BlueHummingbird News

The New Iraq

The Rebellion

From The Guardian: Tuesday April 6, 2004
Wanted Iraqi cleric 'willing to die'
Radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said today that he was willing to die resisting any attempt to capture him, as US-led occupying forces struggled to contain insurgencies on two separate fronts. Faced with US vows to hunt him down on a day which saw at least 30 people die in clashes across Iraq, Mr Sadr issued a defiant statement saying that he was willing to shed his own blood for Iraq and denouncing the US president, George Bush. "America has shown its evil intentions, and the proud Iraqi people cannot accept it. They must defend their rights by any means they see fit," he said. ...

From Reuters: Tue Apr 6, 2004 03:09 PM ET
Battles Flare as Iraqi Shi'ites Vow Resistance By Ghaith Abdul-Ahad
NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - Followers of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr fought pitched battles with foreign troops in Shi'ite Muslim strongholds Tuesday and vowed to pursue an uprising that has claimed more than 130 lives in three days. The bloody clashes with Shi'ites that have raged since Sunday are a new front for U.S.-led forces already fighting an insurgency in Sunni areas and trying to pacify Iraq ahead of a June 30 handover of sovereignty to an Iraqi government. ... President Bush vowed the campaign by Sadr's supporters would not derail Washington's plans for Iraq, but the youthful cleric said he would fight on regardless. "This insurrection shows that the Iraqi people are not satisfied with the occupation and they will not accept oppression," he said in a statement issued by his office in the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf. Qays al-Khazali, one of Sadr's aides, compared the uprising to a 1991 Shi'ite rebellion eventually crushed by Saddam Hussein and said it would go on until the cleric's demands were met. "The uprising will continue and we will not negotiate unless they fulfil our demands, which are a withdrawal from populated areas and the release of prisoners," he told a news conference. ... Sadr also appealed to all Iraqis, whatever their religion, to join together to expel occupying troops. "God will support our brothers the Sunni to liberate their areas which of course are also our areas because we have one destiny and one goal," his statement said. ...

From UPI: 4/6/2004 4:08 PM
Former Iraqi enemies unite to fight U.S. By P. Mitchell Prothero
BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 6 (UPI) -- The American dream to bridge ancient Iraqi sectarian rivalries turned nightmarish Tuesday as Shiite and Sunni religious and tribal figures put aside their differences and publicly aligned against the occupation, vowing to rid Iraq of the American-led invaders. ... Abari carried a letter from Sheikh Harrath Selman al-Tey, the leader of the largest Sunni tribe in Iraq and a man that holds massive sway over the Sunni triangle. "The letter (to Moqtada Sadr) declares that we are the Army of Mohammed and all of Ramadi and Fallujah (offer) our army and people and souls and hearts and weapons under your command," he told UPI. "There is no more Shiite and Sunni, only Muslims and now we will fight each other no more and together fight the same enemy." ...

From AFP at the Herald Sun (Australia): 07apr04
Baghdad Sunnis, Shi'ites unite
SUNNI and Shi'ite residents of two Baghdad suburbs, once fierce enemies, said overnight they had put their differences aside to unite in their fight to oust the US occupying force from Iraq. ...

From AFP at THE TIMES OF INDIA: Wednesday, April 07, 2004 10:23:09 PM
US marines bomb Fallujah mosque
FALLUJAH: US marines pressing an offensive in this Iraqi town west of Baghdad bombed a central mosque on Wednesday and killed up to 40 insurgents holed up inside, a marine officer said. The bombing came after several hours of small arms and rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) fire from insurgents, which left five marines slightly wounded, said Lieutenant Colonel Brennan Byrne. ... First a warplane fired off guns, then a Cobra helicopter shot off a Hellfire missile at the mosque and finally an aircraft dropped a laser-guided precision bomb, Byrne said. ...

From AFP at SpaceWar: Apr 07, 2004
No bodies found in bombed Fallujah mosque: US Marines
FALLUHAH, Iraq (AFP) US Marines have not located any bodies in a mosque they bombed in Fallujah, an officer said Wednesday, after earlier indicating that up to 40 suspected insurgents were killed in the air strike. "When we hit that building I thought we had killed all the bad guys, but when we went in they didn't find any bad guys in the building," Lieutenant Colonel Brennan Byrne told AFP. ...

