Tag Archives: Baghdad

Hunkering Down In Green Zone-Surge Working?

Dick Cheney and John McCain came and went announcing to the media how the Bush surge had significantly reduced violence in Baghdad. During the past few days, warning sirens echo through Baghdad and within seconds rockets and mortars strike, sometimes in one or two, other times 10 or more. The danger has completely reshaped lives of those living in the heavily protected area. On Thursday, the State Department ordered Embassy personnel not to leave reinforced structures and all employees are required to wear helmets and other protective gear while in or outside. The attacks apparently are the work of members of Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi militia who are fightng the government of Iraq both in Baghdad, Basra and elsewhere. One explosion on Thursday ignited a fire in the central area of the zone that sent a massive column of thick, black smoke drifting over the Tigris River.

On Easter Sunday at least 12 innocent Iraqi civilians were killed by rockets that went astray. Inside the Green Zone, American personnel are sleeping on cots and on couches in heavily reinforced buildings to escape rocket and mortar shells. The barrages are definitely coming from Shiite areas located in eastern Baghdad. Rockets are fired from mobile rocket launchers which are quckly moved to other locations.

We await comments from John McCain about the success of his ideas that additional soldiers, in themselves, will result in peace in Iraq. The failure to launch a political offensive is among the reasons for further violence.

Shiite Mahdi Army Battles US And Iraq Forces

Senator John McCain is boasting that his ideas to increase the number of American troops has produced the components of victory in Iraq. Usnfortunately, he forgot to inform the Mahdi militia of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr the surge was working. Armed Mahdi militia appeared on the streets of Baghdad for the first time in months as al-Sadr announced a nationwide campaign of strikes and demonstrations to protest a government crackdown on his movement. US and Iraq troops supported by helicopters fought Shiite militiamen on the streets of Baghdad and the city of Mosul in the north was also the scene of fighting between the groups. An escalation in fighting could end Sadr’s unilaterial cease fire and spark a major war that would make a mockery of Bush and Cheney claims the war in Iraq was headed toward victory.

In southern Iraq fighting continued for control of Basra as Shiite groups clashed with the Iraq army. It was unclear exactly who was in control of the city since Iraq police prevented reporters from having free access to areas where there was fighting. Brtish troops who had been occupying Basra for years, but had recently left the city in charge of the Iraq government, remained at the Basra airport and were avoiding becoming engaged in any fighting.

During the past several months there has been confusion as to the best way to handle the Madhi army and the Iraq government has probably decidede on a policy of confrontation. The result is more fighting. Were there other possibilities to resolve issues raised by the Mahdi army?

Bush Diplomatic Triumph-Iranian Diplomats In Iraq

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hailed a new chapter in close ties between his nation and its former enemy, Iraq, as he stepped foot in Baghdad to be greeted by Iraqi leaders. He was the first Iranian leader to visit Iraq since the eight year war between the countries. Iranian leaders have no one else to thank for this opportunity than their wonderful American ally, George Bush, who defeated Saddam Hussein and ushered in an era of Iranian influence in Iraq. It leads one to wonder if President Bush is not some sort of secret ally of Iranian clerics.

The Iranian government is caught in a quandry, they want to make things difficult for American forces but they also want stability so the Shiite government of Mailiki can exert its power in the country. Ahmadinejad said: “A developed, powerful and unied Iraq is to the advantage of everyone.” Of course, no Sunni political leader attended ny sessions with the Shiite Iranian president. There were scattered protests by Iraqi Sunnis all over the nation.

Stay Or Go– Which Way America In Iraq?

There is scant doubt violence has declined in Iraq since 30,000 additional American troops were dispatched to that nation earlier this year. But, according to General Joseph Fil, commander of US forces in Baghdad, the progress achieved in recent months is “fledgling, fragile, and not guaranteed.” The additional troops have made it possible to maintain forces in every part of the city, but he believes the situation is far from resolved. “There is absolutely a risk of going too quickly” because leaving “before the Iraqis are truly able to take over these areas independently would be very risky, and there ares some areas in the city where, at this point, it would fail.”

