Thursday, February 28, 2008


Angelina Jolie brought her incredible star power to Iraq a few weeks ago as part of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the result was she became an instant hit with bloggers all over the world when she sat down to eat with the U.S. troops inside Camp Victory in Baghdad.

According to the Washington Post's Thusday edition, Jolie has decided the United States military should stay in Iraq for the time being.

Jolie plans to to continue her efforts to help the thousands of displaced Iraqi citizens.

Jolie has penned her own account of what her thoughts are about Iraq and the refugee crisis that grips the nation.

You can read her story here...

Angelina Jolie staying to Help in Iraq

"We have finally reached a point where humanitarian assistance, from us and others, can have an impact."

By Angelina JolieThursday, February 28, 2008; 1:15 PM

The request is familiar to American ears: "Bring them home."

But in Iraq, where I've just met with American and Iraqi leaders, the phrase carries a different meaning. It does not refer to the departure of U.S. troops, but to the return of the millions of innocent Iraqis who have been driven out of their homes and, in many cases, out of the country.

In the six months since my previous visit to Iraq with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, this humanitarian crisis has not improved. However, during the last week, the United States, UNHCR and the Iraqi government have begun to work together in new and important ways.

We still don't know exactly how many Iraqis have fled their homes, where they've all gone, or how they're managing to survive. Here is what we do know: More than 2 million people are refugees inside their own country -- without homes, jobs and, to a terrible degree, without medicine, food or clean water.

Ethnic cleansing and other acts of unspeakable violence have driven them into a vast and very dangerous no-man's land. Many of the survivors huddle in mosques, in abandoned buildings with no electricity, in tents or in one-room huts made of straw and mud.

Fifty-eight percent of these internally displaced people are younger than 12 years old.

An additional 2.5 million Iraqis have sought refuge outside Iraq, mainly in Syria and Jordan. But those host countries have reached their limits. Overwhelmed by the refugees they already have, these countries have essentially closed their borders until the international community provides support.

Click on link above to read the full story by Angelina Jolie from Iraq.


Citizens for a Legitimate Government (CLG) announced late Thursday on their web site that the United States is sending three warships into the waters in the Eastern Mediterranean as a show of strength against Syria.

Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the move should not be construed as "saber rattling" by the United States, but simply a way of showing the United States interest in the region.

US Send Warships to Eastern Med

Thursday February 28 2008
Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Navy is sending three warships to the eastern Mediterranean Sea in a show of strength during a period of tensions with Syria and political uncertainty in Lebanon.

Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters the deployment should not be viewed as threatening or in response to events in any single country in that volatile region.

``This is an area that is important to us, the eastern Med,'' he said when asked about news reports of the ship movements. ``It's a group of ships that will operate in the vicinity there for a while,'' adding that ``it isn't meant to send any stronger signals than that. But it does signal that we're engaged, we're going to be in the vicinity and that's a very, very important part of the world.''

Another military officer, speaking on condition of anonymity because full details about the ship movements are not yet public, said a Navy destroyer, the USS Cole, was headed for patrol in the eastern Mediterranean and that the USS Nassau, an amphibious warship, would be joining it shortly.

The officer said a third ship would go later, but he did not identify it.


Only recently President Bush and his public relations mouthpiece, FOX NEWS, were claiming Falluja should be considered a model of how well "the surge" has been working in Iraq.

However, now the Voices of Iraq is reporting the Falluja Awakening Council has been infiltrated by Al Qaeda in still another display of just how tenuous conditions are in Iraq.

As usual, the mainstream media in the United States has fallen silent on the latest developments out of Falluja.

Falluja Awakening Council infiltrated by al-Qaeda

Anbar - Voices of Iraq
Thursday , 28 /02 /2008 Time 6:18:34

Falluja, Feb 28, (VOI)- The Falluja Awakening Council fighters are being infiltrated by al-Qaeda elements, the chief of local police said on Wednesday.

“The Awakening Council fighters in the city of Falluja are being infiltrated by al-Qaeda elements, mainly in the city’s districts,” Brigadier Faisal al-Zawbaie told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq (VOI).“Police forces and the Awakening Council fighters came under several armed attacks during the past two months because of the security infiltrations inside the council’s fighters,” he explained.

He called on the Awakening Councils to coordinate with Iraqi security forces, mainly in providing them with accurate information on their new fighters.

The Awakening Councils are anti-Qaeda fighters working in coordination with the Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I) and the Iraqi government.Falluja, Anbar province, is 45 km west of Baghdad.


The media doesn't want to report on what is really happening in Iraq, but Dahr Jamail has been the solid voice of what is taking place in Iraq since the United States invaded and occupied Iraq in 2003.