At The Guardian: Thursday April 8, 2004
Battles rage from north to south by Jonathan Steele in Baghdad and Ewen MacAskill
· Dozens die in bomb and missile attack near mosque
· Militia leader warns: Iraq will be new Vietnam
· Blow to US as ayatollah fails to condemn uprising

From The NYT: April 8, 2004
Iraq Uprising Spreads; Rumsfeld Sees It as 'Test of Will' By CHRISTINE HAUSER
BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 7 — The Iraqi uprising against the American-led occupation intensified Wednesday and spread to new parts of the country, with United States forces increasing their efforts to put down Sunni and Shiite combatants. Pentagon officials in Washington signaled that they would probably delay bringing home as many as 25,000 troops as scheduled and probably move reinforcements to the south. "We're facing a test of will, and we will meet that test," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said, adding that the plan to postpone the troop return was part of a plan "to systematically address the situations we are facing." ...

At Reuters UK: Fri 9 April, 2004 08:17
Iraq in turmoil on Saddam anniversary By Alistair Lyon
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Bloody turmoil is reigning in Iraq on the first anniversary of Saddam Hussein's fall, with Sunni and Shi'ite rebels battling U.S.-led forces and holding three Japanese and other foreign hostages. ... The top U.S. general in Iraq, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, said the southern towns of Najaf and Kut were held by fighters loyal to radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. U.S. Marines have been locked in street battles in the Sunni town of Falluja, west of Baghdad, all week and hospital officials have reported up to 300 Iraqis dead and 400 wounded. "We have got Falluja under siege," Sanchez said, but denied U.S. forces were depriving its people of humanitarian supplies...

From AP at FOX News: Friday, April 09, 2004
Japan Won't Give In to 'Cowardly Threats'
TOKYO — Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi denounced threats that three Japanese captives in Iraq would be burned alive as "cowardly" and vowed Friday that Japan's troops would stay in the country, despite tearful pleas from the families of the victims. ... Arabic television network Al-Jazeera, which .. received a copy of the video, said it came with a statement saying the three would be burned alive if Japan's troops were not removed from Iraq within three days. ... Koizumi's decision to send 1,100 non-combat troops to Iraq in this country's biggest overseas dispatch since World War II has little support from the public... Koizumi faces potential political fallout from the furor in July, when elections are scheduled for the upper house of Parliament. ...

From the Associated Press at The Washington Post: Friday, April 9, 2004; 4:10 AM
U.S. Military: Coalition Forces Have Retaken Kut
BAGHDAD, Iraq — U.S.-led coalition forces have retaken control of the southern Iraqi city of Kut, a military spokeswoman said Friday. The spokeswoman had no other information about how troops regained control of the city, which had been overrun by a militia led by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr. On Thursday, Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top U.S. general in Iraq, vowed that coalition forces would move “imminently” to break al-Sadr’s hold over Kut, 95 miles southeast of Baghdad, and destroy his Mahdi Army militia across the country in a new operation dubbed “Resolute Sword.” Ukrainian troops in Kut abandoned their base Wednesday in the face of mortar fire and gunbattles, allowing Mahdi Army fighters to sweep in, seizing weapons stores and planting their flag. The militia also has full control over the southern cities of Kufa and the central part of Najaf. Police in the cities have abandoned their stations or stood aside as the gunmen roam the streets.

From AFP at Yahoo: Fri Apr 9,12:07 PM ET
Iraq Shiite radical tells Bush to withdraw troops or face revolution
KUFA, Iraq (AFP) - ... "I address my enemy Bush. You are now fighting an entire nation, from south to north, from east to west, and we advise you to withdraw from Iraq," he (Motqada Sadr) said Friday in a message read by one of his aides at the main mosque in this central town. ...

From AFP: Fri., April 9, 2004 3:22pm ET
US-led occupation of Iraq sinks deeper in turmoil
BAGHDAD (AFP) The US-led occupation of Iraq sank deeper in turmoil on the anniversary of Saddam Hussein's ouster as its forces pressed a drive against insurgents in the besieged town of Fallujah after seeking to arrange talks. ... More than 400 Iraqis have been killed and 1,000 wounded in the six-day US offensive against insurgents in Fallujah, an aide to a member of the interim Governing Council said Friday. Elsewhere, Kimmitt (Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt) indicated that US forces had not yet wrested full control of the central city of Kut from radical Shiite militiamen as earlier stated by a US military spokeswoman. ...

From The Associated Press at ABC News: April 9, 2004
Cheney Says U.S. Will Stand Firm in Iraq
Vice President Dick Cheney Says U.S. Will Stand Firm and Not Bow to Threats in Iraq
ANCHORAGE, Alaska April 9 — Vice President Dick Cheney, declaring "our will is being tested in Iraq," promised Friday on his way to Asia that the United States would stand fast and not bow to threats from militants and kidnappers. He urged other coalition partners to do likewise. ... Cheney told his audience the U.S.-led war is targeting a "determined, organized, ruthless enemy." "Such an enemy cannot be deterred, contained, appeased or negotiated with," he said. "It can only be destroyed and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the business at hand."

