Thursday, December 15, 2005

War News for Thursday, December 15, 2005 Bring 'em on: Mizhar al-Dulaimi, head of the Free Progressive Iraqi Party, was killed while campaigning in the center of Ramadi, capital of the restive Anbar province in western Iraq, police said. Three of his bodyguards were wounded. Bring 'em on: A Shiite member of the interim Iraqi parliament escaped an assassination attempt on Tuesday when a roadside bomb struck his convoy south of Baghdad, wounding one of his bodyguards, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua. Bring 'em on: In the southern town of Nassiriya protesters burned down a campaign office for Iyad Allawi, a secular leader who has mounted a strong challenge to the ruling Shi'ite Islamist bloc. Bring 'em on: A roadside bomb aimed at an Iraqi patrol killed a child in Samarra Bring 'em on: A roadside bomb took the lives of two policemen in Mosul. Bring 'em on: A Trade Ministry employee was shot dead in Baiji, police said. Bring 'em on: Small explosive devices damaged three empty polling stations in the restive western city of Falluja on Wednesday, police said. No one was hurt but 4,000 ballot papers were stolen. Bring 'em on: Streets in Baghdad were eerily quiet one day before Thursday's election, with police strictly enforcing a traffic ban. Only the noise from an occasional police siren, sporadic gunshot or U.S. helicopter could be heard. Borders and airports have also been closed and the nighttime curfew has been extended. Bring 'em on: An Iraqi policeman was killed in a bomb blast in Baghdad on Wednesday, according to the Iraqi police. It added in a statement a road-side bomb went off when an Iraqi police vehicle was passing near Sebaa' bank in central Baghdad. The blast killed one policeman and injured two others. Bring 'em on: Staff Sgt. Curtis A. Mitchell, 28, of Evansville, Ind., died in Baghdad, Iraq, on Dec. 12, when an improvised expolosive device detonated near his M1A1 Abrams tank during combat operations. Mitchell was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga. Bring 'em on: A large explosion was head in downtown Baghdad within minutes of the polls opening and sirens could be heard inside the heavily-fortified Green Zone. Police said the explosion was reportedly caused by a mortar landing near the Green Zone. There were no immediate reports of any injuries or damage. Bring 'em on: In northern Mosul, where all polling stations opened, a bomb killed a hospital guard when it went off between a polling station and a hospital, initial US military reports said. mortar also landed near a polling station without causing any injuries, the reports said. Bring 'em on: Several explosions rocked Baghdad as the polls opened, including a large one near the heavily fortified Green Zone that slightly injured two civilians and a U.S. Marine, the U.S. military said. Bring 'em on: A bomb also exploded in Ramadi, and the U.S. military said one was defused at a polling station in Fallujah, another insurgent stronghold, despite promises by major insurgent groups not to attack polling places. Some election sites in Ramadi were guarded by masked gunmen. A week from the forgotten battlefield: Islamic militants beheaded two suspected bandits and strung up their bodies on electricity poles in the latest violence to hit Pakistan's lawless tribal region near the Afghan border, witnesses said on Friday. The bodies of two men working for a Christian Aid partner in Afghanistan have been uncovered in Farah province, indicating the worsening security situation in the country and the need for greater action to ensure the safety of those working on behalf of the Afghan people, says Christian Aid. Suspected Taliban rebels ambushed a police patrol in volatile southern Afghanistan, killing one policeman and injuring two others, an official said on Friday. A second Swedish NATO peacekeeper has died from injuries sustained in an explosion in Afghanistan last month, the Swedish military said on Friday. The soldier was identified as 30-year-old Tomas Bergqvist An Afghan official says suspected Taliban rebels have ambushed a police patrol in the southern Helmand province, killing two policemen. Mohammad Wali, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said today that two policemen were also injured when dozens of suspected Islamic militants attacked the vehicle late Thursday while on a routine operation Taliban insurgents attacked a district government headquarters in violence-plagued southern Afghanistan early today, sparking a battle that left seven police and five rebels dead, a local police official said. At least six other police officers were wounded in three hours of fighting that erupted when insurgents attacked the compound in the Hazarjusth district of Helmand province hours before dawn The NDP Leader Jack Layton called for an immediate