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  • #91
    As Iraq spirals deeper into chaos and perhaps civil war in the wake of the attack on the Golden Mosque, critics of the US-led invasion and occupation will no doubt refocus attention on the role of Israel in the march to war and the conduct of the occupation.

    The Israeli role in Iraq has in fact been one of the open secrets of the US presence in Iraq, but the anger that details surrounding it would generate has made it very hard to determine its scope and extent.

    This has led many Iraqis to imagine Israel as an omnipotent force pulling the strings of the United States to ensure that Iraq, previously one of Israel's most dangerous enemies, can never regain its former military and economic power. Even some experienced journalists have taken to blaming Israel for much that goes wrong in the country.

    For example, a senior German reporter pulled this correspondent aside at Baghdad airport and confided that a new and top-secret Israeli "nuclear or radiation weapon" was responsible for reports of melted or liquefied Iraqi bodies. The actual culprit turned out to be white phosphorus, a weapon similar in effect to napalm, that US commanders recently admitted having deployed.

    Some things are not in dispute, however. It is clear that US Special Forces trained in Israel to prepare for the kind of "Arab urban warfare" that Israel has extensive experience waging in the Occupied Territories. And evidence from Abu Ghraib and other detention centers reveals that the US has used many of the same coercive interrogation techniques deployed by Israel on Palestinian prisoners, much to the dismay of Israeli, Palestinian and international human-rights organizations.

    More controversial than evidence of shared military and interrogation tactics has been the argument, widespread among critics of the invasion, that a coterie of neo-conservatives at the heart of the US administration planned the invasion in consultation with the Israeli government, and with the express goal of strengthening the position of the Israel vis-a-vis the Palestinians and its remaining Arab antagonists.

    Dubbed the "Likudization" of US foreign policy by several commentators, this line of argument claims that the power of the White House has, in essence, been hijacked by the Israeli government to further its parochial ends in the region.

    Such an argument, however, betrays a serious misunderstanding of the US-Israeli relationship and, more important, of US goals in Iraq and the Middle East more broadly. It assumes that Israel and its supporters in the United States actually have the power to shape US policies in ways that are not in the interests of the US policymaking establishment. But this is nonsense.

    The United States supports Israel not because of "shared values" and "democracy", but rather because for four decades Israel's actions - particularly those that ostensibly harm the chances for peace - have served US goals in the Middle East.....

    Iraq: The wages of chaos

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    • #92
      People across the world overwhelmingly believe the war in Iraq has increased the likelihood of terrorist attacks worldwide, a poll for the BBC reveals.

      Some 60% of people in 35 countries surveyed believe this is the case, against just 12% who think terrorist attacks have become less likely.

      In most countries, more people think removing Saddam Hussein was a mistake than think it was the right decision.

      Some 41,856 people were questioned in the poll for the BBC's World Service.

      In 20 countries, there is overall support for US-led forces to withdraw from Iraq in the next few months.

      Only in nine of the remaining 15 countries do more people believe US-led forces should remain until the situation is stabilised. Six countries are divided.



      The removal of Saddam Hussein in 2003 is seen as a mistake in 21 countries, compared with 11 countries where more people view it as the right decision. Three countries are divided.

      "It's official. Citizens worldwide think Western leaders have made a fundamental mistake in their war on terror by invading Iraq," says Doug Miller, president of the international polling firm GlobeScan, which carried out the survey.....

      Iraq makes terror 'more likely'

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      • #93
        According to the bottom pie chart, of those who had an answer:

        Collectively the overwhelming majority insist the troops should stay or at least stay until the Iraqi government says leave. Those who said the troops should pull out right away are in the small minority.

        The middle pie chart is irrelevant as Saddam has, in fact, been removed.

        The top pie chart is irrelevant as well because "believing" terrorism will increase doesn't mean terrorism will increase.



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        • #94
          You mean like 'believing Iraq had WMD'?

          It may have passed your observation, ya Bilderbooger, but acts of political violence classified as 'terrorism' have increased and so I'd say there is plenty of evidence to support such gloomy prognostications.

