Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Some Catching Up

Hope everyone had a good holiday. Here are some of the stories from the past few days that caught my eye. For a more complete account I would go check out Today in Iraq. My commentary is in italics.

District by District, Shiites Make Baghdad Their Own- As the United States debates what to do in Iraq, this country’s Shiite majority has been moving toward its own solution: making the capital its own. (Bush is apparently going to announce his grand new strategy for Iraq in the new year, but Iraq isn't waiting. Each indecisive day hundreds more Iraqis and American soldiers are killed or injured, and militias further cement their power.)

Iraqi Court Says Hussein Must Die Within 30 Days- An Iraqi appeals court on Tuesday upheld the death sentence against Saddam Hussein and ruled that the man whose brutal reign began in 1979 and ended with the American-led invasion in 2003 must go to the gallows within 30 days.

Hundreds Disappear Into the Black Hole of the Kurdish Prison System in Iraq- The entire inmate population had either been denied trials or had been held beyond the terms of their sentences, they said — lost in legal limbo in the Kurdish-controlled region of Iraq. (The legal system in all of Iraq, not just Kurdistan, is a joke. Usually, the accused are granted a farce of a trial; they are provided with an underpaid lawyer who rarely even meets with the accused and who generally fails to mount any sort of defense. The trials last on average about 15 minutes after which most defendants are found guilty. Please read this article for more. But how can we expect the Iraqis to hold just court proceedings if we can't?)

U.S. Says Captured Iranians Can Be Linked to Attacks- The American military said Tuesday that it had credible evidence linking Iranians and their Iraqi associates, detained here in raids last week, to criminal activities, including attacks against American forces...Iraqi leaders said last week that the site was the compound of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, one of Iraq’s most powerful Shiite political leaders... A spokesman for Mr. Hakim said he had not heard of a raid on the compound. (While al-Sadr has refused to have any sort of relationship with the United States, al-Hakim has met with Bush at the White House and it appeared as though the U.S. would be backing al-Hakim in order to undermine al-Sadr. But with Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's rejection of the U.S. backed plan to build a coalition across sectarian lines, it seems that the U.S. has decided to apply some pressure on al-Hakim and SCIRI.)

Marines Charge 4 With Murder of Iraq Civilians- Four marines were charged yesterday with murder in the killings of two dozen Iraqi civilians, including at least 10 women and children, in the village of Haditha last year, military officials said at Camp Pendleton, Calif. (For related blog entries go here, here and here.)

Expect more posts throughout the day.

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