The Command Post
Iraq
September 30, 2003
UN Reduces Foreign Workers in Iraq to Less Than 50

So ... if the UN decides to leave, have the terrorists and thugs won? Talk amongst yourselves, after reading the story in VOA:

The United Nations has reduced its international staff in Iraq to less than 50 because of security concerns.

Speaking to reporters in New York Monday, U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard did not provide an exact number of foreign U.N. workers for security reasons. But he said the size of foreign staff in Iraq will continue to fluctuate.

The United Nations had more than 600 staff in Iraq before the August 19 bombing of its headquarters in Baghdad. The suicide car bomb attack killed 22 people, including the head of the U.N. mission, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

That attack prompted U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to order the staff cut back. He ordered a further cut back last week following another suicide bombing near Baghdad's U.N. office.

Posted By Alan at 11:52 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack
Senate Wants Iraq to Share Recovery Cost

Yo, y'all. How 'bout that headline from the New York Times. Really? SHOCKER. Yeah ... the Senate, me, you, our moms, and the rest of the electorate. All right, all snarky commentary aside, here's the lead:

Senate Republicans, bowing to what appears to be a Senate majority, said Tuesday that they had begun exploring a compromise that would require Iraq to repay at least part of the $20.3 billion in reconstruction aid the Bush administration wants to spend.

A large loan to Iraq, though strongly opposed by the administration, reflects the growing objections to the White House plans from many Republican lawmakers and almost all Democrats, who do not want to use taxpayer money to rebuild a country sitting on billions of dollars in oil reserves.

Guantanamo Translator Arrested At Logan Airport, Boston

From CNN:

A civilian translator who worked with the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was arrested Tuesday after immigration officials at Boston's Logan Airport found what are alleged to be classified materials in his possession, U.S. officials confirm.

The FBI was called to make the arrest after U.S. immigration officials found a man identified as Ahmed Melhalba carrying CD-ROMs and paper documents allegedly related to the detainees.

Melhalba is the third person arrested in what appears to be a widening investigation of possible espionage at the base where suspected al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists are held.

Posted By Alan at 10:29 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack
Journalism in Iraq

A story which illustrates both the heights of investigative journalism, especially self-checking, and the depths to which some "journalists" sink.

From the ABC's MediaWatch programme which has been less than enthused about Australian and American policy in Iraq, comes a story about some journalists, also at the ABC.

We've been given a copy of Gina Wilkinson's unedited camera tapes.

Here's what we saw on the news:


The missiles are filled with volatile rocket fuel and two hundred kilograms of high explosives. Locals fear their children could be injured or their homes destroyed by these deadly weapons.
- ABC TV News, 19 August 2003
- Watch video >


But why were those children standing on the missile launcher? So Gina could film them. Here's what the camera tapes reveal.


- You want to show the children on there?
Gina Wilkinson: Yeah, that would be good. Yeah, if they don't mind.
- (trans) You want them to stand over there to be filmed?
- (trans) Come on sweetie. What's her name?
- Noona
- (trans) I'm worried about them.
- Sit. Sit on this.
- (trans) I'm worried about them.
- (trans) Sit on the edge.

Gina Wilkinson: Please God, don't let this thing explode now.
- ABC Camera Tape
- Watch video >



According to the Federation of American Scientists the V-75 SA-2 "Guideline" has 135 kg (over 250 lb) of High Explosives in the warhead, and worse, one of the storable fuels in it is Inhibited Red Fuming Nitric Acid, a deadly, corrosive poison.

Hat Tip : Tim Blair, one of Media Watch's staunchest critics.

Child Shot in Iraq

From the Agence France Presse (AFP), via News Limited :

US forces killed a 10-year-old Iraqi child and wounded a 25-year-old man when they opened fire Monday on hundreds of demonstrators who pelted them with stones in Hawija, west of Kirkuk, a hospital director told AFP.

Hussein Dakhil Ahmad was killed by US soldiers, said Dr Jassem Abdullah Jiburi at Hawija hospital, 50km from the northern Iraqi city.

He said that 25-year-old Meaad Abdullah was hit in the heart and transferred to a hospital in Kirkuk.

The US army did not immediately confirm the report.

The casualties occurred when around 500 protestors carrying portraits of ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein took to the streets of Hawija and began pelting US soldiers with stones, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.

A later report, also from the AFP, via The Australian :

US forces today denied Iraqi claims that they had opened fired on a demonstration, killing a 10-year-old boy in Hawija west of the northern city of Kirkuk.

"Somebody within the crowd shot him (the boy), not US forces. US forces did not fire into the crowd," said 4th Infantry Division spokesperson Major Josslyn Aberle.

[...]

Maj Aberle disputed the doctor's account of the protest, describing the demonstration as "some sort of salary dispute".

"The demonstration was not anti-US, nor pro-Saddam," she said.

US soldiers had seen that the boy was wounded at the demonstration and offered him treatment, but the child's mother refused and opted to take him to the local hospital, Maj Aberle said.

The soldiers then visited the hospital and saw the boy sitting up in bed, but locals later paraded a black flag through the town and accused the Americans of shooting the child dead, Maj Aberle said.

The army was unable to confirm if the boy had truly died, she said, but added those Iraqis charging that US troops had shot the child were trying to stir up trouble.

Peut-etre les AFP reporteurs aussi?

September 29, 2003
Joe's Iraq Report: Sept 29/03

Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Our "Winds of War" coverage of the global war on terror is a separate briefing today.

Top Topics:


Other Topics Include: Fallujah fighting; U.S. Marines polling; WMD summary; Iraq's Shi'ites; Iraq's odious debts - a U.S. blunder; Reports on Iraq's legal system, infrastructure & industry; Doing business in Iraq; America & Europe; Baghdad Museum report; Which cards have we captured; Support the Troops. Iraq and the 2003 Tigers; Iraqi toy drive; Free the Generals!

read the rest! »
 

92 Nabbed in Tikrit Joint Military Operation

[Fox news]

Iraqi security forces and U.S. military police on Monday teamed up in Tikrit in the hunt for guerrillas behind a series of deadly attacks on American troops — the largest joint raid to date.

Also Monday, residents reported scattered, heavy gunfire north of Khaldiyah, a town west of Baghdad in the so-called "Sunni Triangle."

U.S. troops backed by attack aircraft, tanks and helicopters battled Iraqi resistance fighters near the town after a roadside bomb killed one soldier and wounded another, U.S. officials said.

Full story....

1 Killed, 1 Wounded at Habbaniya

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

A United States soldier has been killed and another wounded when guerrillas attacked a military convoy in a restive area west of Baghdad, a US military spokesman said.

Another soldier was wounded in the attack, Lieutenant Colonel George Krivo told reporters in Baghdad.

He said the incident took place at around 3:10pm AEST in the town of Habbaniya, about 70 kilometres from the capital.

"There was an engagement this morning. It was an IED (improvised explosive device) attack on a convoy," Colonel Krivo told a news briefing.

"There was a coalition soldier injured and one coalition soldier killed in action."

After the explosives attack, soldiers exchanged fire with guerrillas at the scene for several hours, Colonel Krivo said.

6 Wounded near Fallujah

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

Six US soldiers have been wounded in a bomb attack on a convoy in the hotspot town of Fallujah, 50 kilometres west of Baghdad, a US military spokesman.

Colonel Kevin Gainer said a convoy from the 82nd Airborne Division was hit by an "improvised explosive device" on Highway 10 at 7:30pm AEST Sunday while travelling in the city.

The area, part of a Sunni Muslim tribal belt with allegiances to ousted president Saddam Hussein, has been the scene of persistent attacks against US-led coalition forces.

Colonel Gainer said some of the men were treated at a first aid station while the rest were evacuated to a nearby hospital and were in a stable condition.

