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Friday, November 19, 2004

Iraq Today
RAF jets escort Pakistan airliner: "Two RAF fighter planes were scrambled to escort a passenger jet towards a British airport after the jumbo's crew repeatedly failed to contact air traffic controllers."

In Ananova: War In Iraq

Bounties Offered on Americans in Iraq: "A portly Shiite cleric, Abu Qusai sheds his black robe for a training suit and exchanges his white turban for a baseball cap, an effort to mask his identity for a risky trip through what has become known as the "triangle of death." (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Site: Zarqawi Group Beheads Two Iraqi Soldiers: "The group led by al Qaeda ally Abu Musabal-Zarqawi said it beheaded two Iraqi soldiers in broaddaylight in Mosul, a statement found on an Islamist Web site onFriday said. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Grim, Angry Rites as Falluja Buries Its Dead: "The urban battlefield of Fallujais disgorging its dead. Slowly. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Site: Zarqawi Group Beheads Two Iraqi Soldiers (Reuters): "Reuters - The group led by al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said it beheaded two Iraqi soldiers in broad daylight in Mosul, a statement found on an Islamist Web site on Friday said."

In Yahoo! News: Iraq

French "Expert" condemns US "State Terrorism": "

From Islam Online :

Washington will win the military battle in the western Iraqi city of Fallujah but its strategic looses[sic] will certainly outweigh such a victory, said a French strategic expert.

Branding the US practices against the Fallujah residents as â??state terrorism,â?? Pascal Boniface, Director of the Institute for International and Strategic Studies [sic] in Paris, expected the onslaught to further fan anti-US feelings in the entire Islamic world.

Addressing a seminar organized by the Arab World Institute on Wednesday, November 17, Boniface said the cold-blooded killing of an unarmed, wounded Iraqi by a US soldiers in a Fallujah mosques was not an isolated incident.

He said the murder as well as the prisoners abuses in the infamous Abu Ghreib and Guantanamo Bay detentions demonstrate an established policy and doctrine.
The French expert described the Fallujah offensive as a â?? strategic lossâ?? for the Bush administration.

The Americans would undoubtedly win the fighting but they would strategically lose the battle as they did with the Iraq invasion, Boniface said.
The French expert considered the Fallujah operation as a new proof of American troubles in the Iraqis quagmire.

He refuted American allegations that the offensive was to eliminate terrorists from the city.

Boniface expected the onslaught to fan the already spiraling anti-US sentiments across Arab and Muslim countries and create more generations of those described by Washington as terrorists, not only in Iraq but in other parts of the world.

He added that the operation also killed stone dead the legitimacy of the planned January elections and its outcome.

The interim government lost credibility among Iraqis and Arabs who see it as a puppet in the hands of the US occupation forces, said the French expert.
Boniface hailed Arab popular reaction to the Fallujah offensive.

He said that despite the absence of democracy and political pressure groups, the Arab public opinion is turning into a mighty force interacting with developments in Iraq and the Palestinian territories.

The French expert noted that the emerging force of the public opinion, motivated by the Arab satellite channels, is now seen by the west and the Americans as the official spokesman of the Arab world.

The well-connected Paris-based IRIS (Institute for International and Strategic Relations) is not to be confused with the highly regarded IISS, (International Institute for Strategic Studies).

(Axis of Weasels)

In Command Post: Irak

Al Zaquawi HQ an Intelligence Windfall: "

Elaborating on a previous post, from Middle East Online :

The US-led assault on Fallujah has â??broken the back of the insurgencyâ?? in Iraq by taking away its safe haven, scattering operatives and disrupting their command networks, the top US marine commander in Iraq said.

Lieutenant General John Sattler said the city was secure 11 days after the start of Operation Dawn, but not safe. Heavy fighting was still erupting in some quarters of the city as marines and Iraqi troops clear buildings of holdouts.

â??Based on some of the records and ledgers weâ??ve been able to uncover, we feel right now that we have â?¦ broken the back of the insurgency and weâ??ve taken away the safe haven,â?? Sattler said.

The offensive would force the insurgents to set up operations in less familiar areas with untested allies, he added.

(Intelligence Reports)

In Command Post: Irak

US Marine, Iraqi Soldier Killed in Fallujah: "

From Reuters via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

The marine and soldier died during continuing mop-up operations in the former insurgent bastion, raising the coalition toll in the fighting to retake the city to 51 US dead and eight Iraqis, the top US Marine commander there said.

US-led troops continued to engage in sporadic battles against rebels in Fallujah after launching a major assault to wrest the Sunni Muslim city west of Baghdad from insurgents 10 days ago.
Iraqi volunteers and US troops were able to clear 24 corpses from the battered city and evacuate five civilians.

The Iraqi Red Crescent said 150 families remained stranded.

From the New York Times :

The Department of Defense has identified 1,212 American service members who have died since the start of the Iraq war. It confirmed the deaths of the following Americans this week:

HEFLIN, Christopher T., 26, Sgt., Marines; Paducah, Ky.; First Marine Division.

QUALLS, Louis W., 20, Lance Cpl., Temple, Tex.; Fourth Marine Division.

WULLENWABER, Luke C., 24, First Lt., Army; Lewiston, Idaho; Second Infantry Division.


