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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. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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)
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Sunday he is "determined" that "Chemical Ali" and two other cohorts of Saddam Hussein be hanged for genocide against ethnic Kurds. "We are determined that the law be fulfilled and that these (three) be handed over to the judicial system," Maliki told a press conference. "We will not be swayed from our determination to ensure that the sentences are carried out." He said the US embassy had played an "unfortunate role" in preventing the handover of the three condemned men, who are in US military custody. Ali Hassan al-Majid, widely known as "Chemical Ali" for his use of poisonous gas against Kurds; Sultan Hashim al-Tai, Saddam's defence minister; and Hussein Rashid al-Tikriti, his armed forces deputy chief of operations, were sentenced to death on June 24. They were found responsible for the slaughter of thousands of Kurds in the so-called Anfal (Spoils) campaign of 1988. Under Iraqi law they were supposed to have been executed by October 4, 30 days after their sentences were upheld by the Iraq Supreme Court. But Maliki made it clear he did not want the executions to take place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ended on October 15, because of the outcry that followed Saddam Hussein's execution during another Muslim holiday. More than a month after the deadline the sentences have not yet been carried out and Maliki has set up a committee to investigate the complex legal problem. Further complicating matters, two members of the presidential council, President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, and Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, a Sunni, have refused to sign the execution order. The US military says it will not hand over the men until it has a duly authorised order of the Iraqi government. In the case of Saddam, Talabani, who is opposed on principle to the death penalty, refused to give the order but signed a letter to the Shiite prime minister saying he would raise no objections if the government went ahead. Hashemi fears that the execution of Tai could undermine already stuttering reconciliation efforts in post-Saddam Iraq. The vice president argues that Tai, a career military man, had little choice but to follow orders from Saddam. "It's really very difficult to believe that just because they obey orders issued by a leader like Saddam Hussein they had, in fact, an option to just take it or leave it," Hashemi said last month. He pointed out that after the US-led invasion of 2003, Tai voluntarily surrendered in the northern city of Mosul to US General David Petraeus, now America's top commander in Iraq. A lawyer who represented ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam before he was hanged on December 30, 2006, told AFP last month that the passing of the timeframe set by the supreme court meant it would now be illegal to execute Majid. An estimated 182,000 Kurds were killed and 4,000 villages wiped out in the brutal campaign of bombings, mass deportations and gas attacks. "Thousands of people were killed, displaced and disappeared," Iraqi High Tribunal chief judge Mohammed al-Oreibi al-Khalifah said after he had passed sentence in June. Majid and the other two condemned men are on trial in a separate case for their alleged roles in brutally crushing a Shiite uprising in southern Iraq in 1991, but the charges against them will be dropped once they are executed. Saddam's regime said the Anfal campaign was a necessary counter-insurgency operation during Iraq's eight-year war with neighbouring Iran. It involved the systematic bombardment, gassing and assault of areas in the Kurdish autonomous region, which witnessed mass executions and deportations and the creation of prison camps. http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071111/wl_mi...YgF1FlgvgpX6GMA
  13. By LAUREN FRAYER, Associated Press Writer Sun Nov 11, 11:27 PM ET Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Sunday suicide attacks and other bombings in the Iraqi capital have dropped dramatically since last year's high, calling it a sign of the end of sectarian violence. A top U.S. general here said he believes the drop is sustainable, as Iraqis turn away from extremists. Al-Maliki said "terrorist acts" including car bombings and other spectacular, al-Qaida-style attacks dropped by 77 percent. He called it a sign that Sunni-Shiite violence was nearly gone from Baghdad. "We are all realizing now that what Baghdad was seeing every day — dead bodies in the streets and morgues — is ebbing remarkably," al-Maliki told reporters at his office in the U.S.-guarded Green Zone. "This is an indication that sectarianism intended as a gate of evil and fire in Iraq is now closed," he said. Before the arrival of nearly 30,000 U.S. reinforcements this past spring, explosions shook Baghdad daily — sometimes hourly. The whiz of mortar and rocket fire crisscrossing the Tigris River was frequent. And the pop-pop of gunfire beat out a constant, somber rhythm of killing. Now the sounds of warfare are rare. American troops have set up small outposts in some of the capital's most dangerous enclaves. Locals previously lukewarm to the presence of U.S. soldiers patrol alongside them. And a historic lane on the eastern banks of the Tigris is set to reopen later this year, lined with seafood restaurants and an art gallery. Associated Press figures show a sharp drop in the number of U.S. and Iraqi deaths across the country in the past few months. The number of Iraqis who met violent deaths dropped from at least 1,023 in September to at least 905 in October, according to an AP count. The number of American military deaths fell from 65 to at least 39 over the same period. Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of U.S. forces south of the capital, said Sunday he believed the decrease would hold, because of what he called a "groundswell" of support from regular Iraqis. "If we didn't have so many people coming forward to help, I'd think this is a flash in the pan. But that's just not the case," Lynch told a small group of reporters over lunch in the Green Zone. He attributed the sharp drop in attacks to the American troop buildup, the setup of small outposts at the heart of Iraqi communities, and help from locals fed up with al-Qaida and other extremists. "These people — Sunni and Shiite — are saying, `I've had enough,'" Lynch said. The U.S. military has recruited at least 26,000 Iraqis to help target militants in Lynch's area of operations, he said. The religiously mixed area, which includes suburbs of Baghdad and all of Karbala, Najaf and Wassit province along the Iranian border, is about the size of the U.S. state of West Virginia. Some 17,000 of those people, whom the U.S. military calls "concerned local citizens," are paid $300 a month to man checkpoints and guard critical infrastructure in their hometowns, Lynch said. "They live there, and they know who's the good guy and who's the bad guy," he said. Such local expertise has paid off for American troops and their Iraqi counterparts, who have killed or captured about 3,000 insurgents in the area in the past year, Lynch said. Many of those who have not joined the U.S.-led fight against extremists have fled, al-Maliki said. "The majority of these terrorists are fleeing to nearby countries, and I warned our brothers in the Islamic and Arab countries to be aware," he said. The prime minister also said he was considering an amnesty for those "who were lured or committed some crimes," although he added that the move would not include those "convicted of killings or bombings." In a sign the government is working toward reconciliation, 70 former members of Saddam Hussein's party were reinstated to their jobs after they joined the fight against al-Qaida in Anbar province, said Ali al-Lami, a senior official with the commission that considered their cases. Al-Lami told the AP that the former Baath party members included 12 university professors, officers in the disbanded Iraqi army, former policemen and teachers. Despite security improvements, a trickle of violence continued Sunday, with at least 10 people were killed or found dead around the country. The toll included a 12-year-old girl in Baghdad's Baladiyat area, who was killed by a roadside bomb that aimed for an American convoy but missed its target, police said. Also Sunday, the U.S. military said it had achieved "significant progress" in operations against al-Qaida in four northern provinces since American and Iraqi forces launched Operation Iron Hammer last week. A U.S. statement said during the first week of the operation, U.S. and Iraqi forces had detained more than 200 suspected extremists, captured three "high value" al-Qaida operatives and seized more than a ton of various explosives. American officers had predicted that al-Qaida and other extremists groups would try to regroup in the mostly Sunni north after they were driven from strongholds in Baghdad and Diyala province this year. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071112/ap_on_...l7krjsqLUoUewgF
  14. BAGHDAD, (AFP) - One month into the new academic year and education at the sprawling University of Baghdad is as near to normal as it has been for years -- the grisly killings of two professors and two students aside. ADVERTISEMENT Educators at the tree-lined, garden-sprinkled campus on the banks of the Tigris River are upbeat that 2007-2008 will restore the university's reputation for excellence that it has enjoyed since it was established 50 years ago. Student numbers -- both Shiite and Sunni -- are back to near capacity, they say, many vacant lecturing posts have been filled and the kind of sectarian violence in Baghdad which virtually wrote off last year's academic efforts has dipped significantly. "We could say the situation is about as normal as is possible, given the circumstances," said a 24-year-old lecturer in soil science, who despite his bubbling optimism would give his name only as Salah and declined to be photographed. "Last year was the worst ever -- sometimes no one would turn up for lectures for an entire week. On average we had eight to 10 students out of around 20 arriving for laboratory. This year it is around 15. Sometimes we even get a full class of 20," said Salah, sporting a striped orange shirt and slicked-back hair. "There has been a vast improvement in the security situation," he said, repeating a refrain that has begun to echo right across the Iraqi capital. US commanders attribute the fall in bombings, shootings and death squad murders to a "surge" of an extra 28,500 American troops on the streets of Baghdad and its surrounding violent belts since June. The more cynical say the city of four million people has simply been polarised into a maze of Shiite and Sunni enclaves off limits to anyone from a rival sect and that the "ethnic cleansing" of neighbourhoods is more or less complete. Most students interviewed by AFP on the campus in the capital's central Jadriya neighbourhood acknowledged they take circuitous routes to reach the university -- avoiding either Sunni or Shiite neighbourhoods, depending on their own ethnic