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News

* Missed messages on Iran  Robert Kagan

* Envoy Condemns US Officials' Irresponsible Comments on Iran  News Report

* 'Israel will be destroyed if it attacks Iran'  News Report

* Warning of long war if Israel attacks Iran  News Report

* Iran unlikely to halt nuclear program, secret letters show  News Report

* Iran denies Ahmadi-Nejad was attacked  News Report

* Sanctions set stage for a new push on Iran  News Report

* اطلاعیۀ آیت الله منتطری دربارۀ حرام بودن مقاومت در برابر رأی مردم  Ali Behrooz

* لیست اسامی با حروف فارسی، تا تاریخ 08/09/08  Ali Behrooz

* War of words, or words of war  Ali Behrooz

* Could Israel use submarines against Iran?  News Report

* Iran deplores UAE claim on 3 islands  News Report

* 'Iran will respond to any attack'  News Report

* Carter to meet Hamas leadership in Cairo  News Report

* No Peace Without Hamas  News Report

* Ahmadinejad again voices Sept. 11 doubts  News Report

* Clinton, Obama tackle Iran issue in debate  News Report

* Bomb kills at least 9 in Iran mosque  News Report

* Iran demands Israel stop force threats  News Report

* Ahmadinejad to dismiss 2 cabinet ministers in Iran  News Report

* Iran: Naval encounter routine check  News Report

* Tony Blair's Palestine  News Report

* Clinton attacks Obama and McCain over Iraq  News Report

* Reza Pahlavi: Leadership for Democracy in Iran  News Report

* Petraeus: Return to 'pre-surge' troop levels, then wait  News Report

* Blast rocks US complex in Sanaa  News Report

* Clashes in Nile Delta after strike aborted  News Report

* When a great power goes mad  News Report

* Iranians defy censor with bootleg DVDs  News Report

* Putin says Iran is no threat  News Report

* Creating a US-Iran Bridge  News Report

* Court removes PKK from terror funds list  News Report

* 12 militants wanted by Israel flee Palestinian jail in West Bank after fight  News Report

* Limiting Tehran’s Influence?  Ali Behrooz

* UAE detains ship as grip on Tehran tightens  News Report

* Iranian critic not guilty of espionage  News Report

* Israelis and Palestinians pledge to reach peace pact by end of 2008  News Report

* Conference in Qom focuses on Iran-US challenges  News Report

* FM spokesman: Iran's plan on Iraq not put for voting  News Report

* Iran's top dissident cleric calls for U.S. talks  News Report

* Islamic militants take fight against Musharraf to 'Pakistan's Switzerland'  News Report

* 'Desperate' Musharraf declares martial law  News Report

* US Sanctions on Iran Leave Europeans in a Quandary  Sir Cyril Townsend

* After Thamilselvan  News Report

* Analysis: Is Abbas playing his cards right ahead of ME summit?  News Report

* Bahrain accuses Iran of nuclear weapons lie  News Report

* Senior Tamil Tiger leader killed  News Report

* US declares PKK 'a common enemy'  News Report

* Iran urged to join Gulf nuclear deal  News Report

* Iran's leaders need enemies like Bush, and at every turn he obliges them  News Report

* Giuliani hits Democrats on Iran  News Report

* Iran: We have no information on Arad  News Report

* Clinton hails US move on Iran  News Report

* Israel to prepare for potential missile attack  News Report

* US First Lady in Kuwait  News Report

* Rice: Mideast solution in jeopardy  News Report

* Kurdish fighters defy the world from mountain fortress as bombing begins  News Report

* Protesters confront Condoleezza Rice as she testifies on Middle East  News Report

* Showdown With Iran  News Report

* U.S. outlines Baghdad security handover plan  News Report

* Poll shows global opposition to Iran - and U.S.  News Report

* Iraq promises Turkey it will curb Kurdish rebels  News Report

* Big shoes to fill  News Report

* LUKOIL says halts Iran oil project on US sanctions  News Report

* Three soldiers killed in Darfur camp attack - UN  News Report

* There's a better - and cheaper - way that Washington can help Lebanon  News Report

* Lebanese patience for Nahr al-Bared displaced wears thin  News Report

* Iran, Syria urge diplomatic means instead of military incursion into Iraq  News Report

* Talabani refuses to deliver PKK leaders to Turkey amid protests against incursion  News Report

* Turkey vows to defeat PKK rebels  News Report

* Iran N-case on Olmert's Paris agenda  News Report

* Motaki (FM): US in No Position to Attack Iran  News Report

* We will fight to the death, Kurdish rebel leader vows from his hideout  News Report

* Deaths And Hostages In Border Clash  News Report

* Flash News: Kurdish separatistand 12 Turkish soldiers killed  News Report

* IRGC Commander:Aggressions to Be Reciprocated with a Rain of Rockets  News Report

* 2 leaders back Blair as European Union president  News Report

* Babacan stresses dialogue as key to solving Lebanese crisis  News Report

* Jordan hopes for positive outcome of Annapolis meeting  News Report

* Iran's nuclear negotiator resigns  News Report

* Larijani Resigns  Ali Behrooz

* NATO says shipment of roadside bombs was 'from Iran'  News Report

* Israel impeding effort to clear cluster bombs  News Report

* Bhutto defiant over bomb attack  News Report

* Democrats' stance on Iran criticized  News Report

* Top Palestinian negotiator may resign  News Report

* UN condemns killing of its truck drivers in Darfur  News Report

* Kurds sign oil deals beyond regional borders – former minister  News Report

* Jerusalem is ours, warns Likud  News Report

* Rice back in Israel after Egypt talks  News Report

* Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane workers in southern Iran go on strike  News Report

