Monday, July 10, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR MONDAY, July 10, 2006 Photo: A U.S. Marine handcuffs an Iraqi citizen taken prisoner inside the Ramadi General Hospital July 5, 2006. (AP Photo/Jacob Silberberg) A car bomb struck a convoy in Ramadi on Sunday, wounding four American troops, the military said. The explosion occurred near the convoy as it was headed to the government center in the insurgent-ridden city, 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad. US troops handed over the bodies of eight Iraqis to police in Tikrit, a medical source said. A source at Tikrit Educational Hospital told Deutsche Presse- Agentur dpa that Iraqi police said the US military had given them the bodies and requested they be transferred to a hospital. The troops did not mention the cause or time of the deaths nor say who was behind the killings. OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS In Country: Some 200 sacked policemen from a province where Iraqi forces will take over security from British troops this month stormed the governor's office, beating people with hoses and stabbing them with knives. The policemen, who were fired by Iraq's new interior minister for forgery and bribery, were demanding they be reinstated in their jobs in the southern city of Samawa, the capital of Muthanna province. Baghdad: Clashes broke out between gunmen and Iraqi police in at least three neighborhoods across the capital, police and residents said. Three militiamen were killed in fighting with security forces in one of them, police said.
Clashes broke out between Interior Ministry commandos and gunmen in the insurgent stronghold of Dora in southern Baghdad, leaving one commando dead and two wounded.
Six militiamen lay dead on Dora bridge and seven were wounded after a shootout with residents defending the district. But another police official said the gunbattles involved militias on one side and the Iraqi police and army on the other. Five soldiers were wounded in the shooting, the source said.
A car parked near a repair shop on the edge of the slum of Sadr City blew up, followed within minutes by a suicide car bomber who drove into the crowd that had gathered near the site. Hospital officials said at least eight people were killed and 41 wounded in the blast. AP Television News footage showed the devastated repair shop with a crumpled roof and the blackened hulks of cars on the street outside. Several police sources said two car bombs caused the blasts, several minutes apart. One official said the second explosion was a mortar but others said both blasts, by the roadside in a busy neighbourhood, appeared to have been triggered remotely. A roadside bomb struck a police patrol near a restaurant in eastern Baghdad, wounding three policemen. A bomb exploded in the Shurja market in central Baghdad, killing three people and wounding 18. Two bullet-riddled bodies were found in western Baghdad. Seven people including a woman are dead after gunmen ambushed a bus in western Baghdad. Police say the gunmen killed all six passengers and the driver before setting the bus on fire. A bomb exploded near Iraq's central bank in central Baghdad on Monday, killing several people. Police said the bomb had been planted outside a restaurant in Rasheed Street, a busy commercial area and the main artery of old downtown Baghdad. There were unconfirmed reports that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber. A bomb planted outside a restaurant near the central bank killed six and wounded 28. Gunmen attacked the bodyguards of a judge in Baghdad, killing two and wounding three. Five policemen were wounded when a roadside bomb went off near their patrol in northeastern Baghdad. Twelve people were killed and 62 wounded in a car bomb blasts near a telephone exchange in the eastern Talbiya district. It is a bastion of the Mehdi Army militia of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Unknown gunmen opened fire on an unmarked car carrying four policemen in the western district of Aamil, killing three. Mahmoudiya: A bomb struck a gas station in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad, wounding 10 people. Baqubah: A bomb struck a police patrol in Baqouba, wounding five policemen and eight civilians. A prominent member of the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party was assassinated in a village near Baquba, 60 kilometres north-east of Baghdad. Sources told dpa that gunmen had killed Adnan Iskandar, the party's regional leader in Baquba, and seriously injured three of his bodyguards as a party convoy passed through the village of Qubba. Two people were killed by gunmen in