allegiances. "I dare not go through Al-Amel neighbourhood," said a woman student from behind dark sunglasses, referring to a southwestern suburb which is under the control of Shiite militiamen. "I can't take the most direct route -- it is too dangerous," said the fourth-year biology student, a Sunni, smiling nervously and refusing to give her name. Chemistry masters student Ahmed al-Maliki was happy to be named and was one of the few who said he took the most direct route possible to the campus, from the Sadr City Shiite ghetto in eastern Baghdad where he lives. "There is a tangible improvement in the security situation," said Maliki, the gigantic scorpion buckle on his black belt glinting in the morning sunshine. "Some students didn't turn up when the university reopened in early October but each day saw the numbers rise and now the classes are full," said the 22-year-old student. While he is adamant it is a whole lot easier getting around the capital than it was even just six months ago, he warns that lethal dangers still exist. "In late September, three masters students were travelling down Palestine Street (in central Baghdad) when unidentified gunmen opened fire on their car. Two were killed and one seriously injured. I have to admit that really shook me." The lack of professors -- either killed or fled overseas -- is affecting education at the campus, he believes. "In the past there were seven professors in our faculty. Three of them have since been killed. Now there are only four -- two of whom are not of sufficient experience to be able to lecture masters students. Which leaves just two." Up in an expansive office on the 13th floor of the campus administration, university media director Dr Intisar al-Suaidi does her best to paint a bright picture of education in 2007-2008 but admits she doesn't yet have the statistics to give more than mere broad brushstrokes. "Last year about 50 percent of registered students on average turned up for lectures. This year the figure is around 90 percent." Suaidi however had no enrolment figures for the new academic year and instead offered a prospectus which showed that there were 57,500 students and 5,300 lecturers at Baghdad University in 2005 -- before the violence spun out of control, taking students, lecturers and staff members with it over the abyss. She was, however, able to say that 160 professors have been killed by insurgents -- who have targeted academics, journalists, poets and intellectuals in particular -- since the US invasion in 2003. And that already this term another two have been shot dead. Mohammad al-Otabi, professor of natural history, was kidnapped by gunmen who swooped on his home last month and led him away. His body was found dumped in the street a few days later. Dr Khalil al-Nuaimi, a professor of engineering, suffered a similar terrifying fate later in the month. "Yes, things are back to normal," said soil science lecturer Salah. "But maybe not totally normal yet." http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071112/wl_mi...ncu0OFCjWhX6GMA
  15. Brutalized Iraqi capital begins to breathe again By Wisam Mohammed and Ross Colvin Fri Nov 9, 6:35 AM ET Likaa Haider is doing something she hasn't done in a long time -- hoping. Like many others in Baghdad she is praying that the signs of life she sees returning to her city represent more than just a lull in the killing. The 21-year-old is a law student at Mustansiriya University, where bombings killed 70 people, mostly students, in January. "Many things have been changed in Baghdad. I now have hope in the future," she said. Across the city there are signs of change, from restaurants and shops doing brisk trade and people on the streets late at night, to residents returning to Haifa Street, whose high-rises were a major battleground for al Qaeda and Shi'ite militias. But Baghdad residents are still wary. Theirs is a brutalized city, where roadside bombs turned streets into minefields, death squads roamed with impunity, kidnapping and killing, and suicide bombers sowed carnage. Like a car crash victim in a coma, the city shut down. Life was put on hold. Baghdad's traumatized residents avoided public places, locking their doors and emptying the streets after dark. Shorja market, the city's main centre for wholesale goods, was the scene of a multiple car-bombing in February that killed at least 71 people and wounded 165. A visit to the market this week found people crowding the narrow passageways between stalls selling everything from brightly patterned cloth to fruit and vegetables. "You can see the change. People feel safe to come here and shop," said cloth-seller Shaker Shnishal. ETHNIC CLEANSING The Interior Ministry says violence in Baghdad is down 70 percent since the end of June, while Lieutenant-General Raymond Odierno, the deputy U.S. commander in Iraq, said last week that a drop in attacks in Iraq over the past four months "represents the longest continuous decline in attacks on record." The downturn in violence has been attributed to a major U.S. military build-up, a more aggressive strategy towards al Qaeda and Shi'ite militias, and Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's order to his Mehdi Army militia to freeze their activities. Others say violence has declined because areas have been ethnically cleansed and more than a million people displaced since the wave of killing erupted in February 2006. "Areas that have become homogenized, where there are no longer people from mixed ethnicities, are not seeing the same displacements that were evident in 2006 because there simply are not any more people that can be targeted to displace," said Dana Graber from the International