Monday, June 30, 2008

THE TRUTH ABOUT VIOLENCE IN IRAQ FOR CONSERVATIVE RADIO'S HUGH HEWITT

Conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt told a nation-wide ABC NEWS audience on Sunday's "This Week with George Stephanopolous" that Iraq is peaceful and quiet as the result of the success of "the surge."

If that is so, why is this happening in Iraq on Sunday and Monday?

Source: http://antiwar.com/
Click on BLUE for more details on each violent incident


Monday: 14 Iraqis Killed, 12 Wounded
An intimidation campaign against Iraqi judges resumed today when a series of bombs targeted a number of them at their homes in eastern Baghdad. Across Iraq, at least 14 Iraqis were killed and 12 more were injured during the latest round of violence.


The handover of security to Iraqi forces in the province of Qadisiyah was delayed due to bad weather. The Polish Press Agency reported that terrorism concerns were behind the delay as well.

In Baghdad, a series of five separate bombs targeted the homes of several Iraqi judges in eastern Baghdad, at least one of their wives was injured. Conflicting reports have noted more casualties.

A bomb in Waziriya injured one judge, his wife, and one of their sons. In what may be the same incident, another judge, his wife and his daughter were injured in Binouk. Another judge was injured when a bomb planted in his car blew up. A judge was gunned down only a few days ago.

Also in the capital, Iraqi forces killed two gunmen during a security operation.

A bomb in Kadhimiya killed one civilian and wounded three others. Gunmen raided a Minister's Council employee, but no casualties were reported. A car blew up in Adhimiya, then a body was discovered in it.

In Mosul, gunmen killed two Iraqi soldiers at a checkpoint. Two bodies, one belonging to a soldier, were discovered separately. Also, three Iraqi soldiers were wounded in an IED explosion.

A man was wounded in Mahaweel when gunmen opened fire on him.


Sunday: 39 Iraqis Killed, 20 Wounded
Updated at 6:09 p.m. EDT, June 29, 2008


A mass grave gave up 20 more bodies a day after its discovery near Lake Tharthar. Overall, at least 39 Iraqis were killed or found dead and 20 more were wounded in attacks. No Coalition deaths were reported.

Twenty more bodies were recovered from a mass grave discovered in the Lake Tharthar region. The total is now up to 50 dead.

A suicide bomber in Duluiya killed seven people and wounded three more.
Seven people were wounded in Kirkuk when a bomb targeting a police patrol blasted a minibus instead. Six of the dead were policemen and the seventh was an Awakening Council (Sahwa) member.

Gunmen wounded three farmers walking to their orchard in Khalis.

A female suicide bomber injured three Sahwa members in Muqdadiyah.

In Baquba, a roadside bomb injured the driver of a vehicle that struck it. Four dumped bodies were found.

An off-duty policeman was shot and killed outside his home in Mosul. Also, over 1200 detainees were released, but the time period in which the prisoners were freed was not reported. The majority of the prisoners were innocent of charges.

In Baghdad, gunmen killed the head of Basra intelligence department. A bomb planted on a vehicle in Habibiya was successfully defused. Three security personnel were injured during operations.

In Udhaim, a mortar shell killed two women and a child. U.S. forces discovered two buildings rigged to explode elsewhere. The buildings were safely brought down.

U.S. forces killed two suspects and arrested 15 more across central and northern Iraq.
In the Tigris River Valley, nine suspects were
detained.

A curfew is in effect for Diwaniya as they prepare to accept responsibility for security from U.S. forces.

So, MR HEWITT, why don't you ask George Stephanopolous if you can go on his ABC NEWS "This Week" show next Sunday to spread more LIES.

BOMB ATTACKS TARGET IRAQ JUDGES: RIGHT WING RADIO HOST HUGH HEWITT MISLEADS ABC "THIS WEEK" AUDIENCE ABOUT IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN

Last Sunday I watched in total disbelief as right wing radio host Hugh Hewitt told the ABC "This Week with George Stephanopolous" audience that both Iraq and Afghanistan have been brought under control.

I was stunned that Stephanolpolus or none of his guests challenged Hewitt's outlandish statement which was a flat out LIE.

Day after day on this blog I report acts of violence that are taking place every single day in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What bothers me the most about Hugh Hewitt's statement is that not ONE person on the ABC Sunday morning panel challenged him with facts which would show he was lying through his teeth.

Hewitt is like FOX NEWS, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage and the rest of the right wing blowhards who continue to LIE to their audiences about conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When is the mainstream media going to point out people like Hugh Hewitt haven't got a clue what they are talking about?

COMMENTARY BY BILL CORCORAN, EDITOR OF CORKSPHERE

Bomb attacks target Iraqi judges in Baghdad

www.chinaview.cn 2008-06-30 16:12:07
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-06/30/content_8465617.htm

Special report:
Tension escalates in Iraq

BAGHDAD, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Three bomb attacks targeted Iraqi judges on Monday morning, wounding one of them while two others escaped unhurt, an Interior Ministry source said.
"Judge Ghanim Abdullah al-Shimmary, his wife and daughter were wounded when a bomb detonated inside his house in Baghdad's eastern neighborhood of Bunoog," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Shimmary is working in the court of the Sadr City neighborhood, the Shiite stronghold of Mahdi Army militia loyal to the radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, the source said.
All the wounded, including Shimmary, were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment, the source said.
Another bomb attack occurred when a roadside bomb detonated outside the house of Judge Ali al-Allaf, near the Palestine Street in eastern Baghdad, the source added.
Allaf escaped unhurt, while the blast caused minor damages to his house, he said.
A third bomb blast occurred near the house of Judge Alla Hussein Salih in Baghdad's southern neighborhood of Ghadeer, causing damages to his house and several nearby civilian cars, he added.
It was the fourth attack in less than a week against Iraqi Judges when unknown gunmen shot dead judge Kamel al-Shewaily, head of the al-Rasafa court of appeal, on Thursday in eastern Baghdad.

U.S. IS PAYING $500.000 A MONTH TO LOCAL IRAQI TRIBESMAN TO KEEP PEACE

You will NEVER hear FOX NEWS or the rest of the right wing media talk about how the U.S. government is paying local Iraqi tribesman $500,000 a month to try and keep peace in Anbar Province and in Baghdad.

All the phony right wing "news organizations" like FOX NEWS do is talk about the success of the "surge" in Iraq.

