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Rumpl4skn



Joined: 11 Feb 2006
Posts: 2950
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those poor kids over there, on both sides. You know that between now and November, it's going to get very messy over there, for the intended political fall-out.

This is like watching a bad, predictable, poorly-written play unfold - only it's for real, and people are going to die.

Fucking scumbags.

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dilbert_g
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It should have been evident from the moment President George Bush decided
to overthrow Saddam Hussein that it was going to be a very different war from the one fought by
his father in 1991. That had been a conservative war waged to restore the
status quo ante in Kuwait
.


If Schoenman knows that this was orchestrated by provoking Saddam in Kuwait, with Brent Scowcroft and Santa Fe Drilling, and with Baker's people including Joe Wilson and April Glaspie whispering in the ears of Saddam and his highest officers, why does Cockburn not know. "It is difficult to know where the self-deception ends and the deliberate
mendacity begins" when it comes to Cockburn's writing.

Quote:
The war of 2003 was bound to have radical consequences. If Saddam
Hussein was overthrown and elections held, then the domination of the 20
per cent Sunni minority would be replaced by the rule of the majority Shia
community allied to the Kurds. In an election, Shia religious parties linked
to Iran would win, as indeed they did in two elections in 2005. Many of
America's troubles in Iraq have stemmed from Washington's attempt to
stop Iran and anti-American Shia leaders such as Muqtada al-Sadr filling
the power vacuum left by the fall of Saddam Hussein.


Poor America (Bushco). So many troubles they are having. Probably can't barely sleep at night.

Quote:
The US and its allies never really understood the war they won that
started on 19 March 2003.


They didn't read David Wurmser's 1999 book describing this outcome??

Quote:
After the Sunni guerrillas blew up the Shia shrine in Samarra on 22 February 2006,
sectarian fighting turned into a full-blown civil war. Mr Bush and Mr Blair strenuously denied
that this was so, but by any standard it was a civil war of extraordinary viciousness.
Torture with electric drills and acid became the norm.


Cockburn is capable of knowing that when the Samarra shrine was bombed, supposedly by irate, terrorist Sunnis, the Sunni community was on lockdown, and only coalition forces were free to move around. Sunnis spoke to SOME reporters, saying "how could it have been us??"

Quote:
Saddam was unharmed (in this 2nd terror bombing by US troops), probably because he had never been there, but
18 Iraqi civilians were dead. One US military leader defended the attacks,
claiming they showed "US resolve and capabilities".


Mr Cheney was back in Baghdad this week, five years later almost to the
day, to announce that there has been "phenomenal" improvements in Iraqi
security. Within hours, a woman suicide bomber blew herself up in the
Shia holy city of Kerbala, killing at least 40 and wounding 50 people. Often
it is difficult to know where the self-deception ends and the deliberate
mendacity begins
.


It's not really that difficult.

This is some examples of why Cockburn is CIA like his father.
Cockburn has the assignment of defining the "Left" position about the war.
Still GOOD articles. Good writing. Says a lot about how facts on the ground appear to be rolling out. Points in the direction of a more 'sane' future. Makes "acceptable" points about withdrawal.
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dilbert_g
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm listening to Peter Dale Scott right here. I can see why Fintan calls him a CIA fake --- he's an somewhat apologist for the stupidity of these leaders.

http://kpfa.org/archives/index.php?arch=22699
"America's New Threat: Its Own Secrecy"

Interview with writer and researcher, Peter Dale Scott, on his new book, "The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire and the Future of America". We touch on a few of the subjects in this new book, including the Nixon and Ford administrations, Kissinger, Pakistan, Chile, Iraq, Continuity of Government and the increasing secret control of American foreign and domestic policy by fewer and fewer people.

Although he and Bonnie Faulkner seem to disagree on the level of "insider-ness" of 9-11, and whether or not Al-Qaeda was involved, and how Al-Qaeda might have been involved if they were -- and Scott acknowledges that many listeners might disagreement -- she still praises his book at the level of history it provides.

Talks a lot about Wall Street and the CIA and Allen Dulles.

He also reminded me of something I forgot about Ali Mohammed. The fact that he was once arrested by the RCMP, but got himself released, on orders of the FBI.

http://www.Takeoverworld.info/mp3/GnB-20071010_Peter_Dale_Scott_Americas_New_Threat--Its_Own_Secrecy.mp3 (10 minutes)
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kathy



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 11:08 pm    Post subject: Four U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, death toll 4,000 Reply with quote

Quote:
Four U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, death toll 4,000

Reuters
Sunday, March 23, 2008; 11:35 PM

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A roadside bomb killed four U.S. soldiers in
southern Baghdad on Sunday, the military said, bringing the number of
U.S. military deaths to 4,000 since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The statement on Monday said one U.S. soldier was wounded in the attack
on the patrol.

What impact the grim milestone will have on a war-weary American public
and the U.S. presidential campaign will be hard to assess in the short
term, but war critics are likely to seize on it to bolster their case for U.S.
troops to withdraw.

The U.S. military dismisses such tolls as arbitrary markers.

