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Surrounded: Baghdad is Under Siege
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Fintan
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 8:29 am    Post subject: Surrounded: Baghdad is Under Siege Reply with quote

A little of the expected spin in this article,
but it does confirm our suspicions that the
redeployment of US troops to Baghdad was
not to stop "civil war" but to reinforce
the capital.

Quote:
Baghdad is under siege

By Patrick Cockburn in Arbil, Northern Iraq - 01 November 2006

Sunni insurgents have cut the roads linking the city to the rest of Iraq. The country is being partitioned as militiamen fight bloody battles for control of towns and villages north and south of the capital.

As American and British political leaders argue over responsibility for the crisis in Iraq, the country has taken another lurch towards disintegration.

Well-armed Sunni tribes now largely surround Baghdad and are fighting Shia militias to complete the encirclement.

The Sunni insurgents seem to be following a plan to control all the approaches to Baghdad. They have long held the highway leading west to the Jordanian border and east into Diyala province. Now they seem to be systematically taking over routes leading north and south.

Dusty truck-stop and market towns such as Mahmoudiyah, Balad and Baquba all lie on important roads out of Baghdad. In each case Sunni fighters are driving out the Shia and tightening their grip on the capital. Shias may be in a strong position within Baghdad but they risk their lives when they take to the roads. Some 30 Shias were dragged off a bus yesterday after being stopped at a fake checkpoint south of Balad.

In some isolated neighbourhoods in Baghdad, food shortages are becoming severe. Shops are open for only a few hours a day. "People have been living off water melon and bread for the past few weeks," said one Iraqi from the capital. The city itself has broken up into a dozen or more hostile districts, the majority of which are controlled by the main Shia militia, the Mehdi Army.

The scale of killing is already as bad as Bosnia at the height of the Balkans conflict. An apocalyptic scenario could well emerge - with slaughter on a massive scale. As America prepares its exit strategy, the fear in Iraq is of a genocidal conflict between the Sunni minority and the Shias in which an entire society implodes. Individual atrocities often obscure the bigger picture where:

* upwards of 1,000 Iraqis are dying violently every week;

* Shia fighters have taken over much of Baghdad; the Sunni encircle the capital;

* the Iraqi Red Crescent says 1.5 million people have fled their homes within the country;

* the Shia and Sunni militias control Iraq, not the enfeebled army or police.


No target is too innocent. Yesterday a bomb tore through a party of wedding guests in Ur, on the outskirts of Sadr City, killing 15 people, including four children. Iraqi wedding parties are very identifiable, with coloured streamers attached to the cars and cheering relatives hanging out the windows.

Amid all this, Dick Cheney, the US Vice-President, has sought to turn the fiasco of Iraq into a vote-winner with his claim that the Iraqi insurgents have upped their attacks on US forces in a bid to influence the mid-term elections. There is little evidence to support this. In fact, the number of American dead has risen steadily this year from 353 in January to 847 in September and will be close to one thousand in October.

And there is growing confusion over the role of the US military. In Sadr City, the sprawling slum in the east of the capital that is home to 2.5 million people, American soldiers have been setting up barriers of cement blocks and sandbags after a US soldier was abducted, supposedly by the Mehdi Army. The US also closed several of the bridges across the Tigris river making it almost impossible to move between east and west Baghdad. Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, added to the sense of chaos yesterday when he ordered the US army to end its Sadr City siege.

Mr Maliki has recently criticised the US for the failure of its security policy in Iraq and resisted American pressure to eliminate the militias. Although President Bush and Tony Blair publicly handed back sovereignty to Iraq in June 2004, Mr Maliki said: "I am now Prime Minister and overall commander of the armed forces yet I cannot move a single company without Coalition [US and British] approval."

In reality the militias are growing stronger by the day because the Shia and Sunni communities feel threatened and do not trust the army and police to defend them. US forces have been moving against the Mehdi Army, which follows the nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, but he is an essential prop to Mr Maliki's government. Almost all the main players in Iraqi politics maintain their own militias. The impotence of US forces to prevent civil war is underlined by the fact that the intense fighting between Sunni and Shia around Balad, north of Baghdad, has raged for a month, although the town is beside one of Iraq's largest American bases. The US forces have done little and when they do act they are seen by the Shia as pursuing a feud against the Mehdi Army.

