Friday, June 23, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR FRIDAY, June 23, 2006 Photo: A U.S. soldier takes position near Haifa street, where U.S. soldiers and Iraqi troops clash with gunmen in Baghdad June 23, 2006. REUTERS/Namir Noor-Eldeen (IRAQ) Bring ‘em on: Two U.S. Marines were killed during combat in the volatile Anbar province. Bring ‘em on: A U.S. marine was killed in combat action in Iraq's western Anbar province The marine. assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, was killed on Wednesday as a result of "enemy action" in Anbar province. Bring ‘em on: Two U.S. soldiers were killed on Friday when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb southeast of Baghdad, the U.S. army said in a statement. Iraqi government declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew after insurgent gunmen set up roadblocks in central Baghdad and opened fire on U.S. and Iraqi troops just north of the heavily fortified Green Zone. With just two hours notice, the prime minister ordered everyone off the streets of the capital from 2 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Saturday. U.S. and Iraqi forces also were engaged in firefights with insurgents in the dangerous Dora neighbourhood in south Baghdad. Throughout the morning Friday, Iraqi and U.S. military forces clashed with attackers who were armed with rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades and rifles in busy Haifa Street that runs into the Green Zone, site of the U.S. and British embassies and the Iraqi government. Two Iraqi soldiers and a policeman were wounded in the fighting, said police Lt. Maitham Abdul Razzaq said.
Fighting with guns and mortars in central Baghdad on Friday left at least eight Iraqi security forces wounded, Interior Ministry sources said. Three policemen and five army soldiers were wounded in the clashes with gunmen. Witnesses said the fighting was also between Shi'ite militiamen loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and U.S. troops along the former rebel stronghold of Haifa street. There was no immediate comment from the U.S. military.
Four members of Mehdi Army associated to al-Sadr were shot dead in Baghdad's Haifa Street, as they led Shiite worshippers from Sadr City to the Baratha mosque for prayers. Gunmen attacked a group of worshippers marching from Sadr City, to the Buratha mosque on the other side of the city to protest a suicide attack a week ago on the revered Shiite shrine. At least one marcher was killed and four were wounded.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: Police said they found the bodies of five men who apparently were victims of a mass kidnapping from a factory on Wednesday. The bodies, which showed signs of torture and had their hands and legs bound, were floating in a canal in northern Baghdad. Gunmen killed an engineer who worked at Baghdad airport in a drive-by-shooting in western Baghdad. Police discovered the bodies of four men who had been handcuffed and shot. The dead men, all between 30 and 25, were found in the north Baghdad district of Kazimiyah. A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol in the Dora region of southern Baghdad killed a police officer and wounded four others. Police found the body of a man who had been shot in the head and chest in central Baghdad. The bodies of two women in their mid-20s who had been shot in the head were found in an eastern Baghdad drainage canal. Police found the bodies of four bullet-riddled and handcuffed men wearing civilian clothes in the northern Baghdad suburb of Kazimiyah. A roadside bomb exploded in the suburb of Kazimiyah, sparking a fire in two discount clothing stores. A Shiite worshipper was killed and three wounded when gunmen ambushed them in central Baghdad's Al-Fadhr neighbourhood on their way to the mosque. The elder Branchetti, also of Cape Coral, said this morning that his son's flight from Baghdad International Airport to Kuwait was delayed about 10 hours Thursday because insurgents attacked the airport with mortars. Latifiya: Two policemen were killed when gunmen ambushed their patrol in Latifya south of Baghdad. Bohriz: A roadside bomb targeting an army checkpoint in the village of Bohriz wounded three civilians. Police said the soldiers then opened fire, wounding 11 civilians. Hibhib: At least 12 people were killed and 20 others wounded when a roadside bomb went off outside a Sunni mosque as worshippers were leaving Friday prayers, police said. The bomb went off a few metres from the Sunni Hibhib Al-Kabir mosque in the village of Hibhib, close to the city of Baquba. Kut: In other parts of the country Thursday, police reported 13 other deaths tied to insurgent or death squad attacks, including six bodies that floated to the surface of the Tigris River in Kut, a city 100 miles southeast of Baghdad. Basra: Iraqi police say more than 10 civilians were killed on Friday when a car bomb exploded near a gas station in the city of Basra. Witnesses said they saw several bodies that were transported after the incident. Nine Iraqi civilians were wounded in a rocket attack shortly after midnight on a British military base in Basra. Mosul: At least 25 people also have been killed gangland-style in Mosul this week, with residents gunned down in ones and twos and bodies found scattered throughout Iraq's third-largest city. Kirkuk: The sister of the former speaker of the Iraqi parliament, Hajim Al-Hassani, was wounded when gunmen attacked her near her home. Fallujah: The U.S. military said it killed four foreign insurgents in a raid north of Fallujah. Two of the dead men had 15-pound suicide bombs strapped to their bodies. The military said an insurgent thought to be an Iraqi also was killed in the raid. >> NEWS Iraq released 500 detainees from the infamous Abu Ghraib prison, the fifth batch to be freed as part of a national reconciliation plan. >> REPORTS Senior U.S. intelligence officials said they have no evidence that Iraq produced chemical weapons after the 1991 Gulf War, despite recent reports from media outlets and Republican lawmakers. A soldier assigned to the Multi-National Division Baghdad, died due to non-combat incident, the military said, without giving details. >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS A RECIPE FOR SUDDEN, SWEEPING AND CERTAIN VICTORY About a month ago, I noted that presidential hopeful John McCain had come up with a bold new plan to achieve victory in Iraq. Said McCain:
"One of the things I would do if I were President would be to sit the Shiites and the Sunnis down and say, 'Stop the bullshit.'"