Organization of Migration. Graber said displacement in the capital had slowed because of improved security, but the number of displaced still exceeded the number of returnees. MORE WEDDINGS Haifa Street, a thoroughfare that runs along the west bank of the Tigris River and cuts through the heart of the city, was the scene of fierce fighting in January, when U.S. helicopters rocketed high-rise apartment blocks to oust gunmen. Now, people are returning to apartments that were used as hideouts for militants. Wet clothes can be seen hanging from washlines on balconies of buildings scarred by bullet holes, and at night the street is lit by new solar-powered lights. Taking bags of vegetables from his car in a parking lot in Haifa Street, Azad Fahmi, 37, a restaurant owner, pauses to reflect on what brought him back to the apartment he had fled. "I heard about the improved security in Baghdad on TV and I was persuaded by friends to return," he said. In New Baghdad, a Shi'ite district in eastern Baghdad, studio photographer Ali Muhsin, 29, is taking wedding pictures of a newly married young couple while their relatives dance on the pavement outside and hoot their car horns. "The number of weddings has tripled since Eid," he said, referring to the Muslim holiday that marked the end of Ramadan. In Shula in northwestern Baghdad, night has fallen, but its streets are still alive with people and cars. Children play ping-pong on tables set up on a street median, groups of young men smoke waterpipes, and restaurants are doing good business. "In the past we used to shut our shop after sunset," said Abu Mohammed, sitting at the cashier's desk in his restaurant. "It is 8 p.m. now and you can see the shop is packed." But Joost Hiltermann, an Istanbul-based Middle East analyst for the International Crisis Group, warns that what Iraqis are witnessing could be a temporary phenomenon unless their feuding political leaders reach a political accommodation. "In the absence of a political deal, sustaining this over a long time will become difficult," he said. (Additional reporting by Reuters Television) http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071109/lf_nm/...MDG1XveS5lKTb8F
  16. US: Rocket, mortar fire in Iraq at low By LAUREN FRAYER, Associated Press Writer 43 minutes ago Rocket and mortar attacks in Iraq have decreased to their lowest levels in more than 21 months, the U.S. military said Monday. Last month saw 369 "indirect fire" attacks — the lowest number since February 2006. October's total was half of what it was in the same month a year ago. And it marked the third month in a row of sharply reduced insurgent activity, the military said. The U.S. command issued the tallies a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said suicide attacks and other bombings in Baghdad also have dropped dramatically, calling it an end of sectarian violence. A top U.S. general said he believed the drop was sustainable, as Iraqis turn away from extremists. Total rocket and mortar attacks rose steadily from 808 in January 2007 to a peak of 1,032 in June, before falling over the next four months, a U.S. military statement said Monday. That decline also was seen in Baghdad, where such attacks rose from 139 in January to 224 in June, and then fell to only 53 attacks in October, it said. On Sunday, al-Maliki said "terrorist acts" including car bombings and other spectacular, al-Qaida-style attacks dropped by 77 percent in the capital. He called it a sign that Sunni-Shiite violence was nearly gone. "We are all realizing now that what Baghdad was seeing every day — dead bodies in the streets and morgues — is ebbing remarkably," al-Maliki told reporters at his office in the U.S.-guarded Green Zone. "This is an indication that sectarianism intended as a gate of evil and fire in Iraq is now closed," he said. Associated Press figures show a sharp drop in the number of U.S. and Iraqi deaths across the country in the past few months. The number of Iraqis who met violent deaths dropped from at least 1,023 in September to at least 905 in October, according to an AP count. The number of American military deaths fell from 65 to at least 39 over the same period. Before the arrival of nearly 30,000 U.S. reinforcements this past spring, explosions shook Baghdad daily — sometimes hourly. The whiz of mortar and rocket fire crisscrossing the Tigris River was frequent. And the pop-pop of gunfire beat out a constant, somber rhythm of killing. Now the sounds of warfare are rare. American troops have set up small outposts in some of the capital's most dangerous enclaves. Locals previously lukewarm to the presence of U.S. soldiers patrol alongside them. And a historic lane on the eastern banks of the Tigris is set to reopen later this year, lined with seafood restaurants and an art gallery. Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of U.S. forces south of the capital, said Sunday he believed the decrease would hold, because of what he called a "groundswell" of support from regular Iraqis. "If we didn't have so many people coming forward to help, I'd think this is a flash in the pan. But that's just not the case," Lynch told a small group of reporters over lunch in the Green Zone. He attributed the sharp drop in attacks to the American troop buildup, the setup of small outposts at the heart of Iraqi communities, and help from locals fed up with al-Qaida and other extremists. "These people — Sunni and Shiite — are saying, `I've had enough,'" Lynch said. The U.S. military has recruited at least 26,000 Iraqis to help target militants in Lynch's area of operations, he said. The religiously mixed area, which includes suburbs of Baghdad and all