Part of me can still see this little boy scurrying around in the balcony of our church. I just cannot believe that he’s gone.New Zion Baptist Church pastor Reverend William Wright • Remembering Army Spec. David Hickman, the 4,474th and final United States military casualty of the war in Iraq. Many who were close to Hickman recently spoke with The Daily, sharing their memories of the former athlete and tae kwon do black belt, six months after he was killed by an IED while driving through Baghdad. source (via • follow)
» A very deadly day: The above figure, in addition to roughly 200 people injured, was the human cost of a seemingly coordinated series of bombings at 13 different sites across Iraq. Two car bombs near the fortified, so-called “Green Zone” also went off, an overtly threatening message just one week ahead of a planned Arab League summit Iraq is to host there. The summit was, and is, meant to be a show by the Iraqi government of their state’s stability and security. Today’s bombings are widely believed to have been timed to undermine all that – a similar plan last year was cancelled due to security fears. Nobody explicit has yet been linked to the bombings, but some Iraqi authorities have launched accusations towards Sunni militant groups, speaking to deepening sectarian strife.
» Audit time! With the Iraq War’s chapter effectively closed, now’s apparently a good time to look back at all the money we spent there. There’s a problem, however: Of the $3 billion the Iraqi government set aside for the Department of Defense to use for reconstruction between 2004 and 2007, approximately two-thirds of that is unaccounted for. Worse, auditors can’t even find most of the documents: ”From July 2004 through December 2007, DoD should have provided 42 monthly reports,” an audit says. “However, it can locate only the first four reports.” Ever lose track of like $2 billion bucks? It’s fun, right?
» Deciphering the discord: The state of affairs in Iraq since the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces (not to suggest Iraq was an entirely safe place when those forces were there, obviously) has somewhat undeniably deteriorated, plagued by mass attacks of a sectarian nature. Today was one such grisly example — as the political struggle for representation between Shiite and Sunni has intensified, it has been shadowed by an increasing frequency of attacks, apparently by sectarian militants (al-Qaeda in Iraq among them).
» Danger and strife: Provincial government sources suggest grimly conventional tactics being used — a suicide bomber detonated himself amidst a group traveling to Karbala, and in Sadr City a man parked a motorbike near a group of day laborers seeking work, which exploded minutes after he left. The upheaval is both lethal and political; an arrest warrant is out for Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi (a Sunni) on terrorism charges, which he denies. In response, the Sunni bloc of parliament has accused Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of power monopoly and abuse, and threatens to boycott the assembly.
I was sleeping in my bed when the explosion happened. I jumped from my bed and rushed to my mum’s lap. I told her I did not want to go to school today. I’m terrified.12-year-old Hussain Abbas, who was standing nearby in his pyjamas said as a wave of at least 14 bombings ripped across Baghdad on Thursday morning, killing at least 60 people in the worst violence Iraq has seen for months. (source)
Nothing has changed with the withdrawal of the American forces from Iraq on the security level because basically it has been in our hands.Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki • Emphasizing that the country can handle the forthcoming departure of U.S. troops, as an eight-year war dies down. Al-Maliki says he has “no concerns whatsoever” about the ability of his troops to maintain security in the region, and says the sectarian violence that broke out immediately in the wake of the downfall of the Saddam Hussein government is a thing of the past. “I assure the world that the Iraqi forces and the general situation in the country hasn’t changed and will not change,” he emphasizes. source (via • follow)