DAILY WAR NEWS FOR TUESDAY, August 8, 2006
: Sandals of Iraqi victims lay in the blood-soaked flatbed of a pick-up truck at the site where two roadside bombs exploded in Baghdad. Bombings and shooting have killed at least 24 people and wounded 80 in Baghdad as a previous raid by US and Iraqi troops into a Shiite militia stronghold stoked political controversy.(AFP/Karim Sahib)
Two Iraqi journalists have been killed in separate incidents in Baghdad
, police said Tuesday.
Mohammed Abbas Hamad, 28, a journalist for the Shiite-owned newspaper Al-Bayinnah Al-Jadida, was shot by gunmen at he left his home Monday in the Adil section of western Baghdad, police Lt. Mohammed Khayoun said.
Late Monday, police found the bullet-riddled body of freelance journalist Ismail Amin Ali, 30, about a half mile from where he was abducted two weeks ago in northeast Baghdad, Lt. Ahmed Mohammed Ali said. The body showed sign of torture, he added.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
Ten people were killed and 69 wounded when two roadside bombs exploded in al-Shorja market in central Baghdad.
Three separate roadside bomb attacks in Baghdad killed at least nine people.
Two of the blasts targeted police, and the third was aimed at one of Baghdad's busiest bus stations.
Gunmen stormed a bank in the northern Baghdad district of Adhamiya, killing five people
-- three bodyguards and two employees -- before walking away with the equivalent of $4,000.
A police commando was wounded when a roadside bomb went off near his patrol in the eastern Zayouna district of Baghdad.
(near) The bodies of seven people wearing military uniforms were found shot dead in a small town
30 km (20 miles) south of Baghdad.
Three bombs exploded near the Interior Ministry building in central Baghdad, killing 10 people and injuring eight.
United States military in Iraq said on Tuesday that its warplanes killed four armed men who were trying to plant bombs in the southern suburbs of the Iraqi capital.
Two brothers were slain in their car repair shop in southwestern Baghdad.
Two civilians were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a police patrol on the main road between Mussayab and Iskandariya
, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad.
Gunmen killed two employees of a private company in the small town of Rashad
, near Kirkuk, 250 km (150 miles) north of Baghdad.
Gunmen killed a police lieutenant colonel and wounded his brother in Falluja
, 50 km (35 miles) west of Baghdad.
Gunmen killed two people at a mobile telephone shop in Mosul
, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad.
Two separate roadside bomb attacks killed a policeman and wounded eight civilians, including a child, in Tikrit
, 175 km (110 km) north of Baghdad.
Police arrested two insurgents while they were planting bombs on the side of the road near Hawija
, 70 km (43 miles) southwest of Kirkuk.
Four people were gunned down in a series of attacks in Baqouba and Muqdadiyah
, two cities in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad.
An improvised roadside bomb exploded and destroyed a border patrol vehicle close to the Iraqi-Iranian border
amid reports of an Islamic group's infiltration across the northern border lines, a police source said on Tuesday.
al-Maliki has criticised his own government's security forces and their US advisers for carrying out a night-time raid on the Baghdad Shiite district of Sadr City
, which he said had been undertaken without his consent.
"I reiterate my rejection to such operation and it should not be executed without my consent. This particular operation did not have my approval," the Shiite prime minister said, echoing concerns made by President Jalal Talabani.
"I am very sorry for what happened. Such aircraft attacks are unjustifiable on a vulnerable residential area like Sadr City under the pretext of arresting one person," he said, promising to pay damages to the families of the victims.
U.S. officials said the latest phase of the Baghdad security operation was launched Monday
"to reduce the level of murders, kidnappings, assassinations, terrorism and sectarian violence in the city and to reinforce the Iraqi government's control of Baghdad."
A U.S. statement said about 6,000 additional Iraqi troops were being sent to the Baghdad area, along with 3,500 U.S. soldiers of the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team and 2,000 troops from the U.S. 1st Armored Division, which has served as the theater reserve force since November.
Iraqis shout slogans during a protest in the southern city of Basra August 8, 2006 against Israeli attacks in Lebanon. REUTERS/Atef Hassan (IRAQ) (Photo caption
The government of Iraq is secretly holding a Baathist cabal of military officers it claims attempted a coup against Prime Minister al-Maliki
: The plotters were rounded up July 5 with the help of American military authorities after the Iraqi government's security warning center sent word to Mr. Maliki, who was in Kuwait on his first official visit as head of state, two highly placed Iraqi sources said.