"It is artificial in the sense that somehow the 4,000th tragic loss somehow
will be different from the first," U.S. military spokesman Rear Admiral
Greg Smith told Reuters in an interview last week.

"I don't want to say that we shouldn't recognize that as a milestone. It's
something that we're not focused on and certainly not going to attribute
any more or any less to than any other soldier's death," he said.

Anthony Cordesman, a respected Iraq analyst at the Center for Strategic
and International Studies in Washington, said he expected the 4,000 death
to trigger "another wave of polarized debate."

"Those who oppose the war will see it as further reason to end it. Those
who support it will point to military progress and say that future casualties
will be much lower," he said.

Although Americans are more preoccupied with domestic economic
troubles, the Iraq war is still a central issue in the presidential campaign,
with Democratic hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama calling for a
timetable for early withdrawal.

U.S. President George W. Bush said in a speech marking the 5th
anniversary of the war on March 19 that the United States was on track for
victory and said a withdrawal of some 160,000 troops now in Iraq would
embolden al Qaeda and neighboring Iran.



http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/23/AR2008032302380.html
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Janama



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 410
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

all in a days work:

Quote:
A wave of attacks across Iraq on Sunday killed 54 people, while insurgents bombarded Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone with mortar fire, sending US embassy staff scurrying into bunkers.

The deadliest attack was in the main northern city of Mosul where a suicide bomber crashed an explosives-laden truck into an Iraqi army base, triggering a blast that killed at least 12 soldiers and wounded dozens.

"The bomber smashed the truck through barriers at the entrance to the base and triggered the explosion" at around 7am, army officer Major Mohammed Ahmed said.

The US military in a statement blamed the attack on al-Qaeda and put the toll at 12 soldiers killed and 35 wounded.

Iraqi and US troops are engaged in a major offensive against al-Qaeda in Mosul, which according to US commanders is the jihadists' last urban stronghold in Iraq.

In a brutal attack in the south of Baghdad, armed men travelling in three cars opened fire on crowds in a local market in the mixed Zafaraniyah neighbourhood, killing seven people and wounding 16, security and medical officials said.

In another attack in the Iraqi capital, a Katyusha rocket struck a residential building in largely Shi'ite eastern Al-Kamaliyah neighbourhood, killing at least five people and wounding eight, security officials said.

A car bomb near a bus stop in Baghdad's Shi'ite Al-Shuala neighbourhood killed five people and wounded eight others, security officials said.

Further north, a roadside bomb near the town of Al-Tuz, 75 kilometres south of Kirkuk, killed four Iraqi army personnel, a medic said.

The US military, meanwhile, said its troops raided a "suicide bombing network" in Diyala province north-east of the capital, killing 12 men, six of whom had shaved their bodies in ritual preparation for becoming human bombs.

Spokesman Major Winfield Danielson said that the raid was launched east of the Diyala capital Baquba.

"Six of the terrorists killed had shaved their bodies, which is consistent with final preparation for suicide operations," Danielson said.

Elsewhere in Iraq, nine people were killed, including three from a Christian family in Baghdad when a mortar struck their home, police and medics said.

The violence began with the first of four separate mortar attacks against the Green Zone, the seat of the Iraqi government and the US embassy.

The heavily-fortified area was struck another three times during the day in bombardments that injured at least four people and damaged buildings, officials and witnesses said.

Each attack sent staff of the US embassy scurrying for the shelter of nearby bunkers, witnesses said.

After the early morning onslaught, US attack helicopters were seen circling above the sprawling complex, which once served as Saddam Hussein's presidential compound.

"At least four people were injured" in one of the attacks, at 4.30pm, a US embassy official said. "The extent of the injuries is still being determined."

The official said another attack occurred around 8.30pm but it was not immediately known whether damage or injuries were caused.

"We were warned to take cover," he said. "We are still trying to determine the extent and the impact of the attack."

An employee in the Green Zone, Mohammed al-Dulaimi, who witnessed the second attack, said eight mortar rounds fell near the US embassy complex and two a little distance away in a residential area.

"They caused slight damage and one sparked a fire," Dulaimi said.

An embassy employee, who would not be named, said staff dashed for the embassy's bunker after the attacks.

"The first attack woke us up and people went rushing to the bunker. It was very frightening. The blasts were very close. Some people were in the showers and arrived with towels around them," she said.

"Others were nonchalant and carried on as if nothing had happened. This was the worst attack since last summer, when some buildings in the embassy compound were hit by mortars."

Insurgents and militiamen regularly fire mortars or rockets at the Green Zone, one of the most secure areas in Baghdad, although the frequency has diminished with a general improvement in security across the country.

AFP

http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/wave-of-attacks-further-rock-wartorn-iraq/2008/03/24/1206206960847.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

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Fintan
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The shit is hitting the fan in Iraq after the Iraq Gov --no doubt with
US blessing-- opened up an offensive against the Sadr Shia Militia.

Looks like we are seeing a reaction to the collapse of Bear Stearns
and the deepening economic crisis in the U.S.

