OT: (Sort of OOPS!) Well folks do we have a winner yet?


By Lutfi Abu Oun and Ibon Villelabeitia
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Up to six car bombs ripped through the east Baghdad stronghold of a major Shi'ite militia force on Sunday, killing 46 people, wounding 204 and raising fears reprisals could again pitch Iraq towards civil war.
The apparently coordinated attacks on markets in Sadr City occurred as political leaders, shepherded by the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, met once more without obvious result to discuss forming a national unity government that might avert a bloodbath.
The blasts ended a lull that itself followed days of violence between Sunnis and Shi'ites after the bombing of a Shi'ite shrine in Samarra on February 22.
Final police accounts of the attacks said up to six cars exploded in quick succession in the area. Officials put the death toll at 46.
"People were torn to pieces," said a witness, declining to be named.
Amid chaos at nearby hospitals, the wounded lay on floors and women wept. One man sat silently slapping his head in grief.
Officials said after the Samarra bombing that a new major attack could spark all-out sectarian conflict. Two years of relative restraint by the Shi'ite majority, under clerical orders, is wearing thin, some Shi'ite leaders warn.
A major Sunni religious organisation, the Sunni Endowment, was quick to issue a statement condemning the Sadr City attacks.
SLUM STRONGHOLD
Gunmen from the Mehdi Army militia of radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr sealed off his sprawling slum stronghold, home to some two million people, and militia officials blamed Sunni militants loyal to Saddam Hussein.
Sunni leaders accuse the Mehdi Army of taking a lead in attacks on Sunni homes and mosques, mainly in Baghdad, after the Samarra Golden Mosque bombing, despite Sadr's insistent denials.
Three months after elections in which the once dominant Sunni minority took full part, hopes that this would help end violence and bring the country together have been dented.
Parliament has yet to meet but President Jalal Talabani said it would now do so on Thursday, three days earlier than planned.
Talks on a government were halted by the violence after the Samarra bombing, which killed hundreds in just a few days.
"We have decided to continue meetings among representatives of the parliamentary blocs and then put the issues to their leaders to find an appropriate solution," Talabani said after a series of meetings on Sunday.
U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, playing a key role in negotiations that Washington hopes can curb violence and let it start withdrawing troops, was upbeat.
He called it positive that parliament would now meet this week and said leaders would begin "continuous" talks on Tuesday with a view to settling on a coalition line-up soon.
Sunnis, Kurds and secular leaders have been blocking an accord with a demand that Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a Shi'ite who has led the interim government for the past year, should be dropped as the Shi'ites' choice of premier for the new four-year term.
After Sunnis and Shi'ites held their first substantive talks on Saturday since the February 22 shrine bombing, Jaafari himself said on Sunday he would not step down.
"REAL DETERMINATION"
His main rival within the dominant Shi'ite Alliance bloc, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, said after the all-party talks: "There is a real determination ... to solve the crisis."
Khalilzad declined to be drawn on whether he thought Jaafari might be forced out.
"Everyone agrees that the prime minister has to be someone that can bring the country together," he said. "It's still going to take a bit of time."
Talabani said the Jaafari issue had not been discussed.
Earlier on Sunday, shortly before the resumption of Saddam's trial in Baghdad, 10 people were killed in a series of mortar blasts and roadside bombings. Altogether, from body counts during the day more than 80 new violent deaths were recorded.
Sadr City has previously been relatively immune from Sunni insurgent attacks. Some speculate that was because Sadr, who led two uprisings against U.S. forces in 2004, had won respect among Sunnis with his anti-American rhetoric.
As a rising kingmaker within the Shi'ite Alliance, Sadr has been more critical of Sunni militants lately, including comments in a lengthy interview aired on U.S.-backed state TV on Friday.
In a radio address on Saturday, U.S. President George W. Bush -- battling low ratings before congressional elections in November -- warned Americans their troops would shed more blood before they could come home after three years in Iraq.
"The security of our country is directly linked to the liberty of the Iraqi people," he said.
Saddam's trial for crimes against humanity resumed, but the former leader was not in court after a 10-day break. Three of his co-accused, minor officials of his Baath party, testified in their own defence. Saddam will do the same later this week.
(Additional reporting by Faris al-Mehdawi, Mariam Karouny, Mussab Al-Khairalla, Alastair Macdonald, Ross Colvin and Nick Olivari)
Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.
%69%20%6c%6f%76%65%20%77%6f%6f%64%77%6f%72%6b%69%6e%67%20%62%75%74%20%69%6d%20%63%72%61%70 http://www.connoraston.com
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 13 Mar 2006 07:11:21 +0000 (UTC), "Connor Aston"
<snip>
Is this the same Connor Aston who just a couple of weeks ago was complaining about the incessant off-topic posts from the usual twit?

--
Chuck Taylor
http://home.hiwaay.net/~taylorc/contact /
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Yes it was me and I'm sorry. It's not good enough. I'll not let it happen again. It just makes my blood boil when I read all the OOPS posts and wonder do we all realise that there will be no winners in this game! I have seen so much crap here in Northern Ireland - lives ruined people hating each other and can't really see what needs to make/makes us all so different. I will now be silent.
On Mon, 13 Mar 2006 23:28:47 -0000, Chuck Taylor

--

%69%20%6c%6f%76%65%20%77%6f%6f%64%77%6f%72%6b%69%6e%67%20%62%75%74%20%69%6d%20%63%72%61%70
http://www.connoraston.com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.