Sunday, May 28, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SUNDAY, MAY 28, 2006 An Iraqi man comforts his injured son following a bomb blast in one of Baghdad's main squares. (AFP photo by Wisam Sami) SECURITY INCIDENTS Two bombs in central Baghdad killed two people and wounded 17 others Sunday, a Baghdad police official said. First bomb strikes an Iraqi Army patrol. Second bomb explodes as police and firefighters respond to the first. VOA gives the death toll in this incident as 3. Al Bawaba reports that an AP photographer and cameraman were among the wounded in this incident Odd that AP doesn't have that information -- C. Also reports: CNN reports bomb targeting a police patrol in Mosul injures 3 police and one civilian Also: Reuters reports one insurgent was killed in a clash with Iraqi police and U.S. soldiers in Samarra, which erupted after three militants in a car opened fire on Saturday, the U.S. military said in a statement. The two other insurgents escaped on foot, it said. Reuters also reports that police said Gunmen threw three severed heads out of their car as they drove through a village 20 km (12 miles) north of Baquba. I presume these are the same heads mentioned by CNN, but the details of the stories differ. Reuters also reports that police found six beheaded corpses wearing military uniforms in the small towns of Numaniya, Suwayra and Shihaimiya near Kut, 170 km (105 miles) southeast of Baghdad, police said. It was not clear if the three incidents were linked. Sunni Sheik who collaborated with U.S. in Western Iraq is assassinated in Baghdad. Crew of Marine Cobra helicopter down yesterday is still missing. FYI, the Cobra is a heavily armed attack helicopter. Replacement cost is pegged at $10.7 million. Info here. POLITICAL NEWS AND OTHER DEVELOPMENTS New Iraqi government is fractious.. Al-Maliki fails to name security ministers as promised by today; Shiite and Kurdish blocs try to curtail powers of Sunni Speaker. Excerpt from AP story:
Iraq's fractious political, ethnic and sectarian parties again failed to reach agreement on who will run the interior and defense ministries, despite a promise by al-Maliki to do so within a few days of his Cabinet being sworn in just over a week ago. ``They will not be named today,'' Shiite deputy Baha al-Araji said. ``We hope within three days.'' There had been hopes that al-Maliki would swear in the two new ministers when the 275-member parliament convened Sunday after the Iraq weekend. The Shiite-dominated interior ministry has been promised to that community, while Sunni Arabs are to get the defense ministry. It is hoped the balance will enable al-Maliki to move ahead with a plan to take over security around Iraq over the next 18 months and also attract army recruits among Sunni Arabs, who make up the core of the insurgency. The list however, has been whittled down to two candidates for the interior ministry and three for defense. During what appeared to be a stormy closed-door session, deputies argued over a demand by the Shiite and Kurdish coalitions to curb the power of Sunni Arab parliament speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani. They demand that he be obliged by parliamentary regulation to consult his Shiite and Kurdish deputy speakers before taking any decisions. The demand, staunchly opposed by Sunnis, was an indication the struggle for more power and authorities among Iraq's factions. The speaker has little authority.
Read in Full According to Turkish Press, President Talabani is intervening to try to break the deadlock over the security ministries. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki concludes two-day visit to Iraq. The countries issue a joint statement pledging cooperation. The Iranian news agency IRIB issued the following summary in English:
Tehran, May 28 - Iran and Iraq issued a joint statement on Saturday evening at the end of a two-day visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki to Iraq. In the statement, the two countries referred to the deep-rooted historical, cultural and religious ties and great commonalties between the two nations and called for promotion of bilateral ties in all fields based on the principle of non-interference in each other's internal affair and commitment to bilateral agreements. The two sides stressed the importance of maintaining national unity and territorial integrity of Iraq as well as promoting stability and security in that country. They also welcomed active participation of all Iraqi groups in materialization of the country's political trend as well as inauguration of the country's parliament and formation of a long-term government. The statement condemned terrorist acts in Iraq including massacre of innocent people, violation of sanctities and bombing of the shrines of Shiite Imam Ali Al-Naqi (AS) and Imam Hassan Al-Askariya (AS) in Samarra and denounced plots by enemies of Islam aimed to fan the flames of tribal and ethnic war and establish links between terrorism and Islam. It also praised the pivotal role played by Ulema and religious jurisprudence in establishing tranquility and stability in Iraq. The two countries stressed the importance of providing assistance to the Iraqi government and people to restore stability and security and expressed readiness to help materialize the decisions made during previous meetings of foreign ministers of Iraq's neighboring states to reconstruct and develop the country and restore stability and security to the country. The statement called on all states and international organizations to participate in Iraq's reconstruction and economic development as a fundamental factor for restoration of sustainable stability and security to the country and the region. Pointing to protection of joint borders as borders of peace and friendship, they stressed expansion of cooperation between the two countries' provinces, determination of zero points at Iran-Iraq border, activation of markets and effective campaign against illegal activities including smuggling of weapons and illicit drugs, and terrorist acts. Iran praised the Iraqi government's readiness to release a number of Iranian pilgrims detained in that country. The two sides stressed acceleration of the release of detainees of the two countries. Iran and Iraq also condemned brutal measures taken by the Zionist regime against the oppressed Palestinian people and called for intensification of international efforts to restore Palestinians' rights.
Link here. As summer heat rises, Iraq faces severe shortage of petroleum products, AFP reports. Excerpt:
BAGHDAD - As Iraq's brutal summer heat sends temperatures soaring above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), a dire shortage of petroleum products is damaging the economy and cutting electricity supplies in Baghdad to new lows. The shortage is due to a host of reasons, including rivalries among political parties in the south, but an interior ministry spokesman said the security situation was a major cause. "In addition to attacks on pipelines, trucks carrying petroleum products are in the sights of the rebels. Some gas stations had to close after their drivers refused to go pick up gasoline and other products stored in the dangerous areas around Baghdad," said Assem Jihad. snip Sabotage of the oil infrastructure is also ongoing, aggravating the situation, he added, nothing there had been two attacks in the past week on pipelines to the north and south of the capital. "Two units of the Baiji refinery were closed last week and this cut production," said Jihad, who also reported a fire in the offshore terminal of Khor al-Amaya in the Gulf. "Certain countries have stopped providing Iraq with petroleum products," he said, without elaborating, after the government halved the six billion dollars allocated to pay for imports. An oil ministry official, however, singled out the actions of "an internal party that is trying to hinder the improvement of the supply situation". The official, who asked to remain anonymous, was alluding to the Shiite party Fadhila, which holds 15 seats in parliament and forms part of the dominant Shiite United Iraqi Alliance. But it angrily walked out of talks on forming a new government after it failed to secure the oil ministry. The party reportedly is interfering with oil supplies heading north to Baghdad, while threatening a strike action, and demanding a cut of export royalties.
Read in Full BBC reports that 1,000 British soldiers have deserted since the start of the war. Excerpt:
More than 1,000 members of the British military have deserted the armed forces since the start of the 2003 Iraq war, the BBC has discovered. It comes as Parliament debates a law that will forbid military personnel refusing to participate in the occupation of a foreign country. During 2005 alone, 377 people deserted and are still missing. So far this year another 189 are on the run. Some 900 have evaded capture since the Iraq war started, official figures say.
