11 Electricity Workers Killed At

11 Electricity Workers Killed at Checkpoint
Democrats threaten to take On Bush on Iraq Funding

Police discovered 14 bodies in Baghad, 7 in Baqubah and 3 in Mosul on Tuesday, according to Reuters. Guerrillas detonated two roadside bombs in south Baghdad. Early on Wednesday, gunmen killed 11 electricity workers near Hawija southwest of Kirkuk, after setting up a phony checkpoint.

Congress and the president are locked in a series of battles, over funding for the Iraq War, setting a timetable for withdrawal, and talking to leaders of states that the White House does not like, such as Syria. Senator Harry Reid appears set to play chicken with George W. Bush over funding for the troops, seeing who will blink first.

According to one Iraqi newspaper, the Dems are getting an unexpected ally. Saudi King Abdullah is said to prefer cooperating with the Democrats than with the White House on resolution of the Iraq crisis (see below).

More, this time from Sudarsan Raghavan of WaPo, on why Senator John McCain’s sunny pronouncements at the Shurja Market in Baghdad don’t hold water.

The Gulf Times Reporst [scroll down] that “Iraq has issued invitations for 15 Arab, Asian and American firms to drill 100 oil wells in the country‚Äôs south as part of efforts to boost production, the oil ministry spokesman said yesterday.”

The American public admits that their country is too quick to go to war in a new poll. And, 84 percent say that they think the US should not again go to war without the support of its allies. (Apparently the public, unlike the Neocons, still considers France an ally.)

MENA in Cairo is reporting that Harith al-Dhari, a leader of the Sunni fundamentalist Association of Muslim Scholars, is denying reports that the US has reached out to Sunni Arab insurgents in Iraq. “America might have spoken with ineffective parties that have no say whatsoever in the Iraqi resistance,” al-Dhari is quoted as saying. He also maintained that the US presence in Iraq fuels the violence, and that plans for federalism are aimed at breaking up the country.

Al-Dhari’s allegation is given some credence by the denial being issued by Salah Umar al-Ali, an ex-Baathist dissident, that he had been contacted by the Iraqi government in an attempt to reach out to the ex-Baath leadership. The claim that the Iraqi government was talking to him was carried by al-Hayat recently. If Iraqi officials are lying to al-Hayat about al-Ali, they are probably lying about the whole range of alleged contacts. So far, both Bush and al-Maliki seem still determined to crush their enemies rather than trying to bring them in from the cold.

William Tucker, recently embedded with US troops in Iraq, compares the US colonial occupation of that country with its experience in the Philippines and concludes that Iraq is unlikely to be a succcess.

The USG Open Source Center paraphrases the Iraqi press for 3 April:

“Al-Bayyinah al-Jadidah carries on the front page a 370-word report citing a senior Iraqi official source saying that the Saudi King has rejected an offer from President Bush to visit Saudi Arabia because the king wants to cooperate with US democrats. . .

Al-Muwatin on 2 April publishes on the front page and on page 2 a 1,500-word report entitled “Terrorist Groups Impose Fatwas Banning Drinking Cold Water, Smoking, Shaving, Using Computers, Satellites on Diyala Residents; In Tall Afar, Curfew Imposed, Schools, State Offices Closed, Prime Minister’s Visit Anticipated.”

Al-Muwatin on 2 April carries on the front page a 260-word report citing President Talabani confirming that the Al-Mahdi Army has stopped its operations since the inauguration of the Law Enforcement Plan. The report cites Vice President urging Sunni insurgents to stop their attacks on Shiites.

Al-Muwatin on 2 April runs on the front page a 200-word report citing Baha al-A’raji, parliament member from the Al-Sadr Bloc, criticizing the government for not investing in the initial success of the Law Enforcement Plan to attack terrorist strongholds in Baghdad. . .

Dar al-Salam carries on page 5 a 140-word report entitled “Shiite Turkomans Council Holds Kurds Responsible for Tall Afar Bombings.” . .

Al-Zaman runs on the front page a 300-word report citing former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi criticizing the deployment of additional US forces in Iraq and doubting the success of the Law Enforcement Plan. . .

Al-Zaman carries on the front page a 400-word report entitled “Al-Sadr trend Calls for Public Conference To End Deteriorations in Al-Diwaniyah Governorate.” . .

Al-Mashriq runs on page 3 a 650-word report citing a member at Kirkuk Governorate Council calling for Kirkuk to be a special region with joint administration including, Arab, Turkoman, and Kurds. . .

Al-Muwatin on 2 April publishes on page 4 a 220-word report on the demonstration organized by Basra University students on 1 April to protest against British forces for raiding the university campus.

Al-Muwatin on 2 April carries on page 4 a 130-word report entitled “Anti-Tank Mines Seized in Maysan Governorate.”

Al-Muwatin on 2 runs on page 4 a 200-word report citing a security source confirming that the Maysan criminal Court has sentenced two drug dealers to 15 years.

Al-Bayyinah runs on page 2 a 750-word report citing Sunnis in Diyala warning against the attempts by the “Islamic State of Iraq” to seize their mosques and kill them like Shiites in the governorate.

Al-Bayyinah carries on page 4 a 330-word report citing a security source in Ninawah saying that unidentified gunmen have managed to control the Abu Tammam Telephone Exchange in Mosul.

Al-Bayyinah carries on page 4 a 700-word report saying that security agencies in Al-Diwaniyah held a security conference to discuss the deteriorating security situation in the governorate.

Al-Mashriq runs on page 5 a 560-word report on the increasing oil smuggling operations in Basra.

Al-Adala carries on the last page an 80-word report citing the Trade Ministry erected technical and electronic equipment on its food-rationed trucks to protect them robbery.

Al-Zaman carries on page 2 a 400-word report entitled “Al-Nasiriyah Textile Factory Workers Organize Demonstration Demanding Salary Increase.”

Al-Zaman publishes on page 5 a 700-word report entitled “Mosul’s Humble Hotels Accommodate Displaced, Poor Families; Services Absent, Tourism Stars Appear in Daylight.” . .

Al-Mashriq runs on page 4 a 1,300-word report on the begging phenomenon that has increased on Iraqi streets due to the poor security conditions. . .

Al-Sabah carries on page 14 a 1,000-word report citing citizens complaining about the increase of prices in Iraqi markets.

Al-Sabah carries on page 14 a 130-word report citing an official source in the Kurdistan Region saying that the region will sign oil investment contracts with 15 oil companies. . .

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