Sunday, July 09, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SUNDAY, JULY 9, 2006 U.S. soldier Sgt. Kenneth Strong (L) and fellow soldiers from the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team conduct a mission near Tal Afar town, near Mosul, about 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, in this handout photo taken July 7, 2006, and released July 8, 2006. (Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob Bailey/Handout - IRAQ/Reuters) One of three U.S. troops killed Saturday in Anbar is identified as Army Staff Sg. Omar Demetrio Flores Flores of Texas. Note: Previous accounts have suggested that all were Marines, but it turns out there are Army units attached to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. Security Incidents Sectarian massacre kills at least 42 Sunni Arabs in Jihad neighborhood of Baghdad. This attack follows a car bombing of the Zahra mosque in the district Saturday night, that killed three. Sunni politicians blame the Mahdi Army and elements of the Iraqi police, but affiliations of the perpetrators have not been established. Shiite militias seal off predominantly Shiite Shula district of Baghdad, fearing reprisals. Two civilians were killed when a roadside bomb went off near a U.S. patrol in Hit, 170 km (110 miles) west of Baghdad, a source in the civil defence directorate said. Reuters also reports: U.S. says joint Iraqi-U.S. raid in Kazemya area north of Baghdad results in 9 killed, 7 captured. U.S. suffers three wounded, one Iraqi soldier wounded. KUNA also reports five people killed, two injured, by a car bomb in Al-Bayaa, southwest of Baghdad. Iraq army arrests Ali Najeem Abdullah, also known as Abu Zahra, said to be leader of "Islamic Army in Kirkuk." One killed, twelve injured in explosion in Al-Sha'ab neighborhood (KUNA story says "in northern Iraq, but this appears to be erroneous, Al-Sha'ab is in Baghdad.) Imam Sheikh Saeed Shrine near Al-Wajihiya, north of Baquba, destroyed by explosion. Three killed by mortar strike in Abu-Shdaira area, South of Baghdad. Iraqi Islamic Party accuses police of murdering the preacher of Mahmoudya Grand Mosque Saeed Al-Sammarai at a security checkpoint. AP mentions some additional incidents: OTHER NEWS AND POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS Army charges four more soldiers with rape and murder, a fifth with dereliction of duty, in Mahmoudiya incident. As of this writing no more information appears to be available, including the identities of the accused. Inquiry finds brutality and corruption pervasive in Iraqi police. Excerpt:
BAGHDAD -- Brutality and corruption are rampant in Iraq's police force, with abuses including the rape of female prisoners, the release of terrorism suspects in exchange for bribes, and participation in insurgent bombings, according to confidential Iraqi government documents detailing more than 400 police corruption investigations. A recent assessment by State Department police-training contractors underscores the investigative documents, concluding that strong paramilitary and insurgent influences within the force and endemic corruption have undermined public confidence in the government. Officers have also beaten prisoners to death, been involved in kidnapping rings, sold thousands of stolen and forged Iraqi passports, and passed along vital information to insurgents, the Iraqi documents allege. The documents, which cover most of 2005 and part of this year, were authenticated by current and former police officials. The alleged offenses span dozens of police units and hundreds of officers from beat cops to generals and police chiefs. Officers were punished in some instances, but the vast majority of cases are either under investigation or were dropped because of lack of evidence or witness testimony. The investigation documents are the latest in a string of disturbing revelations of abuse and corruption by Iraq's Interior Ministry, a Cabinet-level agency that employs 268,610 police, immigration, facilities security, and dignitary protection officers.
