Monday, September 10, 2007

The Not-Patraeus Report

The number of Iraqi children who are born underweight or suffer from malnutrition has increased sharply since the US-led invasion, according to a report by Oxfam and a network of about 80 aid agencies.

The report describes a nationwide catastrophe, with around 8 million Iraqis - almost a third of the population - in need of emergency aid. Many families have dropped out of the food rationing system because they have been displaced by fighting and sectarian conflict. Others suffer from the collapse in basic services caused by the exodus of doctors and hospital staff.

Prof. Juan Cole:
The consistently best and most clear-eyed wire service on Iraq, whose Pentagon correspondents are pointedly not invited to fly with the Secretary of Defense, is McClatchy (formerly Knight-Ridder). It has a long article on Sunday on how the security situation is not in fact better in Iraq now than last January.
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According to the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, 984 people were killed across Iraq in February, and 1,011 died in violence in August. No July numbers were released because the ministry said the numbers weren't clear.

But an official in the ministry who spoke anonymously because he wasn't authorized to release numbers said those numbers were heavily manipulated.

The official said 1,980 Iraqis had been killed in July and that violent deaths soared in August, to 2,890. . ."

Iraqi Poll:
About 70% of Iraqis believe security has deteriorated in the area covered by the US military "surge" of the past six months, an opinion poll suggests.

This rises to 93% among Sunni Muslims compared to 50% for Shia.

The findings come as the top US commander in Iraq, Gen David Petraeus, prepares to address Congress.

Full Report - Iraqi's Own Surge Assessment: Few See Security Gains:
The big picture remains bleak. Six in 10 Iraqis say their own lives are
going badly, and even more, 78 percent, say things are going badly for the country
overall – up 13 points from last winter. Expectations have crumbled; just 23 percent see
improvement for Iraq in the year ahead, down from 40 percent last winter and 69 percent
in November 2005.
Women's Freedom in Iraq:
According to the non-governmental organisation Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), 15 per cent of Iraqi women widowed by the war have been desperately searching for temporary marriages or prostitution, either for financial support or protection in the midst of sectarian war.
Save the Children Report: One in 8 Iraqis Die Before Age 5.
In 2005, 122,000 Iraqi children died before age 5, or 125 per 1,000. In contrast, 36 per 1,000 died before age 5 in Iran; 15 per 1,000 in Syria; and 7 per 1,000 in the United States.

-- 46 percent of children younger than 5 suffering from diarrhea are not given oral rehydration treatment.

-- 24 percent of children younger than 5 with suspected pneumonia are not seen by a health care provider.

-- 12 percent of children younger than 5 are moderately or severely underweight.

-- 21 percent of Iraqi children suffer from severely or moderately stunted growth.

-- Only 35 percent of children are fully immunized.

-- 28 percent of births are not attended by a skilled health professional.

-- Iraq's infant mortality rate has increased by some 37 percent in the past four years.

(Full report here)
Water, Power Supplies Near Collapse in Iraq
Iraq's national power grid is on the brink of collapse, the country's electricity ministry has warned.

Water supplies to Baghdad have also been cut off for days at a time, with summertime pressures on key systems said to be more intense than ever.

The ministry blamed poor maintenance, fuel shortages, sabotage by insurgents and rising demand for the problems, and said some provinces hold onto supplies.

The US Army told the BBC that Iraq must now take charge of fixing the problems.

The general in charge of helping Iraq rebuild its infrastructure, Michael Walsh, said that although Iraqi authorities only have one-quarter of the money needed for reconstruction, solving the problem was now up to them

World Health Organization:
Extreme vulnerability characterizes the health situation of the Iraqi people. Several wars and 13 years of economic sanctions left a heavy toll on the nutrition of the population, on the social structure, on the economy and on the health infrastructure and services. This is well depicted in the morbidity and mortality rates of the population of Iraq, particularly of infants, children and mothers.
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The military conflict of March/April 2003 with the following looting and civil unrest led to a further disruption of water treatment and supply plants, of sanitation facilities and power production plants and to the destruction of the remaining medical equipment in health facilities. Continuing widespread insecurity and lawlessness constrain the access to health facilities with the exacerbation of fighting in different areas of the country causing a large number of casualties.
Iraq Parliament: Closed Due to Lack of Quroum
Parliament canceled its session Sunday for lack of a quorum because many legislators could not make it due to the closed roads, said Wissam al-Zubaidi, an adviser to deputy parliament speaker Khaled al-Attiyah.
Basra: The British Have Left, By Land and By Sea
To the south, downtown Basra was calm Tuesday after British soldiers abandoned their last outpost there the day before, leaving the country's second largest city largely in the hands of Iranian-backed Shiite militias.

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