Saturday, March 29, 2008


Who is the Iraqi Army?

That seems like a strange question. What do I mean?

By Cenk Uygur, Huffington PostPosted on March 29, 2008, Printed on March 29, 2008

The Bush administration claims the Iraqi Army is a unified force of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds who fight together for the centralized government of Iraq.

That's complete nonsense.

In fact, the different divisions of the army are segregated by sect. The so-called Iraqi Army fighting in the south right now is mainly the Badr Corps. This is a rival Shiite militia to Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army.

The Badr Corps is connected to the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council. Don't get freaked out, they're theoretically the good guys. Well, at least they are the largest political party in Iraq and the ones we are supporting. Here's the problem -- they're not the good guys at all. They ran death squads and torture chambers out of the Interior Ministry throughout the period of ethnic cleansing in Iraq.

And get this, out of all the parties in Iraq, the one most closely linked to Iran is -- the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council and their militia partners in the Badr Corps.

So, who is the Iraqi Army? The ones fighting Sadr's forces right now is the Badr Corps -- a Shiite militia with closer ties to Iran than Sadr.

Click on link to read the full story...


The Iraqi Army can't or won't handle the task of bringing order to Basra so the United States has had to call in U.S Air Force strikes on the second largest city in Iraq. Last September Gen. David Petraeus told the Washington Post the problem in Basra was an "Iraqi problem" and needs an "Iraqi solution." So much for that plan.

UpdateMore from the AP:

In Basra, U.S. jets dropped two precision-guided bombs at midday Saturday on a suspected militia stronghold at Qarmat Ali north of the city, British military spokesman Maj. Tom Holloway said. "My understanding was that this was a building that had people who were shooting back at Iraqi ground forces," Holloway said. Iraqi police said that earlier in the day a U.S. warplane strafed a house and killed eight civilians, including two women and one child. They spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release the information.


U.S. airpower deployed in Basra.»
Time reports:
Despite having been initiated by the Iraqi government, the offensive by Iraqi security forces against militiamen in Basra is increasingly drawing in the United States, both militarily and politically. U.S. air power was used in the key port city for the first time on Thursday night in support of Iraqi forces trying to dislodge fighters of Moqtada Sadr’s Mahdi Army, and U.S. troops clashed with Mahdi Army militants in the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City on Friday.

Despite this U.S. involvement, the Washington Post notes that in September, when lawmakers asked Gen. David Petraeus about the increasing violence amongst Shiite groups in Basra, Petraeus replied it was an “Iraqi problem” with an “Iraqi solution.”


The situation in Baghdad is so bad the U.S. military and Iraqi government, such as it is, have extended the curfew in the capital city indefinitely.

Baghdad curfew extended indefinitely
By Peter Graff 35 minutes ago

Iraqi authorities on Saturday extended a curfew in Baghdad indefinitely in an attempt to contain clashes between Shi'ite militants and Iraqi security forces that have threatened to spiral out of control.

But in an indication that the violence was set to continue, Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr ordered his followers not to lay down their weapons, defying a five-day-old crackdown by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who has ordered them to disarm.

The latest violence has spread from the southern city of Basra through towns in Iraq's southern Shi'ite heartland and neighborhoods of Baghdad.

"Moqtada al-Sadr asks his followers not to deliver weapons to the government. Weapons should be turned over only to a government which can expel the (U.S.) occupiers," Sadr aide Hassan Zargani told Reuters by telephone.

Maliki has staked his authority on disarming Sadr's followers with a major military operation. But his forces have made little progress driving fighters from the streets and instead have provoked rebellion in towns across the south.

The prime minister initially gave Sadr's followers in Basra 72 hours to disarm, but with little progress on the ground he extended the deadline until April 8.

The curfew in Baghdad, imposed on Thursday, was due to expire early on Sunday.

"To defeat the terrorist groups, the outlaws and the criminal gangs and to preserve the souls of our citizens, we extended the curfew in Baghdad indefinitely for people, cars and motorcycles," said a statement from the Iraqi security forces


Now it is the IRAQ ARMY soldiers that are "cutting, running and surrendering" in Basra. 15 IRAQ ARMY soldiers surrendered to a number of Sadr offices rather than continue fighting.

This leaves the whole mess in Basra up to U.S. forces.

President Bush had told a nationwide TV audience on Thursday that he was proud of how the IRAQI ARMY were performing in Basra and that it was a "postiive moment" in the battle for Iraq.