Read in Full Controversy, doubts and rumors swirl around raid in Sadr City that may or may not have resulted in capture of Abu Deraa, alleged Shiite militant leader. Excerpt:
by Sam Dagher Sat Jul 8, 9:20 AM ET, BAGHDAD (AFP) - Sadr City and Internet bulletin boards buzzed with talk that a US-Iraqi raid on the poor Shiite district that killed nine was targeting a militiaman nicknamed the "Shiite Zarqawi". There were suggestions that the unnamed "high-level insurgent leader" US forces said they had captured in Friday's nighttime raid on the industrial "Kisra wa Atash" neighbourhood in the northern fringes of Sadr city was a shadowy and brutal Shiite militiaman known as Abu Deraa. The operation, which Iraqi security sources said lasted for about four hours, also wounded about 30 people and resulted in heavy damage to buildings in the area. Residents insisted that Abu Deraa did not live in the neighbourhood and that during the raid US and Iraqi forces arrested eight people, all civilians including an elementary school teacher. "There is no Abu Deraa here -- all of those detained were innocent civilians," Ali Abdul Jalil, the owner of a car workshop in the area said Saturday. A US military spokesman confirmed the number of detainees and said they were involved in shooting at Iraqi forces during the raid. "I can't yet provide positive identification of the individual targeted and detained," Lieutenant Colonel Barry Johnson said. The military had said that Iraqi forces were fired at from the rooftop of the building "from which the insurgent leader was detained". The military hinted in its statement that the man it captured was part of the Mehdi Army militia of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, which controls Sadr City, but that he was attempting to break away from the group by stocking up on weapons smuggled from neighnouring Syria. "He and his followers have kidnapped, tortured and murdered Iraqi citizens and... he carries out vigilante judgment on perceived enemies of his organisation," it said. But a city councilman from Sadr City, who is also a senior official in the Sadr movement, denied that Abu Deraa was in the Mehdi Army. "I have heard of Abu Deraa, but he is not a member of the Mehdi Army, which is only a defensive force to protect our people and sacred places," Naim al-Qaabi said. "Even if this person existed, they should have come with an arrest warrant for him and not just storm in with their guns like that, killing innocent people." Several postings on two Iraqi Internet bulletin boards described Abu Deraa as the "butcher of Rusafa" in reference to the city's east bank district. They accused him of kidnapping, torturing and killing Sunni Arabs in retaliation for attacks against the country's majority Shiites in the ongoing sectarian bloodshed plaguing Iraq. The Iraqi League board, popular with Sunnis, posted a purported picture of Abu Deraa showing a thin, tall man in traditional dress with an assault rifle slung from his shoulder and a cartridge belt around his waist. It said his real name was Ismail, 33, married with two children and that he was a "high school dropout and a former army deserter". "This bastard specialises in killing Sunnis en masse," it added. Others called him the "Shiite Zarqawi", or the flip side of Jordanian-born Sunni Arab militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, killed in a US raid on June 7 and accused of masterminding some of the most vicious attacks against Shiites. Postings on the Shiite Iraqi Centre board said Abu Deraa was a fictional figure and that the raid was instigated by Sunni Arab leaders who accuse the Mehdi Army of abducting a Sunni MP and her bodyguards.
Read in Full Meeting in Iran of foreign ministers of Iraq's neighbors concludes with a statement. Statement in English as reported by Iran news agency IRBIL:
1. Welcoming the completion of the political transition process and the establishment of permanent government and national assembly in Iraq, the ministers stressed their full support for the constitutionally-based elected government and national assembly of Iraq and for the realization of the priorities of the new government toward a prosperous, free, independent, democratic and unified federal Iraq, living in peace and tranquility with its neighbors, based on good neighborly relations, non-interference in each other's internal affairs and respect for international and bilateral treaties and agreements. 2. Welcoming the establishment of a broad-based government with the participation of all segments of the Iraqi population in all elected institutions and new political structure of the country, the ministers expressed their full support for the national reconciliation plan of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki aimed at strengthening national unity, ensuring security, ending the current violence and inclusion of all groups in the political process. They called upon all Iraqi groups to participate and contribute actively within the framework of the afore-mentioned plan. In this context, they also confirmed their support for the efforts led by the League of Arab States to ensure a viable process of national reconciliation. 3. Expressing deep concern over the continued escalation of violence and terrorist attacks against citizens and political and religious leaders of Iraq, members of diplomatic corps, foreign nationals engaged in economic, reconstruction and humanitarian a ctivities in Iraq, mosques and sacred religious places, including the bombing of the holy Asgari Shrines in Samara, the ministers strongly condemned these attacks and reaffirmed their full support for the government and people of Iraq in countering terrorist and criminal activities. In this context, they underlined the need for convening a meeting of the religious leaders of Iraq, aimed at reaching consensus on strengthening Iraqi national unity, and condemning sectarian, and other kinds of violence, an d welcomed the initiatives in this regard presented by King Abdullah of Jordan, OIC secretary-general and the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. 4. Noting the stated intention of the international community, including in Security Council resolutions 1546 and 1637, to terminate the presence of multinational forces at the request of the government of Iraq, the ministers expressed their support for the transfer of all affairs to the elected representatives of Iraqi people, and underlined the need to raise the level of preparedness of Iraqi defense and security forces and the earliest transfer of defense and security responsibilities to them. 5. Emphasizing the need for more active contribution of the international community, especially regional and international organizations and neighboring countries, in Iraq's political and economic development, and welcoming the enhanced diplomatic presence of other countries in Iraq, the ministers called on countries and international institutions to provide comprehensive assistance to the process of political and economic development and reconstruction of Iraq. In this context, the ministers welcomed t he contributions of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, as reflected in the Baku declaration and the relevant resolutions, and of the League of Arab States. 