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In the Name of God بسم الله

hussain 110

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  1. Brother it is clear you lack any knowledge on this topic as you rely on sources which are not credible, it is an advert that upto 600,000 - 1million iraqis have died in the past 5 years, you clearly are biased and just want to use any report to support your view that the past 5 years is worse off. You have disrespected the entire iraqi population by claiming those ridicilious figures, every iraqi family respects the body and when a family member gets murdered we ask for the body back or we go look for it whether it is thrown in the sea, hidden or in the street; hence the real figures come from the cemetry and the hospitals..not from the street liars sources you have. The worse mass killing was the kathmiya bridge bombings and that was 1000 killed. then you have the massacre in the north of iraq where approx 200 yazidis died. on a daily basis between 2005-2007 where the worse killing was approx 30 people a day, now if you count that in a week and then a year it comes to 10,920 people... for 3 years the figures come to 32,720, you want to use worse case scenerio we will use the full 5 years then it comes to around 55,000....okay lets use 100 people a day were dying it doesnt come to 200,000 for the full 5 years as a worse case scenerio. brother please dont lie to the people and spread propaganda from those who have 1 direction of looking into things, if you hate america so much then you fight them with your brain and logic not extreme exaguration and pure lies. I suggest you goto Iraq yourself and speak to the residents there around the country and get some FACTS before you believe some reports based on propaganda.....If i want some facts on syria i wouldnt believe anti syrians would i now? Coming to the 61,000 residents killed in baghdad in saddam 23year rule is comical and a blatant lie, who makes up these figures are clearly ba3thists and supporters of saddam. Just from the lists we found in one districts there was 100,000 murdered , what are you talking about? i suggest you go visit baghdad cemetry and ask for a list of those died from 1980 - 2003 and you will find it much more then 61,000 and then i suggest you goto wadi al salam in najaf and get a full accurate report of those murdered there, not yet the least of the other cemetries and the thousands burnt into ashes and their bodies never to be recoverd again. Hussain 110
  2. Salam Alaikom As for the ignorant who claims that saddam time is better time period than now, then i suggest he really thinks twice and fear Allah and his messenger if he was muslim. As to whether he has actually been to Iraq during saddam time or not is unknown, we will assume he hasnt as his comments do not make sense if one saw what saddam was doing to the iraqis. I pray to Allah to forgive such people for there views and maybe they just dont know what happened for 3 decades, under saddam regime, iraq was not under control, this is a myth, saddam was a dictator and it seems Qa'im is in favour of dictatorship? Subhanallah Under Saddam regime, the kidknapping was happeneing on a daily basis, the bombings were happening in designated areas and it was all unpredicatable to when it will happen, take a look at the videos on torturing in public and private, i suppose you missed how the iraqi football team was brutually tortured for losing their games. or you missed how the TV's, mobile fones, telephones, computers were either banned or heavily monitored? And finally, raids were occuring more or less every day during the 80's and 90's randomly and forcefully using 20-30 army officials who would drag people out of their houses even if they were a friend of a 1000 friend who was just accused of MAYBE disliking saddam. please fear the day of judgement brother and revise your comments as really its not fair for you to say such especially if you havnt been to iraq during 1980-2003 and lived there.. i ask Allah to forgive you Hussain 110
  3. Salam alaikum bro , hope you are doing well, nas2alkum al do3a :)

  4. Baghdad residents venture out on holiday By PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Writer 12 minutes ago Residents of Baghdad packed the capital's parks and amusement rides on Saturday, taking advantage of a lull in violence and the Islamic feast of Eid al-Adha to venture out of their homes in droves. While there have been far fewer attacks across the country in recent months, violence has by no means been eradicated. A suicide car bomb exploded at a checkpoint manned by Iraqi army and police in the western Baghdad neighborhood of Ghazaliyah Saturday afternoon, killing four people and wounding another six, a police officer said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to release information. The dead were two civilians, a policeman and a soldier, while the wounded included two policemen and two soldiers, police said. On the southern outskirts of the capital, a roadside bomb wounded five bystanders near a hospital in the town of Madin, police said. It was unclear what the target