Assassination attempt fails

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

An Iraqi official working on how to draft a new constitution for the occupied country has escaped an assassination attempt, an official of the US-installed Governing Council said.

Jalal al-Din al-Sagheer, a prominent Shiite, escaped unscathed when his car was attacked as he was driving home in a Baghdad suburb at around 9:00pm AEST on Sunday, Muhannad Abdul Jabbar said.

"The incident happened yesterday," said Mr Jabbar, an official in the Governing Council's press office.

"He has not been injured, he is okay."

He added that Mr Sagheer was attending a meeting on the constitution today.

Both successful assassinations have also been against Shi'ites.

4 Wounded, Rotations Scheduled

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

The Pentagon mobilised 15,000 fresh troops for duty in Iraq as the US military announced it had found large caches of weapons, including missiles, near Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit.

Four US soldiers were meanwhile wounded in two separate bomb attacks, a military spokesman said.

Sergeant Mark Ingham said an attack on US troops with an "improvised explosive device" (IED) occurred about 11:00am (local time) in the town of Iskandariya, 45 kilometres south of the capital.

Their conditions were not immediately known.

Sergeant Ingham said another two soldiers were wounded at Taji, 10 kilometres north of Baghdad, by an explosion at 9:45am (local time) and were evacuated to the 28th Combat Support Hospital for treatment.

After long insisting no more US soldiers were required to secure Iraq, the Pentagon said Saturday that 10,000 troops were being mobilised in two national guard brigades for a force rotation and it put 5,000 more on standby as US calls for international troop contributions go unheeded.

September 28, 2003
U.S. Soldiers Uncover Huge Weapons Stash in Iraq

[Fox News]

American troops uncovered one of the largest caches of weapons to date near Saddam Hussein’s birthplace after attackers fired rockets on a U.S. compound in Iraq's capital.

The cache found Saturday near Tikrit included 23 Russian-made surface-to-air missiles, 1,000 pounds of plastic explosives, grenades, grenade launchers, rockets, a mortar and mortar rounds. It was among the largest caches found there since American troops arrived in April, according to Maj. Mike Rauhut of the 4th Infantry Division.

In Baghdad, Iraqi police found a much smaller cache late Saturday, recovering about a dozen small rockets, grenades and mortar rounds. The warheads had been removed from the rockets, suggesting they were to have been used in fabricating small roadside bombs that have caused casualties among U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians.

Full story...

September 27, 2003
Terrorists in Iraq

AP reports something interesting:

U.S. forces in Iraq are holding 19 suspected members of the al-Qaida terrorist network, the American civilian administrator said Friday.

The suspected al-Qaida members are among 248 non-Iraqi fighters being held by the Americans in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer said in a Pentagon news conference.

Bremer said authorities determined the suspects' al-Qaida links through interrogations and documents the suspects were carrying. He said he did not know what countries they came from.

The largest number of foreign fighters--123 of the 248--came from Syria, Bremer said. The next-highest numbers came from Iran and Yemen, he said, adding he did not have precise figures for those countries.


The flow of terrorist fighters into Iraq is the biggest obstacle to the peaceful reconstruction of the country, Bremer said. The fighting between anti-American elements and U.S. forces hasn't hampered the reconstruction effort so far, though, he said.

Reconstruction of Iraq is critical to the global war on terrorism, he added.

"We don't want Iraq to become a breeding ground for terrorism in the future," Bremer said.

Hmm.

(Hat tip: Steven Taylor)

Cross-posted at OTB

Posted By at 07:39 AM | Comments (37) | TrackBack
September 26, 2003
UN Not Evacuating - Quite

From the Sydney Morning Herald :

With the bloodshed mounting in Iraq, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan ordered some UN staff to leave the country temporarily, his spokesman said.

The announcement will be a blow for countries such as France, which have been calling on the United Nations to have a greatly expanded role in the running of post-war Iraq.

"This is not an evacuation, just a further downsizing, and the security situation in the country remains under constant review," Annan spokesman Fred Eckhard said.

"This is the secretary-general's decision. It is for him and him alone to make," Eckhard said.

The United Nations had already drastically slashed staff in Iraq after a suicide bombing at the UN's Baghdad headquarters that killed 22 people, including top UN envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.

The world body had around 650 international staff in Iraq before that attack, a figure later cut to 100.

A second bombing at the Baghdad office on Monday killed an Iraqi security guard. Eckhard said Annan had made the decision on Thursday and the pull-out began Friday.

"Today, there remain 42 in Baghdad and 44 in the north of the country, and those numbers can be expected to shrink over the next few days," Eckhard said.

But the spokesman underlined that thousands of local staff were still at work in Iraq and that the United Nations would keep up its operations to the greatest extent possible.

"We have 4,233 local staff at work so with some international supervision, it's assumed they can continue carrying the essential humanitarian activities we have going on now," he said.

So at the moment the "UN" presence is about 50 Iraqis per UN supervisor, and soon to be 100. No Evacuation here.

Constitution in 6 Months : Powell

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

The United States says it intends to set a six month deadline for an Iraqi constitution that would lead to elections and a new government next year.

American Secretary of State Colin Powell told the New York Times the US would like to put a deadline on Iraq.

He says the country has six months and, while it will be a difficult deadline to meet, the US must get them going.

In the interview, Mr Powell raised the possibility of the Iraqis themselves setting a timetable in the near future.

He says the US Government has asked Iraqi leaders to estimate how long it would take them to write a constitution and conduct elections.

Mr Powell predicted there would be a quick answer to that question.

9 Killed, 30 Wounded in 3 attacks

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

A rocket-propelled grenade attack in Iraq has killed a US soldier and wounded two others in the northern oil centre of Kirkuk.

The US military says the attack happened late last night.

[...]

Meanwhile, eight Iraqi civilians have been killed and 18 wounded when a mortar bomb fell on a crowded square in Baqubah, north-east of Baghdad.

"Eight civilians were killed and 18 wounded when a mortar round hit the al-Burtuqala market at approximately 1708 GMT," a US military spokeswoman told AFP.

She said US soldiers rendered first aid and evacuated the wounded to a nearby hospital.

There were no casualties among US-led forces.

The bomb fell on the al-Burtuqala square, a teeming area in the centre of Baqubah, 70 kilometres from the capital, filled with shops and cafes.

[...]


In Baghdad, mortar fire which targeted a US military position in the capital wounded at least 10 Iraqis late Thursday, Iraqi police said.

"At least 10 Iraqis were injured in a mortar attack on a US army position which missed its target and hit houses in the Al-Rissalah district", a police officer told AFP Friday.

He said the casualties had been taken to Al-Yarmuk hospital.

Looks like US Soldiers are now too difficult to target, so they're forced to go after random civilians.

September 25, 2003
Overwhelming majority of Iraqis (67%) are glad the U.S. liberation of their country occurred.

Per Gallup survey:

* * *

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Nearly two-thirds of Baghdad residents say the removal of Saddam Hussein was worth the hardships they have endured, a report said Wednesday [September 24, 2003].

* * *

Baghdad blast targets US media

A bomb has exploded in a hotel complex where US television network NBC has offices in the centre of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

At least one person, a Somali security guard, has been killed and two others wounded in the explosion which occurred at the Aike Hotel.

Iraqi police said a bomb had been placed in a hut that housed the hotel generator.

It is the first time Western media in Iraq has been specifically targeted since the war to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

More from The BBC...
Posted By at 02:37 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack
Iraqi Minister Dead

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Aquila al-Hashimi, the first member of Iraq's American-picked Governing Council to be targeted for assassination, died Thursday, five days after she was shot in an ambush. In the latest attack on foreigners in Baghdad, a bomb exploded outside a hotel housing NBC staff, killing a Somali guard and injuring a Canadian sound engineer....