Baghdad, Mar. 29, (VOI) – 15 Iraqi soldiers surrendered to a number of Sadr offices, escaping their duties, said the official spokesperson of Baghdad Operations Command (Fardh Al-Qanoon) on Saturday, while clashes between security forces and Sadr's militiamen continued for 6th day running throughout Iraq .

Baghdad - Voices of Iraq Saturday , 29 /03 /2008 Time 11:24:26

Major General Qassim Atta also admitted that the civilian spokesperson of Baghdad Operations Command, Tahseen al-Sheikhli, is still abducted, but in a "safe place."Atta said in a press conference in Baghdad "With the presence of this big number of Iraqi troops, it is possible that some escaping cases may happen."

"The registered number that we have is that 15 soldiers were able to escape," Atta explained.

Reports recently said that a number of Iraqi soldiers and policemen surrendered to Sadr offices in Baghdad and Basra, refusing to battle Mahdi Army gunmen. Atta considered this issue normal, due to "the presence of more than 50 thousand governmental fighters in Baghdad."

"Commander in Chief, Nouri Al-Maliki, ordered to prosecute those soldiers according to the Military Punishments Law," Atta asserted. He admitted that the civilian spokesperson of Baghdad Security Plan, Tahseen al-Sheikhli, was kidnapped in Baghdad on Thursday.

"Yes Tahseen al-Sheikhli was kidnapped by unknown gunmen at Al-Ameen Al-Thaniya neighborhood (southeastern Baghdad), and he was taken to unknown place," Atta said.

He added "Al-Sheikhli poned Baghdad Operations Command on Friday, and he is in a safe place, and until now no side announced responsibility for kidnapping him, or put any conditions to release him."

Police sources had announced on Thursday that gunmen raided al-Sheikhli's house in Al-Ameen Al-Thaniya neighborhood, and took him to unknown place.MH/SK


Is this how we win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people by one of our warplanes firing into Iraqi civilians killing eight and wounding seven others?

Basra, Mar 29, (VOI) – Eight people were killed and seven others wounded when a Multi-National Force (MNF) warplane, later reported as American, opened fire in western Basra province on Saturday, according to eyewitnesses.

Basra - Voices of Iraq Saturday , 29 /03 /2008 Time 11:24:26

"An MNF warplane opened fire at the al-Tak area in al-Hussein neighborhood, (8 km) western Basra, killing eight people and injuring seven others, mostly civilians," an eyewitness from al-Hussein told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI).

A media spokesman for the MNF, replying a question by VOI, said "the aircraft was American, not British.

"The oil-rich port city of Basra, Iraq's second largest province, lies 590 km south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.Earlier on Saturday eyewitnesses said an Iraqi copter was shot down by gunmen fire late on Friday in Basra.

"An Iraqi copter went down last night when Mahdi Army gunmen fired at it near the Military Hospital in northern Basra," an eyewitness told VOI.From last Monday, Basra has been the scene of fighting between Iraqi security forces and fighters from the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militias.


President Bush called the Iraqi Army's offense against the Mehadi militia in Basra a "positive moment," but the President spoke too soon because now there are reports the Iraqi Army are bogged down and have had to call for help from the United States military in trying to stop the violence in Basra, the second largest city in Iraq.

Shiite leader al-Sadr defies Iraq gov't
By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer 12 minutes ago;_ylt=AvlHgh91Iuhuq3tvRyaExZdX6GMA

Anti-American Shiite militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr ordered his followers Saturday to defy government orders to surrender their weapons, as U.S. jets struck Shiite extremists near Basra to bolster a faltering Iraqi offensive against gunmen in the city.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki acknowledged he may have miscalculated by failing to foresee the strong backlash that his offensive, which began Tuesday, provoked in areas of Baghdad and other cities where Shiite militias wield power.

Al-Maliki, himself a Shiite, nonetheless vowed to remain in Basra until government forces wrest control from militias, including al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. He called the fight for control of Basra "a decisive and final battle."

British ground troops, who controlled the city until handing it over to the Iraqis last December, also joined the battle for Basra, firing artillery Saturday for the first time in support of Iraqi forces.

Iraqi authorities have given Basra extremists until April 8 to surrender heavy and medium weapons after an initial 72-hour ultimatum to hand them over was widely ignored.

But a defiant al-Sadr called on his followers Saturday to ignore the order, saying that his Mahdi Army would turn in its weapons only to a government that can "get the occupier out of Iraq," referring to the Americans.

The order was made public by Haidar al-Jabiri, a member of the influential political commission of the Sadrist movement.

Residents of Basra contacted by telephone said Mahdi militiamen were manning checkpoints Saturday in their neighborhood strongholds. The sound of intermittent mortar and machine gun fire rang out across the city, as the military headquarters at a downtown hotel came under repeated fire.


The situation in Iraq is getting worse by the minute. Anyone who goes on TV and says "the surge" is working is totally out of their mind.

We start off this updated report from Iraq with a NEW list of casualties followed by a report on the violence in each of the provinces in Iraq.


MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Center Soldier in an improvised explosive device attack South of Baghdad on Friday, March 28th. No other details were released.

Mark Ormrod of 40 Commando, lost both his legs and an arm in a Taliban landmine blast, was blown up by a landmine during a foot patrol in Helmand province on Christmas Eve. The 24-year-old has spent the last three months in intensive care and rehabilitation and will return soon to his home in Plymouth.

Kyle Anderson was a state wrestling champ. 4 years ago, an explosion in Iraq left him badly hurt. Now, Anderson is back on his feet and learning how to talk again.


Baghdad:#1: mortar or rockets were again lobbed from Shiite areas in eastern Baghdad toward the Green Zone, the fortified area where the U.S. and British embassies are located, along with much of the Iraqi government. It wasn't immediately clear if the rounds hit the zone or landed nearby.Baghdad's Green Zone, seat of the government and the US embassy, again came under mortar bomb or rocket attack, but no information was immediately available on casualties or damage.James Bays, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Baghdad, said on Saturday that missiles were still being fired. "I heard six mortars or rockets - it's difficult to distinguish between the sound of mortars and Katyusha rockets - land in the Green Zone," he said.The U.S. military said in an e-mail they "have no reports of serious injuries" following the incoming rounds.Ten mortar shells hit the Green Zoon today.

#2: American forces said on Saturday they had killed 48 gunmen the previous day in gun battles and air strikes across Baghdad. In one strike in northwestern Baghdad late on Friday, a U.S. helicopter fired a Hellfire missile killing 10 gunmen who attacked a checkpoint. In another incident later in the evening, soldiers on patrol returned fire after an attack, killing nine.

#3: Another 17 people have been killed in Baghdad's Kadhimiyah and other northern regions in clashes and mortar attacks, Iraqi and US officials said.Iraqi health officials said on Saturday that the clashes have left 75 people dead in Baghdad's Sadr City, the bastion of Sadr's Mahdi Army militia, since Tuesday. Another 498 people were wounded in the sprawling neighbourhood of some two million people.At least 133 bodies and 647 wounded have been brought to five hospitals in the eastern half of Baghdad over the past five days of clashes, the head of the health directorate for eastern Baghdad, Ali Bustan, said on Saturday.

#4: Health workers say the slum’s two hospitals are overflowing and understaffed, and a ring of Iraqi and U.S. forces around Sadr City makes it impossible to evacuate the wounded.

#5: A top aide of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr claimed on Saturday that several groups of Iraqi troops were surrendering their arms at the movement’s office in Baghdad’s Shite bastion of Sadr City. “They said “we can’t fight our own people. When we first joined the army it was to defeat terrorism and not to point the guns against the chests of our people’. We told them we would not take your weapons. They should be with you,” Afraiji said. “We gave them copies of Koran and told them to go back.” Several media photographers were at the Sadr office when the troops arrived.Some 40 policemen in Sadr City handed over their weapons to al-Sadr's local office, one of the policemen told The Associated Press on Saturday.

#6: A roadside bomb killed one policeman and wounded three others when it hit their patrol in the Amil district of southwestern Baghdad, police said.

#7: Mortars also landed in Shiite areas of eastern Baghdad, killing at least one person and injuring 12, according to police. It was not clear from where the mortars were fired.