The prime minister quickly canceled a scheduled trip to Amman, Jordan, and returned to Baghdad to attend to the matter. At the time, Mr. Maliki's staff told reporters that the prime minister was cutting his trip short because of Iraq's "security situation."
In an interview last night, an adviser to Mr. Maliki and a member of parliament in Baghdad, Mithal al-Alusi, said a coup attempt indeed took place last month. He said the mutinous attempt to replace the elected government of Iraq was organized by military officers loyal to Saddam Hussein.
"The Baathists were trying to have this coup, and people have been arrested and it has been stopped. There have been a lot of rumors as to who is behind this," Mr. Alusi said, referring to speculation that the plot may have involved a former interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi, whose men worked with the CIA in 1995 to oust Saddam in a military coup.
"WE CHANGE OUR TACTICS, THEY CHANGE THEIR TACTICS"
The Marines here [Ramadi], part of the 3rd Battalion, 8th Regiment, say they faced a far less sophisticated enemy last year when they operated around Fallouja and the Abu Ghraib prison.
"He never came out and fought us with complex attacks," said Lt. Col. Stephen Neary, the battalion commander. "Last year there was nothing complex. Here he likes to put things together."
The danger of the complex attacks, along with the rising heat, has forced the Americans to put a stop to most daytime patrols. Instead, they roam the streets after sunset, when their night-vision goggles give them an advantage.
When the Americans venture forth on a daylight patrol, the insurgents attack - as the U.S.-Iraqi patrol along the walled street discovered.
When the patrol came under fire, the Marines saw the alley but instinctively did not move toward it. Some jumped over the wall next to them. Others kicked in a courtyard gate and ran through it.
Part of the patrol was caught on the other side of the street. (...)
Later, Staff Sgt. Joe Modesto, the patrol leader, said the insurgents did not expect to hit any of the Marines or Iraqi soldiers in the initial volley but wanted to drive them to the alley.
"They were trying to find a way to get us toward the IED so they could detonate it," Modesto said.
Knowing what might be coming next, Americans have adjusted their own tactics to try to avoid the traps.
"They try to bait us into running into an IED," Neary said. "But we are wise to those tactics. That is why you see us go through doors and over walls."
Yet in Ramadi, it is a constantly changing battle. As soon as the Americans think they have figured out how the insurgents are operating, the techniques change.
"We change our tactics, they change their tactics," said Sgt. Joey Catron of India Company. "We watch them and they watch us. It is a big cat-and-mouse game."
read in full...
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
JUAN COLE: MASHHADANI ON AMERICASTAN IN IRAQ
Gilbert Achcar kindly translates a recent article from al-Hayat, interviewing the Speaker of the House of the Iraqi Parliament. I repeat, this is the elected speaker of the House of the Iraqi government elected under Bush's auspices.
' The president of the Iraqi Parliament, Dr. Mahmoud] Al-Mash’hadani spoke to Al-Hayat yesterday, at the end of an official visit to Damascus, where he met with president Bashar al-Assad… On the accusations directed at Syria and Iran of interfering in Iraq’s affairs, al-Mash’hadani said vehemently: “America installs itself between two countries like Syria and Iran that it considers as enemies and you want them to stay passive! That is not realistic at all, and if ever they intervene, it is to protect their national security. And we do not object to that, the national security of Syria and Iran is threatened by the American presence … Let’s suppose that they (the Syrians) interfere in Iraq’s affairs, why don’t you object to America’s rule over Iraq before objecting to Syria’s interference in order to protect its security? In this respect, Iraq has opened its doors to all countries, even to an Israeli presence, so has Syrian interference now become a threat to Iraq’s security? Who destroyed Iraq? Who plundered Iraq? Who stole from Iraq? Who humiliated Iraq? Who desecrated Iraq’s holy sites? Who damaged the honor of Iraqi women? It is none other than the blue jinn whose name is: the occupation.”
Al-Mash’hadani accused the American forces of standing behind terrorist attacks in Iraq, saying: “The occupation is the first and last cause of the problem, it has overthrown the [former] regime without a plan, it has suppressed the state with no reason, it has led to the resistance and it has infiltrated it, it has brought Al-Qaeda to Iraq…” After approving the statement that “American occupation troops stand behind some of the terrorist attacks,” he described today’s Iraq as “Americastan.” 'link
IRAQ IS VIETNAM, AND THE ATROCITIES ARE THE SAME
We have heard many allusions to Vietnam made to explain the "quagmire" in Iraq. US forces bogged down. US forces in Vietnamization, etc.
But what we haven't heard that the same military that waged an illegal war in Vietnam is now commiting the same atrocities in Iraq. The Generals in Iraq were lower-ranking in Vietnam.
