Sunday, February 11, 2007
Residents stand outside a collapsed police station building after a suicide bomb attack near Dour near Tikrit, 175 km (105 miles) miles north of Baghdad, February 11, 2007. A suicide bomber driving a truck packed with explosives killed at least 15 people on Sunday when he attacked a police station north of Baghdad, police said. REUTERS/Nuhad Hussin (IRAQ)
Also on Sunday, pan-Arab al-Arabiya channel said that a suicide attacker wearing a belt of explosives blew himself up in the Alam district of western Baghdad, killing and wounding several people in the vicinity. The attack reportedly occurred near an Iraqi police checkpoint.
Elsewhere in Baghdad, a parked car bomb exploded near an intersection, killing two people and wounding three in Mansour, an upscale western neighborhood that has been the scene of repeated bombings and kidnappings, police said.
Gunmen killed Hatam Abdul-Hussein, a colonel in Kerbala police headquarters, and wounded his son along with an aide on Saturday in the western Mansour district of Baghdad, police said.
The U.S. military said on Sunday it was checking reports that an Apache helicopter had come down north of Baghdad. Witnesses reported seeing a missile strike the attack helicopter, which carries two crew, bringing the aircraft down in the Timayma area, near Taji, 20 km (12 miles) north of Baghdad, which houses a major U.S. air base. U.S. military spokeswoman Lieutenant-Colonel Josslyn Aberle said she was looking into the reports. So far, the U.S. is denying this.
Coalition Forces from Task Force Lightning were conducting combat operations in Diyala province when they received small-arms fire from anti-Iraqi [sic] forces today. A U.S. Soldier was shot and later died of wounds. (I don't know who they think they're kidding with this label for the Sunni resistance as "anti-Iraqi" forces. I suppose the logic is that they reject the constitution -- C)
Clashes erupted between U.S. and Iraqi forces and gunmen on Saturday, killing five people and wounding 25 others, including three women, in the town of Buhriz, 60 km (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad, a hospital source said.
Meanwhile, Iraqi authorities said that joint Iraqi and US forces killed 17 militants, wounded 20 others and arrested 30 terrorist suspects during a raid in Baquba, 60 kilometres north of Baghdad. The militants were killed during an exchange of fire between the joint forces and the insurgents, many of them on 'wanted' lists. Four houses were reportedly destroyed during the raid, for which US forces provided air cover. (It is possible that the U.S. soldier was killed in one of the above two incidents. CentCom is not giving out any more specific info. -- C)
A suicide truck bomber slammed into a crowd of police lining up for duty Sunday near Tikrit, collapsing the station and killing at least 30 people and wounding 50, police said. The blast near Tikrit occurred about 8 a.m. as police were arriving for work at the Adwar police station, provincial police Capt. Abdel-Samad Mohammed said, giving the casualty toll. He said 21 of the 30 killed were policemen.
Minutes later, a roadside bomb struck a car on a highway on the western outskirts of Tikrit, 80 miles north of Baghdad, killing two civilians and wounding two others, police said.
Gunmen killed Lieutenant Colonel Jamal Mohammad, the chief of serious crimes office in the oil refinery city of Baiji 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad and wounded two of his guards. Police said two of the attackers were also killed.
North Oil Company managed to put out a fire that erupted in an oil well of the Khabbaz fields in Kirkuk, the capital of Tameem province, 250 km northeast of Baghdad, an oil ministry spokesman said. "The fire started as a result of an act of sabotage after explosive devices were planted near the well," Asim Jihad told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq.
Gunmen shot dead eight men when they ambushed their vehicle northwest of Mosul, Iraq’s third-largest city, and raked it with machinegun fire, police said on Sunday. Police said on Saturday’s ambush took place on the main road between the towns of Sinjar and Rabiyaa. The men had been returning home after registering at a border guard recruitment centre in Sinjar.
Unidentified gunmen assassinated on Sunday morning a former Baath Party member in central Amara, 380 km southeast of the capital Baghdad, eyewitnesses said on Sunday. "The gunmen opened drive-by fire at Jihad al-Saadi, a member of the dissolved Baath Party, near his home at al-Mualimeen neighborhood in central Amara, killing him instantly," an eyewitness told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq .
Other News of the Day
Ramadi, Feb 11, (VOI) – U.S. forces on Sunday took a new base in the city of al-Khalidiya, east of Ramadai, 110 km west of the capital Baghdad, locals from Khalidiya said on Sunday. "Several U.S. Hummer vehicles have been besieging Khalidiya and the main road in the city since 11:00 a.m. on Sunday," an eyewitness told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). U.S. forces raided three houses on the main road and seized them to use as a base and then placed signs warning against approaching the U.S. bases, the source added. The U.S. side could not be reached for explanations.
U.S. presents the long-awaited briefing claiming Iran is arming insurgents, but it seems awfully thin.
BAGHDAD, Feb 11 (Reuters) - U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq presented on Sunday what officials said was "a growing body" of evidence of Iranian weapons being used to kill coalition soldiers. A senior defence official from the Multi-National Force told a briefing that 170 coalition personnel had been killed by roadside bombs known as explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) that he said were manufactured in Iran and smuggled into Iraq.
U.S. officials say Iran is fanning violence in Iraq by giving sophisticated bomb-making technology, money and training to Shi'ite groups who are attacking U.S. and British troops. Tehran denies the charge.
In Baghdad, journalists were shown fragments of what the defence official said were Iranian-made weapons, including one part of an EFP and tail fins from 81-mm and 60-mm mortar bombs. "The weapons had characteristics unique to being manufactured in Iran ... Iran is the only country in the region that produces these weapons," the defence official said. Officials also said Iran had "multiple" surrogate groups operating in Iraq that were using the EFPs.
Juan Cole is becoming controversial around here for an alleged pro-Shiite bias, but it's worth quoting him on Michael Gordon's
stenography reporting for the Times.
This NYT article depends on unnamed USG sources who alleged that 25 percent of US military deaths and woundings in Iraq in October-December of 2006 were from explosively formed penetrator bombs fashioned in Iran and given to Shiite militias:
'In the last three months of 2006, attacks using the weapons accounted for a significant portion of Americans killed and wounded in Iraq, though less than a quarter of the total, military officials say.'
This claim is one hundred percent wrong. Because 25 percent of US troops were not killed fighting Shiites in those three months. Day after day, the casualty reports specify al-Anbar Province or Diyala or Salahuddin or Babil, or Baghdad districts such as al-Dura, Ghaziliyah, Amiriyah, etc.--and the enemy fighting is clearly Sunni Arab guerrillas. And, Iran is not giving high tech weapons to Baathists and Salafi Shiite-killers. It is true that some casualties were in "East Baghdad" and that Baghdad is beginning to rival al-Anbar as a cemetery for US troops.
Maliki says the security crackdown will begin this week.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Iraqi security forces would deploy in force this week as part of a U.S.-backed security sweep aimed at stopping the violence in the capital.
The Shiite prime minister stressed that the operation would be comprehensive. “The new security plan will not start from a specific area, but it will start from all areas and at the same time and those who will take part in it are from all formations of the army and police,” he said, facing criticism that delays in starting the operation have allowed attacks that have killed hundreds over the past few weeks.
“The operation will continue to escalate and very soon, during this week, we will witness a big start and the intensive deployment of army, police and other security forces in different areas in Baghdad.”
Hillary continues to tap dance around her vote to authorize the war, but is clearer about ending it should she become president.
Pooty-Poot appears a bit miffed at his best buddy George. Excerpt:
By SLOBODAN LEKIC, Associated Press Writer MUNICH, Germany - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday blamed U.S. policy for inciting other countries to seek nuclear weapons to defend themselves from an "almost uncontained use of military force" — a stinging attack that underscored growing tensions between Washington and Moscow.
"Unilateral, illegitimate actions have not solved a single problem, they have become a hotbed of further conflicts," Putin said at a security forum attracting senior officials from around the world. "One state, the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way."
The Bush administration said it was "surprised and disappointed" by Putin's remarks. "His accusations are wrong," said Gordon Johndroe, Bush's national security spokesman.
IN-DEPTH REPORTING, COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Suicidal Iraq war vet seeks help at VA, is put on waiting list. You know how this ends. Excerpt
By Charles M. Sennott, Globe Staff | February 11, 2007
STEWART, Minn. -- It took two years of hell to convince him, but finally Jonathan Schulze was ready. On the morning of Jan. 11, Jonathan, an Iraq war veteran with two Purple Hearts, neatly packed his US Marine Corps duffel bag with his sharply creased clothes, a framed photo of his new baby girl, and a leather-bound Bible and headed out from the family farm for a 75-mile drive to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Cloud, Minn.
