The Command Post
August 31, 2005
500 Die In Baghdad Stampede

Reuters reports up to 500 people died when a crowd of Iraqi Shi'ites stampeded off a bridge over the Tigris river in Baghdad on Wednesday, fleeing rumors of a suicide bombing threat:

“So far we have 500 dead,” Jalil Al-Shumari, the deputy minister, told Reuters.

The crowd, on its way to the Kadhimiya mosque for an important religious ceremony, panicked as rumors spread that a suicide bomber was preparing to blow himself up.

Earlier at least seven people died in three separate mortar attacks on the crowd.

August 30, 2005
U.S. Aircraft Destroy Terrorist Hideouts Near Iraq's Syrian Border

Bloomberg reports that suspected al-Qaeda fighters were killed in western Iraq today when precision guided bombs destroyed three terrorist hideouts in two cities near the Syrian border:

Four bombs were dropped on a house “occupied by terrorists” outside the city of Husaybah in the first strike, the military said in a statement e-mailed from the capital, Baghdad. Then at 6:20 a.m. local time two bombs were dropped on a second house, killing a man identified as “Abu Islam, a known terrorist” and several others, the military said.

At about 8:30 a.m. another attack was conducted, this time on a house in the city of Karabilah, six kilometers south east of Husaybah, where some of Islam's followers are believed to have fled, the military said. Several terrorists were killed, according to the statement.

From California Yankee.

August 26, 2005
Al-Sadr Gaining Support

The Washington Times reports that firebrand Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is gaining support among Iraqi youth, raising fears he could eventually unify Shi'ites and Sunnis against American forces.

Followers of al-Sadr have been engaged in two days of violent clashes with the rival Iranian-trained Badr Brigades in the holy city of Najaf:

Fighting between the Mahdi militia and the Badr Brigades — the military wing of the leading Shi'ite political party, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) — began after Sheik al-Sadr's followers tried Wednesday to reopen an office in Najaf.

Armed men moved to stop them, setting the office on fire and killing four al-Sadr followers. The Mahdi militia blamed the Badr Brigade and retaliated by attacking SCIRI offices in several southern cities.

According to the Washington Times, the clashes reveal a struggle for influence among the Shi'ites of south and central Iraq, with Sheik al-Sadr emerging as a liberating figure for many angry and alienated youth. But he also is attracting support from Sunni militants not connected with the religiously driven followers of Jordanian-born militant Abu Musab Zarqawi.

Babak Rahimi, a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, said he was taken aback by the dedicated following accumulated by the young cleric over the past two years:

“This is an anti-American resistance movement, and he will eventually exploit this, he will eventually merge with the Sunni insurgents,” Mr. Rahimi predicted. “This would prompt a stronger force against American troops in Iraq and he will have a lot more followers,” he said.

From California Yankee.

August 25, 2005
Italians Hid Iraqi Insurgents

Italy hid four Iraqi insurgents from U.S. forces and had them treated by the Red Cross in exchange for the freedom of two Italian aid workers kidnaped last year in Baghdad.

According to the Associated Press, in exchange for the release of Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, who were abducted on Sept. 7 and freed Sept. 28,

“The mediators asked us to save the lives of four alleged terrorists wanted by the Americans who were wounded in combat,” Scelli was quoted as saying. “We hid them and brought them to Red Cross doctors, who operated on them.”

They took the wounded insurgents to a Baghdad hospital in a jeep and in an ambulance, smuggling them through two U.S. checkpoints by hiding them under blankets and boxes of medicine, Scelli reportedly said.

Also as part of the deal, four Iraqi children suffering from leukemia were brought to Italy for treatment, he said.

From California Yankee.

August 23, 2005
President Says "Stay The Course"

From BBC News:

President George W Bush has restated his policy that the US will “stay the course” in Iraq as he interrupted his holiday to address war veterans.

Mr Bush said a “policy of retreat and isolation” would not make the US safer.

His remarks in Salt Lake City are the first of two speeches on the war this week and come with anti-war protesters still camped outside his Texas ranch.

The US anti-war movement has been reinvigorated by Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a US soldier killed in Iraq.

Read the rest of the story here.

August 20, 2005
Iran Arming Iraqi Insurgents

The Washington Times reports that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld says Iran is arming Iraqi insurgents:

“I see intelligence reports and we know that we're finding Iranian weapons inside the country,” Mr. Rumsfeld told reporters on his way to visit Paraguay earlier this week. “They don't just get there by accident. They don't fly there.

“And we know that Iran has a system of government it would like to replicate in Iraq. And we know the system of government they have with a handful of clerics running the place and telling everyone what to do is fundamentally inconsistent with the kind of a constitution that's currently being drafted in Iraq,” he said.

Time magazine reports that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has established a network of insurgents headed by Abu Mustafa al-Sheibani with the express purpose of committing violence against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. According to a U.S. military-intelligence document obtained by Time, the U.S. believes al-Sheibani's team consists of 280 members, divided into 17 bombmaking teams and death squads. The U.S. believes they train in Lebanon, in Baghdad's predominantly Shi'ite Sadr City district and “in another country” and have detonated at least 37 bombs against U.S. forces this year in Baghdad alone.