of Karbala, Najaf and Wassit province along the Iranian border, is about the size of the U.S. state of West Virginia. Some 17,000 of those people, whom the U.S. military calls "concerned local citizens," are paid $300 a month to man checkpoints and guard critical infrastructure in their hometowns, Lynch said. "They live there, and they know who's the good guy and who's the bad guy," he said. Such local expertise has paid off for American troops and their Iraqi counterparts, who have killed or captured about 3,000 insurgents in the area in the past year, Lynch said. Since November 2006, tips from local citizens have helped U.S. troops confiscate 2,470 rocket and mortar caches across Iraq, the U.S. military said. Also Monday, the mayor of a northern Iraqi city told the AP that Iraqi soldiers killed four men in clashes that lasted throughout the night. Hours after a tribal chieftain was killed in front of his village's mosque, Iraqi soldiers stormed the area and engaged armed men in an hours-long battle, killing four of them and wounding two, said Tal Afar Mayor Gen. Najim Abdullah. Troops also seized a machine gun and some rifles, he said. Abdullah said several other men were arrested, and later confessed to the sheik's killing as well as other murders in the area. He did not give a number of those arrested. Tal Afar is an ethnically mixed city about 90 miles east of the Syrian border, and 260 miles northwest of Baghdad. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071112/ap_on_...sAlxmhUURAUewgF
  17. Iraq hopes to end Baghdad security plan soon By Dean Yates 36 minutes ago Iraq's government hopes it will soon be able to declare an end to a U.S.-Iraqi security operation in Baghdad following a sharp drop in insurgent attacks in the capital, a military spokesman said. Brigadier-General Qassim Moussawi, Iraqi spokesman for the nine-month-old Baghdad security plan, said the decline in violence would allow the government to reopen 10 roads this month that had been closed for security reasons. "This will help reduce traffic jams and citizens will feel life returning to normal," Moussawi said in an interview with Iraqi state television that was aired around midnight on Sunday. Asked when the Baghdad offensive, called Operation Imposing Law, would come to an end, Moussawi said: "God willing, soon." Moussawi did not suggest that would mark an end to joint military offensives in Baghdad. Declaring an end to Operation Imposing Law would acknowledge security has improved but would be largely symbolic, as tens of thousands of U.S. and Iraqi troops would remain in Baghdad. The U.S. military declined to comment on Moussawi's remarks. Iraq launched Operation Imposing Law in mid-February in a last-ditch attempt to halt the country's slide into civil war. U.S. President George W. Bush sent an extra 30,000 troops to Iraq to beef up the Iraqi government's own forces, with most of the additional American troops deployed in and around Baghdad. When the offensive began, Iraq was gripped by dozens of bombing and shooting attacks nearly every day. Since American reinforcements were fully deployed in the middle of the year, attacks have fallen sharply. The U.S. military said in a statement on Monday that mortar and rocket attacks in Iraq in October had dropped to their lowest level since February 2006. Moussawi said the Baghdad Sunni district of Adhamiya, once one of the most violent in the capital, recorded 29 insurgent attacks in September, down from a peak of 150 in April. In the city centre, attacks in September fell to 18 from their highest monthly figure of 187, while in the Shi'ite stronghold of Sadr City, attacks dropped to four in September from a peak of 70. Moussawi did not say which months had seen the most attacks in the latter two cases. One factor behind the improved security has been the August decision by anti-American Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to freeze the activities of his feared Mehdi Army militia. PROVINCIAL SECURITY Iraqi officials also said the gradual handover of control of security in the country's provinces from U.S.-led forces would continue, with security for Babel province south of Baghdad to be handed back next month. That would make Babel the ninth of Iraq's 18 provinces to be given back to Iraqi control. A Pentagon report in September said current projections showed the handover of security responsibility for all 18 provinces could be done as early as July 2008. Last week, the U.S. military commander for Baghdad, Major-General Joseph Fil, said the reduction in violence would allow fewer U.S. troops to protect the Iraqi capital. Some American units will leave Baghdad under a plan endorsed by Bush in September that will see U.S. troop levels in Iraq fall by 20,000-30,000 by mid-2008 from about 170,000 at present. The drop in violence has surprised many Iraqis. But while attacks have declined, movement toward political reconciliation at the national level between majority Shi'ite and minority Sunni Arabs has been slow. Parliament has yet to pass key laws that Washington believes will help heal sectarian divisions. Maliki's cabinet is now largely made up of Shi'ites and Kurds after the main Sunni Arab bloc quit in August, saying it had been marginalized from decision making. (Additional reporting by Paul Tait and Aseel Kami) (Editing by Catherine Evans) http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/iraq_dc&pri...1P98dQnFVNn.3QA
