The death of two U.S. soldiers in IRAQ on Friday brought to 846 the number of U.S. soldiers killed in the war during 2005, The Associated Press wrote on Saturday.Reply
One was killed when his vehicle in Baghdad, and the second was shot dead in the western city of Fallujah.
The death toll challenges repeated claims by the U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH that the American forces are achieving great successes in IRAQ.
64 of those killed in 2005 died in December only.
A similar number of U.S. military personnel died in 2004; while in 2003, the year in which the illegal war was launched, the death toll was 485.
The continuous military presence of the United States, which claims to be preparing the Iraqi police and army forces so that they become ready to slowly take over responsibility for security from American troops, is one of the main aspects that fueled ethnic tension and violence in IRAQ, which resulted in the current persistent violence and non-stop attacks that are weakening the country’s security situation and hindering efforts to rebuild it.
Due to the fragile security situation, authorities shut down Iraq’s largest oil refinery in the city of Beiji, 155 miles north of Baghdad, former oil minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum told the AP, adding that the refinery "is considered one of the vital refineries in Iraq" that produces about 2 million gallons of gas a day which makes shutting it a major blow to the Iraqi economy
1,000 vehicles lined up at Jindi al-Majhoul gas station, one of the biggest in Baghdad.
"After the rise in gas prices, now we have a gas shortage," Ahmed Khalaf, 33, said. "I left my work early, and I don't think I will have the opportunity to return to work today because of this long line. Dark will come soon and I cannot work at night."
Ali Moussa, a 51-year-old tank truck driver, complained that he and his colleagues are working in a dangerous situation.
"We demand that the government provide security and protection," he said. "The Beiji storage tanks are full and there isn't any shortage of gas there. The problem is that drivers are too afraid to go there unless they are protected."
Iraq's oil reserves, estimated at 110 billion barrels, makes it the world's third largest after Saudi Arabia and Canada, according to AP.
• Most Australians oppose Iraq war
Results of a survey, conducted by Newspoll and published in The Australian newspaper, showed a sharp decline the Australians' support for the IRAQ WAR, with two-thirds now saying the war was not worthwhile.
The results of the survey came bad as news for Prime Minister John Howard, one of the U.S.’s strongest war allies who pledged to keep Australia's 1,320 troops in IRAQ as long as the U.S. needs them.
The poll showed that 66 percent of Australians now believe that the war was not worthwhile, up from 58 percent last year. It also showed 27 percent believed the war was worthwhile, down from 32 percent a year ago.
Although Australia's participation in the U.S.’s illegal war provoked the largest peace rallies in the country since the VIETNAM WAR, Howard won another term in the country’s 2004 elections.
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