Cardiff Stop the War Coalition

News from Iraq this week: March 11th to March 16th

`The Americans have promised us a better life, but we get only death.`
Ahmed Khalaf after a US bomb was dropped on his house, killing nine members of his family and four others, including 6 children on, March 15th .
In solidarity with the people of Iraq struggling under foreign occupation.

Join thousands around the world to demonstrate on Saturday 18 March: Troops Home From Iraq. Don't Attack Iran
Assemble 12 noon Parliament Square.
March 11th                A truck bomb ripped through a line of cars at a checkpoint in Fallujah as bombings and shootings across Iraq killed at least 20 people, including a U.S. Marine. Authorities in Baghdad discovered the bodies of eight more men: blindfolded, handcuffed and shot in the back of the head.
March 12th                An SAS soldier has refused to fight in Iraq and has left the Army over the illegal tactics of United States troops and the policies of coalition forces. Ben Griffen said he had witnessed `dozens of illegal acts` by US troops, claiming they viewed all Iraqis as `untermenschen`- the Nazi term for races regarded as sub-human. He said `I did not join the British Army to conduct American foreign policy`, adding that he now believed that the Prime Minister and the Government had repeatedly lied over the war.
March 13th                British businesses have profited by at least £1.1bn since coalition forces toppled Saddam Hussein three years ago, the first comprehensive investigation into UK corporate investment in Iraq has found. The company roll-call of post-war profiteers includes some of the best known names in Britain's boardrooms as well many who would prefer to remain anonymous. They come from private security services, banks, PR consultancies, urban planning consortiums, oil companies, architects offices and energy advisory bodies.
March 14th                Electricity output has dipped to its lowest point in three years, as summer approaches. The decline of Iraq`s electrical system can be traced back at least to the 1991 war when U.S. warplanes targeted the grid. The government rebuilt the system to produce 4,400 megawatts, still short of demand. But damage from the 2003 invasion, and particularly from looting that followed, knocked production down to 3,200 megawatts and wrecked transmission lines. Now the U.S. reconstruction money is running out and the Iraqis may have to look to Iran to supply their power requirements.
March 15th                American forces have dramatically increased airstrikes in Iraq during the past five months. The statistics, comfirmed by American Air Force Officials in the region, show that U.S. and coalition planes dropped bombs or missiles on Iraqi cities on at least 76 days from Oct. 1, 2005, through to Feb. 28, 2006, or one out of every two days. This is an increase of more than 50% over the same period last year. This year, U.S. warplanes have struck at least 18 cities. Osama Jadaan al Dulaimi, a tribal leader in the western town of Karabilah, a town near the Syrian border that was hit with bombs or missiles on at least 17 days between October 2005 and February 2006, said `The people of Karabilah hate the foreigners who crossed the border and entered their areas and got into a fight with the Americans, the residents now also hate the American occupiers who demolished their houses with bombs and killed their families ... and now the people of Karabilah want to join the resistance against the Americans for what they did.`
March 16th                General John Abizaid, the US General overseeing operations in Iraq, said that the US may want to keep a long term military presence in the country to bolster moderates against extremists in the region and protect oil supplies. Abizaid also said the United States and its allies have a vital interest in the oil-rich region. `Ultimately it comes down to the free flow of goods and resources on which the prosperity of our own nation and everybody else in the world depend,` he said.
STOP PRESS             US launches ‘Operation Swarmer’ with largest air offensive since 2003
Iran War Alert
GENERAL Moshe Ya`alon, a former chief of staff of the Israel Defence Forces, has revealed that Israel could neutralise the Iranian threat for several years by hitting dozens of targets spread around the country. General Ya`alon told the Hudson Institute in Washington on Thursday that the Iranian sites could be struck with greater accuracy than was achieved by the air force in its frequent `targeted assassinations` of Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. A sharp counter-strike against Israel could be expected, General Ya`alon said, including the launching of missiles from Iran and action by the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon, who have been provided by Iran with 12,000 rockets capable of hitting up to 80km inside Israel.
Civilians reported killed by military intervention in Iraq since invasion*:
Minimum: 33638
Maximum: 37754
Source: Iraq Body Count
Total number of US soldiers killed in Iraq since invasion = 2314
Total number of US soldiers wounded in Iraq since invasion= 17124
Total number of UK soldiers killed in Iraq since invasion = 103
Total number of soldiers from other nations killed since invasion = 103
Source: Iraq Coalition Casualty Count
*This estimate is only of media reported deaths. A peer reviewed epidemiological survey (Roberts et al., The Lancet, Vol 364 Issue 9448 pp 1857 1864) estimated that in the 18 months following the invasion 100, 000 excess deaths or more have occurred.  Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths. Criticisms of IBC methodology can be found at medialens
For background to the current war in Iraq: see "Understanding the Us-Iraq Crisis" by Phyllis Benis and "Why Another War? A Backgrounder on the Iraq Crisis" by Sarah Graham-Brown and Chris Toensing.
See this Bulletin on the web at http://www.swcoalition.freeuk.com/