Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Iraqis will have a blast (or two or three) for New Year

Iraq has become invisible to most of the world - a hole in the map of foreign offices, especially the US State Department. But people live there, and they are getting killed pretty regularly.
Hey Barack, are you listening? USA will make peace between Israelis and Palestinians just like they did in Iraq.
Barack Obama may not be listening, but America's allies are. Iraq is an object lesson in what happens to places that Americans get tired of.
Say, what's the latest on Tiger Woods?
Ami Isseroff
Bombs Kill 21 in Iraq's Western Anbar Province
Officials: Bombs kill 21 in Iraq's western Anbar province
The Associated Press
Iraqi police officials say most of the 21 people killed in a pair of bombings in western Iraq were policemen.
Lt. Col. Imad al-Fahdawi said the deputy provincial commander was among the 13 policemen killed by Wednesday's blasts in Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad. Another police official says the provincial police commander was wounded.
The police official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Al-Fahdawi said many of the policemen were killed by a car bomb at a checkpoint near the local provincial government headquarters. Others died after a suicide bomber detonated his vest as they rushed to respond to the initial explosion.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
BAGHDAD (AP) — Staggered explosions killed 21 people Wednesday and injured the governor of Anbar, Iraqi officials said, in the latest violence to roil a turbulent province that is still struggling to stamp out the remnants of the al-Qaida insurgency.
The western province of Anbar is strategically important because it was once the heartland of support for al-Qaida linked militants before American officials paid Iraqi fighters to join a pro-government force.
Police official Lt. Col. Imad al-Fahdawi said two bombs exploded in Anbar's capital of Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad. He says a suicide bomber in a car caused the first blast on the main road near the provincial administration buildings.
Gov. Qassim al-Fahdawi, the deputy police chief and other officials came to inspect the damage, the police official said, when a suicide bomber on foot detonated a vest full of explosives nearby.
The deputy police chief was killed and the governor and other officials wounded, al-Fahdawi said. Police have put a curfew in place, he added.
Dr. Ahmed Abid Mohammed said 21 people had been killed and 48 injured. He said the governor had suffered burns on his face, injuries to his abdomen and other areas.
"The leadership in the province have requested support from U.S. forces in response to the attacks near the provincial government center in Ramadi," said military spokesman Lt. Col. Curtis Hill. He said American forces were helping evacuate casualties, establish security and forensic investigation.
There are 18 provincial governors in Iraq. Anbar is primarily Sunni, the same sect of Islam as former dictator Saddam Hussein. The province was the former stronghold of the insurgency before the U.S. military began paying fighters to participate in the pro-government Sons of Iraq program, also known as the Awakening Council.
The Sons of Iraq are widely credited with stabilizing the country after joining up with U.S. and Iraqi forces in the anti-al-Qaida drive about three years ago. But they have been hit by a steady barrage of revenge attacks since then and five of them were killed at a checkpoint Tuesday in central Iraq.
The Sunni fighters have expressed fears that they will be sidelined by the mainly Shiite government after the American forces leave. Shiites are the majority in Iraq, and insurgents have repeatedly bombed Shiite religious processions in an effort to re-ignite the sectarian violence that dragged Iraq to the brink of civil war two years ago.

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