#8: A gunman was killed on Saturday while trying to blow up a bridge in the northern part of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, a security official said. "A terrorist fired an RPG-7 shell in the direction of the floating bridge of al-Koraiaat but the shell fell near him, killing him instantly," Maj. General Qassem Atta, the official spokesman for the Fardh al-Qanoon (law imposing) security plan, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#9: Two mortar shells hit Arasat neighborhood, no casualties were reported.Diyala Prv:Khan Bani Saad:#1: Three civilians of the same family were injured in an attack with mortars in the district of Bani Saad, 30 km north of Baaquba, on Saturday, a security official said. "A number of mortar shells fell on a house in Bani Saad district, wounding three civilians of the same family," the source, who declined to have his name mentioned, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq

Hilla:#1: Six members of the Iraqi forces were killed Friday and 13 wounded in heavy fighting between the Mahdi Army and Iraqi forces in the city of Hilla, some 100 km south of Baghdad, security sources said Friday.

#2: Some 14 mortar shells hit the US consulate in the Iraqi city of Hillah, some 100 kilometres south of Baghdad on Saturday, security sources said. Black smoke was seen rising from the site, security sources told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.No losses have been reported from the incident.

Karbala:#1: On Saturday violence was reported from the central Shiite city of Karbala in which 12 "criminals" were killed, local police chief Raed Jawdat Shakir said. He did not provide further details, but said 25 people were also arrested in the operation that began overnight.Three gunmen were killed and six others wounded and in clashes between Mehdi Army fighters and Iraqi security forces in western Kerbala, 110 km (68 miles) southwest of Baghdad on Friday, police said. Eighteen gunmen were captured.

Najaf:#1: The followers of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Saturday rejected Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's call to lay down their arms, a top aide of Sadr told AFP in Najaf. "Sadr has told us not to surrender our arms except to a state that can throw out the occupation," Haider al-Jabari, a member of Sadr movement's political bureau, told AFP.

Nasiriyah:#1: The southern city of Nasiriyah and its outskirts also saw fierce battles on Friday with local medics reporting at least 36 killed.

Basra:#1: A U.S. warplane strafed a house in the southern town of Basra, killing eight civilians, including two women and a child, Iraqi police said Saturday. Seven other people were wounded when the plane fired on a house in Basra's Hananiyah neighborhood overnight, a local policeman said on condition of anonymity because of security concerns.

#2: Meanwhile, clashes on the ground in Basra continued. "Last night we continued our operations in all areas of Basra," an Iraqi army officer told AFP on Saturday on condition of anonymity, adding that the crackdown will continue till "we have arrested all criminals."

#3: Fighting was reported in some Basra neighbourhoods on Saturday for the fifth straight day, with at least 23 people killed since hostilities began, according to Iraqi security officials and aid organisations.

#4: Also in Basra, Iraqi forces attacked a house in Mawfiqiya district, leaving four people killed from the same family, a Sadrist official told dpa.

#5: An Iraqi copter was shot down by Gunmen’s fire late on Friday in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, eyewitnesses said. "An Iraqi copter went down last night when Mahdi army gunmen fired at it near the Military Hospital in northern Basra,” an eyewitness told Asawt al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq-. Another eyewitness said that the copter was shot down in an area witnessing “fierce battles” between security forces and Mahdi army militia. So far the was no word available from Iraqi military on the incident.

#6: Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is vowing to remain in Basra overseeing operations against Shiite militias until security in the city is restored.

#7: British forces today became directly involved for the first time in the battle to stamp out militias from the Iraqi city of Basra, engaging suspected Mehdi Army positions with artillery. Field pieces located in the British headquarters at Basra airport fired on a mortar crew in an insurgent stronghold of the southern port city shortly before 12.30pm local time (9.30am UK time). “We have not yet received reports of whether there have been any casualties.”

#8: U.S. jets widened the bombing of Basra on Saturday, dropping two precision-guided bombs on a suspected militia stronghold north of the city, British officials said. Maj. Tom Holloway, a British military spokesman, said U.S. jets dropped the two bombs on a militia position in Qarmat Ali shortly before 12:30 p.m. The number of people killed in the latest strikes was not yet known, he said. Iraqi police said that earlier in the day a U.S. warplane strafed a house and killed eight civilians,.

Kurdistan:#1: The Turkish military says its warplanes hit Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq on Friday. It said the number of rebels killed in the air assault was not immediately clear.

#2: It also said that Turkish cross-border shelling Thursday killed 15 rebels. The military said it shelled areas in northern Iraq after it detected a group of Kurdish rebels preparing to attack Turkish targets.

Afghanistan:#1: Four gunmen broke into the offices of Radio Zafar before dawn, tied up two security guards and then set the station's equipment ablaze, said Paghman district police chief Abdul Razaq.

