Saturday, March 8, 2008


All war situations are a little bit opaque, but from reading the Iraqi press in Arabic, I conclude that there are three major struggles for power of a political and violent sort.

What's striking is how little relevance the United States has.

It is a superpower, and it is militarily occupying the country, but it appears most frequently to be in the position of going to the parties and saying, "Hey, guys, cut it out. Make nice. Please."

It's odd that it should be so powerless in some ways, but let me explain.

Iraq's Three Civil Wars

By Juan Cole, MIT Center for International StudiesPosted on March 6, 2008, Printed on March 8, 2008

So, what are the three wars?

There's a war for Basra in the deep south. This is a port city on the Shatt al-Arab. It's the body of water where the Tigris and the Euphrates come together, and they flow together, then out to the Persian Gulf. In the old days, it was a major port, Al Basrah, because the ships could come up the Shatt al-Arab from the Persian Gulf. Now they'll stop instead at a smaller port named Umm Qasr near to Basra, and this is how you get things in and out of Iraq. Last I checked, Iraq was exporting 1.8 million barrels a day of petroleum. Where is it exporting from? Largely from Basra. (There is some, about 300,000 barrels a day going out through the north, but it's a relatively minor amount.) So, basically, import, export, lifeline, and petroleum, are all that is centered in Basra, and if Basra were to collapse, then Iraq collapses. I don't see how the government survives, how anything goes positive in Iraq if Basra collapses, and I cannot figure out what's causing it not to collapse. There is not a good situation down there, as I'll explain.

Then, there's a war for Baghdad. This is the one that Americans tend to know about because the U.S. troops are in Baghdad, and so it's being fought all around our guys, and we are drawn into it from time to time. The American public, when it thinks about this war, mainly thinks about attacks on U.S. troops, which are part of that war because the U.S. troops were seen by the Sunni Arabs as adjuncts to the Shiite paramilitaries, and they have really functioned that way. Most American observers of Iraq wouldn't say that the U.S. is an enabler of the Mahdi Army and the Badr Corps paramilitaries of these Shiite fundamentalist parties, but you could make the case that, functionally speaking, that's how it's worked out. The U.S. has mainly taken on the remnants of the Ba'ath party, the Salafi jihadis, and other Sunni groups, and has tried to disarm them, tried to kill them, and has opened a space for the Shiite paramilitaries to claim territory and engage in ethnic cleansing and gain territory and power. So that battle between the Sunni Arabs and the Shiite Arabs is going on in Baghdad, is going on in the hinterlands of Baghdad, up to the northeast to Diyala Province, and then south to Babil and so forth.

And finally, as if all that weren't enough, there is a war in the north for control of Kirkuk, which used to be called by Saddam "Ta'mim Province". Kirkuk Province has the city of Kirkuk in it and very productive oil fields, in the old days at least. Kirkuk is not part of the Kurdistan Regional Authority, which was created by melding three northern provinces together into a super province; however, the Kurdistan Regional Authority wishes to annex Kirkuk to the authority.

Click on link above to read the full story of the Three Civil Wars in Iraq.


The Department of Defense has been manipulating the way they report on the deaths of U.S. soldiers from the war in Iraq.

Here is a list of five soldiers killed in Iraq, but the DoD will not confirm their deaths.

Go to this site for confirmation:

Take notice of the last sentence in this report.

Click on each soldier's name in "blue" for further information about them.

Post Iraq Deaths Not Confirmed By the DoD
Wasielewsk, Anthony Raymond
Cassidy, Gerald J.
Richards, Jack D.
Salerno III, Raymond A.
Smith, John "Bill"

Note: The soldiers listed above died from wounds received in Iraq, however, the DoD has not included their deaths in their official count.


This is how the Department of Defense announces the death of a U.S. soldier in Iraq and the wounding of another.

As you will see, the Public Affairs Office at Camp Victory in Iraq avoids using the term United States soldier, but instead refers to the U.S. soldier killed in Iraq as a "Multi National Defense-North Soldier."

