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Jul 31st, 2009

5 Coordinated Bombings Hit Baghdad Mosques, Killing at Least 29

Apparently coordinated bombs hit 5 Baghdad mosques after Friday prayers

Image: People gather around wreckage after a car bomb
Karim Kadim / AP

July 31, 2009

BAGHDAD — Bombs exploded near five Shiite mosques in Baghdad, killing at least 29 people, in an apparent coordinated attack that targeted worshippers leaving Friday prayers, Iraqi police and hospital officials said.

The bombings shattered a period of relative calm in the Iraqi capital, raising to at least 306 the number of Iraqis killed in what has been one of the least deadly months for both Iraqi civilians and U.S. troops since the war began. Seven American troops have been killed — the lowest monthly total since the war started in March 2003, according to an AP tally. …

The deadliest attack Friday came when a car bomb exploded near a Shiite mosque in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of Shaab, killing at least 24 people and wounding 17 others, said two Iraqi police officials and a medical official.

At about the same time, almost simultaneous explosions struck near the al-Rasoul mosque near the Jisr Diyala bridge, in southern Baghdad, killing four worshippers and wounding 17 others, the two police officials said.

A roadside bomb exploded near al-Hakim mosque in Kamaliyah area in eastern Baghdad, wounding six worshippers. A bomb near Imam al-Sadiq mosque in the religiously mixed neighborhood of Ilam in southwestern Baghdad wounded 4, while a bomb near the al-Sadrain mosque in the Zafaraniyah area in southeastern Baghdad killed one and wounded seven worshippers. …

Only three other months this year saw fewer Iraqis killed since the AP began tracking war-related fatalities in May 2005. There were 242 deaths in January, 288 in February and 225 in May. …

American troops, though, continue to be targeted by insurgents. On Friday, rockets struck a U.S. base outside Iraq’s second largest city of Basra, but there were no reports of casualties. Three U.S. soldiers were killed earlier this month in a similar attack at the base. …


Iraq: Key Figures Since the War Began

Aug. 1, 2009

U.S. troop levels

  • October 2007: 170,000 at peak of troop buildup
  • July 31, 2009: 131,000


  • Confirmed U.S. military deaths as of July 30, 2009: at least 4,329
  • Confirmed U.S. military wounded (hostile) as of July 31, 2009: 31,454
  • Confirmed U.S. military wounded (non-hostile, using medical air transport) as of July 4, 2009: 37,613
  • U.S. military deaths for July 2009: 7 (lowest number since the war began in March 2003)
  • Deaths of civilian employees of U.S. government contractors as of June 30, 2009: 1,395
  • Iraqi deaths in July 2009 from war-related violence: at least 308 (down from 447 in June; only three months — all of them in 2009 – have seen fewer Iraqis killed since the AP began tracking war-related fatalities in May 2005)
  • Assassinated Iraqi academics as of June 16, 2009: 423
  • Journalists killed on assignment as of July 31, 2009: 139


  • More than $669 billion, according to the National Priorities Project

Oil production

  • Prewar: 2.58 million barrels per day
  • July 9, 2009: 2.48 million barrels per day

Population displacement

  • Prewar: 500,000 Iraqis living abroad
  • June 5, 2009: more than 1.5 million Iraqis living abroad, mainly in Syria and Jordan
  • June 5, 2009: more than 2.8 million currently displaced inside Iraq

Sources: The Associated Press, State Department, Defense Department, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, The Brookings Institution, International Organization for Migration, Committee to Protect Journalists, National Priorities Project, The Brussels Tribunal, and the U.S. Department of Labor.


8/1/09 Update

U.S. Troops Now a ‘Coalition of One’ in Iraq

A U.S. soldier collects his gear as U.S. troops prepare to leave their base after handing it over to the Iraqi forces in Qurna, 90 kilometers north of Basra, Iraq, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2009. (Photo credit: Nabil al-Jurani / AP)

Aug. 1, 2009

BAGHDAD — The war in Iraq was truly an American-only effort Saturday after Britain and Australia, the last of its international partners, pulled out.

Little attention was paid in Iraq to what effectively ended the so-called coalition of the willing, with the U.S. — as the leader of Multi-National Force, Iraq — letting the withdrawals pass without any public demonstration. …

At its height, the coalition numbered about 300,000 soldiers from 38 countries — 250,000 from the United States, about 40,000 from Britain, and the rest ranging from 2,000 Australians to 70 Albanians. But most of the United States’ traditional European allies, those who supported actions in Afghanistan and the previous Iraq war, sat it out.

It effectively ended this week with Friday’s departure of Australian troops and the expiration of the mandate for the tiny remaining British contingent after Iraq’s parliament adjourned without agreeing to allow the troops to stay to protect southern oil ports and train Iraqi troops. …

The coalition had a troubled history and began to crumble within months of the U.S.-led invasion as many countries faced political and social unrest over an unpopular war.

Critics said the tiny contingents that partnered with the coalition, such as Estonia, Albania and Romania, gave the U.S. token international support for the invasion.

Mass protests were held in many countries, including Spain, which was one of the most notable withdrawals from the coalition. In 2004, a bombing attack in Madrid linked to Islamic extremists helped overturn the political establishment in Spain and the new leadership pulled out the Spanish troops.

By January 2007, the combined non-U.S. contingent had dwindled to just over 14,000. By October 2007, it stood at 20 nations and roughly 11,400 soldiers. …

American combat forces withdrew from Iraq’s urban areas at the end of June and all troops are to withdraw by the end of 2011, according to the agreement. President Barack Obama has ordered the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops by Aug. 31, 2010, leaving roughly 50,000 troops to train and advise Iraqi security forces. …


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago Today — July 31, 2008

Bachmann-SartellSummerFestParade.jpg Michele Bachmann picture by Rifleman-Al
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) at the Sartell SummerFest Parade, Sat., June 14, 2008, promising $2 gas with a “Drill Here, Drill Now” strategy of increasing supply. (Photo credit: St. Cloud Times)

On the Campaign Trail: Day 17

One year ago today, on the 17th day of my campaign campaign against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, I took Rep. Bachmann to task for talking almost exclusively about energy issues such as the price of gasoline in her reelection campaign, while ignoring important national security concerns.

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