Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Below is the latest information on US casualties in Iraq. You can get more details by clicking on the part in "blue."

Latest Coalition Fatalities
Source: http://icasualties.org/oif/

04/22/08 DoD Identifies Navy Casualty
Airman Apprentice Adrian M. Campos, 22, of El Paso, Texas, was found dead in Dubai on April 21 due to a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Support Squadron 22, which was attached to the USNS Arctic.

04/22/08 MNF: Marines attacked by SVBIED near Ramadi - 2 killed, 3 wounded
Two MNF-West Marines were killed when a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated at an entry control point in the vicinity of Ramadi, Iraq, at approximately 7:30 a.m. April 22. The SVBIED attack wounded three other Marines.

04/22/08 MNF: Marines attacked by IED - 1 killed, 1 wounded
A Multi-National Force – West Marine was killed by an improvised explosive device in Basra, Iraq, April 21. Additionally, one Marine was injured in the attack.

04/21/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Benjamin K. Brosh, 22, of Colorado Springs, Colo., died April 18 at Forward Operating Base Anaconda in Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered in Paliwoda, Iraq, when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device...

04/21/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Lance O. Eakes, 25, of Apex, N.C., died April 18 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1132nd Military Police Company, North Carolina Army National Guard..
04/21/08 MNF: MND-N Soldiers attacked by IED - 2 killed, 2 wounded
Two Multi-National Division – North Soldiers were killed when an improvised explosive device detonated during operations in the Salah ad Din Province April 21. Two Soldiers were also wounded in the attack, as well as two Sons of Iraq members...

U.S. Confirmed Deaths Reported Deaths: 4045 Confirmed Deaths: 4040 Pending Confirmation: 5 DoD Confirmation List


DoD blasted for recruiting felons, not gays
By Andrew Tilghman - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Apr 22, 2008 14:45:10 EDT

Advocates for homosexuals in the military are criticizing the Pentagon for accepting hundreds of felons — including at least 350 into the Marine Corps — while continuing to prohibit gays and lesbians under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

The criticism comes after yesterday’s release of statistics showing a sharp increase in the number of waivers granted for recruits with felony convictions. Between fiscal years 2006 and 2007, the number of felony waivers granted for Marine Corps active-duty recruits jumped by nearly 75 percent, from 208 to 350, Department of Defense data shows.

“This data shines a bright light on the outrageousness and absurdity of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the military watchdog group Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, in a written statement. “On the one hand, the Pentagon is discharging highly-qualified, honest, law-abiding men and women because they are gay, while on the other hand granting waivers to rapists, killers, kidnappers and terrorists. Granting waivers for child molesters and rapists to serve while discharging lesbians and gays is utter madness.”

SLDN is a national nonprofit organization that advocates for allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military and provides legal help for troops affected by the policy.


3 Marines killed, 4 wounded in Ramadi, Basra

Baghdad - Voices of Iraq
Tuesday , 22 /04 /2008 Time 9:18:24

(Ed. Note: This is an update on a story posted earlier)

Baghdad, Apr 22, (VOI)- Three U.S. Marines were killed and four were wounded in two explosions in Basra and Ramadi, the U.S. army said on Tuesday.

“Two Multi-National Force – West Marines were killed when a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated at an entry control point in the vicinity of Ramadi, Iraq, at approximately 7:30 a.m. April 22,” according to a U.S. army statement received by Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI).

“The SVBIED attack wounded three other Marines. Two Iraqi Police and 24 local Iraqis were also wounded in the attack,” the statement added.Ramadi, the capital of Anbar, is 110 km west of Baghdad.“A Multi-National Force – West Marine was killed by an improvised explosive device in Basra, Iraq, April 21,” the U.S. army said in another statement.“

Additionally, one Marine was injured in the attack,” it also said.Basra lies 590 km south of Baghdad.The three deaths bring to 4044 the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq since the beginning of military operations in March 2003.

