DAILY WAR NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, May 31, 2006
: An Iraqi mother crying after US soldiers have left her Baghdad house arresting her four sons (Assafir, 5/29/06).
Bring 'em on
: Spc. J. Adan Garcia, 20, of Irving, Texas, died on May 27 in the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., of injuries sustained May 22 in Baghdad, Iraq, when his convoy encountered small arms fire received while returning from an explosive ordnance mission. Garcia was assigned to the 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y. (Defenselink)
Bring 'em on
: A roadside bomb struck a Japanese-Australian patrol in northern Samawah, on the Euphrates River about 230 miles southeast of Baghdad, damaging the last vehicle of the convoy and slightly wounding an Iraqi man who was selling ice, the man told AP Television News. It wasn't clear if there were any casualties among the troops.
Some 1,500 more troops have arrived in Iraq's western Anbar province to help with the war against militant rebels in Anbar's capital, Ramadi.
USA Today reporter Kimberly Johnson talks to Steve Inskeep about the situation there. She is the only western reporter embedded with the U.S. Marines in Ramadi [no less than the notorious Kilo Company; according to Johnson's NPR report mentioned above, the April total of attacks in Ramadi equals all three previous months combined, resulting in patrols being carried out at night only, because during the day the Marines "usually receive combat action in every foot patrol" - zig].
The US military said today two Iraqi women were shot to death in a city north of Baghdad after coalition forces fired at a car that failed to stop at an observation post.
The statement came after Iraqi police said a pregnant woman and her cousin were killed by American troops as they were driving to a maternity hospital in Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
At least 40 corpses, shot in the head and showing signs of torture, found in different locations around Iraq.
The largest cache of 16 bodies turned up in Baladiyat in the eastern outskirts of Baghdad, while five were found in Husseiniya, northeast of the capital. Another four were found in Baghdad's impoverished Shiite district of Sadr City, three decapitated bodies were discovered in Muqdadiya, northeast of the capital and another 12 around Baghdad.
Gunmen killed a Shiite muazzin, the man who calls for the five daily prayers, as he was leaving his house to go to the Imam Ali Mosque in southwestern Baghdad.
A roadside bomb hit a joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol on the highway near the Dora Refinery in southern Baghdad
and the area was blocked off. No casualties were immediately reported.
Gunmen killed Ali Jaafar, sports anchorman for Iraqi state television, as he left his home in Baghdad.
Reporters Without Borders voiced its condolences to the family of TV sports presenter Jaafar Ali, who was gunned down this morning in Baghdad. He was the third journalist to be killed in Iraq in the space of 48 hours and the 11th employee of the national TV station Al-Iraqiya to be killed since the start of the war in March 2003.Two policemen were seriously wounded when a roadside bomb went off near their patrol in Baghdad.
Masked gunmen killed a real estate broker, a baker and the owner of a convenience store in separate attacks in Baghdad.
Four civilians were killed during clashes that erupted between insurgents and policemen in northern Baghdad.
Seven people, including policemen, were wounded.
Defence Ministry adviser Muaid al-Jouburi escaped unharmed when gunmen attacked his motorcade in western Baghdad.
Three of his bodyguards were wounded.
(South of): Iraqi police found the bodies of four poeple with bullet wounds in their bodies in an area 65 km south of Baghdad.
The former governor of Diwaniyah city south of Baghdad was killed in a drive-by shooting
that also wounded two of his guards.
A bomb hidden in an air conditioner exploded in the mayor's office in Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles north of Baghdad, killing the mayor
, Sheik Allaywi Farhan al-Dulaimi, a member of the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party, and wounding three of his guards. Provincial Gov. Raad Rashid al-Mula Jawad imposed a curfew on the city and deployed Iraqi army forces there.
Gunmen killed two police officers in two different incidents in Tikrit on Tuesday.
A parked car packed with explosives hit a police patrol in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, killing at least five policemen and wounding 14, including a senior officer.
A suicide car bomber tried to ram into an Iraqi army checkpoint in a village west of Mosul, but Iraqi soldiers opened fire, killing the driver.
Iraqi police found a corpse bearing signs of torture with gunshot wounds in his head in Kirkuk.
Gunmen killed a civilian and wounded two others outside a mobile shop in Kirkuk.
Six civilians were seriously wounded when three mortar rounds landed in a crowded market in the town of Hawija
, 70 km (40 miles) southwest of Kirkuk.
An Iraqi soldier was killed and four others were wounded when a roadside bomb went off near their patrol in Khalidiya
, 85 km west of Baghdad.
Three people were killed and 10 others were wounded in Ramadi
, although the circumstances were unclear.