halt to sending more Canadian troops to Afghanistan, warning that Canada must not "drift into a war blindly." "We appear to be drifting from our original mission there – which was to provide security in the capital region – and into a combat role side-by-side with American troops," Layton said in a statement. THE Netherlands has postponed a decision on sending extra troops to Afghanistan. "It is about an important issue - security. We must look at all aspects carefully," Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said. Dutch concerns have mounted in recent weeks about plans to send an extra 1100 troops to the dangerous south of Afghanistan along with forces from Britain and Canada, allowing the US-led coalition to cut the size of its operation there. A bomber has targeted a convoy of US-led troops in the city of Kandahar, seriously wounding a passerby but injuring no soldiers. The attack happened during the morning rush hour on Sunday not far from the office of Kandahar's governor in the heart of the city. In yet another suicide attack in the volatile southern Afghanistan, a US military convoy on Sunday narrowly escaped while three civilians were injured in the incident, one seriously. Also the US forces claimed killing six Taliban in the Helmand province as their jets attacked the militants' hideouts. A day earlier, Taliban stormed district offices in the same province killing nine policemen. Foreign soldiers in desert fatigues and helmets sealed off the main road of this southern city to inspect the site where a suicide bomber, wrapped in a blanket, had thrown himself at a convoy of military jeeps, killing himself and an Afghan civilian Four soldiers from the U.S.-led force in Afghanistan were wounded on Monday when their vehicle detonated a mine in the southern province of Kandahar, a U.S. military official said. "Engineers from the French Battle group of ISAF carried out an operation to recover a cache of weapons and ammunition 35 km north of Kabul on December 10," Andrew Elmes told reporters at a press conference in ISAF Headquarters. The cache, he added, contained 42 rockets of various size, 16 mortar shell of 82 mm, 32 hand grenades, nine boxes of 12.7 mm ammunition, three AK 47 rifles and two demolition kits. "It was quite clear that the Taliban has control of some areas,” de Borchgrave said. "The Pakistanis seem to be focusing on al-Qaida, but not the Taliban. There’s no question that the Taliban is gaining strength.” NATO-led soldiers to deploy next year to insurgency-hit southern Afghanistan will not take over counter-terrorist operations conducted by US-led forces, a spokesman said Monday. Three Canadian soldiers and one foreign journalist were injured after a road side bomb detonated close to their vehicle near the town of Maywand, about 90 km west of Kandahar. The incident occurred around 11:00 a.m. local (1:30 a.m. ET), on December 12. The soldiers' next of kin have been notified. U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan are learning from tactics used in Iraq to help avert the suicide bombings that are increasingly common among Taliban-led insurgents, a U.S. military official said Monday. A strong earthquake struck remote northeastern Afghanistan early Tuesday, shaking the ground for hundreds of miles and bringing frightened survivors of October's devastating quake out of their tents across the border in Pakistan. A suspected suicide bomber died on Wednesday when he blew himself up in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif but nobody else was injured, the interior ministry said. No one else was hurt in the blast near the Hazrat Ali shrine in the centre of Mazar-i-Sharif, he said. “We don’t know whether it was a suicide attack or the man was just carrying the explosives with him,” Stanizai said. In Faizabad, on Afghanistan's northeastern fringe, the donkey carrying a mine on its back exploded on a main road near a German aid agency's vehicle but caused no injuries, said Shah Jahan Noori, the chief of police in Badakhshan province. Suspected militants shot dead a pro-government religious leader in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan Tuesday night, police confirmed Wednesday. Death's by Ranks for November 2005: Army Marines Navy British/Other E1 E2 --- 2 E3 10-- 11 E4 --- 16-- 5 E5 9-- 1-- 1 Brittish 1 E6 --- 10-- 1 E7 4-- 1 E8 --- 1-- 1 W01 W02 ---------------------- Australian 1 W03 W04 W05 Army Marines Navy British/Other 01 ---- 1-- 1 02 2-- 03 --------2== 1 04 1-- 2 05 ------ 1-- Army total: ----------------- 59 Army Enlisted: 52 Army Officer: -------------- 7 Army National Guard: 11 Marine Total: -------------- 24 Marine Enlisted: 20 Marine Officer: ------------ 4 Navy Enlisted 1 Total Americans killed -- 84 For information on military ranks on the web: Deaths by Division: 1st. Armored: 3 3rd