Of this number, 32 soldiers have been so far killed in April.29 servicemen were killed in February 2008, while 40 were killed in January 2008.December 2007 saw the death of 23, thus becoming the month with the second lowest number of U.S. fatalities after February 2004 during which 20 soldiers were killed.November 2004, which witnessed fierce battles between U.S. forces and armed groups in Falluja city, Anbar province, remains the month that witnessed the highest U.S. death toll with 137.April 2004 comes second with 135, followed by May 2007 during which 126 U.S. soldiers were killed.


Rice: Muqtada a Coward
Najaf Tense; Veterans Depressed, Unemployed
By Juan Cole
21/04/08 "ICH" -- - Ned Parker, Raheem Salman and Saad Fakhrildeen get the story in Najaf, the Shiite holy city south of Baghdad.

The four grand ayatollahs, pillars of middle and upper class Shiite orthodoxy, are fearful of the influence of young Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the millenarian workers and the poor. The authors do not note the irony, but I thought it amusing that both sides were blaming Iran for their troubles, which suggests that the troubles are indigenous. It is an excellent article; I wish it had said more about the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, from which the governor comes, and the Badr Corps, from which the deputy governor comes; both have strong Iran ties and they are the powers that be in Najaf; it is they the Mahdi Army mainly challenges, not just the four grand ayatollahs. Also, they did not say anything about the rumors that the chief grand ayatollah, Ali Sistani, is in bad health.

Rice has her 'bring'em on moment' in Iraq, talking trash to the Mahdi Army and calling Muqtada al-Sadr a 'coward.' Muqtada al-Sadr eluded Saddam Hussein for 4 years after Saddam killed his father and two elder brothers; and in 2004 he twice took on the US military. He may be a lot of things, but he is not a coward.

Has Rice ever said anything about Iraq that was true or useful? Even as she was talking up 'improved security' in Baghdad, mortar shells were falling about her in the Green Zone.Over the weekend there were clashes in Nasiriya between Mahdi Army militiamen and the Iraqi army. Although this official Iraqi government communique suggests that 40 militiamen were killed and 40 captured and does not mention government casualties, I'd take it all with a grain of salt. What is not apparent from the squib is that the Iraqi government is so weak it is having to fight for a toehold in one of its own cities.

Click on ICH link above to read the full article.


BAGHDAD - A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden car at an entry control point to the western town of Ramadi on Tuesday, killing two U.S. Marines and wounding three others, the military said.

Three wounded in Ramadi attack; unmanned drone kills two insurgents
The Associated Press
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24256796/

One civilian was killed and two dozen other residents were wounded in the blast. Ramadi is the capital of the former Sunni insurgent stronghold of Anbar province, and has been relatively peaceful since local tribal leaders joined forces with the U.S. military against al-Qaida in Iraq.

In Baghdad's embattled Sadr City district, an unmanned drone killed two gunmen, while another remote-controlled aircraft crashed south of the capital, the U.S. military said Tuesday.
U.S. Apache attack helicopters and armed Predator drones have been launching daily strikes against militiamen clashing with Iraqi and U.S. troops in Sadr City, a sprawling district of 2.5 million people.

There has been a sharp increase in violence in the country since Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki launched an offensive against Shiite militias in the southern city of Basra nearly a month ago. The fighting quickly spread to Sadr City, one of the strongholds of the Mahdi Army militia of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, to which U.S. and Iraqi forces have laid siege.

Militiamen also have responded by repeatedly shelling Baghdad's U.S.-protected Green Zone, which houses the U.S. Embassy and offices of the Iraqi government.

Last weekend, al-Sadr, who is believed to be in Iran, threatened to declare full-scale war on the U.S.-backed government if attacks on his followers continue. And on Monday, top Sadrists warned that open warfare was a "strong possibility" if the government did not ease the pressure on the Mahdi militia.

A military statement said that a drone spotted two gunmen with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher late Monday and engaged them with a Hellfire missile. Both men were killed.
Roadside bombIn another firefight in Sadr City, U.S. troops were hit by a roadside bomb and then attacked with small-arms fire. Troops returned fire and killed three attackers, a statement said.

But near Iskandariyah, a town 30 miles south of Baghdad, a Shadow reconnaissance drone crashed early Tuesday, local police said. The U.S. military said it was investigating the cause of the crash.
Unlike the much larger Predator, the Shadow is an unarmed lightweight craft equipped with a camera capable of producing color video in daylight and thermal images at night, which it conveys back to controllers on the ground.

