"Our Victory Grows Ever More Glorious" (Iraq News)

Thread title courtesy of Jon Stewart.

BAGHDAD, Aug. 25 – Fighters believed to be members of Saddam Hussein’s former regime killed 13 Iraqi police, 27 civilians and an American security-force member in a concerted attack in a west Baghdad neighborhood, first luring police within range by slaughtering five members of an Iraqi household, Iraqi and U.S. officials said Thursday.

The Baghdad attack, in which witnesses said up to 40 masked insurgents armed with grenade-launchers and AK-47 assault rifles openly walked the streets, came late Wednesday, as political violence and sectarian tensions flared across Iraq on the eve of a decision on Iraq’s new constitution.

Two days of sudden clashes between government-allied Shiite fighters and a rival Shiite militia subsided in the south of Iraq by midday Thursday, after appeals for calm by Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari and militant Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr.

Laith Kubba, a spokesman for Jafari, said the constitution itself would be submitted to the National Assembly on Thursday in its final form, after three days of final negotiations spurred largely by objections from Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority.

“The assembly will then rubber-stamp it” with a vote no later than Sunday, Kubba said, making clear the extent to which faction leaders, rather than parliament members or parliament’s constitutional committee, are deciding the charter.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/25/AR2005082500294.html

Fallujah or Tikrit is one thing, but this happened in Baghdad?

From what I’m reading this is the equivalent of a mafia mob war in a city without a government.

Not even close, man. The Mafia don’t have rocket launchers.

We been in this mess for over two years and we still can’t secure the road leading from downtown Baghdad to Baghdad International Airport. That’s progress?

How long do you think, after an invasion of NY by a foreign power, would it take before every goombah in LI would have a stinger in his Trans Am?

Equivalent? Except for the fact that it’s not the mafia, it’s not a mob war, and the city does has a government. Other than that, yeah, it’s just like that. :roll:

Government-allied Shiite vs “rival” Shiite milita. As if the “insurgency” wasn’t enough for occuptation/security forces, it sounds like that civil was is heating up too.

BAQUBA, Iraq (Reuters) - Thousands marched in adoring praise of Iraq’s deposed leader Saddam Hussein on Friday, offering a stark display of the loss of power and leadership felt by some of Iraq’s Sunni Arabs.

Drawing inspiration from the Baath party strongman, who now languishes in jail awaiting trial, marchers in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, danced and chanted his name and condemned plans by the Shi’ite and Kurdish-led government to push through draft constitution to create a federal Iraq.

They accused the Shi’ite Islamists in government of kowtowing to Iran, Iraq’s non-Arab neighbor where many Shi’ites sought refuge during Saddam’s rule, and the United States, which backs the government with some 140,000 troops.

Bush, Bush, listen well; We all love Saddam Hussein!'' crowds chanted. We reject the American and Iranian constitution’’ and ``No to a constitution that breaks up Iraq,‘’ their placards read.

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/international/international-iraq-sunnis.html

This is thuggish gang warfare with a religious sheen. It’s a lot like the New York crime families jockeying for control back in the 40s and 50s.

Humans have a funny way of doing similar things in similar situations.

Review of coverage and some analysis by Froomkin at The Post.

President Bush is trying to turn the completion of a divisive and disappointing draft constitution for Iraq into a cause for celebration.

But the facts keep getting in the way.

In brief remarks yesterday, Bush said the drafting process was “an inspiration to all who share the universal values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.”

In his Saturday radio address , Bush said: “Iraq’s main ethnic and religious groups made the courageous choice to join the political process. And together, they have worked toward a democratic constitution that respects the traditions of their country and guarantees the rights of all their citizens.”

But among the many challenges facing the draft constitution, Sunni Arabs are coming out against it – and U.S. officials have long maintained that Sunni participation in the political process was crucial to establishing stability that would allow for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Steven R. Weisman writes in the New York Times that in the context of “the disarray in Baghdad that was becoming evident, with Sunnis and some Shiites vowing to defeat the constitution and others angrily predicting a surge in anti-government violence, statements by the president and others in his administration had the air of making a case that the situation was not as bad as it looked.”

