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May 4, 2005

Today's Iraq Watch Roundup

Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives

In Iraq so much can happen overnight that it's probably more useful to take a few snapshots of the overall number of events before focusing on one or two of the more interesting happenings that might have a few broader implications or be of special significance. For today's start, we have:

A suicide bomber struck the offices of a Kurdish party in northern Iraq on Wednesday, killing at least 60 people in the bloodiest attack since a new government promising stability was formed a week ago.

Iraq swore in its new government on Tuesday, but five ministries and two deputy prime minister posts were left unfilled.

The tiny Baghdad stock market has become a hot spot. Although barely over 30, Ahmad Walid al-Said already has become the biggest hot-shot on the noisy floor of the Iraqi Stock Exchange.

Iraq's new government will seek to settle all the country's prewar debt this year to boost the potential for economic recovery and accelerate rebuilding.

Although it didn't occur in Iraq, in an Iraq-related incident, Abu Faraj Farj al-Libbi, a top Al-Qaeda operative and close associate of Osama bin Laden, has been captured in Pakistan.

Baghdad has become a city that is divided by fear and hatred.  Before entering into conversation with anyone in Baghdad these days, you should sniff for any funny smells. Your eyes and ears should be wide open, following every single detail, from the way "the suspect" dresses to his or her accent. You look deep for clues -- what kind of pictures are on the wall? Is there a jihadi verse stuck on the car window? What kind of divine connection is being used in the conversation?

I can't miss a great opportunity to rag on the press mis-coverage of events in Iraq. From Chrenkoff we have coverage that is "almost as good as the first time, another Agence France-Presse story summarizing the day's violence in Iraq is titled:

Iraqi official, 26 others killed in fresh violence

... Reading the article, you realize that of those 26 killed, 13 were insurgents - 12 who died in a fire-fight with American and Iraqi forces at a checkpoint in Ramadi, and one who died north of Baghdad when a roadside bomb he was placing blew up prematurely."

This is not to minimize the daily carnage inflicted on Iraqis by the neo-Baathist insurgents and Al Zarqawi's terrorists, but to show that it is not as one-sided as one can get the impression from following the media coverage. The difference is that while the enemies of the new Iraq kill more, the Coalition and Iraqi authorities detain more. In addition to the above incidents, I had a look at a few stories I could lay my hands on and quickly counted 62 insurgents arrested and 12 killed over the last three days. (source-Chrenkoff)

Posted by Hyscience at May 4, 2005 8:26 AM



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