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          • #95
            You should check the details of that poll, Al-khiyal. It seems 74% of your countrymen are glad Saddam's ass is gone. Not that it's relevant, mind you.

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/h...world_poll.pdf

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            • #96
              U.S. intelligence agencies repeatedly warned the White House beginning more than two years ago that the insurgency in Iraq had deep local roots, was likely to worsen and could lead to civil war, according to former senior intelligence officials who helped craft the reports.

              Among the warnings, Knight Ridder has learned, was a major study, called a National Intelligence Estimate, completed in October 2003 that concluded that the insurgency was fueled by local conditions - not foreign terrorists- and drew strength from deep grievances, including the presence of U.S. troops.

              The existence of the top-secret document, which was the subject of a bitter three-month debate among U.S. intelligence agencies, has not been previously disclosed to a wide public audience.

              The reports received a cool reception from Bush administration policymakers at the White House and the office of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, according to the former officials, who discussed them publicly for the first time.

              President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld and others continued to describe the insurgency as a containable threat, posed mainly by former supporters of Saddam Hussein, criminals and non-Iraqi terrorists - even as the U.S. intelligence community was warning otherwise...

              U.S. intelligence agencies warned about growing local insurgency in late 2003

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              • #97
                The U.S. State Department is winding down its $20 billion reconstruction program in Iraq and the only new rebuilding money in its latest budget request is for prisons, officials said on Tuesday.

                State Department Iraq coordinator James Jeffrey told reporters he was asking Congress for $100 million for prisons but no other big building projects were in the pipeline for the department's 2006 supplemental and 2007 budget requests for Iraq, which total just over $4 billion....

                US seeks funds to build prisons in Iraq

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                • #98
                  When President Bush held a public meeting with troops by satellite last fall, they were miraculously upbeat. And all along, unrepentant hawks (most of whom have never been to Iraq) have insisted that journalists are misreporting Iraq and that most soldiers are gung-ho about their mission.

                  Hogwash! A new poll to be released today shows that U.S. soldiers overwhelmingly want out of Iraq ? and soon.

                  The poll is the first of U.S. troops currently serving in Iraq, according to John Zogby, the pollster. Conducted by Zogby International and LeMoyne College, it asked 944 service members, "How long should U.S. troops stay in Iraq?"

                  Only 23 percent backed Mr. Bush's position that they should stay as long as necessary. In contrast, 72 percent said that U.S. troops should be pulled out within one year. Of those, 29 percent said they should withdraw "immediately."

                  That's one more bit of evidence that our grim stay-the-course policy in Iraq has failed. Even the American troops on the ground don't buy into it ? and having administration officials pontificate from the safety of Washington about the need for ordinary soldiers to stay the course further erodes military morale.

                  While the White House emphasizes the threat from non-Iraqi terrorists, only 26 percent of the U.S. troops say that the insurgency would end if those foreign fighters could be kept out. A plurality believes that the insurgency is made up overwhelmingly of discontented Iraqi Sunnis.

                  So what would it take to win in Iraq? Maybe that was the single most depressing finding in this poll.

                  By a two-to-one ratio, the troops said that "to control the insurgency we need to double the level of ground troops and bombing missions." And since there is zero chance of that happening, a majority of troops seemed to be saying that they believe this war to be unwinnable....

                  The soldiers speak. will President Bush listen?

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                  • #99
                    The Association of Muslim Scholars, Iraq's main Sunni Muslim religious organization, accused the Shiite Muslim-led government and U.S. forces of exacerbating sectarian divisions.

                    "There are those who want a civil war in Iraq," Abdul Salam al-Kubaisi, a spokesman for the group, said at a news conference today in Baghdad carried live by al-Jazeera television. "The problem isn't with Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds or Turkomen. It's with the Shiite leaders of this country and with America, which is completely cooperating with them..."

                    Iraqi Sunni says U.S., Iraqi government stir sectarianism

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                    • The Bush administration never drew up a comprehensive plan for rebuilding Iraq after the March 2003 invasion, which contributed to a severe shortage of skilled federal workers in Baghdad and to the mismanagement of the country's oil money, according to a new government report.