I was, obviously, bowled over by its tactical brilliance. Now Rich Lowry has chimed in with an equally ingenious adjunct to the McCain approach. Behold the long sought after solution [emphasis mine]:
If we were to announce tomorrow that we aren't leaving Iraq for another 10 years, the war would be all but over. Since the insurgents' strategy is based on getting us to leave prematurely, it would be a major blow to them, and it would embolden everyone who is sitting on the fence, afraid that we might leave. Just a thought...
Now either one of these plans would probably succeed on their own, but together? A veritable juggernaut of missions accomplished, flight deck landings, parades and ticker tape. And yet, to date, neither Bush nor Khalilzad has had the courage or foresight to announce an insurgency-crushing ten year commitment, nor hold a high level meeting to dispense a little civil war-halting, "Stop the bullshit" straight talk to the Shiites and Sunnis. Given these facts, I think it's safe to say that Bush is more incompetent than even the most outlandish caricature would have it. link EVERYTHING IS WONDERFUL NOW Now, considering the crappy conditions that pass for life in Baghdad nowadays, how bad would it have to get for the government to declare a state of emergency?
The Iraqi government declared a state of emergency in Baghdad Friday, the prime minister's office said, after clashes broke out in a central district. It also imposed a 2 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew, sending residents of the capital scrambling to get home before it took effect. The prime minister's office did not immediately give more details about the state of emergency, but it was announced after police said gunmen opened fire on a joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol in the Shwaka district of central Baghdad. The patrolling forces returned fire and sealed off the area as they clashed with the gunmen, Iraqi army Maj. Ihssan Abdul Hamza said.
Ah, freedom. The Iraqis must be so happy to have the government confining them to their homes - most of which do not have electricity most of the time - for 18 hours a day. read in full... CBS BEEFS UP US PROPAGANDA 'General: Iran Planting Bombs In Iraq' - this is the CBS/AP headline currently appearing here on the CBS News website. However nowhere within the story is their a quote from the General to back up this clear statement to the effect that Iran has now entered the war in Iraq. What he does say is this:
"We are quite confident that the Iranians through their covert special ops forces are providing weapons, IED technology and training to Shia extremist groups in Iraq," Casey said at a Pentagon press conference with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld by his side.
Casey went so far as to accuse the Iranian government of helping mastermind the attacks.
"Now you would assume they're not doing that independently, that there is some central direction from somebody in Tehran," Casey said.
