Sunday, March 30, 2008


It isn't often on TV anymore you get to see what our young fighting men and women are going through in Iraq, but this short video gives you an idea what it is like to be on patrol in an Iraqi city when you come under heavy fire. Look at the faces of these brave young warriors. They might have been your next door neighbor or maybe even a relative or a loved one.


The actual number of GIs killed in Iraq is 4,o10 accoreding to the Associated Press which is higher that what the Department of Defense is saying. The DoD puts the figure at 4,000.

Here is a list of countries engaged in the Iraq war and the deaths from each country:

US military deaths in Iraq at 4,010

By The Associated Press 2 hours, 25 minutes ago

As of Sunday, March 30, 2008, at least 4,010 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes eight military civilians. At least 3,261 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

The AP count is 10 more than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Friday at 10 a.m. EDT.

The British military has reported 176 deaths;
Italy, 33;
Ukraine, 18;
Poland, 21;
Bulgaria, 13;
Spain, 11;
Denmark, seven;
El Salvador, five;
Slovakia, four;
Latvia, three;
Estonia, Netherlands, Thailand, Romania, two each;
and Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, South Korea, one death each.


For months and months, President Bush, Vice President Cheney and their puppet news outlet, FOX NEWS, have been promoting going to war with IRAN.

But now there is word a top Iranian General is the one who brokered the cease-fire between Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehadi militia and the insurgents in Basra.

Iranian general played key role in brokering Iraq cease-fire

Leila Fadel McClatchy Newspapers
last updated: March 30, 2008 10:25:48 PM

BAGHDAD — Iraqi lawmakers traveled to the Iranian holy city of Qom over the weekend to win the support of the commander of Iran's Qods brigades in persuading Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr to order his followers to stop military operations, members of the Iraqi parliament said.
Sadr ordered the halt on Sunday, and his Mahdi Army militia heeded the order in Baghdad, where the Iraqi government announced it would lift a 24-hour curfew starting early Monday in most parts of the capital.

But fighting continued in the oil hub of Basra, where a six-day-old government offensive against Shiite militias has had only limited gains.

So far, 488 people have been killed and more than 900 wounded in the offensive, Iraqi Interior Ministry officials said.

The backdrop to Sadr's dramatic statement was a secret trip Friday by Iraqi lawmakers to Qom, Iran's holy city and headquarters for the Iranian clergy who run the country.

There the Iraqi lawmakers held talks with Brig. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, commander of the Qods (Jerusalem) brigades of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and signed an agreement with Sadr, which formed the basis of his statement Sunday, members of parliament said.

Click on link to read the rest of the story.


This video shows what it is like to be part of a medic evac team in Iraq assigned to the 86th Combat Hospital. The footage is intense, but something we feel people should see because the mainstream media in the United States has chosen to blot out all footage of the Iraq war and instead replace it with endless "talking heads," who have never seen a day of combat, going over and over what Hillary said or Obama said or what McCain is doing.

This video of a medic team in action tells the TRUE story of what is happening in Iraq, a story that unfortunately is not being told.


We are posting this video of enemy troops in combat in Iraq to give our readers an idea what it is our young men and women are fighting in Iraq. After viewing this video, you will be asking yourself why the mainstream media in the United States refuses to air video such as this so the American public can see the type of enemy we are fighting in Iraq.


We are publicizing this video with a warning that it is very graphic and shows the legacy of Bush's war on Iraq and what it has done to the children of Iraq. The scenes are heart-breaking and the footage of children begging in the streets of Baghdad is a gripping testimony to the war that Bush felt had to be waged to save the Iraqi nation. The video will tear your heart out, and at the same time it should make you furious with what Bush and his warmongers have done to Iraq. The children are always the innocent victims of any war and this video clearly depicts what has happened to many of the children of Iraq since Bush decided to invade and occupy Iraq. How did hurting these children like the U.S. has done make the U.S. safer? It hasn't and the video is a living testimony to Bush's War---a war that NEVER had to be fought.


If you were to watch FOX NEWS and the rest of the cable news media, you would get the idea that a cease-fire in Basra has brought the fighting to halt.

Don't be fooled.

There are still battles taking place in Basra, but the difference is the media has once again drawn a curtain down on what is taking place in the second largest city in Iraq.

