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Iraq :   4    |  Search

On November 23rd, sectarian warfare in Iraq escalated after more than 200 people died and at least 250 were wounded in Baghdad, in the deadliest single day of attacks since the US invasion in 2003.
A Johns Hopkins study published in UK journal The Lancet estimates that 655,000 more Iraqis have died as a result of war and political violence since March 2003 than would have died if mortality rates had remained the same as during 2002. Both violent and nonviolent death rates are now significantly above pre-war values, with the violence mainly concentrated in Sunni areas. While the number of additional deaths in the first year after the war was likely over 100,000, over half the total additional deaths are from this past year alone. PDF of Johns Hopkins study
On Saturday, August 19th, which would have been Abeer Hamza's 15th birthday, candlelight vigils were held in several cities. Abeer Hamza was the young Iraqi woman who was raped and killed, along with her family, in March of this year by US occupation forces. The vigils in for Berkeley, New York, and Los Angeles were organized by a group of 8 young women who were outraged by the story of what happened to the Hamza family. In Berkeley, people gathered for a vigil at Willard Park from 7:30 to 9:30pm. Photos
Sat Jul 22 2006 (Updated 08/19/06) Iraqis Stand With Lebanon
Grand Ayatollah Sistani has spoken out against Israeli agression. Juan Cole writes that Sistani is extremely anxious that the Lebanon war will send Shiite Iraq spinning out of control and lead to a major confrontation between Iraqi Shiites and the US and British troops Previous Statement By Sistani On the US and the Palestinians

On July 16th, Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds in Iraq's U.S.-backed parliament stood united in their condemnation of Israel's destruction of Lebanon. President of the Iraqi National Assembly Mahmoud al-Mashhadani spoke out against the US at a UN-sponsored conference on transitional justice and reconciliation in Baghdad on July 22nd. In addition to denouncing US backed attacks on Lebanon he states "Just get your hands off Iraq and the Iraqi people and Muslim countries, and everything will be all right,...What has been done in Iraq is a kind of butchery of the Iraqi people." Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is urging Sunnis and Shiites to unite so that Muslims can defeat Israel.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki visited the US on July 26th and addressed Congress. Sadr as well as the Fadhila party, which is part of al-Maliki's Shiite alliance, had urged him to cancel his visit in protest over US support for the attacks on Lebanon. “Fadhila demands that the prime minister cancel his visit to the U.S. in solidarity with the Lebanese people and over what is going on there, the disasters due to the Zionist aggression amid international silence about these crimes,” party official Sheik Sabah al-Saiedi told The Associated Press.

Iraqi Shi'ite militia ready to join fight in Lebanon | Pelosi Attacks Iraq's Prime Minister | Howard Dean calls Iraqi PM an 'anti-Semite' for not supporting Israel | Congress Expects Islamic Dawa to Support Israel, Condemn Hizbullah | A Family in Baghdad: sadness, for what is happening to Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon | Tell Me a Secret: Lebanon..

Turkey is explicitly citing Israel's unrestrained move into Lebanon as a precedent to move into Kurdistan. Turkey's Hezbollah is the Kurdish Workers Party (PPK) and Turkish forces have had running gun battles with their long-time foe in recent weeks.
On June 9th, "masked Shiite gunmen stopped cars in western Baghdad and grabbed people off the streets, singling out the Sunni Arabs among them and killing at least 41". Later, at least 25 people died when two car bombs exploded near a Shia mosque in the capital.

Baghdad's central morgue received 1,595 bodies in June 2006 alone. According to the morgue assistant manager, most of the bodies had gunshot wounds to the head, a common feature of sectarian, execution-style killings. The recent upsurge in sectarian violence in Iraq has raised fears of a civil war, with many Sunni Arabs saying that government-backed Shia militias are behind at least some of the attacks.
Sun Jul 9 2006 (Updated 07/11/06) Rape and Murder In Iraq
US prosecutors have charged Steven Green, 21 , a former private with the US Army's storied 101st Airborne Division, with raping and murdering an Iraqi girl, after gunning down three members of her family, including a five-year-old sister. On July 5th 2006, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called for an independent inquiry and pressed for a review of foreign troops' immunity from Iraqi law.
Sun Jul 9 2006 Zarqawi
On June 7th, the US announced that it had killed the head of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Zarqawi died at 6.15am in a house in Habhab, close to the town of Baquba. "Two F-16s bombed the house, then Iraqi and US troops were sent in to comb the site. Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki announced the news at a press conference"

To at least one reporter, "the manner in which Zarqawi died confirms the belief that his military and political importance was always deliberately exaggerated by the US. He was a wholly obscure figure until he was denounced by US Secretary of State Colin Powell before the US Security Council on 5 February 2003. Mr Powell identified Zarqawi as the link between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein though no evidence for this was ever produced."

Iraq:   4