This is the ethos of the US military. Period.
For example, according to the Los Angeles Times:
Among the substantiated cases:
• Seven massacres from 1967 through 1971 in which at least 137 civilians died.
• Seventy-eight other attacks on noncombatants in which at least 57 were killed, 56 wounded and 15 sexually assaulted.
• One hundred forty-one instances in which U.S. soldiers tortured civilian detainees or prisoners of war with fists, sticks, bats, water or electric shock.
My, my. Nazis? Heck yeah, why should the US military be considered any better. No difference whatsoever. Nazis killed Jews and Slavs. US military kills, tortures and rapes everyone else.
Also, I love this particular gem:
Abuses were not confined to a few rogue units, a Los Angeles Times review of the files found. They were uncovered in every Army division that operated there. Retired Brig. Gen. John Johns, a Vietnam veteran who served on the task force, said he once supported keeping the records secret but now believes they deserve wide attention in light of alleged attacks on civilians and abuse of prisoners in Iraq.
So, wait. When the Pentagon whitewashed the atrocities in Iraq by chalking them up to a few rogue elements, they knew they were lying? Hmm ... perjury in Congressional Hearings? The truth and nothing but the truth? Or is that not part of the born-again White Christian mantra?
Goddammit, hold on just a darn parsec there. There IS more.
Fourteen received prison sentences ranging from six months to 20 years, but most won significant reductions on appeal. The stiffest sentence went to a military intelligence interrogator convicted of committing indecent acts on a 13-year-old girl in an interrogation hut in 1967.
He served seven months of a 20-year term, the records show.
Many substantiated cases were closed with a letter of reprimand, a fine or, in more than half the cases, no action.
US justice, boy. You get yer justice, boy! If you so much as opens yer mouth, yas be gettin a lynchin, boy.
You can read more here, as well.
'IN THE SAME OLD WAY'
Those Iraqis busy engaging in the majority of attacks in Iraq - attacks upon the American army of occupation and it's green zone government allies, continue to make life difficult. The most effective way of doing this is as I wrote in "Attacking the Tail" back in February:
"Attacks upon supply convoys which are incapable of defending themselves have now been going on for a long time, now however the incidence, already high, is increasing markedly. The use of such indefensible convoys is a direct result of Secetary Rumsfeld's "reform" of the US armed forces logistical wing.
I won't insult my readers' intelligence by explaining the signifcance, or what it means for the "withdraw to bases" plan."
There's a reason why professional soldiers have the following proverb, "Amateurs study strategy professionals study logistics."
The reason is simple an unsupplied soldier is a dead or captured soldier. If you don't want to take my word for it go read what two militarily very experienced American commentators Joe Galloway, and Pat Lang have to say. Today there's this report from Xinhua* :
"Gunmen attack truck convoy in northern Iraq, killing two drivers
The convoy was carrying barbed wire by the way. You need rather a lot of barbed wire if you're a foreign soldier occupying a country illegally. You need it to help stop the enraged brown people who actually live there and are furious at what you've done their home, their family, and their neighbours, from making clear their displeasure by capturing or killing you. Attacks on convoys are escalating. They're escalating in intensity, scale, and sophistication, that's why the US is resorting more and more to air supply and people who actually know what they're talking about like Joe Galloway and Pat Lang have been sounding the alarm. Supplying by air is unsustainable and is a loser's strategy. You've lost leave. I'll finish with a quotation from a British military genius, the Duke of Wellington:
"They came on in the same old way, and we sent them back in the same old way"
I doubt if any of the fighters who've wrecked the American logistical effort in those parts of Iraq where having a good logistical tail is essential to survival have heard either version of Wellington's aphorism but I've no doubt whatsoever that they'd nod vigorously in agreement if you quoted it at them. Then they'd go back to attacking the tail "in the same old way."
read in full...
Just an interesting wrinkle in Life During Wartime: I was coming back from the store today and spotted a van for an electrical contractor a few cars ahead of me at the stoplight. A large American flag decal was on one of the rear doors, as you see all the time, but the two windows on the van's rear doors each had another message spelled out in professional white lettering. One said "IRAQ IS ARABIC FOR VIETNAM," while the other said "TAKE THE PROFIT OUT OF WAR."
It's interesting when a small business will take a risk like that...unless they don't think it's much of a risk anymore. Hmm...wonder if I need some electrical work done.