If someone held a .45 to the head of every news editor, producer and anchor person at FOX NEWS they still couldn't tell the truth about IRAQ.

The FOX NEWS sycophants march in lockstep with Bush and Cheney never telling the TRUTH about what is REALLY happening in IRAQ.

Here is just one example of what we mean:

Program in Iraq against al-Qaida faces uncertainty

US program to sponsor fighters in Iraq against al-Qaida faces uncertain future

HAMZA HENDAWIAP News
Jun 29, 2008 14:50 EST

http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=232119

Capt. David N. Simms wanted the tribal sheiks to have no doubts — the $500,000 his unit spends every month to pay and equip local tribesmen to keep peace here will soon run out and they had better be ready when it's gone.

Simms handed the sheiks 600 applications for a vocational school in nearby Baghdad. It's one option, he said, to prepare the men for life after he stops giving them salaries.

The "Sons of Iraq" are the estimated 80,000 fighters — mostly Sunni tribesmen and former insurgents — recruited and paid by the U.S. military to help fight al-Qaida and maintain security in neighborhoods, including this Sunni farming community west of Baghdad.

The program has been a remarkable success, helping reduce violence across the country by 80 percent since early 2007 at the cost of $216 million to date.

Nearly two years into the program, however, the U.S. is gradually handing over responsibility for the Sons of Iraq to the Shiite-led government. By January, the military hopes to turn the entire program over to the Iraqis.

But the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been reluctant to absorb large numbers of armed Sunnis into the Shiite-dominated security forces. American officials fear that many of the U.S.-backed fighters may turn their guns on the government unless jobs can be found for them.

"If we don't find work for the men, it will work against us," said Asaad Nawar al-Ameen, a retired general in Saddam's army who heads the Sons of Iraq in Radwaniyah. "Al-Qaida can get them."

The government already has accepted nearly 20 percent of Sons in Iraq members in the security forces and is pledging to find civilian jobs for most of the rest.

Meanwhile, it has introduced "support councils" made up of trusted tribal chiefs and their followers to support the security forces.

But that move is seen by leaders of the Sons of Iraq as an attempt to sideline them at a time when some of them are complaining that the Americans are abandoning them to a government they don't trust.

CNN REPORTS: U.S. "PREPARING BATTLEFIELD" FOR WAR WITH IRAN

This CNN report dovetails with the post just below this on my blog where I report on how Iran is digging 320,000 graves in preparation for war with the United States.

It is no longer a question of whether we will be going to war with Iran, but when.

President Bush and Vice President Cheney continue to reject every possible way to avoid war with Iran just as they did with Iraq and before leaving office in January Bush and Cheney are going to see to it that the United States goes to war with Iran.

CNN is reporting the following:

Report: U.S. 'preparing the battlefield' in Iran
Story Highlights
New Yorker article says Congress authorized up to $400 million for covert ops in Iran
Journalist Seymour Hersh says program is being staged from Afghanistan
U.S. officials decline comment, deny the U.S. is launching raids from Iraq
Iranian general says troops are building graves for invaders in the event of war


http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/06/29/us.iran/index.html

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Bush administration has launched a "significant escalation" of covert operations in Iran, sending U.S. commandos to spy on the country's nuclear facilities and undermine the Islamic republic's government, journalist Seymour Hersh said Sunday.
White House, CIA and State Department officials declined comment on Hersh's report, which appears in this week's issue of The New Yorker.


Hersh told CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" that Congress has authorized up to $400 million to fund the secret campaign, which involves U.S. special operations troops and Iranian dissidents.

President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have rejected findings from U.S. intelligence agencies that Iran has halted a clandestine effort to build a nuclear bomb and "do not want to leave Iran in place with a nuclear program," Hersh said.

"They believe that their mission is to make sure that before they get out of office next year, either Iran is attacked or it stops its weapons program," Hersh said.

The new article, "Preparing the Battlefield," is the latest in a series of articles accusing the Bush administration of preparing for war with Iran.

Click on link to read more....

Sunday, June 29, 2008

IRAN IS DIGGING 320,000 GRAVES FOR INVADERS-MILITARY OFFICIAL


TEHRAN, June 29 (Xinhua) -- A senior Iranian military official said on Sunday the Islamic republic is digging some 320,000 graves in its border provinces for future slain invaders, Iran's English-language satellite channel Press TV reported.


http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-06/30/content_8459225.htm

Iran's Armed Forces headquarters has approved the plan to dig graves for enemy forces in case of any attack on its territory, said Brigadier General Mir-Faisal Baqerzadeh, head of the Foundation for the Remembrance of the Holy Defense.

"We do not wish the families of enemy soldiers to experience what Americans had to go through in the aftermath of the Vietnam War," said Baqerzadeh, who is also head of Iran's search committee for missing soldiers.

The preemptive measures would decrease the time during which slain soldiers would be buried, the Iranian military official said, adding "the burial of slain soldiers will be carried out decently and in little time."

Click on link above to continue reading.

Thanks to Lori Price at http://www.legitgov.org/ for heads up on this story

WASHINGTON POST IS REPORTING SUNDAY IRAQ OFFICIALS FURIOUS WITH U.S. OVER RAID THAT KILLED RELATIVE OF PRIME MINISTER AL MALIKI

Reported U.S. Raid Triggers Outrage

By Ernesto LondoƱo and Saad SarhanWashington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, June 29, 2008; A13

BAGHDAD, June 28 -- Iraqi officials in the home town of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are calling for an investigation into a reported raid by the U.S. military early Friday that resulted in the death of a man identified by some Iraqi officials as a relative of the prime minister.

The raid was carried out shortly after midnight in the town of Hindiyah, 50 miles southwest of Baghdad in Karbala province. According to Iraqi officials in Karbala, a team of about 60 U.S. soldiers traveling in four helicopters descended on a sparsely populated area a few miles from the town, where the prime minister owns a villa.

"We are shocked by the news of the raid," Karbala Gov. Aqeel al-Khazaly said at a news conference Friday afternoon. "The aerial landing and subsequent operations led to the death of an innocent civilian and the arrest of another."

Karbala is one of nine Iraqi provinces where the U.S. military has handed over responsibility for security to local officials. Khazaly, who has been a U.S. ally, said Iraqi officials were not notified about the operation and called it a violation of the handover agreement.