From AP at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Sat, April 10, 2004 8:33am PT
Marines move third battalion to Fallujah
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Marines have moved a third battalion near Fallujah to join siege of the city, where two battalions of about 1,200 Marines are already in place, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said Saturday. ...

From Reuters: Sat Apr 10, 2004 12:28 PM ET
Bush vows rebels in Iraq will be defeated By Jeremy Pelofsky
CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - President George W. Bush pledged on Saturday that the U.S.-led coalition would defeat guerrillas wreaking havoc in Iraq and he defended plans to hand sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government on June 30. ... "Our coalition's quick reaction forces are finding and engaging the enemy," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "Our decisive actions will continue until these enemies of democracy are dealt with." ... Guerrillas "want to dictate the course of events in Iraq and to prevent the Iraqi people from having a true voice in their future," Bush said. "The enemies of freedom will fail. Iraqi sovereignty will arrive on June 30." ...

From AP at My Way News: Apr 10, 4:10 PM (ET)
More Marines Join Siege of Key Iraqi City By LOURDES NAVARRO
FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) - Hundreds of reinforcements joined Marines besieging Fallujah on Saturday, and the military said it would move to take the entire city if negotiations fail. ... Gunfire crackled in Fallujah even as Iraqi government negotiators met with city leaders, trying to persuade them to hand over militants who killed and mutilated four Americans in the city March 31. Nearly 60,000 Fallujah residents - about a third of the population - have streamed out of the city over the past two days, a Marine commander said. ... Militants continued to hold hostage two aid workers - a Canadian and an Arab from Jerusalem - but announced they would free three Japanese civilians. The kidnappers of the Japanese, identifying themselves as the "Muhahedeen Squadron," said they made the decision after mediation by the Islamic Clerics Committee, a Sunni organization, Al-Jazeera reported. ... Kimmitt warned that if talks between city leaders and members of the Iraqi Governing Council did not produce results, the military would consider renewing its assault on Fallujah. Marine commanders in Fallujah were skeptical the talks would succeed. "The prospect of some city father walking in and making 'Joe Jihadi' give himself up are pretty slim," said Lt. Col. Brennan Byrne, commander of the 1st Batallion, 5th Marine Regiment. "What is coming is the destruction of anti-coalition forces in Fallujah ... they have two choices: Submit or die," he told reporters. ...

From The Irish Times: Monday, April 12, 2004
Siege of Falluja lifts with Iraqi death toll at over 600 By Lara Marlowe in Baghdad
The US siege of Falluja eased yesterday but with the announcement that over 600 Iraqis have died in the town this week, according to Dr Rafa Hayad al-Issawi, the director of the city's main hospital. He said the dead mostly included women, children and elderly. A US marine commander in charge of the siege of the city however last night claimed 95 per cent of those killed were legitimate targets. ...

From Reuters: Mon Apr 12, 2004 12:08 PM ET
U.S. Military Says It Will Capture or Kill Sadr
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The U.S. military said Monday it will capture or kill Iraqi Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who launched an anti-U.S. uprising by his militia and supporters this month. "The mission of U.S. forces is to kill or capture Moqtada al-Sadr," Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq, told reporters in the United States in a video link from Baghdad. ...

From CNN: Tuesday, April 13, 2004 Posted: 3:37 AM EDT (0737 GMT)
Iraqi clerics say coalition 'must pay' for crisis
U.S. general wants 10,000 more troops
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- As Iraq's most powerful Shiite clerics warned the U.S.-led coalition that it "must pay" for instigating the current crisis in the country, the head of U.S. Central Command asked the Pentagon for roughly 10,000 more soldiers. In a statement issued Monday after a meeting with radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, the clerics and members of the country's religious authority also cautioned the coalition against doing battle in the holy city of Najaf -- and warned against any attempt to kill al-Sadr. "The current crisis in Iraq has risen to a level that is beyond any political groups, including the Governing Council, and it is now an issue that is between the religious authority and the coalition forces," the statement said. "Those who have brought on this crisis must pay for what they have done." ...

AFP at Channel News Asia: 15 April 2004 2158 hrs (GMT + 8 hours)
US troops in Iraq to stay on, Fallujah truce comes unglued, hostage-taking continues

From Reuters: Thu Apr 15, 2004 03:45 PM ET
Iraqi Shi'ite Cleric Sadr Says U.S. Must Leave
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Iraqi rebel Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, in an interview published on Thursday, said he was prepared for indirect talks with the U.S.-led occupation force and vowed to press demands for foreign troops to leave. ...

