Tuesday, September 12, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR TUESDAY, September 12, 2006 Needlenose Caption Contest - 9/11/06: What is this man stepping on? Via Le Monde: "American President George Bush and his wife Laura after the September 11 commemoration ceremony in New York, 10 September 2006." (See below "Forget September 11") SECURITY INCIDENTS In Country: (see Baghdad & Diyala) Police found 15 bodies of men shot to death across Iraq, including the three in Diyala province. Baghdad: A car bomb exploded near a popular restaurant on a commercial street in Baghdad's western Mansour district, killing six civilians and wounding 15 others. Several cars were set on fire in the blast, which had targeted a U.S. military convoy. A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol exploded in eastern Baghdad's Zaiyouna neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, wounding three police officers and a civilian. A roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol exploded at a busy traffic intersection in the Qahira district, northern Baghdad, wounding two civilians. Three civilians were wounded when their car was struck by a roadside bomb in Talbiya district, northern Baghdad. A policeman was gunned down while he was leaving for work in Bayaa district, southern Baghdad. One policeman was killed and nine people were wounded, including three policemen, when a roadside bomb went off in central Baghdad. The Iraqi army killed two insurgents and detained 84 others in operations conducted across Iraq during the last 24 hours, the Defence Ministry said in a statement. The bodies of two men with multiple gunshot wounds and the head of a third man were found in separate areas of southern Baghdad. A design editor of a state-run Iraqi newspaper has been killed on his way to work in Baghdad. The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the murder of Abdel Karim al-Rubai, 40, who was the design editor for Al-Sabah newspaper. He was shot by several gunmen on Saturday morning A roadside bomb blast targeting a police patrol near Baghdad's University of Technology killed a policeman and a civilian. Another officer and six other bystanders were wounded. Diyala Prov: Police found three bodies in the province on Tuesday. Khalis: Seven civilians were killed in different shooting attacks in the town of Khalis, the Al-Tahrir neighbourhood of Baquba and at a market in Baquba. Maddadiyah: (Muqdadiya?) A roadside bomb next to a market killed at least four people and wounded 24 others in Middadiyah, a town just outside the city of Baqouba northeast of the capital. Gunmen assaulted a Shiite mosque in Middadiyah with mortars and assault rifles, killing seven people and wounding three. A bomb attack also killed Brigadier General Ali Hassan Jubur, head of operations in Muqdadiyah's police headquarters. Karbala: Gunmen shot dead a former security officer while he was in police custody being transferred from prison to face trial for crimes committed during Saddam Hussein's rule. Colonel Abbas al-Nuaimi was gunned down on Monday outside a jail in Hindiya, near Kerbala, south of Baghdad. Samarra: Four people were shot dead by gunmen in the industrial zone of Samarra, a twon 125 kilometres (80 miles) north of Baghdad, A policeman was killed and another wounded when a roadside bomb hit their patrol southwest of Samarra. Mosul: Gunmen attacked and killed four unidentified Kurds and injured another in northern Mosul. Gunmen killed police brigadier Ziad Ramzi in central Mosul city. The officer was in plain clothes when he was shot, said Nineveh police brigadier Saeid Ahmeed. Baqubah: Army Colonel Ali al-Jibouri was killed by a bomb as he left his home to go to work in Baquba, a violent city 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, police said. He was the head of emergency operations in the area. Kirkuk: An Iraqi soldier was killed and three others wounded when a roadside bomb struck their convoy near the northern city of Kirkuk. Kassem al-Bayati, an ethnic Turkmen member of the local council in the northern oil city of Kirkuk, was wounded by a roadside bomb, police said. Rawah: Two armed men were killed and four Iraqi soldiers were injured in a firefight between Iraqi forces and gunmen in the Qadisiyah area in eastern Rawah, 175 miles northwest of Baghdad. >> NEWS The commander of the U.S. Marine force in Iraq on Tuesday denied his troops had lost control of the vast province they patrol, after newspapers reported his intelligence chief had written a bleak report. (...) The Washington Post reported that officials who have seen a study by the Marines' top intelligence officer in Iraq say he described the situation in the province as lost. Iraq's Shi'ite-led government holds no sway there and the strongest political movement is the Iraq branch of al Qaeda, it concluded. The Post said it was the first time a senior U.S. officer had filed such a pessimistic assessment from Iraq, and described it as having had an impact among policymakers in Washington.
