Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Daily War News for Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi policeman killed in Baquba. Gunmen open fire on headquarters of the Communist Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Baquba.
Bring ‘em on: Joint US/Iraqi patrol in hour long firefight with insurgents in Ramadi, no casualties reported.
Bring ‘em on: Four US Marines killed in combat in Al Anbar province. One
Bring ‘em on: Seven US soldiers wounded in two separate bombing attacks on
Bring ‘em on: Four Iraqi police, two soldiers and three civilians killed and at least twelve others wounded in three suicide car bomb attacks on sites in Riyadh, southwest of Kirkuk. Two
Bring ‘em on: At least 20 people killed or injured in suicide bombing attack on the Sindar office of the Kurdistan Democratic Party.
The Elections That Will Bring Freedom To The Middle East
They got it down: The concept of democracy appears to have taken root in the dusty town of
Although most say they don't know who the candidates are or where to go to vote, they say they will vote come January 30.
(Nice catch alert reader Cervantes)
That last 20 percent is a bitch: The government said Wednesday it would ban travel between provinces and extend the hours of a curfew as part of heightened security before
Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib said security in four tense provinces, where it had been said that elections would be difficult, has improved by 80 percent.
"We have been able to go past this," he added, apparently referring to the provinces of
Someone should tell these guys: The black sedan made its way down
"This is a final warning to all of those who plan to participate in the election," the leaflets said. "We vow to wash the streets of
The leaflets, like many turning up on sidewalks and doorsteps across the capital, were chilling in their detail: they warned Iraqis to stay at least 500 yards away from voting booths, for each would be the potential target of a rocket, mortar shell or car bomb. The leaflet suggested that Iraqis stay away from their windows, too, in case of blasts.
Pity the Sunnis who are peaceful: Mishaan Jubouri does not dare set foot in his home district in
In another northern city,
The two men - both leaders of large Sunni Arab tribes - represent the dilemma for
Interesting times: The anticipation is palpable. After more than 80 years on the margins, the Shiites of Iraq will finally get their due: a controlling stake in the government commensurate with their majority status.
Now the question is: What will the Shiites do when they finally ascend to power? King Abdullah II of Jordan and interim Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem Shalaan, himself a Shiite, have issued dark warnings of a hidden agenda to establish an Iran-style theocracy — one that would only reveal itself once it's too late.
Shiite politicians dismiss the charges as either unfounded hysteria or electoral scare tactics.
A man on the street speaks: Remarkably, over the course of seven weeks of interviews throughout Iraq, not one Sunni Arab, other than those in secular political parties such as those led by Mukhlis, bin Hussein and former exile Adnan Pachachi, said they would definitely participate in the vote.
"Let them have their elections and win," said a Sunni Arab engineer of 38 who insisted on going by the name Abu Abdullah.
"It will be an illegitimate government. Legitimate elections cannot be held because the previous government has not yet stepped down. I voted for Saddam. When he says he has resigned, I'll take part in elections."
Turks, Kurds, Arabs, and
In a report scheduled for release on Wednesday, the International Crisis Group, an independent organization that tries to prevent and resolve global conflicts, described Kirkuk as a powder keg set to explode if Kurds sweep the election for a new regional council, creating a situation that might tempt Turkey to intervene to protect the city's ethnic Turkmen population.
Ethnicities: The ethnic mix -
But the passions aroused by the poll are already proving volatile. Hana al-Sawaf, of the Iraqi Republican Gathering, said: "We don't object to the original people of
Ishraq Hassan Ali, who is married to a Kurd who fought against Saddam, said: "These people are coming back and squatting as their houses have been stolen and they've been kicked off their land. Where were Arabs when Kurdish children were fleeing Saddam's wrath and froze to death in the snow?"
Warnings from Kurds:
"There are three red lines for us... If they are crossed, we will no longer be Iraqis," Noshirwan Mustafa, an aide of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan leader Jalal Talabani, told AFP in an interview.
"If the Arabs do not accept the principle of federalism, we will no longer be Iraqis. If they insist on a theocratic regime, we will no longer be Iraqis. And Kurdish terrorists must be returned to
Warnings from Turks:
Another man on the street speaks:
Good Thing Those Elections Are Going To Plant Freedom in The Middle East
Err…well…: Regardless of the turnout for Sunday's election,
"I think it is unlikely that these elections will do much to bring violence down; let's be honest about it," said one Western official here, who, like several others interviewed, declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue. "I think the elections are a huge step for the credibility of the government, the legitimacy of the government, and will contribute to a solution over the medium and long term. But there's not going to be a short-term answer in March or April…. Ending the violence is going to take a long time."
