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NSN Iraq Daily Update 3/10/08

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VIOLENCE CONTINUES TO RAGE IN IRAQ

Female suicide bomber kills tribal chief. A female suicide bomber killed a prominent Sunni Arab tribal chief who headed a neighborhood security unit and three others in the volatile Iraqi province of Diyala on Monday. The women reportedly went to the home of Thaer Saggban al-Karkhi in Kanaan, southeast of the provincial capital Baquba, knocked on the door and told guards she needed to speak to him. When Karkhi came to the door she detonated a vest packed with explosives she was wearing hidden underneath her robes. Extremists have increasingly used women suicide bombers to carry out strikes after tighter security and protective concrete walls made car bombings more difficult. Last month, two female bombers killed 99 people in two crowded Baghdad pet markets. [Reuters, 3/10/08]

Mass grave containing 100 bodies uncovered north of Baghdad. Iraqi security forces have discovered a mass grave containing the skeletal remains of about 100 people in an area north o Baghdad once dominated by the foreign-led Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq. The grave was found Friday on the outskirts of a village northeast of Khalis, a predominantly Shiite town in Diyala province that is surrounded by Sunni villages. Some of the worst sectarian violence of the war has taken place in Diyala. Many of the bodies in the grave were decomposed and appeared to have been buried a long time. The site is the largest mass grave found so far in Diyala province. [Washington Post, 3/9/08]

COST OF WAR CONTINUES TO SOAR

Book reports Iraq war to cost U.S. $12 billion per month. In 2008, its sixth year, the war will cost approximately $12 billion a month, triple the "burn" rate of its earliest years, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and co-author Linda J. Bilmes report in a new book. Beyond 2008, working with "best-case" and "realistic-moderate" scenarios, they project the Iraq and Afghan wars, including long-term U.S. military occupations of those countries, will cost the U.S. budget between $1.7 trillion and $2.7 trillion -- or more -- by 2017. Interest on money borrowed to pay those costs could alone add $816 billion to that bottom line, they say. [AP, 3/10/08]

U.S. TROOPS PROVIDED WITH UNSAFE WATER

Water supplied by Halliburton makes US troops in Iraq sick. Dozens of U.S. troops in Iraq fell sick at bases using "unmonitored and potentially unsafe" water supplied by the military and a private contractor. According to an early version of the Defense Department's inspector general's report, soldiers experienced a variety of illnesses after using discolored, smelly water for personal hygiene and laundry at five U.S. military sites in Iraq. The report found water quality problems between March 2004 and February 2006 at three sites run by contractor KBR Inc., a subsidiary of Halliburton, and between January 2004 and December 2006 at two military-operated locations. [AP, 3/10/08]

GOVERNMENT BRINGS BACK SADDAM-ERA SPIES

Iraq government brings back Saddam-era spies. The Iraqi government has been bringing back into service Saddam-era intelligence agents with experience spying on Iranians. The effort is aimed at improving Iraq's ability to gather intelligence about Iranian-supported networks operating in Iraq, said Dan Maguire, the top U.S. adviser on intelligence. Most former intelligence agents fled Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion. The practice of hiring former intelligence agents seems to conflict with a new law passed earlier this year. The "Accountability and Justice" law bans members of Saddam-era security services from government work. It is not clear how the law will be applied. The issue highlights the difficulty of striking a balance between hiring experienced people and making a clean break from the past. [USA Today, 3/10/08]