Tuesday, June 10, 2008


When this blogger wants to know the TRUTH about what is happening in Iraq, I turn to legitimate news sources overseas rather than depending on the mainstream media in the United States who have copped out on coverage of the Iraq war.

Here is a link to a story from the BBC that sums up the death toll in Iraq: Military and civilian.



It is beginning to look like the Bush admnistration pushed to hard to establish 53 permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq.

U.S. security talks with Iraq in trouble in Baghdad and D.C.

Leila Fadel and Warren P. Strobel McClatchy Newspapers
last updated: June 10, 2008 08:39:59 PM


BAGHDAD — A proposed U.S.-Iraqi security agreement that would set the conditions for a defense alliance and long-term U.S. troop presence appears increasingly in trouble, facing growing resistance from the Iraqi government, bipartisan opposition in Congress and strong questioning from Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

President Bush is trying to finish the agreement before he leaves office, and senior U.S. officials insist publicly that the negotiations can be completed by a July 31 target date.

The U.S. is apparently scaling back some of its demands, including backing off one that particularly incenses Iraqis, blanket immunity for private security contractors.

But meeting the July 31 deadline seems increasing doubtful, and in Baghdad and Washington there is growing speculation that a United Nations mandate for U.S.-led military operations in Iraq may have to be renewed after it expires at the end of 2008.

On Capitol Hill, top Democrats and Republicans complain that Bush is rushing the negotiations to try to tie his successor's hands.

Click on link to read full story.


It's never a dull day in Iraq, but if you were to watch cable news or read the newspapers you would think the Iraq war was over. Here are just a few developments out of Iraq from Noon Monday until late Tuesday. Click on BLUE for additional details.

Source: http://www.aswataliraq.info/look/english/index.tpl

Agreement with Iraq requires no Senate approval
Baghdad, Jun. 10, (VOI) – David Satterfield, U.S. State Department's Coordinator for Iraq, on Tuesday said that the bipartisan long-term agreement between Iraq and the U.S., currently being debated, will be executive, legal, and international between two sides.

15 killed, 26 injured in violent acts in Iraq
Baghdad, Jun 10, (VOI) - A total of 15 persons were killed and 26 others were wounded, while security forces arrested 59 people in acts of violence that took place throughout Iraq from 2:00 p.m. on Monday until Tuesday afternoon, security sources said.


The Bush administration is trying to see the American public on the idea that constructing 53 permanent military bases in Iraq will be no different that what has been done in Germany and Korea since the end of both wars over 50 years ago.

There is, however, a very big difference.

Troops in Germany and Korea have not been caught in sniper fire, mortar fire or IED's exploding every time they go out on patrol.

Nobody can guarantee there won't be attacks on U.S. troops because the nature of Iraq is such Al Qaeda, terrorists and insurgents will lay down their weapons and stop trying to kill Americans.


Talks to keep U.S. troops in Iraq provoke ire

Proposal to extend America's military role years into the future meets lawmaker resistance, from Washington to Baghdad.

By Howard LaFranchi Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the June 10, 2008 edition


Washington - An agreement the United States is negotiating with Iraq on the conditions for the long-term stationing of American forces there is under fire from national legislative leaders in both countries.

At the same time, an accord that would permit the US to keep soldiers on Iraqi soil for years to come – the same kind of agreement that governs the US military presence in South Korea, Japan, and Germany – faces criticism from some of Iraq's neighbors, especially Iran.

Some Iraqi parliamentarians fear the proposed agreement would keep Iraq an occupied country and a venue for the US to fight its battles with Al Qaeda and Iran. Some in the US Congress worry a deal could tie the hands of the next president on Iraq policy. Both groups say the executive branches of the two countries are too tight-lipped about a negotiating process that was supposed to be transparent.

"Any [details] we have about this agreement have come through the media, but what we have learned tells us this agreement is totally unfair to the Iraqi people," says Khalaf al-Alayyan, a Sunni sheikh and parliamentarian leader of the Iraqi National Dialogue Council, a party favoring a US withdrawal. "Whoever has a chance to look at it would realize Iraq [under the proposed agreement] would not just be an occupied country, but as if it were part of the United States."

In a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, four senior members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week accused the Bush administration of reneging on its promise of transparency with the Congress on the negotiating process.

