Tuesday, May 23, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR TUESDAY, May 23, 2006 Cartoon: "A Bloody Mess", by Steve Bell - (See below"Bush & Blair to try to escape Iraq quagmire") SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: A roadside bomb damaged one Humvee in a U.S. convoy in the Dora neighborhood. An Iraqi woman and a child were wounded in gunfire that followed. A car bomb exploded in New Baghdad, killing two police commandos and three civilians. The attack, which damaged nearby shops and cars, also wounded five commandos and three civilians. Gunmen killed a cigarette vendor in a drive-by shooting in the capital. Gunmen killed a professor at Baghdad's Technology University, in northeastern Baghdad. An industry ministry employee was shot dead in northeastern Baghdad. Three corpses were found in Baghdad: two floating in different spots on the Tigris River, and one of a 10-year-old boy from the neighborhood of Dura in the south, police said. The boy, who was kidnapped on Monday, had been tortured before being shot through the head. In west Baghdad, gunmen opened fire on three elderly men, one of whom was blind and another disabled, killing them all. In the city centre, a mortar round struck near the Green Zone, killing one person and wounding four. In Amiriyah on the capital's western outskirts, one person was killed and four wounded when a minibus hit a roadside bomb. A civilian was killed and four others wounded when a roadside bomb went off in western district of the capital. A car bomb caused an unknown number of casualties in the Sadr City district of east Baghdad on Tuesday. The bomb went off at a busy time late in the afternoon at a city square and traffic intersection. Gunmen in western Baghdad's Amriya neighborhood killed an employee working with Iraq's Facilities Protection Service. Baqubah: (near): A drive-by shooting killed three Iraqi day laborers and wounded four as they rode in a minibus to work at a farm near Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. Ain al- Tamur: Iraqi police found the bodies of four people, handcuffed, blindfolded and shot dead, in the town of Ain al- Tamur, about 90 km (55 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. Najaf: Four mortar rounds landed in different districts in Najaf wounding two people. Muqdadiya: Gunmen wounded three mechanics at a car repair shop in Muqdadiya, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Baquba. Balad Ruz: East of Baquba, in Balad Ruz, a bomb went off near the courthouse killing a 10-year-old boy and wounding two others. Mosul: Gunmen riding in a car shot and killed four ironsmiths and wounded one as they were riding in a pickup truck to work in Mosul. A former official of the Baath party was killed in a drive-by shooting in front of his house in Mosul. Kirkuk: A high school teacher was killed in a drive-by shooting on his way to work near Kirkuk. One person was wounded in two bombing attacks in the Kirkuk region. Local authorities located several bombs set to go off. In Kirkuk, a member of President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party working for the city education department was gunned down as he drove away from his home. Huwaijah: Gunmen showered a car driven by an army soldier in Al-Huwaijah. He was taken to hospital where he succumbed to his serious injuries. Ramadi: Two civilians were killed and three others, including two children, wounded when clashes erupted between U.S. forces and insurgents in Ramadi. Three mortar rounds landed on a house in the city of Ramadi wounding three people from one family. BUSH, BLAIR TO TRY TO ESCAPE IRAQ QUAGMIRE
Bush to meet Blair in Washington on Thursday: White House spokesman Tony Snow said the meeting will cover a "full range" of strategic issues, including "supporting the new Iraqi government, preventing Iran from acquiring the means to build nuclear weapons, bringing peace to the Middle East, ending the violence in Darfur and promoting free trade." (…) Snow added in an informal briefing with reporters Tuesday that while the leaders' agenda would be filled several pressing issues, recent events in Iraq would "top the agenda." "Obviously, he's going to talk about his conversations with (Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki) ... on what's going on in Iraq," the spokesman said. (…) Meanwhile, the British newspaper The Guardian reported Tuesday that Blair and Bush will discuss plans for an accelerated exit of troops from Iraq beginning in July and will seek the assistance of other governments to help with that ambitious timetable. A CRUCIAL ILLUSION At the end of this month Tony Blair flies to Washington to discuss with George W Bush how to escape. What was to be a neocon beacon of democratic stability has become a hell-hole of anarchy. Iraq is no longer just a mistake: it is the outcome of an intellectual and moral catastrophe from which the image of western democracy