85 Killed or Found Dead in Baghdad, Ramadi, etc.
Return of Death Squads to Baghdad?
A Majority of Americans Say War is Lost
In the past 6 months, US troops have been killed in Iraq at the highest rate since the war began.
For the first time in polling on the Iraq War, a majority of Americans (51%) say that they expect the United States to “lose” in Iraq. Worse, 66 percent say that the war was not worth it! The public is divided about what to do about this white elephant it clearly thinks it bought. A slight majority says that a timetable for withdrawal should be set, while 48% oppose such a step. Only 29% say that Bush is doing a good job in Iraq. (One shudders to imagine what a bad job would have looked like!)
Some 85 persons were killed or found dead in Iraq on Tuesday.
Iraq’s streets continued to function as a macabre open morgue. Police found 25 corpses, most showing signs of torture, in Baghdad. The creeping back up of the number of corpses found each day suggests renewed activity on the part of death squads, both Sunni and Shiite. I’m surprised that they are able to operate with such impunity in the capital given the increase in the number of US and Iraqi troops there.
In Mosul, nine bodies were found. Near Diwaniyah in the Shiite south, 4 bodies were discovered. There has been fighting in Diwaniya between the Mahdi Army and local police, dominated by the Badr Corps of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. In Suwayra south of Baghdad, 3 bodies were fished from a river.
In Ramadi, authorities made a gruesome discovery of a small mass grave with 17 decomposing bodies in it, probably victims of the Salafi Jihadi movement, “The Islamic State of Iraq.”
There were also scattered car bombings and mortar strikes.
Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, spiritual leader of the Shiites, met Tuesday with Sunni clerics and they issued communiques calling for the end of sectarian violence. (The Iraqi clerics, including Sistani, have, however, lost political control and no one much pays attention any more to such counsel.)
Sam Dagher of CSM reports on the way that the resignation of the Sadrist ministers from al-Maliki’s cabinet points to fissures within the ruling United Iraqi Alliance coalition of fundamentalist Shiite parties.
The big demonstration in Basra on Najaf — some say 20,000 strong– and continued militia violence in that city pose a challenge to stability in Iraq’s major petroleum exporting port. Without security in Basra, it is hard to see how the Iraqi government can hope to survive.
The transcript and streaming video of my appearance Monday on the Lehrer News Hour– regarding the resignation of the Sadrist ministers from the cabinet– is now available both as transcript and streaming video.
Tom Engelhardt on tell-tale changes in Bush’s rhetoric and figures of speech with regard to the Iraq War.
The USG Open Source Center paraphrases Iraqi news items for April 16:
‘ Al-Manarah on 15 April runs on page 3 a 1,000-word report citing Maysan Governor Adil Muhawdar Radi confirming that Iraqi security forces are ready to assume security responsibility in the governorate. Radi outlined the development projects in the governorate. . .
Al-Sabah al-Jadid carries on the front page a 340-word editorial by Chief Editor Isma’il Zayyir urging the government to enforce law and order in Basra before it turns into another Al-Fallujah. . .
Al-Sabah carries on the front page a 120-word report citing Al-Sadr Bloc Chairman Nassar al-Rubay’i saying that the bloc will withdraw from the government because multinational forces still control the security responsibility. . .
Al-Sabah carries on page 3 a 260-word report saying that the Supreme Judicial Council has presented a memorandum to parliament calling for the lifting of immunity from Adnan al-Dulaymi for his alleged involvement in supporting terrorism. . .
Al-Mashriq carries on page 2 a 170-word report citing Iran officials doubtful of an imminent US attack because the majority of its forces are tied up in Iraq.
Al-Mashriq carries on page 3 a 1,400-word report entitled ‘King Abdullah warns against hidden calls to divide Iraq.’ . .
Al-Mashriq carries on page 3 a 300-word report saying that a number of Iraqi members of parliament criticized the conference held in Baghdad to discuss the temporary leadership of the southern region to include three Maysan, Basra, and Dhi Qar Governorates. . .
Al-Adala carries on the front page a 120-word report saying that Kuwait has reiterated its solidarity with Iraq, Algeria, and Morocco to combat terrorism. . .
Al-Adala carries on the front page a 120-word report citing Ammar al-Hakim saying targeting Karbala will either to control authority or cause murder of the masses.
Al-Bayyinah al-Jadidah carries on page 2 a 120-word report citing Parliament Second Deputy Speaker Arif Tayfur saying that a US company, in coordination with the Interior Ministry, will be in charge of protecting parliament.