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Friday, April 30, 2004

U.S. hands over some positions in Iraq
JuneauEmpire.com: Associated Press: "Led by a former Saddam Hussein general, Iraqi troops replaced U.S. Marines on Friday and raised the Iraqi flag at the entrance to Fallujah under a plan to end the monthlong siege of the city. A suicide car bomb on the outskirts that killed two Americans and wounded six failed to disrupt the pullout of Marines from bitterly contested parts of the city."

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Marines At Night 


A nightscope photo shows a U.S. marine during a night patrol near the Iraqi town of Falluja, April 29, 2004. U.S. forces handed control of Falluja to a former general in Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s feared Republican Guard on April 30 in a bid to end a month-long siege that killed hundreds in the city. (Oleg Popov/Reuters)

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Marines Move Out 

A U.S. Marine departs his forward base in Fallujah, Iraq (news - web sites) Friday, April 30, 2004 as part of an ongoing pullout of Marines from the city. The Marines are turning over authority to the newly-created Fallujah Protective Army which will consist of former Iraqi soldiers from the Fallujah area. (AP Photo/John Moore)

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Baptized Under Fire 

A religious rite of passage on the battlefield Marine Sgt. Andrew Jones, 25, of Sullivan, Ind., is baptized Wednesday in Fallujah, Iraq, by Lt. Scott Radetski, a Navy chaplain, in an improvised pool of cardboard boxes containing Meals Ready to Eat. Jones and three others asked for the rite after three comrades died, including two in the courtyard--"the middle of hell," as one of the GIs called it--where the ceremony took place.
(Los Angeles Times photo by Rick Loomis)
April 29, 2004

Hattip to Blackfive.



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Thursday, April 29, 2004

Marines Outside of Falluja 

American special forces walk from a burning car at a checkpoint into Fallujah, Iraq (news - web sites) Thursday, April 29, 2004. Military police at the scene said they destroyed the vehicle after it ran through the military checkpoint. (AP Photo/John Moore)

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US soldier stands guard at a checkpoint at the entrance of the restive of Fallujah. US troops will start to leave Fallujah's southern industrial zone where they have been for the last three weeks in an offensive on the flashpoint Iraqi city.(AFP/Nicolas Asfouri)

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U.S. Marines from Gulf Company, Second Battalion, First Marine Expeditionary Force take their fighting positions near the Iraqi town of Falluja, 50 km (30 miles) west of Baghdad, April 29, 2004. U.S. Marines besieging Falluja have agreed to begin pulling out of key areas of the Iraqi city under their control, the local police commander said on Thursday. REUTERS/Oleg Popov

KEEP YOUR HELMET ON!

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Wednesday, April 28, 2004

KEEP YOUR HELMET ON!

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KEEP YOUR HELMET ON!

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Privileged to Serve - Peggy Noonan 

Maybe he was thinking Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. Maybe it was visceral, not so much thought as felt, and acted upon. We don't know because he won't say, at least not in public. Which is itself unusual. Silence is the refuge of celebrities caught in scandal, not the usual response of those caught red-handed doing good.

All we know is that 25-year-old Pat Tillman, a rising pro football player (224 tackles in 2000 as a defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals, a team record) came back from his honeymoon seven weeks ago and told his coaches he would turn down a three-year, $3.6 million contract and instead join the U.S. Army.


OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan

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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

U.S. Warplanes Hit Insurgents in Fallujah
JuneauEmpire.com: Associated Press: "U.S. warplanes and artillery attacked Sunni insurgents holed up in a slum in a thunderous show of force that rocked Fallujah Tuesday, sending huge plumes of black smoke into the night sky. The assault came after American troops killed 64 gunmen near the southern city of Najaf."

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Sgt Hook: Valuable Tools 

From Afghanistan - Sgt. Hook reminds us of a fighting unit's most valuable tool.

Sgt Hook: Valuable Tools

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CNN.com - Penhaul: Fallujah scene of intense gunbattles - Apr 26, 2004 

Marines are involved in one of the most intense gunbattles that they have had in the two or three weeks that the supposed cease-fire has been in place in Fallujah.


CNN.com - Penhaul: Fallujah scene of intense gunbattles - Apr 26, 2004

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Fighting in holy city of Najaf kills 43
JuneauEmpire.com: Associated Press: "U.S. troops backed by helicopter gunships battled with insurgents overnight near the southern holy Shiite city of Najaf, killing 43 gunmen and destroying an anti-aircraft system belonging to the insurgents, the U.S. military in Baghdad said Tuesday."

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USATODAY.com - Iraqis enjoy new freedom of expression on Web journals 

Gee, I wonder, are the Iraqis better off now that Saddam is not in power?

USATODAY.com - Iraqis enjoy new freedom of expression on Web journals

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Monday, April 26, 2004

U.S. Says Needs Security Free Hand in Iraq Handover
Yahoo! News: War with Iraq: "Secretary of State Colin Powellsaid on Monday the still undefined interim government due totake power in Iraq on June 30 would have to give back somesovereignty to U.S.-led forces. (Reuters)"

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Two U.S. troops killed in Iraq explosion
JuneauEmpire.com: Associated Press: "A workshop believed to be producing chemical munitions exploded in flames Monday moments after U.S. troops broke in to search it, killing two soldiers and wounding five. Jubilant Iraqis swarmed over the Americans' charred Humvees, waving looted machine guns, a bandolier and a helmet."

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Iraq War News
Update on Fallujah: "Updating a previous post , from the AFP via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :
Eight insurgents have been killed and at least four United States Marines wounded during fierce fighting in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, where an uneasy ceasefire had been in place for a week, the US -led coalition said.
A "significant" number of insurgents reportedly attacked Marines, prompting hours of fighting in the northern district of the city.
" Initial reports were eight enemy killed and four Marines wounded ," Colonel John Coleman, chief of staff for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, told reporters.
Marines were fired upon from a mosque which was then targeted by US forces and the minaret destroyed, an embedded pool reporter with the marines told CNN.
He said another six Marines were injured by shrapnel but the reports could not be immediately confirmed.
" Unfortunately the opposition forces ? took it upon themselves to occupy a mosque ," Mr Coleman said.
" Instead of serving as a centre of religious life, it was employed as a bastion in the attack ."
He said Marines used small arms and a tank machine gun against the insurgents in the mosque during the battle in the northern district of Jolan.
"

In Command Post: Irak



'ID cards vital to tackle terror': "Home Secretary David Blunkett claims that a national identity card scheme is essential to prevent Britain becoming a "soft touch" for terrorists."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



Cleric Hamza 'must be deported': "Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza is an inspirational figurehead for Islamic extremists and must be deported, the Government said."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



U.S.-Picked Iraq Leaders Approve New Flag: "Iraq's U.S.-picked leaders approved a new flag for the country, making a dramatic change that dumps the Saddam Hussein-era colors and slogan "God is great" and introduces symbols of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, a spokesman said Monday. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



NATO Sees No Iraq Role Unless Many Conditions Met: "NATO will only consider a wider role inIraq if a string of conditions are met including a U.S.handover to a "credible" government in Baghdad,Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said Monday. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Fighting in Fallujah (Updated): "Both Fox (TV) and Reuters are reporting that skirmishes have sprung up in Fallujah - on the television they are showing a mosque on fire and EuroNews is reporting that US helicopters are firing on Fallujah.
More as it comes in.
Fox has more here.
"

In Command Post: Irak



Chalabi denies being sidelined: "A leading member of the Iraqi Governing Council rejects a US press report - and lambastes the UN envoy."