Saddam Missed by Miles

...so says the former Iraqi (Dis-)Information Minister. From The Australian :

US bombing did not target the places where Saddam Hussein was sheltering during the Iraq war, according to the former Iraqi information minister Mohammad Said as-Sahhaf.

The former Baath official said the ousted president made his first wartime speech from a house close to his main palace.

"Only once did the bombing target an area 400 to 500 metres away" from where Saddam had been staying, "in a simple villa at the edge of the Zahra neighborhood" of Baghdad, Sahhaf told Abu Dhabi Television.

At one point, Saddam stayed for "five consecutive days in al-Amirat street of the Mansur neighborhood," but it was never hit by the US bombers, Sahhaf told the channel in the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi in the second of a series of interviews to be aired over several weeks.

[...]

Sahhaf said Saddam, who wrote his speeches himself since "some time in the 1980s," had made his first televised address of the war on March 20, hours after a pre-dawn US attack aimed at killing him, from a house adjacent to the main presidential compound in Baghdad.

Iraqi Minister in Critical Condition

Updating a previous post, The Australian reports some bad news :

The Iraqi politician who narrowly escaped assassination this week is at risk of dying from complications, Iraq's Governing Council chairman Ahmad Chalabi said today.

He said Akila al-Hashimi, one of three women on the council, was in a very critical condition following Saturday's gun attack in Baghdad.

"Her life is threatened by complications from her wounds as a result of the attack," Mr Chalabi said at the UN headquarters in New York.

Ms Hashimi was ambushed by gunmen who lobbed a bomb and sprayed her car convoy with machine-gun fire in the first such attack on an Iraqi official of the US-installed administration.

She underwent two stomach operations and was taken to a US medical facility.

UPDATE : Worse news I'm afraid.

Dan's Iraq Report: Sept 25/03

Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's Iraq Report and "Winds of War" coverage of the wider conflict is brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis.

Top Topics:


Other Topics Include: Al-Jazeera gets the boot from new Iraqis; Baghdad's unusual hit CDs; Spanish take over in Najaf; Northern front proggress; Terrorists attacking commuter buses, cinemas; The WMD hunt; Another Ba'ath Poker surrender; Support the troops.

Iraqi Toy Drive Free The Chief's Generals Iraqi Toy Drive

Read the rest of Dan's Iraq Report... »

Read Dan's Winds of War Briefing »

September 24, 2003
Blast hits Iraqi 'sex cinema'

An explosion has ripped through a cinema in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, killing two people and injuring up to 20 others.

The cinema was showing a pornographic film at the time of the explosion, witnesses said.

Islamic militants are known to oppose what they call "immoral" movies and have attacked some cinemas in post-war Iraq for showing them.

More from the BBC...
Posted By at 07:57 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack
US recovers Antiquity

From the AFP via the Sydney Morning Herald :

Iraq's most cherished antiquity, the 5000-year-old Warka Mask, has been found after being looted during the anarchy that accompanied the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in April.

Captain Vance Kuhner said the mask was found after an intensive search by US troops and Iraqi police that led them to a farm just north of Baghdad. It was discovered buried under 15 centimetres of dirt.

"A tip-off came to the museum, we were given an address that led us to a juvenile, then an older man and eventually the culprit. Then it took a week of negotiations," Captain Kuhner told AFP.

"It's pretty much untouched. We believe it changed hands several times after its theft. It is still in excellent condition."
[...]
It was among the five most precious pieces still missing since the museum was sacked.

Jaaber Kalil Ibrahim, Iraq's director general of antiquities, said about 13,000 pieces are still to be found, 32 of them of great value, out of 15,000 pieces stolen from the collection of 170,000 artefacts.

Australian PM Diplomatically Chides France

From The Australian :

"The French have been utterly opportunistic from the very beginning on this issue," Mr Howard told reporters in Sydney today, following a speech by Mr Chirac to the United Nations.
[...]
"It may suit countries like France now to say you shouldn't do anything without a new Security Council resolution, but countries like France haven't always adopted that attitude in the past."
[...]
"Let's call a spade a spade: because of the authority they exercised as a permanent member of the Security Council, countries like France made it impossible for the Security Council and the United Nations to do their job," he said.

"They were perfectly happy to see American and British troops and a smaller number of Australian forces exert pressure on Saddam Hussein before the war started, but then they weren't prepared to join the collective action.

"Now they are criticising those who were willing to do what the world I'm sure is relieved was done, and that is to rid the world of Saddam Hussein."

September 23, 2003
Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya Sinbinned for 2 weeks

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

Iraq's US-installed Governing Council has banned the Arab satellite TV stations Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya from covering official activities for two weeks, a statement said.

It said the action was taken as a "warning" to the stations and other broadcasters for allegedly inciting anti-US violence.

The action stopped short of closing their bureaus in Baghdad as announced earlier by a government spokesman.

"Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya will temporarily be excluded from any coverage of Governing Council activities or official press conferences, and correspondents of the two channels will not be allowed to enter ministries or government offices for two weeks," it said.

September 22, 2003
Blast Near U.N. Headquarters in Iraq [Updated]

UPDATE: The bomb has killed two: an Iraqi policeman and the suicide bomber himself.

[CNN]

A suicide bombing Monday near the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad left an Iraqi security guard and the bomber dead, a U.S. military spokesman said. It was the second bombing in two months to target the U.N. headquarters in the Iraqi capital.

"A bomb went off from inside of a car, killing two individuals -- one being the bomber," said Capt. Sean Kirley, a U.S. Army spokesman, of the explosion that took place at a checkpoint on the perimeter of the U.N. compound.

"No damage was done to the U.N. building. No coalition forces were killed or injured that we know of, at this point," he said.

Doctors at nearby al Kindi hospital said 16 to 18 people were brought in for treatment following the explosion -- four in critical condition, who were transferred to other hospitals.

Full Story....

Andrew's Iraq Report: Sept 22/03

Welcome! Our goal at Winds of Change.NET is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by Andrew Olmsted (JK: That's "Major Olmsted" now), and is split into this Iraq Report and a briefing on the Wider War.

TOP TOPICS

  • Porphyrogenitus posts another excellent after action report from a Lieutenant Colonel serving in Tikrit, Iraq, discussing the trials and lessons learned.

  • What did the media know, when did they know it, and how much did they hide? Glenn Reynolds notes reports the media was covering up some (much?) of what they learned in Iraq in order to curry favor with the Iraqi government. Lots of links, incl. the BBC affair, Burns allegations, Judge Walters' comments, and first-hand reports from the field that are consistently at odds with the media picture we're getting. You have to wonder: what else is the media unwilling to report?

  • Max Boot has written an excellent article recounting the key events of the Operation Iraqi Freedom and tying them into the new American Way of War. (Hat tip: Richard Heddleson).

Other Topics Include: Assassination attempt on GC member tries to put women in their place; Iraqi blog-fight over Najaf bombing; Crazy Lt. Col. or blessed?; Being gay in Iraq; U.N. maneuverings; France's imperial war; German reconciliation; Barone, Warren & Hanson; Lileks' double-barreled fisking; 'Fat Bastard' apparently added to Ba'ath Poker Deck; Support the Troops; SEND TOYS!

read the rest! »

September 21, 2003
Three U.S. Soldiers Killed in Iraq

[Fox News]

Three U.S. soldiers were killed in separate attacks in Iraq -- one by a roadside bomb, two others by a mortar attack, the military said.

The bomb blast occurred about 60 miles west of Baghdad. A 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment soldier was killed in the explosion while riding in his Humvee.

