DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SATURDAY, February 3, 2007
: Army Staff Sgt. Tony Smith,27 , from Fort Bragg, N.C. of Delta Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, keeps an eye on an Iraqi family during a predawn search of their home near Youssifiyah, 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq Saturday, Feb. 3, 2007. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
A suicide bomber killed 135 people on Saturday in the deadliest single bombing in Iraq since the 2003 war
, driving a truck laden with one ton of explosives into a market in a mainly Shi'ite area of Baghdad.
The blast, which Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki blamed on Saddam Hussein supporters and other Sunni militants, shattered fruit and vegetable stalls, caved in shopfronts and left the smashed bodies of shoppers strewn in the street.
Bring 'em on
: Two Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers died when an improvised explosive device detonated near a patrol south of the Iraqi capital Feb 2.
Bring 'em on
: A U.S. Marine and a U.S. sailor died on Thursday from wounds sustained in an attack by insurgents in Anbar, the U.S. military said.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
Two people were killed and 12 wounded in a mortar attack in Nahrawan
Two IED axploded in northern Baghdad this morning wounding three civilians.
In Kadhimiya three civilians were wounded as a result of a Katiosha missile
aimed at the area today.
At least one civilian was killed and ten others were wounded in a car bomb blast in southern Baghdad.
Iraqi security forces found 23 unidentified bodies around Baghdad
on Friday, police said.
At least eight people were killed and 12 wounded when a car bomb exploded in a market
30 km (20 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.
A car bomb killed one civilian and wounded nine in Mahmudiya
, south of Baghdad.
Seven car bombs, all detonated within a couple of hours, killed at least two civilians and wounded 34
across the ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk, police sources said. Two of the vehicles targeted the offices of the two main Kurdish parties in the city, including one driven by a suicide bomber.
Insurgents killed four police commandos and wounded three
when they attacked their checkpoint on the main road just north of Samarra, police said. Three insurgents were also killed in the attack.
Clashes broke out on Saturday between U.S. forces and gunmen in Garma district in east of Falluja
, an eyewitness said.
Three gunmen were killed during a search campaign by U.S. forces
that resulted also in detaining ten others in the restive Anbar city of Falluja, a security source said.
Police found the bodies of five civilians dumped in a public square in Falluja
, witnesses said.
Five gunmen were killed in clashes that took place on Saturday in the city of Mosul
, 396 km northwest of the capital Baghdad.
At least three people were wounded when a car bomb was detonated at an ambulance in Mosul.
Insurgents killed two Iraqi soldiers
, and three people were shot dead in separate incidents, in the northern city of Mosul on Friday.
The Iraqi army said troops arrested six militants
on Friday in the Shi'ite city of Kut, 170 km (105 miles) southeast of Baghdad. They belonged to a shadowy Shi'ite sect involved in last week's fighting near the holy city of Najaf. The army said it found a large weapons cache left over from the fighting.
Gunmen killed Jaishi al-Ameer, a lawyer who police said defended militants, in Kut
Gunmen killed a policeman in the small town of Dhuluiya
, 70 km (45 miles) north of Baghdad.
Police found one body with gunshot wounds to his head in the town of Iskandariya
, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad.
An explosive charge went off at a U.S. vehicle patrol in Kahlis in northern Diala
, an eyewitness said.
Three civilians were injured in a mortar attack on a civilian neighborhood
in eastern Khalis today.
Three policemen were wounded when unknown gunmen attacked a police checkpoint in Khalis district
in northern Diala.
Unknown gunmen shot and killed a policeman in Deloiya district
, south of Tikrit, while a mortar shell fell near a bus station in al-Dawr district, southeast of Tikrit, wounding two people, a police source said. Tikrit city is 175 km north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
Four Iraqi policemen were killed and three others were wounded when unknown gunmen attacked a police checkpoint
in northern Samarra, a police source said. Samarra is 110 km north of Baghdad.
Twenty-five gunmen, including four operatives of the Soldiers of Heaven sect, were arrested
during the past few days in separate operations that followed the Najaf incidents in search of gunmen, said the Karbala police chief on Saturday.
British forces arrested on Saturday morning nine suspects in central Basra while Katyusha rockets were fired at two British bases in the southern Iraqi city
, media spokeswoman for the British forces in Basra said.
The Dean of the College Physical Education in Dyala University was assassinated in full view of the teachers on campus
. His son was with him and suffered the same fate. The Staff point an accusing finger at the President of the university, Dr. Alaa' Al-Atbi, saying that he is involved with armed groups and facilitates their tasks by setting up the targets and doing nothing in way of calling for assistance if any attacks took place, and have taken the initiative to report their complaint to the media repetitively.