There could be a limited strike against Iran in the next few months.

Quote:
Across Iraq, battles erupt with Mahdi Army

The US blames the latest attacks on rogue Mahdi Army elements tied to Iran, but analysts say the spike in fighting with Shiite militants potentially opens a second front in the war when the American military is still doing battle with the Sunni extremists of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

"The cease-fire is over; we have been told to fight the Americans," said one Mahdi Army militiaman, who was reached by telephone in Sadr City. This same man, when interviewed in January, had stated that he was abiding by the cease-fire and that he was keeping busy running his cellular phone store.

Sadr City residents say they saw fighting Tuesday between Mahdi militiamen and US and Iraqi forces in several parts of the district. One eyewitness, in the adjacent neighborhood of Baghdad Jadida, who wished to remain anonymous, said he saw a heavy militia presence on the streets, with two fighters planting roadside bombs on a main thoroughfare.

Lt. Col. Steve Stover of the Baghdad-based 4th Infantry Division said that in the span of 12 hours Tuesday 16 rockets were fired at the Green Zone and nine rockets and 18 mortar rounds fell on US bases and combat outposts on the east side of Baghdad....

On Monday evening, pickup trucks filled with chanting Mahdi militiamen, within sight of Iraqi forces, were forcing shopkeepers in many parts of Baghdad's west side to close in protest of US and Iraq Army raids.

On Tuesday, all shops in the Mahdi Army stronghold neighborhoods – Bayiaa, Iskan, Shuala, and Washash – were shuttered. Leaflets saying "No, no to America" were plastered on each storefront. Anti-American banners hung right next to Iraqi government checkpoints.

Several people interviewed in the Amel neighborhood said they were forced by militiamen to return home when they tried to go to work this morning. "This is anarchy," says Ali al-Yasseri.


"This is pretty serious, and if the Iranians do not back down rapidly this will escalate," says Martin Navias, an analyst at Britain's Centre for Defence Studies at King's College in London. "The US has a number of problems with Iran, mainly the nuclear program and its behavior in Iraq. There are many people in the Bush administration who want to hit Iran."

http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0326/p01s13-woiq.html


Quote:
"We are doing this in reaction to the unprovoked military operations against the Mahdi Army," said a Mahdi commander who identified himself as Abu Mortada. "The U.S., the Iraqi government and SCIRI are against us," he said, referring to a rival Shiite group whose name has changed several times and is now known as the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, which has an armed wing called the Badr Organization.

"They are trying to finish us," the commander said. "They want power for the Iraqi government and SCIRI."
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/world/5648873.html


Quote:
Analysts warned that the fighting could spread as the Shiite factions use their influence within Iraq's security forces to weaken rivals ahead of the Oct. 1 polls.

Tuesday's violence "looks like a preview of what will happen as we approach provincial elections in the fall," said Joost Hiltermann, Middle East director for the non-governmental International Crisis Group.

Sadr's followers hold as many seats in the National Assembly as the Supreme Council, and Sadr provided key backing when al-Maliki was named prime minister.

But large parts of Sadr's movement boycotted the last provincial polls in 2005, handing the Supreme Council and Dawa control of most of the south. A smaller Shiite party called Fadhile holds the position of Basra provincial governor.

Hiltermann said al-Maliki's government was right to try to assert control in Basra. But he said he was not "overly optimistic" that it would succeed—"partly because the central government and its security forces aren't very strong, and partly because this is really a fairly transparent partisan effort by the Supreme Council dressed in government uniforms to fight the Sadrists and Fadhile."
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-iraq-battlemar26,1,823614.story


Quote:
US, Iraqi Troops Battle Shiite Militia

By ROBERT H. REID – 49 minutes ago

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's leaders faced their gravest challenge in months Tuesday as Shiite militiamen loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr battled government forces for control of the southern oil capital, fought U.S. and Iraqi troops in Baghdad and unleashed rockets on the Green Zone.

Armed Mahdi Army militiamen appeared on some Baghdad streets for the first time in more than six months, as al-Sadr's followers announced a nationwide campaign of strikes and demonstrations to protest a government crackdown on their movement. Merchants shuttered their shops in commercial districts in several Baghdad neighborhoods.

U.S. and Iraqi troops backed by helicopters fought Shiite militiamen in Baghdad's Sadr City district after the local office of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Dawa Party came under attack, the U.S. said. Residents of the area reported intermittent explosions and gunfire in the area late Tuesday.

An American soldier was killed in fighting Tuesday afternoon in Baghdad, the U.S. military said. No further details were released, and it was unclear whether Shiite militiamen were responsible.

Although all sides appeared reluctant to trigger a conflagration, Brig. Gen. Ed Cardon, assistant commander of the U.S. task force operating south of Baghdad, said the situation in the south was "very complicated" and "the potential for miscalculation is high."

The burgeoning crisis — part of an intense power struggle among Shiite political factions — has major implications for the United States. An escalation could unravel the cease-fire which al-Sadr proclaimed last August. A resumption of fighting by his militia could kill more U.S. soldiers and threaten — at least in the short run — the security gains Washington has hailed as a sign that Iraq is on the road to recovery.......


