Today is a day of sadness

Today I have to perform a sad duty; the funeral and commemoration of a much loved family member, the favourite aunt of my husband.

Jessy was a nurse for most of her live. She took care of war veterans of WWII and the Vietnam war in New Zealand.
She died peacefully in a hospital bed surrounded 24 hours a day in the last three days of her live by us her family. She was 91 and ready to go.
Her live had been good and full, and until the very last moment she was a strong independent woman.

So today we mourn her passing and we celebrate her live. We who have never seen a days war in our lives. We who expect to live our lives to the full with nothing other than an accident or an illness to cut short our lives.

Just imagine that. Nobody will invade our country because we are too far away from everything and we don’t live on top of oil, or something else that a country with a huge army wants, and takes what it wants without regard of who lives on top of what it wants. In fact it is quit happy to shoot, torture or kill in other horrible ways those that object to being occupied by a hostile greedy nation, that used an attack on their own soil as an excuse to invade, even though your country had nothing to do with those attacks.

Today as I grief Jessy, I leave you with the Winter soldiers of 2008, as they testify to the brutal occupation they were ordered into and had to partake in.

The Iraqis you see were not so lucky, they lived on top of oil, and America wants it, you see. Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks of 911, but than neither had Afghanistan, it just so happened they had stopped growing opium, and the Taliban had refused to sign a contract allowing America to build a bloody great pipeline for oil through their country.

Just imagine your favourite aunty with perhaps you favourite nephew driving her to the market because since the invasion of your country the extreme Christians in your country had taken over and deemed a woman alone in a car a sin against god (We only were allowed out alone for say the last 1oo years and we only got the voting right until much much later, and I remember when my mother wanted to learn how to drive a car she was ridiculed as were most women, because women were unfit to drive, and her wish to have her own job and earn her own money cost her, her marriage, in fact in my native Holland to this day there are numerous ultra Christian groups that forbid their women to work out of house, drive a car, go out unchaperoned by a male relative, be alone with a male in her own home without another female relative, and use her right to vote, and who consider the male to be the head of the house.) and as your favourite aunty and nephew drive through the mainstreet, the get caught up in a US raid on their city. You hear about the raid from one of your neighbours who is lucky to be alive, and your long wait begins. You hope against all hope that your aunty and your nephew (Let’s give them some names shall we, they are like us human beings, they are called Aisha and Yousef) are just stuck somewhere and you stay awake all night to see the if the light in the apartment across the street gets turned on, but it stays dark and you hope it’s just another blackout, but you know better because other apartments have their lights on, and in the morning you get out and you search hospital after hospital, morgue after morgue, and when you’re are finally lucky enough to find them, you will see their bodies riddled with bullets, and pain in their faces, and you know they died alone and all you can do is wash them and bury, that is if you are a male because as a woman in your occupied country with extremist Christians you can’t even do that, you have to stay at home and wait when and if the men will come home.

Or perhaps in Afghanistan you will be at a wedding with all your family and there is music and dance and the bride and the groom look radiant and you’re so happy because it is for the first time that you can sit with the men of your tribe because you finally old enough to be with them, and you look proudly at your your favourite aunty and she looks back at you and you can see that she is proud of you coming of age, and your father gives you his gun and you are allowed, for the first time to fire the celebratory gun shots, but than all of a sudden a US or NATO fighter jet flies over and you see with horror the sprays of bullets hitting the women, your favourite aunty pushed back by the bullets hitting her and your young favourite niece who looked so wonderful in her new dress looses half her head when a bullet hits her and the men run towards them and the second plane kills your father, your father who was also your best friend who taught you everything you know and with his gun you fire in rage after the jets who have long since gone, and when the silence returns there is only wailing and screaming and blood.

The next day we read in our corporately owned newspapers, that US jets have taken out a major Taliban leader, and only three days later on page four a small article appears correcting that story.

As I grief for my husbands favourite aunty Jessy who died peacefully surrounded by her family please give this a thought, and ask your self the question why are we involved in an illegal war of aggression, and why are none of our political leaders addressing this sad and horribly wrong issue. Because it has to stop.

For more testimonies just click on one of the videos.