Family and friends had convinced him at last that the devastating mental wounds he brought home from war, wounds that triggered severe depression, violent outbursts, and eventually an uncontrollable desire to kill himself, could not be drowned in alcohol or treated with the array of antianxiety drugs he'd been prescribed. And so, with his father and stepmother at his side, he confessed to an intake counselor that he was suicidal. He wanted to be admitted to a psychiatric ward.
But, instead, he was told that the clinician who prescreened cases like his was unavailable. Go home and wait for a phone call tomorrow, the counselor said, as Marianne Schulze, his stepmother, describes it.
When a clinical social worker called the next day, Jonathan, 25, told again of his suicidal thoughts and other symptoms. And then, with his stepmother listening in, he learned that he was 26th on the waiting list for one of the 12 beds in the center's ward for post-traumatic stress disorder sufferers.
Four days later, on Jan. 16, he wrapped a household extension cord around his neck, tied it to a beam in the basement, and hanged himself.
Old friend Noam Chomsky, who serious people aren't suppose to respect, analyzes the current situation and comes to the conclusion that the U.S. has no intention of leaving Iraq to the Iraqis. Excerpt:
On the US motives for staying in Iraq, I can only repeat what I've been saying for years. A sovereign Iraq, partially democratic, could well be a disaster for US planners. With a Shia majority, it is likely to continue improving relations with Iran. There is a Shia population right across the border in Saudi Arabia, bitterly oppressed by the US-backed tyranny. Any step towards sovereignty in Iraq encourages activism there for human rights and a degree of autonomy - and that happens to be where most of Saudi oil is.
Sovereignty in Iraq might well lead to a loose Shia alliance controlling most of the world's petroleum resources and independent of the US, undermining a primary goal of US foreign policy since it became the world-dominant power after the Second World War. Worse yet, though the US can intimidate Europe, it cannot intimidate China, which blithely goes its own way, even in Saudi Arabia, the jewel in the crown - the primary reason why China is considered a leading threat. An independent energy bloc in the Gulf area is likely to link up with the China-based Asian Energy Security Grid and Shanghai Cooperation Council, with Russia (which has its own huge resources) as an integral part, and with the Central Asian states (already members), possibly India. Iran is already associated with them, and a Shia-dominated bloc in the Arab states might well go along. All of that would be a nightmare for US planners and their Western allies.
There are, then, very powerful reasons why the US and UK are likely to try in every possible way to maintain effective control over Iraq. The US is not constructing a palatial embassy, by far the largest in the world and virtually a separate city within Baghdad, and pouring money into military bases, with the intention of leaving Iraq to Iraqis. All of this is quite separate from the expectations that matters can be arranged so that US corporations profit from the vast riches of Iraq.
These topics, though high on the agenda of planners, are not within the realm of discussion, as can easily be determined. That is only to be expected. These considerations violate the fundamental doctrine that state power has noble objectives, and while it may make terrible blunders, it can have no crass motives and is not influenced by domestic concentrations of private power. Any questioning of these Higher Truths is either ignored or bitterly denounced, also for good reasons: allowing them to be discussed could undermine power and privilege.
Michael Klare on "Energy Fascism." Note: This is attributed to Tom Dispatch, but I can't find it there, so I'm giving the Information Clearinghouse link. Maybe they got an advance copy. -- C) Excerpt:
It has once again become fashionable for the dwindling supporters of President Bush's futile war in Iraq to stress the danger of "Islamo-fascism" and the supposed drive by followers of Osama bin Laden to establish a monolithic, Taliban-like regime -- a "Caliphate" -- stretching from Gibraltar to Indonesia. The President himself has employed this term on occasion over the years, using it to describe efforts by Muslim extremists to create "a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom." While there may indeed be hundreds, even thousands, of disturbed and suicidal individuals who share this delusional vision, the world actually faces a far more substantial and universal threat, which might be dubbed: Energo-fascism, or the militarization of the global struggle over ever-diminishing supplies of energy.
Unlike Islamo-fascism, Energo-fascism will, in time, affect nearly every person on the planet. Either we will be compelled to participate in or finance foreign wars to secure vital supplies of energy, such as the current conflict in Iraq; or we will be at the mercy of those who control the energy spigot, like the customers of the Russian energy juggernaut Gazprom in Ukraine, Belarus, and Georgia; or sooner or later we may find ourselves under constant state surveillance, lest we consume more than our allotted share of fuel or engage in illicit energy transactions. This is not simply some future dystopian nightmare, but a potentially all-encompassing reality whose basic features, largely unnoticed, are developing today.