In BBC: Conflict with Iraq (UK Edition)



Fallujah will be your Stalingrad, Americans told (26 Apr 04) in Radio Free USA



Suicide raids on oil platforms mark new threat (26 Apr 04) in Radio Free USA



Iraq Resumes Petroleum Exports After Bombs: "Iraq has resumed petroleum exports two days after suicide bombers in boats attacked Iraqi oil facilities in the Gulf, an official said Monday. The attack cost the country some $40 million in lost revenues. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



U.S. to take over in 2 Iraqi provinces: "U.S. troops will permanently take command of the two Iraqi provinces that have been controlled by Spanish-led forces, a Polish spokesman for the multinational force said Monday."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



Clashes Erupt In Fallujah: "A day after the U.S. said it would begin foot patrols in Fallujah rather than conduct an all-out assault, fighting broke out. U.S. troops also moved into Najaf and raided a Baghdad building, which exploded."

In CBS News: Iraq Crisis



Concerns grow as transition looms in Iraq: "With the switch looming to Iraqi self-government, violence in the country is stirring debate over the need for more U.S. troops amid questions over whether American strategy is succeeding."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



Fighting in Fallujah: "Both Fox (TV) and Reuters are reporting that skirmishes have sprung up in Fallujah - on the television they are showing a mosque on fire and EuroNews is reporting that US helicopters are firing on Fallujah.
More as it comes in.
"

In Command Post: Irak



Skirmishes in Fallujah: "From Reuters via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :
US Marines and Iraqi guerrillas have exchanged heavy fire in two districts of the besieged town of Fallujah, local residents say.
Clashes in the Golan and Shuhada districts broke out around 11:20am local time and are continuing.
Insurgents are firing rocket-propelled grenades, while the troops use heavy machineguns mounted on vehicles.
"

In Command Post: Irak



Blast Destroys Iraq Building, Injures GI: "An explosion leveled part of a building as U.S. troops were raiding it in northern Baghdad on Monday, wrecking four U.S. Humvees and wounding at least one soldier and several Iraqis. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Israel identifies new Hamas leader: "Israeli military officials on Monday identified Mahmoud Zahar, a surgeon and prominent Hamas hard-liner, as the new leader of the Islamic militant group in the Gaza Strip."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



Blast destroys Iraq building, injures GI: "An explosion leveled part of a building as U.S. troops were raiding it in northern Baghdad on Monday, wrecking four U.S. Humvees and wounding at least one soldier and several Iraqis."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



Fighting breaks out in northern Fallujah: "Fighting broke out Monday in a northern district of Fallujah, with the sound of mortar fire and heavy machine guns, a day after U.S. officials announced a fragile cease-fire in the besieged city was being extended."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



U.S. Troops Enter Najaf: "Hoping to pressure a radical cleric without upsetting Iraq's Shiite faithful, U.S. soldiers took over a base in the holy city used by outgoing Spanish troops. In Fallujah, new clashes erupted."

In CBS News: Iraq Crisis



Two killed, four wounded in powerful Baghdad blast: "Two people were killed and four others wounded after a powerful blast at chemical facilities in northern Baghdad blew up four US armored Humvee jeeps, police and witnesses including an AFP photographer said. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Kerry Slams Ban on Photos of Coffins from Iraq: "Democratic presidentialcandidate John Kerry Sunday accused President Bush of trying tohide the consequences of the Iraq war by restrictingphotographs of flag-draped coffins returning home from theconflict. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



WMD Hunters reportedly caught by Booby Trap: "Updating previous post , From Reuters via the ABC :
US troops who were at a chemical storehouse that exploded in Baghdad on Monday appear to have included members of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) hunting for weapons of mass destruction.
Residents have shown a Reuters reporter at the scene identity cards belonging to members of the ISG.
The residents say they found the cards after US soldiers evacuated their casualties.
The reason for the blast is not immediately clear but witnesses say it happened when about 12 US soldiers tried to break into the building.
The structure was destroyed in the explosion and at least one unidentified body and four wounded Iraqis have been evacuated.

Again, from the AFP via the ABC :
A powerful explosion in Baghdad's northern neighbourhood of Waziriyah has blown up two US Humvees and caused a nearby house to collapse.
Reporters at the scene say two Humvees can be seen burning as US forces close off the area.
An Abrams tank and a Bradley armoured vehicle are also at the scene as fire trucks rush to the area, where several chemical plants are located.
Residents say they saw rocket propelled grenades being fired into the Humvees as they passed by.

2229B157245646528BD097C45027D485.jpg Undated Photo from Al Jazeera Website illustrating story.
Finally, from Al Jazeera :
A powerful bomb has exploded in Baghdad's northern neighbourhood of Waziriya, destroying four US military vehicles.
No occupation forces spokesman was prepared to comment on casualties after the Monday morning attack, but as many as 12 marines may be dead.
An Iraqi policeman, who refused to give his name, said he saw "three US soldiers wounded or killed in each vehicle".
Heavy black smoke could be seen rising above a chemical storehouse that appears to have been booby-trapped.
One witness, Imad Hashim, said the bomb went off " when they [US marines] tried to force their way in, there was a huge ball of fire and I was thrown to the ground ".
Hashim said he was about 100 metres away from the blast.
Four Humvees were seen burning as US forces closed off the area, residents said they also saw rocket propelled grenades being fired into the Humvees as they passed by.
"

In Command Post: Irak


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Sunday, April 25, 2004

Iraq War News
Four Children Killed by Gunfire After Iraq Attack: "Four schoolchildren were killed bygunfire in Baghdad on Sunday, shortly after a roadside bombripped through a U.S. military vehicle, witnesses said. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



New deal on ceasefire, weapons in Fallujah: mediator: "A new agreement between officials in Fallujah and the US-led coalition was reached to extend the ceasefire "indefinitely" in the beseiged Sunni flashpoint and enforce a ban on carrying arms, a mediator involved in the talks told AFP. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Suicide attacks on Basra oil supply: "Military chiefs in Iraq are weighing up an alarming new rebel tactic after suicide bombers struck at vital oil installations close to the British-held city of Basra."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



Dozens dead in Iraq day of violence: "A day of violence across Iraq resulted in at least 33 Iraqis and four American soldiers being killed"

In Ananova: War In Iraq



Australian PM does a Bush with secret mission to Iraq to thank troops: "Prime Minister John Howard, emulating his friend US President George W Bush, made a secret visit to Iraq to join Australian troops in the national Anzac Day commemoration of his country's war dead. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



in


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Thursday, April 22, 2004

U.S. warns Fallujah fighting could resume
JuneauEmpire.com: Associated Press: "Guerrillas and residents in Fallujah have "days, not weeks" to turn in heavy weapons, the top Marine commander in Iraq said Thursday, warning that fighting could resume and that a U.S. push to take the city could be costly for both sides."

