Even in a country ravaged by 15 months of war, the scene was horrific: a woman's head had been placed on a box containing the ashes of her cremated body. This was her punishment for working as an interpreter for US forces in Iraq. \nAnother interpreter was pursued on his way from work by men spraying his car with an assault rifle. They left him for dead after his car flipped over in a ditch. Insurgents entered the home of an Iraqi National Guard battalion, tied his family up and threatened to kill them if the commander didn't quit. \nIn the weeks running up to the establishment of a new Iraq government, insurgents have stepped up attacks on Iraqi civilians who cooperate with and work alongside coalition forces. The message from the guerrillas is clear: anyone who helps build the new, US-supported Iraqi government faces death. \n"We still believe in democracy and freedom," said Sheik Saud al-Shibley, a tribal leader and vice president of the national farmer's union, who has survived three assassination attempts. "Everybody sees us and at anytime we can get hit ... [but] I don't care about these things, I carry on with life." \nWhile several senior Iraqi officials have been assassinated -- including two members of the former Iraqi Governing Council -- no one knows for sure how many Iraqi civilians have been killed for having contact with US forces. \nOn Tuesday, two women working as interpreters for an American company in Basra were ambushed and killed while driving home from work. In the last three weeks, two of the 10 farmers' union leaders have been killed and three out of a group of 24 interpreters have died at the hands of insurgents. \nEvery slaying takes a toll on the thousands of unarmed Iraqis who cooperate with US forces. \n"Any person who goes to the Americans is considered a spy," said Sheik Wadah Maliek el-Sayed, a tribal leader who has acted as a mediator between US forces and hardline Iraqi religious leaders. \nHe said the purpose of the interaction determined whether a meeting with Americans is allowable. \n"When we come to visit the Americans to solve some problem, people know we are speaking for them," Wadah said. "If [an Iraqi] is only helping themselves, they will be killed." \nTwo elected neighborhood council member have been killed in the last two months, US army officers said. Colonel Michael Formica, whose 2nd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division controls west Baghdad, warned members of one council to change their meeting times and locations, and to be careful when driving between work and home. \n"You must change your daily routine," Formica told the council. "If you could take a few weeks off, that would be a good thing." \nMany of the council members asked for special weapons permits to arm bodyguards. \nThe next day, Formica attended a memorial service for Maytham Taleb Hammed Habib, a former lieutenant colonel in the Iraqi army, who worked as an interpreter for a new Iraqi National Guard battalion. He had suffered under former dictator Saddam Hussein's regime and was passionate about helping build a new, democratic Iraq. \nHe was killed by insurgents while returning home from work. Most of the interpreters do not want to be named or interviewed for fear they may be next.
POLAND-GERMANY RIFT: Warsaw’s response to Berlin over a NATO system that would increase the alliance’s involvement in the war came as Kyiv accused Russia of war crimes Anti-missile systems that Germany offered to send to Poland should instead go to Ukraine, the Polish government said on Thursday, a proposal that is likely a nonstarter for Berlin because it would significantly ratchet up NATO involvement in Ukraine. Poland’s surprising response to Berlin’s offer was welcomed by Ukraine, which is desperate to protect its airspace as barrages of Russian missiles have knocked out power across the country. German Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht said that use of NATO defense systems outside its territory needs to be agreed by all member states. “It is important to us that Poland can rely on allies
AWAITING EXTRADITION: Daniel Duggan has been classified as ‘extreme high risk,’ has not been allowed to use stationery and has been denied treatment, his lawyer said The lawyer for a former US military pilot arrested in Australia and facing possible extradition to the US said that his client was wrongly classified as an “extreme high-risk” prisoner, and he had asked the attorney-general to release him. Former US Marines pilot Daniel Edmund Duggan was arrested in New South Wales in October at the request of the US government, the same week the UK announced a crackdown on its former military pilots working to train Chinese military fliers. The US must lodge an extradition request for Duggan by Dec. 20 under a bilateral treaty, a Sydney court was told yesterday.
WARTIME DIPLOMACY: Zelenskiy met EU leaders and hosted the International Summit on Food Security, which included discussions on agricultural exports from Ukraine Fleeing shelling, civilians on Saturday streamed out of the southern Ukrainian city whose recapture they had celebrated just weeks earlier. The exodus from Kherson came as Ukraine solemnly remembered a Stalin-era famine and sought to ensure that Russia’s war in Ukraine does not deprive others worldwide of its vital food exports. A line of trucks, vans and cars, some towing trailers or ferrying out pets and other belongings, stretched 1km or more on the outskirts of the city of Kherson. Days of intensive shelling by Russian forces prompted a bittersweet exodus: Many civilians were happy that their city had been won back, but
Polish women have not been this angry for this long, and they are taking on the ruling conservatives. Incensed by remarks from the country’s most powerful politician, former Polish prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who accused them of drinking excessively and keeping the birthrate low, many took the streets of Warsaw on Monday. It is a repeat of scenes from two years ago when hundreds of thousands of women marched against a near-total ban on legal abortions, in Poland’s largest public protests in decades. What is different this time is that the ruling party is facing the biggest challenge to its two-term rule before