More testimony today about the... unpleasantness... in Mahmudiya. Honestly, I don't know what to call it. There was a gang-rape, it was of a 14-year old, they burned her body, killed her and her family. There's not really a word that sums all that up. Speaking of summing up, let's look at the headlines. The Guardian
headline to an AP story focuses on the preliminaries: "Soldiers 'Hit Golf Balls Before Going out to Kill Family.'" Other headlines mention whisky (mixed with an energy drink) and gin rummy. The Daily Telegraph
focuses on the after-party: "Troops Ate Chicken Wings after 'Killing Rape Girl, 14.'" The BBC notes that the "Troops 'Took Turns' to Rape Iraqi," CNN that "U.S. Soldier Poured Kerosene on Raped, Slain Iraqi." So many ugly, ugly details to focus on. May I stop focusing on them now? Please?
>> BEYOND IRAQ
KILL US ALL
Hanady Salman (friend and editor at As-Safir newspaper in Beirut) sent this:
"One suggestion I need any of you to transmit to the Israelis: I offer you all of us. Our flesh, our scalps, our inner parts to exhibit live on TV screens, our bare feet eaten by wolves during the night in ex- villages, our blood flooding in the streets, our kids, our mothers, our fathers , our brothers, sisters, grandparents , every single one of us. KILL US ALL. You can be selective if you wish. Leave those who like you, believe in you, to prosper by you side in the new whatever hell you would like to have.
JUST KILL US. DO NOT LEAVE US BEHIND. DO NOT LEAVE US TO WATCH. Tens of kids everyday, toddlers, elderly, killed in their houses, in their shelters, on the roads trying to flee, in the centers where they took refuge.
THEY ARE ALL MINE,THE KIDS THEY KILLED, THEY ARE ALL MEMEBERS OF MY FAMILY THE "CIVILIANS" THEY KILLED, AND YOU KNOW WHAT ,THE FIGHTERS ARE FIGHTING FOR ME AND FOR MY CHILD'S TOMORROW. THEY ARE ALL MINE, THE ONES THEY'RE KILLING. Blood is all what you have to offer, it has always been that way. Blood you shall have. As much blood as you planes can get. As much blood as your fantasies imply. As much blood as there is in our veins.
Did you have enough blood for today? Only in the afternoon, in Ghazyeh, in Ghassanieh, in Houla, in Britel, in Chmestar, in Ali Nahri, in Hezzine, in Tyre, in Bayyada, in Qassmieh, and those you killed a few minutes ago in Shayyah, in the southern suburb, the Hezbollah stronghold as your reporters label it. In this Hezbollah stronghold, my colleagues fail to mention, hundreds of POOR families live, and today most of them are refugees from other parts of the country. Kill as much as you can. Your smart planes and smart rockets and smart asses and smart allies: kill us all.
This is not just another war. This is extermination. This is another fun game, the way the Israelis like them, played with US made arms, funded by YOUR MONEY, justified by YOUR PRESS, encouraged by YOUR ELECTED POLITICIANS. SHAME ON ANY OF US WHO WILL EVER FORGRET. SHAME ON THAT WHO WOULD EVER FORGIVE. SHAME ON THAT WHO WOULD EVER MENTION PEACE AGAIN : YOUR PEACE WAS MISSED BY MY KIDS, THUS , I NEED IT NO MORE."
HAARETZ: SYSTEMIC FAILURE
Since the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel has not won a war. However, in all its wars during the last generation, neither has Israel been defeated. (...)
So that in four different campaigns - to which we could add the War of Attrition and the Gulf wars - Israel achieved a stalemate of one kind or another, which was not decisive but allowed a certain stability to persist until the next campaign. Accordingly, the second Lebanon war is different from all its predecessors. In the second Lebanon war, there is a danger that Israel will be defeated. If the large-scale ground move that Ehud Olmert initiated very late does not go well, the reality to which we are liable to awaken after the war is one of a first Israeli defeat.
A defeat is not a holocaust. It is not the end. The French were defeated in Indochina and survived, the Americans were defeated in Vietnam and prospered. Egypt was defeated in 1967, drew its conclusions and was back on its feet by 1970 and certainly in 1973. However, to prevent even a point-specific Israeli defeat, we must define the situation precisely. The attempt to create a fake ostensible victory does not serve Israel's national goals or national existence. On the contrary: it lulls the nation and prevents it from mobilizing all its strength for the necessary coping with its fate. If Israel seeks life, it cannot go on living within the gossamer webs of a military establishment with high-powered PR. It must emerge from the virtual-reality studio of the channels of patriotic ratings and look at reality as it really is. The reality is hard, very hard. Very hard, but not hopeless.
read in full...
