Cardiff Stop the War Coalition
In solidarity with the people of Iraq struggling under foreign occupation.
News from Iraq this week: March 25th to 31st
Shi`ites May Now Turn on US Forces after US Mosque Massacre
$1.3 Billion for military construction indicates permanent US bases in Iraq.
Just 1 US marine air wing has dropped more than half a million tonnes of explosive on Iraq
In Iraq, the British have been `led into a trap from which it shall be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiqués are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told. Our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows ... We are today not far from a disaster.’

 Lawrence of Arabia, 1920
March 25th                2 people were killed and 1 injured by US military gunfire in al-Ratba. A Doctor at the hospital said the 3 victims were shot when their car approached the site of a US army base.
March 26th                US forces were accused of killing up to 37 unarmed worshippers at the Shi`ite Mustafa mosque in Baghdad.
March 27th                The Baghdad provincial governor Hussein al-Tahan said he would suspend all cooperation with U.S. forces until an independent investigation is launched into the killing of many Shi'ites in a mosque on Monday 26th. After initially denying a mosque was involved, US authorities later conceded that there was.
March 28th                The U.N.-affiliated International Organization for Migration reported that violence has displaced more than 25,000 Iraqis since the Feb. 22 bombing of a Shiite Muslim shrine reported. Shelters and tent cities are springing up across central and southern Iraq to house homeless Sunni and Shiite families.
March 29th                Officials at the Baghdad Morgue say around 30-40 bodies, many shot in the head and showing signs of torture, are being found on the streets of the city every day.
March 30th                The Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq have sentenced an Austrian-Kurdish journalist to 18 months in prison for criticizing Massoud Barzani. He was charged with defamation arising from two articles which he had published on the internet, in which he strongly criticised the leadership of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), one of the two parties holding power in the Kurdish-dominated region of northern Iraq.
March 31st                A letter from President Bush to Iraq`s supreme Shiite spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, was hand-delivered earlier this week but sits unread and untranslated in the top religious figure's office. The ayatollah laid the letter aside and did not ask for a translation because of increasing unhappiness over what senior Shiite leaders see as American meddling in Iraqi attempts to form their first, permanent post-invasion government.
Iran War Alert
`I think there's no doubt that Iran is the single biggest threat from a state that we face`
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on March 28th. On the same day the commander of US forces in the Middle East, General John Abizaid, mused :
`It is clear that a nuclear-armed Iran in the view of the United States and most of the regional powers is not good for the region. It creates an imbalance of power. It creates greater instability`
So Israel, with 200 nuclear warheads, does not constitute an imbalance of power in the Middle East at present?
Civilians reported killed by military intervention in Iraq since invasion*:
Minimum: 33814
Maximum: 37936
Source: Iraq Body Count
Total number of US soldiers killed in Iraq since invasion = 2326
Total number of US soldiers wounded in Iraq since invasion= 17381
Total number of UK soldiers killed in Iraq since invasion = 103
Total number of soldiers from other nations killed since invasion = 105
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.
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