March 30, 2008

Shiite Militias Cling to Swaths of Basra and Stage Raids


BAGHDAD — Shiite militiamen in Basra openly controlled wide swaths of the city on Saturday and staged increasingly bold raids on Iraqi government forces sent five days ago to wrest control from the gunmen, witnesses said, as Iraqi political leaders grew increasingly critical of the stalled assault.

Witnesses in Basra said members of the most powerful militia in the city, the Mahdi Army, were setting up checkpoints and controlling traffic in many places ringing the central district controlled by some of the 30,000 Iraqi Army and police forces involved in the assault. Fighters were regularly attacking the government forces, then quickly retreating.

Senior members of several political parties said the operation, ordered by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, had been poorly planned.

The growing discontent adds a new level of complication to the American-led effort to demonstrate that the Iraqi government had made strides toward being able to operate a functioning country and keep the peace without thousands of American troops.

Mr. Maliki has staked his reputation on the success of the Basra assault, fulfilling a longstanding American desire for him to boldly take on militias.

But as criticism of the assault has risen, it has brought into question another American benchmark of progress in Iraq: political reconciliation.

Security has suffered as well.

Since the Basra assault began Tuesday, violence has spread to Shiite districts of Baghdad and other places in Iraq where Shiite militiamen hold sway, raising fears that security gains often attributed to a yearlong American troop buildup could be at risk. Any widespread breakdown of a cease-fire called by Moktada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric who founded the Mahdi Army, could bring the country back to the sectarian violence that strained it in 2006 and 2007.

“We don’t have to rush to military solutions,” said Nadeem al-Jabiri, a Parliament member from the Fadhila Party, a strong rival of Mr. Sadr’s party that would have been expected to back the operation, at least on political grounds. Instead of solving the problems in Basra, Mr. Jabiri said, Mr. Maliki “escalated the situation.”

For the third straight day, the American military was reported to be conducting airstrikes in support of Iraqi troops in Basra. Iraqi police officials reported that an American bombing run had killed eight civilians.

Go to link to read the rest of the New York Times article.


The Bush White House and their propaganda branch, FOX NEWS, are in full spin trying desperately to try and put the best face on the ongoing fighting in Iraq. The curfew on Baghdad will be lifted Monday morning and the Muqtada al-Sadr Mehadi militita has declared a cease-fire in Basra, but all of this could be just a smokescreen and a pause in the fighting until the insurgents and militias regroup and begin their next offensive.

Anyone who believes what Bush and FOX NEWS are saying about the war in Iraq are not only naive but they should be pitied.

ANALYSIS: Iraq fighting a reality check

By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer 32 minutes ago

The Iraqi capital locked down by curfew. U.S. diplomats holed up their workplaces, fearing rocket attacks. Nearly every major southern city racked by turmoil. Hundreds killed in less than a week.

A declaration Sunday by Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to pull his Mahdi Army fighters off the streets may help bring an end to the wave of violence that swept Baghdad and Shiite areas after the government launched a crackdown against militias in Basra.

That will ease the violence which has claimed more than 300 lives. But it won't bring an end to the power struggle between Shiite parties that triggered the confrontation.

Nor will it ensure government control of Basra, Iraq's second-largest city and headquarters of the vital oil industry.

And it could leave Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki politically weakened because he put his prestige on the line with promises to crush Basra's "criminal gangs," some of which he said were "worse than al-Qaida."

The crackdown has already dragged the United States into a bloody inner-Shiite fight at a time when the U.S. administration would prefer to talk about success against Sunni extremists and to argue that Iraq is finally on the road to stability.

Instead, the bloody confrontation serves as a reality check about the situation in Iraq — even as the top U.S. officials in Baghdad prepare to brief a skeptical Congress for two days starting April 8 about prospects for bringing home the troops and leaving a relatively stable country behind.
President Bush called the Basra crisis "a defining moment" because the Maliki-led Iraqi government was finally taking on the Shiite militias.

But the crisis speaks volumes about the reality of Iraqi society and raises new questions about the effectiveness of the country's leadership as America debates whether continuing the mission here is worth the sacrifice.

Iraqi and American officials portrayed the crackdown as a move to crush outlaw militias — some with close ties to Iran — that have effectively ruled the streets of the country's second-largest city for nearly three years.