AssassinationApril has been a bad month for the drones, which are routinely used to monitor strife-torn areas of the country. Earlier in the month, two Predators crashed in different parts of Iraq and one was lost in Afghanistan. All are believed to have suffered mechanical failure, since insurgents in both countries lack even rudimentary anti-aircraft weapons.

In Basra, a senior aide to Iraq's top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani died on Tuesday, a week after being seriously injured in an assassination attempt. Two other al-Sistani representatives were injured in separate ambushes.

The attacks came just days after a top aide of al-Sadr was killed in Najaf, suggesting the violence could be part of an internal Shiite power struggle.


War News for Tuesday, April 22, 2008

(Ed Note: Click on part in blue or shaded area for further details)

MNF-Iraq is reporting the deaths of two Multi-National Division - North soldier in a roadside bombing in Salah ad Din Province on Monday, April 21st. Two other soldiers and three Iraqis were wounded in the attack.

The British MoD is reporting the death of a soldier from a mine attack between Gereshk and Camp Bastion, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan on Monday, April 21st. One additional soldier war wounded in the attack. Here's the ISAF statement.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Force – West Marine in a roadside bombing in Basra on Monday, April 21st. One Additional soldier was wounded in the attack.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the deaths of two Multi-National Force – West Marines in a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device in Ramadi, Al Anbar Province on Tuesday, April 22nd. Three other Marines, two Iraqi Police and 24 local Iraqis were wounded in the attack.

Security incidents:Baghdad:#1: In Baghdad, a crew from the Biladi television channel were attacked by gunmen in the eastern Zayouna district, according to a statement by the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory group. A reporter, a cameraman and their driver were injured when gunmen opened fire on them. The cameraman, Hamid Hisham, was seriously injured and was to undergo emergency surgery, the group said.

#2: A US aerial weapons team fought with two "criminals" armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers at around 9:00 pm (1800 GMT), killing them both and destroying their launchers, a statement said on Tuesday.In another Monday night incident, a US Apache helicopter fired a missile at gunmen in Sadr City who were carrying rocket-propelled grenade launchers, killing two, Stover said.

#3: At around 10:00 pm, a group of soldiers were hit by a roadside bomb followed by small arms fire in the area, it added. "Soldiers returned the fire and killed three criminals."Lieutenant-Colonel Steven Stover said US soldiers in an M1 Abrams tank and Bradley fighting vehicle had shot and killed three militants late on Monday after a US route clearance vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb.

#4: A U.S. drone aircraft fired a Hellfire missile at a vehicle loaded with RPGs and AK47s, killing two militants in New Baghdad on Monday, the U.S. military said on Tuesday.

#5: U.S. forces killed two armed militants after they attacked a U.S. observation post in Sadr city, eastern Baghdad, the U.S. military said on Tuesday.

#6: Five people were wounded (2 policemen and 3 civilians) in an IED explosion that targeted a police convoy in Zafaraniyah area southeast Baghdad around 8:00 a.m.

#7: Around 8:00 a.m. gunmen assassinated an employee of Baghdad municipality while he was driving his car in Shoala intersection west Baghdad.

#8: Four people have been killed and 40 wounded in Sadr City since Monday morning, hospital and police officials said.

Iskandariya:#1: But near Iskandariyah, a town 30 miles south of Baghdad, a Shadow reconnaissance drone crashed early Tuesday, local police said. The U.S. military said it was investigating the cause of the crash. Unlike the much larger Predator, the Shadow is an unarmed lightweight craft equipped with a camera capable of producing color video in daylight and thermal images at night, which it conveys back to controllers on the ground.April has been a bad month for the drones, which are routinely used to monitor strife-torn areas of the country. Earlier in the month, two Predators crashed in different parts of Iraq and one was lost in Afghanistan. All are believed to have suffered mechanical failure, since insurgents in both countries lack even rudimentary anti-aircraft defenses.