Iraqi PM declares state of emergency for a month in Basra.
Pentagon reports frequency of insurgent attacks in Iraq is at its highest level since commanders began tracking such figures two years ago.
In its quarterly update to Congress, the Pentagon reports that throughout Iraq from Feb. 11 to May 12, insurgents staged an average of more than 600 attacks a week. From August 2005 to early February, when Iraqis elected a Parliament, insurgent attacks averaged about 550 a week. Before the United States handed over sovereignty in the spring of 2004, the attacks averaged about 400 a week.
RESISTANCE ATTACKS CUT BAGHDAD PETROLEUM SUPPLIES
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.
"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.
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.
Since the US-led invasion of March 2003, Baghdad residents have always suffered from a lack of electricity, with some neighborhoods receiving power only one hour out of five.
read in full...
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
DAHR JAMAIL: COUNTLESS MASSACRES IN IRAQ
The media feeding frenzy around what has been referred to as "Iraq's My Lai" has become frenetic. Focus on US Marines slaughtering at least 20 civilians in Haditha last November is reminiscent of the media spasm around the "scandal" of Abu Ghraib during April and May 2004.
Yet just like Abu Ghraib, while the media spotlight shines squarely on the Haditha massacre, countless atrocities continue daily, conveniently out of the awareness of the general public. Torture did not stop simply because the media finally decided, albeit in horribly belated fashion, to cover the story, and the daily slaughter of Iraqi civilians by US forces and US-backed Iraqi "security" forces had not stopped either.
Earlier this month, I received a news release from Iraq, which read, "On Saturday, May 13th, 2006, at 10:00 p.m., US Forces accompanied by the Iraqi National Guard attacked the houses of Iraqi people in the Al-Latifya district south of Baghdad by an intensive helicopter shelling. This led the families to flee to the Al-Mazar and water canals to protect themselves from the fierce shelling. Then seven helicopters landed to pursue the families who fled ... and killed them. The number of victims amounted to more than 25 martyrs. US forces detained another six persons including two women named Israa Ahmed Hasan and Widad Ahmed Hasan, and a child named Huda Hitham Mohammed Hasan, whose father was killed during the shelling."
The report from the Iraqi NGO called The Monitoring Net of Human Rights in Iraq (MHRI) continued, "The forces didn't stop at this limit. They held an attack on May 15th, 2006, supported also by the Iraqi National Guards. They also attacked the families' houses, and arrested a number of them while others fled. US snipers then used the homes to target more Iraqis. The reason for this crime was due to the downing of a helicopter in an area close to where the forces held their attack."
The US military preferred to report the incident as an offensive where they killed 41 "insurgents," a line effectively parroted by much of the media. (...)
read in full...
2006: THE YEAR THE CARVING OF IRAQ GOES INTO EFFECT
At some point in the next few weeks and months, officials in Basra will proclaim:
"Why is the central government not helping us? Why are you forsaking us? Then to hell with you, we will take matters into our hands, we don't need Baghdad."
And the first real sign of break-up will become visible. Dear reader, do not misunderstand, the signs of the break-up of Iraq emerged on April 9, when Saddam's statue was torn down.
Now, Iran, of course will delight in this. Iran in the 1980s' War sought to gobble up the south of Iraq and create an Islamic Republic there. Well, thanks to the moron Americans in the Bush White house and their vagabond army of bloggers and pro-war pundits, Iran is getting its wish.
Iran is also getting its wish in Saddam's trial. He is not standing trial for crimes against Iraqis but for upsetting an Iranian assassination attempt using Iraqi proxies in the south of Iraq in 1982. Had Saddam died in Dujail, chaos would have ensued and the Iranian military would have seized Iraq. This is Iranian payback, not justice for the Iraqi people.
An obscene miscarriage of justice to the Iraqi people. This trial is for Iran's benefit make no mistake about it.
Now, when Basra moves towards secession, the Kurds will say:
"Hell, we wanted to do that too but we thought we would give Iraqi unity a chance and now you Iraqis don't want to be unified? To hell with you." And they will move towards secession as well.
So, all this would be timed around the time judgment will be passed (it already has been passed - Iran has decided that Saddam will be executed). See, violence will not abate at all. Death squads will roam freely. The resistance will fight back against US and Iranian occupation.
Militia will continue to kill doctors and scientists. And the Baghdad government will say we can't do anything about Basra.
Iraq, which is both Iran and Israel's greatest threat will be done with. And Iran and Israel will proceed to carve up the rest of the Middle East.