The Myth of the Surge

Hoping to turn enemies into allies, U.S. forces are arming Iraqis who fought with the insurgents. But it’s already starting to backfire. A report from the front lines of the new Iraq

NIR ROSENPosted Mar 06, 2008 8:53 AM

Click here to see more photos taken by Danfung Dennis for this featureIt’s a cold, gray day in December, and I’m walking down Sixtieth Street in the Dora district of Baghdad, one of the most violent and fearsome of the city’s no-go zones. Devastated by five years of clashes between American forces, Shiite militias, Sunni resistance groups and Al Qaeda, much of Dora is now a ghost town. This is what “victory” looks like in a once upscale neighborhood of Iraq: Lakes of mud and sewage fill the streets. Mountains of trash stagnate in the pungent liquid. Most of the windows in the sand-colored homes are broken, and the wind blows through them, whistling eerily. House after house is deserted, bullet holes pockmarking their walls, their doors open and unguarded, many emptied of furniture. What few furnishings remain are covered by a thick layer of the fine dust that invades every space in Iraq. Looming over the homes are twelve-foot-high security walls built by the Americans to separate warring factions and confine people to their own neighborhood. Emptied and destroyed by civil war, walled off by President Bush’s much-heralded “surge,” Dora feels more like a desolate, post-apocalyptic maze of concrete tunnels than a living, inhabited neighborhood. Apart from our footsteps, there is complete silence.

My guide, a thirty-one-year-old named Osama who grew up in Dora, points to shops he used to go to, now abandoned or destroyed: a barbershop, a hardware store. Since the U.S. occupation began, Osama has watched civil war turn the streets where he grew up into an ethnic killing field. After the fall of Saddam, the Americans allowed looters and gangs to take over the streets, and Iraqi security forces were stripped of their jobs. The Mahdi Army, the powerful Shiite paramilitary force led by the anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, took advantage of the power shift to retaliate in areas such as Dora, where Shiites had been driven from their homes. Shiite forces tried to cleanse the district of Sunni families like Osama’s, burning or confiscating their homes and torturing or killing those who refused to leave.

“The Mahdi Army was killing people here,” Osama says, pointing to a now-destroyed Shiite mosque that in earlier times had been a cafe and before that an office for Saddam’s Baath Party. Later, driving in the nearby district of Baya, Osama shows me a gas station. “They killed my uncle here. He didn’t accept to leave. Twenty guys came to his house, the women were screaming. He ran to the back, but they caught him, tortured him and killed him.” Under siege by Shiite militias and the U.S. military, who viewed Sunnis as Saddam supporters, and largely cut out of the Shiite-dominated government, many Sunnis joined the resistance. Others turned to Al Qaeda and other jihadists for protection.

Now, in the midst of the surge, the Bush administration has done an about-face. Having lost the civil war, many Sunnis were suddenly desperate to switch sides — and Gen. David Petraeus was eager to oblige. The U.S. has not only added 30,000 more troops in Iraq — it has essentially bribed the opposition, arming the very Sunni militants who only months ago were waging deadly assaults on American forces. To engineer a fragile peace, the U.S. military has created and backed dozens of new Sunni militias, which now operate beyond the control of Iraq’s central government. The Americans call the units by a variety of euphemisms: Iraqi Security Volunteers (ISVs), neighborhood watch groups, Concerned Local Citizens, Critical Infrastructure Security. The militias prefer a simpler and more dramatic name: They call themselves Sahwa, or “the Awakening.”

At least 80,000 men across Iraq are now employed by the Americans as ISVs. Nearly all are Sunnis, with the exception of a few thousand Shiites. Operating as a contractor, Osama runs 300 of these new militiamen, former resistance fighters whom the U.S. now counts as allies because they are cashing our checks. The Americans pay Osama once a month; he in turn provides his men with uniforms and pays them ten dollars a day to man checkpoints in the Dora district — a paltry sum even by Iraqi standards. A former contractor for KBR, Osama is now running an armed network on behalf of the United States government. “We use our own guns,” he tells me, expressing regret that his units have not been able to obtain the heavy-caliber machine guns brandished by other Sunni militias.

