Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's Iraq Report and "Winds of War" coverage of the wider conflict is brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. Top Topics: * JK: Representative Jim Marshall [D-GA] has recently returned from a visit to Iraq - and he isn't impressed with the media coverage coming from the remaining 27 in-country (or is that in-hotel?) reporters. He was joined in that criticism by colleagues from both parties, incl. Rep. Ike Skelton [D-MO] and Rep. Gene Taylor [D-MISS] (Hat Tip: Trent Telenko). Glenn Reynolds was ahead of the curve, as usual - and Howard Veit has more. * An attempted mass casualty suicide bombing at the UN headquarters has left 2 dead and raised serious doubts about the future of the organization in the country. ICT has the details. The FBI is on the case. * As we've said before:  Send Toys! Here's how to help, and what to send. (it seems The Chief had a predecessor Wiggles, too, in the aftermath of WWII); and  Please step up to The Chief's other request, and help us get the Generals released! Other Topics Include: Iraqi minister dies; Spanish take over in Najaf; Northern front proggress; Terrorists attacking commuter buses, cinemas; The WMD hunt; Al-Jazeera gets the boot from new Iraqis; Baghdad's unusual hit CDs; Another Ba'ath Poker surrender; Support the troops.
REPORTS FROM THE FIELD * JK: Ms. Aquila al-Hashimi of Governing Council and Iraq's future U.N. Ambassador, died Thursday despite efforts to save her, five days after she was shot in an ambush. As Charles Johnson noted, the implicit Islamist message to "uppity" women is crystal clear. * A retired military intelligence officer is claiming that Iraqi arms may have been held underneath of mosques. * The Shi'ite holy city of An Najaf has been handed over to Spanish troops under the command of General Alfredo Cardona. * The Christian Science Monitor has an excellent story on the progress in the northern regions of the country. * The guerrillas appear to be taking their war directly to the Iraqi people by attacking commuter buses and cinemas. (JK: Note the Hezbollah/Hamas modus operandi parallels.) * Iraqi Defense Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmed has been reportedly given immunity in return for helping the US on the WMD front. THE WMD HUNT * US senators were recently briefed on progress of the hunt for Iraq's WMDs. * To get a look at what David Kay has to go through in order to check out claims of WMD sites, I would recommend this story about a two week hunt for a cylinder about the size of a phone booth that allegedly contained a precursor to VX nerve gas. THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE * Iraq's governing council is going to open up the economy to foreign investors in order to revive a nation damaged by warfare and sanctions. * JK: Dan's Special Analysis today says it was Europe, specifically Germany, rather than the United States, that politicized its intelligence during the lead-up to war with Iraq, in particular regarding Iraqi links to al-Qaeda. He makes a strong case. * JK: On the other hand, Nitin at Hawken Blog has a roundup of coverage re: Bush and Schroeder's meeting. Seems Germany has a much more conciliatory attitude these days. Actually, some Germans have been downright noble. But none of them are in the German Media. * President Bush is willing to allow a larger U.N. role in the reconstruction efforts in Iraq. MISC. * The US is continuing to prosecute the human shields who went to Iraq. * The Iraqi governing council has closed the offices of al-Jazeera and al-Arabiyyah for one month for promoting violence. * Contrary to popular belief by the media, most Baghdad residents seem just happy with the idea of Saddam Hussein not coming back. * CDs of the brutality of the Saddam Hussein regime are apparently a big seller in Baghdad these days. People don't seem to want to forget just how brutal the old regime was. * On which topic, Iraqi leader Izzat Ibrahim is negotiating his surrender, following the example of such notables as Tariq Aziz. Which other "cards" have we captured so far? The CENTCOM list. And the visual version of "Ba'ath Poker." * The troops are still there. So is the Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops. American, British and Australian. Anyone out there with more information, incl. the Poles and Czechs? [updated August 19, 2003]