Friday, June 09, 2006
DAILY WAR NEWS FOR FRIDAY, JUNE 9, 2006
Iraqi woman and her children sit in the shade of closed shops in
Baghdad after the war-torn capital was placed under curfew to enhance
security in the wake of two bombings that followed news that Al-Qaeda
militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been killed.(AFP/Karim Sahib)Bring 'em On
Four contractors working for Army Corps of Engineers killed by roadside
bomb The Huntsville, AL center where they were based operates the
Coalition Munitions Clearing Program that is responsible for receiving,
transporting, segregating and destroying captured or any other
munitions posing a danger in Iraq, according to a Corps of Engineers
news release.Bring 'em On
Second Lt. John Shaw Vaughan, 23, of Battle Mountain, Alaska, assigned
to the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, killed in action in Mosul.Bring 'em On
The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who
were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died in Ar Ramadi, Iraq,
on June 7, when an improvised explosive device detonated near their
HMMWV during combat operations. Both soldiers were assigned to the 2nd
Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, Baumholder, Germany. Killed were 1st
Lt. Scott M. Love, 32, of Knoxville, Tenn., and Pfc. David N. Crombie,
19, of Winnemucca, Nev.SECURITY INCIDENTSThree Fijian security guards working for ArmourGroup killed by roadside bomb attack
.Gunmen kidnap Muthana al-Badri, Director General of Iraq's State Company for Oil Projects (SCOP, as he left work on Thursday
.Reuters also has
AFP has these additional incidents
shot dead Zuhair Muhammad Kashmola, brother of the governor of Mosul
province, in the city of Mosul 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad,
police sources said.
- Gunmen attacked two civilian trucks
carrying construction materials for the U.S. base in Ramadi and
abducted the drivers, said police lieutenant Rahman Al-Dulaimi in the
town 100 km (60 miles) west of Baghdad. The trucks were destroyed in
the attack, he added.
- Gunmen shot dead one civilian in central Falluja, 50 km (30 miles) west of Baghdad, police and witnesses said.
Australian mercenary killed by roadside bomb 300 km north of Baghdad
petroleum engineers were killed when gunmen attacked their car on the
road between the refinery town of Baiji and the northern city of
Tikrit, police said Friday.
- In Kirkuk, gunmen attacked security staff guarding an oil pipeline, killing one civilian and wounding three of the guards.
- In Mosul, a policeman was killed and two others wounded when a roadside bomb targeting their patrol exploded.
Friday police in Baghdad found five corpses, including one of a woman.
The four men were shot to death, while the woman was strangled, police
- Also in Baghdad four civilians and two police commandos were wounded in separate roadside bombings.
this story says the Australian govt. has warned citizens against
accepting work in Iraq, but that mercenaries can make $6,000 Australian
dollars a day.OTHER NEWSZarqawi said to be alive when Iraqi forces arrived on scene of U.S. air strike
, died shortly afterwards.
This seems to be the major news of the day as far as most news services
are concerned, but it doesn't strike me as important. -- CMaliki bans all vehicle traffic in Baghdad and Baqouba during mid-day hours
.Iraqi government officials express optimism following slaying of Zarqawi, U.S. military spokespeople are more restrained
.Juan Cole provides summary in English of al-Hayat report
says that successors to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi are vowing to fight on.
One report disputed that Abd al-Rahman al-`Iraqi was killed along with
him, and said he was organizing for reprisals. Another report, from the
US military, suggested that he had an Egyptian successor. Al-Zaman
adds, that sources close to the Sunni Arab resistance movements, among
the the (neo-Baathist) Army of Islam and the Brigads of the 1920
Revolution and the Army of Mujahidin said that Zarqawi's organization,
which had announced open war on the Shiites of Iraq, had distorted the
motives of the Resistance and harmed its potiential. They consider him
a martyr, but differ with him in their interpretation (ijtihad) of
Islam. One big problem for the guerrilla movement has been that it has
largely been ethnic Sunni Arabs, and Zarqawi's tactics made pan-Islamic
alliances difficult. The resistance movements appear to hope that with
him out of the way, a Sunni-Shiite joint resistance to US presence
might become more plausible. Al-Hayat says that they pledged "to
intensify their operations during the coming phase against the American
forces, as a way of demonstrating the true weight of al-Qaeda." (I.e.,
the indigenous Iraqi movements are saying that Zarqawi's group is not
that important, and they will show who has really been doing the
Reactions in Anbar province to slaying of Zarqawi are varied. Some are skeptical of the official story. Excerpt:
By Fadel el-Badrani Jun 9, 2006Read in FullCOMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
residents of Iraq's eastern Anbar province have expressed mixed
reactions to the killing of Abu Musab al- Zarqawi, ranging from
optimism to disbelief to bereavement. A common thread however was a
distrust of the US-led occupation forces.