A security source in Baquba City mentioned that an armed group assassinated lawyer Waleed Al-Zihairi in the town of BaladRooz
yesterday 01.02.07. Three civilian bystanders were also killed, the same source said another 2 civilians were killed in a separate incident.
Four mortar bombs were aimed at the small village of Parwana
, in Muqdadiya and caused material losses to the houses of the inhabitants, no lives lost.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called on Saturday for closing ranks and avoiding sectarian sentiments
"that seem insoluble for centuries now." "There should be no arguments outside honest scientific research over this difference in beliefs now that they do not impinge on the pillars of the faith," said the top Shiite cleric in a statement received by the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). Sistani urged stronger bonds of amity among the sons of one nation and peaceful coexistence based on mutual respect away from any sectarian sentiments. "Anyone keen on the good of Islam and Muslims has to do their best to bring them together and lessen tensions resulting from some political disputes that would benefit only the enemies of Islam," said Sistani. He noted that some have been recently working on nourishing sectarian differences among Muslims, taking advantage of political conflicts and hectic power struggle. The statement, issued by Sistani's office, criticized some satellite stations and web sites which "give weird fatwas insulting certain Muslim groups" and falsely attribute them to Sistani only to spark sectarian troubles.
The military would only say it was investigating the Friday crash [of an American Apache attack helicopter], but witnesses indicated that the militants were clearly waiting to ambush passing helicopters.
A man who identified himself only as Abu Ahmed, who lives near the crash site, said gunmen were hiding near a manufacturing plant in Sheik Amir village, near the town of Taji, waiting for the helicopters. Taji is a central hub for helicopter traffic around Baghdad. Americans are currently training Iraqi pilots there and the Americans have expressed concern about enemies becoming more sophisticated in shooting at the helicopters.
On Friday, just after sunrise, two American Apache helicopters flew in low, and waiting militants successfully shot down one and hit the second, Mr. Ahmed said.
Before the military had confirmed the crash, a militant group was already taking responsibility and promising to post a video of the attack on the Internet.
The U.S. military drive to train and equip Iraq's security forces has unwittingly strengthened anti-American Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia
, which has been battling to take over much of the capital city as American forces are trying to secure it.
U.S. Army commanders and enlisted men who are patrolling east Baghdad, which is home to more than half the city's population and the front line of al-Sadr's campaign to drive rival Sunni Muslims from their homes and neighborhoods, said al-Sadr's militias had heavily infiltrated the Iraqi police and army units that they've trained and armed.
"Half of them are JAM. They'll wave at us during the day and shoot at us during the night," said 1st Lt. Dan Quinn, a platoon leader in the Army's 1st Infantry Division, using the initials of the militia's Arabic name, Jaish al Mahdi. "People (in America) think it's bad, but that we control the city. That's not the way it is. They control it, and they let us drive around. It's hostile territory."
Between 30,000 and 50,000 mercenaries are working in Iraq
, making them the second largest military force there after the occupying United States.
The case of Iraq "is a new manifestation of the use of mercenaries that has caughts the US by surprise", Spain's Jose Luis Gomez del Prado -- a member of the UN working group on mercenaries -- said Fridayduring a visit to Peru.
The United States has 130,000 soldiers in Iraq, he noted. Britain has 10,000 troops.
Gomez del Prado told a news conference thousands of Peruvians, Chileans, Colombians, Hondurans and Ecuadorans had been contracted to work as mercenaries in Iraq, thanks to an array of legal loopholes.
The trend has caused widespread public concern in Peru.
Rights workers have voiced concern that people are being hired to work as security guards in Iraq but are then given military training and asked to perform "previously unforseen tasks" which draw them into full combat.
Gomez del Prado's Colombian colleague, Amada Guevara, told the news conference that in some cases, workers were contracted by existing companies who exploited legal loopholes. But in other cases, they were taken on by ghost firms who arrived in a country, opened an office for a month, contracted workers and then disappeared without trace.
"This amounts to privatisation of warfare," she said.
Turkey may be preparing for an attack on Northern Iraq
to root out PKK units from Kurdistan. The daily said that formations from the Turkish army have been placed around and near the borders with Iraq, and that these units are currently being drilled in what looks like counterinsurgency tactics in a mountainous area. This information has prompted Az-Zaman to speak of a 'winter offensive' of the Turkish army against PKK positions in Northern Iraq during the coming weeks.