  18. Sa Wr Allah Wb In my opinion the above news article is a way of saying that there are advancements being taken to stop the insurgents and the terrorists operating inside Iraq. I hope we are all not being negative for the sake of being negative or we actually know whats going on for us to declare a negative statement. From those that replied how many exactly have been to Baghdad in the past 6 months? I feel sometimes no matter what the Iraqis do or the Iraqi government does, no one will be happy, well to be honest if your not Iraqi then its not your problem and secondly you are contributing to the success of the enemies of Allah by putting a statement that is neither your concern nor is it your area of specialist. The cameras were not there before, now they are , this in my view is moving forward and trying things out in a country where struggle for power is fought. You want them to suddenly install 4d softwares and virtual tours and anticipate who the terrorists are using intelligence from opinion or emotion? Come on please dont speak about things you do not know as clearly some comments are infact really depressing to read, for example who said that these cameras would stop terrorists blowing themselves up? NO they are a step from many steps to be taken and actioned throughout the year. I as an Iraqi from baghdad feel very disheartened by many people as quite clearly as i said in my other article on this forum, spreading hate, anger and negative propaganda is first on the agenda for alot of people including shias themselves. your brother Hussain
  19. BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraq's security forces have set up 250 "spy" cameras across the war-ravaged city in a bid to flush out insurgents and criminals, an official said on Wednesday, warning that more are on the way. ADVERTISEMENT Brigadier General Qasim Atta, spokesman for the Baghdad security plan, told a press conference that the cameras had proven effective in fighting insurgency in the central shrine city of Karbala, where they were installed in May. "These cameras are very high-tech. They can store images for up to five years," Atta said. "This is the first part of the project. More cameras will be installed over a period of time." Baghdad is in the grip of a vicious sectarian war that has killed thousands of people although Atta and US military commanders have reported a drastic drop in violence since a "surge" of American troops were deployed from February. Atta told the press conference that between October 15 and November 6, nine "terrorists" had been killed in Baghdad and 165 wanted and 119 suspected militants had been arrested. Security forces managed to release 31 kidnapped people and had defused 109 roadside bombs in the three-week period, while 60 mortar shells, 26 bombs and various quantities of explosives had been discovered. "The terrorists are now forced to resort to kidnappings and planting roadside bombs because our security plan is working," said Atta. Link: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071107/wl_mi...p5qgQSey5JX6GMA
  20. By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer BAGHDAD - The number of Iraqis returning to their country after fleeing abroad is growing, with more than 46,000 people coming home last month, an Iraqi government spokesman said Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Iraqi Army said 17 bodies were discovered in a mass grave northeast of Baghdad in an area troops have only recently been able to enter because of a downturn in violence. Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, the Iraqi spokesman for a U.S.-Iraqi military push to pacify Baghdad, said border crossings recorded 46,030 people returning to Iraq in October alone. He attributed the large number to the "improving security situation." "The level of terrorist operations has dropped in most of the capital's neighborhoods, due to the good performance of the armed forces," al-Moussawi told reporters in the heavily-guarded Green Zone. Al-Moussawi did not give numbers of Iraqis returning home before October. The latest figure comes as Iraq's neighbors, particularly Syria and Jordan, have tightened their borders to Iraqis fleeing the turmoil in their own country. Syria is home to at least 1.2 million Iraqi refugees, and Jordan has about 750,000. Many of those Iraqis are living in limbo, unable to work and running out of whatever money they were able to bring out of Iraq. Both countries are struggling to provide services to incoming Iraqis and began requiring visas for them starting this past summer. Most applications are denied. Those who fled to Syria or Jordan before the new rules took effect must leave when their three-month permits expire unless they have been officially recognized by the United Nations as refugees � a process that can take months. That leaves many people with the choice of returning to Iraq or risking deportation anyway. And with the improving security situation, it appears many Iraqis are opting to return home. Al-Moussawi did not explain whether the 46,030 included people who arrived by air, rather than by crossing borders from neighboring countries. According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, some 2 million Iraqis have fled their country. Besides Syria and Jordan, Egypt has absorbed 100,000. Some 54,000 Iraqis are in Iran, 40,000 in Lebanon, 10,000 in Turkey and 200,000 in various Persian Gulf countries. The U.S. admitted only 1,608 Iraqi refugees this past fiscal year. Sweden has admitted more than 18,000 since 2006, the highest number in any European country, but now says it too is tightening asylum rules. On Monday, the Iraqi Red Crescent issued a report saying nearly 2.3 million Iraqis � the vast majority of them women and children � have fled their homes but remain inside the country's borders. The number of internally displaced people, or IDPs, in Iraq grew by 16 