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Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Iraq War News
Bush 'offered Iraq deal to save PM': "Tony Blair is facing fresh questions over Iraq after claims that President George Bush offered him the chance to keep British troops out of the fighting."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



Tension Eases in Two Iraqi Flashpoint Cities: "Tension eased in two Iraqi flashpointcities Tuesday as a truce held in the Sunni bastion of Fallujaand U.S. forces prepared to pull back from a base near Najaf,where a rebel Shi'ite cleric is holed up. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Iraq sells more oil than expected to foreign firms: ministry: "Iraq sold higher-than-expected levels of oil pumped from its northern fields to five foreign firms who were successful at an auction last week, an official at the country's oil ministry said. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Sudan: Cease-fire with rebels is holding: "Firing guns into the air, rebels on camels and horses galloped into this dusty village four months ago, sending people fleeing for their lives and leaving a trail of destruction in their wake."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



Saudis deny oil prices tied to U.S. vote: "Saudi Arabia has denied accusations in Bob Woodward's latest book that it had reached an agreement with the White House to increase oil production closer to the Nov. 2 election, thus driving down gasoline prices."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



Their beliefs are bonkers, but they are at the heart of power (20 Apr 04) in Radio Free USA



White House reels from Woodward book (20 Apr 04) in Radio Free USA



Iraq Coalition Shrinks, But Stands: "Honduras and Spain are both withdrawing from Iraq. They represent only 1,600 troops, and other allies vowed to stand firm, but the moves come at a time when forces in Iraq are already strained by violence."

In CBS News: Iraq Crisis



Old Trafford target for al Qaida?: "A packed football stadium could have been the target of an al Qaida attack, it has emerged."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



Palestinians retaliating with rockets: "Palestinians fired a barrage of homemade rockets and mortar shells at Gaza Strip settlements and towns inside Israel in retaliation for the killing of Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi, Israel said Tuesday."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



Fresh backing for Iraq coalition: "Australia and Japan say they have no intention of withdrawing soldiers from Iraq, despite pull-outs by Spain and Honduras."

In BBC: Conflict with Iraq (UK Edition)



Should Spain withdraw from Iraq?: "The Spanish prime minister has given orders for the country's troops to be returned from Iraq in the "shortest time possible". Do you agree with this action?"

In BBC: Conflict with Iraq (UK Edition)



Fresh backing for Iraq coalition: "Australia and Japan say they have no intention of withdrawing soldiers from Iraq, despite pull-outs by Spain and Honduras."

In BBC: Conflict with Iraq



US challenges Falluja militants: "US forces besieging the Iraqi city say insurgents must surrender weapons or face renewed fighting."

In BBC: Conflict with Iraq



Mediator optimistic about Fallujah deal: "An Iraqi mediator voiced optimism about prospects for implementing the ceasefire accord in the Sunni Muslim bastion of Fallujah. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



US challenges Falluja militants: "US forces besieging the Iraqi city say insurgents must surrender weapons or face renewed fighting."

In BBC: Conflict with Iraq (UK Edition)


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Monday, April 19, 2004

Iraq War News
British troops face extended stay: "The commanding officer of British forces in the southern Iraqi city of Basra has warned that British troops may have to stay in Iraq for longer than expected to ensure security."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



Spain pulls troops out of Iraq: "Tony Blair has been dealt a fresh blow on Iraq as Spain pulled troops out saying a new UN resolution would not be acceptable."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



U.S. Voices Disappointment at Spain's Iraq Pullout: "The United States voiced disappointmentat Spain's decision to withdraw its 1,400 troops from Iraq butwants close ties with the new Madrid government, SpanishForeign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said on Monday. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



U.S. Army Will Wait Before Moving on Rebel Cleric: "U.S. forces poised outsideNajaf said on Monday they would allow time for talks before anyattempt to enter the holy Iraqi city to seize a rebel cleric --a move that could spark new unrest. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Iraqi doctors watch helplessly after days of war in Fallujah: "The Jordanian Hospital, a ramshackle collection of white trailers, lies just beyond the eastern exit of Fallujah, the besieged city of bullet-scarred homes and factories. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Bremer says Iraqi forces not ready for handover: "The head of the US-led coalition struggling to bring order to Iraq said Iraqi forces will not be ready to take over security after the June 30 power transfer. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Syria Urged to Do More in Iraq: "After new violence that flared near the Iraqi border with Syria left five Marines dead, the U.S. military's top general urged Damascus to do more to cut the flow of foreign fighters entering Iraq. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Iraq: Not Vietnam, Not Yet: "Iraq, argues CBS News' Tom Fenton, is not a quagmire as Vietnam once was - not yet. He says a better description would be a hornet's nest that the U.S. invasion stirred up but did not create."

In CBS News: Iraq Crisis



Malaysia Premier Urges U.N. Role in Iraq: "Malaysia's prime minister, who will host members of the world's largest Islamic organization later this week, on Monday called for the United Nations to take the lead role in Iraq because the U.S. administration has failed to offer "hope of peace." (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq


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Sunday, April 18, 2004

Iraq War News
Disfigured Iraqis Are No Longer Scarred for Life: "BAGHDAD - Rolling on a gurney toward the dank operating room of Al Kindi Hospital recently, Khalid Abid Nimer flashed back to a decade earlier, when he had made a similar trip in the same hospital for a far different operation. (Los Angeles Times)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



US soldier dies after bomb attack on convoy: "A US soldier in Iraq died of his wounds after a convoy was hit by a roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad, the military said. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Japan PM Gets Boost, Iraq Hostages Return: "Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi'sadministration won plaudits on Sunday as three Japanesecivilians who were freed after being kidnapped in Iraq returnedhome after their ordeal. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Straw condemns Hamas leader killing: "Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's condemnation of the assassination of Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi was starkly at odds with the White House, which said Israel "had the right to defend itself from terrorist attacks"."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



in



in



Iraq Tense Amid Najaf, Falluja Standoffs: "U.S. forces waited outside Najaf onSunday with no sign of a breakthrough in efforts to avert abloody confrontation with rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in anIraqi city holy to the world's Shi'ite Muslims. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Revolts in Iraq Deepen Crisis In Occupation: "BAGHDAD, April 17 -- In the space of two weeks, a fierce insurgency in Iraq has isolated the U.S.-appointed civilian government and stopped the American-financed reconstruction effort, as contractors hunker down against waves of ambushes and kidnappings, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials. (washingtonpost.com)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Baghdad roadside bomb kills U.S. soldier: "Two Iraqi civilians and one American soldier were killed in attacks in Baghdad, the U.S. military said Sunday."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



Smoking Gun?: "From the AFP via the BBC :
Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists planned a chemical attack on Jordan's spy headquarters that could have killed 20,000 people, officials have said.
Earlier this week King Abdullah said a massive attack had been thwarted by a series of arrests, but named no target.
Now unnamed officials say the suspects have confessed to plotting to detonate a chemical bomb on the Amman HQ of the Intelligence Services.
The plot was reportedly hatched by al-Qaeda suspect Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi.
Washington has accused the 38-year-old Jordanian radical of masterminding a string of spectacular suicide bombings in Iraq.
An official involved in the inquiry in Jordan told AFP news agency: " We found primary materials to make a chemical bomb which, if it had exploded, would have made nearly 20,000 deaths ? in an area of one square kilometre.
"The target of this bomb was the headquarters of the Intelligence Services
," situated on a hill in the western suburb of Amman, he added.
The official said another operation planned by the network was to use " deadly gas against the US embassy and the prime minister's office in Amman ? and other public buildings in Jordan".