#2: Also Friday, a three-hour clash broke out in southwestern Nimroz province after militants attacked poppy eradication forces in the Khash Rod district, provincial police chief Gen. Mohammad Ayub Badakhshi said. Two police officers were killed and three wounded, he said. Six suspects were arrested.

#3: Also Friday in Kandahar province, two gunmen assassinated a tribal leader who led efforts for peace and reconciliation in the area, said Panjwayi district chief Haji Shah Baran Khan.

#4: And in volatile Helmand province, U.S.-led coalition forces killed several Taliban militants after coming under attack, the coalition said in a statement Friday. The troops were searching for a Taliban insurgent involved in weapons trafficking in Helmand's Kajaki district when militants opened fire on them Wednesday. The troops responded, killing several insurgents and wounding a woman who was not involved in the hostilities.

#4: A bomb has exploded near a power plant in southern Afghanistan, killing two employees. Helmand province’s police chief says the remote-controlled bomb was hidden near the wall of the plant and was detonated Saturday morning. Mohammad Hussein Andiwal says two employees were killed and six were wounded. Two civilian passersby were also wounded. Andiwal says the plant machinery was slightly damaged, but the power supply was not interrupted.The explosion hit in the Gereshk district.


The battle for Iraq rages on and the violence is increasing by the minute. Real News network presents a shot video that is graphic in detail showing violence in Sadr city, a part of Baghdad, and mortar attacks on the Green Zone.

Watch video here:


Areas of Baghdad fall to militias as Iraqi Army falters in Basra

From Times OnlineMarch 27, 2008

Iraq’s Prime Minister was staring into the abyss today after his operation to crush militia strongholds in Basra stalled, members of his own security forces defected and district after district of his own capital fell to Shia militia gunmen.

With the threat of a civil war looming in the south, Nouri al-Maliki’s police chief in Basra narrowly escaped assassination in the crucial port city, while in Baghdad, the spokesman for the Iraqi side of the US military surge was kidnapped by gunmen and his house burnt to the ground.
Saboteurs also blew up one of Iraq's two main oil pipelines from Basra, cutting at least a third of the exports from the city which provides 80 per cent of government revenue, a clear sign that the militias — who siphon significant sums off the oil smuggling trade — would not stop at mere insurrection.

In Baghdad, thick black smoke hung over the city centre tonight and gunfire echoed across the city.

The most secure area of the capital, Karrada, was placed under curfew amid fears the Mahdi Army of Hojetoleslam Moqtada al-Sadr could launch an assault on the residence of Abdelaziz al-Hakim, the head of a powerful rival Shia governing party.

While the Mahdi Army has not officially renounced its six-month ceasefire, which has been a key component in the recent security gains, on the ground its fighters were chasing police and soldiers from their positions across Baghdad.

Rockets from Sadr City slammed into the governmental Green Zone compound in the city centre, killing one person and wounding several more.

Continue reading story by clicking on link above.


U.S. Has Little Influence, Few Options in Iraq's Volatile South

By Karen DeYoungWashington Post Staff WriterSaturday, March 29, 2008; A11

As U.S. warplanes attacked targets in Basra yesterday, Bush administration officials acknowledged that their hands-off strategy toward southern Iraq in recent years has left them with little knowledge of the conflicts among competing Shiite groups there and few ways of influencing them.

President Bush yesterday hailed the decision of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to launch a full-scale military offensive against militias in Basra as a "defining moment" for his leadership. But other officials said the administration remains unsure of Maliki's motives and warned that the ongoing battle risks sending the country spiraling back toward the cataclysmic violence levels of 2006 and early 2007.

"This is a precarious situation," a senior official familiar with U.S. intelligence in southern Iraq said, with "a lot to be gained and a lot to lose." This official and others said that even as Maliki takes needed military action in Basra, he appears to be positioning himself and his Shiite political allies for dominance in provincial elections this fall.

Competition for power and resources in the oil-rich south has been ongoing for months among the Mahdi Army of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr; the Badr Corps militia of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, the largest single party in the Iraqi parliament; and the breakaway Sadrist movement known as Fadhila. The Shiite groups are opposed and allied with each other in a tangle of national and local issues, with many divisions reflected in factions of the Shiite-dominated Iraqi security forces.

Click on link to read full story.


