DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SATURDAY, June 24, 2006
: Sunni groups demonstrate to demand the release of Jamal al-Din Abdul Karim al-Dabban, after they claimed U.S. troops had detained top Sunni religious leader in Tikrit, Iraq Saturday, June 24, 2006. The influential Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars said Jamal al-Din Abdul Karim al-Dabban was taken into custody along with three of his sons at about 5 a.m. in Tikrit, former leader Saddam Hussein's hometown, and the cleric, who is a mufti, or a religious authority for Iraq's Sunni Arab minority, was released about seven hours later after protests, Tikrit's Gov. Hamad Humoud al-Qaisi said. Right banner in Arabic reads: 'Fear Allah, release Sheikh al-Dabban immediately' [I wonder what the central banner reads… -- zig]
. (AP Photo/Bassim Daham)
Bring' em on
: A bomb killed a U.S. soldier on a foot patrol Saturday south of Baghdad, the military said. The soldier with the Multi-National Division in Baghdad died at about 7:20 a.m. Saturday due to injuries "suffered from a bomb explosion while on a dismounted patrol south of Baghdad," the military said.
Bring 'em on
: A U.S. soldier [from the Multi-National Division in Baghdad] was killed in a roadside bomb attack in the early hours of Friday morning in Baghdad.
A soldier from the Multi-National Division in Baghdad died in a "non-combat incident"
, the military said, adding the incident was under investigation.
The slayings, along with the announcement of the deaths of two U.S. soldiers Friday, raised the week's toll to 16 Americans killed.A car bomb went off near a U.S. military patrol on a main road in the Khadraa district in west of Baghdad
, the Iraqi police said. It was not clear whether any casualties were caused among the U.S. troops. An Iraqi witness said that the blast was caused by a suicide car bomber who exploded his black Daewoo at a checkpoint manned by Iraqi police when the U.S. military convoy was passing. The witness also said the blast led to some casualties among the U.S. soldiers. There was no immediate word from the U.S. military concerning the incident.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
A roadside bomb struck a police patrol near the al-Sadiq University for Islamic Studies in northern Baghdad, killing two policemen and wounding three others.
Police found an unidentified body of a man who had been handcuffed, bound by the legs and shot to death in the capital.
Eight people, including four policemen, were wounded in a bomb attack targeting a police patrol
in the Waziriya neighbourhood of Baghdad.
Gunmen opened fire on a police patrol in Diwaniyah, 80 miles south of Baghdad, wounding two policemen.
A suicide car bomber struck an Iraqi security checkpoint in the Dhuluiyah town north of Baghdad on Saturday, wounding two policemen
, a police source said. "There are also casualties among the Iraqi soldiers, but I am not authorized to release the information," the source added.
Gunmen stormed into a bookshop in the Al-Mualemeen neighborhood, killing the owner and two customers.
Gunmen sprayed a minibus carrying university students, killing the driver and wounding one student.
One woman and two children were wounded when five shops were bombed in Baquba.
A civilian was killed and one wounded when their car was ambushed on Baqubah city's south side.
Gunmen killed three people near a car showroom in Baquba.
Gunmen killed three Iraqi soldiers and wounded five when they fired at their minibus near the town of Udhaim
, 100 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad.
The headless body of a young woman was found in the River Tigris near the town of Suwayra.
A tribal sheikh was kidnapped along with his son in the town of Mahaweel
, 90 km south of Baghdad. Sheikh Jasim al-Hindi, who heads the small Gureyat tribe, was abducted late on Friday.
A roadside bomb killed the Kirkuk intelligence chief, along with two of his guards.
Iraqi Prime Minister expected to present a national reconciliation plan to parliament on Sunday
: The peace plan, which could be Maliki's boldest political move yet, sets out to remove powerful militias from the streets, open a dialogue with rebels and review the status of purged members of Saddam's Baath party.
Political sources said a key element of the 28-point blueprint would be to draw rebel groups into the process of implementing hoped-for agreements on such questions as defining "terrorism." (…)
Hasan al-Senaid, a lawmaker in his Alliance, said Maliki would offer dialogue with groups that had not shed Iraqi blood. But Maliki still refuses to engage Saddam loyalists or al Qaeda, the groups behind much of the violence.
The former exile has long been a strong defender of the sacking of Baath members from the army, a U.S.-engineered policy that critics say bolstered the insurgency. Former Baathists are expected to get financial compensation under the reconciliation scheme, Senaid said. [See below 'How Wars End']
The Pentagon has stopped releasing the number of how many Iraqi units are capable of fighting on their own.