At least 31 people were killed and 88 wounded, according to police and hospital officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not supposed to release the information.

Associated Press Television News video showed smoke rising over Basra, and coalition jets prowling the skies while ambulances raced through the streets.

Iraqi police and soldiers prevented journalists from reaching the areas of heaviest fighting, and it was unclear which side had the upper hand by sundown.

Iraqi military spokesman Col. Karim al-Zaidi acknowledged that government troops were facing stiff resistance.

Residents of one neighborhood said Mahdi Army snipers were firing from rooftops. Others fired rocket-propelled grenades at the troops, then scurried away on motorcycles. Other residents said police fled their posts.

British troops remained at their base at the airport outside Basra and were not involved in the ground fighting Tuesday, according to the British Ministry of Defense. Air support was being provided, but a spokesman would not say if it was U.S. or British planes.

Lawmakers from al-Sadr's movement announced that a civil disobedience campaign which began Monday in selected neighborhoods of the capital was being extended nationwide. The campaign was seen as an indication that the Sadrists want to assert their power without provoking a major showdown with the Americans, who inflicted massive casualties on the Mahdi Army during fighting in 2004.

Iraq's national security adviser, Mouwaffak al-Rubaie, was in contact with the Sadrist leadership in hopes of easing the crisis, said a top Sadrist official, Liwa Smeism.

Schools and shops were closed in many predominantly Shiite districts. "All shops are closed in my area except bakeries and vegetable stands," said Furat Ali, 35, a merchant in southwestern Baghdad.

Police also reported fighting between Iraqi security forces and Mahdi militiamen in the Shiite cities of Hillah and Kut, which lies on a major route between Baghdad and the Iranian border.

The showdown with al-Sadr has been brewing for months but has accelerated since parliament agreed in February to hold provincial elections by the fall. The U.S. had been pressing for new elections to give Sunnis, who boycotted the last provincial balloting three years ago, a chance for greater power.

Al-Sadr's followers have also been eager for elections, believing they can make significant gains in the oil-rich Shiite south at the expense of Shiite parties with close U.S. ties.

Sadrists have accused rival Shiite parties, which control Iraqi security forces, of engineering the arrests to prevent them from mounting an effective election campaign.

They also complain that few of their followers have been granted amnesty under a new law designed to free thousands held by the Iraqis and Americans.

"The police and army are being used for political goals, while they should be used for the benefits of all the Iraqi people," said Nassar al-Rubaei, leader of the Sadrist bloc in parliament. "If these violations continue, a huge popular eruption will take place that no power on Earth can stop."

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gkx-3oYeFwuWKCusr2jrojs98w8wD8VKOD5O0

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kathy



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:02 pm    Post subject: Iraqi militia success means Britain must fight Reply with quote

Quote:
Iraqi militia success means Britain must fight or admit failure

The battle for Basra now raging on the streets of Iraqs second city shows every sign of turning into a nightmare for the dwindling British forces based near by.

For months Britain has been quietly reducing its presence in Iraq with the intention of pulling out altogether. First it withdrew last September from the Basra Palace base in the city centre and moved its forces to the airport. Then it changed its tactical role to overwatch, a vague term for supporting the Iraqi security forces nominally in control of the port city.

The intention was to withdraw British forces from frontline duties and concentrate on training Iraqis and offering support when needed. But the problem from the outset has been the failure of the Iraqi army and police to take control of the city, a mission that British troops, with the advantage of modern equipment and training, had failed to do during their four years in southern Iraq. Instead the Shia Muslim militias the Mahdi Army loyal to Moqtadr al-Sadr, the Badr Brigades of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the smaller Fadillah Party effectively took over the streets.

The three groups were in open contest for control of the city. The battle has little to do with ideology but everything to do with economics. Basra is the hub of Iraqs valuable oil industry and the militias are making millions by taking their cut of the exports.

The problem now facing the British is how to respond to the fast-changing situation.

Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, who flew to Basra to take personal control, said that his forces would fight to the end against the militias. Unfortunately for him, the end may come sooner than he expected. The Iraqi Army contingent of 30,000 troops has failed to dislodge the Mahdi Army, there are widespread reports of defections from the police to the militias and there are clear signs that the operation could backfire badly.

British forces, who can probably cobble together an armoured battle group of a few hundred soldiers, may well be asked to intervene should the Iraqi offensive fail. If that happens, any hope of the withdrawal promised by Gordon Brown last year of another 1,500 British troops this spring will have to be shelved until Basra can be stabilised.

It may even be necessary to reinforce the British contingent with more combat troops, something that the Ministry of Defence can ill afford as it prepares for the fighting season in Afghanistan.

The only other option would be for Britain to admit finally that it has lost the fight in southern Iraq. That would mean an ignominious withdrawal and handing over control of Basra to the Americans, who grudgingly would have to take over responsibility for the south. As American officers and officials have privately made clear, much of todays problems in Basra can be traced back to Britains failure to commit the forces necessary to control Basra and southern Iraq in general.