Many of those armed groups are without question deep into oil smuggling, extortion, murder and robbery.

But the picture is more complex. It involves deep-seated rivalries within the majority Shiite community.

Numerous other militias and armed groups operate in Basra and elsewhere in the south — some with close ties to political parties in the national and provincial governments.

All signs indicate that the crackdown was directed primarily at the Mahdi Army, the armed wing of al-Sadr's political movement.

The Sadrists believe the goal was to weaken their movement before provincial elections this fall. Al-Sadr's followers expect to make major gains in the regional voting at the expense of al-Maliki's Shiite partners in the government.

The headquarters of the Iraqi army's Basra operation has come under fire regularly since the fighting began. Iraqi commanders have had to turn to the British and American warplanes to take out militia fighters blocking their advance.

At least a dozen police, including some elite commandos, defected to the Sadrists in Baghdad. AP Television News video showed Mahdi fighters in Basra unloading weapons from an Iraqi army vehicle.

The vehicle didn't have a scratch on it, suggesting it was either abandoned by the Iraqi soldiers or delivered to the Mahdi Army.


General David Petraeus Petraeus reacted immediately to Sunday's rocket attacks on the Green Zone by blaming them on Iran.

He told the BBC the rockets were "Iranian provided, Iranian-made rockets", and that they were launched by groups that were funded and trained by the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Petraeus said this was "in complete violation of promises made by President [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad and other most senior Iranian leaders to their Iraqi counterparts.

"Petraeus statement was clearly intended to divert attention from a development that threatens one of the two main pillars of the administration's claim of progress in Iraq -- the willingness of Sadr to restrain the Mahdi Army, even in the face of systematic raids on its leadership by the U.S. military and its Iraqi allies.

The rocket attacks appear to have been one of several actions by the Mahdi Army to warn the United States and the Iraqi government to halt their systematic raids aimed at driving the Sadrists out of key Shiite centers in the south. They were followed almost immediately by Mahdi Army clashes with rival Shiite militiamen in Basra, Sadr City and Kut and a call for a nationwide general strike to demand the release of Sadrist detainees.

Sadr Offensive Reveals Failure of Petraeus Strategy

By Gareth Porter, IPS NewsPosted on March 30, 2008, Printed on March 30, 2008

The escalation of fighting between Mahdi Army militiamen and their Shiite rivals, which could mark the end of Moqtada al-Sadr's self-imposed ceasefire, also exposes Gen. David Petraeus's strategy for controlling Sadr's forces as a failure.

Even more pointed was a strong warning from Sadr aide Abdul-Hadi al-Mohammedawi to the United States as well as to the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), whose Badr Organization militiamen, in the uniforms of Iraqi security forces, have targeted the Madhi Army throughout the south. "They don't seem to realise that the Sadrist trend is like a volcano," he told worshipers Friday in Kufa. "If it explodes, it will crush their rotten heads."

The signs that the Madhi Army will no longer remain passive mark a major defeat for the U.S. military command's strategy aimed at weakening the Mahdi Army.


Alive in Baghdad: Sewage problems persist in East Baghdad


We show this segment courtesy of Alive in Baghdad employs Iraqi journalists to produce video packages each week about a variety of topics on daily life in Iraq.
Baghdad, Iraq - Shama’iya - The Shama’iya district is in far east Baghdad, although considered a part of the capital, the sprawling metropolis is perhaps more accurately seen as a series of boroughs than one contiguous city.

Shama’iya is a relatively new district, and, strangely in the crisis-ridden capital, has been relatively calm since the beginning of the invasion. Shama’iya is the home of a large mental hospital, and perhaps the only noteworthy element of the district for many Baghdadis.
To Shama’iya residents, the most noteworthy element is the ever-present sewage water polluting the streets, filling some roads nearly completely. Although you might not know it on first glance, Shama’iya is not simply a neighborhood of the poor and indigent, forgotten by the capital and municipal government. Shama’iya is the home of doctors, engineers, and journalists, as well as more “mundane” peoples.

Iraq is undergoing a cholera epidemic, exacerbated by the failing sewer system in the capital and excess of stagnant sewage polluting Baghdad and much of the rest of the country. While security may be improving, there seems to be little movement to improve access to basic necessities such as clean water and electricity.

