"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Shiites hit the fan in Basra - USAF and RAF start bombing / strafing civilians - the air war helter skelters out of control

Iraq´s average crude oil production for February was 2.4 million barrels per day. Exports averaged 1.93 million barrels per day in the month - although any oil producion/refining/export figures must be viewed with a great deal of caution. "Overall progress has been very slow and there is still no comprehensive metering at oil fields, storage facilities or refineries," U.N. controller Warren Sach told the Security Council December 19th 2007 (Reuters)

Basra Rumaila South and North oil fields produce around 1.3 million barrels per day. The city also is home to one of Iraq´s three largest oil refineries, the Shuaiba refinery which has a capacity of 160,000 barrels a day but has been functioning below capacity at about 100,000 barrels per day.

Control over the southern oil fields and resources is what is really at the heart of the Battle of Basra...

US warplanes bombed Shia militiamen in Basra last night and helicopter gunships fired rockets in militia-controlled areas of Baghdad, as Iraqi government forces proved incapable of dislodging die-hard rebels on their own. The U.S. warplanes killed three militia fighters, the British military reported. The targets were a militia mortar team and a militia stronghold, said Maj. Tom Holloway, a British military spokesman.

Basra’s government hospitals received more than 60 people killed and 300 others wounded in the clashes that erupted since the midnight of Monday until Thursday evening,” the medical source, who asked not to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI).

Updated at 9:20 p.m. EDT, Mar. 28, 2008
At least 163 Iraqis were killed and 214 were wounded in the latest reports of violence. These figures included updated numbers from the Mahdi Army battles taking place since Tuesday.

Iraq’s prime minister has set a deadline for Shia militants in Basra to hand over their weapons, “All those who have heavy and intermediate weapons are to deliver them to security sites and they will be rewarded financially. This will start from March 28 to April 8,” the prime minister said.

Authorities imposed a three-day curfew in Baghdad to contain the violence, since the government launched the offensive on Tuesday. The U.S. military reported killing 78 "bad guys" in Baghdad in the past three days; American forces backed by combat helicopters continued Friday to battle members of the Mahdi Army, a militia loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, in Baghdad.

Mortar shells hit the offices of Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, (a Sunni ,Iraqi Islamic Party and No 3 in the political line of precedence - 2 of his brothers and a sister were killed by Shiite death squads in 2006.) killing two guards and wounding 4 others.

Green Zone attacks this week have killed two Americans; embassy personnel are sleeping in the thick-walled former palace of Saddam Hussein for protection. U.S. government employees are going outside only on urgent business and wearing protective gear.

In an e-mail Friday night, Philip T Reeker, US Embassy spokesman said sleeping in the embassy was clearly a temporary precaution but "highly recommended given the harassing fire we've received in the past week. I, for one, have pulled out a cot in my office."

At 4 a.m. in Sadr City, a helicopter killed four fighters who were engaging U.S. forces with small-arms fire, officials said. At 7 a.m., a U.S. helicopter's Hellfire missile targeted a vehicle armed with rocket-propelled grenades, killing two fighters in the Adhamiyah district of northern Baghdad.

Later in the morning, soldiers fired on militants setting up improvised explosive devices and returning fire from and killing fighters who had rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

"In the last 48 hours, we have seen more extremists," said Lt. Col. Steve Stover, a military spokesman in Baghdad. He said the military had killed 78 "bad guys" in the past three days. "They are violating the rule of law. They are firing rockets indiscriminately. They are criminals and terrorists, and they deserve to die."


Anonymous said...

Well, let's hope the Mahdi army sets in motion an uprising which unites all the Iraqis and gets rid of the barbaric occupiers and their fawning Iraqi government.

Anonymous said...

Five Things You Need to Know to Understand the Latest Violence in Iraq (best info so far)

Posted by Ekk on March 29, 2008, 17:31:18

The real source of conflict in Iraq -- and the reason political reconciliation has been so difficult -- is a fundamental disagreement over what the future of Iraq will look like. Loosely defined, it is a clash of Iraqi nationalists -- with Muqtada al-Sadr as their most influential voice -- who desire a unified Iraqi state and public-sector management of the country's vast oil reserves and who forcefully reject foreign influence on Iraq's political process, be it from the United States, Iran or other outside forces.

The nationalists now represent a majority in Iraq's parliament but are opposed by what might be called Iraqi separatists, who envision a "soft partition" of Iraq into at least four semiautonomous and sectarian-based regional entities, welcome the privatization of the Iraqi energy sector (and the rest of the Iraqi economy) and rely on foreign support to maintain their power.

We've written about this long-standing conflict extensively in the past, and now we're seeing it come to a head, as we believed it would at some point.

2. U.S. is propping up unpopular regime; Sadr has support because of his platform

One of the ironies of the reporting out of Iraq is the ubiquitous characterization of Muqtada al-Sadr as a "renegade," "radical" or "militant" cleric, despite the fact that he is the only leader of significance in the country who has ordered his followers to stand down. His ostensible militancy appears to arise primarily from his opposition to the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq.

He has certainly been willing to use violence in the past, but the "firebrand" label belies the fact that Sadr is arguably the most popular leader among a large section of the Iraqi population and that he has forcefully rejected sectarian conflict and sought to bring together representatives of Iraq's various ethnic and sectarian groups in an effort to create real national reconciliation -- a process that the highly sectarian Maliki regime has failed to accomplish.

It's vitally important to understand that Sadr's popularity and legitimacy is a result of his having a platform that's favored by an overwhelming majority of Iraqis.

Most Iraqis:

* Favor a strong central government free of the influence of militias.
* Oppose, by a 2-1 margin, the privatization of Iraq's energy sector -- a "benchmark towards progress according to the Bush administration.
* Favor a U.S. withdrawal on a short timeline (PDF) (most believe the United States plans to build permanent bases -- both are issues about which the Sadrists have been vocal.
* Oppose al Qaeda and the ideology of Osama Bin Laden and, to a lesser degree, Iranian influence on Iraq's internal affairs.

With the exception of their opposition to Al Qaeda, the five major separatist parties -- Sunni, Shia and Kurdish -- that make up Maliki's governing coalition are on the deeply unpopular side of these issues. A poll conducted last year found that 65 percent of Iraqis think the Iraqi government is doing a poor job, and Maliki himself has a Bush-like 66 percent disapproval rate.

As in Vietnam, the United States is backing an unpopular and decidedly undemocratic government in Iraq, and that simple fact explains much of the violent resistance that's going on in Iraq today.

(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish