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Search Tags: Iraq
Two weeks ago, Iraqi officials said they had arrested Umar Al-Baghdadi. There was doubt about it then and there are questions about it today, because no one had ever the Al Qaida operative before. Yesterday an audio message by someone called Abu-Umar Al-Baghdadi popped up on the internet. A 20 minute segment indicated that news of his recent arrest was all lies. The audio was released by the Al-Furqan Media Production Establishment --a radical Islamic organization in Iraq.
Another controversy is brewing. A video called "collateral murder" has been posted at wikeleaks.org. It appears to show a group of unarmed men being fired on by U.S. military forces in Iraq in July of 2007. Reuters is reporting a Senior U.S. miltiary official confirms the video is authentic and came from an Apache helicopter gunsight. Reuters says among those believed to be killed in the attack was Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and his driver. Two children also were wounded.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Monday asked the State Department and Pentagon to investigate the electrocution of a 25-year-old private security contractor while showering in his dormitory in Baghdad. The Associated Press reports Reid said he wants to know whether Adam Hermanson's death resulted from faulty electrical work. Hermanson, who died Sept. 1, grew up in San Diego and Las Vegas. Reid is a Nevada senator. Electrical wiring has been an ongoing problem in Iraq that the military has been trying to fix with widespread inspections and repairs. At least three troops have been electrocuted while showering since the start of the Iraq war, and others have been electrocuted elsewhere.
A lack of basic infrastructure in Afghanistan is slowing the U.S. effort to build up the Afghan security forces.
Almost a year and a half after DoD banned the use of external computer flash drives, officials now say limited use is ok. But you can't use your your own. Only those that are distributed by the military are eligible. Troops in Afghanistan and Iraq who need the devices to carry or transfer critical data will be the first to get them. Vice Adm. Carl V. Mauney, deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command, told reporters only a few will be sent to the war zone, but eventually more kits will be created and distributed.
Medical source information suggests that Army Major Nidal Malik Hassan, who was shot after opening fire at Ft.Hood in Killeen, Texas on Thursday, is a psychiatrist who worked at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington until leaving for Ft. Hood. According to the Virginia Board of Medicine, he finished his residency at Walter Reed in 2007 and then did a Fellowship in "Disaster and Preventive Psychiatry" in 2009. He has a number of board certifications. Texas Senator Kay bailey Hutchinson says she was told Hasan was upset about being deployed to Iraq and the military has released a statement saying they're not sure about the motive, but they don't believe political terrorism was involved.
Iraq's government said at least 85,000 people were killed from 2004 to 2008, officially answering one of the biggest questions of the conflict - how many perished in the sectarian violence that nearly led to a civil war. The Associate Press reports that what remains unanswered is how many died in the 2003 U.S. invasion and in the months of chaos that followed it. A report by the Human Rights Ministry said 85,694 people were killed from the beginning of 2004 to Oct. 31, 2008 and 147,195 were wounded. The figures included Iraqi civilians, military and police but did not cover U.S. military deaths, insurgents, or foreigners, including contractors. And it did not include the first months of the war after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
The goal is to transition the airspace back to Iraqi control before the last plane carrying Americans takes off.
The Air Force says it is nearly ready to turn air traffic control in Iraq over to Iraqis as part of Operation New Dawn.
Jess Ford is Director of International Affairs and Trade at GAO.