This is just another behind-the-scenes look at an Iraqi city, Baquba, devastated by war and with no hope of anything ever returning to normal.

Why is it the mainstream media in the United States refuses to report on events like this? The answer is the mainstream media in the United States doesn't care about Iraq anymore even though there are 160,000 brave young American men and women deployed to Iraq.

Baquba Losing Life – And Hope

Inter Press Service

By Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail*BAQUBA, Feb 27 (IPS) - Life has been bad enough in Diyala province north of Baghdad after prolonged violence, unemployment and loss of all forms of normal living. What could be worse now is the loss of hope that anything will ever be better.

In Baquba, capital city of Diyala province 40km northeast of Baghdad, it's all about staying alive. Most people have abandoned all projects and activities to sit at home in safety.

"The Iraqi government achieved nothing, just death for this poor province," Hadi Obeid, a now idle trader in Baquba told IPS. "If you look for rights, you will find death."

"People of this province are dead," says resident Luay Amir, who returned to Iraq in 2004 after living 16 years in Austria. "There is no sign of life to be seen. Faces are pale and lifeless, the city is desolate."

People in the city, he said, "have no ambitions, no dreams. When they see each other, they greet one another saying, 'good to see you safe'."

The lack of electricity, clean water, security and jobs is clearly taking its toll.

"People are deprived of everything in this province, and it's a miracle that life still goes on amidst this deprivation," Abdul-Ridha Noman, an employee in the directorate-general of statistics told IPS. "People here have no goal except to move from today to tomorrow."

Noman added, "But they are afraid of tomorrow because it might only bring death or loss."
Many people have fled the violence, but also the hopelessness. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, at least 1.5 million Iraqis have fled to Syria by now. Many have gone from Diyala.

"They sold their properties to live away from terror," Abdullah Mahjob, a 51-year-old schoolteacher in Baquba told IPS. "And they spent their savings to make their children safe."

Ahead of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, people in this city had dreamed of a better future for them and their children. Now, that's a broken dream.

"Life is destroyed by the occupation and its corrupt government, and people have reached a point where nothing means anything to them any more," local dentist Mudhafer al-Janaby told IPS.

"People are concerned about electricity because they see that the children need light because of the examinations. They search for fuel for kerosene heaters in the cold winter, and for their cars," local farmer Iman Mansour told IPS.

"They are concerned how they will find medicines for the sick. They need to find work and then get to it, but there is a curfew, and the militants are everywhere. How can an individual plan for a future while surrounded by all these troubles?"

Click on link to read the full story.


Sixty percent of the officer's surveyed by Foreign Policy Magazine said the military is weaker today than it was five years ago.

In addition to the human strain, there are now widespread reports much of the equipment that has been in use in Iraq and Afghanistan for over five years is worn out and desperately in need of repair or replacement.

Senior Officers Worried About Dangerously Overstretched U.S Military

By Ali Gharib, IPS NewsPosted on February 28, 2008, Printed on February 28, 2008

WASHINGTON, Feb 19 (IPS) - The U.S. military is "severely strained" by two large-scale occupations in the Middle East, other troop deployments, and problems recruiting, according to a new survey of military officers published by Foreign Policy magazine and the centrist think-tank Center for a New American Security.

"They see a force stretched dangerously thin and a country ill-prepared for the next fight," said the report, 'The U.S. Military Index,' which polled 3,400 current and former high-level military officers.

Sixty percent of the officers surveyed said that the military is weaker now than it was five years ago, often citing the number of troops deployed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We ought to pay more attention to quality," said retired Lt. General Gregory Newbold, who retired from the Joint Chiefs of Staff in part over objections to the invasion of Iraq, at a panel during a conference to release the data.

From Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain to President George W. Bush, politicians regularly speak on the military from a position of authority. They know, they contend, that despite the two ongoing wars, the U.S is ready to deal with new threats militarily if need be.

Click on link above to read full story.


There is a myth floating around the United States that started with the Bush White House and has been promoted by the Bush White House propaganda mouthpiece, FOX NEWS, that the U.S. military brought down violence in Baghdad and Falluja with the much touted "surge," but in reality it was the warlords in both cities who got together and ran Al Qaeda out of each city.

The news looks good on the surface, but in truth Iraq is now run by militias, gangs, thugs, radical Islamists and warlords and the United States is caught in the middle of supporting all of them with money and guns.

The media in the United States is obsessed with the race for the White House, but there is a growing concern by many insiders who feel Iraq is about to explode again in sectarian violence.

The story below is a perfect example of what has been taking place in Iraq and what looms on the horizon.

Commentary by Bill Corcoran, editor of CORKSPHERE.