Whereas President Bushs surge tactic of sending 30,000 reinforcements to central Iraq has succeeded in bringing down the level of violence in Baghdad and Anbar province, the Americans believe that the gradual withdrawal of British troops from the south has had the opposite effect, a point that Mr al-Maliki and his soldiers are discovering to their cost on the streets of Basra today.

Battle lines

March 2003 46,000 troops
Mission Topple Saddam

May 2003 18,000 troops
Mission Secure the peace

May 2004 8,600 troops
Mission Win hearts and minds

January 2007 7,000 troops
Mission Curb violence

September 2007 5,500 troops
Mission Withdraw to Basra airport for overwatch role

December 2007 4,500 troops
Mission Support and training for Iraqi troops

Spring 2008 Planned reduction to 2,500 troops

Source: Times archive, agencies
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article3635455.ece

Quote:

U.S. Iraq Embassy Workers Ordered Inside
Bush Cites Progress; Heavy Fighting Resumes

POSTED: 5:31 am PDT March 27, 2008
UPDATED: 1:00 pm PDT March 27, 2008

On the same day that President George W. Bush told an audience in Ohio that security gaines are being made in Iraq, the State Department has instructed all personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad not to leave reinforced structures due to incoming insurgent rocket fire that has killed two American government workers this week.

The the department also said employees are required to wear helmets and other protective gear if they must venture outside even in the heavily fortified Green Zone and strongly advises them to sleep in blast-resistant locations instead of the less secure trailers that most occupy.

"Due to the continuing threat of indirect fire in the International Zone, all personnel are advised to remain under hard cover at all times," it says. "Personnel should only move outside of hard cover for essential reasons."

"Essential outdoor movements should be sharply limited in duration," the memo says, adding that personal protective equipment "is mandatory for all outside movements."

"We strongly recommend personnel do not sleep in their trailers," it goes on to say, offering space inside the Saddam Hussein-era palace that is the embassy's temporary home as well as room at an as-yet uncompleted new embassy compound and a limited supply of cots.

The memo was sent after a second American citizen was killed by a rocket attack in the Green Zone on Thursday. A U.S. citizen military contractor died of his wounds on Monday after being severely injured with four others in an attack.

Bush told a crowd at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton on Thursday that the troop surge in Iraq has resulted in significant security gains for the country.

Read on......HERE
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Fintan
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

Fighters loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr
pose with their weapons next to a burned Iraqi
police vehicle following clashes in Basra.


American jets attack Basra

Friday March 28 2008.

American jets carried out two airstrikes on Shia militia in Basra overnight as they came to the aid of Iraqi forces after four days of bloodshed.

The Iraqi forces requested aerial support from the coalition on at least two locations, according to a British military official.

He would not give further details about the targets or say how many people were killed or injured in the bombings.

Coalition jets have been patrolling the skies over Basra for three days. Iraqis have been in control of security since the British withdrew from the southern Iraqi city last December.

Violence also erupted in the country's capital. Rocket and mortar attacks against the Green Zone in Baghdad continued, killing two guards outside the Iraqi vice president's office.

Lubna al-Hashemi, the daughter of Sunni vice president Tariq al-Hashemi, said at least five other guards were injured in the attacks outside her father's offices.

She said her father was praying at the time and was not in the offices.

A US helicopter later fired a missile during fighting in a Shia militia stronghold in Baghdad.

Ground forces called for the airstrike in Sadr City after coming under small-arms fire while clearing a supply route US military spokesman Lieutenan-Colonel Steve Stover said today.

Accounts differed of those killed in the attack. Stover said four gunmen were killed, but Iraqi police and hospital officials said five civilians died and four others were wounded in the attack. The Iraqi goverment attempted to quell the violence, which has claimed about 200 lives.

Iraq's prime minister today extended a deadline for Shia militants in Basra to hand over their weapons by more than a week and offered a financial reward.

Nouri al-Maliki said the deadline would be extended from Saturday to Tuesday April 8.

"All those who have heavy and intermediate weapons are to deliver them to security sites and they will be rewarded financially. This will start from March 28 to April 8," the prime minister said.

A senior Shia Muslim cleric in Iran has called for Iraq's government and Shia militant groups to sit down for talks and end the bloodshed.

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati also suggested that Iran may mediate a solution to end the violence.

A political discussion would be "in the interest of all," Jannati said in his preach during Friday prayers in Tehran. His sermon was broadcast live on state radio.

Maliki's government is working to end the violence in the city after an army crackdown on Shia militia sparked fighting across the south and mass protests in Baghdad.

"We agreed to hold an emergency session to discuss the Basra situation and how to resolve it," the parliament speaker, Mahmoud Mashhadani, said.

Mashhadani said representatives of Shia and Sunni parties had agreed to attend the emergency session of Iraq's parliament starting today.

The radical Shia cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, who helped Maliki to power after an election in 2005 but later broke with him, has called for talks with the government. But Maliki has vowed to battle what he calls criminal gangs in Basra "to the end".