WAR WITH IRAN IS GETTING CLOSER. U.S. STEPS UP COVERT OPERATIONS AGAINST IRAN

U.S. escalating covert operations against Iran: report

Sunday, June 29, 2008

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. congressional leaders agreed late last year to President George W. Bush's funding request for a major escalation of covert operations against Iran aimed at destabilizing its leadership, according to a report in The New Yorker magazine published online on Sunday.

The article by reporter Seymour Hersh, from the magazine's July 7 and 14 issue, centers around a highly classified Presidential Finding signed by Bush which by U.S. law must be made known to Democratic and Republican House and Senate leaders and ranking members of the intelligence committees.

"The Finding was focused on undermining Iran's nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change," the article cited a person familiar with its contents as saying, and involved "working with opposition groups and passing money."

SUNDAY MORNING BREAKING NEWS: TRUCK BOMB KILLS 7 NEAR BAGHDAD

Truck bomb kills 7 in Iraq

The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 06/29/2008 01:29:34 AM PDT

BAGHDAD—Police say a truck bomb has killed seven people in Iraq.
Police Col. Mohammed Khalid says the truck was detonated by remote control Sunday when police and security guards went to check the vehicle. The truck had been parked along the side of a road in Duluiyah, about 45 miles north of Baghdad.
Six of the dead were policemen and the seventh was a member of the local awakening council—volunteers who have turned against the insurgents.

WASHINGTON POST: ARMY'S POST-SADDAM PLAN IS WRECKING ARMY NATIONAL GUARD AND ARMY RESERVES

Army's History of Iraq After Hussein Faults Pentagon

By Josh WhiteWashington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 29, 2008; A03
http://tinyurl.com/4ja8tm

A new Army history of the service's performance in Iraq immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein faults military and civilian leaders for their planning for the war's aftermath, and it suggests that the Pentagon's current way of using troops is breaking the Army National Guard and Army Reserve.

The study, "On Point II: Transition to the New Campaign," is an unclassified and unhindered look at U.S. Army operations in Iraq from May 2003 to January 2005. That critical era of the war has drawn widespread criticism because of a failure to anticipate the rise of an Iraqi insurgency and because policymakers provided too few U.S. troops and no strategy to maintain order after Iraq's decades-old regime was overthrown.

Donald P. Wright and Col. Timothy R. Reese, who authored the report along with the Army's Contemporary Operations Study Team, conclude that U.S. commanders and civilian leaders were too focused on only the military victory and lacked a realistic vision of what Iraq would look like following that triumph.

"The transition to a new campaign was not well thought out, planned for, and prepared for before it began," write Wright and Reese, historians at the Army's Combat Studies Institute at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. "Additionally, the assumptions about the nature of post-Saddam Iraq on which the transition was planned proved to be largely incorrect."

The results of those errors, they add, were that U.S. forces and their allies lacked an operational and strategic plan for success in Iraq, as well as the resources to carry out a plan.

Continue reading story here: http://tinyurl.com/4ja8tm

UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN IRAQ FRIGHTENED AS VIOLENCE INCREASES

Too bad FOX NEWS and the rest of the mainstream media don't try telling the college students of Iraq how violence is down.

They might get and earful or worse.

University students in Ninewa frightened as violence increases

Ninewa - Voices of Iraq
Saturday , 28 /06 /2008 Time 1:09:22

http://tinyurl.com/3u3ypu

Mosul, Jun 27, (VOI) – Operations conducted by gunmen or security forces that target university students in Ninewa province have recently increased.


This phenomenon made university professors, governmental officials, as well as students themselves fear the violence that target this social category.

Within 10 days, two students were killed inside the Mosul University's compound by security forces, claiming that the two were important wanted elements. On last Monday, another student was killed by unknown gunmen when he was on his way out of Mosul University.

Four students were kidnapped by unknown gunmen, when the students were on their way to take the final exams at Mosul University (al-Majmoaa al-Thaqafia neighborhood in northern Mosul).

Continue reading story here http://tinyurl.com/3u3ypu

U.S. PAYS RAG-TAG FORCE $300 A MONTH TO GUARD SADR CITY

Rag-tag force watches over Iraq militia hotspot

U.S.-funded patrols feature ex-militants, AK-47s, vodka-branded ball caps


The poor, east Baghdad slum of two million people has largely been outside the government's control for years.

U.S. forces are paying local residents $300 a month to guard their area and search vehicles for guns or explosives.

The neighborhood guard in Sadr City is the first attempt to set up such a force in the Baghdad stronghold of al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia.

Reuters

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25384295/

BAGHDAD - A rag-tag band of men toting AK-47s at a checkpoint in Baghdad's Sadr City forms part of a plan to strengthen the Iraqi army's hold over a bastion of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The men, wearing tan uniforms and baseball caps with "Smirnoff" inexplicably blazoned across them, belong to one of the first groups of a new neighborhood guard to take to the streets of the sprawling district under a U.S.-funded program.

U.S.-backed neighborhood patrol units, sometimes called "Sons of Iraq", have spread in mainly Sunni Arab areas of Iraq to beef up security and combat al-Qaida insurgents.
The U.S. military says such groups helped cut violence in Iraq to its lowest level in more than four years in May.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

WE HAD TO GO TO GREAT BRITAIN TO FIND OUT IRAQI PARLIAMENT IS NOT MEETING THE BUSH BENCHMARKS, AND WON'T BY THE TIME HE LEAVES OFFICE

As we have been reporting on this blog for months, the mainstream press in the United States has put the Iraq War on the back burner and in so doing they are covering for the Bush administration and the failure of the Iraqi Parliament to meet any of the benchmarks set down by President Bush months and months ago.

In fact, the Guardian U.K. newspaper is reporting in their Saturday edition that three of major benchmarks Bush wanted will not be met by the time he leaves office in next January.

The only time the media, especially FOX NEWS, gets around to reporting on Iraq is when some military action has liberated a town or city in Iraq, but the Iraq war is no longer a military action but one of reconciliation of the Iraqi government and that is still a pipe dream.

So FOX NEWS and the others can prattle on about how wonderful things are in Anbar Province, but none of that means a thing because the Iraqi government is a government in name only and has yet to accomplish anything significant.

The following story from the Guardian U.K. spells out the problems the next President of the United States is going to have because President Bush is going to leave in his lap a total mess in Iraq when it comes to reaching any of the benchmarks.