Read in Full Talabani urges al-Maliki to send delegation to mediate infighting in Basra. Excerpt:
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's presidency has urged the government to send a high-level delegation with wide-ranging powers to the southern city of Basra, in the grip of a Shi'ite power struggle that threatens oil exports. The office of President Jalal Talabani issued a statement late on Saturday urging new Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shi'ite Islamist, to dispatch senior officials to Basra. He stressed they should have wide-ranging powers, saying that "whoever goes to Basra should be authorised to dismiss and appoint" officials and to take other necessary measures. Security has deteriorated in Iraq's second largest city, patrolled by British forces, in the past year as rival factions of the country's Shi'ite majority vie for influence. Accusing each other of corruption and organised crime, the opposing sides control militias, some of which are believed to have taken control of rival police units in the southern city. The struggle intensified earlier this month when the governor of Basra province demanded the dismissal of the city's police chief, who took the job last year on a promise to end corruption. British officials hope that Maliki's new national unity government in Baghdad will focus on calming tension in the south. Iraqi officials and political sources last week said it risked being held to ransom by a dissident Shi'ite faction using its influence to obstruct vital oil exports. They warned that the locally powerful Fadhila party, which controls the governor's office, was threatening to have members in the oil industry stage a go-slow to halt exports if it did not win the concessions it wanted from Baghdad.
Read in Full UN News Agency warns of refugee problem in Kurdistan as border tensions escalate with turkey. Read in Full. COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS AP's Robert Reid reviews the Haditha massacre case, notes two other ongoing investigations of war crimes. Excerpt:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.S. military is bracing for a major scandal over the alleged slaying of Iraqi civilians by Marines in Haditha — charges so serious they could threaten President Bush's effort to rally support at home for an increasingly unpopular war. And while the case has attracted little attention so far in Iraq, it still could enflame hostility to the U.S. presence just as Iraq's new government is getting established, and complicate efforts by moderate Sunni Arab leaders to reach out to their community — the bedrock of the insurgency. U.S. lawmakers have been told the criminal investigation will be finished in about 30 days. But a Pentagon official said investigators believe Marines committed unprovoked murder in the deaths of about two dozen people at Haditha in November. With a political storm brewing, the top U.S. Marine, Gen. Michael W. Hagee, is headed to Iraq to personally deliver the message that troops should use deadly force "only when justified, proportional and, most importantly, lawful." Haditha is not the only case pending: On Wednesday, the military announced an investigation into allegations that Marines killed a civilian April 26 near Fallujah. The statement gave no further details except that "several service members" had been sent back to the United States "pending the results of the criminal investigation." Last July, Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, Samir al-Sumaidaie, accused the Marines of killing his 21-year-old cousin in cold blood during a search of his family's home in Haditha, a city of about 90,000 people along the Euphrates River 140 miles northwest of Baghdad. The military ordered a criminal investigation but the results have not been announced. Together, the cases present the most serious challenge to U.S. handling of the Iraq war since the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, which Bush cited Thursday as "the biggest mistake that's happened so far, at least from our country's involvement in Iraq." "What happened at Haditha appears to be outright murder," said Marc Garlasco of Human Rights Watch. "It has the potential to blow up in the U.S. military's face." He said that "the Haditha massacre will go down as Iraq's My Lai," a reference to the Vietnam War incident in which American soldiers slaughtered up to 500 civilians in 1968. snip In March, Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq, said about a dozen Marines were under investigation for possible war crimes in the incident. Three officers from the unit involved have been relieved of their posts. Such incidents have reinforced the perception among many Iraqis who believe American troops are trigger-happy — a characterization U.S. officers strongly dispute. "America in the view of many Iraqis has no credibility. We do not believe what they say is correct," said Sheik Sattar al-Aasaf, a tribal leader in Anbar province, which includes Haditha. "U.S. troops are a very well-trained and when they shoot, it isn't random but due to an order to kill Iraqis. People say they are the killers." Ayda Aasran, a deputy human rights minister, said Iraqis should be allowed to investigate such cases — something the U.S. command has refused to permit. Sunni political leaders will find it difficult to defend U.S. actions, even those aimed at establishing the truth, if they want to maintain their position as leaders of the Iraqi minority that provides most of the insurgents. Even if criminal charges are brought in the Haditha incident, Sunni insurgents are likely to claim the case is simply a charade and argue that the Marines will escape serious punishment.