Democracy and liberty and so-called economic prosperity will lie in the sandpits of the western deserts of Iraq along with the faces of Bush and Blair who asked the world to support Iraq.
Today I watched the Kurdish foreign minister of Iraq, Hoshiar Zebari berate the Arab World for not congratulating the formation of the new Iraqi government.
Sorry, Hoshi, the Arabs know your plots. But it seems, Americans, at least, the lay person do not.
So, to the next moron to send me an email or comment telling me the kids of Alpharetta, GA or Federal Way, WA died for freedom in Iraq, I will say shut up and learn to say that in Farsi (that's Persian, Joe!) because those kids got their heads blown off for Iran.
FOR IRAN. Git?
read in full...
BADR GROUPS MOVE FROM TROUBLED PAST TO UNCERTAIN FUTURE
It could be instructive to recall that the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and its armed wing, the Badr Corps, arose from a conference of Iraqi opposition parties called in Iran in 1982.
The Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) was a breakaway faction of the Da'wa movement that had been outlawed in Iraq.
The Badr Corps, estimated before the war to be approximately 10,000 to 15,000 strong was similarly outlawed, along with its parent organisation, the SCIRI. The Badr Corps was considered a terrorist group by Saddam's regime.
But in 2002 and 2003, the SCIRI and the Badr Corps, also known as the Badr militia, joined negotiations with United States officials, including now ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad over the liberation of Iraq.
During initial negotiations, it was proposed that the Badr Corps would participate in the invasion of Iraq alongside U.S. troops. That plan was abandoned in January 2003. It was decided at this time that the United States would temporarily administer Iraq, through what became the Coalition Provisional Authority.
At this January meeting, Ayatollah Bakir al-Hakim from the Badr Corps (who was killed in August 2003) told Zalmay Khalilzad that if the United States presence began to appear like an occupation, he would order his forces to attack Coalition troops.
Badr groups have emerged now from those controversial origins. Members of the Badr Corps, now known as the Badr Organisation, reflected on the change, and how it came about, in the course of several conversations with IPS.
A Badr member who gave his name as Abu Haider told IPS that while the group did not participate in the initial invasion, the Badr Corps swiftly joined the coalition forces "to destroy Saddam's regime."
Soon after the invasion two militant Shia groups became visible in Iraq - the Badr Corps and Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army. These groups have long been engaged in conflict with one another, each vying for control over Iraq's Shia majority. (...)
read in full...
U.S. GENERAL "MAD AS HELL" AT RUMSFELD
A senior American general who served as a combat commander in Iraq has accused the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, of squandering the lives of United States soldiers by ignoring military advice on how to conduct the campaign.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph
, Major General John Batiste, who resigned last year after 12 months stationed in Iraq's Sunni Triangle, said the Pentagon chief had caused "unnecessary deaths" by committing "strategic blunders of enormous magnitude".
His outspoken comments come as the US military death toll in Iraq approaches 2,500, and put him at the forefront of the chorus of former generals who have called in recent months for Rumsfeld to step down.
Unlike most of his colleagues, who are expected to settle back into comfortable and low-key retirement after making their point, General Batiste has no intention of keeping quiet.
Instead, the former career soldier, who resigned last year after commanding 22,000 troops of the US Army's 1st Infantry Division, is planning a sustained public offensive aimed at driving Rumsfeld from office.
"I'm as mad as hell," he said. "I'm not stopping. They can hand wave me off, dismiss me, but I'm coming back, again and again and again until there is some accountability."
The transformation of a once loyal soldier into an outspoken rebel is a stark indicator of the growing disquiet at the heart of America's military establishment, and will renew the pressure on President George W. Bush to replace his defence chief.
read in full...
Forecasting in business or similar endeavors is hard enough. What market share will a certain company have in 2008? How many of a certain product will be sold in 2010? How could you possibly know? It depends on a thousand factors, involving everything that company does between now and then, everything each one of their competitors does, what the economy itself does, and so on. Yet analysts do quite a lucrative business making exactly such forecasts, always making out that they know the future with remarkable certainty even when their past predictions have proven inaccurate.
How much more ludicrous, then, is a forecast like this:
The Pentagon report said the strength of insurgents aiming to drive U.S.-led foreign forces out of Iraq "will likely remain steady throughout 2006 but that their appeal and motivation for continued violent action will begin to wane in early 2007."
Isn't it funny how the waning of the insurgency, or the decrease in American troop strength, is always six months away, no matter when you ask the question?
IRAQI CHILDREN USED AS DETERRENTS, ALSO KNOWN AS HUMAN SHIELDS
A reader, Mark from Ireland sent me an article from Military.com.