Weisman gets an unusual peek behind the curtain:

"Several administration officials acknowledged deep regret and frustration that all their efforts had failed to produce a document that could not only establish human rights but also bring a huge disaffected element into the political process, as the Americans had hoped and predicted. . . .

“Lowering their sights, administration officials said Sunday that their task now was to keep the political process alive, even if the constitution was rejected in October, and thereby keep the disaffected Sunnis from helping to stoke more violence.”

Weisman spots something missing: “[I]t was notable that on a day when many Iraqis expressed concern that the document could limit women’s rights by empowering Shiite clerics, the administration made little or no reference to that issue.”

And he questions the use of one of Bush’s most cherished metaphors, likening the fractious debates in Iraq to those among America’s founders.

“I want our folks to remember our own constitution was not unanimously received,” Bush said.

Notes Weisman: “What he left out of his analogy is that while the Constitutional Convention of Philadelphia was convening, there was not an insurgency in the countryside that seemed to be growing because of disaffection with the political process.”

Jonathan Finer and Omar Fekeiki , in The Washington Post, describe the scene at a ceremony in Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s home.

"As the event concluded, several people celebrated with high-pitched ululations. But some attendees were in no mood for festivities.

" ‘It was a nice show for the president of the United States as he wakes up now, but for us it was very bad,’ said Mishan Jabouri, one of four Sunni Arab assembly members among the dozens of lawmakers at the event. None of the Sunnis expressed support for the constitution."

More in today’s column:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2005/04/11/LI2005041100879.html

BAGHDAD, Sept. 5 – Abu Musab Zarqawi’s foreign-led Al Qaeda in Iraq took open control of a key western town at the Syrian border, deploying its guerrilla fighters in the streets and flying Zarqawi’s black banner from rooftops, tribal leaders and other residents in the city and surrounding villages said.

A sign newly posted at the entrance of Qaim declared, “Welcome to the Islamic Kingdom of Qaim.” A statement posted in mosques described Qaim as an “Islamic kingdom liberated from the occupation.”

Zarqawi’s fighters were killing officials and civilians seen as government-allied or anti-Islamic, witnesses, residents and others said. On Sunday, the bullet-riddled body of a woman lay in a street of Qaim. A sign left on her corpse declared, “A prostitute who was punished.”

Zarqawi’s fighters had shot to death nine men in public executions in the city center since the weekend, accusing the men of being spies and collaborators for U.S. forces, said Sheikh Nawaf Mahallawi, a leader of a Sunni Arab tribe, the Albu Mahal, that had battled the foreign fighters.

Dozens of families were fleeing Qaim daily, Mahallawi said.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/05/AR2005090500313.html

In Baghdad, thunderous explosions and volleys of heavy gunfire rattled the downtown area soon after sunrise Monday as about four carloads of insurgents staged a lightning raid on the Interior Ministry, which is responsible for police and paramilitary units nationwide.

The insurgents, who fired automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, withdrew after about 15 minutes, leaving two policemen dead and five wounded. There was no report of insurgent casualties.

A statement posted Monday on an Islamic Web site claimed responsibility for the attack in the name of al-Qaida in Iraq, led by Jordanian terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/05/AR2005090500155.html

NEW YORK Two separate Gallup polls, detailed today in the organization’s weekly report, show that Americans favor withdrawing some or all U.S. troops from Iraq.

Perhaps most revealing was a new poll which asked 1,007 Americans, “If you could talk with President Bush for 15 minutes about the situation in Iraq, what would you, personally, advise him to do?” The poll taken in late August found that 41% said they would tell him to pull troops out of Iraq and end our involvement there.

Far behind in second place (18%) was to finish what we started or be more aggressive. Another 7% advised coming up with an exit strategy.