Tareq Ramy, a 50-year-old
cleric, said that following al-Zarqawi's death, he has become
'optimistic regarding improved security conditions throughout the
country, although I believe that the killing of innocent civilians in
Iraq's cities is a product of the US occupation of Iraq.'
US military had previously blamed al-Zarqawi for any and all acts of
violence targeting their forces and civilians, now with al- Zarqawi
dead all these accusations levelled against him have died along with
him,' said Ramy.
Thirty-year-old professor Ahmad Yassin said
'the martyrdom of the jihadist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi represents a grave
loss for both the Arab and Islamic Worlds. We lost a great man who died
defending the Islamic civilization from Zionist imperialism. I don't
think this man can be replaced.'
Khaled al-Duleimi, a
42-year-old commercial trader, expressed disbelief over the hooplah
surrounding al-Zarqawi's operations and death. A resident of Ramadi,
110 kilometres west of Baghdad, al-Duleimi said 'the US military has
attempted to create a single imaginary foe/scapegoat out of al-Zarqawi
for all the sectarian and ethnic violence taking place in Iraq.'
timing of al-Zarqawi's death has been orchestrated to coincide with the
appointments of the ministers of defence, interior, and national
security,' al-Duleimi said. 'The death of al-Zarqawi at this specific
point of time is an American fabrication.' 'The US military has also
lied regarding al-Zarqawi and his associates use of Anbar province,
which comprises one-third of the area of Iraq, as a hideout and theatre
for his operations' concluded the trader.
a 38-year-old trader, was skeptical about the circumstances of
al-Zarqawi's death. 'I don't believe that al-Zarqawi was killed in the
al-Anbar province, as there is such a high concentration of US forces
in this area.' 'He was probably killed in Baghdad or near it. I expect
that al- Zarqawi's associates are preparing themselves for a series of
violent retaliation attacks against US forces so as to avenge his
Death of Zarqawi may strengthen the nationalist Sunni resistance. Excerpt:
By Fredrik Dahl BAGHDAD, June 9 (Reuters) - The death of Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi, head of al Qaeda in Iraq, may boost other groups drawing
support from the once-dominant Sunni Arab minority, including Saddam
Hussein loyalists with more nationalistic aims. While equally opposed
to the U.S. occupation and Iraq's Shi'ite-led government, their tactics
are believed to be different from those of Zarqawi, who was notorious
for beheading captives and killing hundreds of people in suicide
bombings.Read in Full
"The other insurgent groups ... may become more
powerful and benefit from the weakness of al Qaeda," said Professor
Hazim al-Nuaimy of Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. Al Qaeda's
leader in Iraq, who had a $25 million U.S. bounty on his head, was
killed in an American air strike on Wednesday night in a village north
of Baghdad. Sunni Arab militants loyal to Zarqawi were blamed for major
bombings against Shi'ite targets in Iraq which sought to draw the
majority Shi'ite community into a sectarian civil war. "Zarqawi's death
may change the methods of the insurgents," Nuaimy added, predicting
less attacks against civilians. "It may not be as brutal ... these
other groups focus more on targeting U.S forces."
U.S. and Iraqi
officials hope that relatively moderate elements in the insurgency may
eventually be lured into the U.S.-backed political process, pointing to
Sunni participation in a unity government formed last month. New Prime
Minister Nuri al-Maliki said after he took office last month at the
helm of a grand coalition of Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds that his
government would offer dialogue to insurgents who lay down weapons. But
the no-nonsense Shi'ite Islamist has rejected any role for militants
with "Iraqi blood on their hands", including followers of Zarqawi, who
had declared war on majority Shi'ites. Maliki may soften his position,
however, if leaders of other guerrilla groups show flexibility.
most powerful insurgents are former officers in Saddam's army and
intelligence network, people with years of military experience who had
formed alliances of convenience with al Qaeda but were alienated by
Zarqawi's brutal methods. Al Qaeda militants from across the Arab world
make up only about five percent of the insurgency, U.S. officials say,
but their spectacular suicide bombings kill the most people. "If they
(the U.S. military) succeed in eradicating al Qaeda in Iraq it would
strengthen the main strand of the insurgency, which is nationalist in
orientation," said Joost Hiltermann, of the International Crisis Group
think tank. But, he cautioned, if that strategy failed, Zarqawi's
followers could re-emerge as a strong threat.