WASHINGTON POST: SITUATION CALLED DIRE IN WEST IRAQ The chief of intelligence for the Marine Corps in Iraq recently filed an unusual secret report concluding that the prospects for securing that country's western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there, said several military officers and intelligence officials familiar with its contents. The officials described Col. Pete Devlin's classified assessment of the dire state of Anbar as the first time that a senior U.S. military officer has filed so negative a report from Iraq. One Army officer summarized it as arguing that in Anbar province, "We haven't been defeated militarily but we have been defeated politically -- and that's where wars are won and lost." The "very pessimistic" statement, as one Marine officer called it, was dated Aug. 16 and sent to Washington shortly after that, and has been discussed across the Pentagon and elsewhere in national security circles. "I don't know if it is a shock wave, but it's made people uncomfortable," said a Defense Department official who has read the report. Like others interviewed about the report, he spoke on the condition that he not be identified by name because of the document's sensitivity. Devlin reports that there are no functioning Iraqi government institutions in Anbar, leaving a vacuum that has been filled by the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq, which has become the province's most significant political force, said the Army officer, who has read the report. Another person familiar with the report said it describes Anbar as beyond repair; a third said it concludes that the United States has lost in Anbar. read in full...
Moqtada al-Sadr remains adamantly opposed to a controversial plan to partition Iraq into a federation of three largely independent regions, a top Sadr aide said Monday. "Iraq must not be divided," said Riyadh Nouri, the aide to Sadr, who has opposed the U.S. presence in Iraq. Sadr's objection to the plan remains steadfast despite a meeting Sunday night in Najaf between Sadr and his intermittent rival Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the prominent Shiite political party that is leading the push for federalism. (...) The main Sunni bloc in parliament, the Iraqi Accordance Front, boycotted Sunday's legislative session to protest a measure that would create a mechanism for carving Iraq into three autonomous regions. The Sunnis fear the creation of a predominantly Shiite region in the south of Iraq that would resemble the largely independent zone controlled by the Kurds in the north. The Sunnis would be left with swaths of the country devoid of the oil reserves in the other regions. Sadr's bloc broke with Hakim's party to support the Sunni boycott on Sunday. That move prompted Hakim to meet later in the day with Sadr and then with Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, although he declined to describe their conversations.
TOP AIDE TO SADR OUTLINES VISION OF A U.S.-FREE IRAQ In a shabby but spotless living room in the holy city of Najaf, a top deputy of Shiite Muslim leader Moqtada al-Sadr quietly sketched out his vision of the Iraq to come, after the Americans withdraw. First, "there will be a civil war," said the aide, Mustafa Yaqoubi, as his three young children wandered in and out of the room. The rising violence and rivalries under the American occupation make a shaking-out all but inevitable once foreign forces go, Yaqoubi said. "I expect it." "No matter the number of people who would lose their lives, it is better than now," he added. "It would be better than the Americans staying." When the tumult ends, the Sadr aide said, Iraq's Shiite majority will finally be able to claim its due, long resisted by the Americans -- freedom to usher in a Shiite religious government that Yaqoubi said would be moderate and perhaps comparable in some ways to Iran's. The bespectacled, bearded cleric's mild tone buffered his talk of the blood that would have to be spilled to achieve this goal. No matter when the Americans withdraw, "the first year of transition, it will be worse," Yaqoubi warned. "After that, it will gradually improve." read in full…
Iraq's prime minister made his first official visit to Iran on Tuesday, asking Tehran to prevent al-Qaida militants from slipping across the border to carry out attacks, an Iraqi official said. Iran's president promised to help Iraq establish security. Saddam Hussein insisted Tuesday that his regime faced a Kurdish insurgency, rejecting genocide charges over the 1987-88 Anfal campaign that prosecutors say killed 182,000 Kurds. "Is there any country in the world where an insurgency breaks out and is not met by the army?" Saddam asked the chief judge of his trial, as he and six co-defendants returned to the dock for a fifth hearing. (...) Saddam told Judge Abdullah Al Ameri that the Kurdish rebels should not be referred as peshmergas, meaning "those who face death" in Kurdish. "I suggest the expression peshmerga be deleted from the transcript and replaced by the word insurgent," he said. >> REPORTS UPDATE ON HOUSE SEARCHES IN BAGHDAD Our house in Baghdad was searched on Monday. Around 6:30 am, my husband received a call from our next door neighbor telling him that they were searching our