There are now 160,000 American troops in Iraq, a force capable to maintaining order in major cities like Baghdad, but there are still rural areas where the situation is less stable. There was never any doubt placing thousands of American forces in Baghdad would temporarily lessen violence. The central question at all times is what happens when US forces depart? Will Iraqi soldiers be able to keep things under control? Has the Iraq government created a viable coalition of political parties which can work together for peace and stability? The answers to these questions is an unqualified, no. Are al-Qaeda and other insurgents lurking in the shadows prepared to resume violence once American troops leave? Chances are the answer is an unqualified, yes. The surge will not work until Iraq has made political strides to go along with military. A political issue for Americans is how long with people in this nation go along with a major military presence in Iraq?

Northern Iraq Violence Rises As Baghdad’s Declines

The Bush initiated surge which placed an additional 30,000 troops in Baghdad has led to a reduction in violence, but Maj. Gen. Mark Hertling believes al-Qaeda has simply shifted its forces to the north in order to avoid further encounters with an powerful American armed force in the nation’s capital. “What you’re seeing is the enemy shifting” as they create a new power base. However, he is witnessing a slight decline in the overall enemy attacks since the number of road side bombs has decreased from 1,830 in June to 900 last month. General Hertling sees success in many efforts, but warns “it is still going to be a very tough fight to eliminate those terrorists and insurgents and extremists completely.”

The unknown factor in the famous Bush “surge” is the long term impact of these soldiers upon terrorist activities in Iraq. A classical guerrilla warfare strategy is retreating before strong opposing forces, and waiting until the time is appropriate for resuming fighting. At this point, no one knows for certain what are the strategies of insurgents. Unfortunately, there is not a single insurgency, but a host of competing groups who disagree with America’s presence in Iraq.

All Unquiet Tuesday On The Baghdad Front

It was another typical day in Iraq, the sun was shining and Apache attack helicopters were making their rounds checking on suspicious activities in the countryside. They spotted some men who they thought were planting roadside bombs, but before they could fire on them in the open fields, the men fled to nearby houses. The Apache helicopters opened fire blasting away at the houses. After the firing ceased, five of the men they thought were the roadside bombers lay dead along with six civilians while another five civilians were wounded. A spokesperson for the military said it was unclear exactly who the roadside bombers were, but it is believed they were among the dead. She expressed regret for the death of innocent civilians, but blamed their demise on the roadside bombers.

As far as the story goes, the bombers never exploded their bombs so it is clear they were not responsible for the deaths of civilians. If five men ran into houses containing other men it is unclear how the military can determine which of the dead men were the bombers and which were not. This “minor incident” happens each day in Iraq and at the end of the day more civilians are dead and more Iraqis hate Americans. The American military offered no explanation why the helicopters could not have pinned down the bombers in the houses and called for ground forces to attempt obtaining a surrender. One last question: Are the helicopter pilots absolutely certain these men were planting explosives?

Another Day In Baghdad – More Killings By Seccurity Guards

Security guards working for the the Dubai-based security company, United Resources Group, were escorting a civilian convoy through the streets of Baghdad when they came to an intersection. One of the guards signaled for an Oldsmobile to move over so they could speed on, but apparently, the driver of the Oldsmobile did not act fast enough. According to shopkeeper Ammar Fallah who observed the incident, ‘when she failed to do so they opened fire, killing her and the woman next to her. The women were both shot in the head.” Witnesses said the convoy then sped away “like gangsters.”

This incident is not unusual, it is merely one of dozens that daily occur in the streets of Baghdad. The Iraq war is the first in American history in which our military has abrogated its responsibilities for safety and security by turning over duties formerly performed by trained soldiers to mercenaries working for private security companies. America has entrusted its future to hired gun men who are not bound by any laws of either Iraq or the United States. It is interesting the women were both shot in the head, this indicates someone took aim, knew their targets, and fired. Is this the best way America can bring democracy to Iraq?