Despite being a calm district, which its residents claim has seen no major disasters, terrorist attacks, or other traumatic events, the Baghdad and 9th April Municipalities claim they cannot assist the residents in repairing the broken sewer system due to security concerns.

The residents themselves told Alive in Baghdad the issues are due more to corruption and waste than any actual security issues at hand. While the government fails to rebuild even the calm districts, its left to question how more restive areas can ever hope to get back on their feet.


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

DoD Confirmation List
Latest Coalition Fatality: Mar 29, 2008
03/29/08 MNF: Two MND-B Soldiers attacked by IED
wo Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers were killed when their vehicle was struck by an improvised-explosive device in eastern Baghdad at approximately 5:30 p.m. March 29.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Joshua A. Molina, 20, of Houston, Texas, died Mar. 27 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany.


Graham: We Must Defeat Militias ‘Backed By Iran’ By Siding With Militia Backed By Iran

The U.S. has stepped up its involvement in the intra-Shiite militia fighting in southern Iraq in recent days, air bombing several targets. The Bush administration is supporting the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (ISCI) and the Badr militia, which are aligned with the Iraqi government, against Muqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army.

On Fox News Sunday today, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said the U.S. support was necessary to tame Iranian influence in Iraq:

Now we have a battle with militias who are operating outside the government. … We must win this fight. The militias that we are fighting are backed by Iran. So this is an effort by Iran to destabilize Iraq.

Watch it: Click on this link to watch Sen. Graham make a fool of himself on FOX NEWS SUNDAY:

Graham is trying to oversimplify the situation. In reality, the U.S. is helping bolster Iran’s influence by injecting itself into this fight. Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) explained:

The Iranians have close associations with all the Shia communities, not only with Sadr but also Hakim. … The notion that this is fight by American allies against Iranian-inspired elements is not accurate.

Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations noted the ISCI “was essentially created by Iran, and its militia, the Badr Brigade, was trained and equipped by the Revolutionary Guards” — which the Bush administration calls a “terrorist” organization.

Journalist Gareth Porter added the Badr militia is the “most pro-Iranian political-military forces in Iraq.” In fact, ISCI leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim “met with [Iranian Revolutionary Guard] officers to be his guests in December 2006, apparently to discuss military assistance to the Badr Organisation.”

Graham, underscoring his cluelessness about the situation on the ground right now, added that “the Badr brigade is not the problem.” Graham seems to be supporting an effort to fight Iran by supporting Iran.


The rebel cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered a temporary cease-fire in the fighting in Basra, but the rest of Iraq remains a hotbed of violent outbreaks of bombings, killings and shootings.

Here is what happend on Sunday alone in Iraq:

BaghdadTwo MND-Baghdad soldiers killed by roadside bomb on Saturday. This was announced yesterday, but too late to make it into Whisker's post so I'm linking it here.Note: It appears that the city-wide curfew has affected reporting. Available information is unusually sketchy. I doubt that this is close to a full accounting of security incidents in Baghdad today.

Three volleys of mortar attacks on the Green Zone during the day, no information on damage or casualties.

An Iraqi government official says at least 23 people have been killed in U.S. air strikes targeting Shiite areas of Baghdad. Unfortunately, at this time, I can find only this very limited statement, no further details.Two bodies found dumped on Saturday.

MosulColonel Ziad Qassem Sultan, commander of police 1st regiment and another officer killed in an attempt to arrest members of the Islamic State in Iraq. This is a group the U.S. conventionally labels as "al Qaeda." Yes, this other conflict is still going on.KirkukBotched bomb attack on a police commander kills three civilians.

MuqdadiyaIraqi forces say they killed an "al Qaeda" gunman and wounded four.

Diyala Province, near BaqubaCouncil chief Ibrahim Hassan al-Bajlan survives a bomb attack on his motorcade, two bodyguards killed. Reuters puts this "near Saadiya," which is actually about 50 miles from Baquba.DhuluiyaGunmen attack a police patrol, kill five police officers, injure two civilians.

