Iraq Theater

Al-Qaeda in Iraq vows to "destroy the American empire"

Expounding its ideology in a lengthy manifesto, the group "al Qaeda in Iraq" says the insurgency is stronger than the US admits and vows to "destroy the American empire." The group says in an e-book which surfaced on the Internet last week: "Every now and then, the schoolboys of the Pentagon and the adolescents of the Black House [sic] keep blasting our ears with talks of pure arrogance and conviction saying, 'We will not leave Iraq until we accomplish our mission.' This desperate catchphrase that they keep repeating is used to make the public believe that the mujahedeens are in bad shape, as if they are begging the Americans, saying, 'Please Americans, leave Iraq.'"

Iraq: Kissinger "uneasy," has Vietnam deja vu

Henry Kissinger, a key architect of the US war in Vietnam told CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" Aug. 28 that he has "a very uneasy feeling" that some of the same factors that damaged support for the war in the 1960s are re-emerging in the two-year-old war in Iraq. "For me, the tragedy of Vietnam was the divisions that occurred in the United States that made it, in the end, impossible to achieve an outcome that was compatible with the sacrifices that had been made," said the former secretary of state (and noted war criminal).

Iraq marshlands: tentative recovery

AP Aug. 24 reports that Iraq's southern marshlands—drained by Saddam Hussein—are showing signs of rebirth; former residents are returning, and hunting and fishing are reviving. A new U.N. report sums up the progress, saying satellite imagery shows the marshes have regained 40 percent of their former reach. However, life in the wetlands remains hard—with much poverty, little clean water and rampant sewage problems, local residents complain. Violence has kept many international aid groups from working to help restore the area. "The life is still too hard to get back to our normal life of breeding cows and buffaloes, planting and fishing," said Sabah Mushen Hussein, who left his home in the marshlands in 1993. He still works as a taxi driver in Basra to support his family.

Joint anti-war rally called for Sept. 24; Iraq's secular left betrayed

With the following pithy statement, the two monoliths of the anti-war movement in the US have agreed to cooperate on a joint demonstration in Washington next month:

The two major antiwar coalitions that have initiated and organized for a massive anti-war March on Washington for September 24 have agreed to organize a joint rally followed by a joint march. Both coalitions will organize under their own banners, slogans, and with their own literature for the September 24 demonstration. The joint rally will begin at 11:30 am at the Ellipse in the front of the White House. We urge everyone around the country to unite and come out for the largest possible anti-war demonstration on September 24.

Cindy Sheehan: Mother Courage or "extremist"?

Cindy Sheehan's brave protest encampment down the road from the Bush ranch in Crawford, TX, where the commander-in-chief is vacationing as the corpses pile up in Iraq, has succeeded in grabbing national attention in a way that countless of unimaginative anti-war rallies never have. All too predictably, this success is being met with violent harassment--including intentional desecration of the "Arlington West" cemetery activists have established, made up of hundreds of white crosses emblazed with the names of soldiers killed in Iraq (including, of course, Cindy's son Casey). Reports William Rivers Pitt in an on-the-scene Aug. 16 account for TruthOut:

Iraq detainees charge Brits with torture

An Aug. 16 AFP account, online at TruthOut, reports the claims of former Iraqi prisoners claim on that evening's BBC Newsnight that British troops abused and humiliated them in the aftermath of the US-led invasion in March 2003. Two brothers, Marhab and As'ad Zaaj-al-Saghir, said they were beaten with sticks and denied water and sleep after being arrested in Basra and taken to an internment camp. One said a soldier urinated on his head. Newsnight said the accounts were similar to numerous other claims made in a confidential report by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Iraq: new constitution threatens women

The Abu Dubai-based Information & Technology Publishing's online magazine offers an Aug. 14 story by Rhys Jones, "Wronging Iraq’s rights," that paints a dire picture of the kind of oppressive theocracy that could be enshrined by the new constitution. The Aug. 15 deadline for the new charter has now been extended. But unless sweeping changes are made, "it seems increasingly likely to mean a huge erosion of human rights for Iraq’s 13 million women."

Yanar Mohammed speaks on Iraq's pending constitution

The Committee to Defend Women's Rights in the Middle East offers this commentary from Yanar Mohammed of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI):

Yanar Mohammed: Condemn a constitution of de-humanizing women
An era of post-occupation atrocities unfolded to disclose the final chapter of human rights abuse in Iraq: A constitution of legalizing women's discrimination.

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