Tuesday, May 03, 2011








Starting with rumors. Press TV reports that a "prominent Iraqi cleric [in] Muqtada al-Sadr's group" states he saw "Israeli jet fighters" drilling on a US base in Iraq for the last week at night. The source states the base was al-Asad Airbase. That base is in Al Anbar Province and before the start of the Iraq War was Qadisiyah Airbase. Global Security notes, "Qadisiyah Airbase is named after the great battle of May 636 at Al Qadisiyah, a village south of Baghdad on the Euphrates. The Iranians, who outnumbered the Arabs six to one, were decisively beaten. From Al Qadisiyah the Arabs pushed on to the Sassanid capital at Ctesiphon, enabling Islam under Caliph Umar to spread to the East. During the 1980s, Baathists publicly regularly called the Iran-Iraq War a modern day 'Qadisiyah' exploiting the age-old enmity in its propaganda and publicizing the war as part of the ancient struggle between the Arab and Persian empires." During the first Gulf War in the 90s, the CIA says, housed alcohol bombs and HD bombs. Since the start of the ongoing Iraq War, the base has been used (first) by the Australians and (now) by the US. Global Security notes it is Iraq's "second largest airbase." In 2008, Eric Talmadge (AP) reported the base was "big enough to support 20,000 troops), was also called "Camp Cupcake" and housed "a Burger King, a Pizza Hut, and round-the-clock Internet access." The Jerusalem Post picks up on the story and adds, "Officials in Iraq were not notified of the military drill, which was reportedly conducted in coordination with US armed forces." Reuters notes the Israeli military's denial of the story and also notes, "Washington's ally Israel accuses Tehran of using its declared civilian nuclear reactor programme to conceal a plan to develop atomic bombs that would threaten the Jewish state. Israeli leaders have not ruled out military action against Iran."
Turning to deaths. The Dept of Defense issued the following on Thursday, "The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation New Dawn. Spc. Andrew E. Lara, 25, of Albany, Ore., died April 27, of a noncombat related incident, in Babil province, Iraq. He was assigned to F Company, 145th Brigade Support Battalion, attached to the 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment. For more information, please contact the Oregon National Guard public affairs office at 503-584-3885." Friday another US soldier died in Iraq. AFP notes he was killed in southern Iraq, according to the US military, and that this "made April the deadliest month for US forces in Iraq since 2009, according to figures compiled by AFP." Sunday the Defense Dept issued the following, " The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation New Dawn. Pfc. Robert M. Friese, 21, of Chesterfield, Mich., died April 29 in Al Qadisiyah province, Iraq, of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with a rocket propelled grenade. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas. For more information, the media may contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at 254-287-9993 or 254-449-4023." The 11 dead for the month of April include 25-year-old Pfc Antonio G. Stiggins who was killed in an attack which also claimed 25-year-old Lt Omar J. Vazquez April 22nd. Steve Ramirez (Las Cruces Sun-News) notes, "Funeral services for Stiggins, a cavalry scout with the U.S. Army's 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, who was killed in Iraq on April 22, will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at Christ's Church, 2200 N. Sycamore St., in Roswell. Stiggins will be laid to rest at South Park Cemetery, 3101 S. Main St., in Roswell." The day before, Wednesday, there will be a public viewing at the Anderson-Bethany Funeral Home from 4:00 to 8:00 pm. Amanda Goodman (KRQE, link has text and video) reports his body arrived in Roswell Saturday and a military procession followed to the funeral home. His survivors include his parents Angel Mayes and Luke Stiggins and Angel Mayes states, "There wasn't anything couldn't throw at that kid he wouldn't take on. With a sense of humor, I must add." US House Rep Steve Pearce notes the passing, "I offer my deepest sympathy and condolences for the family of Pfc. Antonio Stiggins. Our nation is profoundly thankful for the sacrifices made every day by the members of our armed forces and their families. Pfc. Stiggins will always be remembered for what he gave in defense of our freedoms. His family will be in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

