Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Iraq To Greet New Year In A Hush, Officials Say

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jeremy Carney (right) speaks with an Iraqi soldier at a checkpoint during a patrol in the Gazaliyah district of Baghdad, Iraq, on Sept. 19, 2008. Carney is assigned to Alpha Troop, 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division. DoD photo by Spc. Charles W. Gill, U.S. Army. (Released)

From The New York Times:

BAGHDAD — The government ordered hotels and private clubs in Baghdad to cancel their New Year’s Eve celebrations, disappointing many Iraqis who had hoped they could celebrate the new year now that the streets are safer than they have been in years past.

The parties were canceled because New Year’s Eve coincides with Muharram, a mournful religious period for Shiites. The government, which is dominated by religious Shiite parties, issued the order on Sunday.

Several hotels and private clubs in the capital, which have been hosting boisterous parties recently, given the improved security situation, said none would be held on Wednesday in compliance with government orders.

“The orders of the Ministry of Interior have been enforced at clubs, party venues and family clubs,” said Maj. Gen. Ali al-Yasseri, a police commander in Baghdad. “These places will be closed in accordance with Iraqi law.”

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My Comment: This year is Iraq's break or make year. It will either be the same low intensity warfare (which I doubt), or the first baby steps towards something better .... both politically and economically (which I hope). But if the religious extremists with their intolerance towards others get involved .... expect trouble.

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