Also west of Baghdad, attackers fired two mortars on the Abu Ghraib prison at about 10 p.m. Saturday, killing two U.S. military police officers and injuring 13 others. Two mortars hit, the military said. It said no inmates were injured, but gave no further details.

The deaths brought to 303 the number of U.S. soldiers who have died in Iraq.

Full story...

Iraqi Politician Wounded in Assassination Attempt

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

There has been widespread condemnation of an attack against one of Iraq's most high-profile female politicians.

Akila Al Hashimi was shot four times not far from her Baghdad home.

Eyewitnesses say Akila Al Hashimi and three of her bodyguards were wounded when six men opened fire and then threw grenades at her vehicle.

Ms Al Hashimi is in a serious condition after undergoing emergency surgery.

[...]

Prior to joining the governing council, Ms Hashimi held a senior position in Iraq's foreign ministry under Saddam Hussein.

From the AP :

Saturday's attack came at 9 a.m., when gunmen fired a rocket-propelled grenade on al-Hashimi's car soon after she left her house in western Baghdad, members of her security detail said. The grenade missed, and the attackers opened fire with assault rifles.

Al-Hashimi, critically wounded in the abdomen, was rushed to the al-Yarmouk Hospital for surgery and was later moved in a convoy of American armored vehicles and military ambulances to the U.S. military hospital at Baghdad International Airport. Three of her bodyguards were also wounded.

There, she was reported in stable condition. "She is fine," said Haitham al-Husseini, an adviser to Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim.

Mortar Fire Kills Two, Bomb kills Third

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

Three US soldiers have been killed and a further 13 wounded in attacks in Iraq.

Seventy-nine US soldiers have now died due to hostile fire since major combat in Iraq was officially declared over on May 1.

A US military spokeswoman said two soldiers were killed and 13 wounded, all prison guards, when two mortar rounds struck the Abu Ghraib prison, west of Baghdad, on Saturday evening.

Abu Ghurib jail was a notorious prison under Saddam Hussein where many political prisoners were held.

It has been taken over by the US and they are holding there both security detainees and ordinary criminals.

No detainees were killed.

The third US soldier died in a roadside bomb attack in the town of Ramadi, west of the capital Baghdad, the US military says.

September 19, 2003
Big Explosions Shakes Downtown Baghdad

From AP:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- A big explosion rocked central Baghdad late Friday and a huge cloud of smoke was seen rising from the direction of Martyrs' Square, where the American military maintains a base.

The explosion shook the Palestine Hotel about 2 1/2 miles away from where it was believed to have occurred.

No other details were available.

Another Card Falls?

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

Former Iraqi defence minister Sultan Hashem Ahmad, one of the 55 most wanted officials of Saddam Hussein's ousted regime, has reportedly surrendered to US forces in the northern city of Mosul.

An official from the Iraqi Human Rights League (IHRL) has told a news conference Ahmad gave himself up in Mosul after US promises that he would be well treated.

"There was no political or material price" for his surrender and "his name will be struck off the list of 55," (IHRL's) Daoud Baghestani said, adding the operation was coordinated with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of Massoud Barzani.

The US military in Iraq was not immediately available for confirmation of the report.


UPDATE: Now being reported by the BBC, but it may be true nonetheless. From the Beeb's front page:
Saddam Hussein's former defence minister is taken into custody - but three more US soldiers die in an ambush.
Main story here.

Powell : We'll stay as long as it takes

From The Asian Wall Street Journal, via The Australian :

US Secretary of State Colin Powell said today that a visit to post-war Iraq has convinced him that Iraqis are embracing freedom and heading toward democracy, and pledged that U.S. forces would stay until the country is fully democratic.

"But it will take time and money to finish the job,'' Powell wrote in an opinion article published by The Asian Wall Street Journal. He cited "serious remaining problems'' in restoring the country's infrastructure, fighting its security threats and fostering a stable democracy.

US President George W. Bush has requested billions of dollars from Congress for Iraq efforts and his government is urging other nations to chip in.

Powell, in his statement, cited a conference next month in Madrid at which countries are expected to "pledge additional assistance for the Iraqi reconstruction.''

"Iraqis are on the road to democratic self-government,'' Powell wrote.

"We will stay as long as it takes to turn full responsibility for governing Iraq over to a capable and democratically elected Iraqi administration.''

"What I saw there convinced me, more than ever, that our liberation of Iraq was in the best interests of the Iraqi people, the American people, and the world,'' he said, adding that Iraqi's government council is taking its first step toward drawing up a democratic constitution.

September 18, 2003
U.S. Wants Israeli Military's Occupation Training Software

Tikrit = Ramallah? From MSNBC:

In an apparent search for pointers on how to police a hostile population, the U.S. military that's trying to bring security to Iraq is showing interest in Israeli software instructing soldiers on how to behave in the West Bank and Gaza, an Israeli military official said Thursday.

Iraqi War Plan Flawed, Says Al-Sahaf

You are not reading this!! From the Straits Times (Singapore):

Iraq's former information minister told an Arab television network that ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein made tactical mistakes in planning to fight the United States and had never considered going into exile to avert a war.

Mr Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, who won cult status during the US-led invasion of Iraq for hurling anti-American insults and outlandish claims of Iraqi victories, is expected to appear in four more episodes of the Abu Dhabi TV programme Al-Sahaf's War.

Appearing calm, he said Saddam was wrong to put military zones under the control of civilians, including his trusted aides and his son Qusai. He also insisted that 'chemical weapons and missiles were destroyed in the 1991 war'.

Posted By Alan at 06:25 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
Three U.S. Soldiers Killed in Iraq Ambush

From Reuters; here is the full story:

Iraqi guerrillas killed three U.S. soldiers and wounded two others in an ambush near Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit late on Thursday, a U.S. military spokesman said.

Lieutenant-Colonel William MacDonald said the three soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division were killed in small arms fire 8 km (5 miles) south of Tikrit when they were inspecting a suspected weapons site.

AP: No Evidence Iraq Stockpiled Smallpox

From the Kansas City Star / AP:

Top American scientists assigned to the weapons hunt in Iraq found no evidence Saddam Hussein's regime was making or stockpiling smallpox, The Associated Press has learned from senior military officers involved in the search.

Smallpox fears were part of the case the Bush administration used to build support for invading Iraq - and they were raised again as recently as last weekend by Vice President Dick Cheney.

But a three-month search by "Team Pox" turned up only signs to the contrary: disabled equipment that had been rendered harmless by U.N. inspectors, Iraqi scientists deemed credible who gave no indication they had worked with smallpox and a laboratory thought to be back in use that was covered in cobwebs.

Posted By Alan at 05:51 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack
Bush Reports No Evidence of Hussein Tie to 9/11

And now you know. From the NYT:

President Bush said today that he had seen no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, as the White House tried to correct an assertion that Vice President Dick Cheney left extremely murky on Sunday.

Mr. Cheney, on "Meet the Press" on NBC-TV, was asked about polls that showed that a majority of Americans believed that Mr. Hussein had been involved in the attacks.

"I think it's not surprising that people make that connection," said Mr. Cheney, who leads the hawkish wing of the Bush administration. Asked whether the connection existed, Mr. Cheney said, "We don't know."

He described Mr. Hussein's reported connections to Al Qaeda, connections that American intelligence analysts say were not very deep.

Mr. Bush, asked by a reporter today about that statement, said, "No, we've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th," a far more definitive statement than the vice president's.

Iraqi Minister Assembling Security Force

BAGHDAD, Sept. 17 -- Iraq's newly appointed interior minister is assembling a paramilitary force composed of former employees of the country's security services and members of political party militias to pursue resistance fighters who have eluded U.S. troops and Iraqi police officers, according to Iraqi officials.