western Baquba. Bani Saad: Two civilians were killed in Imam Mohammad Al-Sakran area near the town of Bani Saad west Baqouba. Diyala Prv: A member of the provincial council in Diyala, Adnan Iskandar al-Mahdawi, was killed and two of his guards were wounded in a drive-by shooting. Dujail: Gunmen kidnapped an agriculture official in Dujail, 55 miles north of Baghdad. The body of a dead person, with gunshot wounds and bearing signs of torture was found near Dujail. Suwayrah: Police found five unidentified bodies in Suwayrah, 40 kilometres south of Baghdad. Yusufiya: One civilian was killed and two others were wounded when a roadside bomb targeting a police convoy exploded in Yusufiya, 15 km (9 miles) south of Baghdad. Hilla: A police patrol hit a roadside bomb leaving one policeman dead and four wounded in the city of Hillah about 95 kilometres south of Baghdad. Kut: The bodies of five men, including one whose mother was a former member of the ousted Baath Party and a policeman, also were found in Kut, 160 kilometres southeast of the capital. Basra: A former high-ranking officer from Saddam Hussein's army was killed in a shootout in the southern city of Basra. Ex-staff Maj. Gen. Salih Mohammed Salih killed one of the attackers and wounded the other before he was shot to death. Kirkuk: A suicide truck bomb struck an office in Kirkuk of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, one of the main Kurdish political parties in Iraq, killing five people and wounding 12 others. An explosion in Kirkuk targeted the convoy of the US consul as it was leaving a residential area in the west of the city injuring eight people, including three policemen. A bomb exploded aboard a small passenger bus killing one civilian and injuring seven in Kirkuk. Mosul: Gunmen killed the preacher at a Sunni mosque in Mosul. Gunmen killed a Kurdish university employee in Mosul. >> NEWS Contrary to U.S. military claims a girl allegedly pack raped by five U.S. soldiers was an adult over the age of 20, documents show the girl was just 14: Reuters newsagency authenticated the victim's age on Sunday by examining her birth certificate and identity card. U.S. military officials have repeatedly said the victim was 20, and in recent days had begun describing her as "an adult over 20 years of age." Court documents prepared by U.S. military personnel said the rape victim was "an adult female", and estimated her age at 25. By Friday though the military was backing away from the claims as Reuters and others began probing the matter. On Friday Army spokesman Paul Boyce said the U.S. military now believes the woman who the men were accused of raping and killing was between the ages of 14 and 20. While the military initially said she was 20, Boyce said he has seen documents that indicate she could have been about 14. However a Multinational Corps Iraq news release, which announced the preferring of charges against five more U.S. soldiers in relation to the matter, and was issued as late as Sunday, described the rape victim as, "a young Iraqi woman." Reuters said the girl, whose name was Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi, was born on August 19, 1991 in Baghdad, referring to her identity card, provided to the newsagency by a relative. Issued in 1993, it features a photograph of her at 18 months, wide-eyed and with a lick of dark hair over her brow.
Citizenship identification cards issued by the Iraqi government shows Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi in 1993 with a date of birth of August 19, 1991, as translated from the identity card.
Iraq will ask the United Nations to end immunity from local law for U.S. troops, the human rights minister said on Monday, as the military named five soldiers charged in a rape-murder case that has outraged Iraqis. In an interview a week after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki demanded a review of foreign troops' immunity, Wigdan Michael said work on it was now under way and a request could be ready by next month to go to the U.N. Security Council, under whose mandate U.S.-led forces are in control of Iraq. "We're very serious about this," she said, blaming a lack of enforcement of U.S. military law in the past for encouraging soldiers to commit crimes against Iraqi civilians, such as the alleged rape and murder of a teenager and killing of her family. "We formed a committee last week to prepare reports and put it before the cabinet in three weeks. After that, Maliki will present it to the Security Council. We will ask them to lift the immunity," Michael said. "If we don't get that, then we'll ask for an effective role in the investigations that are going on.