Basra:#1: The Iraqi army and police clashed with militants in northern Basra, Abdul-Karim Khalaf, the interior ministry spokesman, told Reuters. There were no reports of casualties.

#2: An aide to Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, died on Monday of wounds sustained a week ago in a drive-by shooting in Basra, 550 km (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, police said.

#3: A Multi-National Force West Marine was killed by an improvised explosive device in Basra, Iraq, April 21. Additionally, one Marine was injured in the attack.Salahudin Prv:#1: Two American soldiers were killed and two others injured in a roadside bomb attack in Salahudin province, north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said on Tuesday. According to a military statement, the attack occurred on Monday when the soldiers' unit was conducting operations in the province. The blast also wounded two members of a local Awakening council group and a civilian interpreter.

Kirkuk:#1: A police source in Kirkuk province said that a gunman was killed and two others were wounded when an insurgents group attacked a checkpoint in al Sirat village, part of Douz district south of Kirkuk city on Monday evening.

#2: A member in the PUK party and three of his guards were injured in an IED explosion that targeted their convoy in Tayaran intersection in downtown Kirkuk city on Monday evening.

Mosul:#1: Four people were wounded when a car bomb detonated near the Mosul province building on Tuesday, police said. "A booby-trapped vehicle parked off the Mosul city hall went off on Tuesday, wounding four civilians and setting four civilian vehicles ablaze," the source, who asked not to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

A car bomb killed one man and wounded 10 others when it exploded near a provincial government building in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.#2: Gunmen killed a lawyer on Monday when they stormed his house in Mosul, police said.Al Anbar Prv:

Ramadi:#1: A suicide bomber driving a car bomb struck a police checkpoint Tuesday in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi. The suicide bomber targeted a police checkpoint in the district of Sufiya, east of Ramadi, killing and injuring several policemen, a local security official told the Voices of Iraq news agency.Twenty people were wounded, including seven women and six policemen when a water-tanker laden with explosives detonated near a police station in Ramadi, 110 km (68 miles) west of Baghdad, said Major-General Tariq al-Thyabi, police commander for Anbar province.Four civilians were killed and 21 people including three policemen were wounded when a suicide truck bomb targeted a joint checkpoint of Iraqi police and Sahwa council (awakening council) in Sofiyah area in the entrance of Ramadi city west of Baghdad around 10:30 a.m.Two Multi-National Force West Marines were killed when a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated at an entry control point in the vicinity of Ramadi, Iraq, at approximately 7:30 a.m. April 22. The SVBIED attack wounded three other Marines. Two Iraqi Police and 24 local Iraqis were also wounded in the attack.

Afghanistan:#1: An Indian and a Nepalese national working at security training camps in western Afghanistan have been kidnapped, apparently by the Taliban, police and a security firm said Tuesday. Initial investigations found the pair were abducted by Taliban militants late Monday in Herat province, the Afghan interior ministry said. The ministry said both men were Indians, but a US-based company providing security for the Herat training camp where the pair was based identified the missing men as an Indian and a Nepalese national.

#2: A British soldier was killed in the southern Afghan province of Helmand when his vehicle was hit by a suspected mine strike, the British Ministry of Defence said. The British soldier was killed on Monday while his vehicle was providing security to a resupply convoy traveling from the district of Gereshk to Camp Bastion, the main British base in Helmand, the British ministry said.

#3: In a separate incident, four Taliban fighters and three Afghan policemen were killed in a clash in Marouf district of neighbouring Kandahar on Monday night, provincial police officer Mohammad Anwar told a Reuters reporter. The fighting erupted after Taliban attacked a police checkpost, the officer said.

#4: An RAF bomber deliberately destroyed a £10million British spy plane to prevent terrorists accessing its secrets. The unmanned surveillance system, the Reaper UAV, crash landed in Afghanistan during a covert operation. Special forces were dropped in to the crash site by helicopter to recover the plane's top secret data - believed to include a high-intensity camera and computer memory chips. An RAF Harrier jet was then scrambled to blow up the stricken aircraft using a laser-guided bomb in a bid to stop the Taliban from discovering its sensitive data.


