Iraq, and not the overall war on terror, seems to be the rally point for Democrats as we near the November elections. Granted, things could certainly be better in the 4 regions where the terrorists seem to be active. We don't hear much about the rest of the country, which seems to be doing quite well.
The bad news, a quarter of a million Iraqis have fled their homes and registered as refugees in the past seven months, data released on Thursday showed, amid an upsurge in violence that has accompanied the Ramadan holy month. I thought Ramadan was supposed to be a month of fasting, prayer and peace. Moqtada al-Sadr is continuing to be nothing but trouble. According to one general, the U.S. military will be changing the way they deal with him and his Mehdi Army. I think Sadr should have been dealt with at the very beginning.
The sectarian killing continued in Baghdad, where police said they had found the bodies of 40 victims -- bound, tortured and murdered -- in the last 24 hours. [snip] . . . a surge in death squad killings since February by militants within the Mehdi Army of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, including some who had become "rogue" and were no longer under Sadr's control.
The death squads have been seeking out victims using lists of targets and placing them before clerics who give religious sanction to their killings, . . . source
The United States and Britain believe that Iran is providing munitions to the terrorists in Iraq. A 'senior U.S. military official' in a briefing with journalists in Baghdad on Wednesday:
He estimated that Iran has sent "millions of dollars" to the Mehdi Army militia of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, . . .
Iranian weapons found in Iraq include surface-to-air missiles and anti-tank rockets like those used by Hezbollah in Lebanon against
Israel, as well as tank-destroying Explosively Formed Projectiles (EFPs) that have become common in roadside bombs used to attack U.S. and British troops.
But the official gave far more detail, and said the latest weapons finds -- including explosives bearing factory stamps indicating they come from Iran -- show that the policy of arming Iraqi militia is supported at high levels in Iran and not the work of rogue Iranian operatives. source
Saddam's trial has become a joke and as long as he continues to have a platform the people of Iraq still fear he may one day gain control and power over them again. Saddam's lawyers are boycotting the trial 'to protest alleged violations of judicial procedures and the removal of the original chief judge, Abdullah al-Amiri'.
Al-Amiri — who was replaced last week by his deputy, Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa — was accused of being too soft on Saddam.
Al-Khalifa appointed replacement lawyers so the trial could continue. source
Some good news, Iraq's Central Criminal Court has convicted and sentenced 22 'insurgents', incuding men from Syria, Yemen, France, Lebanon, and Iraq. 'Since its establishment in April 2004, the Central Criminal Court has held 1,537 trials for suspected insurgents. The proceedings have resulted in 1,309 convictions with sentences ranging up to death.'
Al-Qaeda in Iraq has called for more fighters, saying 4,000 had been killed. That figure is probably very low. Their leader says they are 'in dire need' of more fighters.
Al-Qaida in Iraq's leader, in a chilling audiotape released Thursday, called for nuclear scientists to join his group's holy war and urged insurgents to kidnap Westerners so they could be traded for a blind Egyptian sheik who is serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison.
The fugitive terror chief said experts in the fields of "chemistry, physics, electronics, media and all other sciences — especially nuclear scientists and explosives experts" should join his group's jihad, or holy war, against the West.
"We are in dire need of you," said the speaker, who identified himself as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir — also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri. source
Not that I put any faith in the United Nations, but they say that al-Qaeda activity in Iraq will decrease. More good news from Jordan, where a 'Jordanian military court sentenced two Jordanian militants to three and five years in prison on Wednesday for trying to slip into Iraq via Syria to fight the U.S. military'.
In New York, 'an Iraqi Kurd was charged after a sting operation involving a bogus plot to kill a Pakistani diplomat'.
Yassin Aref, 36, took the stand for the second day in his federal trial after a security expert had testified on Wednesday that Aref met with known terrorists while he worked at the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan.
Aref and co-defendant Mohammed Hossain, 51, are charged with conspiring to help an
FBI informant launder $50,000 from the sale of a shoulder-fired missile in a U.S. sting based on false plans to assassinate Pakistan's U.N. ambassador in New York.
Both are charged with conspiring to provide material support to the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed, which is classified as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. source
China National Petroleum Corp has signed an oil agreement with Iraq's Ahdab oilfield and expects output to increase from 30,000 barrels per day (bpd) to full capacity of 90,000 over two years. Russia is prepared to start work at the giant West Qurna oilfield if a deal with Baghdad can be worked out. This is all encouraging news.
Don't forget that the Kurdish region of Iraq is peaceful, growing, and enjoying commercial success. They have bee providing their own security and doing a great job. They would have no problem splitting off from the rest of Iraq. A three-way split is seriously being considered by many in Iraq. Time will tell.
Originally posted at Right Truth