HillaPolice say they arrested 101 "militants" in various raids.HawijaThree awakening council members injured in a bomb attack on their patrol.NajafRoadside bomb kills one Iraqi army officer, injures two soldiers, on Saturday.Siniya (near Beiji)Suicide car bomber kills 5 "Awakening Council" members, 8 others injured.

Other News of the DayBaghdad residents face food shortages as curfew continues. Excerpt:
By Adam Brookes, BBC News, BaghdadSince the curfew in Baghdad was extended indefinitely, the city has been dotted with military checkpoints.

The curfew means no vehicles at all can move - except for those of the police and military.That, of course, makes it much harder for militiamen to move around. They cannot transport supplies or ammunition. They cannot carry the 107mm rockets that are plaguing this city to launching sites.

If they try, they risk being spotted by American overhead surveillance - perhaps by unmanned drones or helicopters.The American military released graphic footage on Saturday, filmed from the gun camera of an Apache attack helicopter, which showed militiamen on the move. And the missile which killed them.

For Baghdad's civilians, life grows more miserable by the hour. The authorities appear to be allowing a little foot traffic but for the most part Baghdad's streets are empty. Most of its businesses are closed, as are schools. Some neighbourhood markets are open, and in calmer parts of the city people are leaving their houses to shop.But the curfew means no fresh food is coming into the city. The vegetables on the stalls are now several days old, prompting expression of disgust from shoppers. Nonetheless, they are selling out fast as people stock up for the coming days. "Just onions and garlic left," said one after visiting a market in east Baghdad.And prices are starting to rise. A kilo of tomatoes usually costs 1,250 Iraqi dinars (about $1). This morning, at the east Baghdad market, they were selling for 3,000 dinars. A man out shopping said he had fought his way through a crush of people surrounding a stall that still displayed a pile of ageing tomatoes. The boy working the stall refused to serve him, saying he needed to sell to local women who were trying to feed their families.The man found his frustration tempered by the boy's insistence on serving those who needed the food most. Bakers in the same district say that in another two days they will no longer be able to bake bread.

Late on Sunday, the Iraqi government has said they will lift the curfew on Baghdad at 6 AM Monday morning Baghdad time.


Five years after the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, mainstream media is once more making the topic an object of intense scrutiny. The costs and implications of the war are endlessly covered from all possible angles, with one notable exception, the cost to the Iraqi people themselves.Through all the special coverage and exclusive reports, very little is said about Iraqi casualties, who are either completely overlooked or hastily mentioned and whose numbers can only be guesstimated.

(Op-ed) Ramzy Baroud Sunday 30th March, 2008

Also conveniently ignored are the millions injured, internally and externally displaced, the victims of rape and kidnappings who will carry physical and psychological scars for the rest of their lives.We find ourselves stuck in a hopeless paradigm, where it feels necessary to empathise with the sensibilities of the aggressor so as not to sound "unpatriotic", while remaining blind to the untold anguish of the victims. Some actually feel the need to go so far as to blame the Iraqis for their own misfortune.

Baghdad has become the most dangerous city in the world, largely as a result of a U.S. policy of pitting various Iraqi ethnic and sectarian groups against one another. Today, Baghdad is a city of walled-off Sunni and Shia ghettoes, divided by concrete walls erected by the US military," reports Dahr Jamail, one of the few courageous voices that honestly relayed the horrendous outcomes of the war. Indeed, there seem to be no promising statistics coming out of Iraq.

Even under the previous regime and the debilitating sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the UN, Iraqis were much better off prior to the war. Now, Iraqis are relevant only as pawns of endless U.S. government propaganda.

From the viewpoint of Bush, McCain and Cheney, they are the victims of al-Qaeda, which must be fought at all costs. From the viewpoint of Clinton and Obama, they need to fight their own wars and take responsibility for them, as if Iraqi "irresponsibility" is the main problem.

In yet another "surprise visit" to Iraq by a U.S. official, Vice-President Dick Cheney declared that Iraq was a "successful endeavour". Considering the exorbitant contracts granted to selected corporations, the war has indeed succeeded in making a few already rich companies and individuals a lot richer.

Meanwhile, Shlomo Brom, a senior fellow at Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies and former head of the Israeli army's Strategic Planning Division, sees things from a slightly different angle. "Any Iraq will be better than Iraq under Saddam, because the Iraq of Saddam had the ability to threaten Israel," he was quoted as saying in the Christian Science Monitor.