The stakes are extremely high. Muqtada al-Sadr and the poor people who live in Sadr City are fed up with the US bombing of their city and are vowing an all out war against the United States military and the Iraq Army. You could cut the tension with a butter knife.



Will Sadr declare open war?

Behind Sadr's warning to the US lies an unavoidable fact: He holds critical cards in Iraq
Tuesday April 22nd, 2008

In this three part story on "Who is Muqtada al Sadr", Senior News Editor Paul Jay introduces the context . . . Sadr's call for all out war until liberation if the attacks on Sadr city do not end.

The Real News Analyst Pepe Escobar introduces Sadr in his own words with clips from a rare interview with Al Jazeera.

Patrick Cockburn, author of the book Muqtada, tells Pepe Escobar that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s recent military offensive against al-Sadr may be an attempt to control the outcome of provisional elections to be held this fall, which al-Sadr and his allies are likely to win. Cockburn concludes a new phase in the war may have started, where large sections of Shia militias enter the fight against US occupation.

Patrick Cockburn is an Irish journalist who has been a Middle East correspondent since 1979 for the Financial Times and, presently, The Independent. Among the most experienced commentators on Iraq, he has written four books on the country's recent history. Cockburn's latest book is Muqtada: Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq.

Transcript:VOICEOVER: The Real Story, with senior news editor of The Real News Network, Paul Jay.PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR:

Last week, the battle of Basra came to a pause when a deal brokered by Iran included Muqtada al-Sadr, the inspirational leader of the Mahdi Army, calling on the militias to withdraw. But in the past few days Iraq government forces, supported by US troops and air power, turned their guns on Sadr City. This is a section of Baghdad where close to 3 million impoverished Shia live. It's a stronghold of support for al-Sadr and the Mahdi Army. In the recent fighting, hundreds of people have been killed, including many civilians. Saturday, in what could be a real defining moment of the US occupation in Iraq, Muqtada al-Sadr, through a spokesman, issued a stern warning:

(CLIP BEGINS)NASSAR AL-RUBAI, SPOKESMAN FOR AL-SADR BLOCK IN NAJAF (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): If the government does not refrain and does not leash the militias that have penetrated it, we will announce an open war until liberation.(CLIP ENDS)

The reason for al-Sadr's move has been reported by The Real News. The people of Sadr City are outraged that their communication with the rest of Baghdad is being cut off, civilians are being killed, and the giant slums turned into a gulag.(CLIPS BEGIN)ABBAS FADHIL, LOCAL RESIDENT (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): I fully support Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr's letter. The Iraqi government and the US Army have destroyed Sadr City. They also harmed the whole Iraqi people in Basra and Sadr city.UM HUSSEIN, LOCAL RESIDENT (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): Why do aircraft and missiles pound us. They destroyed our houses and our properties.(CLIPS END)

A Sadr-led Shia uprising against the US occupation could be the nightmare scenario US military leaders have been afraid of, a perfect storm made up of a united front of Shia and Sunni fighters against the US occupation and the Iraqi government. At center stage, Muqtada al-Sadr. American leaders and media have called him a thug, a terrorist, Iranian-backed one day and an Iraqi nationalist the next. But millions of Iraqis have come to believe his is the loudest voice of the impoverished masses who never shared in the oil wealth of Iraq. The US is hoping al-Sadr will make a deal. When we return, we talk to Pepe Escobar and Patrick Cockburn and try to answer the question: Who is Muqtada al-Sadr?~~~

JAY: I'm joined now by Pepe Escobar, foreign correspondent and analyst for The Real News Network. Who is Muqtada al-Sadr?PEPE ESCOBAR, THE REAL NEWS ANALYST: He's a multifaceted character; he's an incredibly complex character. But one thing we know: the future of the American occupation of Iraq is in his hands. Both Muqtada's father and father-in-law, they were killed by the Saddam regime. As for the other powerful family in Iraq, the al-Hakim family, during Saddam they were in exile in Iran. So we have to keep this in mind all the time. The battle for power in Iraq is not only politics; it's a family war, and it's a class war as well. What you're about to see is Muqtada in his own words. This is a very, very rare interview. Dick Cheney won't agree, but make no mistake about how Muqtada and his millions of downtrodden followers see the American occupation.(CLIP BEGINS)Courtesy: Al JazeeraMarch 29, 2008MUQTADA AL-SADR, SHIITE CLERIC (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION):

