It feels uncomfortable writing about Iraq from Amman, but my close friends, Abu Talat (my close friend and interpreter) and intuition have all provided the same message-do not go inside Iraq at this time. So I've been in Amman now for about a week, and will resume posting stories from here soon. We've been working on a couple of stories about Iraqis in Amman ... those should be out soon. ... Abu Talat phoned his family today in Baghdad. They’ve had no electricity for four days. They told him (uncomfirmed) that all of Iraq has had no electricity for several days. As Abu Talat says, “Baghdad is running on the generator.” Of course the gas crisis persists augmented by the lack of electricity, along with constantly increasing attacks. ... The situation around Al-Qaim where “Operation Matador” is ongoing, appears to be a micro-version of Fallujah. The military and corporate media continue to portray the situation as if “foreign fighters” have taken control of Qaim and surrounding villages (as was said about Fallujah) when reports from the ground state that interviews with the fighters have them all saying they are Iraqi. ... Another similarity between Qaim and Fallujah is that now there is a humanitarian crisis in Qaim from the fighting. There are 1,300 displaced families (approximately 80,000 people) from Qaim and the hospital there was destroyed amidst fighting on 8 May between resistance fighters and locals. On the 9th there was no electricity or water in Qaim and the surrounding areas and schools were closed. On the 11th US warplanes continued to bomb Obeidy and other nearby locations. ... The loss of life continues unabated….in the last week at least 37 US soldiers have been killed, while at least 450 Iraqis have died amidst a huge surge of ongoing attacks since 28 April, when the Iraqi government was officially announced. Abdul-Khaliq al-Raqwi, the director of communications for the Iraqi Government in al-Qaim, confirmed to Al-Jazeera that 2 US helicopters were shot down in Qusaybah this past Wednesday. The military denied this, even though witnesses on the ground confirmed the report as well.
Did the Elections Make things Worse? from Juan Cole's blog (he also has a round-up of other news coming out of Iraq):
"Two weeks of intense insurgent violence have made it crystal clear that Iraq's parliamentary elections, hailed in late January as a triumph for democracy, haven't helped to heal the country's deep divisions. They may have made them worse. The historic election sheared off a thin facade of wartime national unity and reinforced ethnic and sectarian tensions that have plagued Iraq for centuries. Iraqis immediately began playing the roles the election results delivered to them: victorious Shiite Muslim, assertive Kurd, disaffected Sunni Arab. Within those groups lies a mosaic of other splits, especially between secularists and Islamists vying for Iraq's soul."
Suicide bombings continue to be the norm as Iraqis continue their day-to-day existence often lacking electricity, water, food, and employment as the US enters year three of its brutal occupation.
On a somewhat related note to Bu$hCo: desecrating a religious document, such as the Quran, is a very, very stupid move. Did I mention that doing so was very stupid? Just in case our right-wingers don't quite grasp the concept, let's repeat once more: desecrating a religious document, such as the Quran, is a very, very stupid move. "But why?" you might ask. Perhaps it has to do with how thoroughly pissed off the faithful become as a reaction. Or to put it another way: how do you think our fundamentalists in America would react if they heard of a POW camp run by a Muslim nation was flushing Bibles down toilets in order to break down American POWs?