Tuesday, May 25, 2004

War News for May 25, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Turkmen politician assassinated in Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, four wounded in rocket attack near Balad. Bring ‘em on: Eighteen Iraqis killed in fighting in Sadr City. Bring ‘em on: US convoy attacked near Fallujah. Bring ‘em on: Oil pipeline ablaze near Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: Five Iraqis wounded in car bombing at Baghdad hotel. Bring ‘em on: Continued fighting in Najaf, Imam Ali mosque damaged by mortar fire. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqis killed, 14 wounded in fighting near Kufa. Bring ‘em on: Mortar attacks reported in Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Another hotel in Baghdad bombed; casualties are reported. Iraqi judge gets death threats. “As he nervously ran his fingers over a strand of green prayer beads, Maliky — the chief investigative judge of Iraq's Central Criminal Court and the man who had issued the search warrant — said he had received more than a dozen death threats.” Another blunder. “Security sources said there was no information about the extent of damage to the mausoleum of Imam Ali in Najaf. It was hit by six rockets apparently fired by U.S. forces fighting against Shiite gunmen holed up in the holy city.” Here comes another shitstorm. US moves to recognize private militias. “A senior allied official said Monday that the Americans were engaged in delicate negotiations with several of the country's main militias to disband and integrate them into the security forces. The official said the Americans hoped to announce an agreement with the militias as early as this week. But it is not clear, with so few weeks left before the transfer of sovereignty, whether the Americans will have the leverage to disarm the militias. The danger is that on June 30 the Americans will hand over power to an Iraqi administration that will not have a monopoly on the use of armed force, in an environment that many fear could set the stage for sectarian and ethnic warfare as the country moves toward what are intended to be democratic elections. As that date approaches, the Americans are quietly allowing some of these armed groups to flourish and, in some cases, have even helped recreate them.” Wartime president, my ass. “The US-led war in Iraq, far from countering terrorism, has instead helped revitalise al-Qaeda, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) think-tank warned today. The London-based body argued in its annual Strategic Survey 2003/2004 that the deadly train bombings in Madrid in March showed that Osama Bin Laden's terror network ‘had fully reconstituted’. It also predicted the Islamic group would step up its anti-Western attacks, possibly even resorting to weapons of mass destruction and targeting Americans, Europeans and Israelis while continuing to support insurgents opposing the US-led occupation of Iraq.” Coalition of the disillusioned. “Poland wants to "significantly reduce" its military presence in Iraq after next January, its defence minister said today. ‘After January 30, after the parliamentary elections, we want to significantly reduce our presence,’ Jerzy Szmajdzinski told the private radio station Zet.” Iraqi reaction to Lieutenant AWOL’s speech. “Iraqis expressed little faith in American promises after months of occupation which many said had delivered only violence, a lack of basic services and a scandal over the inhumane treatment of prisoners by the U.S. military. ‘He lies. We don't believe anything Bush says. The Americans have not done a thing for Iraqis. And now he promises to hand over power to Iraqis in a democracy after handpicking the people in the Governing Council,’ Haidar Majeed, a trader, said on Tuesday.” I can't wait to read what River has to say. A few days ago Eschaton posted a story about 2,000 missing pages from the copy of MG Taguba’s report that was provided to congressional investigators. Atrios wondered if the media would pick up on this story. Well, we may not hear much about this in the United States, but the Borneo Bulletin is all over the story! Informed Comment has a guest editorial posted today entitled "America's Incompetent Colonialism" by Keith Wapentaugh. It's well worth reading. Commentary Editorial: “It's regrettable that this president is never going to admit any shortcomings, much less failure. That's an aspect of Mr. Bush's character that we have to live with. But we cannot live without a serious plan for doing more than just getting through the June 30 transition and then muddling along until the November elections in the United States. Mr. Bush has yet to come up with a realistic way to internationalize the military operation and to get Iraq's political groups beyond their current game of jockeying for power and into a real process of drafting a workable constitution.” Analysis: “In order to truly persuade critical swing voters, Mr. Bush requires a very different message than he does when trying to persuade the rest of the world to help create a stable Iraq. So when he recast his objectives for Iraq in last night's televised speech, it was supposed to satisfy two audiences.” Analysis: “To understand how bad our reporting on Iraq has been, all one has to do is read Seymour Hersh's spectacular uncovering of the Abu Ghraib humiliation. Where were the so-called ‘embedded’ journalists in Iraq? (As Studs Terkel suggested, the United States was ‘in bed with journalists.’) Were they simply writing down what our generals announced while riding Humvees through Baghdad? Looks that way. “ Casualty Reports Local story: Pennsylvania soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Illinois Guardsman killed in Iraq. Local story: Idaho soldier wounded in Iraq. Local story: US soldier wounded in Iraq. Local story: Florida soldier wounded in Iraq. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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