Jorsna's King Abdullah confirmed the chemical weapons entered Jordan via Syria. From the San Francisco Chronicle via NewsMax :
Jordan's King Abdullah revealed on Saturday that vehicles reportedly containing chemical weapons and poison gas that were part of a deadly al-Qaida bomb plot came from Syria, the country named by U.S. weapons inspector David Kay last year as a likely repository for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
" It was a major, major operation. It would have decapitated the government ," King Abdullah told the San Francisco Chronicle.
[?]
King Abdullah said that trucks containing 17.5 tons of explosives had come from Syria, though he took pains not to implicate Syrian President Bashir Assad in the al-Qaida plot, saying, " I'm completely confident that Bashir did not know about it ."
In his testimony before Congress last year, weapons inspector Kay said U.S. satellite surveillance showed substantial vehicular traffic going from Iraq to Syria just prior to the U.S. attack on March 19, 2003.
While Kay said investigators couldn't be sure the cargo contained weapons of mass destruction, one of his top advisers described the evidence as "unquestionable."
[?]
A car belonging to the al-Qaida plotters, containing a chemical bomb and poisonous gas, was intercepted just 75 miles from the Syrian border.
"

In Command Post: Irak



Najaf Attack "Imminent" say Sadr Supporters: "From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Supporters of outlawed Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr say they expect US forces to attack the holy city of Najaf after mediation efforts failed today, while coalition officials were hopeful talks in Fallujah would end a bloody stand-off between US troops and Sunni Muslim rebels.
Sadr and his supporters said mediation efforts with the US -led coalition had failed in Najaf and they were preparing for what they believed to be an imminent US attack.
Talks halted " because the mediators have told us the Americans are putting obstacles towards finding solutions to the crisis and the situation is getting worse ," Qais al-Khazaali, the head of Sadr's office, said.
" We are expecting the Americans to attack Najaf any moment now ."

In other news from the same article :
Gunmen opened fire on a US convoy near the Spanish base at Diwaniyah, east of Najaf, today and US forces fired back, a spokesman for the Spanish contingent in the occupation force, said.
[?]
US Marines repositioned some of their forces to allow cars to reach the general hospital in Fallujah as part of confidence-building measures, an Iraqi mediator said.
"

In Command Post: Irak



US Soldier killed by mine: "From the AFP via The Australian :
A US soldier was killed and two wounded when their patrol hit an anti-tank mine near the Iraqi city of Tikrit, the military said today.
" One 1st Infantry Division soldier was killed and two wounded when their patrol struck an anti-tank mine near Tikrit at around 10.45am April 16 ," the military said.
" The wounded were evacuated to a nearby military medical facility and were listed in stable condition ."
"

In Command Post: Irak



All Bagdad Highways Closed: "From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :
The US led coalition in Iraq has announced the closure of all major highways into and out of Baghdad.
Coalition spokesmen have denied the closure has anything to do with threats by insurgents.
The statement said highways one and eight to the north and south of Baghdad had become targets for anti-coalition forces and were damaged and too dangerous to travel. They would be closed indefinitely.
The main highway to the west, which runs through Fallujah, has been closed for a week now.
Military spokesman Mark Kimmitt says motorists would be directed to alternate roads.
He dismissed suggestions that the closure was due to posters and flyers being distributed around Baghdad warning people to stay at home this week because of a major offensive to be launched by insurgents and said if the fight were taken to the capital, the First Cavalry Division would be waiting.
"

In Command Post: Irak


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Friday, April 16, 2004

Iraq War News
Diplomatic efforts press forward in Najaf: "An Iraqi leader said he saw "flexibility" on the side of an anti-American cleric amid diplomatic efforts to end a standoff with U.S. troops in one of the holiest Shiite cities."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



US-led coalition in tense standoff with Iraqi rebels: "US commanders were due to meet local Iraqi leaders in the embattled Sunni bastion of Fallas a 48-hour ceasefire expired, while Shiite militants remained defiant in the holy city of Najaf. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Kidnapped Chinese Man Released in Iraq: "A leading Sunni cleric said Friday that kidnappers have released a Chinese citizen abducted in Iraq and that the man is safely in the Chinese Embassy. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Book: Bush secretly ordered Iraq war plan: "President Bush secretly ordered a war plan drawn up against Iraq less than two months after U.S. forces attacked Afghanistan and was so worried the decision would cause a furor he did not tell everyone on his national security team, says a new book on his Iraq policy."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



Bush Administration Welcomes Brahimi Plan: "The Bush administration is viewing positively a U.N. envoy's plan for a caretaker government to succeed the U.S. administration in Iraq. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



20,000 US soldiers to remain in Iraq, released Japanese hostages want to stay: "US officials announced that 20,000 US troops due to rotate home will stay in the region to confront the worsening security situation as three Japanese hostages were released, with two promptly saying they wanted to stay. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



On eve of Bush summit, Blair says no rift over Iraq: "On the eve of a crucial summit with US President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair played down talk of a rift between the two allies over the handling of Iraq. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Iran's influence in Iraq: "Iran has a strong influence over Iraq's Shia community, writes Middle East analyst Dilip Hiro."

In BBC: Conflict with Iraq


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Monday, April 12, 2004

Iraq War News
For one Fallujah family, harrowing trek to safety: "BAGHDAD - When Mahmoud Salaiman Abid awoke on April 5, he was surprised to see U.S. Marines sealing off Fallujah. At 2 p.m., a mortar shell exploded in his front yard. For Abid and his family, their hellish captivity was just beginning. (USATODAY.com)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Freed British hostage in Iraq feared for his life, mother says: "British hostage Gary Teeley feared for his life as Italian troops battled with the Iraqi militia which held him capitive for six days, his mother said. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Seven Chinese Kidnapped in Iraq, China Urges Rescue: "Gunmen kidnapped seven Chinese citizensin Iraq, the latest in a spate of hostage-taking, and Beijingappealed to Baghdad on Monday to rescue them. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Apache Downed, Crew Killed: "From Reuters :
The two crew members of a U.S. Apache helicopter were killed when it was shot down in Iraq on Sunday, the U.S. army said.
The helicopter was downed five km (three miles) west of Baghdad airport, Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of operations for the U.S. army in Iraq, told a news conference.
"

In Command Post: Irak



No News on Japanese Hostages: "From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :
Japan has placed three aircraft on standby in Kuwait, in case three hostages being held by Mujahadeen fighters in Iraq are released.
But there is still no word on the captives' fate.
Two aid workers and a journalist were taken hostage in Iraq on Thursday.
The kidnappers threatened to kill the trio if Japan did not withdraw its troops from Iraq by last night.
A Japanese official says three C-130 transport planes have now been put on standby in Kuwait, but declined to indicate whether this means the hostages are about to be released.