was. In Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, another roadside bomb targeting a passing police patrol killed one policeman and wounded two others, local police said. While attacks continue, overall violence has dropped significantly in recent months after the United States sent thousands of troops to the capital. The improving security has been reinforced by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's decision to declare a six-month cease-fire and by the emergence of mostly Sunni tribal militias. Those groups_ known as Awakening Councils, or Concerned Local Citizens — have given U.S. and Iraqi forces a key advantage in seeking to clear extremist-held pockets in and around Baghdad. "I wish peace and prosperity to our beloved country Iraq and hope all our brothers, sons and families who live abroad come back and God willing, during the next Eid all Iraqis will come together and peace, security and brotherhood will prevail," Abdul Jabbar Kadhim, an employee at the Dora oil refinery, told AP Television News as he played with his children in a riverside park. Kadhim and hundreds of others took advantage of the reduced violence and of the brisk sunny day to picnic along the Tigris river. But unlike other parks around the world, people and cars were searched before entering — and some park visitors said that added security gave them the confidence to visit. This month, the U.S. military has reported a 60 percent decline in violence since June. According to figures compiled by The Associated Press, fewer than 600 Iraqi civilians and security forces have been killed so far in December. The figure was 2,309 in December 2006. In the years following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, attacks against civilians in Baghdad led thousands to flee the capital, mostly for neighboring countries. Many of those who remained huddled in their homes and neighborhoods, often behind large cement walls. Many feared the suicide bombers who killed thousands by driving or walking into large crowds or restaurants, drive-by shooters and kidnap gangs that often rounded up more than 100 people at a time. Many of the city's neighborhoods had a deserted feel to them and others were redrawn along sectarian lines. But the volunteer groups that have helped bring a measure of safety are also demanding jobs with the Iraqi security forces. The Shiite-led government has been slow to respond, despite Washington's fears that the tribal support could collapse into chaos without swift integration into the existing forces. Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner, the U.S. military spokesman, said more than 71,000 Iraqis have joined the irregular militia groups. An estimated 21,000 are interested in serving in the Iraqi security forces, he added. Iraq's government has said it will pay to provide vocational training for the rest.
  5. Back to Story - Help British hand over Basra to Iraqi control By LORI HINNANT, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 44 minutes ago British forces formally handed over responsibility Sunday for the last region in Iraq under their control, marking the start of what Britain hopes will be a transition to a mission aimed at aiding the economy and providing jobs in an oil-rich region beset by militia infighting. With the handover of Basra, an overwhelmingly Shiite region home to most of Iraq's oil reserves, nine of the country's 18 provinces have reverted to Iraqi government control. "I came to rid Basra of its enemies and I now formally hand Basra back to its friends," the commander of British forces in Basra, Maj. Gen. Graham Binns, said shortly before he added his signature to papers relinquishing responsibility for the region in Iraq's far south. "We will continue to help train Basra security forces. But we are guests in your country, and we will act accordingly." Mowafaq al-Rubaie, Iraq's national security adviser, said his government was ready and called on Basra's citizens to work together. "Your unity is essential in rebuilding your city. You have to come together and unify — Sunnis, Shiites, Muslims and non-Muslims and nationalists," he said. Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, the No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq, said the handover was "the right thing to do" for southern Iraq, but American officials worry that a power vacuum could heighten the influence of Iran and threaten land routes used to bring ammunition, food and other supplies from Kuwait to U.S. troops to the north. "What we have to watch is undue Iranian influence," Odierno told a small gathering of reporters in Baghdad. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who also attended the handover ceremony, said Britain would remain a "committed friend" of Iraq. But he acknowledged Britain was not handing over "a land of milk and honey" to local forces. "This remains a violent society whose tensions need to addressed, but they need to be addressed by Iraqi political leaders, and it is politics that is going to have to come to the fore in the months and years ahead," he told the British Broadcasting Corp. President Bush predicted in January that Iraq would assume control all of its provinces by November, but the target date has slipped repeatedly, highlighting the difficulties in developing Iraqi police forces and the slow pace of economic and political progress. American forces retain control of nine of Iraq's provinces, including Baghdad and some of the country's most volatile areas, such as Diyala and Anbar. Binns said British forces would remain to help the Iraqis. "Our help will continue to be one of assistance, not interference. To support, not to direct. To listen, not to ignore," Binns said. "This will be achieved by actions, not just by words. This is our promise to you, the people of Basra." In Baghdad, there was some skepticism that Iraqi forces were ready to take control in Basra, but many agreed that the handover was a positive sign. "I hope it will be followed by similar steps across the country. Such steps are good for Iraqis," said Awatif Qazaz, a Baghdadi woman. In a further sign of the Iraqi government gains, the first Baghdad-Basra train since the 2003 invasion left the capital Sunday for the southern city, Iraq's second largest. Britain's participation in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the ongoing presence of troops is deeply unpopular in Britain — as is the $12 billion annual cost of operations there. A total of 174 British personnel have died in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion. British officials have said they will retain the ability to help Iraqi troops quickly if widespread violence erupts, but they are also reducing the number of troops in the country from 4,500 to 2,000 by spring. In the months soon after Saddam Hussein was toppled, there were about 40,000 British troops in Iraq. The main players in Basra and southern Iraq are the powerful Shiite entities — the radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia; Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, leader the largest Shiite political party and the Badr Brigade militia, which has largely been absorbed into the Iraqi security forces; and the Fadhila party, which also has its own fighters and a member as Basra's governor. Meanwhile, U.S. forces killed six insurgents and detained 23 suspects during weekend operations in central and northern Iraq. Near Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles north of Baghdad, U.S. troops targeted a suspected terrorist safe house. One suspect was killed as he charged troops, apparently while wearing a suicide vest. A second suspect was killed while he was putting a suicide belt on, the military said in a statement. Two other men were killed after aircraft fired on the building. Troops also killed or detained suspects during missions in Mosul, Samarra and Mahmoudiya.
  6. Maliki Intends to Lift Curfew in Baghdad Planned Easing of Security Restrictions Reflects Recent Drop in Violence, Officials Say By Amit R. Paley Washington Post Foreign Service Tuesday, November 13, 2007; A14 BAGHDAD, Nov. 12 -- Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki hopes to soon declare an end to a nine-month-old security plan and curfew in Baghdad because of a recent decline in violence, Iraqi officials said Monday. Maliki expects to gradually lift the curfew, which now extends from midnight to 5 a.m., and to reopen this month 10 roads in the capital that have been shut as a security precaution, according to one of his aides. The aide cautioned that the plans could be altered depending on fast-moving conditions on the ground. The anticipated changes reflect a growing confidence among Iraqi government officials that the buildup of U.S. troops that began in February has succeeded in reducing sectarian bloodshed across Iraq. But many citizens, observers and even some U.S. and Iraqi officials remain concerned that the drop in attacks represents only a lull in sectarian violence. Meanwhile, incidents across the country on Monday killed at least 29 people, an Interior Ministry official said. In Diyala province, which borders Iran, Iraqi police announced that five Iranians had been seized in the town of Khalis. Maj. Mohammed Zayidan, director of the local police force's major crimes unit, said the four men and a woman had been found in a car, with no identification papers and speaking only Persian. The Iranians, who were traveling to Baghdad, said they had relatives at Camp Ashraf, a base near Khalis for the Iranian opposition group Mujaheddin-e Khalq, which the U.S. government has labeled a terrorist organization. In the holy Shiite city of Karbala, the government fired 340 police officers it said were linked to Shiite militias. The move followed huge Shiite-on-Shiite clashes in the city over the summer in which 49 people were killed. Local police said the firings were ordered by the Interior Ministry in Baghdad. "This campaign came after investigations conducted to cleanse the police system of all bad people that are loyal to the militias instead of their country," said Brig. Gen. Raid Shakir Jawdat, the Karbala police commander. Special correspondents Naseer Nouri, Saad al-Izzi, Zaid Sabah and Dalya Hassan in Baghdad, Saad Sarhan in Najaf and other Washington Post staff in Iraq contributed to this report.
