Welcome! Our goal at Winds of Change.NET is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday. This briefing is brought to you by Joel Gaines of No Pundit Intended and Andrew Olmsted of Andrew Olmsted dot com.
- Violence across Iraq Sunday killed about 60 people. But Prime Minister al-Maliki claimed that Iraq would never slide into civil war as he urged Iraq's tribal leaders to unite to end the sectarian bloodshed that has wracked Iraq over the past few months.
- Iraqi leaders are attempting to install economic reforms to attract investment and create jobs in the hopes that will eliminate the risk of civil war they currently face.
Other Topics Today Include: Coalition changes tactics; British base looted; Turkey hits PKK; minister nearly killed; Khalilzhad warning; U.S. claims Iran training insurgents; Kurds isolated by Iranian attacks; U.S. works to create jobs; new electricity available; Baghdad economic boom; Sistani asks for help; Iraq goes after soldiers; ministers arrested for corruption; Iraqis fear Tehran; teachers flee Iraq; Carnival of the Liberated; U.S. not leaving; British soldier suicide; Marine Haditha hearing; Hussein refuses to plead.
REPORTS FROM THE FIELD
- The coalition is moving from a phase of targeting the militias throughout the capital to an "inkspot strategy" of focusing on particular neighbourhoods and making them safe, one by one.
- Iraqis looted a former British military base in Abu Naji shortly after the British closed the base and turned it over to local government.
- The Turkish military continued airstrikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq on Friday.
- Iraq's Interior Minister was nearly killed by an IED in Baghdad on Wednesday. The bomb may have been intended for him, or for a U.S. military convoy that was 500 meters behind his convoy.
- U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzhad warned that Iraq faces a critical crisis in Baghdad on Wednesday. The Ambassador warns that the outcome of the battle for Baghdad will determine the future course of Iraq.
- Kurds are being driven out of Kurdistan's isolated northern Iraqi Kandil mountain range by Iranian bomb attacks.
- The U.S. Army claims that Iran is training Shiite insurgents inside Iraq, as well as advanced IED technology for use against Coalition forces.
- Five Indian hostages taken over a month ago were freed by Iraqi police on Tuesday.
RECONSTRUCTION & THE ECONOMY
- Far from the turmoil of Baghdad and Anbar province, U.S. forces are working hard to create jobs in southern Iraq.
- Nine Iraqi-built electrical substations are coming online to provide power to more than 63,000 people in the Diyala region.
- Baghdad businesses flourish, despite violence.
- Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's leading Shiite cleric, called on Iraqi politicians to refrain from taking trips outside the country and instead to focus their efforts on finding ways to help the Iraqi people.
- The Iraqi government is launching an investigation into the alleged rape and murder of a 14 year old Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers. The soldiers are already facing potential court martial for their actions, but the Iraqi government plans to do everything it can to try them in an Iraqi court.
- Ayham al-Samarie, a dual Iraq-US citizen and Sunni Arab political figure, is one of the five ministers in the former transitional government - he was the electricity minister - against whom arrest warrants were issued for massive corruption. The others – the ministers of labour, defence, transportation and housing – remain at large.
- Many Iraqis are wary of Tehran’s growing influence in southern Iraq and demonstrations are reported in several cities urging the authorities to take immediate measures to halt Iranian meddling.
- Iraq's most prominent archaelogist has fled the country claiming poor security and Islamic political pressure.
- Teachers are fleeing Iraq as they become popular targets for the Iraqi insurgency. Almost 180 professors have been killed since February, and an additional 3,250 have fled the country in that time.
- The first draft of a constitution for the northern regions of Iraq includes the city of Kirkuk as an integral part of the region. The document would extend the boundaries of Iraqi Kurdistan and the inclusion of Kirkuk and promises to another source of controversy.
- This week's Carnival of the Liberated is up.
THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE
- The United States will not leave Iraq while President Bush is in office. The President made that very clear at a news conference on Monday.
- Britain is planning to cut its Iraq force by 50% in 2007. The UK would still be responsible for Basra, but they would go from their current 7,000 troops to between 3,000 and 4,000.
- A British soldier committed suicide rather than deploy to Iraq, citing his fears he might have to kill children while he was there.
- Senator John McCain is accusing the Bush administration of misleading the American public about the difficulties that would be involved in the Iraq mission. McCain says that the administration's claims have undermined the U.S.'s ability to support the war in Iraq because the American people were not told up front how difficult the mission would be.
- Congressman Christopher Shays of Connecticut is calling for hearings on Iraq to set a potential time line for U.S. forces to leave Iraq.
- Two Marines will face a preliminary hearing investigating their role in Haditha. The hearing will help determine whether or not the Marines should face a trial by court-martial.
- The U.S. Army has begun to reexamine casualty reports from Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 to ensure that family members of the deceased were given accurate information.
- Saddam Hussein refused to enter a plea in his new trial, where he stands accused of genocide and war crimes for his role in the Anfal massacre in 1987-88.
- Latin American guards are flocking to Iraq to fill out the ranks of private security companies who provide a measure of protection for U.S. businesses in Iraq.
- Abu Ghraib is now empty.
- Republican web site RedState has some good news from Iraq they complain isn't being reported in the media.
- Do you have your GI Bracelet? Many military families fall into financial hardship when the breadwinner is injured or killed. The entire purchase price of the GI Bracelet is donated to support our troops and their families! Please join us to give back to these brave people in their time of need.
- The troops are still there. So is the Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops: American, Australian, British, Canadian & Polish. Anyone out there with more information, contact us!
- Don't forget Chief Wiggles' Toys for Iraq drive!
- Many American troops have taken it upon themselves to reconstruct schools and gather learning tools for the children of Iraq. Their efforts have been met with immense gratitude from the local Iraqis and their children. You can help too! Visit Operation Iraqi Children and get involved.
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