Latest word from the ABC :
The Japanese Government says it has made no progress in winning the release of three hostages being held in Iraq.
[?]
An Iraqi man claiming to have spoken to the kidnappers says the hostages will be executed one by one from later tonight if the demands are not met.
The Japanese Government has not able to confirm the report and one official says attempts to free the hostages have made no progress.
"

In Command Post: Irak



US Hostage "will be spared": "From the AAP via The Australian :
The Iraqi group holding a US hostage has agreed not to kill him, Mezher Dulaimi, a self-described Iraqi mediator, said today.
Dulaimi, who heads an Iraqi human rights group, said the affair of the missing American had been settled, and he was in good health.
[?]
Dulaimi said that the US hostage had received medical attention.
However there was no immediate word on when he might be released.
"

In Command Post: Irak



Fallujah Ceasefire Extended 24 hrs: "From the BBC via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :
The ceasefire in the besieged Iraqi town of Fallujah has been extended by 24 hours until Monday night local time.
A senior member of the Iraqi Islamic Party which is leading the mediation effort, says both US forces and insurgents agreed to the extension.
Residents of Fallujah are burying their dead and trying to get out of the city during the lull in the fighting.
Local hospital officials say more than 600 people have been killed, most of them civilians.
The marines insist most of the dead are fighters.
[?]
Mediators continue efforts for a negotiated solution but the US military is re-enforcing its troops to resume the offensive if talks fail.

Close to 100% of the casualties shown on Australian TV are males between 17 and 30.
"

In Command Post: Irak



Mehdi Army Retreats from Najaf: "From the AFP via The Australian :
Police deployed in the central Shiite Muslim holy city of Najaf Monday following an agreement, involving the US -led coalition, for the pullout of armed militiamen from the streets, police said.
[?]
Across the city, police forces deployed in all police stations which had been taken this week by Sadr's Mehdi Army militia.
[?]
Police deployed in force in Najaf, taking over police stations and public buildings.
No Mehdi Army militiamen were seen on the streets.

There's a lot of spin in the AFP report, but "Retreat' is an accurate description.
"

In Command Post: Irak



Violence erupts in Iraq: "Violence has erupted in Iraq despite a fragile ceasefire between Sunni militants and US marines in the besieged city of Fallujah, where Iraqis said more than 600 civilians were killed in the past week."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



Dead Soldier's Kin Want Sibling GIs Home: "With three daughters serving in Iraq, John and Lori Witmer's family Web site collected photos from Baghdad, notes to home and messages of encouragement. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Town Awaits Word on Man Kidnapped in Iraq: "In his hometown in eastern Mississippi, Thomas Hamill is known as a good guy - a family man with a young son and daughter who took a job driving trucks in Iraq to make ends meet after his dairy farm took a hit. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Iraq Battalion "Refuses to Fight": "A story from the Washington Post dated the 10th that other media outlets are starting to pick up (including us) :
A battalion of the new Iraqi army refused to go to Fallujah earlier this week to support U.S. Marines battling for control of the city, senior U.S. Army officers here said, disclosing an incident that is casting new doubt on U.S. plans to transfer security matters to Iraqi forces.

It was the first time U.S. commanders had sought to involve the postwar Iraqi army in major combat operations, and the battalion's refusal came as large parts of Iraqi security forces have stopped carrying out their duties.
The 620-man 2nd Battalion of the Iraqi Armed Forces refused to fight Monday after members of the unit were shot at in a Shiite Muslim neighborhood in Baghdad while en route to Fallujah, a Sunni Muslim stronghold, said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, who is overseeing the development of Iraqi security forces. The convoy then turned around and returned to the battalion's post on a former Republican Guard base in Taji, a town north of the capital.
Eaton said members of the battalion insisted during the ensuing discussions: " We did not sign up to fight Iraqis ."
He declined to characterize the incident as a mutiny, but rather called it "a command failure."
The refusal of the battalion to perform as U.S. officials had hoped poses a significant problem for the occupation. The cornerstone of the U.S. strategy in Iraq is to draw down its military presence and turn over security functions to Iraqis.
Over the past two weeks, that approach has suffered a severe setback as Iraqi security forces have crumbled in some parts of the country. In recent days perhaps 20 percent to 25 percent of the Iraqi army, civil defense, police and other security forces have quit, changed sides, or otherwise failed to perform their duties, a senior Army officer said Saturday.
[?]
A soldier with the 1st Armored Division, who has recently been engaged in combat in Baghdad, said many of the Iraqi security troops with whom he has worked are no longer reporting for duty. "I think what we are seeing is not some mass quitting and mutiny by ICDC [Iraqi Civil Defense Corps], but rather just plain fear," the soldier said. "And all it takes is one Iraqi to take the lead in leaving, and they all do out of fear."
[?]
One of the problems, Eaton said, was that the Iraqi troops were not told they would be given a relatively benign role, and assumed they were being hurled into the middle of a bloody fight, battling on the side of the Americans against Arabs. " The battalion thought it was going to be thrown into a firestorm in Fallujah ," he said.
Complicating communications, he said, was that the battalion had 10 new U.S. advisers who rotated into their jobs April 1, just four days before the incident, replacing the advisers who had trained the unit for months.
"

In Command Post: Irak



Japan Unsure of Safety of Hostages in Iraq: "Optimism that three Japanese held hostage in Iraq would be quickly released evaporated Monday, as Tokyo's top government spokesman backtracked on an earlier statement and said authorities were no longer confident about their safety. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Clashes Erupt in Iraq's Falluja After Day's Truce: "Fighting erupted in Fallujaovernight in the first major breach of an informal truce in thetown where more than 600 Iraqis were reported killed in a weekof battles between U.S. Marines and Sunni Muslim rebels. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Dan's Winds of War, April 12/04: "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 "Winds of War" is brought to you by Dan Darling. of Regnum Crucis .
TOP TOPICS
  • Was the Sadr Revolt plotted in London? The Sunday Herald says claims that last month representative of the Mahdi Army, the Islamic Path Party, and Hezbollah met in London with Syrian and Saudi Islamists to add a Shi'ite component to the insurgency.
  • Speaking of Sadr, BBC Monitoring has a translation of an al-Sharq al-Awsat article claiming that he is considering political assylum in Iran. Perhaps he's fleeing the quagmire ?
  • Why did Pakistan put a premature end to military operations in Waziristan? Asia Times suggests that it has to do with the number of troops lost during the operation, which the newspaper places at 800 in contrast to the official figures cited by the Pakistani government. If true, this would mean that Pakistani casualties in a single military engagement now exceed the total number of US forces KIA in both Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11.

Other Topics Today Include: Iraq Briefing; Iran Reports; order restored in Faryab; Abu Sayyaf leader dead; Abu Sayyaf jailbreak; Spanish al-Qaeda cell targeted major shopping mall; top European al-Qaeda leader tied to 3/11; Hungarian al-Qaeda letter offers cash in return for withdrawl from Iraq; al-Qaeda funding Chechen jihad; recent violence in Tashkent due to foreign instigators; Nek Mohammed sez he ain't gonna surrender; Muslim extremist leader arrested in Zanzibar; and the ultimate neocon T-Shirt.
Read The Rest?
"

In Command Post: Irak



Suicide Bomb Factory Found: "From the AFP via The Australian :
US marines told today how they killed one suicide bomber and discovered a suicide bomb workshop in the Sunni Muslim bastion of Fallujah, apparently run by Iraqis and foreigners.
The building, found on Thursday when marines chased a sniper, provided new evidence of the growing role of Iraqis in suicide bombings, the marines said.
[?]
Iraqi police and judges have recently expressed alarm about the increasing involvement of Iraqis in suicide bombings, which US officials had previously blamed on foreign fighters thought to be slipping across the border.
Police in the holy city of Karbala charged that some Iraqis were indoctrinated and high on drugs when they were dispatched on suicide missions.

