Friday, February 29, 2008


Since April 2003, and until February 2008, "At least 5000 cases of widowed women have been registered at Falluja Employment Center," Abdul-Fatah revealed to VOI. "Those widowed women earn no salaries, and the majority of them are experiencing extremely hard circumstances, and they are in a massive need of any kind of help." He demanded that the Iraqi government and parliament "consider treating this issue thoroughly as an outcome of wars, and to legislate laws that sponsor widowed women in Falluja and elsewhere in Iraq."


Anbar - Voices of Iraq
Thursday , 28 /02 /2008 Time 3:04:43

Falluja, Feb. 28, (VOI) – Abu Waleed had a bad rendezvous with destiny; he lost his two legs in an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) attack in Falluja, and his wife – Um Waleed, suddenly found herself responsible for providing her family’s daily requirements. She worked hard toward her education degree during afternoon classes at Falluja Education Institute, and graduated as quickly as possible to start a career as a school teacher in Falluja, that nowadays offers her a monthly salary essential for her family's life to continue.

There are other women like Um Waleed; victims of the difficult circumstances that Falluja city has experienced.

The number of women in Falluja that were widowed after 2003 is at least 5000.

These figures imply that since April 2003 until February 2008, 86 women a month (almost 3 women a day) were widowed, according to a recent survey conducted by the Employment Center in the city in coordination with Falluja’s City Council. "My husband was a taxi driver, and due to an IED explosion, he lost his two legs, and his car was totally devastated; thus we lost all our sources of living in that incident," Um Waleed told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI), adding "It was my turn to be responsible for my family's living; the situation was rigid, but I did not step aside watching. In addition to having four kids going to school, I joined afternoon classes at the Falluja Education Institute where I earned the degree that enabled me to work as a school teacher."

In a religious – tribally structured society like Falluja, the nightmare for any women is when she does not find an adult man capable of providing her with the required simple daily life necessities. "I lost two of my sons during Falluja Battle II, while unknown gunmen killed my third son," Um Ibrahim (55 years) told VOI. "After losing my three sons, I feel that I am alone in this country under very hard living circumstances, with my daughters in law, and grandsons…I knocked on the doors of social affairs governmental managements, asking for any help, even for one dinar, but I have gotten nothing."Um Ahmed, 41 years, is another Falluja woman. "During Falluja Battle II, my husband was killed by U.S. army fire on November 2004, and since then, I have not been able to find anyone to help me and my kids," Um Ahmed said to VOI. "Three years after my husband's death, neither the local authorities in Falluja, nor central government in Baghdad, offered any kind of help to my family. I received simple aid that did not cover a tangible part of my five kids' living requirements from some humanitarian organizations." She continued, "I am getting older, and my health is no longer helping me to work as before; that's why I became unable to pay my house’s rent, and currently, I am spending my life with my kids moving between our relatives' houses."From his side, Ali Ghazal, head of follow-up and coordination department at Al-Kher Charity Association in Falluja, told VOI "

After the occupation, battles and violence created a vast amount of widowed women that live in the city under very bad conditions," adding "for this reason, we formed Al-Kher Charity Association to provide any possible assistance to widowed women in Falluja. Our role does not exceed delivering and distributing aids, such as foodstuff, clothes, and others, supplied by other humanitarian organizations to widowed women in Falluja." Ghazal supplicated international organizations and associations, interested in women issues, to assist widowed women in Falluja that have no one to help them. Attorney Sabah al-Alwani, a member of Falluja’s City Council, said to VOI

"The number of widowed women that we have in Falluja these days is unprecedented, and may have negative future effects on the moral attitudes of Falluja society," explaining "in case the Iraqi government ignores this social component, some families might collapse entirely, and engendered losses will be overburdened. Falluja City Council received no aid from the Iraqi government for these widowed women, and taking care of them has become a very heavy burden on the council, but the only thing that we can do is to urge humanitarian organizations to help them, especially when considering that the majority of widowed women in Falluja are unable to work for different reasons…We demand that the Iraqi government to prepare a program to assist women in Falluja."Kawakib al-Dulaimi, a member of Falluja’s City Council, describes the role of the Iraqi authorities in assisting Falluja women and widows as absent and disabled. "Battles in Falluja city, that took place between the U.S. army and different armed groups, engendered many widowed women, but the Iraqi government did not aid them with even one dinar," al-Dulaimi said to VOI.