Nabil's blog: ANOTHER TERRIFYING DAY
Yesterday [January 30] was round 2 of mortar attacks on my neighbourhood. Over 20 mortar missiles fell on the neighbourhood and caused 30 deaths and injuries. Here is my side of the story:
I was at my grandmah's house which happens to be next door to my house. Me and my cousin were at the back garden playing soccer and mocking each other. Suddenly we heard a very loud noise of mortar missile passing over us. I said "did you hear it?" and by the time he was saying "yes", a huge explosion took place. It was very close to us, we couldn't tell where it exactly fell as it was too close. We ran inside my grandmah's house and waited there for several minutes.
Shortly after that, we heard screaming, shouting and people running in the street, we ran out to the street to see what happened.
At first, I couldn't see as there was alot of dust and ashes in the air, then my vision cleared and I saw smoke clouds coming out from the roof of the house of my neighbour which is in front of my house. Instinctively I ran with the people to the inside of my neighbour's house to check for survivers. There were women all over the place shouting and screaming "help him, help him, he is at the roof", meanwhile mortar missiles were falling here and there very close to us. Me and several people ran to the roof of the house, and there was my neighbour lying on the floor with his legs got cut due to the explosion and he was severly bleeding and there was blood stains all over him. I was completely shocked, scared and terrified, I stood there and didn't know what to do. A man who was standing next to me shouted on me "come on!, grab him with me, lets take him to the hospital." I ran to him and carried my neighbour with him, we went down to the street carrying my neighbour where a kind man stopped his car and took us with him to the hospital.
Although I tied his cut off legs and squeezed on it trying to stop the bleeding, but by the time we arrived to the hospital, he was already gone, as he was bleeding severely.
In the hospital they didn't do anything to him, because he was already dead, they took him to the bodies refrigerator.shortly after his son (my neighbour's son) arrived to the hospital, he was shouting and crying "where is he? I wanna see him." We went to the bodies refrigerator, and it wasn't actually a refrigerator, bodies were lying on the floor, as there were too many bodies and there weren't enough rooms for them in the frig. The view of the bodies lying on the floor was very disgusting and sad, most of the bodies were victims of the mortar attacks.
read in full...
Video: HUMVEE TRAFFIC DRIVING IN IRAQ
Watch and see how the american soldiers have to drive through Iraqi streets to limit risks of attacks
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
The News Blog: A US UNIT WILL BE MASSACRED BY AN IRAQI UNIT
In a month where US and Iraqi forces have been fighting up and down Haifa Street within site of the Green Zone, Petraeus wants to stick US and Iraqi forces in buildings to control neighborhoods.
When the Special Forces did this in Vietnam, they hired Nung mercenaries to guard their compounds, because they didn't trust the Vietnamese.
Our forces will have no such luck.
They will be expected to share DeLattre forts with people who they don't command and shouldn't trust.
In all the money spent on the Iraqi Army, how was food forgotten. How can US commanders watch them get food from JAM without realizing how this could risk the lives of their men
I think if the VC fed ARVN troops, people would have freaked.
People are worried about Iran, resolutions.
None of that matters.
Because as current plans stand, a US unit will be massacred by an Iraqi unit they are serving with.
At that point, there will be zero support for the war and the president.
read in full...
Reality-Based Educator: SITUATION IN IRAQ IS WORSE THAN A CIVIL WAR
So says the National Intelligence Estimate
[pdf] just released:
The Intelligence Community judges that the term "civil war" does not adequately capture the complexity of the conflict in Iraq, which includes extensive Shia-on-Shia violence, al-Qa'ida and Sunni insurgent attacks on Coalition forces, and widespread criminally motivated violence. Nonetheless, the term "civil war" accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict, including the hardening of ethno-sectarian identities, a sea change in the character of the violence, ethno-sectarian mobilization, and population displacements.
Geez, the intelligence community says the phrase "civil war" is too rosy and optimistic for what's actually happening in Iraq. Perhaps "complete carnage" or "hellish nightmare" would better describe the complexity and intensity of the violence? (...)
One last thing: isn't it ironic how this NIE - so grim and pessimistic about the chances for peace and stability in Iraq in the forseeable future - didn't see release before Bush's vaunted "Iraq surge" speech and SOTU speech back in January?
read in full...
Born at the Crest of Empire: IRAQI "SURGE" UNITS ONLY AT 55-65%
Slipping notice yesterday beneath the NIE, the Iraqi forces showing up for "the surge" are coming into Baghdad at 55 - 65% according to Sec Def Gates and General Casey.
Gates said the extra troops that Iraq promised to send into Baghdad as part of a new U.S.-Iraqi military buildup are arriving in insufficient numbers. His outgoing commander in Baghdad, Gen. George Casey, has said the arriving Iraqi units have only 55 to 65 percent of their intended troops.