neighborhood. A short while later, Iraqi Army soldiers knocked on our gate and my husband let them in. There were three soldiers, and surprisingly, my husband told me they were very decent. They asked for his name and ID, and his place of employment. Two of the soldiers then asked permission, went upstairs and looked inside the bedrooms. That was it. They left after that. These house searches have been occuring during this past summer to help secure Baghdad. My grandmother and aunts in law living in Amiriya, Adhamiya, and Dakhilya had there homes searched earlier this summer. Mammy (my husband's grandmother) and his Aunt 'W' living in and around Adhamiya had their houses searched twice this summer, and they also had American soldiers along with the Iraqi ones. The day that our neighborhood was searched, the roads were blocked and no one was allowed into or out of the neighborhood. So my husband was unable to go to work. I was happily surprised at how decent the soldiers' behavior was. But technically, if someone was trying to hide something in their homes, I don't believe that search would be sufficient in discovering it. link DAHR JAMAIL AND ALI AL-FADHILY: FALLUJAH AGAIN IN THE LINE OF US FIRE After enduring two major assaults, Fallujah, a key city in the western province al-Anbar, is under threat from US forces again. This coincides with news of a classified US intelligence report that the Pentagon is taking "very seriously" - that US forces are losing control of Anbar. (...) In Fallujah, 50 kilometers west of Baghdad, residents are edgy. "They destroyed our city twice and they are threatening us a third time," said Ahmed Dhahy, 52. "They want us to do their job for them and turn in those who target them." Dhahy, who lost 32 relatives when his father's house was bombed by a US aircraft during the April 2004 attack on Fallujah, said the US military had threatened it would destroy the city if resistance fighters were not handed over to them. "Last week, the Americans used loudspeakers on the backs of their tanks and Humvees to threaten us," Dhahy said. Residents said the US forces warned of a "large military operation" if fighters were not handed over. A US military spokesman in Baghdad said he had no reports of such action. (...) "The Iraqi resistance has not stopped for a single day despite the huge US Army activities," a city police captain said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "The wise men of the city explained to US officials that it is impossible to stop the resistance by military operations, but it seems the Americans prefer to do it the hard way." The police captain said anti-occupation fighters had increased their activities in the face of sectarian violence in which Shi'ite death squads have killed thousands of Sunnis in Baghdad. Many residents of Fallujah have relatives in the capital city. Lack of reconstruction and the US military's failure to pay due compensation to victims' families have added to the unrest, the captain said. "There used to be resistance attacks against the US and Iraqi forces in Fallujah daily," said the captain. "But now they have increased to several per day. Many soldiers have been killed and their vehicles destroyed. So it is clear that the security measures they have taken in Fallujah have failed." (...) "What is going on in this city requires international intervention to protect civilians and to punish those who seriously damaged Fallujah society and committed serious crimes against humanity," Darraji said. His group has been monitoring breaches of the Geneva Conventions in the city since the April 2004 siege. "There is a long list of collective punishments that have turned the city into a frightful detention camp," he said. read in full... >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS FORGET SEPTEMBER 11 Certainly, do not forget those who died on September 11, 2001. But remember them in the larger context of the literally millions of people throughout the world who have faced the consequences wrought by the U.S. government and its allies in retaliation. Don't forget the events that happened on September 11, 2001 and their aftermath; forget "September 11" as a glib phrase that has obfuscated this larger context and has been instead used by the U.S. government to wreak havoc throughout the world in the name of a principle that has not yet been actively rejected by people in the United States: the principle that American lives are somehow worth more than the lives of others. (…) The anniversary of September 11, 2001 has to be viewed from the perspective of people in Iraq, who -- as we now know -- were always seen by the Bush Administration as the primary target of its manipulation of "September 11." Two years ago, estimates of the number of Iraqis killed as a result of the U.S.