The American forces responsible for overseeing “volunteer” militias like Osama’s have no illusions about their loyalty. “The only reason anything works or anybody deals with us is because we give them money,” says a young Army intelligence officer. The 2nd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, which patrols Osama’s territory, is handing out $32 million to Iraqis in the district, including $6 million to build the towering walls that, in the words of one U.S. officer, serve only to “make Iraqis more divided than they already are.” In districts like Dora, the strategy of the surge seems simple: to buy off every Iraqi in sight. All told, the U.S. is now backing more than 600,000 Iraqi men in the security sector — more than half the number Saddam had at the height of his power. With the ISVs in place, the Americans are now arming both sides in the civil war. “Iraqi solutions for Iraqi problems,” as U.S. strategists like to say. David Kilcullen, the counterinsurgency adviser to Gen. Petraeus, calls it “balancing competing armed interest groups.”

Photo

Photo: Danfung Dennis/WPN

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Iran’s president says foreigners must leave Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, heading home from Iraq after a two-day visit, again touted the closer relations between Iraq and Iran and reiterated his criticism of the United States.

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad.

“No one likes them,” said Ahmadinejad, who departed Iraq after a news conference on Monday.

“We believe that the forces which crossed oceans and thousands of kilometers to come to this region, should leave this region and hand over the affairs to the people’s and government of this region,” Ahmadinejad said.

Ahmadinejad’s visit follows trips to Iran last year by top officials of Iraq’s Shiite-led government, who have been fostering a closer relationship with predominantly Shiite Iran since the Saddam Hussein regime was toppled.

His visit was greeted warmly by Iraq’s Shiite Muslim leadership, who have had longtime links with Iran that predate the overthrow of Hussein. At the same time, many Sunni Muslims in Iraq dislike the Iranian regime and have demonstrated against his visit.

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Turkey Says It Has Sent Ground Troops Into Iraq

The US is not protecting their most reliable ally in Iraq. More quagmire and mayhem to come.

SAMSUN, Turkey – Turkey’s military said it had sent ground troops into northern Iraq Thursday night in an operation aimed at weakening Kurdish militants there, the first confirmed ground incursion since the United States invaded Iraq in 2003.

The Turkish General Staff announced the action on its website on Friday. It gave no details of how many troops went or how long they would stay, and said only that they would return once goals had been achieved. Private NTV television reported 10,000 troops were involved and said they had pushed about six miles into Iraqi territory.

A Turkish analyst, commenting on NTV, said the attack appeared aimed at dealing the Kurdish militants, the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, a surprise blow before the snow melts and the guerillas make their traditional spring advance into Turkey to attack Turkish troops. The analyst said the operation would likely last between three and four days.

It was not clear what, if any, role the United States played in the incursion, which set one of its closest allies in a troubled region, Turkey, a NATO member that shares borders with Iran, Iraq and Syria, against another, Iraqi Kurds, the most important American partners in the Iraq war.

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Turkey Plans To Invade Northern Iraq

The Turkish military said it is setting the ground work for a large-scale ground invasion into northern Iraq targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

The military said the ground operation is the final strike against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known by its Kurdish language initials of PKK. The operation follows airstrikes on the group in late 2007 and military officials said the operation is scheduled for mid-March, the English language Turkish daily, Today’s Zaman said Monday.

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CIA shrugged off no-war reports

A key Iraqi nuclear scientist says he believed by telling the truth about Iraq’s weapons, he was helping to stave off the invasion.Saad Tawfiq, a key figure in Saddam Hussein’s clandestine nuclear weapons program, said when he watched Colin Powell waving a vial of white powder and telling the UNSC on February 5, 2003, a story about Iraqi germ labs, he realized he had risked his life and those of his loved ones for nothing.

“When I saw Colin Powell I started crying. Immediately. I knew I had tried and lost,” Tawfiq told AFP this week in the Jordanian capital Amman.
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Mosul residents stock up ahead of ‘decisive battle’

MOSUL, Iraq (AFP) – Residents of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul are hastily stocking up with supplies ahead of what Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki says will be a “decisive battle” against Al-Qaeda, traders said on Sunday.Maliki warned on Saturday after an emergency meeting of his war council in Mosul, the last urban stronghold of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, that a major assault on the jihadists in northern Nineveh province was imminent.

Nineveh governor Duraid Kashmoula told reporters in the provincial capital of Mosul on Saturday that the assault would start “in a few days”.

The warnings come after blasts and attacks in Mosul which have killed dozens of people, including a police chief, and bombings of Baghdad markets on Friday by two mentally impaired women which killed almost 100 people.

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