The number of Iraqis standing up so that we may stand down is now "classified."
Trying to gain a firsthand perspective on the problems of gas shortages in Baghdad
, AIB [Alive In Baghdad] went with a taxi driver, Hussein Rudha, to visit a large gas station in southern Baghdad, near the Karrada neighborhood. Hussein provides us his perspective on the gas shortages, as well as a few stories he witnessed on this expressway and other around Baghdad. Along with Hussein's words we've provided you images of the gas station and armored American vehicles patrolling the area, we hope this will provide a small sense of understanding into one of the constant frustrations facing Iraqis daily. (Video)
MIDNIGHT FIGHTING RAGES IN AR-RAMADI
In a dispatch posted at 11:20am Makkah time Thursday morning, Mafkarat al-Islam
reported that fierce fighting raged between Iraqi Resistance forces and US occupation troops in the 17 Tammuz Street area and the ad-Dubbat neighborhood of the city of ar-Ramadi, about 110km west of Baghdad during the night just after midnight on Thursday morning.
The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam
reported the combat broke out in both areas at 12:30am local time Thursday morning and about an hour and a half. The sound of explosions and gunfire reverberated through the area but little information on the nature or extent of casualties was available. Local residents said that the wreckage of one totally destroyed Humvee could be seen for a while in the middle of a street in the ad-Dubbat neighborhood area.
read in full...
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
CRACKDOWN IN RAMADI
Ramadi is not an "insurgent stronghold" as it is characterized in the media. Nor is it a "safe-haven" for foreign fighters and Al Qaida. This is merely the Pentagon's fairy-tale to justify attacks on a civilian population. In fact, Ramadi is a city of 400,000, the capital of Anbar Province; a peaceful enclave that never experienced any widespread violence or turmoil before the illegal invasion by the United States armed forces.
Most of the city's people do not support the occupation of their country and a considerable number of them have taken up arms against the invaders. They are fighting in defense of their country.
There were no WMD in Iraq. The reasons for going to war have all proved to be false. The war was a transparent act of unprovoked aggression against a defenseless people. This is no longer an arguable point.
There are 9 permanent bases being constructed in Iraq's main oil fields. These bases provide absolute proof in "brick and mortar" of the war's real objective.
Never the less, US forces have surrounded Ramadi causing tens of thousands of people to flee into the countryside. The city is clearly the next domino in the Pentagon's master-plan to decimate Iraqi society and divide the country into three small statelets.
Throughout the Sunni heartland the resistance to the occupation has been exceptionally strong. When the United States arbitrarily decided to depose Saddam and remake the government according to their own muddled inclinations, they implicitly declared war on the Sunni population who were the main beneficiaries of the prior system. Now, Rumsfeld's legions are going from city to city conducting massive military operations in an effort to quash the burgeoning resistance.
Falluja, al Qaim, Husbaya, and Tal Afar; are all Iraqi cities that have been targeted and, to large extent, destroyed by Rumsfeld's plan. Now, it is Ramadi's turn; and although the strategy has been slightly modified, the same basic principle applies; using overwhelming military force to affect a political solution.
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AL-ZARQAWI DEATH: MYTH VS. REALITY
Al Zarqawi or his myth, whether incidentally or by design, has perhaps served as the greatest propaganda tool ever utilized by the Americans, months before the invasion of Iraq and most likely long after his passing. He successfully alienated many anti-war camps throughout the world, notwithstanding many Arabs and Sunni Muslims who, rightfully, believed that his tactics were savage, un-Islamic and self-defeating. He gave rise to the widely circulated argument that the U.S.' war is that between forces of civilization and forces of darkness, with an Arab Muslim male flawlessly representing the latter. He concurred the shaky allegation that the source of instability in Iraq was the presence of foreign Arab fighters, which helped sever inner-Arab ties and focused the pressure against Syria, accused of allowing such movement of fighters across its borders. He helped widen the chasm between Iraqi forces and sects, even those who believe in the legitimacy of their struggle against occupation.
While his death may indeed signal an end to various pretexts used and abused by the U.S. government, military and media, his absence nonetheless will have its rewards, however, temporary. One of which is the very rare opportunity that allowed Bush, Blair and U.S.-installed Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki to declare the full formation of the 'first democratic Iraqi government' and the death of a menace, or a myth called Al Zarqawi, both at the same time: Western TV analysts happily jumped at the opportunity to analyze the relations between the two innocently timed declarations; U.S. military generals displayed to journalists - for the sake of transparency of information - how Al Zarqawi was blown up; Iraqi police too put on a dancing and firing in the air show for the cameras; the oil market stabilized a bit and sighs of relief poured in from various world capitals.