April ended Saturday and it's time to do the monthly count of Iraqis killed in the ongoing war. April 1st 5 people were reported dead and 55 injured. April 2nd 8 were reported dead and 12 injured. April 3rd 3 were counted dead and 29 injured. April 4th 17 were reported dead and 23 injured. April 5th 8 were counted dead and 14 injured. April 6th 19 were reported dead with 28 injured (we're not including the 8 dead from the collapsed brick plant). April 7th 1 person was reported dead and 1 wounded. April 8th 9 were reported dead and 9 injured. April 9th 3 were reported dead and 4 injured. April 10th 5 were reported dead and twelve injured. April 11th 23 were reported dead and 45 injured. April 12th 12 were reported dead and 15 were reported injured. April 13th 2 were reported dead and 21 injured. April 14th 38 were reported dead and 19 wounded (34 dead at Camp Ashraf on April 8th are included in this day's count because April 14th is when the United Nations was able to confirm the deaths). April 15th 9 people were reported injured. April 16th 2 were reported dead and 7 injured. April 17th 10 were reported dead and 52 injured. April 18th 9 were reported dead and 35 injured. April 19th 8 were reported dead and 17 injured. April 20th 4 were reported dead and 6 wounded. April 21st 7 were reported dead and 8 injured. April 22nd 5 were reported dead 3 injured. April 24th 1 person was reported dead and 13 injured. April 25th 3 were reported dead and 15 injured. April 26th 4 dead 36 injured. April 27th 1 was reported dead and 12 injured. April 28th 19 were reported dead and 49 injured. April 29th 15 were reported dead and 31 injured. April 30th 22 were reported dead and 27 injured. That's 262 deaths and 598 injured (as always, check my math).
Salman Faraj (AFP) notes that the Iraqi "ministries of health, interior and defence and released on Sunday showed that a total of 211 Iraqis -- 120 civilians, 56 policemen and 35 soldiers" -- died as a result of attacks in April" that's a total of 211 and they state 377 were wounded. Now let's move over to Girlie In The Green Zone, to read her bad reporting for Reuters is to always be uninformed. Serenes tells you that the number of wounded has decreased because only "190 civilians were wounded in April." Does Girlie just make up her figures? Or do her handlers give her them? She credits the Ministry of Health. Who knows. She's worthless. The reality is that every outlet that reports deaths on a daily basis should be doing their own count. Iraqi Body Count does their own and counts 283 civilians killed in the month of April. AFP mixed the count with an actual report on another topic. Reuters just tossed out a partial figure. No one offered any analysis. April 24th, Ammar Karim (AFP) noted an emerging trend: "In recent days, however, three top officials have been shot dead with silenced guns in the Iraqi capital, leading to tighter security at checkpoints, with officers checking pistols to see if they can be fitted with silencers." Silencers have been used in many attacks throughout the month but the big trend has been the targeting of officials -- with guns or, as with Baghdad provincial council member Jasim Mohammed, with bombings. Jasim Mohammed survived the bombing with injuries. Some targeted officials were lucky enough to survive without even injuries (though in at least one case, four body guards were injured) and of course some (like Judge Tuma Jabar Lafta) were killed in the bombings (also killed was Lafta's wife and their two daughters). Academics were targeted through out the month (school and college). And another common theme was home invasions tended to be carried out by people wearing Iraqi military uniforms. Today New Sabah notes a Parliamentary Committee has lodged an accusation that the Iraqi military is "responsible for the security violations in areas they control" surrounding the capital. The committee notes that repeatedly reports find the assailants are wearing Iraqi military uniforms and that the assailants are able to move freely throughout the areas, through checkpoints, and without arousing suspicion.
When not possibly raiding homes, the Iraqi military can be found attacking peaceful protesters. Yesterday in Mosul, the Great Iraqi Revolution reports, the military used live ammo on the protesters. The military also attacked the protesters on Friday. Dar Addustour reports "hundreds" turned out in Tahrir Square (Liberation Square) in Baghdad Friday to protest and demand reforms and the end to the occupation. The demonstration, the paper notes, is a continuation of the protests which began February 15th. The protesters carried banners which they unfurled in Tahrir Square. The banners called for imporved services, the release of detainnees and more. The paper also reports that people turned out in Ramadi, including tribal elders, demanding that the US occupation end and that Iranian interference in internal affairs be blocked, detainees be released and expressing solidarity with the protesters in Mosul. The Great Iraqi Revolution adds that the call in Ramadi was for an end to "the occupation and demand its immediate departure as well as the immediate departure of Maliki and his gang and the immediate release of all the detainees." Al Sabaah also reports on the Baghdad and Ramadi protests Friday. They note the Baghdad protest also included a cry for investigations into the many Iraqis who have gone missing in the last years while also stressing Ramadi's solidarity with Nineveh Province residents. In Mosul, the Iraqi military has been dispatched by Nouri al-Maliki to attack the protesters. While protests take place calling for an end to the US occupation of Iraq, Al Sabaah reports that Kurdish leaders of Diayla Province and Kirkuk are calling for the US to remain in those regions due to disputes over who has rights to the areas.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"A call for new elections in Iraq"
"The fallen"
"Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "White House Correspondents Dinner"
"And the war drags on . . ."
"Kat's Korner: You're no Emmett Till"
"Protests, calls for a vote of no-confidence"
"Deadliest month for US soldiers in Iraq"

"She can't dress for s**t!"

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