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.
- General David Petraeus took command of U.S. forces in Iraq on Saturday, relieving General George Casey. In his speech following acceptance of the command, GEN Petraeus observed that the prospects for success are good in Iraq and that it was the U.S.'s job to give Iraqis the time they need to 'save their country.'
- An Iraqi court sentenced Saddam Hussein's vice president to death on Monday for his role in the killing of Shiites in Dujail.
- The insurgency celebrated the first anniversary of the bombing of the Golden Dome in Samarra with two car bomb attacks that left at least 80 dead.
Other Topics Today Include: suicide bombing in Tikrit; Iranian diplomat kidnapped; VCSA says no changes to enemy tactics; new hospital approved; UN claims Iraq blocking Oil-for-Food; health minister detained; Carnival of the Liberated; U.S. accuses Iran; new trials for Marine and officer; rebuilding the Army's gear.
REPORTS FROM THE FIELD
- A suicide bomber rammed a group of police in Tikrit on Sunday, killing at least 50 and injuring 70 more. 21 of the 30 dead were police.
- Gunmen in Iraqi army uniforms and apparently connected" to the Iraqi government kidnapped an Iranian diplomat Sunday, the foreign minister of Iraq said.
- Iraqi security officials inspecting pipelines in the north arrested 20 alleged oil smugglers.
- General Richard Cody, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, says there is no reason to believe the insurgents have uncovered helicopter vulnerabilities or have changed their tactics despite the recent surge in helicopter losses in Iraq.
- The death toll of American troops over the last four months has been the highest it has been since the war began.
RECONSTRUCTION & THE ECONOMY
- The government has approved <a href="http://www.iraqdirectory.com/DisplayNews.aspx?id=3114"the construction of a new hospital in Basra specializing in heart diseases.
- The United Nations claims Iraq is obstructing the closing of the Oil-for-Food program.
- El Paso Corp. will shell out $7.7 million to settle charges filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over illegal surcharges paid to Iraq related to the United Nations Oil for Food Program.
- The Iraqi government revealed it will begin collecting money owed to Iraq by Yemen other countries neighboring countries.
- Iraqi forces detained Iraq's deputy health minister on Thursday on suspicion of corruption and aiding the infiltration of the ministry by Shiite militiamen.
- This week's Carnival of the Liberated is up.
THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE
- The U.S. military says Iran is providing advanced weapons to the insurgency in Iraq, directly resulting in at least 170 U.S. military deaths in Iraq. Iraq's foreign minister, however, says he has seen no evidence tying Iran to the insurgency.
- The House of Representatives will vote on a resolution opposing President Bush's surge plan in Iraq sometime this week.
- Acting DoD Inspector General Thomas Gimble reported that the Pentagon undercut the intelligence community during the runup to the war.
- Marine Corporal Trent Thomas was allowed to withdraw his guilty plea in the slaying of Hashim Ibrahim Awad in Hamdania last year. Thomas' changed plea will require a new trial.
- The first trial of 1LT Ehren Watada ended in a mistrial less than two days after it began.
- The Army continues to struggle with rebuilding damaged military equipment, a process they expect will require three years of work after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are over.
- One of the current Iraq Report compilers, Andrew Olmsted, is heading to Iraq himself. That means we could use a volunteer willing to take on the mission of compiling the Report with Joel Gaines beginning with the 19 February report. Please send applications to MondayIraqReport (at) windsofchange (dot) net.
- 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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