DAILY WAR NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, September 27, 2006
: Women cry after seeing the bodies of their relatives who were killed in a U.S. air strike on Wednesday in Baquba, northeast of Baghdad, September 27, 2006. (Helmiy al-Azawi/Reuters) (See below)
A U.S. air strike destroyed a house in a city north of Baghdad on Wednesday, killing eight civilians and wounding several others
, witnesses said, according to Reuters news agency.
The U.S. army said that the raid in Baquba came during a gun battle with Iraqi fighters before dawn Wednesday.
It claimed that its soldiers shot dead two fighters before the air strike, which killed two men and four women. Two other men and a woman were injured, it added.
The army, which called the deaths "unfortunate", said that it was unsure how many of those killed were fighters. But witnesses and relatives said all the dead were civilians, including seven members of a family and one neighbor.
Neighbors also said that the U.S. strike came as they were preparing for the pre-dawn Ramadan meal.
"I was inside preparing for Ramadan morning meal. I heard explosions and shooting and I ran out," Anaam Jassim, a young women told Reuters. "When I came back I saw all my family killed. My father -- four women and three men. All of them, including my brother and his pregnant wife. They took two of our family away, a man and a woman. They were wounded," she said.
The Muslim Scholars Association, a Sunni clerical group, issued a statement denouncing the U.S. raid as a "terrorist massacre."
Four "terrorist" suspects and four civilians were killed by US forces and airstrikes during a morning raid in Baqouba, the U.S. military. U.S. forces targeting a wanted man linked to leaders of al-Qaeda in Iraq came under heavy fire from a building and shot back, killing two suspects, the US military said in a statement. Airstrikes were called in due to the heavy volume of fire from the building and U.S. aircraft fired multiple rounds at the building. When troops moved through the building, they found two other suspects and four women had been killed in the airstrike, according to the AP.Bring ‘em on
: One Soldier assigned to 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division died Monday from enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province. (MNF – Iraq)
Bring ‘em on
: One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died Monday from enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province. (MNF – Iraq)
Australian troops in Iraq fought an intense gun battle after their armoured vehicles were ambushed at the Al Muthanna province capital city Samawah.
Few details are available yet, however defence force head Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said no Australian troops were hurt in the incident which occurred last night Australian time. "There was a fairly large fire fight in which our people were able to use their skills and extract themselves without further incident."
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad:
A bomb placed inside the car of Major Mijbal Abbas, part of the investigative crime unit, exploded on a bridge in the city center of Baghdad
, killing him as he drove to work.
A pair of bombs exploded in neighborhood of Karrada not far from the French embassy and the offices of a number of foreign news agencies
, killing one person and injuring three.
The sister of a Shi'ite MP was shot dead as she headed to work in western Baghdad
, a spokesman from the MP's political party said.
An official of the Dora district neighborhood power station and a friend were killed.
The two were shot by unknown assailants while driving through the area.
The bodies of 23 men were found dumped in streets on the eastern side of the city
, all with bullet wounds and most showing signs of torture.
Gunmen assaulted two Sunni mosques and sprayed bullets into homes
in a mixed neighborhood in sectarian violence that killed three people and wounded 15, many of them attackers suspected of being followers of a radical Shiite cleric.
Five people were killed and eight others were injured when a car bomb went off at a popular market in southwestern Baghdad
, a well-informed police source told Xinhua. "A car bomb parking at a popular market in the Baiyaa neighborhood detonated at about 5:00 p.m. (1300 GMT), killing five people and wounding eight others," the source said on condition of anonymity. The blast damaged several nearby cars and shops, he added.
Police commandos killed seven militants and wounded three inside a Sunni mosque in the Amil district
, southwestern Baghdad.
Gunmen in a Sunni mosque fired on a police checkpoint in the Khadhraa district
, western Baghdad. When police commandos returned fire, they killed two militants, wounded two others and freed two people being held captive in the mosque.
A roadside bomb exploded next to a police convoy transporting prisoners from Khalis south to Baquba
, killing two policemen and two prisoners.