Iraqi MPs stall deals on Bush benchmarks

Provincial elections likely to be delayed until 2009 · Suspicion of foreign firms slows progress on oil

Jonathan Steele
The Guardian,
Saturday June 28, 2008
Article history

Three key US-backed measures on oil, provincial elections and the future of US troops are mired in the Iraqi parliament, raising doubts as to whether they can come into effect before George Bush leaves office.

Once listed as a crucial "benchmark" allowing the US president to claim success in Iraq, the provincial elections look likely to be delayed until next year. The oil law, which nationalist MPs blocked last summer over fears that foreign companies would take over Iraq's major resource, is facing the same problem again.

The pact to permit US troops to remain in Iraq is equally sensitive, and was described by the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, this month as being in stalemate. Intensive US-Iraqi talks on new drafts have resumed and, after meeting Bush in the White House this week, President Jalal Talabani tried to sound optimistic. "We have very good, important steps towards reaching to finalise this agreement," he said. Many MPs complain that it will give the US excessive rights.
David Satterfield, the US state department's senior adviser for Iraq, refused to put a date on finishing the talks. "No agreement will be reached unless it meets Iraq's requirements with respect to sovereignty, authority and decision, and unless Iraq's leaders believe this is an agreement they can defend to their people," he said.


He appeared to confirm Iraq's oil minister Hussain al-Shahristani's disclosure to the Guardian last week that Iraq was insisting on a veto of US military operations, including the arrest of Iraqis. "We respect, we acknowledge the primacy of that Iraqi sovereignty, that Iraqi national decision ... They certainly inform the context of the Iraqi positions."

The pact will allow US bases in the country, even though they may fly the Iraqi flag. Many Iraqis fear that the US wants a long-term presence. "We very much see these arrangements as transitional," Satterfield said.

Meanwhile, chances for the provincial polls to take place this year hang in the balance. Satterfield said: "The elections law really must be complete by the end of July because there's a specific timeframe for other steps that must be taken."

Unlike the closed lists used in 2005, which helped big parties, a consensus is emerging for a hybrid system. Voters will be able to elect independents and rather than selecting an entire party list, they will have to mark each preferred candidate so the top names have no advantage.

Elections in the disputed city of Kirkuk are likely to be deferred. Kurds, Arabs, and Turkomans cannot agree on registration lists because Saddam Hussein displaced thousands of Kurds and brought in Arab settlers. Each community claims to have a demographic majority. The Kurds control the council so deferral helps them.

The Kurds have reluctantly agreed to postpone again the referendum on self-determination, required by Iraq's constitution, in Kirkuk and other regions with large Kurdish populations. Iraq's Arab parties and western diplomats argue that a referendum could spark new inter-communal violence.

Rows between Baghdad and the Kurdish regional government, which has defied the federal government by signing oil deals with small foreign companies, are making the passage of a new oil law difficult.

About this articleClose
This article appeared in
the Guardian on Saturday June 28 2008 on p20 of the International section. It was last updated at 00:08 on June 28 2008.

BERLIN-TYPE WALL DIVIDES BAGHDAD IN HALF. RESIDENTS SAY THEY FEEL LIKE THEY ARE IN PRISON

The mainstream media in the United States has once again failed to explain fully why there is relative peace and quiet in Baghdad.

Huge concrete walls have been erected walling off parts Baghdad much like the Berlin Wall divided Berlin.

The United States military quietly constructed the Berlin-type wall as a means of holding down violence in Baghdad.

The residents of Baghdad are not happy with the walls and are now making their feelings known.


Baghdad's walls keep peace but feel like prison

By HAMZA HENDAWIAssociated Press Writer
http://www.thestate.com/372/story/445389.html

Baghdad hasn't been this quiet in years. But the respite from bloodshed comes at a high price.
Up to 20 feet high in some sections.


Rows after rows of barrier walls divide the city into smaller and smaller areas that protect people from bombings, sniper fire and kidnappings. They also lead to gridlock, rising prices for food and homes, and complaints about living in what feels like a prison.

Baghdad's walls are everywhere. They have turned a riverside capital of leafy neighborhoods and palm-lined boulevards into a city of shadows that separate Sunnis from Shiites.

The walls block access to schools, mosques, churches, hotels, homes, markets and even entire neighborhoods - almost anything that could be attacked. For many Iraqis, they have become the iconic symbol of the war.

"Maybe one day they will remove it," said Kareem Mustapha, a 26-year-old Sadr City resident who lives a five-minute walk from a wall built this spring in the large Shiite district.
"I don't know when, but it is not soon."


Indeed, new walls are still going up, the latest one around the northwestern Shiite neighborhood of Hurriyah, where thousands of Sunnis were slaughtered or expelled in 2006. They could well be around for years to come, enforcing the capital's fragile peace and enshrining its sectarian divisions.

Some walls are colorful, painted by young local artists with scenes depicting green pastures or the pomp and glory of Iraq's ancient civilizations.

Others are commercial, plastered with fliers advertising everything from the local kebab joint to seaside vacations in Iran or university degrees in Ukraine.

Still others are religious or political, with posters of popular clerics or graffiti hostile to the United States, Israel or - most recently - Iraq's prime minister.

Most are just bleak and gray, a reminder that danger lurks on the other side.

AP BREAKING NEWS: 30,OOO MORE TROOPS HEADING TO IRAQ IN 2009

The Pentagon is preparing to order roughly 30,000 troops to Iraq early next year in a move that would allow the U.S. to maintain 15 combat brigades in the country through 2009, The Associated Press has learned.

APNewBreak: Officials say Pentagon to order 30,000 troops to Iraq in 2009
LOLITA C. BALDOR AP NewsJun 27, 2008 20:05 EST

http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=230626

The deployments would replace troops currently there. But the decisions could change depending on whether Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, decides in the fall to further reduce troop levels in Iraq.

Several officials familiar with the deployments spoke on condition of anonymity because the orders have not yet been made public.

According to the officials, three active-duty Army brigade combat teams, one Army National Guard brigade and two Marine regimental combat teams are being notified that they are being sent to Iraq in early 2009. Officials would not release the specific units involved because the soldiers and Marines and their families have not all been told.

The Guard unit, however, is the 56th Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, from the Pennsylvania National Guard. Members of that unit — a large brigade with heavily armored Stryker vehicles — were told last October that they should be prepared to deploy to Iraq early in 2009.