U.S. military intelligence analysis says forces control less than quarter of Basra
Officials say militia's forces control many cities in Iraq's southeast
Bush called the operation "a defining moment in the history of a free Iraq"
"This is going to go on for a while," one U.S. military official said

From Barbara StarrCNN Pentagon Correspondent

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Iraqi military push into the southern city of Basra is not going as well as American officials had hoped, despite President Bush's high praise for the operation, several U.S. officials said Friday.

A closely held U.S. military intelligence analysis of the fighting in Basra shows that Iraqi security forces control less than a quarter of the city, according to officials in both the United States and Iraq, and Basra's police units are deeply infiltrated by members of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army.

"This is going to go on for a while," one U.S. military official said.

Iraqi forces launched their offensive in Basra this week. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was personally overseeing operations in the southern city against what government officials called "rogue" or "outlaw" militia elements, most loyal to al-Sadr.

During a joint news conference Friday with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Bush called the operation "a defining moment in the history of a free Iraq," saying the government is fighting criminals there. Watch more of Bush's comments »

"It was just a matter of time before the government was going to have to deal with it," he said.
The president also hailed the operation as a sign of progress, emphasizing that the decision to mount the offensive was

"It was his military planning; it was his causing the troops to go from point A to point B," Bush said. "And it's exactly what a lot of folks here in America were wondering whether or not Iraq would even be able to do it in the first place. And it's happening."

But since the beginning of the government offensive four days ago, violence also has picked up in a wide area of southern Iraq, including in Baghdad's International Zone -- also known as the Green Zone -- which has been targeted by rocket and mortar attacks.

Coalition bombers have joined in the fight, hitting targets in Basra and Baghdad.

The Basra analysis also shows that militia forces control a wide swath of cities in Iraq's southeast, including areas near the airport, where British forces are located, the officials said.

Click here to read full story from link above.


While FOX NEWS, CNN and MSNBC saturate the airwaves with endless reports about Hillary, Obama and McCain, the situation in Iraq is going from bad to worse and the so-called cable news organizations don't give a damn.

How in the world can FOX NEWS, CNN and MSNBC call themselves "news organizations" when all they do is rehash endlessly the same crap about Hillary, Obama and McCain while ignoring the war in Iraq where 160,000 young AMERICANS are now being drawn into the sectarian violence that has erupted all across Iraq?

FOX NEWS, CNN and MSNBC are nothing more than propaganda outlets for the DNC and RNC and not worthy of the title of being "news organizations."

Sadly, the American public are being given the shaft by FOX NEWS, CNN and MSNBC because all three news organizations are run by corporations that have divisions that are in the defense industry and are making a ton of money off the war in Iraq and they don't want it to end, nor do they even want to report on events in IRAQ.

Editorial comment by BILL CORCORAN, editor of CORKSPHERE, the blog that is not in the hands of corporations making money off the IRAQ war and we can tell the TRUTH about what is happening in IRAQ and not be muzzled by CEOs making a pile of money off the war.

The death toll rose above 130 after days of fighting in Baghdad where U.S. forces have been drawn deeper into an Iraqi government crackdown on militants loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

By Peter Graff 56 minutes ago;_ylt=Ao9pwRmdqcQLPhTkhyEIlnVX6GMA

U.S. forces said they had killed 48 militants in air strikes and gun battles across the capital on Friday.

A top Sadr aide said Sadr's representatives had met Iraq's highest Shi'ite religious authority, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, in an effort to end the violence. The Sadr aide, Salah al-Ubaidi, said Sistani called for a peaceful solution.

At least 133 bodies and 647 wounded have been brought to five hospitals in the eastern half of Baghdad over the past five days of clashes, the head of the health directorate for eastern Baghdad, Ali Bustan, said on Saturday.

Health workers say hospitals are overflowing and understaffed in the Sadr City slum, a vast stronghold of Sadr's followers, and a ring of Iraqi and U.S. forces around the area makes it impossible to evacuate the wounded.

More than 300 people have been reported killed and many hundreds wounded in the five days of fighting across southern Iraq and Baghdad since Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki launched a crackdown on Sadr's followers in the southern city of Basra.

In Basra, Mehdi Army fighters controlled the streets, manning checkpoints and openly brandishing rifles, machine guns and rocket launchers.

Maliki has announced he will fight the militants in Basra "until the end." He issued orders to his commanders in Baghdad to pursue militants in the capital with "no mercy."

