New Abu Ghuraib Photos Published
Bombs in Baghdad
A series of bombings killed at least 8 persons and wounded over a dozen in Baghdad on Wednesday. Four guerrillas were killed in running street battles with US forces. Four bodies showing signs of torture were discovered in the Shula district of the capital.
The revelation of previously unreleased pictures of torture by Americans from Abu Ghraib prison is worsening US relations with Muslim publics. Some of these pictures show corpses.
Paul Rogers argues that Iraq is a great gift to al-Qaeda, providing jihadis with a perfect urban training ground.
Iraq’s human rights minister, a Kurdish woman from her name, wants at least lower-level officials of the Interior and Justice ministries prosecuted over the secret prisons and torture discovered last summer.
Kathleen Ridolfo of the Voice of America does a good round-up of the reaction to the selection of Ibrahim Jaafari as the candidate for prime minister of the religious Shiite United Iraqi Alliance. The upshot is that the Americans don’t like it. The Kurds don’t like it. The Sunni Arabs think they probably won’t like it. The Americans and the Kurds still hope somehow to shoehorn secular ex-Baathist and old-time CIA asset Iyad Allawi into a position of power, even though his list received only 9 percent of seats.
Jaafari’s program right now appears to be to form a more inclusive government and to demand more ministerial accountability.
The bad news is that the English service of the Voice of America is set to be virtually abolished by the Bush administration. Because now is a time that the US just does not need public diplomacy, apparently.
Most of the Japanese Self Defense Force troops in Iraq will be withdrawn by May. They were working on things like water purification in the southern Shiite city of Samawah. Now that the British and Australians are withdrawing from Samawah in favor of local security forces, the Japanese have decided they are too exposed to remain. Samawah security is probably run by elements from the Badr Corps, the Iran-trained paramilitary.