Read in Full Editor and Publisher analysis of recent coverage finds Haditha massacre, control of large sections of the country by partisan militias, many with strong Iranian influence, dominate recent U.S. press coverage of Iraq. Read in Full WHISKER'S ROUNDUP OF WOUNDED A rocket-powered grenade took away both of Brookfield native Steven Anthony Smith’s legs and injured his arm and face. A Marine from Dothan was seriously injured when the Humvee he was driving in Iraq struck an explosive device, killing three other Marines. Steven Bradley Pinkston survived an April 20th truck crash. He was riding in a convoy that was delivering supplies when his truck flipped over several times. Pinkston was seriously hurt -- he suffered a broken nose, fractured facial bones and his elbow was severely punctured. The wound destroyed the bones connecting his upper and lower arm. Doctors had considered amputating the arm, but they will attempt to realign the bones. The Marine has had five surgeries in the last month. On November 4th, 2004 in the City of Fallujah, Sergeant Slawatycki says, the urban assault to take down that city began. He was shot in the right calf during that assault and says three days later he managed to pull the bullet out with a tool he had. Pvt. 2nd Class Dennis Davis II and two other soldiers were in a Humvee that ran over 1,000 pounds of TNT on May 17. All three of the soldiers were airlifted to Camp Cash Combat Hospital in Bagdad, Iraq, after suffering non life-threatening injuries. A former Akron-area resident battling Taliban violence in Afghanistan was seriously wounded by a grenade last week. Lt. Derek Martin of the Army's 10th Mountain Division could lose his right eye, and his sinuses and the bones in his cheek are shattered, said his father, Tom Martin of Bath Township. Derek Martin, 33, also has shrapnel in his arm and back, his father said. The lieutenant and his platoon were supporting Afghan troops when he was wounded Thursday. Specialist Sean Long's leg is badly scarred from the 50-calibre bullets that tore through him on December 29 of last year. The bullets could have taken my leg off," Long told 11Alive's Jerry Carnes. "Both of them had the power to do that. They said I should have died there from the loss of blood." U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. William Eugene Gibson, a 1989 Pryor graduate, was shot below the left knee May 16 while patrolling streets in Ramadi, Iraq. The wound resulted in Gibson having his leg amputated below the left knee. Matt Davis, the Blooming Grove native hurt in Iraq while on duty with the U.S. Marine Corps. Davis was released from Bethesda Medical Center late Monday, where he had been since May 5 being treated for injuries received in battle in Iraq. Davis is showing steady improvement after undergoing numerous surgeries for his injuries. He has metal plates and pins in his left arm, but is able to walk more as his therapy continues. He remains under the care of occupational and physical therapists, as well as medical specialists for continued medical treatment of his leg and hand injuries. Lance Cpl. Gary Rodriguez got wounded on the 13th of May, 2004, and I've just been dealing with the medical (issues) and trying to get better again."I received shrapnel to the right side of my head, It went through behind the ear and punctured the nerves to the right side of my face."--two of the steel balls punched into Rodriguez' right lung-- hit on the leg with some of the white phosphorous, which burned away flesh and required skin grafts to repair his mangled right elbow, the soft- spoken Marine only says he is happy to still have the arm. Staff Sgt. Clarence Eady--Doctors amputated Clarence's left leg below the knee. Last August, U.S. Army Cpl. Pisey Tan lay in a road in Samara An IED - improvised explosive device - had torn through the side of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle he'd been driving, nearly shearing his legs from his body. Army Sgt. 1st Class Juanita Wilson lost part of her arm during combat in Iraq. Wilson, 32, was injured when a makeshift bomb exploded under her armored Humvee vehicle nearly two years ago near Baghdad. Her left arm was amputated below the elbow. Marine sniper Eddie Ryan. . .. that mission ended when nearby American troops accidentally fired two bullets that hit him in the head. One projectile crashed through the front of his brain, the other through his jaw.