Israeli/U.S. warplanes begin dropping bombs on Iran, will Iraq fade to the back pages of the news as has Afghanistan? With the corporate media coverage of Iraq at this sorry state already, it’s difficult to imagine that not occurring.

              Out of sight, out of mind


              • #22
                The narrow election of Ibrahim Jafari, a Shiite doctor, as Iraqi prime minister is worrying some Iraqis and U.S. officials because of his ties to Iran.

                Some Iraqis and U.S. officials have indicated they would have preferred a more secular leader, The Washington Post reports.....

                Jafari wins by one vote to become Iraqi PM


                • #23
                  We're in a new period in the war in Iraq -- one that brings to mind the Nixonian era of "Vietnamization": A President presiding over an increasingly unpopular war that won't end; an election bearing down; the need to placate a restive American public; and an army under so much strain that it seems to be running off the rails. So it's not surprising that the media is now reporting on administration plans for, or "speculation" about, or "signs of," or "hints" of "major draw-downs" or withdrawals of American troops. The figure regularly cited these days is less than 100,000 troops in Iraq by the end of 2006. With about 136,000 American troops there now, that figure would represent just over one-quarter of all in-country U.S. forces, which means, of course, that the term "major" certainly rests in the eye of the beholder.

                  In addition, these withdrawals are -- we know this thanks to a Seymour Hersh piece, Up in the Air, in the December 5th New Yorker -- to be accompanied, as in South Vietnam in the Nixon era, by an unleashing of the U.S. Air Force. The added air power is meant to compensate for any lost punch on the ground (and will undoubtedly lead to more "collateral damage" -- that is, Iraqi deaths).

                  It is important to note that all promises of drawdowns or withdrawals are invariably linked to the dubious proposition that the Bush administration can "stand up" an effective Iraqi army and police force (think "Vietnamization" again), capable of circumscribing the Sunni insurgency and so allowing American troops to pull back to bases outside major urban areas, as well as to Kuwait and points as far west as the United States. Further, all administration or military withdrawal promises prove to be well hedged with caveats and obvious loopholes, phrases like "if all goes according to plan and security improves..." or "it also depends on the ability of the Iraqis to..."

                  Since guerrilla attacks have actually been on the rise and the delivery of the basic amenities of modern civilization (electrical power, potable water, gas for cars, functional sewage systems, working traffic lights, and so on) on the decline, since the very establishment of a government inside the heavily fortified Green Zone has proved immensely difficult, and since U.S. reconstruction funds (those that haven't already disappeared down one clogged drain or another) are drying up, such partial withdrawals may prove more complicated to pull off than imagined. It's clear, nonetheless, that "withdrawal" is on the propaganda agenda of an administration heading into mid-term elections with an increasingly skittish Republican Party in tow and congressional candidates worried about defending the President's mission-unaccomplished war of choice. Under the circumstances, we can expect more hints of, followed by promises of, followed by announcements of "major" withdrawals, possibly including news in the fall election season of even more "massive" withdrawals slated for the end of 2006 or early 2007, all hedged with conditional clauses and "only ifs" -- withdrawal promises that, once the election is over, this administration would undoubtedly feel under no particular obligation to fulfill.

                  Assuming, then, a near year to come of withdrawal buzz, speculation, and even a media blitz of withdrawal announcements, the question is: How can anybody tell if the Bush administration is actually withdrawing from Iraq or not? Sometimes, when trying to cut through a veritable fog of misinformation and disinformation, it helps to focus on something concrete. In the case of Iraq, nothing could be more concrete -- though less generally discussed in our media -- than the set of enormous bases the Pentagon has long been building in that country. Quite literally multi-billions of dollars have gone into them. In a prestigious engineering magazine in late 2003, Lt. Col. David Holt, the Army engineer "tasked with facilities development" in Iraq, was already speaking proudly of several billion dollars being sunk into base construction ("the numbers are staggering"). Since then, the base-building has been massive and ongoing.

                  In a country in such startling disarray, these bases, with some of the most expensive and advanced communications systems on the planet, are like vast spaceships that have landed from another solar system. Representing a staggering investment of resources, effort, and geostrategic dreaming, they are the unlikeliest places for the Bush administration to hand over willingly to even the friendliest of Iraqi governments....

                  Can you say "Permanent Bases"?


                  • #24
                    The U.S. military is aggressively capturing and killing Iraqi insurgents and seizing their territory, yet the insurgency continues to wreak untold havoc. According to one analysis, attacks on U.S. soldiers and Iraqi government forces last year increased 29 percent, and recruitment of new insurgents does not appear to be a problem.