Infantry: 9 3rd Armored Cavalry: 7 3rd Special Forces: 1 10th Special Forces: 1 11th Armored Cavalry: 1 101st Airborne: 19 172 Stryker: 2 2nd Marine: 25 Corps Support: 2 Other: 14 Deaths by Gender: Male 84 Female 0 Deaths by Cause: IED: 40 Small Arms Fire: 13 Vehicle Accident: 10 Suicide Car Bomb: 6 Illness: 3 Helicopter Crash: 2 Grenade: 2 Sniper: 2 Mine: 1 Fell from Helicopter: 1 Friendly Fire: 1 Homicide: 1 Unspecified Injury: 1 Weapons Discharge: 1 Hostile: 70 Non-Hostile: 14 Deaths by Location: Ad Duluiyah: 1 Al Anbar Province: 1 Ali Al Salem Air Base: 1 Baghdad: 16 Ba'qubah: 1 Bayji: 5 Camp Ashraf: 1 Camp Taqaddum: 2 Fallujah: 6 Habbaniyah: 2 Haditha: 2 Hit: 1 hospital: 10 Husaybah: 1 Karabilah: 1 Kirkuk: 2 Mosul: 2 Not reported: 1 Ramadi: 5 Rawah: 1 Tall Afar: 3 Tallil Air Base: 2 Taji: 8 Tikrit: 1 Ubaydi: 8 Oil: OPEC content to leave oil output as it is: OPEC oil ministers were united on Sunday that they should keep pumping close to the limit through winter and the world's biggest exporter Saudi Arabia seemed relaxed about a possible dip in second quarter demand. OPEC meets here on Monday to chart policy into early 2006. The only question mark appears to be whether the cartel will renew a three-month-old offer to supply all of its spare oil if the market wants it, and when ministers next meet. Some members want to hold more talks in January or February because they are worried that if they keep output at today's near-maximum 30 million barrels per day prices will fall sharply in the spring as stocks build in consumer countries. Who suffers from the Gulf oil boom? Unlike the oil boom during the Cold War era, this time around the rulers and the elite in the GCC states seem to have prepared and planned better. While in the past most oil revenues left the region, this time most have gone to local projects. Tough restrictions imposed by the United States and other Western governments on financial transactions, and measures to uncover and freeze accounts of individuals suspected of aiding Al-Qaeda or donating to charity institutions allegedly linked to terrorist groups, have prompted a large majority of GCC nationals to move their accounts to local banks and to invest mainly in projects within the region. Large explosions at British fuel depot an 'accident' Explosions tore through a fuel depot north of London before dawn on Sunday, creating a huge tower of smoke and flame and seriously injuring four people in what police said appeared to be an accident. Shakers: Total chief sees oil falling to $40 to $50: Oil prices will fall to $40 to $50 a barrel next year unless "geopolitical problems" develop in producing countries, Total's chief executive, Thierry Desmarest, said over the weekend. "We have integrated a price at $40 per barrel" in Total's 2006 budget, Desmarest said Saturday in an interview on Radio Classique. "It could be between $40 and $50 a barrel." Oil stays above 61 usd in Asian trade after OPEC sticks to output quota: At 10.15 am (0215 GMT), crude for January delivery was at 61.10 usd a barrel, off 20 cents from its closing level of 61.30 usd at the New York Mercantile Exchange overnight. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries at a meeting Monday in Kuwait left unchanged its quota of 28 mln barrels of oil a day, excluding output from Iraq. Miscellaneous War News: M-1s Finally Get Their Shotgun Shell: The M-1 tank has finally, oficially, gotten its M1028 "shotgun shell" for its 120mm gun. This is for use against hostile infantry. The XM1028 shell holds 1100 10mm tungsten balls that are propelled out of the gun barrel and begin to disperse. The tungsten projectiles are lethal at up to 700 meters. The official requirement of the XM1028 is to kill or disable more than 50 percent of a 10 man squad with 1 shot and do the same to a 30 man platoon with 2 shots. Ex-Marine leader poses hard questions about war: Within the first days of the invasion in 2003, the U.S. military dropped leaflets in Iraq: "Surrender and be part of the new Iraq." "It was a brilliant success," said Nathaniel Fick, a former Marine commander who participated in that first campaign. Then, as the operation began to heat up, the military dropped "humanitarian rations," which did not include pork or chemical heater packs, which some in Afghanistan had ingested to their great peril. The rations came in bright yellow boxes so they could be seen easily. This won the hearts of many, Fick said. Then the military began dropping cluster bombs, some of which failed to explode upon impact. They came in bright yellow packages, too. "Wires get crossed, with unintended consequences," Fick said. Those consequences - the erosion and eventual loss of trust in American forces and American policy - were the subject of a recent lecture Fick offered College of Charleston students and faculty when he stopped