percent in September from the previous month � to 2,299,425, the Red Crescent said. That figure has skyrocketed since the beginning of 2007, when less than half a million people were listed as displaced. Al-Moussawi questioned those figures in a news conference on Wednesday, publicly asking the Red Crescent to "give reasons behind this high number." "The increase announced by the Red Crescent is not logical, because now we are living a stable security situation and many families have returned to their original places," al-Moussawi said. He suggested some families had registered for Red Crescent aid because they were in financial straits, but that they had not been displaced. Scattered violence continued Wednesday, albeit at sharply reduced levels than several months ago, before the 30,000-strong U.S. force buildup here. The mass grave was found in an area of brush near a school in Hashimiyat, west of Baqouba, said Col. Ihsan al-Shimari. Baqouba, some 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, is the provincial capital of Diyala � a troubled area where al-Qaida in Iraq is believed to have a strong presence. Many of the bodies were handcuffed and blindfolded, al-Shimari said. He said the bodies were likely passengers kidnapped at fake checkpoints on a nearby road leading to Baqouba � a dangerous route dubbed the "road of death." The discovery came a day after the U.S. military announced that another mass grave had been found in Iraq's western Anbar province. Iraqi soldiers found 22 bodies in the Lake Tharthar area on Saturday during a joint operation with U.S. forces, the military said in a statement. It was the second mass grave discovered in that area in less than a month. Al-Shimari said he believed more graves would be uncovered soon, because U.S. and Iraqi security forces were for the first time searching some areas that were previously too violent to enter. Southeast of Baghdad, two children aged 4 and 8 were killed early Wednesday when a mortar struck their house, police said. They were members of a Shiite family mired in a local feud with neighboring Sunnis, an officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to media. Their father and two brothers were injured in the attack, which occurred around 7 a.m. in Diwaniyah, about 19 miles southeast of the capital, police said. Meanwhile farther south in Kut, gunmen broke into the home of an Iraqi soldier and shot him to death, the officer said. Police are investigating the attack, which took place at 3:30 a.m., he said. Kut lies 100 miles southeast of Baghdad. In the capital, a Shiite math teacher was killed in a drive-by shooting in the Sunni-dominated Mansour area, another police officer said. Hanaa Lafta Muhssin, 35, was walking to school at 8 a.m. when gunmen showered her with bullets, the officer said under the same condition of anonymity. In Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, the police chief said he escaped unharmed after a roadside bomb targeted his convoy. It was the second attempt on Maj. Gen. Jalil Khalaf's life in less than a week. Later Wednesday, a suicide truck bomb exploded at the office of a Kurdish political party in Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad, said Iraqi police Brig. Gen. Sarhat Qadir. About 13 people were wounded, and the building and six cars parked outside were damaged, he said. 46,000 Iraqis Return to Baghdad
  21. Sa Wr Alllah Wb "The people of the country are first to speak" This topic seems to have no beginning and no end hence the extreme view on both sides It seems a comparison is being made between the old regime and the new one, from my opinion such a comparison cannot be fully adequate to perform results on whether Iraq is succesful or not. There are Iraqis who have not tasted oppression until post-war 2003 and there are those who are tasting freedom within thier own definitions. One thing that is agreed upon is that saddam didnt do any favours to the Iraqis and certainly he did not build his country into an advanced modern pro freedom state. Instead he lead the country into wars and massacred as well as formed a secret agency to manipulate the Iraqis which led to sins such as fitna, lying, deceiving, killing, raping, slaughtering and so on.. We can justify actions and give reasons to why they occured but this is all useless if they dont achieve any results, and to me it seems like there are those who rub there hands at Iraq being in a state of destabalisation. Why is it we dont like to hear that Iraq is successful or Iraq is becoming better? Why is it we dont like to hear that Iraq is the only country in the middle east with a 100% elected government? Why is it we dont like to hear that Iraq is in need of love and unity rather than war and fighting? Why is it we love to see neighbouring countries such as iran and syria talking about resistance? why is it we constantly blame everything on others and not ourselves? I am sorry to those who dont seem to comprehend that Iraq is in a time where the people need help and support through building orphanages, building houses, repairing water pipes, electricity and the whole infrastructure needs rebuilding. Yes of course we love to help in the way we want to help and chant and scream out "RESISTANCE" "GET AMERICANS OUT" " MALIKI IS A PUPPET" " ITS ISRAEL FAULT" " MUSLIM LAND IS OCCUPIED" Can we just get a book and wack it on our heads and wake up and smell the coffee as quite clearly we are damn right hypocrites if we are claiming something now and during saddam time we were ignoring everything about Iraq, infact we didnt even know what Iraq was before the invasion right? oh sorry you went to karbala and najaf for ziyarah