                    Officials at the International Crisis Group, an independent conflict-resolution organization, think they know why. They say it is the power of the insurgents' message — and the skill with which they're delivering their propaganda on the Internet.

                    "In this battle for hearts and minds, they have found a constituency. The insurgency has found a constituency it's able to talk to," said Rob Malley, director of the Crisis Group's Middle East/North Africa Program.

                    The ICG will release a report on Wednesday called "In Their Own Words: Reading the Iraqi Insurgency." It is, the group believes, the first comprehensive look at the way the insurgency uses the Internet and information the group says we ignore at our own peril.

                    "What the insurgency is about is not a mystery," said Malley. "It's not a puzzle. They're not hiding it. They're broadcasting it. Let's try to understand it politically, rather than simply have [our] own preconceptions and dismiss it as propaganda....."

                    Iraqi insurgents increasingly using Internet as propaganda machine

                    yalla it keeps them off the streets, sa7?


                    • #25
                      Disseminating propaganda is not a monopoly, as we all know well:

                      Two years ago, Christian Bailey and Paige Craig were living in a half-renovated Washington group house, with a string of failed startup companies behind them.

                      Mr. Bailey, a boyish-looking Briton, and Mr. Craig, a chain-smoking former Marine sergeant, then began winning multimillion-dollar contracts with the United States military to produce propaganda in Iraq.

                      Now their company, Lincoln Group, works out of elegant offices along Pennsylvania Avenue and sponsors polo matches in Virginia horse country. Mr. Bailey recently bought a million-dollar Georgetown row house. Mr. Craig drives a Jaguar and shows up for interviews accompanied by his "director of security," a beefy bodyguard.

                      The company's rise, though, has been built in part by exaggerated claims about its abilities and connections, according to interviews with more than a dozen current and former Lincoln Group employees and associates, and a review of company documents.

                      In collecting government money, Lincoln has followed a blueprint taught to Mr. Bailey by Daniel S. Peña Sr., a retired American businessman who described Mr. Bailey as a protégé.

                      Federal contracts in Washington can supply easy seed capital for a struggling entrepreneur, Mr. Peña says he advised a youthful Mr. Bailey in the mid-1990's when the two men started a short-lived technology company. "I told him, 'When in trouble, go to D.C.,' and the kid listened," Mr. Peña said.

                      Mr. Bailey defends his company's record, saying, "Lincoln Group successfully executes challenging assignments." He added that "teams are created from the best available resources."

                      Lincoln won its contracts after claiming to have partnerships with major media and advertising companies, former government officials with extensive Middle East experience, and ex-military officers with background in intelligence and psychological warfare, the documents show. But some of those companies and individuals say their associations were fleeting.

                      Lincoln has also run into problems delivering on work for the military after its partnerships with more experienced firms fell apart, company documents and interviews indicate. The firm has continued to bid for new business from the Pentagon and has hired two Washington lobbying firms to promote itself on Capitol Hill and with the Bush administration.

                      "They appear very professional on the surface, then you dig a little deeper and you find that they are pretty amateurish," said Jason Santamaria, a former Marine officer whom the company once described as a "strategic adviser."

                      The company's work in Iraq, where Mr. Bailey and Mr. Craig visit from time to time to direct operations, is facing growing scrutiny.

                      The Pentagon's inspector general last month opened an audit of Lincoln Group's contracts there, according to two Defense Department officials. A separate inquiry ordered by Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top American commander in Iraq, after disclosures late last year that Lincoln Group paid Iraqi publications to run one-sided stories by American soldiers, has been completed but not made public, military officials said.

                      A spokesman for General Casey, Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, declined to comment on Lincoln Group, citing the ongoing investigation.....

                      Quick rise for purveyors of propaganda in Iraq

                      And of course, we shouldn't forget The man who sold the war


                      • #26
                        In Crude Designs, a report published by the UK-based non-governmental organisation Platform and the US’s Global Policy Institute, oil analyst Greg Muttitt says if current plans are approved, Iraqi’s will "lose control of more than 85 percent of their oil resources to foreign multinationals."

