Iraqi construction workers killed
BBC – Seven Iraqi workers with a construction company have been killed in the southern city of Basra, police say.
Ten employees were handcuffed and blindfolded and taken to a residential area in the northern part of the city.
They were lined up against a wall to be shot. Seven of them were killed, but three managed to escape.
In other violence in Iraq:
* Two US marines are killed and 22 wounded in fighting in western Anbar province on Thursday, the US military says
* At least four people die in separate bomb attacks on two Sunni mosques in Baquba. The attacks came as worshippers left the mosques after midday Friday prayers
* Two Iraqis are killed and four British servicemen wounded when a British military convoy is attacked by a suicide car bomber in Basra on Friday
* A suicide bomber attacks a police station in the northern city of Mosul, wounding six people, including five policemen.
MAP: “US MILITARY ASSESSMENT OF STABILITY IN IRAQ” after the jump
US MILITARY ASSESSMENT OF STABILITY IN IRAQ
Ratings based on governance, security and economic situations:
Stable: Fully-functioning government; strong economic development; local security forces maintain rule of law
Moderate: Government functions, but with some concerns; economy developing slowly, with unemployment problems; security under control but with potential for instability
Serious: Government not fully formed; economy stagnant; unemployment high; routine anti-Iraq forces activity, assassinations and extremism
Critical: Government not functioning or only single strong leader; no infrastructure for economy to develop; high levels of anti-Iraq forces activity, assassinations and extremism
Assessment made in January 2006. Sectarian violence in Iraq has surged since February Last Updated: Friday, 14 April 2006, 22:27 GMT 23:27 UK
Deaths of U.S. Soldiers Climb Again in Iraq
Edward Wong | Baghdad | April 12
NYT – The American military on Tuesday announced the deaths of five soldiers, bringing the number of troops killed this month to at least 32. That figure already surpasses the American military deaths for all of March.
When 31 service members died last month, it was the second lowest monthly death toll of the war for the Americans, and the fifth month in a row of declining fatalities, according to statistics from the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, an independent organization.
But deaths have begun to soar. Many of the fatalities this month have taken place in the parched Anbar Province, the heart of the Sunni Arab insurgency. The province was rated “critical” in a confidential report written recently by the American Embassy and the military command in Baghdad. Though sectarian violence has recently overshadowed anti-American attacks in much of central Iraq, there are relatively few Shiites in Anbar, so much of the insurgency’s venom is directed at the Americans there.
The military said three soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb explosion north of Baghdad on Tuesday. A soldier died Monday from wounds sustained the previous day in combat in Anbar, and a soldier was killed Sunday by a roadside bomb near Balad.
As the insurgency raged, political tirades burst forth in the capital on Tuesday. Incensed by what he called anti-Shiite remarks from the Egyptian president, the Iraqi prime minister said Tuesday that Iraq would boycott a conference of Middle East foreign ministers in Cairo on Wednesday.
The prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who is fighting to keep his job, said at a news conference that the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, had defamed Iraq and its majority Shiite population by saying in a television interview last Saturday that the Shiites here are more loyal to Iran than to Iraq.
Military Plays Up Role of Zarqawi
Thomas Ricks | Washington | April 10
WaPo – The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Update – Centcom’s response – ”œA recent article citing a military briefing from 2004 has called into question the threat that Abu Musab Zarqawi and Al Qaeda in Iraq pose to Iraq, dismissing it as ”˜propaganda’ ”“ nothing could be further from the truth.
U.S. Study Paints Somber Portrait of Iraqi Discord
Eric Schmitt & Edward Wong | April 9 | Washington
NYT – An internal staff report by the United States Embassy and the military command in Baghdad provides a sobering province-by-province snapshot of Iraq’s political, economic and security situation, rating the overall stability of 6 of the 18 provinces “serious” and one “critical.” The report is a counterpoint to some recent upbeat public statements by top American politicians and military officials.
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