Sadr's group rejected accusations by Sunni leaders and police that it was behind killings in the mainly Sunni Jihad district of west Baghdad on Sunday, when bands of gunmen set up roadblocks and hauled people with Sunni-sounding names from cars to shoot them. They also killed others in streets and homes. Saddam Hussein's lawyers said they would boycott the toppled leader's trial until a sweeping series of demands were met, following the killing of a third member of the defense team last month. Saddam, who was also absent as the U.S.-backed court heard final arguments in defense of two minor co-accused, said in a letter he had boycotted Monday's session to protest a "malicious American desire" to convict him through unlawful proceedings. The handwritten letter, addressed to the chief judge, was signed by Saddam, who wrote his title as "President of the Republic Commander-in-chief of the holy fighting Armed Forces." Blair's refusal to accept that Iraq war alienated Britain's Muslims is fueling anger in the community and making further attacks by militants more likely, Islamic leaders say. A year after four British Islamists killed themselves and 52 commuters in suicide bomb attacks on London's transport network last July, Muslim leaders say the government has done little to counter home-grown extremism. "If anything the situation has deteriorated one year on from 7/7," said Anjem Choudary, an outspoken leader of Al-Ghurabaa, a group born out of the disbanded radical Al Muhajiroun organization which praised the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. "Another 7/7 is more likely in the climate in which we live today than it was a year ago." Thirteen Indian crew members of a cargo vessel are stranded in the Iraqi port of Basra since a month after an explosion hit their vessel leaving one compatriot dead. The vessel Al Aber, which left Sharjah Creek on June 4 for Basra port, was hit by an explosion at Abu Fulus port on June 16, one of the injured crew members Deepak said. "We didn't know whether it was a terrorist attack or what happened. But our compatriot, Imam Hussien, was killed and six of us injured," he was quoted as saying by the Khaleej Times. >> REPORTS 1,300 IRAQI RESISTANCE ATTACKS IN GREATER BAGHDAD ALONE IN JUNE A secret American report has confirmed that the US occupation forces in Iraq are trying to hide the real strength of the Iraqi Resistance. The report, information from which has been acquired and published by the French newspaper le Figaro, discloses that there were 1,300 Resistance attacks in greater Baghdad alone in the single month of June 2006. Georges Malbrurot in his le Figaro article published on 8 July refuted claims made by the American-installed puppet "Iraqi ministries of defense, the interior, and health," which indicated that in the month of May only 26 car bombing, 65 bomb explosions, two martyrdom operations, and 60 attacks with rocket-propelled grenades took place - i.e., an average of five violent attacks per day. In fact, Malbrunet wrote, the truth was much more deadly. According to the data contained in the secret American report, a copy of which he had obtained, the number of homemade bomb explosions in May was 260, the number of rocket-propelled grenade attacks was 120 - ten times the official count. The secret report noted that since February 2006, the Resistance carried out one complex operation in Baghdad every day, in which some 50 men and 10 vehicles took part. Most of the operations, the report said, were being carried out by soldiers of the Army of the Republic of Iraq (the Iraqi army from the period of President Saddam Husayn's rule). Malbrunot wrote that according to the secret report, the US occupation forces "have been trying to hide the facts about those complex attacks, which reflect the effectiveness of the hard core of the guerrilla movement, preferring to report on the 'suicide attacks' carried out by 'foreign' jihadi fighters" of al-Qa'idah - the American nemesis so highly touted by the US media. link >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: US WILL LOSE IN IRAQ IF IT DOESN'T KILL MORE CIVILIANS Former US CIA analyst Mike Scheuer told the BBC on Saturday that the US will lose its war in Iraq if it is not prepared to kill more innocent civilians and to accept more American casualties. "We have to stop fighting as if we really truly believe the nonsense that we can fight wars without killing innocents and not losing many people ourselves," the BBC quoted Scheuer as saying. Mike Scheuer headed the CIA unit tasked with trying to capture Usamah bin Ladin in the late 1990s, but quit the agency in 2004 because he felt that uncritical and unwavering US support for the Zionist state "Israel" was undercutting America's ability to mould the Arab-Islamic region according to US desires. The BBC quoted Scheuer as saying: "notwithstanding the rhetoric that comes out of Washington, we're clearly losing." Scheuer said added that "if you're not willing to kill civilians, or to assume that there is a likelihood that innocents are going to be killed, you have no business fighting" against an armed popular Resistance. The former CIA unit chief was morally untroubled by the human cost of