Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Mar 8th, 2010

Summary: Despite bombings, mortar rounds, and grenades that claimed at least 36 lives, Iraqis voted on Sunday, March 7, 2010 in an election that will ultimately show whether Iraq can overcome the sectarian divisions that have defined it since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on March 8, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that a suicide bomber had killed 32 people at the entrance of Baghdad’s main police academy in a chilling reminder of the nation’s still-shaky security. The blast — the second major attack to hit Iraq in three days and the deadliest to strike Baghdad in nearly a month — was a bloody reminder of the ability of insurgents to defy security improvements and stage dramatic attacks as the U.S. begins to draw down its forces.

Summary: Anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called on the Iraqi resistance to stage “revenge operations” against American forces to protest Israel’s Gaza offensive.

Dec 12th, 2008

Summary: Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other senior U.S. officials share much of the blame for detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to portions of a report released by the Senate Armed Services Committee. … In the deadliest attack in Iraq in nearly six months, a suicide bomber struck a crowded restaurant near the northern city of Kirkuk where Kurdish officials were meeting with Arab tribal leaders, killing at least 55 people and wounding about 120.

Summary: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington’s 2008 Most Embarrassing Re-Elected Members of Congress report, which lists elected officials who have misused their position through illegal, unethical, or just plain outrageous conduct, features U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Dec 7th, 2008

Summary: From Basra in the south to Irbil in the north, Iraqi activists are trying to counter the rising influence of religious fundamentalists and tribal chieftains who have insisted that women wear the veil, prevented girls from receiving education and sanctioned killings of women accused of besmirching their family’s honor.