Jan. 7, 2009
GENEVA – Iraq remained the deadliest country for media workers in 2008, followed by India and Mexico, although the number of deaths was down sharply from the previous year, a study showed.
A total of 109 journalists and support staff in 36 countries died while covering the news last year, most of them murdered because of their work, the International News Safety Institute (INSI) reported.
The figure was down from 172 such deaths in 2007, largely due to a decline in the number of media workers killed in Iraq. The death toll there fell to 16 from 65, reflecting a drop in overall violence, the institute said on Tuesday. …
Since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, 252 journalists and other media workers such as translators and drivers have been killed in Iraq.
India and Mexico followed Iraq as the most dangerous places for media professionals with 10 deaths each. …
Details of all fatal incidents reported in 2008 and previous years are available on INSI’s website.
U.S. Marine Maj. Gen. John Kelly
(Photo credit: Wathiq Khuzaie / AP)
Jan. 7, 2009
BAGHDAD – The top American commander in the former insurgent stronghold of Anbar said Wednesday the Shiite-led government should have poured reconstruction money into the Sunni region after Sunni fighters joined forces with U.S. troops to chase al-Qaida out of the western province.
Marine Maj. Gen. John F. Kelly told The Associated Press that his greatest “mission failure” was his inability to bring together the government in Baghdad and the Sunnis in Anbar to take advantage of the steep decline in violence.
“What the Iraqi government in Baghdad should have done is said Anbar is getting peaceful, let’s commit,” Kelly told the AP in a telephone interview from his headquarters southwest of Baghdad, as he begins to make preparations to hand over command of 23,000 Marines next month to Maj. Gen. Richard T. Tyron. …
Double standard for Sunnis, Shiites
Kelly’s remarks gave a public voice to sentiments echoed privately by other U.S. commanders who see a double standard in the government’s supporting the southern Shiite city of Basra while not making money available to the largely Sunni areas such as the northern city of Mosul, where insurgents are fighting U.S. and Iraqi forces. …
Anbar, which stretches from the western gates of Baghdad to the borders of Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, was once the center stage of the Sunni insurgency. The province’s fiercely independent Sunni tribes resented the presence of thousands of non-Muslim foreign soldiers, and many Sunnis began supporting al-Qaida in Iraq and other insurgent groups.
By late 2006, however, many of those groups had turned against al-Qaida in Iraq and its brutal tactics. Disaffected tribesmen organized so-called Awakening Councils, which joined forces with the Americans to push al-Qaida out of the province. That enabled U.S. forces to gain control of the provincial capital of Ramadi and other cities long considered killing zones for Americans.
Following are security developments in Iraq on Jan. 6, 2009, as reported by Reuters.
BAGHDAD – A bomb planted in a parked car killed one civilian and wounded six people, including three soldiers, when it exploded in the Saidiya area of southern Baghdad.
BAGHDAD – Four police commandos were killed and two wounded by a roadside bomb on Monday night in the Doura district of southern Baghdad, police said.
MOSUL – A suicide car bomber wounded five policemen and three civilians, striking their patrol in Mosul, 240 miles north of Baghdad, police said.
TUZ KHURMATO – A roadside bomb wounded two policemen in the town of Tuz Khurmato, 105 miles north of Baghdad, police said.
SEKHRA – Gunmen in a speeding car opened fire and shot dead an off-duty Iraqi soldier on Monday night in the town of Sekhra, near Kirkuk, 155 miles north of Baghdad, police said.
KIRKUK – Gunmen in a speeding car opened fire and seriously wounded an off-duty policeman on Monday night in central Kirkuk, police said.
BAGHDAD – The body of a man was found in Baghdad on Monday, police said.
Breaking News . . . CNN reported early this morning that rockets have been fired into northern Israel from Lebanon. An escalation in the north could open a second battle front for Israel, whose military action in Hamas-controlled Palestinian territory to the south in Gaza is now in its 13th day.
1/9/09 Update . . . The New York Times reports that a salvo of rockets launched from southern Lebanon into Israel initially raised fears of a renewed war between the countries, but that worries subsided when it appeared the attack came from small Palestinian militant groups.
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