"Battles continue to generate widowed and orphaned women that have no other option but to face the hard line of life alone."Falluja Employment Center embraces the noble aim of attempting to sponsor women in general in the city, and particularly widowed and orphaned women. "We, at Falluja City Council, have established an employment center that is devoted to women that lost their husbands, fathers, and brothers in battles that took place in Falluja exclusively. Depending on City Councils' individual initiatives, this center succeeded in enrolling 200 of Falluja’s widowed women in dressmaking training programs," asserting "better skills will help these women to earn their living."

Adnan Abdul-Fatah, manager of the Employment Center in Falluja, said to VOI, "The number of widowed women is continuously increasing in Falluja, and we are unable to provide them with the proper assistance due to different reasons." He added, "The real problem is that social – care management is absent in Falluja city. The main role of that management is to obtain statistics and to build a detailed database regarding widowed women, or any other category of women that require assistance; a matter that negatively affects our aid efforts. We formed committees, in coordination with Falluja’s City Council, to prepare accurate statistics concerning widowed women in the city as a first step toward ensuring them their rights from the Iraqi Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.


The US troops in Iraq have shot dead a civilian who approached their patrol near the town of Miqdadiya, north of Baghdad, the military said.

One report quoting the military said it the man had a cast on his broken arm under his jacket, which troops had mistaken for an explosives vest

He had ignored instructions to stop and a warning shot, the military said.

There have been a series of bomb attacks in the Muqdadiyah area, which the US has blamed on al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Iraqi police said the man was elderly, hard of hearing and suffering from mental disabilities, although the US military could not confirm this.

"There was nothing suspicious found on him but the incident is under investigation," said military spokesman Maj Brad Leighton.

"It was a mistake... an unfortunate incident," he added.


In another major blow to the peace efforts of the United States in Iraq, thousands of members of neighborhood police units in Dyala Province, one of the most dangerous provinces in Iraq, have disbanded.

The story is developling so stay tuned to this blog because you will never read about it or hear about the serious ramifications of the walkout in the mainstream media of the United States.

Diyala Prv:#1: Thousands of members of neighborhood police units have stopped work in one of Iraq's most dangerous provinces, Iraqi and U.S. military officials said on Friday. The mainly Sunni Arab units, widely known as concerned local citizens, or "CLCs", said they had disbanded altogether which would represent a major blow to U.S. and Iraqi efforts to pacify Diyala province.

Elsewhere in Iraq and Afghanistan, there have been more U.S. military casualties:

Lance Corporal Robert Reid was on patrol in an armoured vehicle with three colleagues near their base in Basra when it came under attack and has been left blind in one eye following a roadside bomb attack in southern Iraq. The 24-year-old, of Galashiels, Selkirkshire, suffered multiple injuries in the ensuing gun battle.

A recreational dodgeball game turned serious at Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan, when an airman suffered a heart attack. Airman 1st Class James Garrett, 19, collapsed Monday during the game. Doctors at Manas found that Garrett showed signs of sudden cardiac arrest, but he was stabilized. Garrett was flown to Landstuhl Army Regional Medical Center, Germany, on Tuesday for further care.

Capt Nick Binnington, 30, suffered a horrific leg wounds from a Taliban ambush attack after it was revealed a rocket propelled grenade attack in occupied Afghanistan had left him on the emergency operating table with a shard of metal lodged in his right thigh. He was deployed in Afghanistan for six months last year as a forward air controller guiding in all allied airpower. He was injured in a Taliban ambush north east of Garesh and had to be flown back to the UK to be operated on.

Victoria Scuola-Brandt, 56, was injured during mortar attacks in Balad, Iraq. But the disabled veteran said she is constantly reliving the shelling in her mind and thinks often about her military brothers and sisters still serving in Iraq. For Scuola-Brandt the mortar attack in January 2006 remains a vivid nightmare. At the time, she was a first sergeant with the Army Reserve and was working in an area that was attacked about five times a day. "I was running for cover, and I injured my feet," she recalled. She said what affected her more was seeing a fellow first sergeant go blind. Scuola-Brandt was flown to Landstuhl, Germany, and then to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. She eventually was sent to Fort Bliss, Texas, where she received a medical discharge on Oct. 25, 2006.