In an acknowledgement that Iraq's municipal police departments are too weak to combat Baathist insurgents and foreign terrorists, leaders of the country's Governing Council want the force to include a domestic intelligence-gathering unit and be deputized with broad powers to conduct raids and interrogate suspects, the officials said. The force, as outlined by the officials, would be the most powerful security apparatus in Iraq and would give five political organizations headed by former opposition leaders an unrivaled role in the country's internal security.

Some independent members of the council, as well as diplomats in Iraq who have been informed of the plans to form the domestic paramilitary force, fear that it could be used as a tool by a future government to suppress political dissent or target enemies -- as similar forces have been used in many other Arab nations.

More from The Washington Post...
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Kate's Winds of War (Iraq): 2003-09-18

Welcome! Our goal at Winds of Change.NET is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by Venomous Kate of Electric Venom. This is just the Iraq-related excerpt. The full briefing, including coverage of Iran, Homeland Security, and the Wider War on Terror can be found at Winds of Change.NET today.

IRAQ BRIEFING

  • My fellow Winds of War host Andrew Olmsted has posted an excellent post-war Iraq lessons learned report from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. 3ACR has taken 17 casualties in Iraq, and their sector in the Sunni triangle is often featured in the news. Read this for insights you won't get from CNN.

  • A U.S. military interrogator in Iraq wants some of his prisoners released. Winds of Change.NET supports his efforts. Click here to find out why, and how you can help.

  • Is the "Flypaper strategy" merely revisionism among the political right designed to cover the fact that Rumsfeld's post-war strategy was an error? Some folks think so. Then again, perhaps there's another reason.

  • Pejman has a good round up of links that offer some background on the German "Werewolves" terrorists, 1945-47. Good parallels with Saddam's Baathists, except that post WW2 there was no opprtunity for Nazis in nearby countries to filter into Germany. So Iraq will be longer and more difficult.

  • More from the man who just won't go away: Blix now says that Iraq most likely possessed WMDs until 10 years ago, then destroyed them but pretended to have them to intimidate their enemies: "I mean, you can put up a sign on your door, 'Beware of the Dog,' without having a dog," he said from his home in Sweden. Blix offered no explanation for the numerous previous U.N. inspection reports which found evidence that Saddam had continued his weapons program until the mid-1990s.

  • The U.S. has announced plans to speed up the creation of an independent Iraqi army, with a projected total of 40,000 troops in the field by next year. According to U.S. officials, there are no plans for the Iraqi army to join in combat operations to rid Iraq of remaining regime elements.

  • Andrew Gilligan maintains that the substance of his claim that the British government '"sexed up" its dossier, while acknowledging "some mistakes" were made. How many? So many that it might not hurt to check if Andrew Gilligan is, indeed, his name.

  • Which "cards" have we captured so far? The CENTCOM list. And the visual version of "Ba'ath Poker."

  • The troops are still there. So is the Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops. American, British and Australian. Anyone out there with more information, incl. the Poles and Czechs? [updated August 19, 2003]

For the rest of today's global War on Terror briefing, read Kate's Winds of War today....
 

CONVOY ATTACK: 'EIGHT AMERICANS KILLED'

Sky News:

"US forces are reported to have taken heavy casualties in a series of attacks on an American convoy in the town of Khaldiyah, west of Baghdad.

One television report says eight Americans have been killed and one wounded.


Journalists said two US tanks surrounded a smouldering transport truck and helicopters hovered above.

Dubai-based Al-Arabiya television reported that eight Americans were killed and one wounded.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene could not get close enough to verify the casualty reports and was fired on by one of the tanks with three rounds from its 50-calibre machine gun.

It appeared the Americans were trying to protect themselves until reinforcements arrived.

The Americans were taking fire from unknown positions.

On Wednesday, about 18 miles to the east in Fallujah, locals said a 14-year-old boy was killed and six people wounded in a shooting incident.

It was said to have started after people at a wedding fired guns into the air to celebrate and a passing US military patrol opened fire, believing it was under attack. "


September 17, 2003
Scientist: Iraq Had No Nuclear Program After Gulf War

Read it all at VOA:

A senior official in Iraq's new science ministry says the country never revived its nuclear program after U.N. inspectors dismantled it in the 1990's.
Abbas Balasem, an official of the new U.S.-backed administration in Baghdad, said Tuesday Iraqi scientists had no way to re-start the program because the inspectors took away all the necessary resources.

The former chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix echoed those sentiments, telling Australian radio he believes Iraq destroyed almost all of the weapons of mass destruction it had in the summer of 1991 - a position Iraq constantly maintained.

The Cost

From The Australian :

A US soldier from the 101st Airborne Division, based in the northern region of Mosul, has died of gunshot wounds, the US army has said.

"On September 15 a soldier from the 101st Airborne Division died of non-hostile gunshot wounds," said spokeswoman Nicole Thompson.

She could not say where the incident took place nor give any further information on the circumstances of the soldier's death.

One hundred and seventeen members of the US military have died in non-combat related incidents to date since the start of the war to oust Saddam Hussein some six months ago, according to figures provided by the army.

Breaking: Saddam Speaks?

Fox:

An audio tape with a voice purporting to be that of deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein (search) surfaced Wednesday, calling for Iraqi men and women to step up the fight against Americans occupying Iraq.

"You mujahedeen (holy warriors), Iraqis and women, increase your attacks on your enemies," the voice said, as translated by The Associated Press.

The voice on the tape, aired by Arab satellite channel Al Arabiya (search), demands that the United States withdraw its forces from Iraq. There was no way independent verification of who was speaking.

"We call on you to withdraw your armies as soon as possible and without any conditions or restrictions, because there is no reason for you to suffer more losses, which will be disastrous for the Americans," the voice said, claiming the recording was made in "mid-September."

No comment.

U.S. Detains Alleged Westerners in Iraq

ABU GHRAIB, Iraq - Six people claiming to be Americans and two who say they are British are in U.S. custody on suspicion of involvement in attacks on coalition forces, an American general said Tuesday. They would be the first Westerners reported held in the insurrection against the U.S.-led occupation.

Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who is in charge of coalition detention centers in Iraq, said they were considered security detainees, meaning they were suspected of involvement in guerrilla attacks. She did not identify them but said they were being interrogated by military intelligence in Baghdad, where they were being held.

More from AP via Yahoo!...
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September 16, 2003
Releasing the Generals

I've long been a fan of Chief Wiggles, and now he's asking for our help. I'm asking my readers to consider his request, and pitch in. The Chief has become more and more frustrated by a situation he faces in Iraq, one that strikes me as both unwise and unjust.

During the war, many Iraqi commanders simply went home and melted back into the populace, dissolving their units. Some of them have since returned to organize attacks on Americans. Unless caught at that or killed, they remain home. Now contrast that with a set of brigadier generals and generals who surrendered honourably to American forces - 5 months later, they remained imprisoned indefinitely and separated from their families. Some unquestionably deserve it. Yet others were never Republican Guards, have committed no crimes against the Iraqi people, are not strongly connected with the Iraqi regime (to the satisfaction of their interrogators, incl. The Chief), and are willing to assist with a reconstruction task that is both urgent and difficult.

Their continued imprisonment makes no sense to The Chief, and no sense to me. It sends absolutely the wrong messages, and deprives the CPA of much-needed assistance in at least an intelligence capacity and very possibly more.

Here's how you can help. Please do.

September 15, 2003
Joe's Iraq Report: Sept 15/03

Welcome! Our goal at winds of Change.NET is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. The briefing is being split today - this post will focus on Iraq, while its counterpart handles The Wider War.