                      "There was insufficient systematic planning for human capital management in Iraq before and during the U.S.-directed stabilization and reconstruction operations," said Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, in a new "lessons learned" report released yesterday. "The practical limitations ensuing from this shortfall adversely affected reconstruction in post-war Iraq...."

                      U.S. lacked plan for rebuilding Iraq, report says

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                      • There is now a systematic campaign to assassinate Iraqis who speak out against the occupation

                        In a letter to a friend in Europe, Abdul Razaq al-Na'as, a Baghdad university professor in his 50s, grieved for his killed friends and colleagues. His letter concluded: "I wonder who is next!" He was. On January 28 al-Na'as drove from his office at Baghdad University. Two cars blocked his, and gunmen opened fire, killing him instantly.

                        Al-Na'as is not the first academic to be killed in the mayhem of the "new Iraq". Hundreds of academics and scientists have met this fate since the March 2003 invasion. Baghdad universities alone have mourned the killing of over 80 members of staff. The minister of education stated recently that during 2005, 296 members of education staff were killed and 133 wounded.

                        Not one of these crimes has been investigated by the occupation forces or the interim governments. They leave that to international humanitarian groups and anti-war organisations. Among them is the Brussels Tribunal on Iraq, which has compiled a list to persuade the UN special rapporteur on summary executions to investigate the issue; they do so with the help of Iraqi academics, who risk their lives in the process. Their research shows that the victims have been men and women from all over Iraq, from different ethnic, religious and political backgrounds. Most were vocally opposed to the occupation. For the most part, they were killed in a fashion that suggests cold-blooded assassination. No one has claimed responsibility.

                        Like many Iraqis, I believe these killings are politically motivated and connected to the occupying forces' failure to gain any significant social support in the country. For the occupation's aims to be fulfilled, independent minds have to be eradicated. We feel that we are witnessing a deliberate attempt to destroy intellectual life in Iraq.....

                        Death of a professor

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                        • Officials overseeing Baghdad's morgue have come under pressure not to investigate the soaring number of apparent cases of executions and torture in the country, the former U.N. human rights chief for Iraq said yesterday.

                          John Pace, who left his post in Iraq earlier this month, spoke as Iraqi and U.S. officials offered widely varying numbers for the toll so far in the explosion of sectarian violence that followed last Wednesday's bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra.

                          Pace said the pressure had come from "both sides,"but declined to give further details. The statement appeared to refer to both the Shiite-led government and the Sunni insurgency fighting it....

                          Morgue pressed to stay quiet: Death toll since shrine blast vigorously debated

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                          • Pentagon dismisses US troop poll

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                            • Fox News latest:

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                              • How's the Iraqi oil sector?

                                Contract mismanagement and possible corruption in the Iraqi government are fueling a crisis over international gasoline delivery into Iraq.

                                Citing a mountain of unpaid bills, the governments of Turkey and Saudi Arabia have shut off gasoline exports to Iraq. With its options dwindling and beleaguered Iraqis demanding fuel, Baghdad has begun to negotiate with its former arch-rival, Iran....

                                Gas pumps buried in mountain of unpaid debts

                                Iraq arrests oil guards on suspicion of sabotage

                                General Union of Oil Employees in Basra:

                                A one day strike took place on the 21/2/2006 organised by union members in the Oil Transport Company in Basra. The strike took place for the following reasons:

                                1- In Protest at the deliberate/targetted neglect of this company by the ministry of oil and the government.

                                2- To demand an improvement of workers’ living conditions

                                3- To demand that money owed to workers by the ministry of oil which be paid. This money should have been paid but has not, despite the continuous demands from the company and continuous unfulfilled promises by the ministry.

                                We are on strike today to send the message to the government that there are employees whose rights are being wasted/violated....

                                ...We have seen in the preceding chapters that, under the influence of the US and the UK, powerful politicians and technocrats in the Iraqi Oil Ministry are pushing to hand all of Iraq’s undeveloped fields to multinational oil companies, to be developed under production sharing agreements. They aim to do this in the early part of 2006...

                                Crude designs: The rip-off of Iraq’s oil wealth


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