Reuters reported that in southern Nassiriya, Mahdi army fighters loyal to Sadr had taken over the city centre.

Militants also took control of the town of Shatra, 25 miles to the north, according to the report.

Authorities imposed a three-day curfew in Baghdad to contain the violence, in which more than 200 people have been killed since the government launched the offensive on Tuesday.

Today they relaxed the curfew slightly to allow people to buy food.

Major General Ali Zaidan said said at least 120 "enemy" fighters had been killed and 450 wounded during the four-day operation.

It is also a major test for Maliki's ability to prove Iraqi forces can stand on their own and allow US forces to withdraw.

Iraqi oil exports returned to normal in Basra today, after a bomb attack yesterday interrupted exports from the south for the first time since 2004.

The attack forced the temporary shutdown of at least three oil pipelines, which usually pump around 1.5m barrels a day.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/28/iraq

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who's Who in the Shiite's

Albeit spin, this is a rough thumbnail view
of the factions involved in the fighting....

Quote:
The two Shiite parties—the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and Muqtada Sadr's Mahdi army—have been bitter rivals since the early days of post-Saddam Iraq. And Maliki, from the beginning of his rule, has had delicate relations with both.

Sadr, who may be Iraq's most popular Shiite militant and who controls several seats in parliament, gave Maliki the crucial backing he needed to become prime minister. However, largely under U.S. pressure, Maliki has since backed away from Sadr, who has always fiercely opposed the occupation and whose militiamen have killed many American soldiers (until last year, when he declared a cease-fire).

Maliki has since struck a close alliance with ISCI, which has its own militia, the Badr Organization, and whose members also hold much sway within Iraq's official security forces (though more with the police than with the national army). This alliance has the blessing of U.S. officials, even though ISCI—which was originally called the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq—has much deeper ties with Iran than Sadr does. (ISCI's leaders went into exile in Iran during the decades of Saddam's reign, while Sadr and his family stayed in Iraq—one reason for his popular support. As Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations has noted, SICRI was created by Iran, and the Badr brigades were trained and supplied by Iran's Revolutionary Guard.)

Sadr's Mahdi army and ISCI's Badr Organization came to blows last August in the holy city of Karbala..... Sadr [ordered] a six-month moratorium (a major reason for the decline in casualties in Iraq, perhaps as significant as the U.S. troop surge and the Sunni Awakening.)

Sunni Awakening is a gang of hired Sunni thugs paid by the U.S -F.D.

http://www.slate.com/id/2187564/


U.S casualties look set to rise again...

Quote:
03/29/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Joshua A. Molina, 20, of Houston, Texas, died Mar. 27 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany.

03/28/08 MNF: MND-C Soldier attacked by IED
BAGHDAD - A Multi-National Division - Center Soldier was killed as a result of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device attack south of Baghdad March 28.

03/28/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Gregory B. Rundell, 21, of Ramsey, Minn., died March 26 in Taji Iraq, of wounds suffered from small arms fire. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

03/28/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Staff Sgt. Joseph D. Gamboa, 34, of Yigo, Guam, died Mar. 25 of wounds suffered when he came under indirect fire in Baghdad, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany.
http://icasualties.org/oif/


Quote:
Sadr urges militiamen in Iraq to reject calls to disarm

By Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
7:17 AM PDT, March 29, 2008

BAGHDAD -- Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr sent a defiant signal to Iraq's government today, urging militiamen fighting Iraqi and U.S. forces to reject calls to disarm as American airstrikes continued.

In Sadr's Baghdad stronghold, Sadr City, a spokesman for the city health department said at least 57 people had been killed there since fighting broke out Tuesday. The battles, which pit Shiite militiamen against Iraqi and U.S. forces, erupted in the wake of a government offensive in the southern city of Basra.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iraq30mar30,1,702809.story


Quote:
40 Iraqi police hand over weapons to radical cleric's office

By RYAN LENZ - Associated Press - March 29, 2008, 8:34AM

...The crackdown in Basra has provoked a violent reaction — especially from al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. His followers accuse rival Shiite parties in the government of trying to crush their movement before provincial elections this fall.

Their anger has led to a sharp increase in attacks against American troops in Shiite areas following months of relative calm after al-Sadr declared a unilateral cease-fire last August and recently extended it for six months....

...Meanwhile, some 40 policemen in Sadr City handed over their weapons to militant radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's local office, one of the policemen told The Associated Press today.

"We can't fight our brothers in the Mahdi Army, so we came here to submit our weapons," the policeman said on condition of anonymity for security reasons.

The police in Sadr City have long been believed heavily influenced or infiltrated by Mahdi militiamen.

AP Television News footage showed a group of about a dozen uniformed police, their faces covered with masks to shield their identity, being met by Sheik Salman al-Feraiji, al-Sadr's chief representative in Sadr City.

Al-Feraiji greeted each policeman and gave them a copy of the Quran and an olive branch as they handed over their guns and ammunition.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5658621.html


Quote:
....In Baghdad, the Mahdi Army took over neighbourhood after neighbourhood, some amid heavy fighting, others without firing a shot.