The order this week is the formal notice that includes a more specific time frame.

Currently, the final brigade involved in the military buildup in Baghdad last year is pulling out of Iraq. That departure will leave 15 combat brigades there — compared to a high of 20 for much of the past year. Other smaller units are also there, including troops doing security, logistics, air assaults, intelligence and medical aid.

Overall, there are about 146,000 forces in Iraq, and that number is expected to dip to about 142,000 by mid-July when that last unit is all out. That total is at least 7,000 more than the number of troops in Iraq before the buildup began early last year.

Petraeus told Congress in May that he is likely to recommend further troop reductions in Iraq, but he did not provide any details. If he decides in the fall that fewer brigades will be needed in Iraq during the next year, there is the chance that brigades could simply be directed to the war in Afghanistan instead.

There is a broad consensus that more troops are needed in Afghanistan, to both train the security forces and fight the insurgents. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and President Bush, earlier this year, told NATO allies that they would increase troop levels in Afghanistan in 2009 in response to the growing violence.

CNN REPORTS: PENTAGON SAYS TALIBAN HAS REGROUPED IN AFGHANISTAN. 40 U.S. TROOPS KILLED SO FAR IN JUNE

Pentagon: Taliban 'resilient' in Afghanistan
Story Highlights
NEW: Taliban have regrouped and formed a "resilient insurgency," report says
Monthly death toll of U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan reaches 7-year high
40 troops have been killed in Taliban attacks in June
Gates hopes Pakistani crackdown will curb Taliban violence
From Mike MountCNN

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/06/27/afghan.fighting/index.html

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Nearly seven years after their defeat by U.S. forces, the Taliban have regrouped and have formed a "resilient insurgency," according to a new Pentagon report on security in Afghanistan.

On the same day the number of U.S. and allied troops killed in Afghanistan in June has reached 40, the highest monthly toll of the 7-year-old war.

"The Report Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan," the first progress report to Congress, says that although there has been some progress in battling the Taliban, setbacks are expected.

Although NATO and Afghan force operations kept the insurgency down in 2007 by killing or capturing key leaders and clearing out Taliban safe havens, the report predicted that the Taliban would be back in 2008.

"The Taliban is likely to maintain or even increase the scope and pace of its terrorist attacks and bombings in 2008," the report said.

The report looks at the progress through April, before the rise in violence seen over recent weeks.

On June 14, a suicide bomb at an Afghan prison in Kandahar freed hundreds of Taliban prisoners. There also have been numerous attacks on the restive Afghanistan-Pakistan border in recent weeks.

There are 32,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. About 14,000 serve as part of the larger NATO force, and 18,000 are separate, involved in training and on counterterrorism operations.

NEW LIST OF CONFIRMED DEATHS OF U.S. TROOPS

This is the latest list of confirmed deaths of U.S. troops.

Source: http://icasualties.org/oif/ Click on BLUE for more details re each casualty

U.S. Confirmed Deaths Reported Deaths:
4113 Confirmed Deaths:
4110 Pending Confirmation:
3 DoD Confirmation List

Latest Coalition Fatalities
06/27/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualties (2 of 2)
Maj. Dwayne M. Kelley, 48, of Willingboro, N.J., who was assigned to the 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion, Green Bay, Wis...died June 24 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered from a bomb blast.

06/27/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualties (1 of 2)
Chief Warrant Officer Robert C. Hammett, 39, of Tucson, Ariz., who was assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo...died June 24 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered from a bomb blast.

06/27/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualties (3 of 3)
Pfc. James M. Yohn, 25, of Highspire, Pa...died June 25 in Mosul, Iraq, from wounds suffered when their vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device on June 24. They were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment...

06/27/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualties (2 of 3)
Spc. Joel A. Taylor, 20, of Pinetown, N.C... died June 25 in Mosul, Iraq, from wounds suffered when their vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device on June 24. They were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment...

06/27/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualties (1 of 3)
Sgt. Alejandro A. Dominguez, 24, of San Diego, Calif... died June 25 in Mosul, Iraq, from wounds suffered when their vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device on June 24. They were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment...

06/27/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Pfc. Bryan M. Thomas, 22, of Lake Charles, La., died June 23 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered in Salman Pak, Iraq, when his patrol encountered small arms fire during combat operations. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion...

06/27/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Joshua L. Plocica, 20, of Clarksville, Tenn., died June 25 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment...

06/26/08 MNF: Marines attacked by enemy force - 3 Marines killed
Three Multi-National Force - West Marines and two interpreters were killed in action against an enemy force in Anbar Province June 26.

LIST OF U.S. SENATORS WHO VOTED AGAINST GI FUNDING BILL

Senators Who Still Refuse to Support the Troops
Posted: 27 Jun 2008 10:56 AM CDT

http://www.vetvoice.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=1502

Six U.S. Senators maintained their refusal to support the troops by voting against the new GI Bill yesterday. One refused to support the troops by simply not voting.
Here's the list of those who
voted against the bill--all of whom are Republicans who support a radical anti-troop, anti-veteran agenda:

Kyl (R-AZ)

Allard (R-CO
Craig (R-ID)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Coburn (R-OK)
DeMint (R-SC)

John McCain did not vote on the bill, thus proving, once again, that he is unwilling to support America's troops and veterans when they need it most. It's ironic that McCain would skip this vote, considering that just over a month ago, he said this:

Unlike Senator Obama, my admiration, respect and deep gratitude for America's veterans is something more than a convenient campaign pledge. I think I have earned the right to make that claim.

I guess that "admiration, respect and deep gratitude" doesn't extend to providing troops with an education once they've served out their commitment on the battlefield.

News and Open Thread
Posted: 27 Jun 2008 07:00 AM CDT
The GI Bill has now
passed both houses of Congress. The President is set to sign it into law.
Go check out the
OEF and OIF casualty pages. Troop deaths--both American and non-American--are going through the roof, especially in Afghanistan.

I'll have more about this next week.

VetVoice front page writers Richard Smith (RockRichard) and Alex Horton (ThisDudesArmy) will sit on a panel at Netroots Nation next month entitled "Milblogging: How the Troops' Writing Affects Our View of the War." I'll be on the panel too, and it will be moderated by AP reporter Kevin Maurer. If you remember, Kevin covered VetVoice when he worked for the Fayetteville (NC) Observer.

