On New Year’s Eve Ridaa al-Azzawi squeezed into his pointy snakeskin boots, his tight black sweater and his snazzy corduroy flared jeans, hustled down to a Baghdad hotel ballroom and partied for peace.
2008 arrived in a less-violent Baghdad, and residents said it was the first real party they had seen in years.
At the stroke of midnight, exuberant locals fired into the air with automatic rifles, sending red tracer fire streaking over the city, as fireworks lit up the sky. [complete article]
December emerged as possibly the safest month for U.S. forces in Iraq since the 2003 invasion and the least deadly for Iraqi civilians in the last 12 months, but overall 2007 was the bloodiest year of the war, according to figures released Monday.
The Iraqi Ministry of Health said 481 civilians died nationwide last month in war-related violence such as bombings, mortar attacks and sectarian slayings. It said 16,232 civilians died last year. The 2006 death toll was 12,320. [complete article]