will take a generation to recover. Bush and Blair have been shielded from this truth by years of sycophantic briefing, but they cannot be shielded from opinion polls. The war is overwhelmingly unpopular on both sides of the Atlantic. Since both leaders are planning their departures, they are frantic to have the incubus removed from their shoulders. Iraq policy is a matter of dates. (…) A crucial illusion of American and British policy is that the occupation is somehow maintaining the integrity of the state and its government. It is not. It is undermining both. In truth there is no state and coalition troops are merely squatting in camps dotted across the landscape, emerging occasionally to kill or get killed. read in full… BUSH AND COMPANY IN THE INDIAN MONKEY TRAP The more we read news reports of continuing butchery in Iraq and Afghanistan, the more we get disappointed. Most of us — from dictators, such as General Musharraf, at the top to the common man in the United States and the Muslim world, have come to believe that there is no option but to submit to the will of Bush and company. The situation, however, is not that simple. I have a simple theory of Bush and company’s dilemma and the dichotomy. There is a device known as south Indian monkey trap. It is a coconut shell, tethered to a pole and with a hole in the centre. A small fruit or nut is put in it. Monkey will put its hand through the hole, grab hold of the fruit or nut. The hole is small enough that the monkey cannot take its hand out with the closed fist. The monkey is trapped, simply because it is not smart enough to release the nut so that it can escape, usually from certain death. Letting go the fruit can save their life. Usually monkeys don’t. Bush’s insistence to “stay the course” and the unrepentant Blair’s determination that he would "do it all again" shows that they won’t let the fruit go and are destined to pay the price in the near future. There are great advantages to changing the mind set than facing forced amputation or certain death. The signs are all around us that show that time for Bush, Blair and company to pay the price is fast approaching. read in full…
>> NEWS Yet another Zarqawi lieutenant/aide/deputy/associate captured: A suspected member of Al-Qaeda group in Iraq confessed on Jordanian television Tuesday to murdering last year a Jordanian driver in Iraq and abducting two Moroccan embassy employees. The Jordanian authorities announced Karbuli's arrest on Monday and identified the suspect as "an important figure in the Al-Qaeda in Iraq organisation led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi". >>REPORTS Video: Former U.S. Navy Senior Council Says Bush Administration Open To War Crime Charges Albert Moro in his first broadcast interview (BBC Newsnight 05/22/06) Acts of violence have killed nearly 2 500 people and forced more than 85 000 to flee their homes in Iraq, the United Nations assistance mission in Iraq said on Tuesday in a March-April report on the human rights situation. The fatality count was comprised of death certificates issued by the Baghdad morgue, the report said. SUNNI GROUP FORCES BOYCOTT OF IRANIAN GOODS Shopkeepers in the town of Hawije have pulled Iranian imports from their shelves after a militant group threatened to kill traders and burn down stores shops that failed to comply with a boycott. The threat came from a previously unknown group called the High Command for the Mujahidin, and was reportedly issued in several majority Sunni Arab cities in central Iraq, including Baqubah, Tikrit, Samarra and Fallujah. The group posted leaflets on the walls of mosques telling shopkeepers to boycott Iranian products from May 1 or suffer violent consequences. The group accused Iran of fuelling sectarian conflict in Iraq and of supporting the US interventions in both Iraq and Afghanistan. It also said Iran was exporting products that were past their sell-by date. read in full... >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS WHICH IS THE REAL IRAQ? Blair's view: 'We have a government of national unity that crosses all boundaries. Iraqi people are able to write the next chapter of their history themselves' - Tony Blair on a visit to Iraq yesterday Another view: Two car bombs explode in Baghdad, killing nine. At least 23 more die in attacks elsewhere, bringing the death toll in May to 848 as sectarian violence spreads. A frustrating aspect of writing about Iraq since the invasion is that the worse the situation becomes, the easier it is for Tony Blair or George Bush to pretend it is improving. That is because as Baghdad and Iraq, aside from the three Kurdish provinces, become the stalking ground for death squads and assassins, it is impossible to report the collapse of security without being killed doing so. read in full... GEORGE LEARNS A NEW WORD From the Associated Press today:
More than three years after the Iraq invasion, President Bush acknowledged to war-weary Americans Monday that the situation is improving only gradually and urged patience with "more days of challenge and loss." "Our progress is incremental," Bush said during a freewheeling question-and-answer session with restaurant industry representatives after a speech on Iraq and the war on terror. "Freedom is moving, but it's in incremental steps and the enemy's progress is almost instant on their TV screens." (…) Yet, with the new government facing security challenges and a host of other problems and the U.S. public increasingly disapproving of his leadership of the war, Bush repeatedly returned to the word "incremental" to describe progress there. (…)
That's impressive -- he's up to four syllables now! Unfortunately, it takes so much concentration for him to spit out words of that length, he sometimes loses track of their meaning. In this case, I think he meant to say that our progress in Iraq is "negligible" or "microscopic," or perhaps "nonexistent." Or maybe just "irrelevant" ... read in full… "IT'S OUT OF CONTROL" Whole neighborhoods are lawless, too dangerous for police. Some roads are so bomb-laden that U.S. troops won't use them. Guerrillas attack U.S. troops nearly every time they venture out - and hit their bases with gunfire, rockets or mortars when they don't. Though not powerful enough to overrun U.S. positions, insurgents here in the heart of the Sunni Muslim triangle have fought undermanned U.S. and Iraqi forces to a virtual stalemate. "It's out of control," says Army Sgt. 1st Class Britt Ruble, behind the sandbags of an observation post in the capital of Anbar province. "We don't have control of this ... we just don't have enough boots on the ground." read in full… IRAQ DOCTOR BRINGS EVIDENCE OF US NAPALM AT FALLUJAH Evidence to support controversial claims that napalm has been used by US forces in Iraq has been brought to Australia by an Iraqi doctor. Dr Salam Ismael, of the Baghdad-based group Doctors for Iraq, said the evidence pointed to the use of napalm on civilians during the second siege of Fallujah in November 2004. It is contained in film and photographs that doctors took of bodies they collected when they were finally allowed to enter the city after being barred for three days of the military operation. "We said that napalm had been used, because napalm is a bomb which is a fuel bomb that burns only on the exposed part of the body, so that the clothes will not be affected," Dr Ismael said from Perth at the start of a speaking tour. Doctors For Iraq, an independent group founded in 2003, is calling for an international investigation that would allow the bodies to be exhumed for autopsies "because we want to know the truth of what happened". read in full... STATE DEPARTMENT MEMO: "16 WORDS" WERE FALSE Sixteen days before President Bush’s January 28, 2003, State of the Union address in which he said that the US learned from British intelligence that Iraq had attempted to acquire uranium from Africa - an explosive claim that helped pave the way to war - the State Department told the CIA that the intelligence the uranium claims were based upon were forgeries, according to a newly declassified State Department memo. The revelation of the warning from the closely guarded State Department memo is the first piece of hard evidence and the strongest to date that the Bush administration manipulated and ignored intelligence information in their zeal to win public support for invading Iraq. The memo says: "On January 12, 2003," the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) "expressed concerns to the CIA that the documents pertaining to the Iraq-Niger deal were forgeries." read in full… >> BEYOND IRAQ IRAN DEPLOYS ITS WAR MACHINE Accordingly, Iran has been quietly restructuring its military, while carrying out a series of military exercises testing its new military dogma. In December, more than 15,000 members of the regular armed forces participated in war games in northwestern Iran's strategically sensitive East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan border provinces that focused on irregular warfare carried out by highly mobile and speedy army units. In another telling development, a second exercise was launched in the majority-Arab province of Khuzestan, reportedly aimed at quelling insurgencies in areas subject to ethnic unrest and prone to foreign influence. Involving 100,000 troops, the exercise provided a taste of how the Islamic Republic would respond to further disturbances in the strategic, oil-rich province. The exercise came on the heels of news that the irregular Basij forces that led Iran's offensives against Iraq were being bolstered by so-called Ashura battalions with riot-control training. It is all part of a fundamental transition that Iran's Revolutionary Guard (RG) is undergoing as it moves away from focusing on waging its defense of the country on the borders - unrealistic in view of the vast territory