Gunmen on that same highway opened fire in a separate incident and killed two other civilians
, reported police, who added that they also found a body floating in the Diyala river.
A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol exploded in Mussayab
, about 60 km (40 miles) south of Baghdad, wounding three policemen.
Gunmen opened fire on cars passing by on the main street in Kut, south of Baghdad,
killing one person and injuring three.
Mortars falling on the central city of Samarra around midnight killed a 14 year old.
A civilian was injured in Hillah
, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, when a gunman opened fire from a moving car.
Two Iraqi soldiers were killed and three wounded when unidentified people opened fire on them in their car in an area south of Kirkuk
, 180 miles north of Baghdad.
Gunmen opened fire on a military checkpoint in Kirkuk, killing an officer and wounding three soldiers.
At least 10 people were wounded when a car bomb exploded near the headquarters of the Turkmen Front Party in central Kirkuk.
The all important pipeline shipping crude oil from the fields around Kirkuk to the massive refinery in Baiji was blown up
just 15 kilometers east of Baiji.
Mortar rounds landed on and around an Iraqi army checkpoint in the small town of Rashad
south of Kirkuk, killing two soldiers and wounding three others.
An insurgent was killed when clashes erupted between insurgents and the Iraqi army in western Mosul
, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad. Three insurgents were detained after the clash.
An Iraqi soldier on foot patrol was gunned down by a sniper in Karma
, 50 miles west of Baghdad.
A public relations company that participated in a controversial U.S. military program that paid Iraqi newspapers for stories favorable to coalition forces has been awarded another multimillion-dollar media contract with American forces in Iraq.
Washington-based Lincoln Group won a two-year contract to monitor a number of English and Arabic media outlets and produce public relations-type products like talking points or speeches for U.S. forces in Iraq, officials said Tuesday. (...)
The idea is to use the information to "build support" in Iraqi, Arabic, international and U.S. audiences for what the military describes as its goals in Iraq, such as destroying the insurgency and helping Iraqis build a democracy, according to contract documents.
The list of media outlets to be watched includes the New York Times
, Fox Television and the satellite channel, Al-Arabiya.
The Lincoln Group was mired in controversy last year when it became known that the company had been part of a U.S. military operation to pay Iraqi newspapers to run positive stories about coalition activities. According to the company's Web site, it was created in 2003 to do public relations and communications work in challenging environments such as Iraq.
The Defense Department is speeding up the deployment of a stateside unit to Iraq by a month to maintain U.S. troop levels through spring
, officials said. The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, out of Fort Bliss, Texas, will now go to Iraq in late October rather than November, a Defense Department news release says.
Dahr Jamail: WHAT DOES THIS LOOK LIKE FOR US TROOPS ON THE GROUND IN IRAQ?
Here is an email I received just last week from a mother whose son is serving in the US military in Ramadi:
My son cannot bear what he is forced to do, and has probably through sheer terror, confusion, and split-second decisions, killed innocent civilians. He is well aware of this, and I have witnessed the consequences first hand. He probably carries innocent blood on his hands. The killing of innocent people is virtually unavoidable. He is in Al-Anbar region. You are the ONLY person in the media who has responded to my emails. The other emails I sent to news organizations questioning why so little news out of Al-Anbar were unanswered. I believe that it is because the US has lost that region, and is suppressing that news to the American public. My son called me last week from Ramadi and said the war is lost - they are just going thru the motions, again, forced to carry out orders and risk their lives for an unobtainable and unjust goal. I continue to read your web site, as well as others, while I pray for my son's safe homecoming in spring.
Her anguish, the description of her son's mental state, and her son's report of the conditions in Ramadi, tragic as they are, come as no surprise. At the time of this writing, over 2,703 US soldiers have been killed in Iraq, and over ten times that number wounded. This month, over 61 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq. With an average of over 2.5 killed daily this month, at the time of this writing it's already the third bloodiest month this year in Iraq for occupation forces.