The second thing is that the American influence on the Iraqis is even more negative than that of the former Ba'th Party. Therefore, this was occupation, not liberation. I call it occupation. I have said in recent years: Gone is the "little Satan," and in came the "Great Satan."(CLIP ENDS)

But what is the strategic goal of Muqtada and his Mahdi Army? Make no mistake: resistance, followed by liberation.(CLIP BEGINS)AL-SADR: Resistance automatically appears wherever there is occupation. Allah willing, the US will be vanquished, just like it was in Vietnam.(CLIP ENDS)

But resistance does not mean only the Mahdi Army; it means Shiites and Sunnis working together.(CLIP BEGINS)AL-SADR: They are even capable of gradually liberating Iraq, Allah willing, along with some other resistance forces. Obviously, I am close to the Shiites ideologically, but politically, I am close to the Sunnis and the decisions they make.(CLIP ENDS)

Very important—Muqtada wants a unified Iraq, no partition.(CLIP BEGINS)AL-SADR: There are plans to divide Iran--to divide what has already been divided, if I may say so. The Al-Sadr movement must oppose this.(CLIP ENDS)

Let the Bush administration fool no one—Muqtada is not an Iranian agent. Take a look. This is how he refers to a meeting he had with the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.(CLIP BEGINS)AL-SADR: I told him that we share the same ideology, but that politically and militarily, I would not be an extension of Iran, and that there were negative things that Iran was doing in Iraq.(CLIP ENDS)

JAY: So Muqtada al-Sadr is a far more complicated man than we're hearing in the American media.ESCOBAR: Oh, yes, he is. And to separate the man from the myth, I spoke to Patrick Cockburn. Patrick is the Middle East correspondent for the London Independent, and he just wrote a fascinating book about Muqtada. Patrick, first question. Tell me about Muqtada the man. What kind of man is he? What forged his character?PATRICK COCKBURN, AUTHOR: His character, I think, was formed by the fact that his father and two brothers were assassinated in 1999. Almost all his male relatives were killed by Saddam. So he's really somebody who has survived a series of massacres under Saddam Hussein.ESCOBAR: Is he a thinking man?PATRICK: Oh, yes, I think so. You know, there's a journalistic cliché that Muqtada is the renegade cleric, the maverick cleric, the firebrand cleric, or, alternatively, that somehow he's very stupid but has become the leader of this mass movement. I think these are all myths. He grew up in a very political atmosphere as a lieutenant of his father, Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr, who created the Sadrist mass-movement originally in the 1990s, and he ran his father's office, he ran his father's magazine. So he's very street wise. He was brought up in a very political atmosphere, and he has much more knowledge of Iraqi society at the bottom and how its politics works than most people in the present government, the present Iraqi government, who have been in exile for ten, twenty, or thirty years.ESCOBAR: What do you make of recent observations by Petraeus and Crocker that they might consider sitting down and talking to al-Sadr?PATRICK: Well, I think that this is a bit of propaganda. The Americans have been trying to sit down with Muqtada for quite a long time, but certainly over the last year or two; but Muqtada has always refused to speak to them. Now, initially, in the first few years of the occupation, they weren't that interested in negotiating; now they're very interested in negotiating, but Muqtada won't talk to them, except about ending the occupation.ESCOBAR: As you know very well, the official spin in the US is that the surge is a success, and the US must eliminate what they call special groups, which is also code for Mahdi Army or Mahdi Army renegade commanders. Does this have any relationship with reality? Or is it just propaganda?PATRICK: You know, it reminds me of 2003, when Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremer were saying that the guerrillas who were attacking—the insurgents who were attacking the US army were just remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime. I think that it's the same type of propaganda. Violence went down towards the end of last year, and then from January it's been getting worse and worse in Baghdad. We've been having more and more big bombs, suicide bombs. ESCOBAR: It's practically certain that the Sadrists will win the October provincial elections. What happen next?