                        The "how" begins with Iraq’s new constitution; written largely behind closed doors and with tremendous US influence, it was voted into place during October’s referendum. Cleverly, it gives the impression that Iraq’s oil will remain in the hands of its people by guaranteeing "oil and gas is the property of all the Iraqi people" and that revenues from "current fields" will be fairly distributed across the provinces. The key phrase is "current fields;" in the following section the document then requires all future exploration use "the most modern techniques of market principles and encouraging investment." The modern investment model being promoted in Iraq during these secret meetings is production sharing agreements, or PSAs.

                        Mostly political in nature, PSAs maintain the technicality—and just as importantly, the appearance—of keeping oil ownership in government hands, yet the majority of profits goes to private companies. These agreements are generally used in countries where oil is either hard to extract and therefore expensive, or where reserves are small enough that companies may be unwilling to invest. PSAs guarantee a high profit margin, providing an enticement to otherwise uninterested oil companies. In Iraq, where extracting oil is not technologically challenging and reserves are huge, PSAs don’t make sense—unless they are intended to benefit someone other than Iraqis....

                        Who will possess Iraq's oilfields?


                        • #27
                          "Abu Ghraib is a graduate-level training ground for the insurgency."

                          American commanders in Iraq are expressing grave concerns that Abu Ghraib prison has become a breeding ground for extremist leaders and a school for terrorist foot soldiers, as the time in confinement allows detainees to forge relationships and exchange lessons of combat against the United States, its allies and the new Iraqi government...

                          Abu Ghraib: School for terrorists

                          It is the same in camps all over Iraq. It is a fact that some mujahedeen training officers deliberately got themselves arrested specifically to be able to access the thousands of aggrieved prisoners who have been arrested and held without charge or trial for long periods, the majority of them, innocent of any crime whatsoever, have been held for years now. The entire adult male population of some villages have been seized and detained on occasions and juveniles have not been spared arrest either. Following the ill-treatment that is a routine part of the arrest process it seldom takes long for the mujahedeen inside the camps and holding centers to meet formerly uninvolved people who have been made willing to learn the skills that they then become anxious to put into effect as soon as they are released. Those detainees fortunate enough to get visitors are not slow in telling their mothers, wives and sisters how to teach others methods guaranteed to make life livelier for the occupation forces when the visitors return back to the towns and villages of Iraq.

                          It is always the same with internment camps of any kind - they become universities for the resistance fighters.


                          • #28
                            The US military has warned that rebel attacks across Iraq have increased 30 percent over the past few weeks, the statement coming as attacks across the country Thursday wounded 30 people and killed at least eleven....

                            U.S.: Iraq attacks increase

                            Japan plans Iraq troop withdrawal

                            Iran calls on Britain to withdraw from Basra


                            • #29
                              Iraqi authorities investigate claims police-run `death squads' targeting Sunni Arabs

                              And lest we forget, from 2005:

                              The U.S. political establishment keeps reaching new levels of hypocrisy, deception (including self-deception), and open immorality as the empire expands in the pursuit of "freedom," militarism and war become more institutionalized, and rightwing political power is consolidated...

                              The normalization of torture, death squads and contempt for the rule of law

                              The Newsweek story that the Pentagon is considering the "Salvador option" for Iraq has gotten much play in progressive circles, but it left two unanswered questions: First, how credible was the story given that it was based on anonymous sources and denied by the Secretary of Defense? And second, what does it mean to say that a policy is being considered? Is it likely to be put into place or was it simply the wild idea of some subordinate, that will never actually become policy? There is in fact, however, sufficient evidence to answer both of these questions.

                              On January 8, Newsweek's Michael Hirsh and John Barry reported that Defense Department planners were discussing the adoption of the "Salvador option." In the early 1980s, wrote Hirsh and Barry,

                              "...faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government funded or supported 'nationalist' forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers. Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success --despite the deaths of innocent civilians..."

                              There was, of course, nothing "so-called" about the death squads. And the counter-posing of "rebel leaders and sympathizers" and "innocent civilians" conveys the impression that a civilian was innocent only if he or she did not sympathize with the rebels. Be that as it may, Hirsh and Barry reported that now the Pentagon is debating whether to pursue a similar strategy in Iraq....

                              Phoenix Rising in Iraq?

                              There is nothing 'maverick' about the death squads assassinating Sunni intellectuals and community leaders in Iraq. They are operating throughout the country and clearly have some form of organizing intelligence. In Baghdad alone an average of 7-10 bodies of people assassinated by death squads are turning up each day.


                              • #30
                                "I'm like any other Iraqi nowadays, feeling that I am vulnerable and can die at any moment."

                                Random violence shadows Baghdad residents


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