(And just in case you're wondering, LT Nixon is still on active duty and Chris LeJeune was not yet a front-pager when we had to lock in the panel.)


The Army is broken. Literally.

McCain and Obama both provided pieces to TIME Magazine on what patriotism means to them.

Friday, June 27, 2008

DESPITE BRAVADO FROM BUSH ADMIN AND FOX NEWS, IRAQI VP SAYS CONDITIONS IN MOSUL AND ANBAR ARE VERY FRAGILE

The Bush administration and their television parrot FOX NEWS have been bragging about how wonderful things are going in both Anbar Province and Mosul.

But now the Iraqi Vice President has issued a statement saying conditions in both Anbar and Mosul are much too fragile to do any boasting.

Security condition still fragile – VP

Baghdad - Voices of Iraq
Friday , 27 /06 /2008 Time 7:21:00

http://tinyurl.com/3jrm4h

Baghdad, Jun 27, (VOI)- Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi said on Friday that the military operations in Mosul and Anbar yesterday proved that security condition still fragile.

“The recent operations in Mosul and Anbar proved that security condition still fragile and more measures are still needed to limit casualties in the war-ravaged Iraq,” Al-Hashemi said in a statement received by Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq (VOI).

“The situation also needs an immediate revision of security measures which prove they still incapable of facing challenges facing Iraq,” the statement added.Anbar and Mosul witnessed two armed attacks; the first took place in Anbar when a suicide bomber blew himself up amid a meeting of chieftains and Sahwa Council’s leaders, while a car bomb went off in Mosul.

The two operations killed more than 40 and injured more than 90.Al-Hashemi condemned the two operations

IRAQ COSTS $12 BILLION A MONTH---HUFFINGTON POST

The flow of blood may be ebbing, but the flood of money into the Iraq war is steadily rising, new analyses show. In 2008, its sixth year, the war will cost approximately $12 billion a month, triple the "burn" rate of its earliest years, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and co-author Linda J. Bilmes report in a new book.

Studies: Iraq Costs US $12B Per Month
CHARLES J. HANLEY

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/10/studies-iraq-costs-us-1_n_90694.html

Beyond 2008, working with "best-case" and "realistic-moderate" scenarios, they project the Iraq and Afghan wars, including long-term U.S. military occupations of those countries, will cost the U.S. budget between $1.7 trillion and $2.7 trillion _ or more _ by 2017.
Interest on money borrowed to pay those costs could alone add $816 billion to that bottom line, they say.


The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has done its own projections and comes in lower, forecasting a cumulative cost by 2017 of $1.2 trillion to $1.7 trillion for the two wars, with Iraq generally accounting for three-quarters of the costs.

Click here to read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/10/studies-iraq-costs-us-1_n_90694.html

FORMER UN AMBASSADOR JOHN BOLTON ARGUES WITH RADIO HOST OVER NEED FOR WAR WITH IRAN

Bolton Bristles When Challenged On Getting It Wrong On Iraq: That’s ‘An Ad Hominem Attack’

Former UN Ambassador John Bolton has been intensifying his calls for a war with Iran, telling Fox News last weekend that Israel may attack Iran before the inauguration of a new U.S. President.

LISTEN TO BOLTON ARGUE WITH RADIO HOST HERE: http://thinkprogress.org/2008/06/26/bolton-iraq-ad-hominem/

He added that Arab states “would be delighted” if this happened.
Bolton appeared on XM radio’s Potus ’08 earlier this week to talk about an Iran war. He argued this issue “goes fundamentally to your tolerance for the risk of radical Islamists holding nuclear weapons.” Host Tim Farley interrupted and asked, “It also goes, does it not, to the credibility of those making the argument?”


Bolton bristled at the accusation:

Absolutely not! And by the way, the credibility point is an ad hominem reference. … But to address the merits of the argument requires a response on the merits, not an ad hominem attack.

Farley tried to interject, but Bolton demanded, “Let me finish my answer!” The host later followed up by noting that the credibility of the argument is lacking when war advocates like Dick Cheney and President Bush “tell you one thing and the truth turns out to be something else.” Bolton responded by complaining to the host that you’re “debating with me.” Listen here:
George Monbiot, a columnist for the Guardian, has charged that Bolton was “instrumental in preparing and initiating the Iraq war
by disseminating false claims through the State Department” while he was under-secretary of state for arms control.

Before the war, Bolton orchestrated the removal of the head of a global arms-control agency, Jose Bustani, because the Brazilian was trying to send chemical weapons inspectors to Baghdad. In Feb. 2003, Bolton orchestrated the removal of State Department official Rexon Ryu because Ryu “had been instrumental in getting the most controversial allegations” out of Colin Powell’s U.N. speech.

But Bolton would prefer all these acts are washed away with history so that he can have a clean slate to make his pitch for a new war.

HADITHA KIN OUTRAGED AS MARINES GO FREE


WATCH VIDEO AND READ FULL STORY HERE: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/iraq/story/41817.html
Leila Fadel McClatchy Newspapers

HADITHA, Iraq — Khadija Hassan still shrouds her body in black, nearly three years after the deaths of her four sons. They were killed on Nov. 19, 2005, along with 20 other people in the deadliest documented case of U.S. troops killing civilians since the Vietnam War.


Eight Marines were charged in the case, but in the intervening years, criminal charges have been dismissed against six. A seventh Marine was acquitted. The residents of Haditha, after being told they could depend on U.S. justice, feel betrayed.

"We put our hopes in the law and in the courts and one after another they are found innocent," said Yousef Aid Ahmed, the lone surviving brother in the family. "This is an organized crime."
No one disputes that Marines killed 24 men, women and children in this town in four separate shootings that morning. Relatives said the attack was a massacre of innocent civilians that followed a roadside bomb that killed one Marine and injured two. Marines say they came under fire following the bomb.


Nonetheless, military prosecutors filed charges that ranged from murder to covering up a crime. Three Marines were relieved of their duties then, and U.S. Rep. John Murtha, a former Marine, famously called the incident "murder" on television.

One by one, the cases fell apart. American and Iraqi witnesses provided conflicting accounts. The investigation began months after the incident, and many Iraqis who could have testified were unable to travel to the United States. Furthermore, several Marines were granted immunity.
Last week, a judge dismissed charges of dereliction of duty and failure to investigate filed against the highest ranking officer implicated, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani. The Marine Corps plans to appeal.