The cover-up continues.

Multi-National Corps – IraqPublic Affairs Office, Camp VictoryAPO AE 09342
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASERELEASE No. 20080308-01March 8, 2008

MND-N Soldiers attacked in Salah Ah Din

Multi-National Division – North PAO

TIKRIT, Iraq – One Multi-National Division - North Soldier was killed from injuries sustained from an explosion while conducting operations in Diyala March 7.

One MND-N Soldier was injured during the attack and evacuated to a Coalition forces hospital.

The name of the deceased is being withheld pending next of kin notification and release by the Department of Defense.


A new epidemic is sweeping through soldiers and Marines who have been in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is severe hearing loss.

Up until recently, the main topic of discussion for returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan was PTSD or depression, but now it has been learned that there is an epidemic of hearing loss with troops who have been in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The VA is overwhelmed with the numbers of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who have severe hearing loss.

US troops losing hearing

By CHELSEA J. CARTER Associated Press Writer

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Soldiers and Marines caught in roadside bombings and firefights in Iraq and Afghanistan are coming home in epidemic numbers with permanent hearing loss and ringing in their ears, prompting the military to redouble its efforts to protect the troops from noise.

Hearing damage is the No. 1 disability in the war on terror, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, and some experts say the true toll could take decades to become clear.

Nearly 70,000 of the more than 1.3 million troops who have served in the two war zones are collecting disability for tinnitus, a potentially debilitating ringing in the ears, and more than 58,000 are on disability for hearing loss, the VA said.

"The numbers are staggering," said Theresa Schulz, a former audiologist with the Air Force, past president of the National Hearing Conservation Association and author of a 2004 report titled "Troops Return With Alarming Rates of Hearing Loss."

One major explanation given is the insurgency's use of a fearsome weapon the Pentagon did not fully anticipate: powerful roadside bombs. Their blasts cause violent changes in air pressure that can rupture the eardrum and break bones inside the ear.

Also, much of the fighting consists of ambushes, bombings and firefights, which come suddenly and unexpectedly, giving soldiers no time to use their military-issued hearing protection.
"They can't say, `Wait a minute, let me put my earplugs in,'" said Dr. Michael E. Hoffer, a Navy captain and one of the country's leading inner-ear specialists. "They are in the fight of their lives."

In addition, some servicemen on patrol refuse to wear earplugs for fear of dulling their senses and missing sounds that can make the difference between life and death, Hoffer and others said.

Others were not given earplugs or did not take them along when they were sent into the war zone. And some Marines weren't told how to use their specialized earplugs and inserted them incorrectly.


There is an old bromide which says if you repeat something over and over and long enough you will get the people to believe it.

That is exactly what has been happening with "the surge" in Iraq.

The Bush administration and their propaganda machine, FOX NEWS, plus scores of Republican pundits have repeated over and over again how "the surge" is working in Iraq.

But is it?

On Thursday, two car bombs went off in Baghdad and the death toll is 83 with over 130 wounded.

On Friday, another suicide bombing took place in Mosul and the death toll is 67 with another 140 injured.

But still you have President Bush and pundits on FOX NEWS like Brit Hume, Sean Hannity, Neil Cavuto, Bill O'Reilly, Fred Barnes and Charles Krauthammer just to name a few boasting about how well "the surge" is working.

Nothing could be further from the truth and the following article by Patrick Cockburn spells out why the "surge" isn't working, but the public relations campaign for the "surge" has been a roaring success.

By Patrick Cockburn, CounterPunchPosted on March 8, 2008, Printed on March 8, 2008

In Baghdad the Iraqi government is eager to give the impression that peace is returning.

"Not a single sectarian murder or displacement was reported in over a month," claimed Brigadier Qasim Ata, the spokesman for the security plan for the capital.