Al Zarqawi, or his myth has apparently outlived his usefulness. The Iraq conflict seems to be going in a new direction, though its success or failure is unknown. A new media menace will have to be concocted to suit new U.S. policies in Iraq and around the region. Al Zarqawi is dead; another Al Zarqawi is being born.
read in full…
Following the murder of one of the main lawyers defending prisoner of war President Saddam Hussein in that lynching circus the US' government exported to Iraq (even Kafka would have not dared calling that thing a "trial"), one of the most interesting comments comes from Juan Cole.
The favourite of much part of the western anti-war movement spent as many as 111 words to comment:
Another of Saddam's defense attorneys was assassinated. That tribunal, which at one time seemed as though it would be source of good news for the Bush administration, has been handled so badly that it has become nothing short of an embarrassment. Three defense lawyers killed, and one witness alleging that some of the men Saddam is alleged to have had killed at Dujail are still alive. Saddam even emerged after the February bombing of the golden dome at Samarra and the subsequent faith-based massacres between Shiite and Sunni as a voice of national unity. To give the old mass murderer the occasion to grandstand that way. It is incompetence, criminal incompetence. (1)
The former (?) head of state overthrown by a foreign, military, illegal and immoral invasion that's destroyed the whole state of Iraq and slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people, is called by Cole's informed comment "Saddam"
for three times and finally "the old mass murderer".
Cole's Conclusion: "It is incompetence, criminal incompetence".
This is the same Juan Cole who wrote last November, about the US' use of White Phosphorous in Fallujah: "This is a public relations issue, not an issue of war crimes".
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THE NEW MEANING OF "SHOPPING IN MANSOUR"
From the New York Times
Mansour is Baghdad's Upper East Side. It has fancy pastry shops, jewelry stores, a designer furniture boutique and an elite social club.
But it is no longer the address everyone wants.
In the past two months, insurgents have come to Mansour to gun down a city councilman, kidnap four Russian Embassy workers, shoot a tailor dead in his shop and bomb a pastry shop.
Neighborhood after neighborhood in western Baghdad has fallen to insurgents, with some areas bordering on anarchy. Bodies lie on the streets for hours. Trash is no longer collected. Children are home-schooled.
The paralysis that shut down life in western Baghdad is creeping ever closer to the heart of the city. . . . Mansour is an area of stately homes, elaborately trimmed hedges and people who can afford guards. In recent weeks, that has not seemed to matter. Homemade bombs have struck two sport utility vehicles belonging to the former Iraqi exile leader, Ahmad Chalabi, a Mansour resident, twice in the past month.
. . . Fatalism and dark humor infuse conversations around dinner tables and among friends in Mansour.
"Someone was wearing shorts, and someone else said, 'Well, at least we know that when Zarqawi's people arrive, you'll be the first one they grab,'" one foreign resident said, because such dress might seem immodest.
. . . A major problem is the state itself. With the central government weak, powerful Iraqis - rich men, political leaders, tribal sheiks - manipulate it with ease, using their influence to enlist Iraqi police officers and soldiers to do their bidding. Smaller-time criminals buy uniforms. As a result, it can be all but impossible to differentiate between criminals and official forces.
The article mentions that "many in Mansour - Shiite and Sunni alike" blame the U.S. for the evolving chaos, even though American troops are never mentioned as even passing through the area. But I guess that's the point... we supposedly "occupy" the country, but at the same time we're irrelevant.
All we did was smash the existing governmental/military structure and replace it with nothing, leaving all of Iraq as prey for anyone with enough money and/or guns to take what they wanted.
A MAN, A PLAN, A QUAGMIRE, IRAQ
It's been a little while since Bush gave one of those speeches that were supposed to rally the American people behind him, but in them he always assured us that he had a plan, indeed a "plan for victory" in Iraq. Actually, I'm not sure which is less reassuring to me, Bush without a plan or Bush with a plan. This week the D's have been talking endlessly about the plan, suggesting darkly that it is a mythical beast, holding up blank placards which are said to show that plan - hilarious! side-splitting! don't quit your day jobs! It's a way for the D's to criticize - mildly - the conduct of the war without having to come to a common position on the war itself.