Top US military officials warned the radical Islamic current in Iraq relied more heavily on Iraqi nationals than foreign elements.
Members of the 1st Battalion 5th (1-5) Marines said they stumbled on the workshop when they were trying to locate a sniper position.
" There was an open storage area and a living room. There were four belts packed with explosives ," said Lance Corporal James Walter, one of the men who discovered the arsenal in Fallujah's southeastern industrial sector.
A box of old US military uniforms were also found, issued by the US Army's 82nd Airborne, said Lieutenant Colonel Brennan Byrne.
Marines said that they believed about 15 to 20 people had been working in the facility.
Also on Thursday, marines from the 1-5 battalion shot dead a suicide bomber, captured a second individual and found a third blood-stained belt.
Marines had come under fire and entered a home where they shot and killed the bomber.
The marines then lobbed grenades at the body to blow it up amid fears the corpse was booby trapped, said Captain James Smith.
He showed pictures of the corpse before the marines blew up the body, with a white belt and wiring attached to a bearded man lying on a tile floor.
The suicide belts were fashioned in the style of the radical Palestinian group Hamas , with a hand-held detonator, Byrne said.
Asked about the people using the workshop, he said: " It seems a mix of nationalities ."

Background :
See Hashashim .
See Operation Wahrung
"

In Command Post: Irak


|

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Iraq War News
Gunmen shoot down U.S. helicopter in Iraq: "Gunmen shot down a U.S. attack helicopter during fighting in western Baghdad on Sunday, and the fate of its two-member crew was unknown. Insurgents and Marines called a cease-fire in the besieged city of Fallujah, though the peace was shaken by sniper fire."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



Militants agree Fallujah ceasefire: "A third round of negotiations aimed at ending fighting in the besieged Iraqi city of Fallujah are to be held, a US commander said."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



Rebels threaten to kill US hostage: "Militants have threatened to kill and mutilate a US civilian captured during the ambush of a convoy west of Baghdad."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



Blair: Troops won't quit Iraq: "Tony Blair has insisted there is no question of spiralling violence forcing him to pull British troops out of Iraq."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



UK link to Spain terror suicides: "Spanish police believe a British radical Islamic leader was contacted by suspected terrorists shortly before they blew themselves up in Madrid."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



Confidence grows in stock market: "Investors' confidence in the stock market has increased since the beginning of the year, with people expecting the FTSE to rise by around 200 points during the next six months, research showed."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



Cardinal backs Carey on Muslims: "The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has joined criticism of Muslims for not doing enough to denounce terrorism."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



World's Christians celebrate Easter as Iraq crisis looms: "Christians around the world celebrated the culmination of the festival of Easter, which marks the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, amid increasing fears for world peace stoked by conflicts in Iraq and the Middle East. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



No word on Japanese hostages reportedly to be released: "Three Japanese hostages were still held in Iraq despite reports of their expected release, with various groups working to secure their freedom, Japanese officials manning a crisis cell here said. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Iraqi Civilians Flee Falluja as Truce Takes Hold: "Civilians streamed out of Fallujaon Sunday after a truce halted a week of fighting between U.S.forces and rebels in which hundreds of Iraqis died. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



3rd round of talks to be held in Fallujah: "A third round of negotiations aimed at ending the fighting in the besieged city of Fallujah will be held Sunday, a U.S. commander said. Arab TV stations reported that Sunni militants have agreed to a U.S. offer of a cease-fire."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



Rebels threaten to kill US hostage: "Militants have threatened to kill and mutilate a US civilian captured during the ambush of a convoy west of Baghdad."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



Footage shown of slain Westerners in Iraq: "The bloodied bodies of two men, purportedly Americans killed during fighting in Fallujah, were shown on Arab TV Sunday."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



American opposition to Iraq war grows with violence, casualties: "A year after Baghdad fell to jubilant US forces, American public support for the occupation appears to be waning fast following a week of unparalleled anti-US violence in Iraq. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Whereabouts of Japan Hostages Unconfirmed-Envoy: "Neither the whereabouts nor the safety ofthree Japanese civilians kidnapped in Iraq have been confirmed,a Japanese diplomat said in Amman on Sunday, hours after theirfamilies had hoped they would be released. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Terrorists' 'propaganda gift': Cook: "Former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has accused US President George W Bush of handing terrorists a propaganda gift."

In Ananova: War In Iraq


|

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Iraq War News
Talks as hostage deadline nears: "Japan has opened an emergency office at its diplomatic mission in Jordan to co-ordinate rescue efforts for its three citizens taken hostage in neighbouring Iraq."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



Fears grow for missing Briton: "This is the first picture of a British civilian who has been missing in Iraq for six days."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



Terror suspects remanded in custody: "Five men arrested during a series of anti-terrorism raids have appeared in court charged with taking part in a suspected bomb plot."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



TV Shows Apparent U.S. Prisoner in Iraq: "TV footage on Saturday showed Iraqi insurgents holding a foreigner, apparently American, prisoner in a car, the latest in a rash of kidnappings of foreigners in Iraq. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



US general calls for ceasefire: "A US general has called on Sunni militants in Fallujah to join in a ceasefire to allow further negotiations between Iraqi leaders and representatives of the besieged city."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



Hoon backs tactics in Iraq: "Life is "measurably better" for Iraqi people than it was a year ago despite ongoing violence, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon has insisted."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



US offers truce to Falluja fighters: "Iraqi negotiators enter the beseiged city after a new ceasefire appeal by US commanders."

In BBC: Conflict with Iraq (UK Edition)



Young Iraqi journalist in BBC: Conflict with Iraq



Baghdad police officer in BBC: Conflict with Iraq



US reservist in BBC: Conflict with Iraq



Likely charges against Saddam: "BBC News Online looks at some of the key charges Saddam Hussein could face."

In BBC: Conflict with Iraq



Iraq's most wanted: "The US military's list of 55 leading Iraqis to be captured or killed."

In BBC: Conflict with Iraq



Foreign troops in Iraq: "BBC News Online looks at where key countries stand on the deployment of troops."

In BBC: Conflict with Iraq



Who's who in Iraq: "BBC News Online looks at potential key figures in Iraq as the country moves into a post-Saddam Hussein era."

In BBC: Conflict with Iraq



Latest news in Arabic in BBC: Conflict with Iraq



US offers truce to Falluja fighters: "Iraqi negotiators enter the beseiged city after a new ceasefire appeal by US commanders."