One eyewitness in Balad said two US gunships had attacked Shia positions on Sunday killing 11 people and seriously wounding six more, several of whom lost legs and arms. He added that later two Iraqi regular army platoons turned up in Balad with little military equipment. When they were asked by locals why their arms were so poor "the reply was that they were under strict orders by the US commander from the [nearby] Taji camp not to intervene and they were stripped of their rocket-propelled grenade launchers".

Another ominous development is that Iraqi tribes that often used to have both Sunni and Shia members are now splitting along sectarian lines.

In Baghdad it has become lethally dangerous for a Sunni to wander into a Shia neighbourhood and vice versa. In one middle-class district called al-Khudat, in west Baghdad, once favoured by lawyers and judges, the remaining Shia families recently found a cross in red paint on their doors. Sometimes there is also a note saying "leave without furniture and without renting your house". Few disobey.

The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq by Patrick Cockburn is published this month by Verso

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article1945769.ece
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RedMahna



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fintan, i heard a report this morning that rumsfeld just got (read: took) 1 billion to use towards buliding up the iraqi army.
i have not seen this in writing yet, but heard it on CNN about 7am.
any info? i mean what's the point or objective for that?

thx
red

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Rumpl4skn



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RedMahna wrote:
fintan, i heard a report this morning that rumsfeld just got (read: took) 1 billion to use towards buliding up the iraqi army.
i have not seen this in writing yet, but heard it on CNN about 7am.
any info? i mean what's the point or objective for that?

Red Flag: the last time there was a news clip regarding an announcement by Rumsfeld about lots of money, the very next morning the WTC fell down.

http://benfrank.net/patriots/news/national/pentagon_missing_trillions

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RedMahna



Joined: 07 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fuck, rumpl, don't scare me... are you for real??
i seriously feel (not think or suspect, but friggin' feel) that the GOP is so stressed over winning next week that they'd pull just about any-fucking-thing.
hell, they've gotten away with it all already. what's another disaster?

big oy-fucking-vey!!
goddammit!!

i also haven't seen rove's ugly mug so much as the past 2 days on the tube, and his name in the papers. now, that's disturbing. the wheels seem to be turning hard.

i hope you're wrong, my man.
red

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Rumpl4skn



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RedMahna wrote:
i hope you're wrong, my man.
red

No predictions, just drawing a parallel to a past event. And refreshing memories at the same time.

No one's pulling anything - the Dem victory is afoot, just as planned.

Anybody on the Right pulls a major scam, and they get their NWO parking privileges revoked. Cool

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cliff



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first post after lurking for a while . ..

The civil war has all the hallmarks for a divide and conquer rule. They want the Iraqis fighting each other, it will diminish the strength of resistance. They may have even flamed or participated somewhat there are enough private armies floating around for any kind of operatives to be put in place. The US/British might very well withdraw from Iraq in 2007then a year infighting would be enough to maximise bloodshedThis will lead to an easier control of the population at a later date, for the UN to step in with Hilary wearing the lubricated glove.

All the recent talk of pulling out, generals coming out saying it has not been good in Iraq etc etc. These army men suddenly switching sides, saying that it is not a good idea to be in Iraq. Hello, have they just woken up? No they are on the same side, they want to make out that there is a debate going on . . . the plan all along has been to maximise deaths in Iraq without making it look like they are the murderers.
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Fintan
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:00 am    Post subject: Implosion Reply with quote

Quote:
Cliff: These army men suddenly switching sides, saying that it is not a good idea to be in Iraq. Hello, have they just woken up? No they are on the same side, they want to make out that there is a debate going on . . . the plan all along has been to maximise deaths in Iraq without making it look like they are the murderers.


Nice point to end the lurk on : ) You got it. It really is the most callous
and devious spinning and lying. From the get go, that was the whole idea:
to implode Iraq. --especially those inconvenient Sunni.
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Fintan
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 2:54 pm    Post subject: Endgame Iraq - Rebels Will Not Relent Reply with quote





Endgame Iraq - Rebels Will Not Relent

by Fintan Dunne, BreakForNews.com 3rd, November, 2006.

As ever, the Iraqi casualties far outstrip the U.S. losses, but those US
deaths do have much more political impact:

Quote:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Fifty-six bullet-riddled bodies were found in Baghdad
by Iraq police in the previous 24 hours, a Baghdad emergency police official said Friday.
http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/11/03/iraq.main/

And the scale of U.S. deaths which led to 104 being killed in October,
has not lessened. Five more died on Thursday:

Quote:
Another four U.S. soldiers and a U.S. Marine have been killed,
the military said in statements Friday.