The bipartisan letter said the administration had committed to consulting closely with Congress "throughout the entire process" but that "scant detail" has been forthcoming so far.

The US-Iraq security accord was at the center of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's visit Sunday to Tehran, where he tried to assuage Iranian leaders' concerns about a permanent US presence on their doorstep.

"We will not allow Iraq to become a platform for harming the security of Iran," Mr. Maliki said, according to IRNA, the state-run Iranian news service.

Click on link above to keep reading.

The Maliki government wants the agreement with the US to replace a United Nations mandate for the stationing of foreign forces in the country, which expires at year's end. But its growing economic and political relationship with Tehran is testing its ability to simultaneously pursue a US-Iraqi accord.


It isn't bad enough to have one warmonger pushing for war with Iran, but now Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter Elizabeth has jumped into the discussion and is joining her Dad in an effort to get the United States into a war with Iran.

Elizabeth Cheney has been openly critical of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and disagrees with Rice's plan for working with Iran.

Hawks still circling on Iran


Once again, notably in the wake of last week's annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference and the visit to the capital of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, there's a lot of chatter about a possible attack by Israel and/or the United States on Iran. Olmert appears to have left the White House after meeting with President George W Bush and an earlier dinner with Vice President Dick Cheney quite satisfied on this score, while rumors - most recently voiced by neo-conservative Daniel Pipes - that the administration plans to carry out a "massive" attack in the window between the November elections and Bush's departure from office, particularly if Democratic Senator Barack Obama is his successor, continue to swirl around the capital.

What to make of this? Is this real? Or is it psychological warfare designed to persuade Tehran that it really does face devastation if it doesn't freeze its uranium-enrichment program very, very soon and/or to warn Russia and China that they have to put more pressure on Tehran or deal with the consequences of such an attack? As I mentioned in a previous post, I've generally been skeptical of the many reports over the past two years that an attack - either by Israeli or the US - was imminent, as those reports had often warned at the time of their publication. After the release of the December National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), I, like just about everyone else, became even more doubtful that Bush would order an attack before leaving office (and I didn't think the Israelis would mount an attack without a green light from Washington).

This is in part because neo-conservatives, who had been and remain the most eager champions of military action, seemed to simply give up on Bush and, in any event, were not showing any signs of orchestrating a major new media campaign to mobilize public opinion in that direction, as they did in the run-up to the Iraq invasion.

Then there is the "Cheney" role which is becoming more prominent. I am referring not only to Olmert's dinner with Cheney last Wednesday evening in which the two men reportedly addressed "operational subjects", whatever that means. (Remember, it was Cheney's top Middle East aide, David Wurmser, who, during the spring of 2007 when the realists were clearly in the driver's seat, was shopping around to sympathetic think-tanks a scheme - from which the vice president's office was later forced to disassociate itself - for forcing Bush into war with Iran by getting Israel to launch a cruise missile attack on some Iranian nuclear facilities and counting on Tehran to retaliate against US forces.) In other words, Wednesday's dinner was not just a courtesy call; the Israelis clearly believe that Cheney is a player.

But I am also referring to another Cheney, namely Elizabeth, the former deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs and Cheney's daughter, who, during the opening plenary session of the AIPAC conference last Monday, took every opportunity to attack the policies of her former boss, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Liz was particularly harsh on Rice's pet project, the effort to gain at least a framework peace accord between Israel and the Palestinian Authority before Bush leaves office, arguing that the Annapolis Middle East peace process was a waste of time compared to the importance of dealing with Iran in what she called a "zero-sum game". "When we focus on that kind of arrangement [Israeli-Palestinian peace talks], we don't have time to focus on Iran," she declared, suggesting as well that Tehran's leadership was not "rational" and that previous efforts to engage it had also been a waste of time, or worse.

Iran needs to be convinced that if it doesn't heed United Nations Security Council demands to halt enrichment, "They will face military action. We do not have the luxury of time," she said to (surprisingly) scattered applause.

Third, Liz Cheney's remarks should be seen in the context of a more concerted attack by the hawks on Rice of which the recent hatchet job by the Weekly Standard's by Stephen Hayes, the vice president's favorite reporter, was perhaps the most important piece. Hayes accused Rice of betraying the Bush Doctrine and focused much of his essay on her backing for US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill's negotiations over the past year with North Korea, on which the State Department has already been forced on the defensive. Now comes Liz's top-to-bottom repudiation of Rice's Middle East policy - from favoring Palestinian elections in 2006, to initiating the Annapolis summit in Maryland last year and then inviting Syria to attend it, to welcoming last month's Doha agreement on Lebanon.