IRAQIS WANT IMMEDIATE US PULLOUT
The majority of Iraqis want an immediate departure of the US-led troops from Iraq, believing will help bring an end to the sectarian violence in their war-torn country, according to new polls by the State Department and independent researchers obtained Wednesday, September 27, by the Washington Post
"Majorities in all regions except Kurdish areas state that the Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I) should withdraw immediately, adding that the MNF-I's departure would make them feel safer and decrease violence," concluded a 20-page State Department report based on face-to-face interviews.
It said that sixty-five of 1,870 residents surveyed wanted an immediate withdrawal of the US-led troops.
Three-quarters of those interviewed said they would feel safer if US troops left their country.
Another poll by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland showed that seventy-one percent of Iraqis wanted their government to ask foreign forces to withdraw within a year.
However, the majority of 1,000 randomly selected Iraqis believe the US would reject any request for departure. Seventy-seven percent of those questioned said the US intends to keep permanent military bases in the oil-rich country.
read in full...
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
The authorities and residents in Ramadi, the capital of Al Anbar, now acknowledge that guerilla fighters control the Iraqi province
. Harassed by the armed groups and their local supporters, American forces have apparently told the residents that they would be withdrawing to their bases in Haditha and Habaniyah in the province. Security would be handed over to Iraqi forces - a move that is unlikely to work because the guerillas are much too strong for them.
The decline of American military influence is likely to have a big impact on the country. Al Anbar, Iraq's largest province, is spread over a massive desert and is strategically located because it borders three countries - Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia. Cross-border smuggling is well established in this area and predates the U.S. invasion. Now, with the declining American clout, coupled with the inability of the Iraqi forces to police the area, smuggling including that of weapons and explosives can only be expected to increase. Consequently, the influence of the resistance groups will grow.
MINI-GULAGS, HIRED GUNS AND LOBBYISTS
Last month a site of shame, shared by Saddam Hussein and George W Bush, was emptied.
Abu Ghraib prison is the place where Saddam's functionaries tortured (and sometimes killed) many enemies of his regime, and where Bush's functionaries, as a series of notorious digital photos revealed, committed what the US press still likes to refer to as "prisoner abuse". Now, there are no prisoners to abuse and the prison itself is to be turned over to the Iraqi government, perhaps to become a museum, perhaps to remain a jail for another regime whose handling of prisoners is grim indeed. The emptying was clearly meant as a redemptive moment or, as Nancy A Youssef of the McClatchy Newspapers put it, "a milestone" for the huge structure. After all the bad media and the hit US "prestige" took around the world, Abu Ghraib was finally over.
Of course its prisoners, who remained generally uncharged and without access to Iraqi courts, weren't just released to the winds. Quite the opposite: more than 3,000 of them were redistributed to two other US prisons, Camp Bucca in Iraq's south and Camp Cropper at the huge US base adjoining Baghdad International Airport, once dedicated to the holding of such "high-value" detainees as Saddam Hussein and top officials of his regime.
Camp Cropper itself turns out to be an interesting story, but one with a problem: while the emptying of Abu Ghraib made the news everywhere, the filling of Camp Cropper made no news at all. And yet it turns out that Camp Cropper, which started out as a bunch of tents, has now become a US$60 million "state-of-the-art" prison. The upgrade, on the drawing boards since 2004, was just completed and hardly a word has been written about it. We really have no idea what it consists of or what it looks like, even though it's in one of the few places in Iraq that an American reporter could safely visit, being on a vast US military base constructed, like the prison, with taxpayer dollars.
read in full...
US WHITEWASH OF SUNNI RESISTANCE
Are the Sunni leaders in Iraq's al-Anbar province finally coming around to joining the US counterinsurgency war?
That's how the New York Times
portrayed the situation last week. Times reporters quoted a Sunni tribal leader in Anbar as saying that 25 of 31 tribes in the province had banded together to fight against al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Iraqi insurgents allied with them.
The newspaper said US officials, who had "tried to persuade the Sunni Arab majority in Anbar to reject the insurgency and embrace Iraqi nationalism", saw the announcement as an "encouraging sign".
But careful readers of the Times
report would have noticed that something was missing from the picture of the political-military situation in Anbar that is crucial to making sense of the tribal leader's announcement, as well as the spin put on it by the unnamed US officials.