The "plan" they're calling for is as nebulous as Bush's. Do they want a "plan for victory" - the same war only, you know, "better" - or a plan for phased withdrawal? In short, they're focusing on plans so they don't have to talk about the actual war - what is it for, how do we know when we've won, is it worth it - you know, the little stuff.
HOW WARS END
In this article from the Times of London
on Iraqi legitimate resistance, Adnan Ali, a senior member of the Dawa party of Nouri alMaliki, the Prime Minister, says:
"For those that defended their country against foreign troops, we need to open a new page . . . They did not mean to destabilise Iraq. They were defending Iraqi soil".
!!!! Yes, dem be exclamation marks.
So, a senior member of the party that was "elected" is now saying the unthinkable.
Of course, US officials are grumpy:
"This is very hard for us, particularly at a time when American servicemen are facing prosecution for alleged war crimes - and others are being captured and tortured," a senior US official said.
With 2,500 US soldiers having died in Iraq, to grant an amnesty would be a "huge political football" before the November mid-term elections in the US, he said. But he added: "This is what we did after the Second World War, after the Civil War, after the War of Independence. It may be unpalatable and unsavoury but it is how wars end."
But some in the US military are incensed that Iraqis would seek national reconciliation and instead say the resistance engaged in terrorism against the United States. Uhm, when? Did the Iraqi resistance invade the US? Was the Iraqi resistance behind 9-11?
Was there even an Iraqi resistance before an illegal US invasion? I mean how else could there be something to "resist" in the first place.
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MSM LETS WHITE HOUSE DETERMINE WHAT IS NEWS
The mainstream media is -- as usual -- letting the Bush Administration lead it around by its nose.
You'd have to look hard in any mainstream paper, or on any mainstream news program, to know that an official State of Emergency has been declared in Iraq. What does that mean?
It means that the fighting, blood-letting and death has gotten so bad that American GIs are battling the resistance right outside the Green Zone. It means that never-ending talk of the "last throes of the insurgency" are, once again, shown to be lies by the reality on the ground.
But the mainstream media doesn't make news placement or reporting judgments based on reality. It makes them based on what the White House claims is important.
So, we have the farce of continued front-page reporting on a bunch of bumbling terrorist "wannabes" -- who were as effective at terroism as the Bush Administration is at "anti-terrorism," which is to say that they were amateurs and incompetents.
And we have Dick Cheney declaring yesterday, in BuzzFlash's hometown of Chicago, that progress is being made in Iraq on the very day that a State of Emergency was declared because the country has spiraled into chaos and death. The resistance is at the front door of the Green Zone, for Christ's sake!
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>> BEYOND IRAQ
SEE DICTIONARY OF PUPPETSPEAK
Forbes/AP - MSS ['Military Spokesman Said']
Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces killed about 82 militants in battles across southern Afghanistan, the military said Saturday. (...)
db: Karzai said this week "It is not acceptable for us that in all this fighting, Afghans are dying. In the last three to four weeks, 500 to 600 Afghans were killed. [Even] if they are Taliban, they are sons of this land,". "Not acceptable" in this context has a different meaning to the one generally understood. For further clarification see Dictionary of Puppetspeak
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THE KINGDOM OF IDIOTS
When Kevin Drum asked for thoughts on taking out the North Korean missile site before they could test their Taepondong-2 missile, I was honestly puzzled, although I played along. Who would seriously advocate an attack on North Korea while we are deeply embedded in Iraq and Afghanistan and people are talking about the threat of war with Iran? Silly me. This morning I see that Ashton Carter and William Perry (Secretary of Defense for President Clinton) have an opinion piece advocating a preemptive strike on North Korea's missile site to prevent them from testing a long-range ballistic missile. And in the back of my mind I hear George Costanza's voice: 'You wanna get nuts? Let's get nuts!'
Actually, a more apt quote would be Ambassdor Londo Mollari from the sci-fi series Babylon 5
: "Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts." I think it's reasonable to suggest that provoking a fight with North Korea right now would put us well into the lead for the title of King of the Idiots.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "Little Bush says we are at war, but we are not at war because to be at war Congress has to vote for it. He says we are at war on terror, but that is a metaphor, though I doubt if he knows what that means. It's like having a war on dandruff, it's endless and pointless. We are in a dictatorship that has been totally mili-tarised, everyone is spied on by the government itself. All three arms of the government are in the hands of this junta." -- Gore Vidal