"Fifty-five percent probably isn't good enough," Gates said.
But the plan to distribute US troops in small clusters around Baghdad is still on.
Pepe Escobar: A MASSACRE AND A NEW CIVIL WAR
Politically, the complex, explosive Iraqi Shi'ite situation is now polarized beyond redemption. On one side there is a de facto alliance of the "Iranians" - Maliki, the SCIRI's Abdul Haziz al-Hakim and Sistani. On the other side there are the powerful Arab Shi'ite tribes scattered around central and southern Iraq. The key question: Where does Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr stand in all this?
Muqtada wanted to be the "middle way". But the Sadrists are now back in government after a brief boycott. His main rally call - US occupation over and out, now - has been overshadowed by multiple attacks by his Mehdi Army against Sunni Arabs. This could be fatal for Muqtada. In central and southern Iraq, Iraqi nationalism - and Muqtada is a fierce nationalist - is much more powerful than any Sunni/Shi'ite divide.
What is certain is that the Maliki-Hakim alliance will continue to deploy its US-trained Iraqi army and police in further massacres, advised by the dreaded Scorpion commando squad, which is funded by US dollars, and responding to the head of Iraqi intelligence. In this sense, the Najaf massacre is also a classic case of the "Salvador option" in its Iraqified version: or how the lessons of Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s are useful for the "New Middle East".
Furthermore, the massacre also signals that the Pentagon is now linked to killing Arab Shi'ite tribes. If this is true, it is a big mistake. Sistani does not control them anymore. This means more and more revengeful, nationalist Arab Shi'ites will be amplifying another anti-US/Baghdad guerrilla front.
Take the example of the Beni Tamim, a mixed Sunni and Shi'ite tribe. Their sheikh, 70-year-old Hamid al-Suhail, was killed one month ago in Baghdad by a death squad. Revenge is inevitable. Anti-US and anti-Baghdad guerrillas in southern Iraq have been spreading like wildfire since November.
The model is to be found in modern history: the Shi'ite resistance that from the 1920s to the 1930s fought and kicked out the British. Southern Shi'ite tribal chiefs are going for a united, Sunni and Shi'ite muqawama (resistance). The Bush administration is reaping the kind of Iraqi chaos it craves: yet one more civil war - of (Arab) Shi'ites against ("Persian") Shi'ites.
read in full…
Gideon Polya: IRAQIS MASSACRE CONTINUES...
After 4 years of illegal, violent Occupation the post-invasion excess deaths in Occupied Iraq total ONE MILLION (UN Population Division and medical literature data). Taken together with 1.7 million excess deaths in the 1990-2003 Sanctions War (UN Population Division) and 3.7 million Iraqi refugees (UNHCR), this constitutes an Iraqi Genocide (as defined by the UN Genocide Convention) and an Iraqi Holocaust in comparison with the WW2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million victims). The Iraqi under-5 infant deaths (1990-2007) now total 1.8 million, 90% having been avoidable and due to Western war crimes. Total Iraqi excess deaths (1990-2007) total 2.7 million. The post-invasion excess deaths in Occupied Afghanistan now total 2.2 million (see MWC News: 5 ). Three quarters of the people of Occupied Iraq and Occupied Afghanistan are Women and Children - the Bush War on Terror is in horrible reality a cowardly War on Women and Children, a War on Asian Women and Children and a War on Muslim Women and Children.
Those who knowingly ignore, deny, minimize, obfuscate, excuse, advocate, support or effect carnage associated with the Iraqi Holocaust - or indeed the Afghan Holocaust or any other Holocaust - are variously complicit in Holocaust Promotion, Holocaust Commission, Holocaust Ignoring, Passive Holocaust Denial and Holocaust Denial.
read in full…
>> BEYOND IRAQ
Taliban militants have reportedly overrun a southern Afghan town
that British troops pulled out of last year after a local peace agreement was reached.
A resident of Musa Qala said 200-300 Taliban fighters seized the town, took weapons from police and destroyed a government compound late yesterday.
Colonel Tom Collins, a spokesman for Nato's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), said an "unknown number" of militants had apparently entered Musa Qala and that Nato had conflicting reports about tribal elders temporarily being taken hostage.
Asadullah Wafa, the governor of Helmand province, said the militants came into the town Wednesday, disarmed the police force and then returned yesterday and destroyed part of the compound housing the district's governor and police.
"People have closed down the shops this morning and those living near the area have moved out of fear," he said.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "We're in a cycle of violence in Iraq that is so complex and awful that withdrawing American troops will make it worse and keeping American troops there may also make it worse." -- from "No Way Out" by Maureen Dowd in
The New York Times