Three of the Multi-National Division-Baghdad, soldiers were killed Thursday when the vehicle they were riding in was hit by a roadside bomb. The fourth Multi-National Division-Baghdad soldier died in a "non-combat-related incident" north of Baghdad, the military said. The Marine died from injuries sustained in "enemy action" while operating in Iraq's volatile Anbar province, according to the military.

Bear in mind that for every 104 soldiers killed, that means about another
400 will have been maimed for the rest of their lives. And hundreds more
will be seriously affected by PTSD symptoms for months to decades.

By the way, you can judge the state of Baghdad, by this report.
Yet again, Haifa Street, in the heart of the capital, has been the
scene of continuing rebel attacks:

Quote:
More clashes erupted between Iraqi soldiers and gunmen on Haifa Street in central Baghdad Thursday evening. The official said there was no report of casualties from the hour-long clashes.

There is a big play in the following article that the Holy Ramadan was the
motivating force behind the rebel assaults of the last six weeks. Rubbish.

Iraqi resistance strategists can read newspapers and surf the net. They
timed this offensive to coincide with the election. And after helping to
deal a blow to the GOP they won't stop there. This is a longer term
rebel plan to force all occupiers out --no matter what hat they wear:
GOP, Democrat, US Soldier, Multinational Force, NATO or U.N. for that matter.

The incoming Democrats are going to be under fierce pressure soon as
the high casualties continue. The US/G8 establishment know this. That's
why all the talk of withdrawal in eighteen months. They are trying to set
the parameters of withdrawal in advance.



Quote:
More than ever, insurgents are targeting U.S. forces

By Borzou Daragahi, Times Staff Writer November 1, 2006

Baghdad — For U.S. troops, October was a month of gritty skirmishes against fighters religiously motivated to risk their lives during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

October's death toll, the highest for American forces in nearly two years, came during a period without conventional battles or catastrophic helicopter crashes.

Rather, the 103 troops killed in Baghdad and across Iraq were victims of a steady onslaught of assaults, primarily by their longtime nemeses, Sunni Arab insurgents.

The number of attacks on American forces increased in October to unprecedented levels, U.S. military officials said.

"There has been a much more considered effort to specifically target coalition and Iraqi security forces," Army Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, the spokesman for U.S.-led forces in Iraq, told reporters in Baghdad as the month wore on. "There has been a steady increase in the number of attacks specifically against security forces."

There were 224 Iraqi security forces and 1,315 civilians killed in October.

It was a month in which U.S. forces were shot by snipers, struck by rocket-propelled grenades or lured into ambushes where they were sprayed with automatic-weapon fire from the AK-47s found in so many Iraqi homes.

But improvised explosive devices left along roads remained the weapon of choice for Iraq's anti-American insurgency.

Despite jamming devices, tactical adjustments and the increased armoring of military vehicles, at least 51 of the U.S. deaths resulted from makeshift bombs detonated by remote control from a comfortable distance.

At least 43 deaths occurred in Baghdad, indicating a shifting focus away from the Sunni heartland toward Iraq's capital "due to our more deliberate presence, more active involvement out there," Caldwell said last week.

U.S. forces were more exposed than usual in Baghdad because of an ongoing offensive aimed at taking back the streets from the forces of sectarian warfare — Sunni insurgents and Shiite Muslim militiamen, some allied with officials of the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government.

Though U.S. officials say the Shiite militias dominating Iraq's south pose the biggest long-term threat to the country's stability, the vast majority of the Americans were killed in Sunni-dominated areas.

The deaths in Baghdad occurred largely in Sunni-dominated neighborhoods on the west side. Thirty-seven American troops died west of Baghdad, in largely Sunni Al Anbar province. Sunni insurgents in the Euphrates River towns and cities of Iraq's desert hinterlands deem U.S. troops an occupation force and the Baghdad government, run by the nation's long-subjugated Shiite majority, little more than an American puppet.

The Marine Corps, unlike the Army, does not release information about the exact location or cause of deaths. Senior Marine officers think such information could help the enemy. The Marines, in public announcements, described at least 18 of the October deaths as "hostile" incidents in Al Anbar.

Most officials acknowledge that many of the Marine casualties in October occurred in Ramadi, the rundown provincial capital where insurgents have intimidated most Iraqi government workers into fleeing. Marines face daily threats from roadside bombs, snipers and assaults on their fortified bases.

"It's combat nearly every day," one Marine officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "Ramadi is where the terrorists want to establish their capital. They're armed and they're relentless."

