Current Events and the Psychology of Politics
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Sep 29th, 2010

Summary: The heavily fortified Green Zone in Iraq’s capital has in recent weeks come under an intensifying barrage of rocket attacks, and a senior American military commander is suggesting that Iranian-backed militias are behind the attacks in an effort to influence the formation of a new Iraqi government. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on September 29, 2009, Aubrey Immelman provided his weekly report of U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Jun 20th, 2010

Summary: Suicide bombers in a crowded Baghdad commercial district and in Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit killed at least 33 people as insurgents tried to turn a monthslong deadlock over forming a new Iraqi government to their advantage. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on June 20, 2009 Aubrey Immelman featured a Politico report that U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) was one of the House of Representatives’ biggest spenders on congressional office expenses in the first quarter of 2009. An analysis of the first-quarter 2009 Member’s Representational Allowance (office budget) reports showed Bachmann spent more than $380,000 during the three-month period — more than $100,000 more than the average first-quarter spending.


Apr 26th, 2010

Summary: A review panel has invalidated votes cast for 52 candidates in Iraq’s election, throwing into doubt the slim lead of former prime minister Iyad Allawi’s cross-sectarian, Sunni-backed Iraqiya alliance over Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition and setting the stage for a possible spike in sectarian violence. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on April 26, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced a public health emergency in connection with the H1N1 (swine flu) outbreak that had already killed dozens in Mexico and sickened 20 in the U.S.


Feb 25th, 2010

Summary: The political movement of Iraq’s best-known anti-American cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, is emerging as a major contender in the March 7, 2010 national elections, raising the specter that the next prime minister of Iraq could be openly hostile to the United States and friendly toward Iran. Further complicating the situation, Iraq’s main Sunni party has said it is dropping out of the elections. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 25, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that four U.S. soldiers and an Afghan civilian working for them were killed in southern Afghanistan when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb, while in Iraq two policemen opened fire on U.S. soldiers visiting a police station, killing an American soldier and an Iraqi interpreter, wounding three Americans, and raising concerns about insurgent infiltration among the ranks of Iraqi police.


Feb 1st, 2010

Summary: A female suicide bomber walking among Shiite pilgrims in northern Baghdad detonated an explosives belt, killing at least 54 people and wounding around 117. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 1, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that three recent U.S. Special Forces operations in Afghanistan killed 50 people — the vast majority civilians, according to Afghan officials — raising the ire of villagers and President Hamid Karzai. The problem, Afghan officials say, comes when ordinary villagers hear the commotion of Special Forces nighttime raids and, fearing robbers or an attack from a hostile tribe, grab their guns and run outside or fire from their homes. U.S. forces then fire back and end up killing civilians.