  7. By Missy Ryan 16 minutes ago U.S. and Iraqi troops killed an estimated 15 al Qaeda gunmen during a fierce battle south of Baghdad after the militants launched a major attack on recently formed neighborhood patrols, the U.S. military said on Tuesday. In a statement, the military said 30 to 45 al Qaeda fighters assaulted two checkpoints operated by local security guards on Monday using a mix of small arms and heavy-caliber machineguns mounted on trucks, sparking a day-long fight. At one stage, American F-16 warplanes jets dropped two 500-pound bombs on routes used by the gunmen to attack the checkpoints in the town of Adwaniya, 20 km (12 miles) southeast of Baghdad near the Tigris River. The area has long been a haven for al Qaeda in Iraq. The al Qaeda raid marked one of the biggest attacks on neighborhood patrols since a program to increase their numbers picked up steam in and around Baghdad a few months ago. The U.S. military calls the men "concerned local citizens." They mainly run checkpoints and guard infrastructure. Such groups first emerged last year when Sunni Arab tribal leaders, tired of al Qaeda's indiscriminate killings and strict interpretation of Islam, set up neighborhood police units in Anbar province in western Iraq. Anbar, once the heart of the Sunni Muslim insurgency, is now relatively peaceful, and the U.S. military has been spreading Anbar's model into other Sunni Arab and Shi'ite areas. About 70,000 Iraqis have so far been registered across Iraq under the neighborhood security plan. U.S. officials said Monday's battle underscored the cooperation between U.S. and Iraqi forces and the local patrols. It was unclear if any local guards or U.S. troops were wounded in the fighting. "I think all the elements that had a part in today's battle were impressed with the concerned citizens," First Lieutenant Robert Hamilton, a U.S. platoon leader, said in the statement. Some U.S. military commanders have cited the neighborhood patrols as being a factor in helping sharply reduce violence in Iraq in the past few months, especially around Baghdad and in areas where al Qaeda once had a strong presence. The patrols are relatively new in Adwaniya, the military statement said, but those who came under attack received assistance from local patrol groups from another area. Major-General Rick Lynch, commander of U.S. forces in central Iraq, said on Sunday that 26,000 Iraqis had signed on to the program in his area of command, which encompasses Adwaniya and other areas south of Baghdad. Of those, 17,000 were directly employed by the U.S. military, manning about 800 checkpoints and earning about $300 a month. (Editing by Dean Yates and Sami Aboudi)
  8. One peaceful Night in BaghdadPosted by Correspondent Hussein Sat Nov 10, 8:43 AM ET Today I made a social visit to my brother who lives few blocks away from our house. ADVERTISEMENT His son has a broken hand while he was playing soccer. I went there with my other younger brother who drove us there by his own car taking his only son with having him on my lap, the youngest member of the family, Mohammad, my lovely nephew who is only two years old. Till now the matter is normal, but the point or the focus is of the timing which took place at 7 p.m. lasting for two hours which means that the visit ended at 9 p.m.,and the other great achievement is the visited place which lies in an area located only few meters from al-Janabat area !!!!! The answer is so simple carrying happiness at the same time. I live in Amil neighborhood and we had been suffered from the sectarian violence for more than one year leaving people suffering from many bad things ; losing lives, properties and businesses which led to have the neighborhood divided into parts , two third for the Shiite and one -third for the Sunni . Also we had some streets which were blocked and others were abandoned due to the snipers who were in their duty of random shooting day and night. After all that, today I went to my brother’s house passing some streets I wouldn’t dare to pass a week ago. I also noticed the two cafes on my way open, with great surprise, one of them is filled with customers. Some were drinking the cold drinks while others would rather drink tea . Those customers are divided into two groups; the first majority groups were playing backgammon and domino while the second minority were chatting with the Hubble- bubble in hands. I was really happy to see this happens having our traditions and habits come back again. I noticed the improvement in the security side two weeks ago when meetings started between the Sheiks of both sides Sunni and Shiite’s to establish peace in Amil neighborhood.