Spc. Chuck Naylor, 22, was in an Afghanistan hospital, his ears still ringing from an explosion that hit his convoy of South Glens Falls, were injured when a suicide bomber destroyed a truck. It was unclear Thursday if the men were in the truck at the time. The force of the blast knocked the men to the ground, giving Naylor a concussion.

Sgt. Jeff Dorvee, 25, both of South Glens Falls, were injured when a suicide bomber destroyed a truck. It was unclear Thursday if the men were in the truck at the time. The force of the blast knocked the men to the ground. Dorvee lost hearing in his right ear. It was not known Thursday if the damage is permanent.

Violence, mayhem and chaos continues all across Iraq as the media in the United States acts as if nothing is happening in Iraq worth reporting.

War News for Friday, February 29, 2008
Around 7:40 a.m., a roadside bomb targeted a police commando’s patrol at the Meshtal intersection near New Baghdad neighborhood (east Baghdad).Two policemen were injured in that incident.2: Around 10 a.m., a bomb house exploded when the Iraqi army raided it at Abu Khamees village (10 km south of Baquba) .One Iraqi soldier was killed in that explosion.

Baquba:#1: The commander of the popular committees in Diala province survived an attempt on his life in central Baaquba district on Friday morning, an official source said. "An armed group attacked on Friday a headquarters of the popular committees in al-Tahrir neighborhood, central Baaquba, targeting commander Sabah Bashir, who survived unscathed," the source, who did not want to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq

#2: An Iraqi army soldier was injured on Friday during a security operation in south of Baaquba, an official security source said. "A force from the 5th division of the Iraqi army waged a crackdown operation in Abu Khamis village in Bahraz district, south of Baaquba," the source, requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq (VOI). "The forces came under armed group fire attack, during which one soldier was wounded," he added.

Hawija:#1: In the morning, police found Ahmed Khalaf’s body, the Hawija council member, who was kidnapped few days ago by gunmen .Police arrested four suspected to be involved in that kidnap and murder.Kirkuk:#1: In the morning, police found a female dead body whose name is Sameea Sofi near the Zab Bridge (west of Kirkukk).

Mosul:#1: Gunmen kidnapped the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul on Friday from the northern Iraqi city and killed his driver and two companions, police said. "He was kidnapped in the al-Nour district in eastern Mosul when he left a church. Gunmen opened fire on the car, killed the other three and kidnapped the archbishop," a Mosul police official said.

#2: A man and his son were killed in a roadside bomb explosion in Mosul on Friday, the official spokesman for the Ninewa operations said. "An improvised explosive device went off targeting a U.S. vehicle patrol near al-Dhubat district, eastern Mosul, killing a passing man and his 11-year-old son," Brig. Khalid Abdul Sattar told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq

#3: Police patrols found two bodies of a prosecutor and a lawyer handcuffed and riddled with bullets in Al-Qahira district, northern Mosul." Brig. Khalid Abdul Sattar told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq (VOI).The security official identified "the prosecutor as Abd Jassim Hanash al-Janabi and the lawyer as Hamad Sultan al-Louizi". "They were abducted by unknown gunmen near al-Maaridh area, eastern Mosul, on Friday morning", he added.

Even with all of this happening in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Bush and his mouthpiece, FOX NEWS, continue to mislead the American public with lies about how well things are going in Iraq and Afghanistan.


The war in Iraq will continue you indefinitely because the Senate pulled a bill that would have cut off funding for most combat operations in Iraq.

The Democrats knew they didn't have the votes to pass the measure so they pulled the bill.

Even had the bill passed in the Senate, President Bush had vowed to veto it.

Brief Iraq Withdrawal Hopes Fizzle

By Maya Schenwar t r u t h o u t Report

Friday 29 February 2008

A bill to cut off funding for most combat operations in Iraq collapsed in the Senate Wednesday night when leadership pulled it from the floor, seeing it could not garner enough votes for passage.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid acknowledged to reporters on Thursday afternoon the bill would not be brought to a vote. However, it did pass a cloture vote on Tuesday after a decision by Republican leadership to address the war controversy head-on, making this week's debate the longest Iraq-based discussion the Senate floor has seen since July.