PATRICK: Well, if we have them. I mean, one of the explanations for the attack on Basra is that Nouri al-Maliki, who represents a small party, Dawa, doesn't have much support, and his main allies, the Supreme Council, the al-Hakim family, know what will happen in the October elections unless they can get tight military control of southern Iraq. You know, if you control a city, you can probably control which way the vote's going to go. Muqtada, from his point of view, really hasn't wanted a direct military confrontation either with the Americans or his Shia rivals backed by the Americans since we had the big siege of Najaf in 2004. His main interest is political, to win politically. Now, al-Maliki I think will try again, but it's evident that he can't do it militarily unless he's fully backed and his campaign is organized and controlled by the US Army. And the result of this—and I don't think this is quite understood outside Iraq—is that the US is entering a second round in the war in Iraq. The first round was really with the Sunni community. That's where the insurgents came from. Now the US is entering a second round, which is against a very large section of the Shia community.

DISCLAIMER:Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


You would never know it by watching FOX NEWS, MSNBC or CNN, but there is STILL a war going on in IRAQ and two US solders have been killed along with 41 Iraqis and another 112 Iraqis wounded.

2 US Soldiers, 41 Iraqis Killed; 112 Iraqis Wounded


At least 41 Iraqis were killed and 112 more were wounded in the latest attacks. Much of the violence involved continued fighting in Sadr City. Two American soldiers were killed.

An IED in Salah ad Din province killed two American soldiers today. Two other American soldiers were wounded along with two Sons of Iraq members and a civilian interpreter.

Meanwhile, a U.S. patrol was blasted by an IED, but casualties are as yet unreported.

In Baghdad, four dumped bodies were found.

An IED targeting a U.S. patrol in Kadhimiya left one Iraqi killed and three more wounded instead.

U.S. forces killed three suspects who launched an RPG attack at them in New Baghdad. In a separate incident, a roadside bomb killed three policemen and wounded four others, while another bomb injured two civilians, also in New Baghdad.

Three council-members, one a female, were injured in separate incidents when bombs were attached to their cars. Two roadside bombs in Mansour left no casualties.

Clashes in Zayouna left eight wounded, while a roadside bomb killed one person and wounded five others.

Mortars in the Green Zone left no casualties. Missiles struck the Supreme Council and Salhiyah compounds, but no casualties were reported.

In Mashtal, mortars injured two people, while clashes injured five others. Also, seven Iraqi soldiers were wounded during a security operation that freed a hostage.

In Sadr City, U.S. drones killed four people using Hellfire missiles yesterday. Meanwhile, U.S. soldiers killed one suspect and wounded two others after a U.S. observation post was fired upon. Hospitals in the area reported receiving 14 corpses and 55 injured.

A female suicide bomber attacked an Awakening Council (Sahwa) post, killing four people and wounding five others in Baquba.

A roadside bomb in Kirkuk killed a policeman and wounded four more. A Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) official and four escorts were injured in another bombing.

In Mosul, the body of a 16-year-old male was discovered. Two civilians were injured when security forces engaged in a controlled detonation of a bomb. Two policemen were injured during a roadside bombing. The body of a kidnapped driver was recovered and a civilian was shot to death.

A police officer was killed today in Suleiman Beg.

In Basra, a local council-member was gunned down in front of his home. Authorities arrested a wanted gang member.

No casualties were reported in Kanaan after a suicide bomber attacked a joint U.S.-Iraqi checkpoint.

Also, an unmanned U.S. drone crashed near Mussayib.


In a last ditch effort to try and roundup the Jewish vote, Senator Hillary Clinton has said she would launch an attack on IRAN if they were to attack Israel.

Clinton warns Iran of nuke response
Senator: ‘Massive retaliation’ for attack on Israel would likely include NATO

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed Monday that as president she would be willing to use nuclear weapons against Iran if it were to launch a nuclear attack on Israel.

Clinton’s remarks, made in an interview on MSNBC’s “Countdown With Keith Olbermann,” clarified a statement she made last week in a Democratic presidential debate in Philadelphia. In that debate, Clinton, D-N.Y., said an Iranian attack on Israel would bring “massive retaliation,” without defining what the phrase meant.

