|08-04-2007, 11:58 PM||#1|
Angling in the Deep
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Texas Riviera, Southern Mountains
Iraq Slipping into the Dark Ages.
Just keeps getting worse and worse.
Iraqi Power Grid Nearing Collapse
By STEVEN R. HURST, Associated Press Writer
BAGHDAD - Iraq's power grid is on the brink of collapse because of insurgent sabotage, rising demand, fuel shortages and provinces that are unplugging local power stations from the national grid, officials said Saturday.
Abdul Amir Hussein connects a network of water hoses to apartments in a central Baghdad, Iraq complex Saturday, Aug. 4, 2007. The Baghdad water supply has been severely affected by power blackouts and cuts that have affected pumping and filtration stations. Iraq's electricity grid could collapse any day because of insurgent sabotage, rising demand, fuel shortages and provincial officials who are unplugging local power stations from the national system, electricity officials said on Saturday. (AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban)
Electricity Ministry spokesman Aziz al-Shimari said power generation nationally is only meeting half the demand, and there had been four nationwide blackouts over the past two days. The shortages across the country are the worst since the summer of 2003, shortly after the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, he said.
Power supplies in Baghdad have been sporadic all summer and now are down to just a few hours a day, if that. The water supply in the capital has also been severely curtailed by power blackouts and cuts that have affected pumping and filtration stations.
Karbala province south of Baghdad has been without power for three days, causing water mains to go dry in the provincial capital, the Shiite holy city of Karbala.
"We no longer need television documentaries about the Stone Age. We are actually living in it. We are in constant danger because of the filthy water and rotten food we are having," said Hazim Obeid, who sells clothing at a stall in the Karbala market.
Electricity shortages are a perennial problem in Iraq, even though it sits atop one of the world's largest crude oil reserves. The national power grid became decrepit under Saddam Hussein because his regime was under U.N. sanctions after the Gulf War and had trouble buying spare parts or equipment to upgrade the system.
The power problems are only adding to the misery of Iraqis, already suffering from the effects of more than four years of war and sectarian violence. Outages make life almost unbearable in the summer months, when average daily temperatures reach between 110 and 120 degrees.
Water taps run dry in Iraq; suicide bomb kills 13
BAGHDAD (AP) — Much of the Iraqi capital was without running water Thursday and had been for at least 24 hours, compounding the urban misery in a war zone and the blistering heat at the height of the Baghdad summer.
Residents and city officials said large sections in the west of the capital had been virtually dry for six days because the already strained electricity grid can't provide sufficient juice to run water purification and pumping stations.
Jamil Hussein, 52, retired army officer who lives in northeast Baghdad, said his house has been without water for two weeks, except for two hours at night. He says the water that does flow smells and is unclean.
Two of his children have severe diarrhea that the doctor attributed to drinking what tap water was available, even after it was boiled.
"We'll have to continue drinking it because we don't have money to buy bottled water," he said.
Adel al-Ardawi, a spokesman for the Baghdad city government, said that even with sufficient electricity "it would take 24 hours for the water mains to refill so we can begin pumping to residents. And even then the water won't be clean for a time. We just don't have the electricity or fuel for our generators to keep the system flowing."
Noah Miller, spokesman for the U.S. reconstruction program in Baghdad, said that water treatment plants were working "as far as we know."
|08-06-2007, 09:13 PM||#2|
Angling in the Deep
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Texas Riviera, Southern Mountains
Iraqi Political Crisis Grows
By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer Mon Aug 6
BAGHDAD - Iraq's political crisis worsened Monday as five more ministers announced a boycott of Cabinet meetings — leaving the embattled prime minister's unity government with no members affiliated with Sunni political factions.
Meanwhile, a suicide bomber killed at least 28 people in a northern city, including 19 children, some playing hopscotch and marbles in front of their homes. And the American military reported five new U.S. deaths: Four soldiers were killed in a combat explosion in restive Diyala province north of the capital Monday, and a soldier was killed and two were wounded during fighting in eastern Baghdad on Sunday.
