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Contributed from Iraq, April, 2012;

The US military’s withdrawal did not have the positive impact that many had hoped with claims that Iran had simply replaced the US military. As a result, violence has increased sharply in Iraq in recent months. To distract the international community from their internal affairs, Syria and Iran have continued to supply logistical and financial support to terrorist organizations within Iraq in an attempt to destabilize the country., Hard evidence has been difficult to come by but has, and does continue to surface. Weapons and material uncovered to date point to obvious involvement of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IEDs in the form of shaped charges, an Iranian speciality since at least 2006, RKG-EFP home made grenades, modified silencers, and rocket launchers for indirect fire capability stamped with Iranian symbols and serial numbers). Most of this equipment has been smuggled through Shia dominated Iraqi territory bordering with (Shia dominated) Iran. In addition to material aid, training has been provided in camps on the Iranian side of the border with Iraqi mediators being used to avoid direct contact with insurgent elements. Syrian elements operate in a similar manner to Iraq’s North West.

Internally, constant political maneuvering and infighting for the most important positions of power has had a negative effect on the ground and on the development process. Mistrust between key political figures is having a very real impact on both relations between Iraqi citizens and their view of the government. The loss of faith in elected representatives is expected to contribute to reduced participation in the next round of elections. In Iraq there is a very real fear that this problem will push the country closer to civil war. Baghdad is seen as increasingly autocratic and not interested in the concerns of minor, yet significant portions of Iraqi society such as the Kurds, Sunni Arabs and even other Shia parties that do not belong to the party of President Nuri Al-Maliki. The minor parties are not looking to trade accusations. They simply want to address the factors leading to the increase in violence in order to avoid the citizens of Iraq becoming victims of the destabilization efforts of foreign elements. The ongoing violence requires serious attempts at compromise and power sharing to redress the damage, prevent Iraq from hemorrhaging, dividing and descending into civil war.

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Haitan Police Call Strike After 5 Policeman Killed in 03 Days.

April 22, 18:00 - The Haitian National Police (PNH) have called a strike after 05 of their members were killed in 03 days this week in Martissant, Carrefour and on Route Delmas (Delmas 02 and 30) in Port au Prince. The strike was originally planned for April 24 but has been moved forward to this evening at 18:00. A strike by the National Police is illegal and moves are already being made to have it cancelled, a polite way of saying that disinformation is already being spread that the strike has been cancelled. Martissant has seen gunbattles between the police and local gang members this week with deaths on both sides. Police responded with 'muscular' house to house searches and have made several arrests. One gang member believed responsible for at least one police death was killed outright. In an unrelated incident the PNH arrested a politician's bodyguard for illegal weapons possession. The politician had his bodyguard freed and the police were threatened. That same night one of the officers was gunned down in his home suburb of Carrefour. The police are blaming the politician's men with the strike being called over this and the other police killings. Technically, there won't be an actual 'strike' if the action does go ahead. The police will go to their stations but will refuse to man checkpoints or respond to criminal acts even if in the vicinity of their station. Waiting to see how it actually pans out through the night .....

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Excerpt from another private security contractor in Libya during the revolution;

It was a bit emotional at times being here during the revolution. It often wasn't as dangerous as I thought it would be. Around the city you'd hear automatic gunfire then it would quieten down, you'd go out shopping, hear more gunfire but it wasn't that big a deal really. I was walking down the street one day when word got back that Ghaddafi had been caught. One elderly woman, stopped her taxi, got out, took the AK-47 assault rifle from the nearest soldier and let rip a long burst into the sky. She had a little difficulty keeping the weapon upright and ended up spraying the tops of nearby buildings with live rounds. In the spirit of the moment, the young local guys didn't want live rounds coming their way but didn't want to spoil her fun either. They all got together and helped her hold the weapon upright so she could let rip with another good burst toward the heavens. When she got back into the taxi to be on her way she said something to the taxi driver. When I asked what it was, my interpreter explained that she had wanted to be able to do that for the last 42 years. The downside during that period was the effect of gravity. At least 60 people in the city were killed during that period from the rounds falling back to earth. It was the same when Saddam was caught. It was estimated that at least 33 people were confirmed killed in Baghdad from falling rounds as a result of the same type of celebrations.