for 2 weeks and you have masterminded Iraq and the Iraqees. As for those that dont have the good heart and good will to help Iraq kindly keep your opinions to yourself and if you dont have anything nice to say then dont say it as you are dissieving people and misguiding others. Just for the guidance of some ignorant people who dont seem to think before they comment on this topic i must say to them that there is a Howza in Najaf which is in IRAQ with hundreds of Scholars, Marji3 Taqleed and great thinkers, philosphers as well as leaders. I as an Iraqi from Baghdad dont need to listen to disrespectful and rude as well as very ill minded people from this forum but rather we have our Great Leader our Grand Ayatollah Sayed al Seestani who gives out his wisdom on all occasions regarding the ground situation on what to do as Shia muslims in Iraq. Those who have not met The Grand Ayatollah and make comments such as "He is only for fiqh" or "He has nothing to do with Iraq" are unfortunately incorrect and totally misguided, if you dont believe me then just goto www.expedia.co.uk and goto Najaf, Iraq through Dubai via coyne airways.(thats if you are not lazy and sitting in the UK on benefits and watching rather than ACTING). It seems Iraq is a CINEMA nowadays for people to laugh, joke, give false opinions. what next you want popcorn NO, STOP EATING, DRINKING , GAINING BENEFITS FROM US/UK AND COME TO IRAQ AND DO SOMETHING!!!! Sayed al seestani is our leader, we listen to him, we follow him and it is he who tells us if we must start a resistance or not, it is through the guidance of the Howza that we must strategically plan a resistance, start rallying the people and so on....it is not some sell out on shiachat forum telling me as an iraqi what to do....dont be rude and worry about yourself and your country and leave me and my country alone as i dont need you or your sympathy. I am sick and tired of hearing those who base there opinion on Resisting when they themselves are living off the benefits of US/UK and eating fish and chips or burger with fries from mcdonalds. Can we just say "we dont know" if you dont know? Saddam is dead, he is gone, he is finished and his leaders, his generals are all heading in the same direction. How many of you constantly say Iraq has been occupied since 2003? NO Iraq has been occupied since the time of SADDAM, Where were you all during the occupation of saddam, ha? were you too busy watching TV or feeding your stomache or going out and having a nice time whilst the land of the muslims (Iraq) was being occupied? Isnt Sayed Mohammed Baqir al Sadr more knowledgeable than anyone who has pasted on this topic so far? so do we listen to him or to some liars on this forum claiming that saddam gave security, gave control? gave quality life? I would like to share to the people on here who are misguided that during saddam time Iraqees did make a difference between shia and sunni, it is a myth to suggest there wasnt any difference, yes they married each other but only in some areas or some circumstances, or in other words the LESS RELIGIOUS of them and they just compromise based on other things. In the class in iraq they used to count how many shia and how many sunni for crying out loud!!! Saddam didnt create sectarnism YES HE DID AND IF YOU WERE SHIA YOU WOULD NOT SEE THIS WORLD.. unless you use TAQIYAH or you RUN AWAY. what is wrong with some of the people, wait everything is wrong as they were not THERE!!!. Let me tell you all that saddam was seen as SUNNI hence when he got toppled his SUNNI brethren from the gulf decided to blame it on the shia and hence why never they want SHIA to be in power, WHAT A SURPRISE SOME SHIAS (especially in this forum) ARE PUTTING DOWN THE IRAQI GOVERNMENT AND CALLING MALIKI A PUPPET tooo!!!! Anybody could of done something but nobody did what everybody should be doing and in the end nobody did what somebody should of done so they blamed somebody when nobody did it I send you to baghdad in 1980 and i send you to baghdad in 2007 you will never say saddam time is better than now. As a great individual said : baghdad of 2007 does not belong to maliki, does not belong to mubarak, does not belong to saud, does not belong to abdullah , the baghdad of 2007 belongs to baghdad. Revise your thinking and look at the middle east and how dictators rule for decades....thanks to Allah we have an elected government.. I Pray to Allah(swt) to help and guide the misguided I Pray to Allah(swt) to give wisdom to those that are not wise I Pray to Allah(swt) to open the eyes of the people and to give them the heart to love rather than hate I Pray to Allah(swt) to open the eyes of the muslim ummah and change to become a democratic country like Iraq I Pray to Allah(swt) to show the people that war is never a solution but a travesty I Pray to Allah(swt) to show the people that Islam never spread by the sword but rather the Intellect I Pray to Allah(swt) to give strenght to myself and to the rest of the Iraqi people I Pray to Allah(swt) to give me patience and to give me allegience I Pray to Allah(swt) to keep grand ayatollah Sayed Seestani more years in good health I Pray to Allah(swt) to guide the people to listen to sayed Seestani as his way of love and unity is far better than resisting blindly Finally i ask Allah(swt) to give us the Imam of our time al Hujjat ibn al Hasan al askari (AJ) ws wr Allah wb your Brother Hussain
  22. Sa Wr Allah Wb Under a dictatorship regime that Iraq had for decades there wasn't choice as it contradicts dictatorship. Which true Islam are you refering to? can you show us as we want to learn from you. Hussain
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