Rafsanjani Warns against US Policy in Iraq
Muqtada Demands Islamic Rule
Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said Monday as he met with young Iraqi Shiite nationalist, Muqtada al-Sadr, that the US sought to divide and rule in Iraq. Iran Focus says, ‘ “The goals of the occupiers are in contradiction to the wishes of the Iraqi people. By influencing the political events in that country they will try to force their imperialist goals on the future government”, Rafsanjani said, adding that Iraqi groups had a responsibility to work together to thwart the U.S.’s aims.’
It reports of Muqtada, ‘ He went on to say that the U.S.-led forces in Iraq were attempting to decrease the influence of religion in Iraqi society. “The Iraqi people want a country run under Islamic rule”, Sadr said. ‘
Bombings and a sectarian kidnapping of two dozen Sunni Arabs in north Baghdad, along with the deaths of 4 GIs, marked events on Monday in Iraq. A head of the Sunni pious endowments board was assassinated.
Under Iraqi law, the new parliament must meet to choose a president within 15 days of the certification of the election results, e.g. around Feb. 18. The parliamentarians are, however, putting aside this provision of the law and are making no promises as to when they will be able to form a government.
Iraqi guerrilla groups attacked US and other targets 34,000 times in 2005, up 30% from the year before. The number of roadside bombs deployed nearly doubled to over 10,000, and the number of casualties was up. Any way you measure it, these statistics indicate that the US has failed miserably in counter-insurgency efforts in Iraq.
Iraqi professionals are fleeing the country, which makes the prospect of rebuilding even dimmer.
A preliminary inspector general report on the US reconstruction effort in Iraq finds it plagued by poor planning and poor implementation, according to the NYT.
US contractors are pulling out of Iraq, as the funds for reconstruction dry up.
Iraq is paying Turkish firms $1 billion in arrears for fuel. They had ceased supplying it in protest against the Iraqi failure to pay. In other news, two Turkish banks are planning to open branches in Iraqi Kurdistan.
These recent photos from Iraq, several of them disturbing (be forewarned), are on the web but never picked up by major newspapers or television in the US.