  9. WASHINGTON - The first big test of security gains linked to the U.S. troop buildup in Iraq is at hand. ADVERTISEMENT The military has started to reverse the 30,000-strong troop increase and commanders are hoping the drop in insurgent and sectarian violence in recent months — achieved at the cost of hundreds of lives — won't prove fleeting. The current total of 20 combat brigades is shrinking to 19 as the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, operating in volatile Diyala province, leaves. The U.S. command in Baghdad announced on Saturday that the brigade had begun heading home to Fort Hood, Texas, and that its battle space will be taken by another brigade already operating in Iraq. Between January and July — on a schedule not yet made public — the force is to shrink further to 15 brigades. The total number of U.S. troops will likely go from 167,000 now to 140,000-145,000 by July, six months before President Bush leaves office and a new commander in chief enters the White House. As the U.S. troop reductions proceed, it should become clear whether the so-called "surge" strategy that increased the U.S. troop presence in and around Baghdad resulted in any lasting gains against sectarianism. Critics note that the divided government in Baghdad has made few, if any, strides toward political reconciliation that the Americans have said is crucial to stabilizing the country. The acceleration of the U.S. mission away from direct combat to more of a support role will put greater pressure on Iraqi security forces to bear more of the load. And it will test the durability of new U.S. alliances with neighborhood watch groups springing up with surprising speed. Declines in Iraqi civilian and U.S. military casualties in the past few months and talk among U.S. commanders of an emerging air of optimism and civic revival in some Baghdad neighborhoods point to positive security trends. Although more U.S. troops have died in Iraq this year — at least 856 — than in any year since the war began in 2003, the monthly count has declined substantially since summer. Iraqi civilian deaths also have declined. At least 3,861 Americans have died in the Iraq war since it started. A key question is whether security will slip once U.S. lines thin and whether Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq and orchestrator of the counterinsurgency strategy, has made enough inroads against insurgents — and instilled enough hope in ordinary Iraqis — to make the gains stick. U.S. commanders assert that it is not just the larger number of U.S. troops that has made a difference but also the way those troops operate — closer to the Iraqi population now rather than from big, isolated U.S. bases. Living among the Iraqis, they say, allows for a building of greater trust. That trust, in turn, prompted more local Iraqis — mostly Sunni Arabs but also Shiites — to join U.S. forces in anti-insurgent alliances, the commanders say. It also has meant more Iraqi help in finding insurgents' arms caches, reducing mortar attacks and in uncovering roadside bombs before they detonate. Stephen Biddle of the Council on Foreign Relations, who just spent 10 days in Iraq assessing the situation for Petraeus, said a key reason for recent security gains is the emergence of the local anti-insurgent alliances — not just in Anbar province where they began early this year but also now in and around Baghdad. A key to sustaining those security gains will be the U.S. military's ability to police those alliances, he said. "It's happening on a large scale basis throughout much of the country," Biddle said in an interview Friday. "The problem is how do you keep them from either turning sides again or from going to war against each other." Also important is whether the Iraqi security forces — Iraqi army and police — are ready to take over from U.S. troops. If they are not, Petraeus' strategy could fail and the whole U.S. enterprise in Iraq could unravel. The issue is not whether the Iraqi army and police have adequate training; it's whether they are willing to use their training to enforce order without perpetuating the sectarian divides. Brig. Gen. Stephen Gledhill, the second-in-command for training Iraqi forces, says he is confident that conditions have improved to the point where the Iraqis are capable of filling any U.S. gaps. "Our answer is that they not only will be able to — they already are, and will continue to do so as they gain experience, capabilities and capacity, and not only here in Baghdad but all around the