TOP TOPICS


Other Topics Today Include: Iraq's education & court systems; Much debate on the road ahead from left and right; Zogby poll of Iraqis; Salam Pax's thoughts; How 'Chemical Ali' escaped Baghdad; Which 'Baath Poker' cards have we got; How to support the troops.

read the rest! »
 
 

U.S. Troops Nab Alleged Saddam Loyalists

Some good news from Tikrit, via ABC (US), although the story leads with news of a 1AD soldier killed in Baghdad today:

Guerrillas killed a U.S. soldier in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in central Baghdad on Monday, and American forces arrested five men suspected of helping finance insurgents during raids on homes in Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit.

The 1st Armored Division soldier died of his wounds early Monday in a military field hospital, the military reported. He was the 156th U.S. soldier to die in Iraq since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1. In heavy fighting before that date 138 soldiers were killed.

In Tikrit, the pre-dawn raids targeted three homes next to a highway which has seen 20 rocket-propelled grenade attacks on the U.S. military in the past two weeks. In the most recent attack Saturday, a guerrilla in a taxi fired a rocket-propelled grenade at an American convoy in downtown Tikrit, killing an Iraqi bystander and injuring two people.

"These individuals are involved in financing Fedayeen activity and organizing cells of resistance against U.S. forces," said Maj. Bryan Luke of the Army's 4th Infantry Division. No shots were fired in the early morning raid.

The 3 a.m. raid also captured assault rifles, pieces of an RPG and ammunition.

September 14, 2003
Arab Rulers Leery of New Iraq Role Model

Not that it would come as any surprise, but it appears the rest of the unelected dictators in the Arab world aren’t so enthusiastic about a democratic peer in their midst. The AP has the story, reported here via the Guardian.

Insurgents Kill One U.S. Soldier, Wound Three in Iraq

From the San Fran. Chronicle / AP:

Insurgents killed one U.S. soldier and wounded three others Sunday outside the troubled city of Fallujah, a day after angry protesters fired weapons and called for violence against the American occupation to protest one of the most serious friendly fire incidents of the Iraq war.

Posted By Alan at 02:50 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack
Cheney Says U.S. Can Afford Iraq Spending

Seeee? Nothing to worry about. From MSNBC:

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday dismissed suggestions the United States could not afford the mounting costs of the war in Iraq but conceded the full price tag or duration of the operation was unknown.

Cheney, leading an administration defense of its Iraq policy in the face of growing public concern, said, ''The idea that we can't defend America ... is silly.''

He told NBC's ''Meet the Press'' program: ''The notion that the United States can't afford this or we shouldn't do it is I think seriously flawed.''

But he said he could not provide a final dollar figure for the cost of the war. He also said: ''How long will it take? I don't know. I can't say.''

Oh ... and:
Cheney said he believed weapons of mass destruction -- the primary justification given by the administration for the invasion -- would be found buried in Iraq.

Powell On FOX News Sunday

Colin Powell, who is in Baghdad, was briefly interviewed by FOX News Sunday today ... you can read the full transcript here. A sample:

Secretary Powell, what do you want out of a U.N. resolution?

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: We're looking for a U.N. resolution that would give a broader political mandate to the international efforts to help the Iraqi people. And through that broader political mandate, perhaps encourage other companies to — other countries to contribute troops to the 30 countries that have troops here now. And might encourage people to be forthcoming at the donors conference for Iraq that will be held in Madrid next month.

And to show a sign of encouragement to the Iraqi people that the international people is going to do everything it can to help the Iraqi people build a better country.

Posted By Alan at 02:39 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
September 12, 2003
India says no to Iraq force, too busy in Kashmir

From Reuters:

India cannot send soldiers to help U.S. forces in Iraq because it it too busy fighting Islamic rebels in Kashmir, a senior Indian defence official said on Friday.

"The ground situation in the northwest sector (Kashmir) is such that we cannot afford to send our military personnel at this point of time," he told Reuters. "But this is not a flat no."

The United States has asked for a division -- 15,000 to 20,000 soldiers -- to help its forces in Iraq.

Don't bother with the link; that's the full citation.

A Bloody Night In Iraq

Several incidents overnight (in North America)--first, two US GI's KIA, and second, US troops mistakenly killed a number of Iraqi police officers (the count ranges between 8 and 12 dead) in a seperate incident. ABC (US) has a roundup here.

Two U.S. soldiers were killed and seven wounded in a firefight during a raid, according to the U.S. military. In a separate incident in a nearby town, eight Fallujah policemen were killed and five other people were wounded early Friday in an apparently mistaken shootout with American forces, a doctor said.

The U.S. Army gave no other information on the incident, which took place during one of the bloodiest nights of fighting since the end of major conflict on May 1.

September 11, 2003
Dan's Winds of War: 9/11/03

Welcome! The war goes on - and so does our coverage of it at Winds of Change.NET. Today we remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001, even as vow to win the struggle ahead of us. Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused. Our 9/11/2003 "Winds of War" had to be led by our best - and that's Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis.

N.B. This excerpt is just the Iraq Briefing. Read the rest here, including reports on Iran, Homeland Security, and the Wider War.

9/11 SPECIALS

  • Dan Darling takes a look at al-Qaeda's key enablers and possible co-conspirators for September 11. Where are they now, after 2 years of the War on Terror?

  • In "9/11: Anniversaries and Remembrances" Winds of Change.NET gives you a complete roundup of the best 9/11-related materials we've found over the past 2 years.

IRAQ BRIEFING

  • A British firm has recruited hundreds of Fijian security guards to protect UN offices, VIPs, banks, and oilfields in Iraq.

  • Imam Sadreddine al-Qobanji, the former second-in-command to Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, is calling for peaceful resistance to US occupation in Iraq, which somehow equates to a return of the Badr Brigades, the military wing of SCIRI. As Michael Ubaldi notes, al-Qobanji isn't the only one taking advantage of the An Najaf bombing.

  • The US has successfully deployed the Tikrit Patrol, a US-trained Iraqi militia loyal to the Governing Council, which is now patroling the troubled city with American assistance.

  • While he was alive, Yusuf al-Ayyeri served as one of bin Laden's key loyalists in Saudi Arabia and the webmaster of the al-Qaeda website al-Neda (the Call). According to Amir Taheri, al-Ayyeri wrote a book before his death explaining to al-Qaeda's followers what a US victory in Iraq would mean for al-Qaeda's dreams of global domination. Surprising at it may seem, our enemies seem to understand these things far better than our own press.

  • The media isn't reporting this, but the US is doing quite well when it comes to occupation and control in Mosul, Iraq's third largest city.

  • The Washington Times reports that 12 VEVAK (Iranian intelligence) agents have been arrested with plans to stir up trouble in Baghdad.

  • Pierre-Richard Prosper, the US Ambassador-at-Large for Crimes, has told Kuwaiti authorities that the Iraqi officials who brought so much carnage to that nation during the Gulf War will be tried as war criminals.

  • In a rare display of common sense, the Arab League has agreed to allow the Iraqi Governing Council to assume Iraq's seat in the body, signifying a recognition on behalf of the Arab states of the new Iraqi government.

  • A suicide car bombing at the US intelligence base in Irbil has killed 3. Ansar al-Islam is the most likely culprit.

  • Denmark is sending 90 additional troops to Iraq to add to its initial force of 400. Meanwhile, the president of the Iraqi Governing Council is welcoming a Turkish offer to deploy 10,000 peacekeepers in Iraq.

  • Which "cards" have we captured so far? The CENTCOM list. And the visual version of "Ba'ath Poker."

  • The troops are still there. So is the Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops. American, British and Australian. Anyone out there with more information, incl. the Poles and Czechs? [updated August 19, 2003]
Don't forget to read the rest here >>
 
 

September 10, 2003
Senators Question Policy on Iraq

Not that the headline is a great surprise, but Wolfowitz was doing a pretty fast two-step in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday. Here's the story from the Baltimore Sun:

Lawmakers sharply questioned the Bush administration's strategy for postwar Iraq yesterday as top Pentagon and State Department officials said they are trying to draw more international forces and train Iraqis to assume responsibility for security.