Washington says the crackdown is a sign the Iraqi government is serious about imposing its will and capable of acting on its own. But government forces have failed to drive Sadr's fighters from the streets.

U.S. forces described a number of gun battles in Baghdad including one in which they said they killed 10 gunmen who attacked a joint U.S.-Iraqi security station. The Americans have used helicopter gunships and artillery.

Mortar bombs and rockets have caused havoc in the capital all week. Strikes on the fortified Green Zone government and diplomatic compound forced the U.S. embassy to order staff to wear helmets and body armor.

A curfew is in place in Baghdad, closing shops, businesses and schools. Residents are confined to their homes in areas where there has been fighting.

The conflict exposes a deep rift within Iraq's majority Shi'ite community, between the political parties in Maliki's government who control the security forces and Sadr's followers who in many areas rule the streets.

Sistani almost never intervenes in politics. His views, if made public, would carry authority among Shi'ites in Sadr's movement and in the political parties that support Maliki.

A spokesman for Sistani in Beirut declined to say whether Sistani was involved in any initiative to stop the fighting.

At one house in Basra, walls were shattered and blood poured into a sewer. Grieving relatives said seven people had been killed in what they believed was an air strike that morning.

A spokesman for British forces said there were no air strikes on Saturday but there had been earlier this week.
The air strikes require U.S. or British teams on the ground to direct them, indications that Western involvement has been growing in what so far has been an Iraqi-led operation.

A main British force of 4,100 troops, which pulled out of Basra in December, has remained on a base outside it and British officials have said they have no plans to retake the city.

Iraqi commanders say they have killed 120 fighters in Basra.

Maliki, who had initially given them 72 hours to surrender, extended the deadline until April 8 for the fighters to turn over weapons in return for cash. They remained defiant.

"We will fight on and never give up our weapons," Mehdi Army deputy military commander in Basra Abu Hassan al-Daraji told Reuters by telephone. "We will not turn over a single bullet."
Fighting has spread to other towns across the south.

Clashes were under way on the western outskirts of Kerbala, one of Shi'ite Islam's holiest cities.

The Iraqi commander in the province, Major-General Raad Jawdat, said his forces had killed 21 "outlaws" and arrested 50 others.

(Additional reporting by Wathiq Ibrahim and Waleed Ibrahim in Baghdad, Aref Mohammed in Basra and Khaled Farhan in Najaf; Editing by Robert Woodward)


A look at an 85-minute period in Iraq on Thursday as violence raged over the government's crackdown against Shiite Muslim militiamen, in which more than 125 people have died.

All incidents were reported by special correspondents for The Times and are based on data from police sources.

11 a.m.: A roadside bomb explodes in north Hillah, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, killing two Iraqi policemen; clashes are reported between Iraqi forces and militiamen in Kifil, 15 miles south of Hillah. Another hits a street near the Iranian Embassy; no casualties are reported.

12 p.m.: A mortar round lands near the National Museum in Baghdad, injuring three civilians and an Iraqi policeman.,1,7660028.story

From the Los Angeles Times

12:05 p.m.: Mortar rounds land in Baghdad's Karada neighborhood, injuring three civilians.

12:10 p.m.: Iraq's army and U.S. forces clash with militiamen in Baghdad's Baladiyat neighborhood; an Iraqi civilian is reported killed.

12:20 p.m.: A mortar round lands on a police checkpoint in east Baghdad, injuring a policeman and a civilian.

12:25 p.m.: A car bomb explodes in Karada, killing two civilians and injuring five.


As Chomsky bluntly states, aggressors have no rights. Our occupation is criminal. What Americans want for Iraq is irrelevant.

By Manila Ryce, The Largest MinorityPosted on March 28, 2008, Printed on March 29, 2008

View video of Noam Chomsky here:

During this election season we’ve already heard Republicans and Democrats alike discussing the best way for America to save face in Iraq, as if the sake of our ego is of enough importance to defy international law. Obama, Clinton, and McCain will all keep troops in Iraq indefinitely, despite the will of the Iraqi people.

That “democracy” we brought them sure isn’t worth a damn when we don’t respect it ourselves. Just as the Palestinians learned when they elected Hamas into power, the will of a people in their own land is only legitimate when it coincides with our imperialistic Western vision for the region.

American politicians are regularly asked what they think the best option is for Iraq. As Chomsky bluntly states, aggressors have no rights.

Our occupation is criminal. What Americans want for Iraq is irrelevant.