Friday, September 01, 2006

Iraq at a glance

There is no denying important progress in Iraq, despite difficult circumstances.

CAMP AL QA’IM — When Iraqi Soldiers and Policemen here are wounded in combat, they used to rely on U.S. service members to patch up their wounds. Not any longer.

Twenty Iraqi Soldiers and Police officers serving near the Iraqi-Syrian border graduated from a combat medical course earlier this month, enabling them to now provide their own emergency care.
The AP:
"We need our lives back. For us, it's OK, we can deal. But our children cannot do this," said one man in his mid-30s as his young son ran around the home wearing an oversized helmet borrowed from a Marine. The man asked not to be named for fear of insurgent reprisal.

Some residents, long accustomed to Marines dropping by at odd hours, casually try to continue what they were doing. On one recent patrol, a family watched televised reports on a car bombing in Baghdad earlier that day. In a neighboring home, a heavyset man encouraged the Marines to watch the World Cup in his bedroom _ in part so that he, too, could catch the last minutes of a match.
However, the security situation in Baghdad may be degrading after some improvement. The Los Angeles Times:
BAGHDAD — Rockets slammed into buildings, bombs exploded on the streets and mortar rounds fell from the sky before nightfall Thursday in an apparently coordinated strike on this capital that killed at least 54 people and injured 196, authorities said.

The attacks, which occurred as residents were returning home on the eve of the weekly Islamic holy day, struck a broad swath of largely Shiite Muslim districts in east Baghdad, immediately raising suspicions of sectarian motives in this deeply divided city.

The arsenal unleashed on the civilian targets included at least four Katyusha rockets, two car bombs, two roadside bombs and a pair of mortar shells, police sources said. All detonated during a 25-minute period beginning at 6:05 p.m.
Present troop strength is higher (140,000) than at any point since January, Reuters.

Then this from Azzaman:
Anti-U.S. rebels still have the upper hand in the northern city of Mosul despite the return of U.S. army patrols and the dispatch of reinforcements by the government in Baghdad.

Iraqi police and U.S. patrols are repeatedly fired and many residents do not venture out even during daytime.

Certain quarters are no-go areas for both U.S. Marines and Iraqi police, forcing many of their residents to leave.

The industrial quarter or Sinaa has turned into an insurgent haven. Most of the factories and workshops owners are reported to have fled the area.

Gangs and criminals are wreaking havoc in the city. In the absence of security, they can apparently do whatever they want with impunity.


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