here as part of a book tour. He is the author of "One Bullet Away," a memoir of his experience as a commander in the Marines' elite 1st Reconnaissance Unit. The President Will Now Answer Your Questions: Maybe President Bush was feeling his oats with his polls on the rise. Maybe he wanted to tweak journalists for reports that he has been closed off. Maybe he was playing to Brian Williams, the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, a former White House correspondent who was following him around for the day. Whatever the reason, the President acted as if it were the most normal thing in the world. "I've got a little extra time on my hands," Bush said mischievously as he wrapped a speech about Iraq to the Philadelphia World Affairs Council at lunchtime Monday, "so I thought I might answer some questions." Whoa! Bush has concluded nearly every speech this year with a "Thank you" and "God bless," giving a Texas-sized smile and wave, then heading out the door and back in "the car," as his staff calls the Presidential limo. The simple fact he was taking questions from the audience—a staple for his carefully screened crowds during last year's campaign, but dropped after his reelection—was news in itself. And, as a reporter noted that night on a local newscast, some of the questions "were not marshmallows." Rumsfeld mulls cut in military personnel: Hampered by an increasingly combative relationship with Congress, the Pentagon is expected to seek savings from its payroll rather than making deep cuts in major weapons programs in its next long-range plan. The blueprint for military restructuring that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is to release early next year - an exercise the Pentagon undertakes every four years - is the first one fully conceived since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 Military's Information War Is Vast and Often Secretive: The media center in Fayetteville, N.C., would be the envy of any global communications company. In state of the art studios, producers prepare the daily mix of music and news for the group's radio stations or spots for friendly television outlets. Writers putting out newspapers and magazines in Baghdad and Kabul converse via teleconferences. Mobile trailers with high-tech gear are parked outside, ready for the next crisis The center is not part of a news organization, but a military operation, and those writers and producers are soldiers. The 1,200-strong psychological operations unit based at Fort Bragg turns out what its officers call "truthful messages" to support the United States government's objectives, though its commander acknowledges that those stories are one-sided and their American sponsorship is hidden. "We call our stuff information and the enemy's propaganda," said Col. Jack N. Summe, then the commander of the Fourth Psychological Operations Group, during a tour in June. Even in the Pentagon, "some public affairs professionals see us unfavorably," and inaccurately, he said, as "lying, dirty tricksters." The recent disclosures that a Pentagon contractor in Iraq paid newspapers to print "good news" articles written by American soldiers prompted an outcry in Washington, where members of Congress said the practice undermined American credibility and top military and White House officials disavowed any knowledge of it. President Bush was described by Stephen J. Hadley, his national security adviser, as "very troubled" about the matter. The Pentagon is investigating. Casualty Reports: Kenith Casica, who grew up in Virginia Beach as the son of a Navy man, was killed on Saturday by small arms fire in Yusufiyah Province, near Baghdad. Sgt. Keith A. Bennett, 32, of Holtwood, was killed by a car bomb at a vehicle checkpoint in Ramadi, said Lt. Col. Chris Cleaver, a Guard spokesman. A Utah soldier was killed in Iraq when he fell from a guard tower. Twenty-one-year-old Army Specialist Lex S. Nelson died Tuesday in Tikrit. Sgt. Steven Marfill was out on a patrol in Baghdad, a suicide bomber denoted a car bomb that killed one American soldier and wounded 11 other soldiers. suffered damage to his liver, lungs, legs and right abdomen, which took shrapnel from the explosion, Bruce Mullen said. Three Roanoke police officers are recovering from wounds suffered while serving in Iraq. Chris Dillon, Kevin Assenat and Shane Fletcher were all injured in a suicide bombing attack Saturday near Baghdad. Nathan Chapman was injured Friday when a suicide bomb detonated and destroyed the military vehicle in which he was riding.He suffered a concussion, smoke inhalation, burns to his left arm and a laceration on his head. The family of a U.S. Marine, Lance Cpl. David Stephens injured by a bomb in Iraq planned to meet him this morning in a San Antonio burn center.


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