It's nothing more than the usual narrative - spiced up a little to serve as a timely justification for keeping US forces in Iraq despite growing US opposition [53% seek a timetable for withdrawal]. Clearly the US has zero evidence to back up its claims. However this hasn't stopped CBS from doing all it can to make matters worse - with a headline that serves not to expose US military/government propaganda - but to boost it. The accompanying 1 minute 38 second video 'news' report does the same. So much for the lessons learned in the run-up to the Iraq war. link THE HEIGHT OF HUMILIATION Within months of the occupation of Iraq, complaints surfaced of human rights violations in prisons administered by occupation authorities. It took almost a year and published photographs of horrific incidents of torture in Abu Ghraib before the world began to heed the voices of detainees and those trying to defend them. Today, four years into the Anglo- American occupation, tens of thousands of Iraqis are still languishing in prison without charge, no trial in sight, deprived of the right to contest the grounds of their detention before judicial authorities. For various reasons, Iraqi women, too, have been caught up in the sweep of detentions and account for a goodly percentage of detainees, not only in Abu Ghraib, but in many other prisons. In addition to suffering the same hardships as male inmates, the women endure another plight: silence. The plight is two-fold, emanating, first, from the occupation authorities' denial that there are female detainees to begin with, and second from the nature of the stigma surrounding the arrest and detention of women. I will discuss here obfuscations surrounding the existence of "female security detainees" and the pretexts cited by occupation authorities for detaining them. I will then address how women are treated during the arrest and interrogation process, for their ordeal does not begin in prison but rather from the moment security forces descend upon them. read in full... DISMEMBERING THE BODY POLITIC IN IRAQ The US and British leaders may be getting domestic flak for their perceived mistakes in Iraq, but some observers in the Arab world see them as being quite successful - in carrying out a well-calculated plan to divide the country. The debate dates back to July 13, 2003, when the Iraqi Governing Council was formed under Paul Bremer, the US administrator. Sectarianism and ethnic extremism were strengthened in that council and various laws have since encouraged an aggressive sectarianism leading to a fierce militia war. Anis Mansour, an Egyptian editor and author, believes the US is following the historical British policy of divide and rule. He says: "What we are seeing now is just the beginning of a scheme to split the country up into regions. "It is not true that the US has failed. It did what it wanted to do and this will last for a long time. "It will stay the same whether a Democratic or a Republican president is to follow [George] Bush." read in full... US: DANGER, DANGER EVERYWHERE On three occasions since the end of World War II - in 1950, 1976 and 2004 - elite citizen committees have organized to warn the United States of what they viewed as looming threats to national security. These three Committees on the Present Danger (CPD) aimed to ratchet up the level of fear among the US public and policy community. In each case, the committees leveraged fear in attempts to increase military budgets, to mobilize the country for war, and to beat back isolationist, anti-interventionist and realist forces in US politics. (...) Like its two predecessors, the current CPD aims to create widespread public and policy community support for higher military budgets and expanded troop deployment to meet the "present danger". By raising fears that the Soviet Union represented an imminent threat to national security, the previous CPDs succeeded in isolating and impugning the credibility of the political leaders and public intellectuals who favored constructive engagement with the Soviet Union rather than a Cold War of global militarization. In both cases, the CPDs discredited the less politicized, more objective "threat assessments" prepared by the CIA, the State Department and the Pentagon. The third CPD also aims to raise the level of fear among Americans by declaring that the United States is immersed in World War IV, but has not yet committed adequate resources to the global battle. But after five years of exaggerated threat assessments from the neo-conservatives and the Bush administration - many of which have already been publicly exposed, such as the weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein-Osama bin Laden ties that proved baseless in Iraq - the CPD faces a major challenge in winning acceptance for its call for the US government to expand its misdirected "war on terrorism" and its missionary crusade to spread "freedom and liberty". The new Committee on the Present Danger may be the first CPD that is unable to sell its alarmist version of the "present danger". read in full... >> BEYOND IRAQ Afghanistan: A convoy including Danish army commander-in-chief Hans Jesper Helso was hit by a roadside bomb near Feyzabad in northeast Afghanistan, the Danish central army command said. One soldier suffered slight injuries in the attack and a light-armoured patrol vehicle was damaged. WELCOMED OR WANTED? I had to smile when I learned that Mr George W. Bush's visit to Vienna had resulted in a large number of posters appearing in that City showing a photograph of Mr Bush with the legend "The Mass Murderer". We all know that he fits that description perfectly, but what we do not really know is why he has come to the European Union meeting of heads of government. There is vague talk in the media of his coming to "patch up" relations with the E.U., but it looks unlikely that he will do anything to satisfy the very reasonable European demands that he should close his concentration and death camp at Guantánamo Bay. Even his servile Scottish side-kick has dared to suggest that perhaps it should be closed forthwith, and other heads of government have spoken out more clearly against this "juridical black hole". As a European, I am disgusted and ashamed that such a criminal as this, and his wife, should have been greeted so warmly by the Austrian Chancellor, whose country currently occupies the presidency of the Union, and allowed into meetings of the E.U., shortly after his fellow criminal, the former Gauleiter of Jerusalem, had been welcomed by several of these same European "leaders". Mr Bush is only wanted by most Europeans in the dock at The Hague, together with his acolytes, and not wanted at meetings where all he does is to demand that other countries should follow his criminal lead in destroying freedom and democracy in any country too weak to resist his military might. read in full... MORE IMPORTANT Israeli PM Olmert says he will continue the policy of assassinations, no matter how many civilian casualties there are (like the three children and the pregnant woman yesterday), because "the lives and the welfare of the residents of the Sderot are more important than those of the residents of Gaza." I don't know why it's so shocking to hear him say aloud what we knew he thought. link QUOTE OF THE DAY: "[Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-] Maliki doesn't sneeze without our permission," -- a senior Pentagon official commenting on the Iraq PM's proposal to grant some insurgents limited amnesty and pardon those who renounce violence, that according to the Pentagon official has the tacit approval of the White House and may have been initiated in Washington, not Baghdad


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