Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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May 8th, 2011

Summary: Abu Huthaifa al-Battawi, the accused mastermind of the October 2010 siege at Baghdad’s Our Lady of Salvation church that killed dozens, nearly escaped from prison after wresting a gun from a prison guard and launching an hours-long assault that left 17 people dead, including Brig. Gen. Muaeid Mohammed Saleh, a top Iraqi counterterrorism official. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on May 8, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that Pakistan was investigating whether Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American arrested over a botched plot to bomb New York’s Times Square, had met with top Pakistani Taliban leaders in South Waziristan prior to his failed bombing attempt.

Dec 5th, 2010

Summary: Intelligence officials say foreign fighters have been slipping back into Iraq in larger numbers recently and may have been behind some of the most devastating attacks this year, reviving a threat the U.S. military believed had been almost entirely eradicated. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on December 5, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that similarities between George W. Bush’s troop surge in Iraq and Barack Obama’s surge plan for Afghanistan belie the fact that there are few commonalities between the two war theaters.

Nov 2nd, 2010

Summary: Sixteen bombs went off in at least 10 neighborhoods across Iraq’s capital of Baghdad, many at restaurants and coffee shops full of civilians. The death toll climbed to 76 in the first hours following the blasts, with nearly 300 wounded. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 2, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that of the 364 Iraqis killed in October 2009, 155 died in two nearly simultaneous bombs targeting government buildings on Oct. 25, 2009 in downtown Baghdad — the worst attack in more than two years. Meanwhile, there were more Taliban bombings in retaliation as Pakistan continued its offensive in South Waziristan, a tribal region adjoining Afghanistan, where al-Qaida terrorists are believed to have hideouts.

Jul 18th, 2010

Summary: Twin suicide bombings kill nearly 50 people in Iraq as U.S. combat troops prepare to withdraw by the end of August. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on July 18, 2009 Aubrey Immelman reported that Iraq’s top commanders told their U.S. counterparts to “stop all joint patrols” in Baghdad, raising fresh concerns about the safety of U.S. troops in Iraq.

Jun 17th, 2010

Summary: The complex nature of the June 13, 2010 attack on Iraq’s central bank suggests al-Qaida in Iraq’s new leadership could be taking cues from the Taliban’s success with similar operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on June 17, 2009 Aubrey Immelman featured biographical profiles of candidates and other major players in Iran’s disputed 2009 presidential vote.

May 21st, 2010

Summary: A car bomb exploded at an open-air market in the Shiite town of Khalis, northeast of Baghdad, killing 23 people and wounding more than 50. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on May 21, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that a series of bombings hit Baghdad and the northern Iraq city of Kirkuk, killing at least 25 people (including three U.S. troops) and wounding dozens more (including nine American soldiers), one day after a car bomb exploded near a group of restaurants in a Shiite neighborhood of northwest Baghdad, killing 41 people and injuring more than 70.

Apr 21st, 2010

Summary: The two top-ranking leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri, were killed in a joint U.S.-Iraqi operation on Sunday, April 18, 2010, in what Vice President Joe Biden called a “potentially devastating blow” to the terrorist operation. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on April 21, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that the U.S. Senate confirmed President Barack Obama’s pick for U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Christopher Hill, after debate over whether he mismanaged international disarmament talks with North Korea. Meanwhile, suspected militants shelled Baghdad’s protected Green Zone in the first such bombardment in more than three months.

Aug 30th, 2009

Summary: Bombs struck Baghdad and remote communities in northern Iraq on August 29, 2009 as the visiting Iranian foreign minister warned that Iraq’s instability affected the whole region. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on the 47th day of his campaign against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann for the Republican nomination as House of Representatives candidate in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, Aubrey Immelman, in line with his campaign focus on national security issues, issued his statement opposing the war in Iraq.

Mar 22nd, 2009

Summary: According to NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel, there have been five different wars in Iraq, with the sixth war under way — America’s exit strategy. The first five war phases were Shock and Awe (March-April 2003), Nation-Building (2003-2004), Insurgency (2004-2005), Civil War (2006-2007), and The Surge (2007-2008).

Jan 29th, 2009

Summary: Suicide rates among active-duty U.S. military personnel are continuing to rise even as the Defense Department dedicates more resources to identifying troubled service members and getting them the help they need. Preliminary figures confirm at least 125 soldiers killed themselves in 2008, compared with 115 in 2007, 102 in 2006 and 87 in 2005.