fighting such a war, telling the BBC that, "my ethical views are constrained by my duties to protect the United States, and as long as we're operating within the laws of our Republic, then I have no objection to whatever is done." Scheuer asserted that such an attitude was in keeping with the thinking of most Americans, noting that "if Palestine, or 'Israel', or Bolivia, or Belgium, disappeared from the face of the Earth tomorrow, it would not make a lick of difference to any person in the United States." link THE "RECONCILIATION" SHAM Is "reconciliation" possible with the men who raped your daughters, poisoned your water, looted your museums, leveled your cities, bombed your holy sites, tortured and killed your friends and neighbors, and toppled your government? George Bush seems to think so; that's why he's pushing the plan through his Baghdad stooge, Prime Minister Nuir al-Maliki. But, I would offer this one word of caution to the "war president": Don't bet on it. There have been numerous communiqués from the Iraqi resistance on the internet, but they can all be reduced to one simple 2-word message: "Get out". That's it. "Get off my land and leave us alone"; that's the bottom-line and it's unlikely to change anytime soon. Sure, Bush will probably dredge up some meager support from factions in the so-called "insurgency" who'll give up the struggle for a spot at the political table, but as long as the occupation continues, the fighting will persist. The "reconciliation plan" is being dressed up as a "political solution" and, in fact, it does have some redeeming aspects. It shows that the administration has finally realized that the war cannot be won militarily, but will only be ended through a negotiated settlement. (...) There are at least 4 reasons why this plan is likely to fail: Falluja, Abu Ghraib, Haditha, and Mahmudiyah. If similar war crimes had been perpetrated in the United States by an army of occupation, then every able-bodied man with any sense of decency would join the fight to defend his country. We should assume that the same rule applies to the Iraqis whose tribal loyalties make cohesion far more certain. Amnesty is not the only nettlesome part of the reconciliation plan. There's also the question of whether to "recognize the resistance" and a "timetable for withdrawal". If these demands sound a lot like "unconditional surrender" it's because they are. read in full... ANARCHY IN THE I-R-A-Q If you're one of those people who has wondered just how the hellish situation in Iraq could get worse, here's a hint from the Washington Post:
Shiite militiamen rampaged through a Baghdad neighborhood Sunday morning, killing more than 50 people and leaving many of the bodies littering the streets, according to Iraqi officials and witnesses. The attacks were apparently retaliation for a car bombing at a Shiite mosque the night before. The dramatic display of sectarian killing began when armed men, some dressed in black, entered the al-Jihad neighborhood of western Baghdad. They set up checkpoints to stop cars, burst into homes, and singled out Sunni Arab residents for execution, witnesses and police said. Some of the corpses were handcuffed and pocked with bullet holes while others were pegged with nails, witnesses said.
Agence France Presse reports further details:
The apparent response to the attacks was swift, with at least 19 people killed and 59 wounded in two powerful car bombs next to a Shiite mosque in a mixed neighbourhood of the predominantly Sunni district of Adhamiyah on the capital's north side, an interior ministry official said. The Sunni killings began in the western neighborhood of Jihad when gunmen set up checkpoints and started shooting people based on their ID cards, witnesses said. "Outside the mosque I saw the bodies of 10 men, all shot in the head, and they showed severe signs of torture," said Sheikh Abdel Samad al-Obeidi, imam of the Sunni Fakhri Shanshal mosque in the neighborhood, which was bombed on Friday killing two. "I blame the Mehdi Army militiamen for this killing -- it is all in the open now," he added, referring to the armed group linked to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. He also accused police commandos, who have checkpoints in the area, of being "complicit in the crime for turning a blind eye".
Meanwhile, the Sunni guerrillas in Anbar province aren't slowing down, either, as the Los Angeles Times informs us:
Three U.S. soldiers scouring the treacherous roads of western Iraq for remote-controlled explosive devices were killed by a massive roadside bomb that destroyed their heavily protected vehicle, military officials said Saturday. . . . The three soldiers were part of the U.S. Army 1st Armored Division's Task Force Dagger, which sweeps major roads in Ramadi for bombs under the command of the Marines. They were riding in a heavily armored Cougar, a vehicle designed to withstand roadside bombs and used in minesweeping operations. . . . But some Marines say they believe that, since the 1st Armored Division units moved into the area, insurgents have been placing larger roadside bombs to take out the Germany-based unit's fleet of armored tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles.