6. Emphasizing the importance of Iraq's reconstruction and economic development, the ministers expressed their government's readiness to participate actively in the reconstruction of Iraq. They agreed to reopen their embassies in Baghdad, and enhance their diplomatic presence in Iraq. 7. Expressing grave concern at the alarming security situation in Iraq, the ministers expressed their determination to engage in effective cooperation with the Iraqi government to enhance security and stability in Iraq and the region. 8. Emphasizing the important decisions of the first and second meetings of the interior ministers of Iraq's neighboring countries, held in Istanbul and Tehran, the ministers declared their readiness to support and cooperate bilaterally and multilaterally in implementing those decisions, and reaffirmed the holding of the third meeting of the interior ministers of Iraq's neighboring countries in Riyadh on the agreed date. 9. Underlining the importance of expansion of cooperation between the government of Iraq and the neighboring countries to combat terrorism, through, inter alia, the cooperation of their security officials to combat terrorism and to consider ways and mean s of enhancing security, and expressing concern over the continued presence and activities of certain recognized terrorist groups operating in Iraq and the resulting implications and threats for the security and stability of Iraq and its neighbors, the m inisters expressed their support for the efforts made by the government and parliament of Iraq in accordance with its new constitution to combat all forms of terrorism and to prevent terrorist groups from using Iraqi territory to supply, organize or laun ch terrorist operations against neighboring countries or to infiltrate into their territories. The ministers emphatically called for more effective continuation and enhancement of these efforts. 10. The ministers underlined the need for a fair and transparent trial of Saddam and other criminal leaders of former Iraqi regime for war crimes, particularly use of weapons of mass destruction, crimes against humanity, genocide and aggressions against the Iraqi people, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the State of Kuwait, and stressed the need for adoption of measures to alleviate the sufferings of the victims of those crimes. 11. The ministers expressed their thanks to the Islamic Republic of Iran for hosting of this meeting. They emphasized the importance of continued holding of these meetings to support the people and government of Iraq, and welcomed the invitation extended by Iraq to host a future meeting of the foreign ministers of Iraq neighboring countries in Baghdad at the earliest appropriate time. They decided to hold a ministerial meeting in New York during the 61th session of the UN General Assembly.
Read in Full Whisker's Roundup of Wounded Note: I'm going to provide the full list of names, as links to the stories, but only provide excerpts from two highlighted stories in the interest of space. I'm considering the idea of setting up a secondary site where we can provide additional information and detail to try to keep this page from becoming unwieldy. If people are interested in that idea, let us know in the comments. -- C George Pozo Lance Corporal Kenneth Ward Bryan Anderson. Bryan Anderson emerged from an elevator in the airport terminal here, a diminished figure in a wheelchair. Both legs were gone, and most of his left arm — all severed when a roadside bomb hidden in a curb demolished the Humvee he was driving in Baghdad last fall. Anderson was never a big man — 5 feet 6, 125 pounds. Now he was down to 80 pounds, spare and wiry, as he rolled through the terminal in late May to begin a 10-day visit with the soldiers who were with him the day his life changed irrevocably. Those men — who dragged him from the Humvee and stopped his bleeding Oct. 23 — would see more than a fragile young man in a wheelchair. They would see a stubborn survivor who had transformed their lives, and his own, in a way none of them could have imagined. Army Sgt. Nathan Potts Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher Stephenson Army Specialist Joseph Bohne Sgt. Joe Beimfohr. "I do remember being hit by debris and shrapnel and … for a second, I was just stunned. I didn't fall down to my feet. I was still standing after it went off. And then I looked down and saw blood pouring out of my vest." It was the last time Beimfohr would ever stand on his own legs. "I am being held down by my guys," he recalled, "'cause I feel pain in my legs, I feel pain in my hand. … I am screaming in pain, and they are trying to hold me down and treat me. … I knew from the blood pouring out of my abdomen that I had a pretty big wound there, but I didn't know about the damage to my legs." Sgt. Kevin Downs Staff Sgt. Josh Olson Jonathan Kuniholm Cpl. Michael Jernigan Kenneth Corbett Cullen Dodd Raymond Hubbard Lance Cpl. Austin Lee Davis Aaron Wernz Sgt. Jared Luce Spec. Travis Draper Whisker's News from Afghanistan #1: A Canadian soldier has been killed in a gun battle west of Kandahar City, Afghanistan, following firefights on Saturday that left two other Canadians wounded. The soldier has been identified as Cpl. Anthony Joseph Boneca, a reservist from the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment of Thunder Bay, Ont. #2: An explosion that killed one of Spain's troops in Afghanistan was probably caused by an anti-tank mine activated by remote control, Spain's defence minister said on Sunday. The blast on Saturday hit a group of Spanish peacekeeping troops on a routine patrol. It injured four other men. The soldiers were part of a group of 33 travelling in nine armoured vehicles and were under Italian command, the ministry said in a statement. The dead man, Jorge Arnaldo Hernandez Seminario, 26, was of Peruvian origin but serving with the Spanish forces. Quote of the Day Now we have the Bush administration's admirers on a crusade to destroy the reputation of any critics, including a genuine patriot like Murtha. It's an administration headed by someone who dodged service in Vietnam by pretending to serve in the National Guard, and whose veep had a politically powerful daddy wangle him a deferment. His chief adviser, Karl Rove, also got a deferment, and his chief cheerleader, Rush Limbaugh, also had a politically powerful daddy get him one — based on a big pimple on his fanny. There is a disgrace, all right, and you can find it if you look hard enough. Columnist Paul Carpenter


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