In New Baghdad, militiamen simply ordered the police to leave their checkpoints: the officers complied en masse and the guerrillas stepped out of the shadows to take over their checkpoints.

In Jihad, a mixed Sunni and Shia area of west Baghdad that had been one of the worst battlefields of Iraq’s dirty sectarian war in 2006, Mahdi units moved in and residents started moving out to avoid the lethal crossfire that erupted.

One witness saw Iraqi Shia policemen rip off their uniform shirts and run for shelter with local Sunni neighbourhood patrols, most of them made up of former insurgents wooed by the US military into fighting al-Qaeda.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article3631718.ece

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kathy



Joined: 20 Jan 2006
Posts: 728
Location: Surfing The Waves

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

Quote:
Nouri al-Maliki humiliated as gamble to crush Shia militias fail

James Hider in Sadr City
April 1, 2008

The soldiers guarding the entrance to Sadr City were jumpy, despite a
ceasefire announced by al-Mahdi Army Shia militia. And with good reason:
a huge boom rolled across the militia stronghold as a roadside bomb
struck a passing vehicle. American armoured vehicles sped off to the aid
of stricken comrades.

Overnight al-Mahdi Army has melted back into the population in Baghdad
and Basra after its leader, the antiAmerican cleric Hojatoleslam Moqtada
al-Sadr, ordered it to stop fighting government forces. In Sadr City and
other militia strongholds they do not need to be seen. Their presence is
felt everywhere.

Walking across the lines separating the US and government forces from
the barbed wire sealing off Sadr City, an Iraqi army major muttered:
Youre going in without guards? Youll be kidnapped for sure. The Sadr
Office had, however, arranged an escort for visiting journalists: a police
car with three officers. Dont worry, the driver reassured his passengers.
We know where all the IEDs are.

The police in areas controlled by al-Mahdi Army work closely with the
militia and would never dream of interfering in its fights with the
Government that pays their salaries.

At the Sadr Office in the centre of the massive slum in northeast Baghdad,
home to 2.5 million impoverished Shias, the receptionists greeted visitors
with sweets to mark their victory over Nouri al-Maliki, the increasingly
isolated Iraqi

Prime Minister, who directed the assault on Shia rogue militias in Basra,
the lawless southern oil city. This is for victory over Maliki, one said with
a grin. The fighting ended on our terms.

Certainly Mr al-Malikis huge gamble appeared to have failed yesterday.
Having vowed to crush Shia militias with a 30,000-strong force in Basra,
he ended up suing for peace with the people he had described as worse
than al-Qaeda. Al-Mahdi Army kept its weapons and turf.

Sheikh Salman al-Freiji, the head of the Sadr Office, said that Mr al-Maliki
was a tool in the hands of the Americans. The American project has been
to split the Iraqi sects and community from Day_1, he said. They tried to
split Sunnis from Shia. Now that has failed, they are trying to split the
Shia. He said that an al-Mahdi Army freeze on operations, introduced in
August, was still in place but reserved the right to attack the illegitimate
American occupation.

Hundreds of people died in Mr al-Malikis blitz to end the reign of militias in
the south but after a week his army has failed to defeat them and his
political capital has crashed through the floor. Having vowed to fight the
militias to the end, he had to suffer the humiliation of talking peace with
Hojatoleslam al-Sadr at his home in the Iranian city of Qom before the
militia chief showed his true power and ended the war within hours.

Mahmoud Othman, an independent Kurdish lawmaker, said that the latest
spasm of violence merely showed Irans huge influence in Iraq, holding
enormous sway over al-Mahdi Army and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi
Council, the main Shia party in the Government, as well as its own militia,
the Badr Brigades. Its a big victory for Iran over America and for
Moqtada over Maliki, he said. Iran has the upper hand in Iraq. They are
choosing the time to start trouble and they are choosing the time to end
it.

Mr Othman said that the meeting with the Iraqi delegation two members
of the Sadrist bloc, a member of Mr al-Ma-likis Dawa party and Hadi
al-Ameri, the head of the Badr Brigades had been coordinated by
Brigadier-General Qassim Suleimani, the head of the Quds Brigades, the
foreign operations branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Iran is
just trying to make Maliki weak so he will accept their conditions, Mr
Othman said. And he did accept. The United States has made a mess for
the last five years, its very clear.

John McCain, the US Republican Presidential candidate, yesterday
expressed surprise that Mr al-Maliki should have instigated a battle in
Basra without notifying the US. Maliki decided to take on this operation
without consulting the Americans, he said. I am surprised that he would
take it on himself, to go down and take charge of a military offensive.