I'd like to be able to provide some kind of thoughtful insight here, but sometimes there's not much to say about watching a nation slowly drown in its own blood. link "I WAS A MOUTHPIECE FOR THE AMERICAN MILITARY" I recently spoke with a former senior TV producer for Reuters who worked in Iraq between 2003 and 2004. The producer, who asked that she not be identified by name, arrived in Tikrit soon after the capture of Saddam Hussein on December 13, 2003, and was embedded with American troops for 45 days. She told me that, over the years, she has worked closely with the French army, NATO troops in the Balkans, and UN peacekeepers in covering war and conflict, but she said had never faced the sorts of restrictions imposed by the Pentagon on journalists in Iraq. "I was," she said, "a mouthpiece for the American military." In Tikrit, she was based with U.S. troops at a military compound established at one of Saddam's former palaces, where she provided pool coverage for Reuters TV and AP TV (which was fed to other media outlets). When insurgents attacked civilians, she told me, the American military would rush her to the scene so she could record the carnage and get shots of grieving Iraqis. When it came to other stories that were clearly sympathetic to the U.S. side, such as funerals for American soldiers killed in combat, the U.S. military was extremely helpful-indeed, encouraging. In such cases, she was granted full access and allowed to film speeches by officials honoring the dead, the posthumous awarding of medals, and other aspects of the ceremony. But when this producer wanted to pursue a story that might have cast the war effort in an unfavorable light, the situation was entirely different. Every few days, she said, she would receive a call from the Reuters bureau in Baghdad and discover that reporters there had heard, via local news reports or from the bureau's network of Iraqi sources, about civilians being killed or injured by American troops. But when she asked to leave the compound to independently confirm such incidents, her requests were invariably turned down. read in full... >> BEYOND IRAQ Afghanistan: One member of the Afghan security forces was killed and three members of the U.S.-led coalition force were wounded in the attack on a "known extremist compound", 10 km (six miles) north of the provincial capital [of the southern province of Uruzgan], Tirin Kot, the U.S. military said in a statement. The UK defence secretary is expected to announce today that more British troops will be sent to Afghanistan to bolster the forces already there. Britain currently has 4,000 servicemen and women in Afghanistan but concern has increased recently that that is insufficient. "IT IS AS BAD AS WE HAVE EVER SEEN IT" British troops in Helmand are entitled to feel that there are hostile forces on every side. Pro-Taliban music cassettes are openly on sale, and are highly popular. The songs include lyrics such as "The deserts are stained red with the blood of martyrs" and "Hey Mullah Omar, we will kill your enemies, and we are your Taliban." "It is as bad as we have ever seen it," a Western security source told The Independent on Sunday. "The Taliban has a sophistication and co-ordination that has not been there before. They are often staying and fighting, rather than breaking contact, as used to happen. "Sometimes their tactics are almost suicidal. They will stand on the roofs of houses and shoot at helicopter gunships. They have a lot of ammunition and a lot more man-portable heavy weaponry - mortars, RPGs, heavy machine guns." The Taliban claim to have "completely occupied" several districts in the south. "Helmand is a haven for us," Mohammed Hanif, a Taliban spokesman, boasted by telephone yesterday. "Every time the British come to Afghanistan, they have been defeated very badly, and very few escaped with their lives." The Taliban, he said, had a centre to recruit suicide bombers in Helmand. "They are coming from all over Afghanistan, and they number 1,500 so far," he claimed. read in full... U.S. AIR FORCE FUNDS STUDY OF BLOGS FOR DETERMINING CREDIBLE INFORMATION "The Air Force Office of Scientific Research has begun funding a new research area that includes a study of blogs. Blog research may provide information analysts and warfighters with invaluable help in fighting the war on terrorism. Drs. Brian Ulicny, senior scientist, and Mieczyslaw Kokar, president, Versatile Information Systems Inc., Framingham, Mass., will receive approximately $450,000 in funding for the three-year project titled, 'Automated Ontologically-Based Link Analysis of International Web Logs for the Timely Discovery of Relevant and Credible Information.'" link QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Bush's response to the North Korean missile test was (…) revealing. Under the old Bush Doctrine, defiance by a dictator like Kim Jong Il would have merited threats of punitive U.S. action-or at least a tongue lashing. Instead, the Administration has mainly been talking up multilateralism and downplaying Pyongyang's provocation. As much as anything, it's confirmation of what Princeton political scientist Gary J. Bass calls "doctrinal flameout." Put another way: cowboy diplomacy, RIP.” -- from Time Magazine’s latest cover story, “The End of Cowboy Diplomacy”


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