Zowie! Only 185,000 to go!: U.S. and Iraqi forces have killed or captured 15,000 people over the past year in their fight against an insurgency ravaging Iraq, the commander of U.S. forces in the country said Wednesday.
Speaking on the deadliest day for
But he conceded that the number of car and suicide bombs had increased and that Iraqi security forces were not capable of dealing with the violence themselves.
But it’s 80 percent safer!: After two years of war and hundreds of U.S. deaths on Iraqi highways and streets caused by roadside bombs and suicide car bombings, the simple task of driving from point A to point B has become a forbidding challenge
Along the long desert stretches of Al Anbar province or the clogged streets of Ramadi, travel by convoy is a highly choreographed event conducted at high speed. As Sunday's election approaches and rumors spread of insurgent plans for mass attacks, attention to detail is at its height.
The Wolfowitz metric, part one: In this city south of Baghdad, the Marine-led training program illustrates what the future of U.S. military involvement in Iraq may look like: Marines not only helping draw growing numbers of recruits, but eating, sleeping, working and fighting alongside the newly trained Iraqi police and National Guard building Iraqis' expertise and confidence to do the jobs themselves.
However, the great majority of those filling the ranks nationwide are members of
The lopsided security force in the making raises questions about whether the
The Wolfowitz metric, part two: The Iraqi force's performance has been inconsistent at best. They are typically trained in weeks rather than months, and many are poorly equipped. In
Whose fault is this?
A recent report by the independent Center for Strategic and International Studies puts much of the blame on the Pentagon. Iraqi forces, the report says, were given "grossly inadequate training, equipment, facilities, transport and protection."
Suck It Up
Suck it up, reservists: One reason that the National Guard and Reserve have been used so heavily over the past three years is that the active-duty Army is too small to meet the demands of war — particularly in Iraq, where troop levels have far exceeded original predictions — while also maintaining a presence in traditional areas of influence such as Europe and the Korean peninsula.
The Army now has about 660,000 troops on active duty, of which about 160,000 are members of the Guard and Reserve.
The Army wants them to be eligible for an unlimited number of call-ups, so long as no single mobilization lasts more than 24 months, the official said.
Suck it up, ladies: The U.S. Army for the first time is placing women in support units at the front lines of combat because of a shortage of skilled male soldiers available for duty in
The army maintains that it has not changed the overall Pentagon policy regarding women in combat, which limits women to serving on surface ships and in attack aircraft. But internal army documents indicate the service is ignoring a 1994 regulation barring women from serving alongside units that conduct offensive operations.
Suck it up, you Republican bozos: Some of President Bush's bedrock supporters -- Southerners and rural residents -- have lost confidence in the likelihood of a stable, democratic
Some of the larger declines in optimism came among Southerners, Northeasterners, rural Americans and women 45 and over. Other groups that showed a significant decline were those with incomes between $25,000 and $50,000 a year, young men, those without college educations -- groups very likely to know people serving in
I Love This Headline
George, my expectations for you couldn’t get any lower if we were at the center of the earth.
Editorial: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld did more than step on the CIA’s toes when he set up his own espionage branch two years ago to collect human intelligence.
In conveniently neglecting to inform Congress, Rumsfeld turned what should have been a public decision made by elected leaders into an administrative decree issued in private. That should prompt Congress to hold hearings and reassert control.
Whether the Defense Department or the CIA conducts most of the human-intelligence missions might seem like small potatoes. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The result is an espionage branch effectively operating beyond Congress’ purview.
Comment: The added $80 billion the White House wants to fight the wars in
But Congress must also demand that the White House deal with the war costs in a realistic manner. That means, for one thing, including them in budget estimates. For another thing, it means providing Americans with a clearer picture of the administration's goals in
Comment: I've just had an email from a friend in the Green Zone. He has not set foot outside the compound since he's been there, and probably never will. Helicopter to and from the airport only. Welcome to free
The New York Times reported that "Residents trickling back to Falluja . . . enter a desolate world of skeletal buildings, tank-blasted homes, weeping power lines and severed palm trees. Sullen and anxious, tens of thousands of residents have passed through stringent checkpoints to find out . . . whether their homes and shops were reduced to rubble or merely ransacked . . . people have to file through huge coils of razor wire and a gantlet of armed marines to pick up their supplies. On the road . . . Lt. Col Patrick Malay . . . watched the scene with satisfaction. "This is how I like it, just like
Thanks to alert reader bob for the link.
Opinion: What if the war in
Place such a guerrilla war in
Incidentally, the actual police deaths in
This section is going to get even more depressing than usual over the next few days. Please take a quiet moment to reflect on all the young men and women, American and Iraqi, who have died and are going to die in this despicable conflict.