Friday, April 01, 2005

The week in Iraq.

Monday began with a report from Elliot Blair Smith, with the assistance of Sabah al-Anbaki, of USA Today, who sent in from Baghdad a review of videotape depicting "the insurgency." Smith's two reports, which covered page 6A of USA Today, came with photos of the burning wreck of a suicide car bomb in Mosul, another of Col. Riyad Gatie Olyway awaiting an imminent execution. Another article matched with photos of medical staff of the Yarmouk Hospital protesting the beating of one of their colleagues, Dr. Nawzad Fwad Hussein, a 30 year old man, by an Iraqi soldier.

Colonel Olyway served as the liason between the Interior and Oil ministries. He had been kidnapped a month ago. A video was posted last Sunday on an unamed "Muslim" website. If any of our readers are kind enough, please advise us of the URL of the web site. I don't imagine that it can be accessed in the United States easily, but we will post the URL for the benefit of universal access. This does not constitute an endorsement of their action, merely an upholding of the Freedom of Speech.

The Shi'ite and Kurdish factions in the Assembly decided to convene their second session on Tuesday, after having postponed a session that was planned for last Saturday. For the United Iraqi Alliance, which is Shi'a, Ali al-Dawbagh was negotiating. He had said that Alliance members would be voting for their candidate for the position of deputy of the president on Monday. Also, they were to meet with Sunni Arabs to talk about the names of Sunni candidates for the parliament speaker post and another deputy position (to the president).

Smith and al-Anbaki reported that the dispute, or negotiations, over positions, has been happening since 16 March. He did not report who was the chief negotiatior for the Kurds, nor is there any indication that he spoke with him or her.

Defense Ministry reported its forces captured 121 terror suspects during a radi Friday night in Karbala, 50 miles south(east) of Baghdad. They seized 3 tons of TNT, 624 assault rifles, 272,000 ammunition rounds, 193 rpg's, and 300 rockets for the rp devices.

Weekend cordon-and-search ops were conducted by joint Iraqi-US forces in Mosul, Tal afar, and Qaiyara. The US military also found two large caches of weapons in Baghdad.

General John Abizaid, of Central Command, expressed encouragement in an interview on CNN's Late Edition. Speaking from Mosul, he said that he thought that the occupation forces and Iraqi government alliance has "gone from a primarily military environment to a primarily political environment."

Tensions are often high in a war time environment. Such was the case when the cell phone of a doctor went off near a group of Iraqi Defense forces as they were guarding nine of their wounded comrades. My guess is that, since we know cell phones to often be a trigger device for bombs, the soldiers were edgy, and their was some sort of policy or taboo on cell phones. Here in the West, we know you don't have your cell phone on in many medical environments, since it can adversely affect certain pacemaker devices. Besides, it's just plain unnerving at times. So the guards beat the the young doctor to the ground.

Prime MInister Allawi and Deputy Prime Minister Barham met with a Dr. al-Kaki and other medical officials to make arrangements to avoid further such conflicts.

Today, I heard on the radio that a citizen of dual Jordanian and US citizenship had been arrested in Iraq late 2004, with explosive material. He is allegedly a partisan of Zarqawi. He will not be accorded enemy status, but will be treated as an illegal combatant.

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