In BBC: Conflict with Iraq



U.S. Seeks Truce With Fallujah Militants: "A U.S. general called on Sunni militants in Fallujah on Saturday to join a bilateral cease-fire. Insurgents struck U.S troops in Baghdad and central Iraq, setting a tank on fire in the capital and engaging in battles that killed 40 Iraqis, a U.S. spokesman said. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Iraq Creates Quandary for Kerry: "WASHINGTON - Escalating violence in Iraq provides John F. Kerry a new opportunity to press his central foreign policy critique of President Bush, but also forces the Democratic challenger to move cautiously in making his case. (Los Angeles Times)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



U.S. Losing Support of Key Iraqis: "BAGHDAD - Tough U.S. tactics in Fallouja and Shiite Muslim cities of southern Iraq are driving a wedge between the Americans and their key supporter - the 25-member Governing Council that puts an Iraqi face on the occupation and is expected to serve as the basis of a new government. (Los Angeles Times)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Japanese diplomat arrives in Amman to garner information on hostages: "Japan's senior vice foreign minister said he arrived in Jordan on a mission to garner as much information as possible about three Japanese civilians kidnapped in Iraq two days ago. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Men accused of terror plot: "Five men suspected of being involved in an alleged terrorist bomb plot are due in court."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



Frenchman on terror charge: "A 39-year old Frenchman has been charged under the Terrorism Act."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



'Up to a million' gather in Kerbala in CNN: War in Iraq



U.S. seeks Fallujah cease-fire in CNN: War in Iraq



Italy's Berlusconi Visits Troops in Iraq: "Premier Silvio Berlusconi made an unannounced visit to Iraq early Saturday to meet with Italian troops based in the southern city of Nasiriyah, his office said. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Army Tries New Moves With Iraqi Populace: "Col. Dana J.H. Pittard kneels by the hospital bed of 7-year-old Ali Fakhri, who sobs from the pain of shrapnel wounds that pepper his bloodied face and body. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Million Shi'ite Pilgrims Gather Amid Iraq Clashes: "Up to a million Muslim pilgrimsmassed in the Iraqi Shi'ite holy city of Kerbala on Saturday asradical Shi'ite fighters and Polish troops exchanged rocket andmortar fire on the outskirts. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



We'll win test of will, Allies vow: "Coalition leaders have voiced their determination to stand firm in Iraq in defiance of rebel demands, kidnappings and bloodshed which shows little sign of ending."

In Ananova: War In Iraq


|

Friday, April 09, 2004

Iraq War News
Thailand Reconsiders: "From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said on Friday Thailand was reconsidering its military deployment to Iraq and would order the troops home if it remained too dangerous to carry out their humanitarian mission.
" The Thai military will remain in Iraq as long as they can carry out their humanitarian mission, but if they cannot then they will return ," Thaksin told reporters.
A contingent of 451 troops including engineers, medics and a surveillance platoon was sent to the central city of Karbala last September, as Thailand joined the US -led coalition after remaining neutral during the invasion of Iraq.
"

In Command Post: Irak



Australian Senator's Trip Cancelled: "Updating a previous post , from the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :
An international delegation including Australian Greens Senator Kerry Nettle, set up to investigate the political situation in Iraq, has cancelled its trip.
Senator Nettle left Australia earlier today, but she will be intercepted when she reaches Bangkok to be told of the decision.
Senator Nettle's spokesman Jon Edwards says the escalating violence has left organisers with no other choice.
" The people whom Senator Nettle, together with international parliamentarians from around the world, was scheduled to meet will no longer be able to travel around Baghdad ," he said.
" The NG Os (non-government organisations) themselves, who were organising these meetings, are now trying to leave Baghdad because of the grave security situation ."

So much her party's claim that it was the "occupying force" that was being targetted, not reconstruction agencies.
"

In Command Post: Irak



British Hostage Freed: "From the BBC via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :
A British journalist has been released after being taken hostage in Iraq by two separate groups.
Stephen Farrell, the correspondent for the Times newspaper, says he was threatened with death after being abducted near Fallujah.
But he says he was freed when he managed to convince his captors that he was a genuine journalist.
" The first group who sees this very clearly appeared to be outlaws, bandits, robbers, thieves, who claimed to be part of the resistance, the fighters against the Americans ," he said.
" But half an hour later we ran into the people who called themselves the Mujahideen, clearly a very different group. Disciplined, organised, a chain of command and they took us away from our original captors, so we were abducted twice if you like ."
"

In Command Post: Irak



Governing Council Reshuffle: "From Reuters via the ABC (Australian broadcasting Corporation) :
United States governor of Iraq Paul Bremer appointed a new Iraqi interior minister on Friday and appointed a Governing Council member to the new position of national security adviser.
Mr Bremer said Samir Sumaidy, a Sunni Muslim political independent on the Governing Council, had been appointed interior minister, replacing Nouri Badran, a Shiite, who resigned on Thursday.
Mr Bremer also said that Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, a Shiite independent on the Governing Council, would take on the newly created national security adviser role.
"

In Command Post: Irak



Palestinians call on Iraqis to rise up against US: " JERUSALEM POST : Palestinians call on Iraqis to rise up against US
Thousands of Palestinians staged pro-Iraq rallies Friday to mark the first anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, calling on Iraqis to rise up against the United States in a holy war.
Following Friday prayers, thousands of protesters in the West Bank and Gaza Strip burned Israeli and US flags and chanted slogans against US President George W. Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
In Gaza City, about 2,000 Islamic Jihad supporters, including children holding the militant group's black flags, chanted "Death to America," and burned effigies of Bush and Sharon.
"Our message to the world, to our brothers in Iraq, we are fighting against the same enemies, the same occupation, we are fighting in the same battle," Mohammed al-Hindi, an Islamic Jihad leader, told reporters. "Our people in Palestine and our brothers in Iraq are slaughtered by the knife, the knife of Bush and Sharon."
"

In Command Post: Irak



Blasts heard in Bagdad: "From Reuters via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :
An explosion echoed over north-east Baghdad on Friday and a plume of smoke rose from the area, but there was no immediate sign that it had been caused by a bomb, a Reuters witness said.
Some residents suggested that a rocket-propelled grenade fired in the air had caused the blast, near the Um al-Qura mosque where worshippers were gathered for Friday prayers.

BBC and CNN reporters some time after the event stated that the city remained unconcerned about it.
"

In Command Post: Irak



British Soldier Reported Killed: "From the AFP via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :
Shiite Muslim militiamen have killed a British soldier after shooting down a drone over the southern Iraqi town of Amara, Iraqi police said on Friday.
Warrant officer Mohammad Attiya Obeid, who witnessed the incident, said: "At 10:15pm (local time), rebels opened fire on a pilotless aircraft and shot it down over a public park in the Hay al-Hussein area of Amara."
The rebels rushed to pick up pieces of the downed drone and took them as a trophy to the local headquarters of Shiite radical leader Moqtada al-Sadr, Mr Obeid told AFP.
Shortly afterwards, a unit of about 20 British soldiers arrived on the scene of the crash and the rebels opened fire "killing one British soldier and wounding two others," the police officer said.
"

In Command Post: Irak



Canniobalism Threat Supressed: "According to Reuters , the threat against the Japanese Hostages was :
We tell you that three of your children have fallen prisoner in our hands and we give you two options - withdraw your forces from our country and go home or we will burn them alive and feed them to the fighters

Most Media reports merely state the hostages will be "killed". A minority report they will be "burned alive". But very few indeed report the threat of cannibalism.
"

In Command Post: Irak



Residents Evacuating Fallujah: "From the AFP via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :
Residents started to flee the besieged Iraqi city of Fallujah on Friday on the fifth day of ferocious street fighting between United States forces and Sunni Muslim insurgents in the western town, an AFP correspondent witnessed.
Men, women and children were fleeing on foot through backstreets and paths that cut through fields, carrying small bags, food and medicines.
Most were seen heading toward the nearby village of Naimiyah
"

In Command Post: Irak



Arafat seeks release of E. Jerusalem men held in Iraq: " HAARETZ : Arafat seeks release of E. Jerusalem men held in Iraq
Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat personally intervened on Friday to seek the release of two Palestinians kidnapped by insurgents in Iraq, his office said.