* Ahmadinejad: Caspian states to form economic cooperation organization  News Report

* Putin lands in Iran for nuke talks  News Report

* Mideast Conference and the Illusive Peace  News Report

* Coalition of the Reluctant  News Report

* World bank neglects African farming, study says  News Report

* Putin dismisses threat of assassination in Iran  News Report

* Israel signals readiness to cede parts of Jerusalem to Palestinians  News Report

* Christiane Amanpour: 'People think I relax with a Kalashnikov - I don't'  News Report

* After honeymoon, Sarkozy method poses three risks  News Report


Hundreds killed on Baghdad's day of bombs and blood
[ News Report]  [2007-04-18 14:31:11]
[Source: Independent 19 April 07]


Patrick Cockburn

Yesterday will go down as a day of infamy for Iraqis who are repeatedly told by the US that their security is improving. Almost 200 people were killed on one of the bloodiest days of the four-year-old war, when car bombs ripped through four neighbourhoods across Baghdad, exposing the failure of the two-month-old US security plan.

In the aftermath of the blasts, American and Iraqi soldiers who rushed to the scene of the explosions were pelted with stones by angry crowds shouting: "Where is the security plan? We are not protected by this plan."

Billowing clouds of oily black smoke rose into the sky over the Iraqi capital after four bombs tore through crowded markets and streets leaving the ground covered in charred bodies and severed limbs. "I saw dozens of dead bodies," said a witness in Sadriyah, a mixed Shia-Kurdish neighbourhood in west Baghdad where 140 people died and 150 were injured. " Some people were burned alive inside minibuses. Nobody could reach them after the explosion. There were pieces of flesh all over the place. Women were screaming and shouting for their loved ones who died."

The escalation in devastating bomb attacks by Sunni insurgents against Shia civilians is discrediting the US security plan, implemented by a "surge" in American troop numbers. Launched on 14 February it was intended to give the Iraqi government greater control over the streets of Baghdad. The Mehdi Army Shia militia, blamed for operating death squads against Sunni civilians, had adopted a lower profile and avoided military confrontation with the US but that is unlikely to continue in the wake of these devastating bomb attacks. The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is seen as being unable to defend his own people.

In the aftermath of the explosions, one man waved his arms and shouted angrily: "Where's Maliki? Let him come and see what is happening here." The enraged crowds throwing stones at American and Iraqi troops who arrived after the blasts also shouted: "Down with Maliki."

The worst attack was on Sadriyah meat and vegetable market in the centre of Baghdad. It had already been the target of one of Baghdad's worst atrocities when a suicide bomber blew up a Mercedes truck on 3 February, killing 137 people.

Some of the casualties yesterday were construction workers rebuilding the marketplace. One of the workers who survived, 28-year-old Salih Mustafa, said he was waiting for a minibus to go home when the bomb went off at 4.05pm. "I rushed with others to give a hand and help the victims," he said. "I saw three bodies in a wooden cart, and civilian cars were helping to transfer the victims. It was really a horrible scene."

There is no doubt that the bombs were directed at killing as many Shia civilians as possible. About half an hour before the Sadriyah blast, a suicide bomber had rammed a police checkpoint at the entrance to the great Shia bastion in Sadr City in east Baghdad. It is also the stronghold of the Shia nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The explosion killed 35 people and wounded 75, police say. Black smoke rose from blazing vehicles as people scrambled over the twisted wreckage of cars to try to rescue the wounded.

In another Shia neighbourhood, Karada, a parked car exploded, killing 10 people and wounding 15.

"The problem is that the Shia stopped killing so many Sunni but the Sunni are killing more Shia than ever," said an Iraqi official before the attacks yesterday. He added: "If this goes on, the Shia will exact revenge. Sectarian massacres will dwarf anything we have seen before."

The bombings came hours after Mr Maliki said that Iraqi security forces would take full control of the whole country by the end of the year. But last night, amid a torrent of public criticism, the Prime Minister ordered the arrest of the Iraqi army colonel in charge of security around the Sadriyah market.

And in another move that could weaken his position further, six ministers supporting Mr Sadr have just withdrawn from the government because of Mr Maliki's failure to demand that the US set a timetable for the withdrawal of its troops.

The 17-million strong Shia community, the majority of the Iraqi population, is increasingly hostile to the US presence while the five million Sunni generally support anti- American armed resistance. Only the Kurds fully back the US.

Responsibility for security in Maysan province was handed over by Britain to Iraq yesterday. "Then it will be province by province until we achieve [this transfer] before the end of the year," said Mr Maliki in a speech delivered on his behalf by the National Security Adviser, Mowaffaq al-Rubaie.

But the transfer of political or security control by the US and Britain to Iraqi authorities has always been deceptive. Iraqis believe, with some reason, that real control remains in the hands of the occupying forces. Earlier in the year, British forces blew up a police headquarters in Basra and US helicopter-borne troops tried to kidnap two senior Iranian officials visiting Jalal Talabani, the Iraqi President.

The success of the US security plan in Baghdad depended less on an additional five American brigades than in fostering a belief by Iraqis that it was providing them with security.

The Sunni insurgents and Shia militias grew in strength in the Iraqi capital in 2006 because their communities were terrified of bombers, death squads and kidnappers. The US army and Iraqi army and police could only win acceptance if they provided a superior level of security, which they are notably failing to do.

"We've always said securing Baghdad would not be easy. We've seen both inspiring progress and too much evidence that we still face many grave challenges," Major-General William Caldwell, a US military spokesman, said.





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