Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Pentagon Spins the Situation in Iraq (again)

Iraqis Believe Violence Will Abate, New Report Says
Pentagon Finds Hope Is Tied to New Government

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 6, 2006; Page A12

Attacks and casualty levels against civilians and military personnel in Iraq have risen "substantially" since the December elections, but Iraqis have confidence the new Baghdad government will improve the situation, according to the Defense Department's quarterly report to Congress.

"The formation of the new, permanent Iraqi government that addresses key sectarian and political concerns could help reverse the attack trend," states the report, which measured progress in Iraq through May.

Although the report states that since the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, attacks have increased against rival sectarian groups and populations, it says that al-Qaeda "has been unsuccessful in driving Iraq to civil war [although] Sunni and Shia Arab reprisals elevated the level of violence throughout this period."

Anthony H. Cordesman, who holds the Arleigh Burke chair in strategy at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies and has closely studied the Iraq insurgency, yesterday criticized the new Pentagon report as presenting "a fundamentally false picture of the political situation in Iraq, and of the difficulties ahead." He said it "does not prepare the Congress or the American people for the years of effort that will be needed even under 'best case' conditions and the risk of far more serious forms of civil conflict."

Full Article

The article goes on to say that the Pentagon did not release who was polled, how they were polled or anything else that give credence to this report. Apparently they didn't ask anyone in Baghdad: Hat tip to Donkelphant

From Healing Iraq

"Baghdadis are reporting that radical Islamists have taken control over the Dora, Amiriya and Ghazaliya districts of Baghdad, where they operate in broad daylight. They have near full control of Saidiya, Jihad, Jami’a, Khadhraa’ and Adil. And their area of influence has spread over the last few weeks to Mansour, Yarmouk, Harthiya, and very recently, to Adhamiya.

All of these districts, with the exception of Adhamiya, are more or less mixed or Sunni majority areas. They make up the western part of the capital, or what is known as the Karkh sector (the eastern half of Baghdad is called Rusafa). These areas also witnessed an influx of families displaced by the violence in the Anbar governorate, since many residents of the western part of Baghdad have roots in western areas of the country, such as Fallujah and Ramadi.

People who live in the mentioned districts claim that unknown groups have distributed leaflets (often handwritten), warning residents of several practices, ranging from instructions on dress codes to the prohibition of selling or dealing with certain goods.

The instructions vary between neighbourhoods. Amiriya and Ghazaliya have the full menu, while others stress only 2 or more of them. So far, enforcing the hijab for women and a ban on shorts for men are consistent in most districts of western Baghdad. In other areas, women are not allowed to drive, to go out without a chaperone, and to use cell phones in public; men are not allowed to dress in jeans, shave their beards, wear goatees, put styling hair gel, or to wear necklaces; it is forbidden to sell ice, to sell cigarettes at street stands, to sell Iranian merchandise, to sell newspapers, and to sell ring tones, CDs, and DVDs. Butchers are not allowed to slaughter during certain religious anniversaries. Municipality workers will be killed if they try to collect garbage from certain areas. Private neighbourhood generators are banned in a few areas. And the last I heard is that they are threatening Internet caf├ęs and wireless providers.

As a result, the remaining Iraqi women who haven’t yet covered their heads are now buying veils and more moderate dress. My sister now covers her head when she goes out to college, as do most of my female relatives. Trousers and short skirts have long been abandoned. Guys are now either wearing Bermuda shorts that cover their knees or just plain trousers. Me? I have insisted so far to keep my hairy legs exposed.

Other Iraqi bloggers who have posted about this phenomenon: here, here, here, here, here, and here.

I will try to get hold of one of these fliers, but so far no one has produced any.
And while the fliers may be a rumour, the killings of those who failed to observe the guidelines are not.

The capital is rife with all kinds of morbid rumours. Some examples below:

- An armed group stopped a minibus full of high school female students. 2 girls, who had their hair exposed, had their heads shaven clean as an example for others.

- 4 young men wearing shorts near a local bakery at Mansour were all shot in the legs.

- A young high school student at Ma’moun was shot twice in the head with a notice saying that he was killed for wearing jeans.

- A lady was forced out of her car and stripped naked near the Nida’ mosque in Adhamiya.

Why don’t they just blow up the city and erect tents instead? It would make life much easier. We could go to school or work riding on camels. We could sit at the mosque all day, stroking and scratching our filthy beards and waiving flies away, while our women recline in their harems.

In short, they are trying to take us back to the 7th century, so we can experience the simple life of the prophet and his pious companions. We should abandon everything and anything that was not available at the time of the prophet in order to be true Muslims.

Yet the followers of this simplistic, backwards ideology have no problem with using hi-tech explosives, IEDs, machine guns and RPGs. According to their sick creed, it is not against Islam to detonate a car bomb at a bustling market or to shoot a kid twice in the head because he had gel on his hair. No, that is okay in Islam." End

I support the war but I'm tired of being treated like a mushroom.