In the interview Monday, Clinton affirmed that she would warn Iran’s leaders that “their use of nuclear weapons against Israel would provoke a nuclear response from the United States.”
She said U.S. allies in the Middle East were being “intimidated and bullied into submission by Iran,” raising the prospect of an “incredibly destabilizing” arms race in the region.

“I can imagine that they would be rushing to obtain nuclear weapons themselves” if Iran were to develop a nuclear arsenal, she said.


There has been a huge blast in the Iraq Foreign Ministry Building in Baghdad just minutes ago. There are no reports of casualties, but the building was filled with employees when the blast occurred.

Blast in Iraq Foreign Ministry building
Tue, 22 Apr 2008 09:17:23

A bomb explodes in Iraq's Foreign Ministry building.A powerful bomb blast has ripped through Iraq's Foreign Ministry compound in central Baghdad, destroying a section of the building.

There was no immediate word on casualties; however, given the intensity of the blast, it is likely to have resulted in deaths or injuries, an informed Iraqi source told Fars news agency on Tuesday.

According to the source, the bomb had been placed in an employee's car in the ministry's parking area. Iraqi security forces have cordoned off the streets leading to the ministry and Baghdad's fortified Green Zone.

The source added that the Iraqi government withholds information pertaining to the blast due to the current circumstances governing the country. Iraqi ambassador to Tehran has not confirmed the blast.


The followers of rebel cleric Muqtada al-Sadr are primed and ready and eager to get into a fight with US forces in Baghdad's Sadr City. It is just a matter of time until the lid blows off this pressure cooker and all hell breaks loose and US forces are going to be right in the middle of the fight to the finish.

Shiite cleric's followers ready to fight
Story Highlights
Shiite cleric's followers ready to fight Iraq government
Muqtada al-Sadr's movement calls on Iraq government to stop attacks
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticizes al-Sadr for hiding in Iran

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's movement is "ready for all options" in a growing confrontation between his followers and the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a spokesman said Monday.


Nassar al-Rubaie said the rival parties that dominate Iraq's government failed to meet conditions al-Sadr laid down in his March 30 declaration that temporarily halted fighting between Shiite militias and government forces in the southern city of Basra.

He said responses from members of the United Iraqi Alliance who have served as mediators in the confrontation have not met "the level of seriousness required by the Sadrists."
"We reviewed reactions to Sayyed Muqtada al-Sadr's latest statement, and we are ready for all options," said al-Rubaie, one of the 30 Sadrist lawmakers in Iraq's 275-member parliament.
Al-Sadr ordered his fighters in Basra to stand down and cooperate with government forces in the March 30 declaration, but called on the government to free non-convicted prisoners from his movement, stop what he called "illegal" raids on his followers and launch new public works projects across the country.

The warning comes amid renewed clashes between government troops and police and al-Sadr's followers south of Baghdad. Saturday, al-Sadr issued what he called a last warning to the government and told his followers to fight the "occupier" in his Baghdad stronghold of Sadr City.
Al-Maliki's government has called on the cleric to disband his militia, the Mehdi Army, or see his supporters barred from public office. Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh warned Sunday that "Iraq cannot be the new Somalia," with armed groups overshadowing its politics.

But al-Sadr's followers say the government's U.S.-backed crackdown on militia fighters in Basra and Baghdad is an effort to weaken the cleric's movement ahead of provincial elections scheduled for August. Sadrist lawmaker Fawzi Tarzi said Sunday that calls to disband the Mehdi Army "will mean the end of al-Maliki's government."

During a visit to Baghdad on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ridiculed al-Sadr's warning of renewed warfare, accusing the cleric of hiding in Iran while his supporters fight in the streets.

"I guess it's all-out war for anybody but him," Rice told reporters at the U.S. Embassy. "I guess that's the message. His followers can go to their deaths, and he'll sit in Iran."

Al-Rubaie responded Monday that al-Sadr is "a true leader," regardless of where he is.
"Whether he is here or not, he is a true leader and is aware of everything that happens," he said.