As a crippling, five-day curfew was lifted, thousands of people streamed
into and out of Sadr City past American tanks and Iraqi armoured
vehicles. Someone had spray-painted Rafah on a concrete barrier, a
reference to the Gaza crossing point that bottles up Palestinians. People
barely flinched as fresh shooting erupted in a distant gunfight, in which US
forces killed 25 of an estimated 100 militiamen who tried to ambush them.
In Baghdad few people put their faith in ceasefires.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article3656300.ece
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bri



Joined: 16 Jun 2006
Posts: 3185
Location: Capacious Creek

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some highlights from the latest mainstream Iraq articles:


http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/03/31/iraq.shiite/?iref=mpstoryview

Quote:
The government's Basra offensive, spearheaded by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, highlights the fledgling Shiite-dominated Iraqi government's efforts to engage militias on their own, the U.S. officials say. At the same time, it leaves al-Maliki in a precarious political position because he has staked his future on the offensive, and he has left himself little room to maneuver.


"This is all about power," one of the senior U.S. military officials said.

The U.S. assessment of the situation is that it's good Iraqi forces are conducting the Basra offensive largely on their own. At the same time, the officials said, Americans need to be prepared for the Shiite power struggle to continue.



Which side are we rootin' for again?




And a heroically pointless death...


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/31/AR2008033102330.html


Quote:
"Grenade!" Monsoor shouted. But the two snipers and another SEAL on the roof had no time to escape, as Monsoor was closest to the only exit. Monsoor dropped onto the grenade, smothering it with his body. It detonated, and Monsoor died about 30 minutes later from his wounds.

"He made an instantaneous decision to save our teammates. I immediately understood what happened, and tragically it made sense to me in keeping with the man I know, Mike Monsoor," said Lt. Cmdr. Seth Stone, Monsoor's platoon leader in Ramadi.

Monsoor, the third of four children, played football at Garden Grove High School and joined the Navy in 2001, where he was a top performer in his SEAL training class. He graduated in 2004. Monsoor's sister Sara, a nurse, said her brother's e-mails never revealed the dangers he faced, but she knew the SEAL team was like his family. "He already had it in his head -- he would be the first one to jump in and protect," she said.


This woman seems to have an understanding...albeit downtrodden...

Quote:
Americans and Iraq
Public Forum Letter
Article Last Updated: 03/31/2008 06:36:48 PM MDT

As I read "McCain the Mimic: Arizona senator's backing of Bush's war is indefensible" (Our View, March 2Cool, I nodded my head in casual agreement - until the last sentence. The editorial's quick summary states that you "categorically disagree" with McCain's willingness to continue the war with its consequent loss of American and Iraqi life and its $13 billion per-month cost, and that the American people will not go along with it.
Sadly, the editorial board either ran out of gas or ran out of space. To suggest that the American people will not go along with McCain's concept of an unending war is erroneous. This will not happen until every American's child is at risk of being drafted, or until all Americans are assessed each month for this war on a "pay-as-we-go" basis.
So far, we've paid for the war with a Chinese-issued credit card. Only then will Americans in mass say: No!

Until then, the most we will hear from the majority of Americans is a quick, despairing cluck-cluck and a shake of the head as they momentarily contemplate the war's futility before returning to business as usual.

Rebecca Thomas
Salt Lake City


Married Troops Can Live Together in Iraq Eyes roll

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hEI-l2_AjvNS-j-za8tqbNREgDagD8VOOCG00
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Fintan
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Joined: 18 Jan 2006
Posts: 8184

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
John McCain, the US Republican Presidential candidate, yesterday
expressed surprise that Mr al-Maliki should have instigated a battle in
Basra without notifying the US. “Maliki decided to take on this operation
without consulting the Americans,” he said. “I am surprised that he would
take it on himself, to go down and take charge of a military offensive.”

I finished ROTFLMAO at the idea that U.S had no idea that Malaki was
going after -Sadr's Medhi Army. It's a comical idea that the puppet has
got any say in this.

So, we can assume that the U.S. and U.K were in on this, big time.
And if that's a done deal, then the next question is easy:

The Malaki v. Sadr - Basra War! WTF was THAT all about!?

Who in hell launches a mlitary campaign 100% certain to fail?
As Malaki and the U.S. and U.K just did.


The spin is that the Iranian-loyalist Shiite's wanted to use their muscle
in the Iraqi Army to strike a pre-emptive blow against the Al-Sadr'ists
ahead of Fall elections, and after months of harassment of which the
Sadr'ists are sick and tired.

Plausible, execpt we still have that niggling issue the the total inability of
the Iraqi Army to win at ANYTHING! So fuck all point deploying them!
Malaki had to hack a deal with Sadr to end the phoney war.

In fact the campaign and that tacit victory have energized Al-Sadr's group.

That was the whole point, you see. Divide and conquer.

This was a device to drive people into polar Shiite factions the NWO
control. They run Iran and via Iran they run the various Shiite,
Badr-Brigade-inspired clones in Iraq.

If they can get people in polar camps they might stave off the fatal day.
The day when the Iraqis vote down most of their existing politicians.

That's what this little phoney war was about.

It also gave Bush a nice backdrop, and took some heat of Al-Sadr himself
--whose people are increasingly fretting about when the 'Americans' are
leaving. It gave the hotheads a little war to help them forget how
impatient they are to encourage the U.S. withdrawal process.....

Violently.


So all in all, a Nice Op.

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