-led invasion and occupation stood at 100,000; according to recent reports, more than 10,000 have been killed in the last four months alone. But one does not have to engage in this calculus of horror to understand the scale of the destruction unleashed by the U.S. government wielding a sword labeled "September 11." (…) But another thing has happened during those five years whose anniversary we are being told to commemorate. Around the world, people's movements have constantly resisted the U.S. government's attempts to impose its own vision of the world through the use of "September 11." In place of this "September 11," I offer another date to remember: February 15, 2003, when more than eleven million people across the world stood together, not just against the imminent U.S. attack on Iraq, but against the larger imposition of U.S. hegemony across the globe. The spirit of resistance that came together on February 15 still exists; it manifests itself, for example, in the massive protests that erupt every time a U.S. official sets foot anywhere in the world today. But the millions who stood, and who continue to stand, against the actions of the U.S. government are also watching us today, and wondering -- as they should -- about the relative lack of resistance on the part of people here in the United States against their own government's acts of terror since September 11, 2001. It is past time for people in the United States to forget the official version of "September 11" and to join this new world that was glimpsed on February 15. read in full... DO ALL DICTATORS WATCH KIDS IN THE HALL? So who knew Saddam was a big Mark McKinney fan? Here he is practicing his wacky brand of humor at his trial:
"Congratulations! You are in a cage, Saddam," witness Ghafour Hassan Abdullah said as he stared at the ousted president. Saddam listened silently but lost his temper when a lawyer described Iraqi Kurdish rebels as freedom fighters. "You are agents of Iran and Zionism! We will crush your heads!" he shouted.
And with that, Saddam held his thumb and forefinger together and made little pinching moves, squinting through one eye. No word if he used the nasally voice, though, as he repeated "I'm crushing your head! I'm crushing your head!". link THE WRONG BROTHERS I haven't a clue as to why anyone would take the advice of Bill Kristol and Rich Lowry on how we should proceed in Iraq. Hell, I don't know why anyone would think either man was worth listening to, much less follow their advice. After all it was Bill Kristol who on April 1, 2003, smugly told an NPR audience:
There's been a certain amount of pop sociology in America that the Shia can't get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There's been almost no evidence of that at all, Iraq's always been very secular.
And it was Rich Lowry who, on April 27, 2005, gave us this famous magazine cover...
["We're Winning", National Review cover]
...which was accompanied by Lowry's sage evaluation of the situation in Iraq.
It is time to say it unequivocally: We are winning in Iraq
But for some unknown reason the Wa$hington Post today felt it was important for us to hear the advice of two men who have been nothing but wrong on this issue.
There is no mystery as to what can make the crucial difference in the battle of Baghdad: American troops. A few thousand U.S. troops have already been transferred to Baghdad from elsewhere in Iraq. Where more U.S. troops have been deployed, the situation has gotten better. Those neighborhoods intensively patrolled by Americans are safer and more secure. But it is by no means clear that overall troop numbers in Baghdad are enough to do the job. And it is clear that stripping troops from other fronts risks progress elsewhere in the country.
So, more US troops are what we need to make Iraq safer? It so happens that we currently have 145,000 troops in Iraq, the highest number since December and 15,000 more than a month ago. Yet despite the pressence of 290,000 boots on the ground violence in Iraq has increased. In fact, a GAO report on the failure of the Iraqi political process released yesterday states:
In spite of a sharp increase in Sunni-Shiite violence, however, attacks on U.S.-led coalition forces are still the primary source of bloodshed in Iraq, the report found.
That's right, the "primary source of bloodshed in Iraq" is the very existence of US forces there. The GAO continues:
The report, citing the Pentagon, said that enemy attacks against coalition and Iraqi forces increased by 23 percent from 2004 to 2005 and that the number of attacks from January to July 2006 were 57 percent higher than during the same period in 2005. A graph showed that the number of attacks rose from around 100 in May 2003 to roughly 4,500 in July 2006. More than half of those were against coalition troops; the rest appear to have been split almost evenly between attacks on Iraqi security forces and attacks on civilians.
What of the Wrong Brothers claim that, "Where more U.S. troops have been deployed, the situation has gotten better," specifically citing Baghdad? Well, despite the Pentagon's efforts to hide the troops by only counting deaths from a limited number of causes instead of all killings, things in Baghdad are no safer than before the recent influx of US forces. read in full... NEW YORK TIMES REWRITES IRAQ WAR HISTORY In a New York Times article (9/6/06) on George W. Bush's September 5 speech concerning terrorism and Iraq, reporters David Sanger and John O'Neil included a striking revision of Bush's reasoning for going to war:
The possibility that Saddam Hussein might develop 'weapons of mass destruction' and pass them to terrorists was the prime reason Mr. Bush gave in 2003 for ordering the invasion of Iraq.