Whisker's Round-up of Wounded
Pfc. Daniel Tingle, 21, injured four weeks ago in a mortar attack in Iraq, has been released from an Army hospital in Texas and is undergoing physical therapy. The 2004 Douglas High School graduate underwent surgery Jan. 16. Doctors took part of his hip bone and fused it to the bone left in his shattered foot. They also used skin grafts from his foot and calf. A soldier from Highlands Ranch was injured last week in Iraq when an improvised explosive device went off, his family said. Matthew Mobley, 20, has shrapnel injuries and underwent surgery for his injuries, his father said. However, his injuries do not appear life-threatening. Marine Lt. David Lewis of Spring almost lost his eyesight in Iraq. one day at sunset, a rocket propelled grenade fired from an enemy stronghold near a cemetery, where the prophet Mohammed is said to be buried, produced shrapnel injuries to his head. The injuries - and a needed five operations (which have partly restored Lewis' sight in his right eye) - ended this young Marine's active duty career; but certainly hasn't lessened his “feelings for the mission.” 26-year-old Army Sgt. Kenneth Gibson was injured Jan. 11 when the Humvee he and his team were in was hit by a bomb in Iraq. He sustained shrapnel injuries and was sent to a hospital in Germany, where he remained for three weeks. Two other soldiers in the Humvee suffered minor injuries, Gibson said, and remained in the war-torn country. Private 1st Class David Anderson was awarded the medal during a ceremony in Afghanistan after being hit in the head by a fragment from a rocket propelled grenade during a firefight with anti-coalition forces in the Peshwan River Valley along the eastern border of Afghanistan. Anderson is a member of Edmond-based Company A, but is serving with Company C of the 1st Battalion, 180th Infantry as part of a security force for the Afghan National Army training mission. Guard 1st Lt. Geoff Legler said Anderson was not severely injured and is back on duty. Marine Cpl. Marvin Heimann of Decatur, wounded in Baghdad the weekend of January 20-21, has returned home for therapy and recuperation. Heimann, 26, was hit by sniper fire while on a rooftop and suffered entry and exit wounds in the hip area A local marine is headed to a German hospital after being seriously injured in Iraq. Sgt. Casey Helms is from Bismarck, Mo., about 65 miles southwest of St. Louis. Diane Helms found out Thursday morning her son's platoon was targeted by a roadside bomber. "There were several casualties and Casey had been hit pretty good with a lot of fragments." Shrapnel pierced Casey's face including an eye, his arms and legs and he suffered a punctured lung. Lance Cpl. Steven Eastburn, 20, a member of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, at Kaneohe Bay was undergoing treatment at Travis for wounds he suffered in Haqlaniyah, Iraq, on Jan. 31. Eastburn was wounded while pulling guard as his squad was setting up an observation post. A sniper shot him through the right arm just above the elbow. “There was a second shot, but he missed,” Sgt. Felipe Adams of Inglewood, was shot by a sniper while on patrol in Baghdad searching streets and homes for weapons caches. Adams, 28, is in a wheelchair and recovering at the Veterans Affairs Hospital. Lance Corporal Nick Kroeze, 23, of Grand Rapids was injured Wednesady when an improvised explosive device hit his vehicle in Fallujah. Sgt. Joshua Cope was injured when an explosive hit the Humvee he was riding in. Sgt. Cope's legs and right arm were badly injured. He has been recovering at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Sgt. Cope's mother, Linda Cope, has just returned to Panama City Beach from Washington and says her son is in good spirits and is learning to walk again. She says they couldn't have made it through this difficult time without the community's support.
Quote of the Day
When the Hama massacre occurred, neighbouring Arab states were silent. Although the Sunni prelates of the city called for a religious war, their fellow clerics in Damascus - and, indeed, in Beirut - were silent. Just as the imams and scholars of Islam were silent when the Algerians began to slaughter each other in a welter of head-chopping and security force executions in the 1990s.
Just as they are silent now over the mutual killings in Iraq. Sure, the mass killings of Iraq would not have occurred if we hadn't invaded the country. And I do suspect a few "hidden hands" behind the civil conflict in a nation which never before broke apart. In Algeria, the French spent a lot of time in the early 1960s persuading - quite successfully - their FLN and ALN enemies to murder each other. But where are the sheikhs of Al-Azhar and the great Arabian kingdoms when the Iraqi dead are fished out of the Tigris and cut down in their thousands in Baghdad, Kerbala, Baquba? They, too, are silent.