country," Gledhill said in an e-mail. Counting on the Iraqis to take over security was at the center of the U.S. strategy before Petraeus took over in February for Gen. George Casey. In a change of emphasis, Petraeus put a higher priority on securing the Baghdad population while continuing to develop Iraqi security forces. Lt. Gen. Carter Ham, operations chief for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week that U.S. officers are mindful of the consequences of withdrawing forces prematurely. "That's the great risk, is if you do this too quickly that you could place a burden on the Iraqi security forces prior to them being ready to accept it," Ham said. He gave no indication that the military was reconsidering the decision, approved by Bush in September, to reduce by five brigades. The commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad, Maj. Gen. Joseph Fil of the 1st Cavalry Division, told reporters Nov. 6 that it was too early to declare victory over al-Qaida in Iraq, the mainly Iraqi terrorist organization that has been a chief target of U.S. offensive operations in recent months. But Fil said it was now clear that U.S. forces, with Iraqi help, have gained the upper hand in Baghdad. "Perhaps even most significantly, the Iraqi people have just decided they've had it up to here with violence," he said, echoing the assertion of numerous other commanders that one of the most important developments since early summer has been an erosion of what some call a culture of fear in Baghdad. Their belief is that the tide has turned in favor of the forces of moderation. But will it last? http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071112/ap_on_...4jgdo5MhxJX6GMA
  10. Local leaders in southern Iraq pleaded for greater reconstruction assistance this weekend even as U.S. and Iraqi officials touted tentative improvements since 2003 in rebuilding a country crippled by war. Senior members of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government, Washington's ambassador to Iraq and other officials flew on Saturday to a dusty military base in Dhi Qar, a poor southern province where shepherds hustle animals across cracked plains and the horizon is dotted by Bedouin tents. Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih told visiting dignitaries, local tribal leaders and other officials that a sharp drop in violence in recent months had laid the groundwork for renewing Iraq's decrepit infrastructure and ailing economy. "We are in a new era in our history ... where we are going to build a peaceful country," he said. Yet in Dhi Qar, complained Governor Aziz Kazem Alwan, 300 villages remain without electricity. He clamored for more help from the central government and donor countries to improve irrigation for local farms, replace mud-built schools, pave roads and provide better health care. "All our farmers and sheikhs (tribal leaders) are waiting for these projects," he said. The United States has poured more than $525 million since 2003 into rebuilding Dhi Qar, Ambassador Ryan Crocker said. An Italian-led team is now driving foreign reconstruction efforts in Dhi Qar, part of Iraq's more stable Shi'ite south. Still, guaranteeing security is seen as crucial to capitalizing on investments in the province's schools, water and energy infrastructure. Across Iraq, reconstruction data paints a mixed picture more than four years after the invasion to topple Saddam Hussein. Despite billions of dollars being spent, peak electricity output in June 2007 remained 6 percent below pre-war levels. Oil production this summer was 23 percent lower than before the war. FOCUS ON LOCAL OFFICIALS Crocker and other foreign officials argue that the biggest challenge now, rather than bringing cash for big infrastructure projects, is to improve local officials' ability to manage reconstruction in the future. They also want to inject new life into local business, such as assisting date farmers process and market their goods. But investors are not yet flocking to Dhi Qar or to Iraq's other provinces. While rampant violence has been the chief hindrance, another bottleneck is a delay in implementing a law passed last year to safeguard investor rights. Officials tout Dhi Qar, which has been spared much of the bloodshed in other parts of the country, as a model for Iraqis taking back control of security. British forces had responsibility for security until handing back control in 2006. "There's a very light footprint from the coalition, so this theoretically is going to show the future of what's