*Here is what Tuesday’s events in Iraq looked like to Kuwait’s Arab Times: “Six more American soldiers were wounded in Iraq on Tuesday and a fatal blast at a mosque fuelled Muslim anger toward US forces, all within hours of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld insisting Iraq was no new Vietnam. Three soldiers were hurt near Baghdad’s university when a makeshift bomb exploded by their vehicle, a military spokesman said. Their Iraqi interpreter was missing. Bystanders saw troops drag four seemingly badly wounded people from the burning wreck. Three others were wounded in two separate grenade attacks.”
The daily litany of US casualties is extremely depressing, and apparently unlikely to stop any time soon. The recent news of 30 Iraqi looters being blown up accidentally while looting a weapons’ depot was shocking to me. You mean the US and Britain are still leaving major weapons depots unguarded and open to systematic looting?? Those arms then end up in the hands of angry Sunni Baathists, fundamentalists and other opponents of US presence. The mosque explosion at Falluja, which killed the prayer leader and several seminary students, was almost certainly a Baathist ploy to get the US in further trouble with the people there. It seems to be working, and US denials that their missile landed on the mosque are being dismissed.
*The good news is that only 56 percent of Americans think things are going well for the US in Iraq, down from the 70s a month ago. The bad news is that 56% of Americans should have their eyes examined if this looks to them like anything but a growing disaster.
*The British in Basra are working with the 15 sheikhs who head the major tribes/clans in the city, to find a solution to the massive unemployment gripping the area.
*The Kurds have found a document from Iraqi intelligence dating back to the late 1980s during the Anfal (chemical weapons) campaign against the Kurds, who had allied with Iran in the Iran-Iraq War. It has long been known that the Iraqi army kidnapped thousands of Kurdish men at that time, presumably in preparation for their burial in mass graves. It now turns out that young Kurdish women were also kidnapped in some numbers, and sent off to work on the estates of Baath loyalists in the Sunni Arab center or even sold into sexual slavery abroad. Some 17, according to the document, ended up in Cairo night clubs. – Asharq al-Awsat.
*In at least a little vindication of Kurdish womanhood, a Kurdish woman has been made head of the qada’ of Dukan in the governorate of Sulaimaniya. This is is the first time a woman has risen so high since the founding of the modern Iraqi state in 1921. – az-Zaman.