A recent ICG
report described al Qaeda as one among a handful of "particularly
powerful groups" in the uprising that erupted after U.S. forces invaded
to overthrow Saddam in 2003. It is fuelled in part by perceived
grievances among Sunnis, who make up roughly 20 percent of Iraq's 26
million population, that they are being marginalised in post-Saddam
Iraq. Key to defusing the violence would be to revise a new
constitution, which Sunnis fear will deprive them of oil revenue from
Shi'ite and Kurd-dominated areas, Hiltermann said. The community's
integration into Iraq's armed forces was another crucial factor. "These
are very difficult requirements to meet," he said.
Khalilzad tells Der Spiegel "Next six months will be critical." (Don't say it -- C.)
Shortly before the war began, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer
said to US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: "I am not convinced." Who
was right?Read in FullOil traders catch on to the fact that Iraq war is not over after all
Khalilzad: That isn't important anymore. We're
dealing with such enormous problems today that we have no other choice
but to work together. If Iraq fails, if a religious civil war breaks
out and the neighboring states are drawn into this conflict, if the
Kurds declare independence and al-Qaida takes over an entire province
-- that's when the consequences will be dramatic.
SPIEGEL: What poses the greater threat today -- the insurgency or religious strife?
It's a vicious circle. The terrorists want civil war. Al-Qaida is
attacking Shiites. The Shiite militias are taking revenge on the
Sunnis. And the Sunnis are become more extremist, with some joining
al-Qaida. There's even evidence of splits within the ranks of the
insurgents. Some are joining terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,
some feel an urge to enter politics and others are taking a
wait-and-see approach. All of these issues can only be addressed in
context: the problem of the insurgency, the militias, internal
reconciliation. I'm pleased to note that this is precisely what the new
prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, has recognized as his greatest
SPIEGEL: The Iraqis have heard these kinds of promises every time a new government has come into power.
This is different. This time the Sunni Arabs are cooperating. That's an
absolute prerequisite, but it still doesn't guarantee success.
SPIEGEL: How much time does Maliki have?
The next six months will be critical in terms of reining in the danger
of civil war. If the government fails to achieve this, it will have
lost its opportunity.
.FROM THE HOME FRONT
Fort Sam Houston in Texas can't pay the light bills due to budget shortfalls resulting from the war. Excerpt:
Sam is grappling with a $26 million budget shortfall partly because of
congressional wrangling over a measure to fund wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan. But problems at Fort Sam and many of the Army's 179 posts
worldwide won't be over even if Congress approves a $94.5 billion
supplemental appropriations bill next week as expected.Read in Full
rising military health care costs and Pentagon efforts to transform the
armed services will make sure of that. The garrison has stared down a
budget crunch since August. It sought $121 million to run operations on
the post, which has 27,000 military and civilian workers.
But the Installation Management Agency, which provides funding to the
garrison, reduced the post's budget to $65.9 million Ś $12.2 million
less than last year and $26 million short of the absolute minimum that
Fort Sam, the future home of IMA as
it moves from Washington under the base-closure process, isn't the
agency's only problem. IMA is responsible for 116 posts worldwide and
is involved with many other Army installations in some way, spokesman
Ned Christensen said, adding: "They are all affected." He said the
Pentagon is asking Congress for $722 million in supplemental funding
for posts worldwide. Of that, IMA's southwest region would get $105
million, Fort Sam spokesman Phil Reidinger said.
New AP-Ipsos poll finds majority of Americans think war crimes by U.S. troops are "isolated incidents," but majority also think the war was a "mistake."
QUOTE OF THE DAY
people will, or should, feel comfortable about Tuesday's outcome of the
court martial of three British soldiers who had been charged with the
manslaughter of a teenage looter in Iraq. This is not because the
accused were acquitted, but because the story is so ugly. Ahmed Karheem
was pushed into a Basra canal. He could not swim. He drowned. The
verdict seemed just, because the soldiers acted within a context
created by circumstance and accepted by their superiors. But if they
were not responsible, then who was? "Wetting" wrongdoers, with varying
degrees of harshness, had become a commonplace sanction in the absence
of legally enforceable ones. The British army, like the US military,
was utterly at a loss about how to restore order amid anarchy for which
its political leadership had refused to prepare. . . .It would have
been monstrous to convict three guardsmen for actions that are
overwhelmingly attributable to the circumstances into which they were
thrust. By contrast, if George Bush, Tony Blair, Donald Rumsfeld and
Lord Goldsmith had been in the dock, a guilty verdict would have been
the only proper one.
-- Historian Max Hastings, in The GuardianNote:
This is a slightly abbreviated post today since I'm filling in for Zig
on short notice. There's a lot going on, looking forward to the