--Eddie sat cradled in a wheelchair. With braces, he stands on his own an hour a day, but he is not yet walking. His right arm is weaker than the left and the right hand tends to curl at the wrist. Sergeant Elano Chavez was providing security as part of the 812 Quartermaster Unit deployed to Iraq. He was hurt in a roadside bomb attack two weeks ago. Doctors say Chavez has a broken left leg, fractured femur and tissue damage Sgt. Tim Bird of the 3rd Forward Support Battalion got hit by three IEDs. One hit on the front, one on the driver's side and one on my side. It blew us off the road. he sought medical help for a leg broken in two places. But the doctor said they'd have to do surgery to put screws and plates in there to put the tib and fib back together. PVT2 Dennis L Davis, II--On May 17, Dennis, along with two other MP Soldiers ran over a I.E.D. filled with 1000lbs. of TNT, flipped the vehicle over trapping the three soldiers underneath the 14,000lb vehicle. Dennis sustained internal bruising, a laceration on his chin, nerve damage to his left foot and slight hearing loss on his left ear. A Pryor Marine who lost his leg in combat in Iraq says he wants to return to the front lines. Gunnery Sgt. Bill Gibson wounded last week, told family members he'd be back on duty as soon as possible. Editor's Note:Iraq Veterans Against the War disavows Jessie Macbeth, who claimed to have served in Iraq as an Army Ranger and to have participated in atrocities. IVAW says, "MacBeth’s false statements unfortunately have played into the hands of those who would deny that any atrocities whatsoever are occurring in Iraq. While such murders by military personnel are reprehensible, ultimate blame for these actions must be placed on the responsible commanding officers, Donald Rumsfeld, and the Bush administration who have created the context for chaos in through an illegal and unjust war and occupation which they admit has no end in sight." Of course, all we can do here is link to information from credible sources. Macbeth was indeed a member of IVAW and his video came with their imprimatur, which they now say was used without authorization. We will always do our best to update stories and correct any that are erroneous. Please do visit the IVAW site. This Memorial Day, I ask you to consider making a donation to IVAW as an appropriate commemoration. Quote of the Day MEMORIAL RAIN For Kenneth MacLeish, 1894-1918 Ambassador Puser the ambassador Reminds himself in French, felicitous tongue, What these (young men no longer) lie here for In rows that once, and somewhere else, were young. . . All night in Brussels the wind had tugged at my door: I had heard the wind at my door and the trees strung Taut, and to me who had never been before In that country it was a strange wind, blowing Steadily, stiffening the walls, the floor, The roof of my room. I had not slept for knowing He too, dead, was a stranger in that land And felt beneath the earth in the wind's flowing A tightening of roots and would not understand, Remembering lake winds in Illinois, That Strange wind. I had felt his bones in the sand Listening. Reflects that these enjoy Their country's gratitude, that deep repose, That peace no pain can break, no hurt destroy, That rest, that sleep. . . At Ghent the wind rose. There was a smell of rain and a heavy drag Of wind in the hedges but not as the wind blows Over fresh water when the waves lag Foaming and the willows huddle and it will rain; I felt him waiting. . . Indicates the flag Which (may he say) nestles in Flanders plain This little field these happy, happy dead Have made America. . . In the ripe grain The wind coiled glistening, darted, fled, Dragging its heavy body: at Waereghem The wind coiled in the grass above his head: Waiting--listening. . . . . .Dedicates to them This earth their bones have hallowed, this last gift A grateful country. . . Under the dry grass stem The words are blurred, are thickened, the words sift Confused by the rasp of the wind, by the thin grating Of ants under the grass, the minute shift And tumble of dusty sand separating From dusty sand. The roots of the grass strain, Tighten, the earth is rigid, waits -- he is waiting -- And suddenly, and all at once, the rain! The living scatter, they run into houses, the wind Is trampled under the rain, shakes free, is again Trampled. The rain gathers, running in thinned Spurts of water that ravel in the dry sand, Seeping in the sand under the grass roots, seeping Between crack boards of the bones of a clenched hand: The earth relaxes, loosens; he is sleeping, He rests, he is quiet, he sleeps in a strange land. -- Captain Archibald MacLeish


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