that requires securing and the gulf separating Iranian and US military capabilities - and toward drawing the enemy into the heartland and defeating it with asymmetrical tactics. (…) Foreign diplomats who monitor Iran's army make it clear that Iran's leadership has acknowledged it stands little chance of defeating the US Army with conventional military doctrine. The shift in focus to guerrilla warfare against an occupying army in the aftermath of a successful invasion mirrors developments in Iraq, where a triumphant US campaign has been followed by three years of slow hemorrhaging at the hands of insurgents. (…) "The US is being completely ridiculous. While it wishes to police the region, it is dealing with a country that is significantly more powerful than Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Vietnam, and every other country bar Germany that it has ever fought," said Abdurrahman Shayyal. read in full… THE IMPERIAL NUCLEAR ORDER There is a certain logic to the possible American use of nuclear weapons against Iran. As we have pointed out time and again, Iran is the real prize in the current war on West Asia. With countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan in the American pocket, with Syria greatly weakened, and with Afghanistan and Iraq vanquished, Iran is the only remaining obstacle in the way of unchallenged and unchallengeable U.S.-Israeli hegemony in the region. As the U.S. sinks into a quagmire in Iraq while Iran gains much influence there, a powerful body of opinion in and around the White House now exists that a direct assault on Iran and consequent weakening of it is essential if the U.S. is to stabilise its position even in Iraq. The great pressure from Israel for the U.S. to act - and act quickly as well as decisively - is of course there. More recently, a formidable combination of Arab/Sunni client regimes, from Saudi Arabia and Jordan to Egypt and Algeria, has arisen to warn the U.S. that it (and they), face the gruesome prospect of what the Jordanian king calls "the rise of a Shia crescent" led by Iran and comprised of its allies in Iraq as well as the restive, pro-Iranian Shia populations in Lebanon, Bahrain, Kuwait, the eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia and elsehwere; bombing Iran back to Stone Age is the only solution. But why nuclear weapons? Why not "Shock and Awe" of the sort we witnessed in the case of Iraq, just on a much grander scale? The objective that governs the policy decisions regarding use of the so-called "tactical" nuclear weapons against Iran shall be essentially the same as in the case of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs: obtaining a quick surrender by a still powerful enemy which would now be facing savage, overwhelming, unanswerable power. The U.S. knows that at the end of an eight-year war that took a million lives, Iran eventually sued for peace only when Saddam Hussein started spraying the Irani ground forces with chemical and biological weapons from the air, indiscriminately, for which Iran had no answer. This past experience provides a further impetus for nuclear escalation, all the way. The immediate argument being trotted out (with or without evidence, even against a great deal of evidence) by the weaponeers is (a) that Iran has nuclear facilities buried so deep that the most powerful of the conventional bombs cannot penetrate and (b) that the modern-day, new-generation mini-nukes are "safe for the civilian population". This conception of a "safe-for-civilian nuke" is actually no more credible today than the claim President Harry Truman made about the safety of nuclear bombs when he was about to use them in Hiroshima and Nagasaki:
"We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. It may be the fire destruction prophesied in the Euphrates Valley Era, after Noah and his fabulous Ark.... This weapon is to be used against Japan.... [We] will use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children. Even if the Japs are savages, ruthless, merciless and fanatic, we as the leader of the world for the common welfare cannot drop that terrible bomb on the old capital or the new. ... The target will be a purely military one."
read in full... QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Why even discuss the so-called 'Iraqi government'? No such thing exists outside the realm of propaganda. To write about this or that Green Zone politician, or even to criticize the impotence, ineptitude and corruption of this group of puppets, is to promote the narrative of the puppetmasters. If people are talking and writing about an Iraqi government, then there must be one, and if there is one (especially a weak, pathetic one), then there is a purpose for the continuing occupation other than murder, destruction, pillage and plunder.” -- comment posted by John C. at Just World News, May 21, 2006 10:17 PM


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