Iraq News (The Not Good Kind) Flies Below The Radar Too…

The previous post highlighted good news in Iraq. There’s plenty of bad news too…

It appears that the suicide bomber in the attack on an American military installation in Mosul last month was Saudi medical student.

CAIRO (AP) – The suicide bomber who killed 22 people when he blew himself up in a US mess hall in Mosul, Iraq, was a Saudi medical student, an Arab newspaper reported Monday.

Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awsat identified him as 20-year-old Ahmed Said Ahmed al-Ghamdi, citing unnamed friends of the man’s father. The friends said members of an Iraqi resistance group contacted al-Ghamdi’s father to tell him his son was the suicide bomber who carried out the Dec. 21 attack, the deadliest on an American installation in Iraq.The head of Iraq’s national intelligence agency estimates that the insurgency is anywhere from 2 to 10 times larger than US estimates.

BAGHDAD, Jan 3 (AFP) – Iraq’s insurgency counts more than 200,000 active fighters and sympathisers, the country’s national intelligence chief told AFP, in the bleakest assessment to date of the armed revolt waged by Sunni Muslims.

“I think the resistance is bigger than the US military in Iraq. I think the resistance is more than 200,000 people,” Iraqi intelligence service director General Mohamed Abdullah Shahwani said in an interview ahead of the January 30 elections.

Shahwani said the number includes at least 40,000 hardcore fighters but rises to more than 200,000 members counting part-time fighters and volunteers who provide rebels everything from intelligence and logistics to shelter.While the attacks on US forces and Iraqis generate the headlines, attacks on the Iraqi oil infrastructure are where the money is.

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Insurgent attacks on Iraq’s vital oil industry have cost the country nearly eight billion dollars in lost export revenue since March 2003, Oil Minister Thamer Abbas Ghadban said yesterday.

“We want to tell the Iraqi people that there is an all-out war against the country’s oil infrastructure,” Ghadban told reporters as he toured the capital’s Dura refinery, which came under mortar fire last week.

Ghadban estimated lost export revenue from sabotage at about eight billion dollars since the March 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, which sits on the world’s second largest reserves of crude oil.

“Exports are now limited only to the south, there are no exports in the north,” he added. Oil exports from southern terminals in Basra are averaging 1.8 million barrels per day.

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This isn’t actually bad new, just interesting news…

BEIRUT: -A videotape found in a pile of documents in Baghdad following the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime shows a former manager of the Al-Jazeera satellite channel thanking one of Saddam’s sons for his support and telling him that “Al-Jazeera is your channel,” the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported on Sunday.

According to Asharq al-Awsat’s report, the tape of the March 13, 2000, meeting shows former Al-Jazeera manager Mohammed Jassem al-Ali telling Uday Saddam Hussein, “Al-Jazeera is your channel,” and Uday recalls that he proposed “some ideas” in previous meetings that led to “some changes” in political coverage, including the introduction of new hosts on Al-Jazeera programs.

Al-Jazeera dismissed al-Ali from his post shortly after the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. No reason was given for the dismissal, but many in the Arab press speculated that al-Ali was receiving support from Saddam’s government.

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