"The problem is, the war isn't over," Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz told the Senate Armed Services Committee, quickly noting that President Bush had declared in May only that major combat had ended. "We are taking direct action against terrorists in the Iraqi theater."

Another US Soldier Killed In Baghdad

Hi folks ... I'm in the middle of a three-week travel swing and my posting opportunities are light, so thanks to the rest of the contributors for their efforts. Another bomb-related US KIA in Iraq today ... here's the story from KVOA:

A U.S. soldier has died while trying to detonate a roadside bomb in Baghdad. It's the second death of a U.S. soldier in Iraq in as many days.

The U.S. military says the soldier killed today was with the First Armored Division. He was part of an explosive ordnance detonating team that had tried to blow up the bomb by shooting it with a 50-caliber machine gun.

The bomb didn't explode initially, but blew up as the soldier went to inspect it.

September 09, 2003
Guard, Reserves to See 12 Months in Iraq

WASHINGTON - The Army is telling National Guard and Reserve troops in Iraq they will be there a full 12 months, apparently surprising some who had believed the clock started ticking on one-year tours once they reached mobilization stations in the United States.

Counting time they spent getting ready before they went and to demobilize after their tours, many reservists now in Iraq probably will find themselves on active duty and away from their civilian jobs for well over a year, officials said Tuesday.

An Army spokesman, Lt. Col. Tom Rheinlander, said this does not represent a change in policy, even if some National Guard and Reserve soldiers had thought their active duty would end after a 12-month period that included the weeks or months they spent getting ready to go to Iraq.

More from AP via Yahoo!...
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Car bomb kills 2 in northern Iraq

A car bomb near a building used by U.S. troops in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil killed two Iraqis and wounded several others Tuesday night, CNN Turk reported.

The explosion occurred about 9:45 p.m. (1:45 p.m. EDT) in Erbil, in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq. At least 11 people, including three children, were injured in the blast, the network reported.

There was no immediate comment on the explosion about 200 miles north of Baghdad from U.S. or Kurdish authorities.

More from CNN...
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September 08, 2003
Saboteurs blow up Iraq pipeline

SABOTEURS set off an explosion today at a pipeline linking two oil fields in northern Iraq, a civil defence official in the petroleum centre of Kirkuk reported.

Commander Saleh Mohammad called the blast, which erupted near an electric power plant 15km south of Kirkuk, an act of "sabotage".

He said it hit a pipeline connecting the Janbur and Kirkuk oil fields. There was no immediate word on the extent of the damage.

More from News.com...
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September 07, 2003
U.S. forces capture Saddam loyalist

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- U.S. forces have captured a Saddam loyalist suspected of carrying out attacks against coalition troops at a children's hospital near Baghdad, U.S. Central Command said Sunday.

Acting on a tip from a local source, a unit from the 4th Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team conducted a raid Saturday in Ba'qubah to capture the person.

He is suspected of conducting a grenade attack at the Ba'qubah Children's Hospital in August that killed three soldiers, Central Command said.

More from CNN...
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U.S. soldiers find weapons cache in Tikrit; military notes change in ground strategy by insurgents

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- U.S. forces around Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit have uncovered a cache of weapons and ammunition hidden in a row of bunkers residents dubbed the "RPG shopping center," the military said Sunday.

The discovery Saturday included wire-guided surface-to-surface Sager missiles, 315 rocket-propelled grenades and 62 mortar shells, said Maj. Josslyn Aberle, a spokeswoman. [...]

Coalition forces are increasingly being attacked from a distance by mortars and remote-controlled homemade bombs, a possible change in strategy by anti-American insurgents, said military spokesman Lt. Col. George Krivo.

"It's certainly seemed to us from just looking at the evidence that there is a change in tactics on the ground," he said.

More from NJ.com...
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Iraq missile attack on US plane

A US military plane taking off from Baghdad airport came under attack from two surface-to-air missiles, it has emerged.

The heat-seeking missiles had no chance of hitting the transport plane, which was flying at an altitude of 4,000 metres (14,000 feet) at the time, said British military officials.

The incident, in the early hours of Saturday, came just hours before American Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld left the airport at the end of a three-day visit to Iraq.

More from the BBC...
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September 06, 2003
More UK Troops For Iraq

Updating a previous post comes this report from the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

Britain's defence ministry has announced an additional 120 troops would be sent to Iraq this weekend to beef up its military contingent in the country.

"One hundred and twenty troops from the Second Light Infantry will be sent this weekend - they are currently based in Cyprus," a ministry spokesman said.

The decision could mark the start of an even greater reinforcement of Britain's military force in Iraq, which currently numbers 10,500 troops and is based mainly in the south of the country.

British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon has ordered a review of the troop levels required to support British operations in the country amid persistent attacks against US and British occupation forces.

"The review is ongoing, the results of that are expected early next week," the spokesman said.

September 05, 2003
Three Hurt in Shooting at Baghdad Mosque

AP via Yahoo:

Three gunmen sprayed bullets at worshipers at the end of dawn prayers Friday, wounding three people, the cleric at a Sunni mosque in northeast Baghdad said.

Walid al-Azari said the gunmen got out of a pickup truck near the Quiba mosque and opened fire with Kalashnikov rifles at about 4:30 a.m.

"They wanted to harm the unity of Islam," al-Azari said.


More...

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Iraqi Teenager reported Slain in Crossfire

From the AFP via The Australian :

A 13-year-old youth, Omar Saad Jassem, was accidentally killed late yesterday after US troops opened fire and missed their target, his father told AFP today.

"At 2145 (0345 AEST) an American unit was chasing and opening fire on an individual who was riding a motorbike, and fatally wounded Omar who was nearby," the boy's father Saad Jassem said.

The adolescent was ferried from Baquba, north-east of Baghdad, by a US helicopter to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

September 04, 2003
U.S. Repels Attack, Seizes Bomb Suspects in Tikrit

Reuters:

TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. troops battled Iraqi guerrillas who fired mortars near their base, then raided homes to detain suspected bomb-makers in a night of drama around Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit.

There were no American casualties, but U.S. commanders said at least one Iraqi may have died in the fighting witnessed by a Reuters crew accompanying the military.

"It's been a good night. We've responded fast and effectively to an attack, then we've found these bomb-makers who were producing explosives used against our troops," Colonel James Hickey, a senior commander in the area, told Reuters outside the houses raided in the early hours of Thursday.


More...

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One Bad Apple

From Salam Pax's blog, detailing a US Raid on "Chez Pax" based on duff gen. :

While my family is waiting outside something strange happens, one of the soldiers comes out, empties his flask in the garden and start telling the medic to give him his, the medic shoos him away. They all think that the soldier is filling his flask with cold water from the cooler. Later it turns out that he emptied my father's bottle of Johnny Walker's into his flask and was probably trying to convince the medic to give him his to empty another bottle. Weird shit.
A Humble Suggestion to the Pentagon: Find out who this thief was, and get him to buy a crate, repeat a crate, of Glenlivet or similar single-malt in the way of restitution. Plus get his CO to make a formal written apology. More effective than administrative punishment, more just than a Court Martial (remember these guys are being shot at, cut some slack), and reasonable restitution that might do a lot to win some "hearts and minds". And not just in Iraq.
At least that's how the Aussies would handle it. His NCO and squaddies (who'd have to donate to the kitty to pay for the hooch) would ensure no repetition by this Asshole.

