Little fanfare for 7th anniversary of war in Iraq
2010 03 19
By Rebecca Santana | News.Yahoo.com
Seven years after the first bombs in the war to oust Saddam Hussein, Iraqis went about their business Friday with little observance of the anniversary, looking to the future with a mixture of trepidation and hope.
Perhaps more important in the minds of many was the ongoing wait for final results from the country’s second nationwide parliamentary election. The milestone will determine who will oversee Iraq as U.S. forces go home, but could also point the direction the fragile democracy will take down the road — deeper into the sectarian divide that followed Saddam’s fall, or toward a more secular, inclusive rule.
"Now we have democracy and freedom, but the cost was dire and Iraqis have paid that price," said Raid Abdul-Zahra, 38, a technician in Najaf.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s coalition appears to be ahead in the tight race. With almost 90 percent of the vote counted as of Thursday, his coalition was leading in 7 of Iraq’s 18 provinces compared to 5 provinces for his closest rival, the Iraqiya coalition led by secular Shiite Ayad Allawi. Al-Maliki’s coalition also has about 40,000 votes more in the overall vote count.
A man walks through the rubble of a building belonging to the former Iraqi army, and destroyed during the air campaign in the early stages of the war, in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, March 19, 2010. Almost seven years after the first bombs fell in the war to oust Saddam Hussein, Iraqis went about their business Friday with little observance of the anniversary, looking to the future with a mixture of trepidation and hope. (AP Photo / Khalid Mohammed)
Many, especially among the country’s Sunni-minority that dominated Iraq during Saddam’s rule, blame the U.S. for the sectarian violence that erupted after the invasion.
"Failure is the word that should be linked with the U.S war. The Americans brought people to power, but those people are specialized in reprisals, blackmail, inflaming sectarianism and robbing," said Mohammed Thabit, a retired teacher from Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit.
While violence has plummeted since the height of the bloodshed in 2006 and 2007, attacks continue, although in much smaller numbers.
On Friday, at least five people were killed across Iraq.
Three people died when a bomb exploded in the Sadr City slum in east Baghdad; gunmen killed an Iraqi soldier in Baghdad; and a roadside bomb in the northern city of Mosul killed an Iraqi soldier, police and hospital officials said. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Many Iraqis view the U.S. withdrawal plans with mixed feelings — pride that their country is regaining its full sovereignty but also concern that the lull in violence may break and bloodshed return.
"If the forces leave speedily, there will be a power vacuum and more problems will erupt because Iraqi forces are not loyal to Iraq but to their party affiliations," said Abdul-Karim Moussa, 55, in Baghdad.
Others think the violence will dissipate after the U.S. pulls out.
"I think the violence will vanish after the American withdrawal because they are causing the violence. They entered Iraq to steal its natural resources," said Ahmed Abdul-Hussein, 55, in Kut.
In Sadr City, the stronghold of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, Sheik Suhail al-Akabi described the anniversary as the "ominous day of the invasion," and called for a demonstration on April 9, the anniversary of Baghdad’s fall, "to call for the departure of the occupying forces."
Al-Sadr’s followers have been some of the most adamant voices calling for U.S. troops to immediately leave Iraq.
The U.S. military said there were no ceremonies or special events to mark the anniversary.
At least 4,386 U.S. military personnel have died in Iraq since the war began, according to an Associated Press count.
Those numbers have tapered off significantly as violence has dropped and U.S. forces have limited their operations as part of the U.S.-Iraq pact under which American forces pulled out of Iraqi cities.
Last year, 152 American service members died in Iraq, compared to 314 a year earlier, according to figures compiled by The Associated Press using data from the U.S. Defense Department.
The number of troops in Iraq has also dropped significantly since the height of the war in October 2007, when the U.S. had about 170,000 troops in the country. About 95,000 remain, and that number is expected to fall to 50,000 by the end of August under President Barack Obama’s plan to remove all combat troops from the country. All American troops are scheduled to leave by the end of 2011.
According to figures compiled by Iraq’s Human Rights Ministry and released last fall, 85,694 people were killed from the beginning of 2004 to Oct. 31, 2008 and 147,195 were wounded. The figures include Iraqi civilians, military and police but do not cover U.S. military deaths, insurgents, or foreigners, including contractors. And it did not include the first months of the war after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
However, those figure are widely considered a minimum because many so many deaths went unreported.
The war in Iraq has cost more than $712 billion, according to the National Priorities Project.
Article from: News.Yahoo.com
A protester, who opposes the U.S. policy in Iraq, shouts slogan after former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave a speech at the Chinese University of Hong Kong Friday, March 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Video from: YouTube.com
Iraq War Seventh Anniversary: ’We’ll Know Better Next Time’
Inside Iraq - Authors’ views on the Iraq war (Video)
Iraq Slideshow (Photo Gallery)
Iraqi Deaths: JustForeignPolicy.org
Iraq War Renamed ’Operation New Dawn’
Jack Straw admits he could have stopped the Iraq war
Latest News from our Front Page
Has Blackwater been deployed to Ukraine?
2014 03 11
Notorious U.S. mercenaries ’seen on the streets of flashpoint city’ as Russia claims 300 hired guns have arrived in country
Speculation was growing last night that American mercenaries had been deployed to Donetsk after videos emerged of unidentified armed men in the streets of the eastern Ukrainian city.
At least two videos published on YouTube earlier this week show burly, heavily armed ...
Pyramid of the Sun Turning to Dust
2014 03 10
All we are is dust in the wind, so the saying goes, but it’s troubling when it happens to great ancient monuments that we assume will be around forever.
Pyramid of the Sun, Pirámide del Sol, Teotihuacán, México (Wikimedia Commons)
New Scientist reports that the Pyramid of the Sun in Mexico is turning to dust and could collapse:
The Pyramid of the ...
Elephants Never Forget A Voice
2014 03 10
According to a new study, wild elephants are discerning listeners who can differentiate between various human languages, genders, ages, and more. Such surprising skills continue to marvel researchers.
Not all the intellectual surprises are on the large animal front. Research has shown that crows are extremely intelligent, some dogs recognize over a thousand words and have the intellect of a toddler, ...
RIP, psychiatry: the “chemical-imbalance” theory is dead
2014 03 10
This one is big.
Dr. Ronald Pies, the editor-in-chief emeritus of the Psychiatric Times, laid the theory to rest in the July 11, 2011, issue of the Times with this staggering admission:
“In truth, the ‘chemical imbalance’ notion was always a kind of urban legend — never a theory seriously propounded by well-informed psychiatrists.”
The point is, for decades the whole basis of ...
Space Elevator By 2035, Says International Academy of Astronautics
2014 03 10
Going up? Way up?
The space elevator - An idea which used to be pure speculative science fiction has gained renewed interest.
ExtremeTech.com lays out the technical challenges of the audacious (crazy?) plan to extend the 100,000-kilometers-long tether into space. Especially problematic to the mission is the fact that the materials and technology needed to create the space elevator don’t actually exist ...
|More News » |