An excerpt from the article:
"In Iraq, repetition of any sort could be an invitation of the wrong sort - an event for which insurgents could plan. So Mayer and Schuller took out some of the candy they carried, thinking that if children were around, perhaps the terrorists wouldn't attack."
The article later shows the US soldiers thinking fondly of the children, who served as reprieve from the horrors of war.
But let us examine the aforementioned excerpt. "...if children were around, perhaps the terrorists wouldn't attack".
Therefore, the children were being used as deterrents against attack, correct?
And if so, were they notified of being used as deterrents against attack? Were their parents notified?
The Iraqi children were used as deterrents, also known as human shields. Children were intentionally and willfully brought into the vicinity of US soldiers who knew they are targets for attack and who knew that if they were attacked there could result collateral damage.
It is a brilliant strategy - the resistance targets US troops, Iraqi children get killed, news headline screams "Insurgents killed Iraqi children", subheading reads "US troops passing out candy". American public goes "awwwwww" for the troops' kindness. American public gets outraged against the Iraqi fighters and deems US troop presence necessary to protect Iraq's children.
read in full...
RIVERBEND: VIVA MUQTADA...
I listened to [Muqtada Al-Sadr's] fatwa [prohibiting football (soccer)], with him getting emotional about playing football, and I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Foreign occupation and being a part of a puppet government- those things are ok. Football, however, will be the end of civilization as we know it, according to Muqtada. It's amusing- they look nothing alike- yet he reminds me so much of Bush. He can barely string two sentences together properly and yet, millions of people consider his word law. So when Bush raves about the new 'fledgling Iraqi government' 'freely elected' into power, you can take a look at Muqtada and see one of the fledglings. He is currently one of the most powerful men in the country for his followers.
So this is democracy. This is one of the great minds of Bush's democratic Iraq.
Sadr's militia control parts of Iraq now. Just a couple of days ago, his militia, with the help of Badr, were keeping women from visiting the market in the southern city of Karbala. Women weren't allowed in the marketplace and shop owners were complaining that their businesses were suffering. Welcome to the new Iraq.
It's darkly funny to see what we've turned into, and it is also anguishing. Muqtada Al-Sadr is a measure of how much we've regressed these last three years. Even during the Iran-Iraq war and the sanctions, people turned to sports to keep their mind off of day-to-day living. After the occupation, we won a football match against someone or another and we'd console ourselves with "Well we lose wars- but we win football!" From a country that once celebrated sports- football (soccer) especially- to a country that worries if the male football players are wearing long enough shorts or whether all sports fans will face eternal damnation... That's what we've become.
read in full...
LIONS LED BY DONKEYS
There is a goddam world of difference between asking a man to risk his life to defend the nation and waste his life proving a point.
That these unquestioning war devotees will not sacrifice their lives, their comfort, their safety: that's hardly a sin in modern society. But they are not even willing to risk emotional discomfort
by admitting their faith has been misplaced. That they will not even risk this, this tiny, tiny thing ... that is the sin. It is not that that you're not risking your life. It's that you are risking nothing.
The problem is, there is no single
word in English for a man risking absolutely nothing,
someone else risk absolutely everything.
I'm sure there's a word in German -- they are a whizzer with those kicky compound nouns -- but none in English for that precise combination.
So, for now, we must let "chickenhawk
" be its placeholder.
read in full...
>> BEYOND IRAQ
In Zabul, rebels battled U.S. forces
, though it was not immediately clear whether there were any militant casualties, said coalition spokesman Maj. Quentin Innis.
Hundreds of suspected Taliban fighters attacked a remote central Afghan town Wednesday and briefly occupied its police headquarters after driving out security forces.
The militants took control of the police compound in the Uruzgan province town of Chora around dawn Wednesday, after hours of fighting with 100 police inside the headquarters, said Rozi Khan, the regional police chief. The militants left the compound by late morning after torching police vehicles, but fighters remained in the area and police weren't immediately returning to Chora, Khan said, citing witnesses in the town. "If our police go there, they'll be ambushed," Khan said by phone from the region. Khan said no police were wounded in the battle. He had no details on militant casualties.
Taliban guerrillas have killed at least a dozen Afghan police and abducted up to 40 others in two separate attacks in the south of the country.
Canada is not at war in Afghanistan, says Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor.
Fighting violent insurgents is just one task among many for Canadian soldiers trying to bring stability to the troubled country, O'Connor told a Commons committee Tuesday.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "By the time we're done America may very make look Nazi Germany look like Switzerland" -- comment by still here at Information Clearinghouse 05.29.06 - 10:21 pm