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.
- Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was found guilty by a special tribunal Sunday of crimes against humanity for the torture and execution of more than 100 people from a small town north of Baghdad 24 years ago. He was sentenced to death by hanging.
- Desert Crossing, a simulated invasion of Iraq in 1999, estimated that a minimum of 400,000 troops would be required to secure Iraq, and even with that number, there was a chance Iraq would descend into chaos. According to the Pentagon, there were 290,000 Coalition troops in Iraq shortly after the 2003 invasion.
Other Topics Today Include: Bechtel leaves Iraq; Iraq's baby boom; China and Iraq close oil deal; USAID establishes loan fund; Bahrain chosen for trade show; Iraqis ask for UN mandate extension; Sunni and Shiites to Belfast; Chirac to meet Talabani; Australian support for Iraq dwindling.
REPORTS FROM THE FIELD
- Wrapping up more than three years of work that cost the U.S. government $2.3 billion, Bechtel Inc. is leaving Iraq with a subdued sense of accomplishment after suffering through an unanticipated spree of violence that killed 52 workers.
- In the face of relentless violence, political chaos, economic uncertainty and nightly curfews, Iraq's maternity wards are experiencing an unlikely baby boom.
RECONSTRUCTION & THE ECONOMY
- China and Iraq are reviving a $1.2 billion deal signed by Beijing and Saddam Hussein's government in 1997 to develop an Iraqi oil field.
- Eleven Iraqi banks, with the direct support from Iraqi Central Bank and the American Agency for International Development, announced the establishment of the Iraqi company for loans that provides financial liquidity for those wishing to establish small projects.
- Bahrain has been chosen by Iraq to host its first overseas trade show next year, centring round its $100 billion rebuilding program.
- The Iraqi government requested a one year extension of the UN mandate in Iraq, citing the need for foreign troops to help maintain order.
- A delegation of Shi’ite and Sunni leaders from Iraq is due to arrive in Belfast to learn the secrets of building peace out of seemingly intractable sectarian conflict.
- This week's Carnival of the Liberated is up.
THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE
- The United States may soon shut down the special Inspector General's office in Iraq. The office, established to ensure money was being spent carefully, just asked for tighter guidelines for any reconstruction aid provided to the Iraqi government.
- French President Jacques Chirac is to meet his Iraqi counterpart Jalal Talabani in the Presidential palace l'Elysee.
- The Jordanian government and the United Nations children's agency (UNICEF) denied claims that government health centres are refusing to vaccinate Iraqi children whose families are living in Jordan illegally.
- Support for Australia's presence in Iraq is shrinking as the mission goes on.
- 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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