Wednesday, August 30, 2006

For Once I Believe General Casey

Hilla Bombing:

Thirteen people were killed and 38 wounded in this bombing*. Amongst the wounded was this child Child in Hila hospital after having had both arms blown offwho lost both his arms. The bombing was of the National Guards recruitment center in the Nader district, a district on Hilla's northern outskirts. Apart from the office itself the target was people queuing to apply for the guards. Some points you should note about this bombing are:

  1. The recruitment centre was set up four days ago.
  2. Its purpose was to boost enlistments by youths from the mainly Shiite areas around Samawa, Karbala and Najaf.

Baghdad - al-Shorja market*

The toll from this bombing at the time of writing is 24 dead and 35 wounded. That's expected to go up as many of the wounded are seriously injured. Moreover the blood, and fuel shortages affecting Baghdad's hospitals about which I most recently wrote here have still not been resolved.

Injured child being taken to hospital after bombingAl-Shorja market in Gumhuriya Street is one of Baghdad's main markets. It's always very busy, very crowded, and is also a pick-up point for travellers going south. The bombing which was at al-Shorja's pedestrian bridge was early this morning when al-Shorja have been very crowded indeed, amongst those present of course as the photograph to the right shows were many children. This market gets bombed fairly regularly and was last hit a few weeks ago. Frankly I'm surprised that the toll is as low as 24 dead and 35 wounded.

The aftermath of a bombing is invariably gruesome and, inevitably perhaps, difficult to describe to people who haven't experienced it. This story from AFP on Yahoo fails to do justice to what the aftermath is like. Not to put to fine a point on it you have to literally pick up the piecesboy picking up pieces of human bodies and putting them in a plastic bag. (Erdla did a posting on precisely this topic back in March):

"The Baghdad market blast came despite a massive security crackdown in the violent Iraqi capital, rattling windows one kilometre (half a mile) away as a plume of dust and smoke climbed above the skyline.

Body parts were strewn across the area. Windows of nearby shops were shattered, two cars were ripped apart and a popular restaurant blown open.

"Firefighters are fighting to quell the fire as many shops are burning," a police officer said at the scene, adding that the bomb had been placed in a bag and partially concealed by a bicycle.

"People are gathering the mobile phones and money of those killed and storing them in a nearby mosque. They were also collecting flesh and body parts in plastic bags," he added."

Baghdad - Karrada Carbomb

The toll from this bombing so far is three civilians were killed and 11 wounded. The bombing method chosen here was a car bomb explosion at a fuel station. Karrada's a fairly upmarket part of Baghdad as I've noted before, more as I've also noted before to the point it's controlled by SCIRI. It's being subjected to increasingly large scale and sophisticated coordinated attacks.

A Few of The Other Reports today:

In Dora Baghad, the recently "pacified" Dora that is, the Dora that's been singled out for "special protection" by the Americans and their greenzone allies, things don't seem to be going all that well:

"The carnage in Baghdad extended even to the Dura district, which has been chosen by US and Iraqi forces for special protection, and violence there will be seen as a setback for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's peace plan.

A medic in the city's Yarmuk hospital confirmed receiving seven bodies, including one of a first lieutenant in the Iraqi army and a senior female official in the justice ministry, after shootings in Dura."

Khor Al-Zubair - a ship sank at Khor Al-Zubair about 40Km west of Basra. One crew member died, the remainder escaped. No reason given for the sinking in the statement by Basra port authorities.

Mosul: Three people were killed and six others wounded in three separate incidents in Mosul.

  • A patrol opened fire on people at dawn who were breaking the curfew.
  • A police patrol was fired upon 4 civilians and one policeman were wounded.
  • Three people sitting at a coffee shop were injured when the coffee shop was attacked by gunmen.

"President" Talabani had a meeting with the South Korean ambassador. And urged South Korean companies to invest in Iraq especially Kurdistan - No surprises there, Talabani is of course Kurdish, and the Kurd's are trying to break free from Iraq lot's of dosh from South Korea would be very helpful. I doubt the South Koreans will take the bait.

Diwaniya update:

Juan Cole has a good roundup on the fighting in Diwaniya - the reports Juan cites confirm what I wrote yesterday in my posting "Another knockout?" that far from being passive during the fighting that the Americans were actively involved including bombing a house. Reports that the police chief was forced to resign have been denied and apparently not only is everything under control but a political solution is well on its way. This doubtless comes as news to the green zone government and their American masters overlords allies who according to this report on Yahoo news have cancelled the agreement:

"Iraqi Defence Minister Abdel Qader Jassim Mohammed canceled a truce between Shiite militia and security forces in the central town of Diwaniyah agreed after fighting left at least 81 people dead on Monday."

American General Casey who according to the same report on Yahoo news said "That battle's not finished yet. There were soldiers that were killed there,"

Now when a senior general in the Badr Brigade Death Squad Protection and Facilitation Forces American army in Iraq comes right out and says that the battle isn't over yet it behoves us all to listen to him. Particularly when as General Casey did, he makes it clear that vengeance is about to wreaked. So for once I believe General Casey.

markfromireland


*Technical note: Contrary to reports that you may see in Western media neither of these were bicycle bombings. That description arises from a mistranslation. This particular method of attack involves rigging a motorbike with explosives. From here on in whenever you read "bicycle" or "bike" bombing in reports from Iraq just substitute "motorbike." - mfi.

Update

Unfortunately I'm horribly short of time today and don't have time to comment on this analysis by AP correspondent Robert Reid Analysis: Taking on al-Sadr carries risk on Yahoo news. For once he seems not to have bought the spin hook line and sinker, which is a minor miracle in itself. Worth a read. - mfi

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