Sunday, April 27, 2008

News From Iraq: More Artifacts Back, Nouri al-Maliki and Tariq al-Hashemi Talk

The headlines about Iraq are the usual:
  • "Official: Female suicide bomber kills 3 at checkpoint in Iraq"
    CNN (April 27, 2008)
    "The bombing came as fighting in the capital's Sadr City neighborhood killed at least eight people and wounded 44 others, an official said...."
  • "Suicide bombers, explosions rock Iraq"
    CNN (April 26, 2008)
    "Three suicide bombers and a car bomb in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Saturday capped off a day of nationwide violence that left at least 15 people dead and 94 wounded, police and Iraqi officials said."
The headlines about Chicago are pretty bad, too:
  • "Chicago Killings Raise Parents' Fears"
    ABC News (April 26, 2008)
    "Police SWAT teams are saturating the city's South Side, the area where most of the 331 shootings in the city this year have occurred. The teams are out in street patrols, backed up by helicopter surveillance.
    "It's their response to last weekend's shooting spree, which alone counted for an estimated 36 of those shootings, seven of them deadly."
  • "Deadly Shootings Continue To Plague Chicago"
    KDKA (April 23, 2008)
    "Five more people have been fatally shot in Chicago, less than a week after one of deadliest weeks in the city's history."
What struck me was that the level of violence in Iraq is somewhat comparable to the level of violence in Chicago. Yet, despite Chicago's long history of strife and intractable factional rivalries, I haven't heard anyone suggest an American pullout from Chicago.

And, news from Iraq isn't all bad.

More Stolen Antiquities Returned

Remember, back when we were being told that around 170,000 irreplaceable historical artifacts had been stolen from Iraq's National Museum? Then, it turned out that the number missing was about a tenth that. And almost a thousand were recovered within eight months. ("Hundreds of looted items returned to Iraqi museum (CNN (November 11, 2003)).)

Another 701 Iraqi artifacts are back where they belong. "Syrian authorities, who seized the looted treasures smuggled across the border, turned them over to the Iraqis, who carefully packed them in 17 boxes and flew them back to Baghdad on Saturday, said Muna Hassan, head of an Iraqi committee working to restore the artifacts." "Hundreds of Looted Artifacts Returned to Iraq Museum" (FoxNEWS (April 27, 2008))

Iraqi Leaders Talk Unity

And, of course, the obligatory body count.

"Iraq's prime minister met Sunday with the Sunni Arab vice president to discuss reintegrating Sunni political parties into the Shiite-dominated government as militants fired a salvo of rockets or motars [!] at the heavily guarded Green Zone...."

"Meanwhile, the meeting between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Tariq al-Hashemi came a day after the Sunni leader said the return of his boycotting political bloc to the Cabinet was a priority.

"The two men discussed 'the future of the political process and the rebuilding of a national and unified government,' according to a statement from the presidency office.

"On Saturday, al-Hashemi said the government needs to reconcile quickly to 'save Iraq.' " ("Iraqi Leaders Discuss Unity Government; 5 Die in Baghdad Violence" (FoxNEWS (April 27, 2008))).

Looking at the Whole Story

Iraq is a mess, but less of a mess than it was a year or so ago.

Things are looking hopeful enough, for an American company to buy land for the Baghdad Zoo and Entertainment Experience amusement park in Baghdad. ("Baghdad set for own 'Disneyland' " (The Australian (April 25, 2008)).)

American corporations generally want to make a profit - and it will take a while for C3 to get their investment back from that Baghdad park. Whoever's running C3, the company that built Disneyland, apparently thinks that Baghdad and Iraq will be around, and stable, for quite a while.

I'm inclined to agree with them.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.