A separate Gallup poll found that 53% of Americans favor a reduction of U.S. troops in Iraq. This includes 26% who prefer withdrawing all troops.

In the same survey, only 40% of Americans approve, while 59% disapprove of the way Bush is handling Iraq. Fifty-three percent of Americans think going to war in Iraq was a mistake, similar to the 54% who said this in early August.

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001055062

BAGHDAD, Sept. 14 – Insurgents killed more than 141 people Wednesday in at least 10 separate bombings and rocket attacks that made for one of Baghdad’s deadliest days.

Targets included crowds of Iraqi civilians and at least three U.S. military convoys. The deadliest attack, in a northwest Baghdad neighborhood, exploded among crowds of Shiite Muslim day laborers gathered to look for work. Iraq’s Interior Ministry spokesman, Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman, said 90 people were killed.

Attacks continued for hours throughout the day, bringing Baghdad to a standstill.

Additional attacks included two other car bombs that killed a total of 26 people; a rocket attack that killed two Iraqi civilians; a car bomb that targeted an Iraqi army convoy, killing three police; and two more car bombs that hit separate U.S. military convoys, wounding two Americans, Iraqi and U.S. officials said.

Insurgents mounted an even more intense attack on an American military convoy in the late afternoon, first hitting the convoy with a roadside bomb. As American forces gathered at the site and U.S. military helicopters hovered, a car bomb hit the convoy, witnesses said.

A reporter watched as U.S. forces exchanged gunfire with unseen assailants at the scene.

U.S. officials said there was no immediate word on any U.S. casualties in the attack, which also left civilians wounded.

Separately, attackers opened fire on a car carrying Iraqi police officers, killing one, and then launched a car bomb when other officers responded, killing a total of four people. A 10th bomb was reported late Wednesday afternoon near the Green Zone that houses U.S. officials and the Iraqi interim government. There was no immediate word on any casualties there.

Suspicion fell on Abu Musab Zarqawi’s al Qaeda in Iraq group, which is known for just such coordinated series of attacks. A statement by the group claiming responsibility for the attacks was carried by an Islamist Web site, according to the Reuters news agency. The group said on the Web site that it is waging a nationwide suicide bombing campaign to avenge the military offensive being waged by U.S. and Iraqi forces on the northern town of Tall Afar.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/14/AR2005091400471.html

BASRA, Iraq, Sept. 19 – Heavy clashes erupted Monday between Iraqi police and British soldiers based in Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city, witnesses said.

The clashes are the latest in surging tensions in Basra, a Shiite-dominated city that had long been one of Iraq’s calmest. Attacks have targeted British and Americans there.

Monday’s clashes stemmed from the arrest by Iraqi police on Sunday of two Britons, whom Iraqi police accused of planting bombs.

A Western military spokesman in Basra confirmed “an ongoing disturbance” in the city on Monday but said Iraqi and British force were working together to try to quell it.

“There is public disorder going on,” the official said. “We are aware that Iraqi authorities are holding U.K. service personnel, and we are liaising with Iraqi authorities on the matter,” the official said.

Witnesses said the clashes developed amid British attempts to win the release of the two Britons. Fighting in the city continued into Monday evening, and witnesses saw a British armored vehicle in flames after it was allegedly set on fire by Iraqi police. Police convoys circulated in downtown Basra, urging residents to help stop the British from freeing the Britons.
Earlier, gunmen loyal to a radical Shiite Muslim cleric attacked the house of Basra’s governor to press demands for the release of two prominent members of the cleric’s militia who were arrested Sunday by British forces.

The house of Mohammed Musabah, a 43-year-old technocrat who runs Basra, came under attack early Monday from rocket-propelled grenades and mortar rounds after a day of instability. There were no reports of injuries.

Musabah, a former businessman who took office in Basra in March, blamed the attack on the militia of Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, whose movement is a rival to the Shiite political party that now holds political power in Basra.