Sponsored by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin), the bill marked a shift away from antiwar Democrats' previous focus on setting a deadline for troop withdrawal, according to Feingold's spokesman.

Instead, it would have restricted war spending substantially, confining it to targeted missions against al-Qaeda and affiliated groups, in addition to training Iraqi forces and protecting American personnel and facilities in Iraq. Funding cuts would have begun within 120 days - a monumental change in course for Iraq policy.

Yet, most analysts agree the purpose of the latest bill was not to end the war since sponsors knew, based on precedent, it would fail overwhelmingly in the Senate - and, if it didn't, would be vetoed automatically by President Bush. The last time Feingold proposed similar legislation, about half of Senate Democrats voted against it.

"Leadership knew it wouldn't pass, as almost all of the Republicans could be counted on to oppose it," said Jack Swetland, manager of Congressional affairs at the Center for American Progress.

He added that Feingold's three similar troop withdrawal proposals introduced over the past few months have failed.

The Feingold plan's proponents hoped to "create a vote which could be used against Republicans in the fall election," according to Voices for Creative Nonviolence co-coordinator Jeff Leys.

Click on link to read full story...


The top commander of the United States Marine Corps, General James Conway, has ordered a halt for the remaining orders of a new vest for combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan because it was found to be too heavy.

Known as the Modular Tactical Vest (MTV), Conway said Marines in the filed were complaining the vest was too heavy and cumbersome.

The Corps placed orders for 84,000 MTVs in late 2006, to replace the standard-issue Outer Tactical Vest. Of that initial order, the service has received 76,000, Johnson said.The future of those already-issued vests remains unclear.

The foul up with the vest is similar to the problems the military had when the new heavily armor-plated Humvees were found to be unsafe and could easily rollover.

A source close to the Pentagon said more field tests of the vest should have been conducted before the Marine Corps ordered 84,000 or the vests including the 70,000 that have already been delivered to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Conway puts orders of new vest on hold

By Kimberly Johnson - Staff writer Posted : Friday Feb 29, 2008 6:38:01 EST

The Corps’ top officer has halted remaining orders of the service’s new Modular Tactical Vest amid complaints the gear is too heavy and cumbersome.

Commandant Gen. James Conway “has stopped the execution for the next buy of the MTV after his personal evaluation,” said Lt. Col. T.V. Johnson, Conway’s spokesman.

During a recent visit with Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, Conway openly questioned the suitability of the vest, distinctive with its over-the-head, slip-on design and quick-release pull cord, Johnson said in a phone interview Wednesday.

“It has some advantages. It also has some disadvantages, especially if you’re putting it on and taking it off a lot.” Conway told Marine Corps Times in December, during an interview at his Pentagon office. “It doesn’t go on or come off easy.”

Marines who have not worn it before tend to like it the first time they put it on, Conway said.
“It rides well,” he said. “The hips do absorb some of the weight. It doesn’t seem that heavy once you get it on. But it will rip your nose or your ears off if you’re not careful when you put it on or take it off.”

The MTV design was initially selected in early 2006 based on the recommendations made by a group of 100 Marines with Iraq combat experience, who tested three different vests, Johnson said. The group overwhelmingly selected the MTV at 89 percent, he said.

The Corps placed orders for 84,000 MTVs in late 2006, to replace the standard-issue Outer Tactical Vest. Of that initial order, the service has received 76,000, Johnson said.
The future of those already-issued vests remains unclear.

“I don’t foresee a recall,” Johnson said. “They are working some actions to mitigate the complaints about the vest.”

The comments coming out of the field from Marines are related more to comfort than effectiveness and levels of protection, Johnson said.

“There will be some assessments made at the very senior-officer level, and those discussions will determine the best way ahead,” he said. “Even without these criticisms, they’re already looking at what the next-generation personal protective equipment might be.”


Angelina Jolie recently went to Baghdad on a humanitarian mission for the UN. During her visit, she dined with U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq and she met with General David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq.

Jolie wrote a piece for the Washington Post where she expresses her feelings about "the surge" and how she feels the United States should stay in Iraq to help with the refugee crisis that grips Iraq.

Jolie can be seen here in this YouTube video meeting with Gen. Petraeus and dining with U.S. troops in Baghdad.