The dismissals have deepened the victims' relatives' grief. Many say they feel deceived after having collaborated with U.S. investigators who came into their homes, collected evidence, took testimony, and ultimately failed to hold the Marines accountable.

"Right now I feel hatred that will not fade," said Ahmed. "It grows every day." Charges against two Marines who allegedly killed his brothers were dropped in August 2007.

All charges of murder in this case were dropped and at least seven Marines were given immunity to allow them to testify against Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, the squad leader. His charges now include voluntary manslaughter of at least nine people.

Wuterich has always maintained that he made the right decision, believing his Marines were under threat.

While other Marines' accounts have differed from his, Wuterich told the CBS News program 60 Minutes last year that he shot at five unarmed men outside a white car because he believed they were a threat when they started to move away from the car. At the first home they raided, where women and children were inside, he said he told his men to "shoot first and ask questions later", because he believed the Marines were coming under "sporadic" fire from the dwelling.

WATCH VIDEO AND READ FULL STORY HERE: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/iraq/story/41817.html

Thursday, June 26, 2008

OHIO MARINE LANCE CPL ROBERT CRUTCHFIELD HOME ON LEAVE FROM IRAQ KILLED FOR $8

2 indicted in killing of Ohio Marine home from Iraq; prosecutors seeking death sentence

THOMAS J. SHEERANAP News
Jun 26, 2008 18:56 EST

http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=229065

Two men arrested in the curbside killing of a Marine who was robbed of $8 while on leave from Iraq were indicted Thursday on aggravated murder charges and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Ean Farrow, 19, and Thomas Ray III, 20, of Cleveland, were indicted by a Cuyahoga County grand jury on charges of aggravated murder, murder, kidnapping, felonious assault and aggravated robbery in the Jan. 5 shooting of Lance Cpl. Robert Crutchfield.

The 21-year-old Crutchfield was crippled by a gunshot while waiting for a bus
in Cleveland and died of a related infection on May 18.

"It's sickening and appalling that this Marine, who put his life on the line fighting for our country, comes home only to face a deadlier enemy on our streets — a couple of thugs who have no regard for human life," prosecutor Bill Mason said.

Attorneys listed in court records for the defendants did not return phone messages left at their offices after business hours Thursday. Calls made to listings for both defendants were not returned.

Police tied the suspects to Crutchfield's shooting while investigating a robbery on the following morning across the street from the scene of the attack.

Crutchfield, warned by commanders that he could be a robbery target as a Marine on leave with a pocketful of money, was carrying only $8, his military identification and a bank card.

"They took it, turned his pockets inside out, took what he had and told him since he was a Marine and didn't have any money he didn't deserve to live," his aunt, Albert Holt, told The Associated Press last month. "They put the gun to his neck and shot him."

Holt described her nephew as a well-behaved, churchgoing individual who had enrolled in a suburban high school to escape his unruly Cleveland school and prepare for a career as an architect.

Mason's office received more than 60 e-mails and letters from across the country, almost all asking him to seek the death penalty.

The death penalty specifications in the indictment were based on the evidence in the case, and members of the grand jury were not aware of the outpouring of support for executing the suspects, Mason's staff said.

VIDEO: FEMALE JOHN HOPKINS GRAD STUDENT NICOLE SUVEGES FROM CHICAGO KILLED IN IRAQ

Watch this video about a female John Hopkins University grad student Nicole Suveges from Chicago who was killed earlier this week in Iraq.

Comment: Ignore the first few seconds which are an ad followed by the report. Also you can click on "enlarge" to enlarge the video.

Watch here: http://tinyurl.com/5shzk4

LIST OF U.S. CASUALTIES IN IRAQ AND VIOLENCE ALL ACROSS IRAQ THAT WE REPORT BUT FOX NEWS DOESN'T

We continue to bring to readers of my blog the truth about what is happening in Iraq and not the garbage FOX NEWS peddles to their viewers.

There have been multiple U.S. deaths in Iraq and there has also been a breakout of violence all across Iraq which FOX NEWS has conveniently decided is not worth reporting.

COMMENTARY BY BILL CORCORAN, EDITOR OF CORKSPHERE

Thursday, June 26, 2008
SOURCE: http://warnewstoday.blogspot.com/
Click on BLUE for more details

War News for Thursday, June 26, 2008
MNF-Iraq
is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier in a roadside bombing in eastern Baghdad. on Wednesday, June 25th. No other details were released.

The Santa Barbara News-Press is reporting the deaths of three U.S.-led coalition soldiers from an attack in Lagar Province on Thursday, June 26th. An Afghan interpreter was also killed in the attack.

The Santa Barbara News-Press is reporting the deaths of three Marines from a suicide bomb attack in Karmah, Al Anbar province, Iraq on Thursday, June 26th. Two Iraqi interpreters and at least 20 Iraqis were also killed in the attack.

Staff Sgt. Michael Kacer, Company B, 1st Battalion, 109th Infantry Regiment, lost his left arm and suffered unspecified hearing loss and internal injuries, as well as vision problems, said his father, Michael T. Kacer. He learned that his son was critically injured by a rocket or mortar. From Afghanistan, Sgt. Kacer was initially flown to Germany before being transferred to Walter Reed on Sunday.

June 24 airpower summary:Military facing $100 billion in equipment repairs

Reported Security incidents:Baghdad:#1: A car bomb also killed three people and wounded seven in Baghdad's Karradah district, witnesses and police said.

#2: update American soldiers fatally shot three Iraqi bank employees as their car passed a convoy near Baghdad International Airport, according to an Interior Ministry official and Yarmouk Hospital, where the bodies were brought. The attack was one of two bloody episodes Wednesday in which the American military and Iraqi officials offered sharply different accounts of what had happened.Iraqi authorities said at least eight civilians had been killed by American soldiers. American military officials said that in each case they opened fire after coming under attack, and that they were unaware of any civilian deaths. Officials at the hospital identified the bodies of the victims as those of Hafed Abdul Mahdi, director of the bank at the airport, and Surur Shadid Ahmed and Maha Adnan Yunis, women who worked at the bank.