The Mahdi Army has remained largely out of the spotlight since last year’s uprising against U.S. forces, as the cleric publicly eschewed armed confrontation in favor of the political process, while maintaining his anti-American rhetoric.

But after demonstrators burned Sadr’s office in Najaf last month, Mahdi Army members occupied large parts of several southern cities, including Basra, and attacked the offices of a rival Shiite militia, the Badr Organization.

The initial version of the military’s statement sent to reporters referred to the Mahdi Army as a “terror organization.” A revised version sent about an hour later deleted that reference.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/19/AR2005091900572.html

Two British soldiers have been arrested in the southern Iraq city of Basra, sparking clashes outside a police station where they are being held.

The men, said to have been under cover, reportedly exchanged fire with police after failing to stop at a checkpoint.

Two British tanks, sent to the police station where the soldiers are being held, were set alight in clashes.

Three UK servicemen were injured during the day, but the MoD would not say if they were caught in the firebombing.

TV pictures show soldiers in combat gear, jumping from one of the flaming tanks and making their escape.

British officials would not say if the two men were working under cover

Local council spokesman Nadhim al Jabari said two civilians were killed in the clashes.

Up to 15 civilians were also reported injured in the demonstrations.

Tensions have been running high in the city since the arrest of a senior figure in the Shia Mehdi Army by UK troops.

BAGHDAD – Using enemy body counts as a benchmark, the U.S. military claimed gains against Abu Musab Zarqawi’s foreign-led fighters last week even as they mounted their deadliest attacks on Iraq’s capital.

But by many standards, including increasingly high death tolls in insurgent strikes, Zarqawi’s group, al Qaeda in Iraq, could claim to be the side that’s gaining after 2 1/2 years of war. August was the third-deadliest month of the war for U.S. troops.
Zarqawi’s guerrillas this spring and summer showed themselves to be capable of mounting waves of suicide bombings and car bombings that could kill scores at a time and paralyze the Iraqi capital. Insurgents have also launched dozens of attacks every day in other parts of Iraq and laid open claim this summer to cities and towns in the critical far west, despite hit-and-run offensives by U.S. forces.

Last week, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, declared “great successes” against insurgents. But Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, where Lynch briefed reporters, was under stepped-up security screening and U.S. guard for fear of suicide bombings. Insurgents for three days running last week managed to lob mortar rounds into the Green Zone, the heart of the U.S. and Iraqi administration.

Lynch spoke at the close of a two-day onslaught of bombings and shootings that killed nearly 190 people, the bloodiest days in Baghdad since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

Over 17 days this month, guerrillas across Iraq killed at least 116 Iraqi forces and 346 Iraqi civilians in drive-by shootings, bombings and other violence, according to Iraqi officials.

And in the west, Zarqawi’s foreign and Iraqi fighters this month raised the black banners of al Qaeda in Iraq in the border city of Qaim, one of many areas in the region where Iraqi government forces have feared to take up positions or moved out. Al Qaeda fighters recently carried out public executions of men suspected of supporting U.S. forces or the Iraqi government.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/18/AR2005091801593.html

http://billmon.org/archives/002166.html

After generally rejecting body counts as standards of success in the Iraq war, the U.S. military last week embraced them – just as it did during the Vietnam War.

Hrm… two british tanks smashed ‘accidentally!’ into that prison and got the 2 guys out while releasing 150 other prisoners. British say it was an accident and their men’s release was done diplomatically.

Looks like the story’s updated since I linked it over at the BBC. I don’t think we’ve got enough facts to sort out exactly why this situation happened yet but that’s not a good sign. The Mahdi army’s been quiet for a couple years now but if the Shiites start shooting at our guys then anything can happen down there. What were those special ops guys up to that lead to a firefight with Iraqi police, remember in Basra there are a great number of reports of Islamic radical hitmen masquerading as police or that the police there are working for the radicals, and their eventual arrest. Were they really in plain clothes?

This is going to be a story to watch as it develops. Very troubling.

Yep.