From California Yankee.

August 19, 2005
Sunnis, Shiites Protest Constitution
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Sunni Arabs and followers of a radical Shiite cleric held protests Friday against federal provisions in Iraq's proposed constitution, as negotiators sought to reach agreement on the charter by next week's deadline.

Sunni Arab negotiators are holding out against Shiite and Kurdish proposals for a federal structure for Iraq, saying such proposals would divide the country.

The Sunnis want a strong central government.

On Thursday, masked gunmen burst into the Sunni grand mosque in the tense city of Ramadi as religious, political, and tribal leaders met to discuss possible Sunni participation in the constitutional process.

The gunmen asked participants to end their meeting and then opened fire on them, said Omar Seri, secretary of the governor of Anbar province.

Three members of the Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars and a bodyguard were injured, Seri said.

Source: Fox News

August 09, 2005
Understanding IED Tactics & Methods

Gloabl Guerillas describes the IED “marketplace” in Iraq, including the roles various specialists play and some of the common tactics and methods. Read and it your ability to discuss the IED threat, how it really works, and options to counter it will improve substantially.

Winds ran a recent lessons learned article about these roadside bombs, which may interest you. Dan Darling also noted that some of that marketplace consists of foreign imports, via Iran and/or Hezbollah.

August 08, 2005
Winds Iraq Report: Aug. 8/05

Welcome! Our goal at Winds of Change.NET 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. This briefing is brought to you by Joel Gaines of No Pundit Intended and Andrew Olmsted of Andrew Olmsted dot com.


  • Iraqi political leaders met Sunday in an attempt to break the deadlock over the new Iraqi constitution. The National Assembly is supposed to approve the document on 15 August, meaning the deadline is fast approaching and there may be a great deal of wheeling and dealing to get a final document in place.
  • Insurgents gained possibly their largest propaganda victory of the war with the destruction of a Marine AAV that killed 14 Marines alongside the deaths of six other Marines all from one Ohio town. The insurgency is using larger bombs as IEDs now, resulting in significantly great risk to forces travelling throughout Iraq. Dan Darling reports that the shaped IED are coming from Iran.

Other Topics Today Include: Monday and God's Will; U.S. troop withdrawal thoughts; Reconstruction highlights; Women's rights and the Iraqi constitutions; Carnival of the Liberated; Saddam's trial approaches; Rice says the insurgency is losing strength.

Read the Rest…

August 01, 2005
Good News from Iraq: 01 August 05

Note: As always, also available from “The Opinion Journal” and Chrenkoff. Thank you all - your support is what's making this project so personally worthwhile.

Monsignor Rabban al Qas, Chaldean bishop of Amadiyah and Arbil, was recently asked by a foreign interviewer whether there is any good news coming out of Iraq: “Twenty-three Iraqis are killed every day in Iraq. Nearly two years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, there is no security as yet. Is there still hope in Iraq?” To which Monsignor al Qas replied:

What the media portray is true: explosions, killings, attacks. But if you see how much order, discipline, transport, displacements, and work have improved, there is a change for the better compared to one or two years ago. Now people understand there is a government, the structure of a new state. Thousands and thousands of allied and Iraqi soldiers are present. There is a constitution which is being drawn up, laws are being enacted.

The presence of authority is recognised. This was not the case before. And Al-Qaeda integralists and terrorists coming from abroad seek to penetrate Iraq precisely to destroy the beginnings of this social organization.

A war for the future of Iraq is going on, no doubt about it, but not all of that war is being fought with guns and explosives. Terrorists and insurgents might be killing both soldier and civilians and sabotaging infrastructure, and the Iraqi and the Coalition security forces might in turn be hunting down the enemies of the new Iraq, but every step towards self-government, every new job created, every new school opened are a small victory against those who would want to turn Iraq's clock back three or 1300 years. Below are some of these stories that often get lost in the fog and smoke of war.

Winds Iraq Report: Aug 1/05

Welcome! Our goal at Winds of Change.NET 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. Joel Gaines and Andrew Olmsted are taking vacations with their families, so Joe Katzman is filling in for today's report. Been a while since I did one of these…


  • Mudville Gazette takes a long, hard look at press coverage in Iraq. Interesting to hear some reporters saying the military officers who stay in the Green Zone have no idea what's going on in Iraq. Take that argument to its logical conclusion, boys, as you sit in the hotels….

Other Topics Today Include: Targeting Michael Yon; Counter-guerilla cascades; Iraqi unemployment, economic growth; Reconstruction highlights; The constitution; Zakaria on talks with Ba'athists; Does al-Sadr own the Basra police?; Iraq & Syria; Did Iran win?; Algeria & Algeria; Changes in British debate; JAG promotion questioned; Strategy review; PA's idiot LtG; Over There underwhelms; Support the Troops.

Read the Rest…

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