WHY THE LEBANESE RESISTANCE ARE CLOBBERING THE IDF
Eventually, they would have to start asking this sort of question: why are the local European supremacists not beating the brown people? Isn't this what we pay them for? How come they're not doing their job? According to The Guardian this morning, 57 Israeli soldiers have died. The latest estimate for Hezbollah deaths, meanwhile, is 53. The latest estimate for civilian deaths in Lebanon, meanwhile, is 933. Yes, the Israelis have never found any especial difficulty in slaughtering civilians, but why can't they beat what they confidently assured the world was a 'rag-tag' army? The New York Times tries to provide some answers. The casual reliance on Israeli military intelligence is to be expected. Essentially, the NYT boils it down to Syria and Iran. They gave um weapons n everything. It's not fair. Oh, there's some interesting information in there: Hezbollah's use of tunnels, their targeting of the houses that IDF soldiers hide out in, the use of 'part-timers' who supply logistics and weapons. Of course, it's hard to realistically assess this, since the Israelis speciously use the latter claim to legitimise their targeting of civilian areas. Indeed, the NYT repeatedly suggests that Hezbollah are hiding out in civilian targets, something well-known to its reporters to be false.
The theme is similar elsewhere. The Washington Post
reports that its all weapons, weapons, weapons. And Hezbollah, mark you, is in possession of night-vision goggles. I shit you not. In that article, Israeli officials admit that they've only killed a small fraction of Hezbollah's fighters: evidently the claim that they have killed hundreds and hundreds of them is wearing a little thin, and now they are obliged to account for their lack of success by making Hezbollah out to be a Levantine Godzilla. And they're playful too, the Party of God:
"Most of the time we only see them when they want to draw attention to themselves, then they kick us from behind," said Tyler, who was resting with his battalion at a lakefront hotel near Tiberias after a week in southern Lebanon. "It's horrible, yes. You feel -- not weak, but how do you say it, threatened? There is always, always uncertainty."
It's almost like a Marx Brothers skit: "Oh, yoohoo!" "Whassa..?" Blam! "I'll teach you to kick me!" "You don't need to teach me, I already know how!" Boof! Another toe up the arse. What's the difference between Hezbollah and Clint Eastwood? Clint Eastwood will make your day, but Hezbollah will make your hole weak.
The IDF has its own account, reported by Haaretz
: "Our missions are unclear, our combat equipment is antiquated". I don't understand this. Israel is spending billions of dollars each year on its military equipment, and its mission in Lebanon is surely perfectly clear: to drive out the civilian population, occupy it and annexe it while siphoning off water from the Litani if they can manage it. The soldiers complain that Hezbollah has been training for six years: well, armies will tend to train. What has the IDF been doing when not tearing up Palestine and making regular incursions into the blue zone?
The answers that might be given as to why the IDF are not winning are: 1) motivational, inasmuch as the IDF's "mission" is unclear to its soldiers, whereas for Hezbollah the goals are obvious and compelling; 2) technological, because Hezbollah has some gear that the IDF did not expect to confront; 3) tactical, because Hezbollah has managed to outwit the IDF all along, hiding in underground tunnels and steering well clear of areas likely to be bombed by Israel (civilian areas); 4) strategic, because the resistance forces are not divided by sectarian animosity and work toward a common goal; 5) training, because the IDF have evidently had it too easy while ravaging civilian areas in Palestine. I'm not sure how much weight to attach to each of these factors, but those are the commonly citet ones.
read in full...
DUMBER THAN REAGAN'S "WE BEGIN BOMBING IN 5 MINUTES"?
A Reuters reporter got tapped for the Great Privilege of accompanying Bush on one of his Crawford bike rides this weekend. Oh, to see the Leader of the Free World in his natural habitat:
"What I would give to be 16 again!" Bush yelled out at one point as he mashed the pedals of his Trek bicycle through a wooded area.
In fact, Bush does not ride quietly, constantly shouting out in his Texas twang the names of trees and geographic features and yelling at himself to pedal faster.
"Air assault!" he yelled as he started one of two major climbs, up Calichi Hill, which he named for the white limestone rock from which it is formed.
To be 16 again? It doesn't sound like he's made it to the level of an 8 year-old. No word if he stretched his arms out like wings and yelled "Nyraaaarrrwooow! Powpowpowpowpow!"
QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "For me, June marked the first month I don't dare leave the house without a hijab, or headscarf. I don't wear a hijab usually, but it's no longer possible to drive around Baghdad without one. It's just not a good idea." -- Riverbend, Baghdad Burning blog, Saturday, August 05, 2006