In considering such skewed logic, one can only hope that Cheney's successful experiment will end soon, and that Israel's desire for security is now sated.

The people of Iraq cannot tolerate any more "success."

Ramzy Baroud ( is an author and editor of His work has been published in many newspapers and journals worldwide. His latest book is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle (Pluto Press, London).


The Iraqi Army is sputtering and can't handle the uprising in Basra, and now comes word that the Iraqi government's envoy was rejected by militia rebel Moqtada al-Sadr when he tried to meet with the cleric to talk about a ceasefire.

President Bush had praised the Iraqi Army on Thursday, but now it appears the Iraqi Army can't handle the task of stopping the violence in Basra, Iraq and the U.S. military has been called in to try and bring some kind of peace to the second largest city in Iraq.

On Thursday, Bush had said the Iraqi Army initiative in Basra was a "positive moment," but by Friday Bush had backed away from his flowery language and was calling the Battle for Basra a "defining moment."

Sadr rebuffs Iraq government envoy as offensive sputters

Leila Fadel McClatchy Newspapers

BAGHDAD - After failing to break the resistance of Shiite militias in the five-day siege of oil rich Basra, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki sent a top general to hold talks with his Shiite rival, Muqtada al Sadr, Saturday night only to be rebuffed by the firebrand cleric, an Iraqi official close to the negotiations said.

Maliki denounced Shia militants in Basra as the equivalent of Al Qaida, and Sadr told his supporters not to hand over their arms to a puppet state of the United States.

The diplomatic initiative and the harsh rebuff further eroded expectations for a successful outcome to the offensive, which Maliki is personally directing from the presidential palace in the southern port city. It was not the only sign of problems.

Maliki issued orders Friday to enlist volunteers for the battle against the Shiite militias, and his Dawa party sought to enlist fighters. The U.S. military raised its profile in Basra still further, providing protection for installations including the palace where Maliki is housed, Iraqi Interior Ministry officials said.

There were more U.S. air strikes in the Sadrist stronghold of Sadr City, and local officials said U.S. forces joined Iraqi security forces in clashes against Sadrists lasting hours south of Hilla, which lies south of Baghdad. Meanwhile, Sadr's Mahdi Army militia went door to door in Sadr City with a list of those employed by government security services, demanding that they not report to their jobs, local residents said.

The circumstances in which the negotiations with Sadr took place suggested the government is no longer able to dictate the terms of an agreement with Sadr but now must seek a deal. General Hussein al Assadi, a Baghdad-based commander, traveled to Najaf to call on the head of Sadr's political bureau there, Lewaa Smaisam. From his office, the two men telephoned Sadr, who is believed to be in Iran, where he is studying religion. But they could not reach agreement, an official close to the negotiations said. He would not give his name due to the sensitivity of the subject.


We have been reporting for months how the mainstream media in the United States has backed away from covering events in Iraq. Now there is proof we were right all along.

The media’s Iraq drawdown.»
Eric Alterman and George Zornick document the evidence of the media’s declining coverage of the Iraq war.

They note:
– A study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism found that in all of 2007, the topic of the Iraq war occupied an average of 15.5 percent of the “newshole” in the media; in the last quarter it fell to nine percent, and then to 3.9 percent in the first quarter of 2008.

– The broadcast networks’ nightly shows devoted more than 4,100 minutes to Iraq in 2003 and 3,000 in 2004, before going down to 2,000 a year, according to Andrew Tyndall, who monitors the broadcasts and posts.

– Only two newspapers noted the 4,000th combat death of a U.S. soldier in Iraq.


Saturday: 143 Iraqis, 2 US Soldiers Killed, 230 Iraqis Wounded
Friday: 163 Iraqis, 1 US Soldier Killed, 214 Iraqis Wounded
US Airstrike Kills 8 Civlians in Iraq's Basra

More Airstrikes on Basra
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.

Iraq – Humanitarian situation in Basra and Baghdad
Latest report on humanitarian situation in Iraq. The ICRC is concerned about the humanitarian impact of continued fighting in Basra and Baghdad. Its staff in the two cities say that many people are running out of food and water. Most shops are reported to be closed. The supply of electricity in Basra and in parts of Baghdad is intermittent or has been cut. Hospitals in Basra and in parts of Baghdad have told the ICRC that they are running out of medical stocks, food and fuel. Patients' families are reportedly bringing their own small generators to some hospitals in the capital to ensure sufficient power supplies during treatment.