(Editor's note: Ata's comment was made before the twin car bombings on Thursday in Baghdad)

In the US, the Surge, the dispatch of 30,000 extra American troops in the first half of 2007, is portrayed as having turned the tide in Iraq. Democrats in Congress no longer call aggressively for a withdrawal of American troops. The supposed military success in Iraq has been brandished by Senator John McCain as vindication of his prowar stance.

Seldom has the official Iraqi and American perception of what is happening in Iraq felt so different from the reality. Cocooned behind the walls of the Green Zone, defended by everybody from US soldiers to Peruvian and Ugandan mercenaries, the government of prime minister Nouri al-Maliki pumps out alluring tales of life returning to normal that border on fantasy.

For instance, Brigadier Ata made his claim that there had been no sectarian murders or expulsions in the capital over the previous month on February 15, but two weeks earlier, on February 1, suicide bombers, whom the government said were al-Qa'ida, had blown themselves up killing 99 people in two bird markets in Baghdad, both situated in largely Shia districts.

So keen are the authorities to show that Sunni and Shia have stopped killing each other and overall violence is down that many deaths with an obvious sectarian motive are no longer recorded. "I think the real figure for the number of people being killed is about twice what the government says it is," said one local politician. He had just sent the death certificates of the victims of sectarian killers to the military authorities, who were steadfastly refusing to admit that anybody had died at the time and place that the bodies were discovered.

One day after Brigadier Ata claimed that there had been no sectarian killings or abductions over the previous month, prime minister Maliki himself went on a walk about in central Baghdad to demonstrate just how safe things have become. But it was the precautions taken by Maliki's bodyguards which were more revealing about the real state of security in the city.

Maliki's brief venture onto the streets and out of the Green Zone took place in the al-Mansur district of west Baghdad. This is an area of big houses and many embassies, but has been heavily fought over by Sunni and Shia in the past year. "I was in Mansur on Saturday afternoon," an Iraqi friend told me, "when, at about 3.15pm, I noticed a strange movement in the street, which was suddenly flooded by soldiers in green uniforms, led by generals and colonels, who were checking parked cars and all the buildings."

Minutes later a large convoy of vehicles appeared, with three US army Humvees in front and behind, and, in the middle, five black armoured four wheel drives They stopped in front of a famous ice cream shop called al-Ruwaad, but for fifteen minutes nobody got out of the vehicles as soldiers searched all the shops nearby. When officials and their guards did begin to emerge Maliki was in the middle of them and began to walk around.

Click on link above to read the full story.


The Bush administration appears to be getting the table set for war with Iran.

Admiral William Fallon, who oppposes going to war with Iran, will likely be removied as head of the US Central Command.

Many observers feel President Bush and Vice President Cheney are planning on taking the United States to war with Iran just before the November election.

Fallon 'may lose job over Iran war'

Admiral William Fallon, the head of the US Central Command, may lose his job for opposing President Bush's plans to wage war against Iran.

According to a new Esquire article by Thomas Barnett; Admiral Fallon may be prematurely 'relieved of his command' as soon as this summer to be replaced with a more 'pliable' commander.

"If that were to happen, it may well mean that the president and vice-president intend to take military action against Iran before the end of this year and don't want a commander standing in their way," says the article which will be published on March 12.

Admiral Fallon, who has been named as 'one of the best strategic thinkers in uniform today' by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, opposed the troops surge in Iraq and has consistently battled with President George W. Bush to avert confrontation with Iran. The Navy admiral has vowed that an attack on Iran would 'not happen on his watch', calling the White House warmongering echelons 'not helpful'. Washington and its allies are at loggerheads with the Islamic Republic over the country's nuclear standoff with the West.

The Bush administration accuses Iran of pursuing nuclear weaponry, while Tehran maintains its uranium enrichment will only provide fuel for the country's under-construction nuclear power plants. President Bush insists the military option against Iran remains on the table, while his top military experts, including Admiral Fallon, urge the White House to choose a diplomatic approach towards Tehran.

Click on link to read the full story.