Thursday, April 10

Tariq Aziz' Christian knick-knacks

The kitchen is spacious and looks lived-in. Appliances sit out on the counters beside several Christian icons and Virgin Mary figurines, totems of the faith that always set Aziz apart from his overwhelmingly Muslim country. A bulletin board is layered with snapshots from Aziz family life: celebrating Christmas, playing in a snowstorm, visiting the seashore. And of course, Aziz beaming beside his friend and mentor, Saddam.

A fascinating look at the contents of Aziz's home as well as one of Hussein's palaces.

Water problems in Basra:

"Most of them are without water," said Adel Attar, an engineer with the Red Cross, referring not only to the 1.3 million residents of Basra but to the 6 million residents of southern Iraq.

One problem is that residents have begun stealing water by punching holes into pipelines. "Kalashnikovs," Attar said of the preferred method for doing that. Another is that one of the main water supply pipes is cracked and will take at least a week to fix. But the biggest problem is lack of electricity, which has meant the system is running on generators that can get water to only a few sections of the city. More problems snowball from there.

The city's water director has fled. The city is too big to be supplied by tanker trucks. The drivers are afraid to venture through the city without security. Generators were heavily vandalized Tuesday and Wednesday. Looters made off with parts, batteries, water pumps and circuit breakers.

"And it's not only guarding the plants, it's the 50 people who work in the plants," said Andres Kruesi, who oversees Red Cross operations in southern Iraq. "They need security because if they go to work, their cars will be stolen."

What to watch for on Friday:

It's, well...Friday. So the mosques will be filled with deeply thankful worshippers and the imams will be able to speak freely, all over Iraq. Look for reports on what they say..

Well, the Brits unveiled the Sheik of Basra today...

And it didn't go very well.

Today, Sheik Muzahim Mustafa Kanan Tameemi went public, meeting with a council of about 30 local leaders designated to start running the city. Tameemi, a former brigadier general in the army of Saddam Hussein and a onetime member of Hussein's ruling Baath Party, was considered sufficiently anti-Hussein by British officials for the post. But the announcement today was greeted by political tumult. A rival tribe nearly rioted, throwing stones at Tameemi's home in the Basra suburb of Zubair. In a poor slum neighborhood of the city, there was a protest march of Shiite Muslims sympathetic to Iran. It all suggested how difficult it will be to find prominent Iraqis to incorporate into a new administration to replace the fallen Baath Party.

You knew this would happen...and as much as I dislike finding amusement in the defender of a tyrant ( I mean...think about giggling at Goebbels. Don't think so.) ..still..

Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf Fansite

Speaking of Shi'ites...

Check out the Agonist for links to the breaking news about assassinations in Najaf...

More on the Shi'ite leadership in Najaf


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