Iraq: a dangerous walk to work
A white cloth fluttered from the antenna of a car to signal the two men inside were noncombatants. Heavy machine-gun fire resounded in the distance. It reminded me of the early days of the U.S.-led war, now in its sixth year. I had hoped such days were over. Iraqi authorities clamped a curfew on the capital late Thursday as clashes spread between security forces and militia fighters angry over a crackdown in the southern oil port of Basra. That didn't leave people much time to prepare and I was eager to get to the office and give my colleagues a hand. It was a beautiful spring day but most people remained holed up in their homes amid the tensions, venturing out only to buy bread and other necessities in the few stores that were open.

Tense Hours in Iraq's Sadr City
The gunfire struck like thunderclaps, building to a steady rhythm. American soldiers in a Stryker armored vehicle fired away from one end of the block. At the other end, two groups of Shiite militiamen pounded back with heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. American helicopters circled above in the blue afternoon sky. As a heavy barrage erupted outside his parents' house, Abu Mustafa al-Thahabi, a political and military adviser to the Mahdi Army of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, rushed through the purple gate and took shelter behind the thick walls. He had just spoken with a fighter by cellphone. "I told him not to use that weapon. It's not effective," he said, referring to a rocket-propelled grenade. "I told him to use the IED, the Iranian one," he added, using the shorthand for an improvised explosive device. "This is more effective." After nearly a year of relative calm [HUH?? A YEAR??? – dancewater], U.S. troops and Shiite militiamen engaged in pitched battles this week, underscoring how quickly order can give way to chaos in Iraq. On this block in Sadr City, the cleric's sprawling stronghold, men and boys came out from nearly every house to fight, using powerful IEDs and rockets.

Iraq’s never-ending war
All explanations are possible for the current fighting in Basra, the largest city in southern Iraq situated in an area which floats on massive oil riches. But the reality of the situation which tells volumes about what is happening is the fact that war, in the fullest sense of the word, has been raging without interruption in Iraq for the past five years. Over those years, bombing by war planes and shelling by heavy artillery have been raging across the country, telling everyone inside and outside Iraq that conditions for normal life are no longer possible. Amid such circumstances in which villages, towns and cities turn into battle scenes, there are still some whose total state of denial spurs them to speak of successes and achievements.
Every now and then in the past five years, the government or the foreign occupiers would launch massive and bloody operations on Iraqis in major cities such as Karbala, Najaf, Baaqouba, Kut, and Basra and so on and so forth. Fierce fighting takes place inside these cities with the main fodder being innocent Iraqi civilians among them women and children. In the past five years, Iraqis have been paying dearly for the blunders first of the foreigners who came to occupy their country and second of the Iraqis these foreigners have nurtured and supported to run the country.


A new video has been released of an interview with Moqtada al-Sadr talking to Al Jazeera about how he views the battle for Basra and what he and the rest of the Iraqi people think of President Bush.

See video here:


Moqtada al-Sadr, the rebel leader, has ordered his Mahdi army not to lay down their weapons and to defy the orders given by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and give up the battle in Basra, Iraq.

Al Sadr: Weapons stay till occupiers go

Sun, 30 Mar 2008 01:20:55

Moqtada has rejected Mahdi army's disarmament.Moqtada al-Sadr has ordered his followers not to lay down their weapons, confronting a crackdown by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The Iraqi government has ordered the Mahdi Army to disarm, but the Sadrist movement has rejected its armed wing laying down its arms. "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 (US) occupiers," Sadr's aide Hassan Zargani told Reuters. Premier 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.

His defense minister has said the ferocity of the resistance was unexpected.

In the meantime in a rare interview taped just before this week's outbreak of violence and shown by al-Jazeera on Saturday, al-Sadr has called on Arab leaders meeting in Syria to voice their support for Iraq's "resistance" to what he calls foreign occupation.

Al-Jazeera television has shown a brief clip of an interview with the Mahdi Army leader and has said that the full interview will soon be shown.