going to happen in Iraq," Jon Dorschner, an American assigned to a reconstruction team working with universities in Dhi Qar. Even as officials noted the reduced violence across Iraq, security at the Dhi Qar conference was tight. Helicopters that ferried in some visiting U.S. officials and armed convoys that brought others in from a nearby air base were a reminder that Iraq remains a dangerous place. And tensions between rival Shi'ite factions have been rising in recent months in southern Iraq. Salih said 2008 would be a better year for Iraq. But, he added "we still have a lot of things standing in front of us." (Additional reporting by Aws Qusay; editing by Sami Aboudi) http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071111/wl_nm/...p2OnEFqa6tn.3QA
  11. Syria showed off new security measures on its long and porous border with Iraq during an organized tour for foreign diplomats and journalists on Saturday. Twenty-nine diplomats, including the U.S. military attache, were allowed on the rare inspection of Syria's side of the Tanaf border crossing, about 200 miles northeast of the capital, Damascus. They were then driven for some 100 miles along the border marked by police outposts and tall sand barriers. The United States and some Iraqi officials accuse Syria of not doing enough to stop foreign fighters from crossing into Iraq. Syria says it has taken all necessary measures but that it is impossible to fully control the sprawling desert along the border. Authorities have increased the number of outposts to one every 400 yards in some zones along the 354-mile border, a Syrian officer said Saturday, stating each outpost was staffed with a half-dozen soldiers. "There is no infiltration (into Iraq) here," the officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity with Syrian military regulations. However, several Iraqis have been caught smuggling ammunition and tobacco into Syria, he said. The Tanaf border crossing was a major gateway for Iraqis fleeing violence in their country following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and the ousting of Saddam Hussein. Over 1.5 million Iraqi refugees have fled to Syria, but the numbers seem to have decreased drastically since Damascus began imposing visa restrictions on Iraqis last month. Mohammed Awad, who heads the immigration department at Tanaf, said only 400 to 500 Iraqis are entering Syria daily, down from almost 15,000 before restrictions were imposed. The U.S. State Department said this week that Syria has agreed to allow U.S. interviewers into the country to screen Iraqi refugees for admission to the United States, clearing a major obstacle to the Bush administration's resettlement program. Syria had for months refused to issue visas to the interviewers amid deepening tensions with Washington. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071110/ap_on_...bMkOXrKrFcUewgF
  12. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Sunday that 7,000 families who fled the war-ravaged country have returned to their homes on the back of a sharp drop in violence. "Due to the improvement in the security situation, 7,000 families have returned to Baghdad and other provinces," Maliki told reporters, without giving a time frame. He said the country's streets and markets were returning to normal after a series of security crackdowns by Iraqi and US security forces over the past eight months. "People are enjoying the life that is returning to their streets and markets. We have been able to return life after eight months of a security crackdown." On Wednesday, Brigadier General Qassim Ata, spokesman for the Baghdad security plan, said that 46,000 Iraqis who had fled the violence returned to the country last month. Maliki said car bombs and roadside bombings had dropped by 77 percent compared to levels prior to February when US and Iraqi troops launched a major drive against insurgents and militias in Baghdad and its surrounds. "Many terrorists have fled the country and some are hiding here and there. Our expertise in chasing terrorists has also developed." Maliki's comments came just hours after a roadside bomb attack on a US military convoy in Baghdad's eastern Al-Baladiyat suburb, which an Iraqi security official said killed a 12-year-old girl and wounded three other civilians. US military spokesman Major Winfield Danielson confirmed the attack but said there were no casualties http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071111/wl_mi...3jheyCtVpebOrgF
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