Iraq: The Calm Before the Conflagration

By Chris Hedges, TruthdigPosted on February 27, 2008, Printed on February 28, 2008

The United States is funding and in many cases arming the three ethnic factions in Iraq -- the Kurds, the Shiites and the Sunni Arabs.

These factions rule over partitioned patches of Iraqi territory and brutally purge rival ethnic groups from their midst. Iraq no longer exists as a unified state. It is a series of heavily armed fiefdoms run by thugs, gangs, militias, radical Islamists and warlords who are often paid wages of $300 a month by the U.S. military.

Iraq is Yugoslavia before the storm. It is a caldron of weapons, lawlessness, hate and criminality that is destined to implode. And the current U.S. policy, born of desperation and defeat, means that when Iraq goes up, the U.S. military will have to scurry like rats for cover.

The supporters of the war, from the Bush White House to Sen. John McCain, tout the surge as the magic solution. But the surge, which primarily deployed 30,000 troops in and around Baghdad, did little to thwart the sectarian violence. The decline in attacks began only when we bought off the Sunni Arabs. U.S. commanders in the bleak fall of 2006 had little choice. It was that or defeat. The steady rise in U.S. casualties, the massive car bombs that tore apart city squares in Baghdad and left hundreds dead, the brutal ethnic cleansing that was creating independent ethnic enclaves beyond our control throughout Iraq, the death squads that carried out mass executions and a central government that was as corrupt as it was impotent signaled catastrophic failure.

The United States cut a deal with its Sunni Arab enemies. It would pay the former insurgents. It would allow them to arm and form military units and give them control of their ethnic enclaves. The Sunni Arabs, in exchange, would halt attacks on U.S. troops. The Sunni Arabs agreed.

The U.S. is currently spending hundreds of millions of dollars to pay the monthly salaries of some 600,000 armed fighters in the three rival ethnic camps in Iraq. These fighters -- Shiite, Kurd and Sunni Arab -- are not only antagonistic but deeply unreliable allies. The Sunni Arab militias have replaced central government officials, including police, and taken over local administration and security in the pockets of Iraq under their control. They have no loyalty outside of their own ethnic community. Once the money runs out, or once they feel strong enough to make a thrust for power, the civil war in Iraq will accelerate with deadly speed. The tactic of money-for-peace failed in Afghanistan. The U.S. doled out funds and weapons to tribal groups in Afghanistan to buy their loyalty, but when the payments and weapons shipments ceased, the tribal groups headed back into the embrace of the Taliban.

The Sunni Arab militias are known by a variety of names: the Iraqi Security Volunteers (ISVs), neighborhood watch groups, Concerned Local Citizens, Critical Infrastructure Security. The militias call themselves "sahwas" ("sahwa" being the Arabic word for awakening). There are now 80,000 militia fighters, nearly all Sunni Arabs, paid by the United States to control their squalid patches of Iraq. They are expected to reach 100,000. The Sunni Arab militias have more fighters under arms than the Shiite Mahdi Army and are about half the size of the feeble Iraqi army. The Sunni Awakening groups, which fly a yellow satin flag, are forming a political party.

Click on link above to read the full story.


The Bush administration and their "parrot," FOX NEWS, continue to LIE to the American public about what is REALLY happening in Iraq.

Conditions in Iraq are not what the Bush administration and their mouthpiece, FOX NEWS, claim them to be. It is much worse and there are growing signs Iraq is headed back into a full-scale civil war with 160,000 young Americans caught right in the middle of the sectarian chaos.

U.S. Deaths Confirmed By The DoD:
Reported U.S. Deaths Pending DoD Confirmation:
DoD Confirmation List

Latest Coalition Fatality: Feb 25, 2008
02/27/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Orlando A. Perez, 23, of Houston, died Feb. 24 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered from small arms fire during dismounted operations. He was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany.

Post Iraq Deaths Not Confirmed By the DoD
Wasielewsk, Anthony Raymond
Cassidy, Gerald J.
Richards, Jack D.
Salerno III, Raymond A.
Smith, John "Bill"
01-Oct-2005Note: The soldiers listed above died from wounds received in Iraq, however, the DoD has not included their deaths in their official count.

02/27/08 AP: US Air Force computer expert kills his 2 young children, himself
A recently divorced airman who served with distinction in Iraq chased his ex-wife out of military housing with a pistol before killing his two young children and himself.

02/27/08 WCAX: Vermont Veteran Says Army Recruiter Misled Him
You may have heard military advertisements offering college tuition as an inducement for young people to sign up. A Vermont man who fought in Iraq now claims that a military recruiter misled him about those education benefits.

02/27/08 MCT: Another review for troubled U.S. Embassy in Baghdad
The State Department's new embassy construction chief has rejected his predecessor's certification that the $740 million new U.S. embassy in Baghdad is "substantially completed" and has instead begun a top-to-bottom review of the troubled project.