Jack Straw: "Send 5000 More Troops"

From the Telegraph, via the BBC comes a report of leaked confidential notes from UK Foreign Minister Jack Straw to Prime Minister Tony Blair:

In the leaked notes, Mr Straw said failure to send more troops could lead to a "strategic failure" in efforts to maintain security in Iraq, with the situation "deteriorating", said the Telegraph.

The newspaper said the notes were marked "confidential" and recorded Mr Straw suggesting 5,000 more troops should be sent to Iraq to counter attacks on British and American troops and bomb blasts.

Mr Straw reportedly said: "[The] lack of political progress in solving the linked problems of security, infrastructure and the political process are undermining the consent of the Iraqi people to the coalition presence and providing fertile ground for extremists and terrorists."

He said there would need to be progress by the start of Ramadan on 27 October, the newspaper said.

The foreign secretary also reportedly referred to the coalition's failure to restore some area's of Iraq infrastructure.

"Electricity generation still around 25% below war levels, and transmission undermined by looting and sabotage," he is reported to have said.

Because it's the BBC, I've checked the Telegraph site. The story requires registration, but it's there.

Hat-Tip to reader Max

Dan's Iraq Briefing: Sept 4/03

The Winds of War feature over at Winds of Change.NET is designed to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday.

Today we ended up with 2 briefings - so Kate's Winds of War is at Winds of Change.NET, and the other is here. Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis captains our Command Post Iraq Briefing; also Dan's Iran Reports, and Dan's War Roundup.

TOP TOPIC

IRAQ BRIEFING

For the full Winds of War Briefing, see Kate's Winds of War today!
 

September 03, 2003
New U.N. Resolution in the Works

From CNN:


"The White House will circulate a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution as early as Wednesday calling for a multinational force for Iraq and strengthening the U.N. role in the country's reconstruction, Bush administration officials said.
...
Officials said President Bush signed off on the proposal for a new resolution Tuesday afternoon after a meeting with Secretary of State Colin Powell. (Full story)

An administration official said the council has reached consensus on the 'building blocks' of the resolution. The resolution would create a multinational force under U.S. command and a greater role for the United Nations in the political reconstruction of the country, such as helping the Iraqis draft a constitution and move toward elections."

Still not much detail on what, exactly, the resolution says. Inquiring minds are dying to know...

U.S. Marines formally handover control of south central Iraq to Poles

NJ.com

BABYLON, Iraq (AP) -- The top U.S. commander in Iraq on Wednesday symbolically marked the transfer of control over the south-central part of the country to an international force led by Poland, hailing the handover as a sign of the international community's commitment to Iraq.

In Baghdad, the interim Governing Council swore in members of the newly appointed 25-member Cabinet that will begin taking over many of the day-to-day duties of governing the country from the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority.

While military control was ceremoniously passed to the Poles, the handover of the holy city of Najaf was delayed at least two weeks after the car bombing Friday outside the Imam Ali shrine that killed between 85 and 125 people, including leading Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim.


More....

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New Iraqi Cabinet Formed

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

The 24 men and one woman who will act as ministers in an interim government, until elections are held in Iraq, have been sworn in at a ceremony in Baghdad.

"I swear by almighty Allah to do my utmost to serve and protect Iraq, its people, land and sovereignty, and Allah is my witness," each minister said in turn, as they placed their hand on a copy of the Koran, the Muslim holy book.

The new cabinet, unveiled Monday, is divided up among the country's various communities, with 13 ministries going to Shiite Muslims, five to Sunni Muslims, five to Kurds, one to the Turkmenis and one to the Christians.

The Christian cabinet member held a copy of the Bible as he was sworn in.

Governing Council member Ibrahim Jafari said several members of the cabinet were not able to attend the ceremony for "technical reasons" and were due to be sworn in later.

Paul Bremer, the top US official in Iraq, attended the event in Baghdad's convention centre.

The new cabinet will report to the Governing Council, approved in July by the US-led coalition that ousted Saddam Hussein in April.

Each ministry will also continue to be supervised by a coalition-appointed adviser, most of whom are American.

Paul Bremer will retain overall authority until an elected government is in place, a move scheduled for next year at the earliest.

Many countries around the world have hailed the new cabinet as a positive step towards Iraq regaining its sovereignty.

Pope Condemns Mosque Bombing

From The Australian :

Pope John Paul II, expressing deep sorrow for the deaths of a Muslim cleric and scores of faithful in the attack last week on a mosque in Iraq, has appealed to followers of all religions to work together for peace and justice.

Vatican Radio, in news on its Web site Wednesday, said the pontiff was deeply saddened by the "acts of violence that continue to reap victims and cause injuries in Iraq."

John Paul was "particularly pained by the recent attack on Najaf's mosque which caused the death of a well-known religious leader and of many faithful."
...
Vatican Radio said the pontiff offered "fervent prayers for all those struck by these acts of terrorism."

John Paul in his message condemns "all forms of violence and bloodshed, renewing his appeal to followers of the religions of the entire world and to persons of good will so that they will reject every kind of aggression and will work together to enter into an era of peace of justice in which there is no space for these offenses against human life and dignity."

4 Injured by Improvised Bomb

From The Australian :

Four US soldiers were wounded when their convoy struck an improvised explosive device (IED) near Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit, an army spokeswoman said today.

She added that the four injured were in stable condition and that two army Humvee vehicles were damaged in the attack that occurred Tuesday afternoon near Tikrit, some 175 kilometres (110 miles) north of Baghdad.

The soldiers were from the US army's 4th Infantry Division, which is based in Tikrit.

Life Imitates "Command and Conquer"

The U.S. Army has been experimenting with a mini factory that ships in containers, and can build spare parts near the battlefield.

"MPH is a 30,000-plus pound manufacturing center capable of producing more than 150 parts on the battlefield, including plastics, rubbers, metals and ceramics.... Officials expect to build a variety of machine and metallic elements for military vehicles, ranging from humvees and Bradley tanks to generator sets and trailers."
One of these is on its way to Kuwait. Winds of Change.NET offers further details, and talks about what the MPH may mean in Iraq and in the longer term.
 

September 02, 2003
Four weeks, Four bombs, 121 Dead

[CNN]

The fourth car bombing in Iraq in a month killed a police station employee Tuesday, wounded at least 18 other people, and sent a column of thick black smoke rising over the Rasafa police station in western Baghdad.

The attack occurred as Shiite Muslims gathered in Najaf, to mourn the death of Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, a longtime Iraqi dissident, who was among the 83 people killed in Friday's bombing of the Imam Ali Mosque.

At least 121 people have died in the four assaults, each of which has targeted people cooperating with the U.S.-backed Coalition Provisional Authority: In addition to the bombings at the Baghdad police station and the Najaf mosque, 17 people were killed in the August 7 bombing at the Jordanian embassy. The August 19 attack on the United Nations' Canal Hotel headquarters killed 20 people, including Sergio Vieira de Mello, the U.N.'s top envoy to Iraq.

Full story...

Bomb kills 2 U.S. soldiers in Baghdad

[CNN]

Two U.S. military police officers have died and another was wounded after their Humvee hit a bomb along a highway in southern Baghdad, the Coalition Press Information Center said Tuesday.

The members of the 220th Military Police Brigade were traveling along a main supply route at 3:19 p.m. Monday when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device.

The wounded officer was evacuated to a field hospital for treatment.

Full story...

September 01, 2003
Tape Said To Be From Saddam Denies Najaf Bomb Link

From MSNBC:

Arabic television channel Al Jazeera aired on Monday an audio tape purportedly from ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in which he denied he or his followers were involved in last week's car bombing in Najaf.

''The infidel invaders are accusing, without proof, the followers of Saddam Hussein after the killing of Shi'ite leader Hakim,'' the voice on the tape said. ''This is not what Saddam attributes to himself.''
Hmmm ...

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