For the second time in 10 days, an Iraqi oil pipeline has been bombed in an apparent attempt by Iraqis to prevent the U.S. from exporting oil.
The pipeline links Iraq’s southern oil fields to Baghdad’s main oil refinery.
Sunday’s bombing near the town of Hit took place on the same day that a ceremony was held to mark the one millionth barrel of Iraqi oil that was exported to Turkey.
Officials said this week looting and sabotage at Iraq’s oil facilities have delayed the resumption of exports until now. And Reuters reports that it will take 18 months to restore production to pre-war levels.
A top U.S. general who oversaw troops in Vietnam, the first Gulf War and Bosnia told The Observer newspaper that the Pentagon failed “to prepare for the consequences of victory” in Iraq.
General William Nash said the US had “failed to understand the mindset and attitudes of the Iraqi people and the depth of hostility towards the US in much of the country.”
As a result, Nash says, “we are now seeing the re-emergence of a reasonably organised military opposition–small scale, but it could escalate.”
The Washington Post has revealed that while President Bush publicly said last October there was a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda, top secret intelligence reports circulating within the Administration at the time questioned any such link.
One still classified report, the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, represented the consensus of the U.S. intelligence community. The Post reports that it contained cautionary language about Iraq’s connections with al Qaeda. It also questioned the reliability of conflicting reports by Iraqi defectors and captured al Qaeda members.
But this cautionary report did not stop Bush in an Oct. 7 speech in Cincinnati from telling the country that Iraq posed an immediate threat because of its weapons of mass destruction and links to Al Qaeda. Four days later, Congress overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution granting the president authority to wage a preemptive war.
U.S. officials are investigating whether they killed former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein or his sons on Wednesday when U.S. forces targeted a three-vehicle convoy near or over the Syrian border
The Washington Post reports that DNA tests are being carried out but no evidence indicates Hussein was hit.
A Bush administration official told the Post that the attack actually occurred in Syria.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that U.S. taxpayers will be forced to help cover the costs to send in peacekeeping troops to Iraq from Poland, Ukraine, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and the Dominican Republic. Last week the Pentagon proudly announced these countries volunteered to join the coalition in Iraq. But The Los Angeles Times reports that some critics now describe the new group of countries as the “coalition of the billing” since the U.S. is expected to spend some $250 million for their help.
Newsday is reporting that hundreds and possibly thousands of Iraqi civilians were killed or maimed because the U.S. used outdated and defective cluster bombs Iraq.
Israeli forces assassinated a top leader of Hamas, Abdullah Kawasme on Saturday. Israeli Prime Minister Gen. Ariel Sharon called the killing of Kawasme “successful and very important.” But the U.S. criticized the targeted killing. Secretary of State Colin Powell said “I regret we had an incident that could be an impediment to progress.”
Meanwhile the Associated Press reports that Sharon told his cabinet yesterday that Israel should quietly continue to build settlements, despite Israel’s acceptance of a U.S.-backed peace plan that requires a construction freeze.
In other news from the area, four members of the Palestinian group al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades died in an explosion last night in northern Gaza. Palestinian sources said the men were planting a land mine when an Israeli tank fired a missile at them. Israeli sources say the Palestinian’s landmine exploded prematurely.
French police Sunday arrested farmer Jose Bove, a leading opponent to genetically modified food. Bove is to serve a 10-month sentence for the destruction of genetically modified rice in France.
The World Health Organization has declared Hong Kong to be Sars free 20 days after the last confirmed case of the disease was reported in the area. Almost 300 died from the disease in Hong Kong of Sars.
Under pressure from Washington, Belgium announced yesterday it would amend a law that has been used to charge U.S. officials including both the first and second President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney with war crimes. The amended law would require that either the defendant or the victim be a Belgian citizen.
A wildfire in southern Arizona grew by about a third on Sunday. It is now covering 11,400 acres. Firefighters have only contained about 5 percent of the blaze. Dozens of homes have been destroyed.
A doctor in Florida has been sentenced to 12 1/2 years in prison for planning to attack a neighborhood Islamic cultural center. Robert Goldstein was charged with conspiracy to violate civil rights, attempting to damage religious property, and possession of unregistered firearms. An accomplice was sentenced to 41 months in jail.
Muslim groups protested what they viewed as a lenient sentence for the men, An official at the Council on American-Islamic Relations said, “Had the situation been reversed and it was a Muslim planning the attacks, we don’t know if we would ever see them again.”
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