02/27/08 NPR: Poorest in Iraq Unable to Seek Refuge
Much has been written about the more than 2 million Iraqis who have sought refuge in neighboring countries. But there are an estimated 2.5 million internally displaced Iraqis who are not getting the help they need.

02/27/08 Reuter: Two gunmen killed in clashes with Iraqi soldiers in Mosul
Two gunmen were killed during clashes with Iraqi soldiers in Mosul, Nineveh security spokesman Brigadier-General Khalid Abdul-Sattar said. He said one of the gunmen was an Iraqi and the other was a Saudi national.

02/27/08 Reuters: Gunmen attack checkpoint near Lake Thar Thar
Gunmen attacked a checkpoint manned by Iraqi police and members of a U.S.-backed neighbourhood police unit, killing two and wounding three, near Lake Thar Thar, 80 km (50 miles) northwest of Baghdad, police said.

02/27/08 Reuters: 1 off-duty Iraqi soldier killed, 2 wounded near Tikrit
An off-duty Iraqi soldier was killed and two wounded when gunmen opened fire on their car near Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

02/27/08 Reuters: Gunmen wound four off-duty policemen in Baiji
Gunmen wounded four off-duty policemen in a drive-by shooting in Baiji, 180 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

02/27/08 guardian: Video shows British hostage held in Iraq
The Arabiya satellite TV channel based in Dubai tonight aired a video of one of five Britons held in Iraq for eight months. The man, who gave his name as Peter Moore, said he missed his family very much and "just wanted to get out of here".

02/27/08 AFP: Shiite pilgrims flock to Iraq shrine city
Amid tight security, millions of Shiite pilgrims flocked Wednesday to the Iraqi shrine city of Karbala for Arbaeen, one of the holiest ceremonies in the Shiite calendar which was largely suppressed during the iron-fisted rule of Saddam Hussein.

02/27/08 AP: Bomb kills Shiite pilgrim in Iraq on holy day
Shiite pilgrims headed to a major religious gathering were again targeted by extremists today when a roadside bomb detonated near a bus in Baghdad, killing one traveler, police said.


The Bush administration and their mouthpiece, FOX NEWS, can do all the chest-thumping they want about how well things are going in Iraq, but the reality is Iraq is falling apart again.

The Sunni faction is fed up with the U.S. military and the Iraqi government, such as it is.

Many Sunni "fighters" no longer are interested in bringing stability to Iraq and are leaving their posts.

The handwriting is on the wall. Iraq is now headed for another major crisis, and caught right in the middle of the upcoming crisis are 160,000 brave young Americans who have been deployed to Iraq.

And STILL the media in the United States ignores what is happening in Iraq. This Washington Post story is the first major newspaper story about Iraq in months.

Bill Corcoran, editor of CORKSPHERE,, a blog dedicated to not letting the troops down in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sunni Forces Losing Patience With U.S.Citing Lack of Support

Frustrated Iraqi Volunteers Are Abandoning Posts

By Sudarsan Raghavan and Amit R. PaleyWashington Post Foreign ServiceThursday, February 28, 2008; A01

BAGHDAD, Feb. 28 -- U.S.-backed Sunni volunteer forces, which have played a vital role in reducing violence in Iraq, are increasingly frustrated with the American military and the Iraqi government over what they see as a lack of recognition of their growing political clout and insufficient U.S. support.

Since Feb. 8, thousands of fighters in restive Diyala province have left their posts in order to pressure the government and its American backers to replace the province's Shiite police chief.

On Wednesday, their leaders warned that they would disband completely if their demands were not met.

In Babil province, south of Baghdad, fighters have refused to man their checkpoints after U.S. soldiers killed several comrades in mid-February in circumstances that remain in dispute.

Some force leaders and ground commanders also reject a U.S.-initiated plan that they say offers too few Sunni fighters the opportunity to join Iraq's army and police, and warn that low salaries and late payments are pushing experienced members to quit.

The predominantly Sunni Awakening forces, referred to by the U.S. military as the Sons of Iraq or Concerned Local Citizens, are made up mostly of former insurgents who have turned against extremists because of their harsh tactics and interpretation of Islam.

The U.S. military pays many fighters roughly $10 a day to guard and patrol their areas.

Thousands more unpaid volunteers have joined out of tribal and regional fealties.

U.S. efforts to manage this fast-growing movement of about 80,000 armed men are still largely effective, but in some key areas the control is fraying. The tensions are the most serious since the Awakening was launched in Anbar province in late 2006, according to Iraqi officials, U.S. commanders and 20 Awakening leaders across Iraq.

Some U.S. military officials say they are growing concerned that the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq has infiltrated Awakening forces in some areas.