All of which, she charged, had given Iran a "real choke-hold on the region". Now, I don't think there can be any question that the views of both Hayes and Liz reflect those of the vice president. Moreover, because their closeness to the vice president is so clear and unmistakable, the fact that these views are so harsh and so public suggests to me that Cheney feels more confident than he has felt for some time. Moreover, the campaign to discredit Rice seems to have hit its mark. Not only did she sound defensive in her own speech to AIPAC last Tuesday morning, but she assumed a more-hawkish tone on Iran than she had previously.

Click on link to read the rest of this story.


Yahoo and AP http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/iraq;_ylt=AjSnGGMWaYrKKbSpeKHuTjNX6GMA are reporting the deal is nearly set to establish permanent U.S. bases in Iraq long after the UN security mandate expires next summer.

I've heard a lot of arguments about how we have had troops in Germany and Korea for 50 years and that is true, but there is one glaring difference. Nobody is taking potshots at our troops in Germany and Korea, but if we establish permanent bases in Iraq the GIs assigned to the area will be under constant fire from insurgents, terrorists, militants or you name it.

Whoever came up this idea must have been out to lunch on the day the lecture was held on how a guerrilla war is fought.


US: Iraq security pact can be finalized in July

By BUSHRA JUHI, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 17 minutes ago

BAGHDAD - The U.S. State Department's top Iraq adviser said Tuesday he believes an agreement to establish a long-term security relationship between Iraq and the United States will be completed by the end of July.

"We're confident it can be achieved, and by the end of July deadline," David Satterfield told reporters in Baghdad's U.S.-guarded Green Zone.

The pact also would provide a legal basis for keeping American troops in Iraq after the U.N. mandate expires at the end of the year.

But tempering the optimism were recent reports in Iraq and Washington that the talks had stalled because of stiff Iraqi opposition, and it would not be finished before President Bush leaves office.

A senior Bush administration official close to the talks told The Associated Press on Monday that it was "very possible" the U.S. may have to extend the existing United Nations mandate.

Iran also has lashed out at the agreement, suggesting that if permanent U.S. military bases are established on Iraqi soil, the country could be used as a launching pad for attacks on the neighboring country.

Satterfield disputed that Tuesday, saying Washington "does not think Iraq should be an arena, a platform for attacks on other states."

"We want to see Iraqi sovereignty strengthened, not weakened," Satterfield told reporters.
Meanwhile, the head of Saddam Hussein's tribal clan was killed Tuesday by a bomb planted on his car, Iraqi police said.

Sheik Ali al-Nida was the 65-year-old chief of Iraq's al-Bu Nasir tribe, a large Sunni Arab clan of about 20,000 members, including Saddam's family.

Al-Nida and one of his guards died when a bomb glued to the undercarriage of his car exploded as they drove through the Wadi Shishain area of Tikrit, a mostly Sunni Arab city about 80 miles north of Baghdad, an officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to media.

Three other guards were seriously wounded, the officer said.

As the head of the clan, al-Nida received Saddam's body after his 2006 execution and arranged the former dictator's funeral. In 2007, he founded a so-called Awakening Council in Saddam's home village of Ouja, partnering with U.S. forces to fight Sunni militants in the area.
Members of Saddam's tribe have been targeted before, but it was unclear whether it was because of their ties to the former Iraqi dictator or because of long-standing tribal rivalries.
Al-Nida's brother, Mahmoud al-Nida, was shot dead by unknown gunmen in the summer of 2006.

U.S. and Iraqi military operations continued in Baghdad Tuesday with Iraqi soldiers cordoning off an area to search houses following a tip militants were hiding there, an officer said.
An AP reporter at the scene said a suspected car bomber rammed into the fence of a house before gunmen burst out of the vehicle running. A gun battle erupted with Iraqi soldiers killing at least one of the men. Two others escaped and a fourth wounded man was arrested.
Afterward, the dead man's body lay in the street, covered with a newspaper. Blood pooled nearby.