#2: A number of students were wounded on Thursday in a shooting that took place in a tests center in northern Baghdad, eyewitnesses said."A number of students protested against bad services when Education Minister Khudier al-Khuzaaei paid a visit to their tests center in Sabaa Abkar region in northern Baghdad, the matter that made the ministry's bodyguards to start shooting, wounding five students," Qassem Hassan, a student, told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq. "The test was cancelled after the intense shooting, which forced the students to leave the tests room," Hassan explained, noting that one of the wounded students is in critical condition.

Diyala Prv:Muqdadiya:#1: Four shepherds were wounded in a bomb blast in Muqdadiya on Thursday. "An explosive device was detonated in the main street in Shirween region in Muqdadiya, northeast of Baaquba, wounding three shepherds," a police source told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq. He did not give further details.

Karbala:#1: South of Baghdad, a bomb exploded on a minibus near one of the most revered Shiite shrines in the holy city of Karbala. At least two people including a young boy were killed, and 14 were wounded, police said.

Shirqat:#1: The two extremists were killed in Sharqat, about 135 miles north of Baghdad, after they refused to surrender to U.S. troops who had surrounded the building where the pair had taken refuge, the U.S. said in a statement. One of the dead was identified as a militant cell leader who was the target of the raid, the U.S. said. Three people were taken into custody.

Tikrit:#1: Hours earlier, an American helicopter fired missiles into a home near Tikrit, killing a family of five, local officials and a relative said. The episode began when Afar Ahmed Zidan thought he heard thieves prowling near his home, said a cousin, Hussain al-Azawi. Zidan fired at them, al-Azawi said.

Kirkuk:#1: An Iraqi army soldier was killed late Wednesday by unknown gunman in south of Kirkuk, and security forces managed to arrest the killer, an Iraqi army source said on Thursday."Iraqi army forces, backed by U.S. troops, waged a crackdown operation in Yankaga village in Touz Khormato district, south of Kirkuk," the source told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq.

Mosul:#1: A car bomb and a roadside bomb went off coordinately near a convoy of the governor of Nineveh province in the capital city of Mosul on Thursday, killing eight people and wounding 18 others, a provincial police source said. The double bombing took place after midday and apparently targeted the convoy of governor Duraid Kashmoulah in the Bab al-Toub area in central Mosul, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Kashmoulah narrowly escaped unhurt and five of his bodyguards were among the wounded, the source said.

A car bomb exploded near the provincial governor's office in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Thursday, killing 18 people and wounding 62, Governor Duraid Kashmula said.The bomb exploded soon after two Katyusha rockets landed near Kashmula's office in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#2: Three people were wounded, including a policeman,by a roadside bombing against police patrol in Mosul on Thursday ,a Ninewa police source said. This explosion is the second of its type in Mosul today, after a car bomb attack that killed 17 persons, and wounded 62 others. "A roadside bomb went off targeting a police patrol at al-Borsa neighborhood, western Mosul, wounding three persons including a policeman," a Ninewa police source , who requested anonmity, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

Sulaimaniya:#1: Two gunmen were killed on Thursday while planting a bomb in eastern Sulaimaniya, a senior police source said. An explosive charge went off, killing the two gunmen who were trying to plant it in Sikawiz border village in Benjwin district in eastern Sulaimaniya," Hassan Nouri told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq. "The explosion killed one gunman and seriously injured the other, who later died of his wounds in the hospital," he explained.Al Anbar Prv:

Karmah:#1: A suicide bomber detonated an explosive belt Thursday inside a municipal government building west of Baghdad, killing at least 12 people attending a meeting of tribal sheiks, police said. Col. Fawzi Fraih, civil defense director of Anbar province, said the sheiks were members of a group opposed to al-Qaida in Iraq and were meeting with Americans when the attack occurred in Karmah, about 20 miles west of Baghdad. The U.S. military would not confirm whether Americans were inside the building during the attack, the third against a municipal government meeting in Iraq this week. Police said the bomber entered the building through a back door, but it was unclear how he managed to evade security for the meeting, which drew community leaders in the town where Sunnis have turned against al-Qaida in Iraq. The media office for Anbar province said the dead included the town's administrative director and at least two chiefs of major Sunni tribes in the area.

At least 20 people were killed Thursday when a suicide bomber targeted a meeting of clan chiefs and tribal leaders in a village to the west of Baghdad, media reports said. Al-Arabiya news channel said that the blast occurred when a suicide attacker detonated himself in the local council in Karma village in Anbar province. The attacker managed to enter through an unguarded gate, al- Arabiya said.Details of the bombing were sketchy, but U.S. officials confirmed that American service members were among the casualties in the Anbar explosion, which came just days before the United States was to turn Anbar security over to the Iraqis. That plan is now on hold, U.S. officials said.

Fallujah:#1: A mortar round targeted al-Faris Police Station in al-Amiriyah, Fallujah at 8 a.m. Thursday, killing one civilian and seriously injuring one policeman. Two police vehicles were completely destroyed.

Afghanistan:#1: A Coalition forces’ helicopter crashed Wednesday in Konar province. No Coalition forces’ Soldiers were seriously injured and all have been returned safely from the incident. The aircraft has been secured.A spokesman for the troops said there were only two soldiers on board and they had "minor injuries".

#2: A bomb hit troops from the U.S.-led coalition patrolling south of the Afghan capital on Thursday, causing an unspecified number of casualties, the coalition said. The bomb hit the coalition convoy on Thursday morning during a patrol in Wardak province, the coalition said in a statement. Coalition forces secured the scene, but that "the exact number and nature of casualties" was not immediately clear, it said.

#3: PAKISTANI Taliban have threatened to "brutally slaughter" any truck driver caught supplying oil and goods to NATO-led troops in Afghanistan, one of the country’s leading newspapers says. The Pakistani Dawn newspaper said the Taliban, who have given the drivers one week to comply with the ban, posted leaflets in a Mosque near Karachi warning hauliers against supplying equipment to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force and US-led troops. One read: "After the deadline, if any truck or trawler is caught supplying diesel, petrol or goods, not only will the vehicle be set on fire but the driver will also be brutally slaughtered. "These attacks will be carried out starting from Karachi to Peshawar, Chaman, Kandahar and Bagram until such time that the supply line of the Christian army is severed."Pamphlets were also distributed among truck drivers in Mauripur. One truck driver told Dawn: "These threats have affected our work and supplies to Afghanistan have dropped to some extent. Not everyone is willing to go ahead with such a risky trip now."