In Command Post: Irak

Marine Intelligence Report warns against Premature Withdrawal: "

From The Age :

Senior US marine intelligence officers in Iraq are warning that insurgents will rebound from their defeat if planned cuts to US troop levels in Fallujah go ahead.

The rebels could thwart retraining of Iraqi security forces, intimidate local residents and derail January elections, the officers say.

They fear that despite the insurgentsâ?? heavy casualties in the week-long Fallujah battle, their numbers will continue to grow, there will be further guerilla attacks and fighters will foment unrest among Fallujahâ??s returning residents, using the idea that expectations for better conditions have not been met.

The warning is contained in a classified report prepared by intelligence officers in the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force last weekend as the Fallujah offensive was winding down. The leaked assessment was distributed to senior officers in Iraq, where one called it â??brutally honestâ??.
The intelligence assessment offers a stark counterpoint to more positive assessments by military chiefs in the wake of the Fallujah operation, which they say completed its goals well ahead of schedule and with fewer Iraqi civilian and US casualties than expected.

Senior military officers in Iraq and Washington who have read the report cautioned that the assessment was a subjective judgement by some marine intelligence officers near the front lines and did not reflect the views of all intelligence officials and senior commanders in Iraq.

â??The assessment of the enemy is a worst-case assessment,â?? the senior military intelligence officer in Iraq, Brigadier-General John DeFreitas, said.

â??We have no intention of creating a vacuum and walking away from Fallujah.â??

A senior officer in Washington said the view from the tactical intelligence level had generally been more pessimistic than that from officers at the strategic level.


In Command Post: Irak

French Casualties in Iraq: "

From the BBC :

Three Frenchmen have died fighting with insurgents against US-led troops in Iraq, reports say.

The men, all of Arab origin, were killed in the country over recent months as the insurgency has flared.

Two of the men were aged 19 and the third was 24 years old, a French official said.

Authorities estimate that around a dozen Frenchmen of North African or Arab background have travelled to Iraq to join the insurgency.

The men were identified as

  • 24-year-old Tarek W, from Paris, killed on 17 September
  • 19-year-old Redouane el-Hakim, killed on 17 July
  • Abdel Halim Badjoudj, 19, killed on 20 October.

Note that a handful of Australians, Britons and Americans were caught fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan.

(Axis of Weasels)

In Command Post: Irak

Al Sadr Aide, 104 Others Arrested: "

From the AFP via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):

Iraqi police have arrested a senior aide to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr in the southern city of Najaf.

â??Sheikh Hashem Abu Raghif was arrested at his home Wednesday night after detainees were forced to confess that he had ordered torture against prisoners detained by the Sadr movement,â?? Sheikh Ali Smeism said.

Before it was ousted from Najaf after an August offensive led by the US army, the Sadr movement had established its own tribunals and jails in the holy city.

Meanwhile Iraqi police and national guards have detained more than 100 suspected militants in raids around Haifa Street, a rebellious Sunni Muslim stronghold in Baghdad.

In all 104 people were arrested, including nine who were suspected of having escaped from the US-led offensive against the rebel city of Fallujah over the past 10 days.


In Command Post: Irak

Marine to stand court-martial in slaying of his alleged lover: "The court-martial of a Marine accused of killing a married woman with whom he allegedly had an affair is scheduled to begin Nov. 29."

In San Diego Union-Tribune: In Iraq

Al-Zarqawi command centre found: "US troops sweeping through Fallujah found what appeared to be a command centre used by followers of Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as a general declared the battle for the city had "broken the back of the insurgency"."

In Ananova: War In Iraq

Bodies of 4 Iraqis flown to US for autopsy--victims of videotape shooting? in IraqWar.info

Militants Try to Stir Arab-Kurd Violence (AP): "AP - Insurgents battling U.S. and Iraqi forces in the northern city of Mosul have been trying to drag the Kurdish minority into their fight and set off a sectarian war, Kurdish and Arab officials say."

In Yahoo! News: Iraq

Marine commander shows pictures of insurgent weapons, hideouts in Katu.com: Iraq & Terror

Gehanna is Burning: "Smoke rises continually from the acres of garbage that fill the river bend in the Green Zone, US occupation headquarters, across the Tigris from our apartment. Apparently, with the security risks of dozens of garbage trucks entering and departing the Green Zone daily, someone decided to dump it all along the river, outside the concrete walls. It must be like the constantly burning â??Gehennaâ?? or hell that Jesus mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount. My memory is that Gehenna is an image of the valley below Jerusalem where the garbage was dumped and burned."

In Electronic Iraq

The Streets of Baghdad: "We had our daily car bomb today when a suicide bomber drove his car into a US patrol as it passed near the Yarmouk police station. Several Iraqis were killed, with no report yet on US casualties. I felt the rumble even though I was on a street far away from the blast-at least 5 miles distant. Walking and driving on the streets Baghdad I find myself in a sea of chaos. Traffic is mayhem for many reasons. The current fuel crisis being the lead cause. Lines at petrol stations stretch for miles at some of the stations. A common scene at these lines is that of people pushing their cars because they are already out of gas or to save what precious little may be left in their tank."

In Electronic Iraq

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