The missing piece is the home-grown Sunni armed resistance to the US occupation, which enjoys the strong support of the Sunni population and tribal leaders in the province and has been at war with the foreign terrorists of al-Qaeda for many months. According to a report by prominent security analysts Anthony Cordesman and Nawaf Obaid, foreign fighters represent only 4-10% of some 30,000 armed insurgents in Iraq.
The omission of any mention of the indigenous Sunni resistance forces from the Times
story followed a Washington Post report on a secret US Marine Corps intelligence analysis of the situation in Anbar, in which Pentagon officials were quoted as saying the document portrays a "vacuum that has been filled by the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq".
read in full...
THE TWO FACES OF OCCUPATION
There is sound evidence that Iraq is under two occupations: the American and the Iranian. For this reason, the Iraqi resistance was not able to celebrate Hezbollah's victory of against the Israeli enemy. Perhaps it viewed Hezbollah's link to Iran as the other face of occupation.
For this reason too, the one million-participant manifestations in favour of Hezbollah, conducted by the followers of Iran in Iraq, was a mere act of cheating since the sincere solidarity with Hezbollah should require enrolling in fighting the American occupation, not living under its armpit.
Thus the Iraqi resistance finds itself between these two occupations obliged to deal with two enemies with overlapping interests, but also with each one having its own calculations. These overlaps and calculations are not even consistent regarding the resistance, although it seems to be a common enemy for those two enemies. The discrepancy of overlaps and ties between the acting forces in Iraq makes the present situation more torn and anarchic to an irreparable extent.
It should also be recognised that the Iraqi resistance is not unified, even though it seems that the patriots - belonging to parties not smeared by sectarianism - are those who constitute the main force of this resistance. But who knows? The various components of the resistance might be an objective in itself in order to protect it and guarantee its continuity.
read in full...
>> BEYOND IRAQ
Canadian soldiers escaped injury on Wednesday when a suicide bomber tried to ram a vehicle in a Canadian military convoy in Afghanistan.
The attack injured one Afghan civilian and damaged a Canadian military vehicle, a R-31 Nyala, in Kandahar. No troops were injured.
An explosive hit a vehicle in western Afghanistan, wounding three NATO soldiers and one civilian
, an alliance spokesman said. The four were taken to a hospital after the attack in western Herat province's Shindand district, said Maj. Luke Knittig, a NATO-led force spokesman. He would not disclose the nationality of the casualties; most of the troops in that area are Italian.
The UN confirms that about a million cluster bomblets discharged by Israel in its recent offensive remain unexploded in S. Lebanon
A CONTROLLED MEDIA? SEE FOR YOURSELF
Ever wondered just why it is that Americans seem so intellectually challenged when it comes to knowledge of the world outside America and the truth about their political leaders? You've heard the claim that the US media is "government-controlled", but is it true?
, courtesy of an advertisement on the MSNBC website, makes the case clear:
NOW THIS IS JUST EMBARRASSING
What happened to the Coalition Of The Willing? And why is Rummy begging for troops?
US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has flown to tiny Montenegro with hopes of tapping a new source of troops for Iraq and Afghanistan as strains on US forces mount. Montenegrin troops for Afghanistan and Iraq were "on the table" in Rumsfeld's talks here Tuesday with leaders of newly independent remnant of the former Yugoslavia, Eric Ruff, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters traveling with the secretary. "I would say there would be discussions about what kind of involvement they foresee in the global war, and certainly any kind of support for the Central Command region would be greatly appreciated," Ruff said, referring to the US Central Command which oversees US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I'd ask if it could get any more embarrassing, but after five years of continuously escalating incompetence, I've learned to stop asking questions like that.
Monkeyfister Wonders: With who's army(ies) are we going to fight the subsequent wars after George DECIDES to electively conduct his pre-emptive airstrikes on Iran?
QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "I think, arguably, it's the worst readiness condition the US Army has faced since the end of Vietnam." -- General Barry McCaffrey, retired, said of the current state of the US military last week on the NBC Nightly News