"President Arafat has contacted our brothers in Iraq and other international bodies and friends today to help in releasing the two kidnapped Palestinians, Nabil George Razouk and Ahmed Yassin Tikati, both held in Iraq," a statement said.
According to a Foreign Ministry official in Jerusalem, the United States is handling the case of the two Arab residents of East Jerusalem, who were kidnapped Thursday by a previously unknown group in Iraq.
"

In Command Post: Irak



U.S. Orders Halt to Falluja Operations, but Situation Unclear: "A halt to Marine operations in the city was announced, but the situation on the ground was far from clear."

In New York Times: World Special



Why Falluja Remains a Crossroads for Collision: "Many Iraqis have neither accepted their defeat nor the U.S. plans for a new, more pro-Western country."

In New York Times: World Special



Despair and anger in Japan as troops stay in Iraq despite kidnap drama: "The families of three Japanese hostages in Iraq voiced anger and despair as the government refused to pull its troops from the country as the deadline for their threatened execution drew nearer. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



UK's Straw Says Iraq Situation 'Most Serious' Faced: "Britain's Foreign Secretary Jack Strawsaid on Friday the situation in Iraq is the most serious yetfaced by U.S.-led forces that toppled Saddam Hussein a yearago. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



U.N. Official Pushes to End Iraqi Violence: "U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on all parties in Iraq Thursday to intensify efforts to end an escalating crisis and protect civilians caught in fighting in the Sunni Triangle city of Fallujah and several other cities. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



US marines resume Iraq offensive: "US marines have resumed their offensive against the Iraqi rebel stronghold of Fallujah following a brief suspension of operations."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



Japan PM denounces terror threat: "Japan's prime minister Junichiro Koizumi has denounced terrorist threats to burn alive three hostages as "cowardly"."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



Missile fault 'caused jet crash': "Faults in a hi-tech US missile system may have been responsible for the shooting down of an RAF Tornado aircraft with the loss of two crewmen during the Iraq war, it has been claimed."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



New talks on Northern Ireland: "Intensive new talks on Northern Ireland's future are expected to be held in London's Lancaster House later this month."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



Bush 'understood terror threat': "George Bush's national security adviser insisted that the US president fully understood the threat of terrorism before September 11, 2001, but no intelligence foretold the deadliest attack on American soil."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



NOT a Ceasefire: "They are calling it a unilateral suspension of fighting. It is still in effect.
The stoppage of fighting is to allow humanitarian aid into the city and, hopefully, to conduct negotiations with the Mahdi army in Fallujah.
"

In Command Post: Irak



Not Liking the Looks of Today: "As a very wise space traveler once (or maybe four times) said - I have a very bad feeling about this.
Today is the anniversary of the fall of Baghdad.
The morning of April 9, 2003 :
U.S. tanks rumbled up to the Palestine Hotel in central Baghdad on Wednesday, observed by the international media crews who have been based there.
Anniversary dates are notoriously important to "militants" like the al Mahdi army. There was already an attack on a convoy today which killed nine Americans soldiers. There's word that a truck has been fired on. An attempt at negotiations are not working.
One year ago, the statue of Saddam was pulled down . Zeyad at Healing Iraq is worried, and with good reason:
Everyone is apprehensive, there is some talk that April 9th and 10th are going to be bloody days. Most people haven't gone to work the last few days, although it seems that the rest of Baghdad is ?normal' (if you can define what normal is). There are rumours about preparations by slum dwellers for another looting spree against banks, governmental and public property similar to the one that took place last April, and I have already overheard youngsters in my neighbourhood joking about it and saying things like "This time we will be the first to loot, we didn't get anything the last time".

Today would be the day to keep your eyes and ears on Baghdad.
Peace to the citizens of that city today.
"

In Command Post: Irak



Brief Stop to Fighting in Fallujah [Updated]: "The U.S called off its Fallujah offensive and tried to negotiate with a city representative.
The negotiations fell through after only ninety minutes and there are now reports that the U.S. offensive will move on.
Lt. Col. Brennan Byrne , commander of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, said his forces were given the go-ahead to resume offensive operations.
The halt was called at noon to allow a delegation from the city to meet with U.S. commanders, let humanitarian aid into the city and give city residents a chance to tend to their dead.
Byrne did not know why the suspension was called off but believed the negotiations with the delegation never took place. It was not immediately known if offensive operations had actually resumed

Update : There are conflicting reports on whether the ceasefire is still in effect or not. Checking sources now.
"

In Command Post: Irak



The empty room (9 Apr 04) in Radio Free USA



U.S. suspends offensive in Fallujah in CNN: War in Iraq



Signs That Shiites and Sunnis Are Joining to Battle Americans: "Officials fear that the growing uprising against the occupation in Iraq is forging a new level of cooperation between Shiite and Sunni Muslims."

In New York Times: World Special



US attack belies Bremer's Falluja 'truce' (9 Apr 04) in Radio Free USA



US commander will not take blame for unrest (9 Apr 04) in Radio Free USA



A war that was founded on lies and illusions has one simple truth: Iraqis do not want us (9 Apr 04) in Radio Free USA



Blindfolded and facing death in Iraq (9 Apr 04) in Radio Free USA



Arafat Seeks Release of Palestinians Held in Iraq: "Palestinian PresidentYasser Arafat personally intervened on Friday to seek therelease of two Palestinians kidnapped by insurgents in Iraq,his office said. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



US resumes Fallujah assault after brief stop: "Chaos spread in Iraq on the first anniversary of Saddam Hussein's ouster as US forces resumed their offensive in the besieged town of Fallujah after a brief suspension while insurgents seized foreign hostages as bargaining chips. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Al-Sadr denies link to Iraq kidnapping: "A senior aide to radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr denied on Friday that the religious leader's militia was involved in the kidnapping of three Japanese and threats to burn them alive."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



U.S. Moves Against Iraq Militants: "On the first anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, fierce fighting continues on several fronts in Iraq. An effort to negotiate an end to hostilities in Fallujah failed. GIs regained control of Kut. Rebels are holding at least six foreign hostages."

In CBS News: Iraq Crisis



US marines resume Iraq offensive: "US marines have resumed their offensive against the Iraqi rebel stronghold of Fallujah following a brief suspension of operations."

In Ananova: War In Iraq



Missile fault 'caused jet crash': "Faults in a hi-tech US missile system may have been responsible for the shooting down of an RAF Tornado aircraft with the loss of two crewmen during the Iraq war, it has been claimed."

In Ananova: War In Iraq


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