The new cracks in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government appeared even as U.S. military officials sounded cautious notes of progress on security, citing strides against insurgents linked to al-Qaida in Iraq but also new threats from Iranian-backed Shiite militias.
Despite the new U.S. accusations of Iranian meddling, the U.S. and Iranian ambassadors met Monday for their third round of talks in just over two months. A U.S. embassy spokesman called the talks between U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and his counterpart, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, "frank and serious."
But it was al-Maliki's troubles that seized the most attention.
The Cabinet boycott of five ministers loyal to former Iraqi leader Ayad Allawi left the government, at least temporarily, without participants where were members of the Sunni political apparatus — a deep blow to the prime minister's attempt to craft reconciliation among the country's majority Shiites and minority Sunnis and Kurds.
The defense minister is from a Sunni background but has no political ties and was chosen by al-Maliki.
The Allawi bloc, a mixture of Sunnis and Shiites, cited al-Maliki's failure to respond to its demands for political reform. The top Sunni political bloc already had pulled its six ministers from the 40-member Cabinet of al-Maliki, a Shiite, last week.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who has been trying to broker the Sunni bloc's return in a bid to hold the government together, met Monday with Crocker and a White House envoy.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the United States was working well with the al-Maliki government, but he did not give the kind of enthusiastic endorsement that President Bush and his aides once did.
"There's a very healthy political debate that is going on in Iraq, and that is good," McCormack said. "It's going to be for them (the Iraqi people) to make the judgments about whether or not that government is performing."
Lawmaker Hussam al-Azawi, of the bloc loyal to Allawi, said the boycott began with Monday's Cabinet meeting. The ministers intend to continue overseeing their ministries.
"We demanded broader political participation by all Iraqis to achieve real national reconciliation ... and an end to sectarian favoritism," al-Azawi said.
Meanwhile, Iraqi authorities girded for a major Shiite pilgrimage later this week in Baghdad with plans to tighten security.
Sunni insurgents often target such gatherings. And this particular annual march, to commemorate the eighth-century death of a key Shiite saint, was struck by tragedy in 2005, when thousands of Shiite pilgrims, panicked by rumors of a suicide bomber, broke into a stampede on a bridge, killing 1,000.
|08-07-2007, 12:42 AM||#3|
Join Date: Dec 2002
U.S. military deaths in Iraq at 3,674
As of Monday, Aug. 6, 2007, at least 3,674 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 3,010 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.
The AP count is 14 more than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Monday at 10 a.m. EDT.
The British military has reported 164 deaths; Italy, 33; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 21; Bulgaria, 13; Spain, 11; Denmark, seven; El Salvador, five; Slovakia, four; Latvia, three; Estonia, Netherlands, Thailand, two each; and Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Romania, South Korea, one death each.
The latest deaths reported by the military:
• Four soldiers were killed Monday in an explosion in Diyala province.
The latest identifications reported by the military:
• Army Spc. Charles E. Leonard, Jr., 29, Monroe, La., died Sunday in Baghdad when his vehicle was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
• Marine Lance Cpl. Cristian Vasquez, 20, Coalinga, Calif., died Thursday while conducting combat operations in Anbar province; assigned to the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
• Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joey D. Link, 29, Portland, Tenn., died Sunday of natural causes at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany; assigned to the 39th Airlift Squadron, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.
• Army Spc. Braden J. Long, 19, Sherman, Texas, died Saturday in Baghdad after his Humvee came under grenade attack; assigned to the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.
• Army Master Sgt. Julian Ingles Rios, 52, Anasco, Puerto Rico, died Thursday in Baghdad when his Humvee was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade; assigned to the 130th Engineer Battalion, Puerto Rico National Guard, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
• Three soldiers were killed Thursday when an explosive detonated near their vehicle in Baghdad. All were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.
Killed were Army Staff Sgt. Fernando Santos, 29, San Antonio; Army Spc. Cristian Rojas-Gallego, 24, Loganville, Ga.; and Army Spc. Eric D. Salinas, 25, Houston.