Of course, the drive to war rested firmly on Bush's repeated and emphatic claim that Hussein had already developed WMDs, which he possessed and was prepared to use-a bogus claim that the mainstream media, led by the Times' own Judith Miller, largely accepted as an article of faith and bolstered with credulous reports based on faulty information. (See Extra!, 7-8/03.) Bush's charges that Iraq concealed chemical and biological weapons were unequivocal. "Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons," Bush told the U.N. (9/12/02). (...) The New York Times' revision of the record, maintaining that Bush only presented Iraqi WMDs as a "possibility," threatens to erase one of the most significant chapters of recent history, in effect clearing the Bush administration-and the Times-of their role in misleading the country into war. ACTION: Tell the New York Times to correct the record on the Bush administration's prime reason for invading Iraq. read in full... >> BEYOND IRAQ Afghanistan: Six Finnish peacekeepers were fired at in Afghanistan on Tuesday, Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen (centre) said at a news conference in Parliament on Tuesday. The prime minister added that none of the Finnish soldiers was killed or wounded. The incident happened in Balkh province near the Uzbekistan border in the north of the country, where the Finns had been patrolling together with Swedish peacekeepers and local police. A group of Swedish soldiers was attacked on Tuesday in northern Afghanistan by locals armed with handguns, mines and and handheld rocket-launchers. The Swedish troops returned fire and no Swedes were reported injured, according to a statement from the Armed Forces. Around 15-30 Afghans attacked the patrol and not until around 1pm did reinforcements arrive, allowing the Swedes to withdraw from the area. The Swedish Armed Forces said that it is still unclear if any Afghans were wounded or killed as the Swedes fired back. PONDERING SURRENDER Throughout the last five years, the pro-war crowd has often dismissed the repeated calls to restore a non-interventionist foreign policy as the equivalent of surrender. We have been told that ending the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, ending the meddling in the Middle East, would just be giving the terrorists what they want. Well, for the sake of argument, let us concede to the pro-war camp that this is true. If all the terrorists want is for the U.S. government to refrain from killing people abroad and trying to run the world, isn't that exactly what we non-interventionists were saying was the problem from the beginning? It might disturb the committed American militarist that Islamist fanatics would be happy if the foreign adventurism were to stop. But should it not in fact make the rest of us relieved that closing down the empire would make us safer? If the U.S. stops its addiction to perpetual war the benefits at home would be great. We all know that war involves huge costs. More Americans have now died in Iraq and Afghanistan than died on 9/11, and tens of thousands have been terribly wounded. Families have been separated, and dreams delayed or smashed. In financial terms alone, the Iraq war by itself has cost each American man, woman and child more than a thousand dollars so far. Would it not be better for Americans not to pay these huge costs in blood and treasure? Would it not be better not to be despised and feared by most of the world? If such "surrender" to the terrorists also means not being attacked, should we not consider surrendering? It has been five years since 9/11; if it's not okay to start wondering aloud whether this might be a preferred strategy, then when will it? read in full... AL JAZEERA 9/11 POLL RESULTS! Here are the results of a questionnaire (five years after the attacks of September 11) conducted by the Arabic channel Al Jazeera. The number of participants in the poll : 41260 1- Is the world safer after September 11? Yes %4.2 No %95.8 2- Do you support Osama bin Laden? Yes %49.9 No %50.1 3- Do you think that the war on Iraq is a war on Islam? Yes %79.8 No %20.2 4- Do you think that there is a link between the war on terrorism and the war on Iraq? Yes %23.4 No %76.6 5- Do you wish to travel to the United States? Yes %27.6 No %72.4 link QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Blaming the chaos in Iraq on a failure of planning or on a failure to use the correct tactics is similar to the effort by some Marxists to blame the fall of communism in the Soviet Union on a failure to practice communism correctly. It never addresses the root issue: the war could not be won, because it was a colossal mistake." -- from Understanding Why Iraq Is a Disaster by Thomas Gale Moore


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