Another 17 Americans were killed in Sunni Arab areas north of Baghdad, in and around the provincial capitals of Tikrit, Baqubah, Mosul and Kirkuk, where Kurds and Sunni Arabs are fighting for dominance.

October's death toll was the highest since the month preceding Iraq's Jan. 31, 2005, elections.

On average, the American troops who died last month were men in their mid-20s, many on patrols or combat missions in and around a jittery Baghdad full of trash fires, dust storms and morning explosions.

Typical of the fatalities was Staff Sgt. Kevin M. Witte, 27, of Beardsley, a farming town in western Minnesota, along the South Dakota line.

He died Oct. 20 in Baghdad when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during a combat patrol.

Such roadside bomb explosions in densely populated areas smash windows and cause panic among Iraqi pedestrians, drivers and residents. Wild gunfire erupts. Alarmed and confused, their eardrums shattered, U.S. troops start shooting or receive small-arms fire from hidden insurgents.

Helicopters arrive to scour the terrain for culprits and attend to the wounded and dying. Bradley fighting vehicles block off the area as the injured are ferried to medical facilities.

A dead soldier's comrades gather at outdoor ceremonies. The silence lingers after his name is read in a commemorative roll call. And a trumpeter plays taps.

daragahi@latimes.com
Times staff writer Tony Perry in San Diego contributed to this report.


http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-usdeaths1nov01,0,1098457.story?coll=la-home-world


Meanwhile.... in the last 24 hours....


Last edited by Fintan on Fri Nov 03, 2006 5:49 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Ormond



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stateside, I've been monitoring the mainstream news (radio, television) and you wouldn't know things are any different than 'usual'.
What do I hear people talking about? John Kerry's remark to the high school students telling them to 'get good grades and stay in school, or you'll end up in Iraq'.

Scripted! So the vox populi is chattering at Starbuck's about Kerry 'insulting our troops'. That's the hot gossip in Houston this week.

This morning's NPR Bagdad report time was handed to two mainstream positioned American reporters with creds for covering Bagdad since before Shock and Awe. What was the emphasis? How corrupt those Iraqi officials are, oh, their graft and corruption! How they're screwing everything up with their 'traditional' petty infighting. Yeah, that's the problem. Those shiftless and greedy self serving Iraqis---they just don't 'get' Democracy....

Sure. Well of course they're corrupt. They were hand picked by the US State Department!

People on the street are aware that October wasn't a 'great month'. But only night before last out for dinner, a friend reaffirmed to me that "these are the lowest casualty figures, the highest kill ratio, in human history!

Well, what can one say to that, except, well, Heil Hitler!

Media control, which has slipped a little with each increment of loss of control of Bagdad, has once again re-established the misperception that the things have been consistantly 'under control', rather than the reality of a downward spiral.
Same as the German public mostly believed regarding the European war until 1944.

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Continuity



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's scary shit, Ormond, to be sure. I'm sure they're nice people, and good friends, an' all, so it's even scarier to hear them talking like that, it really is.

Shades of 30's Germany, to be sure. Everyone's becoming 'good Americans', now. Oh shit......

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Ormond



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scares you? I gotta live here!

It's not the first time the media has managed to completely suppress major action. Fallujah mostly went under the radar too. Incredible.

It's not that it's not being reported--it's the insidious way it's being spun. People can read the paper, or hear the words in a media report, but it's followed up with circus antics. "Goebbelesque" is what I'd call it.

To paraphrase Gen. George S. Patton (Defeated Rommel in North Africa)

"I read your damn, book, Goebbels" The techniques haven't changed much since the 30's, just the technology.

The war here is cafe chat for too many people. They buy into sound bytes because they like the dissoncance reduction. One moment, 'did you hear what John Kerry said? A moment later, "Tom Cruise just bought United Artists. Wonder what kind of movies he'll make..."

How is this being reported on BBC? I can get BBC news here, possibly filtered....I made the mistake so far this week of tuning in to NPR to hear what Americans are being told. Which I can tell you is a 'whole bunch of nothin'. Gay marriage, John Kerry's scripted smokescreens... Now that I know, I think I'll tune into the real war news for a few days.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't watch TV or listen to the radio, but just mosey on over to bbc.co.uk - they usually have all the newscasts streamed, just as they were broadcast here.

Then again, someone was telling me that they got a message sometime when they tried to access the BBC's content whilst they were out of the country (in the US, I think), saying that the content was for UK subscribers only. I'm not sure - but you can try it.

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