From Reuters: Thu Apr 15, 2004 04:27 PM ET
Death Toll Mounts, U.S. Extends Iraq Troop Tours By Charles Aldinger
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Expressing surprise at the growing U.S. military death toll in Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Thursday he had extended the promised year-long tours of 20,000 American troops there including 6,000 Reserve and National Guard members. ... "Needless to say, we regret having to extend those individuals," he told reporters. "But the country is at war. And we need to do what is necessary to succeed."

At The BBC: Wednesday, 21 April, 2004, 00:37 GMT 01:37 UK
US warns of new Falluja offensive
The US defence secretary has warned coalition troops in Iraq will not wait indefinitely for gunmen to surrender in the besieged city of Falluja. ...

From AFP at SpaceWar: Apr 21, 2004
US military may need to send more troops to Iraq: Myers
WASHINGTON (AFP) The US military may need to send more troops to Iraq to combat "serious" insurgent violence, the top US general said Wednesday, warning that the costs of military operations also are climbing. Extending the deployment of 20,000 troops already in Iraq for three more months alone will cost an estimated 700 million dollars, General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said. ... If Abizaid asks for more, the Defense Department will have to send units back to Iraq sooner than promised, Myers said. ... "We are going to have to dig very deep if we have to add more (troops)," Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said. ... Wolfowitz and Myers described the standoff against Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah as a key test. ... Representative John Spratt, a Democrat, said the military budget was "totally out of synch with reality." He estimated the additional funding needs at at least 50 billion dollars in 2004. ... Wolfowitz said the Pentagon was reviewing the cost, but he requested only greater leeway in moving funds from less urgent programs to Iraq. He said the military was spending money about 4.7 billion dollars a month in Iraq. ...

At Reuters: Thu Apr 22, 2004 04:12 PM ET
McCain Says U.S. Needs 10,000 More Troops in Iraq By Carol Giacomo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States needs at least 10,000 more troops in Iraq and must curb domestic spending to pay for the war, John McCain, a Republican senator and former rival of President Bush, said on Thursday. ...

From The Independent: 23 April 2004
Former generals of Saddams regime reinstated to new US-trained army
By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad
Iraqi generals who fought for Saddam Hussein are being reinstated to strengthen the new US-trained Iraqi army half of whose soldiers mutinied or went home during fighting earlier this month. More than half a dozen generals from the old Iraqi army, dissolved by the US-led Coalition last May, have already been given jobs say American officials according to the US press. Former members of the Baath party will also be employed in the government. The abrupt reversal of previous policy comes as a senior US general admitted that 10 per cent of the Iraqi security services actually changed sides during recent fighting and another 40 per cent went home. ...

Op-Ed at The NYT: April 23, 2004
What Went Wrong? By PAUL KRUGMAN

Commentary at TomDispatch: April 25, 2004 at 12:08 am
Custer battles Iraqis in Alamo by Tom Engelhardt

From The Independent: 26 April 2004
US troops threaten to cross Shia 'red line' to enter Najaf By Patrick Cockburn
American troops will enter parts of the holy city of Najaf to crush the radical Shia cleric Muqtada Sadr but will avoid its sacred sites, a US general said yesterday. Shia leaders have warned there will be an explosion of anger among the 15 to 16 million Iraqi Shia if US soldiers enter Najaf, where Imam Ali, the founder of their faith, is buried in a golden-domed shrine. "We're going to drive this guy [Sadr] into the dirt," said Brigadier General Mark Hertling, the deputy commander of the 1st Armoured Division. "Either he tells his militia to put down their arms, form a political party and fight with ideas not guns, or he's going to find a lot of them killed." ... In Fallujah, US soldiers will start to patrol with Iraqi security officers today, Hachem al-Hassani, the main negotiator with local leaders in Fallujah, said. "We hope the US soldiers will not be attacked when they enter the city," he said. "If they are attacked, they will respond and this will lead to problems." ...

From Reuters: Mon Apr 26, 2004 04:18 PM ET
U.S. Threatens Falluja, Najaf After New Battles By Fadel Badran
FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. forces in Iraq threw down a gauntlet to fighters from both main Muslim communities on Monday, threatening imminent assaults on two key towns if guerrillas do not accede to their demands. U.S. forces encircle both Najaf, the holiest Iraqi city for the Shi'ite majority, and Falluja ... U.S. officials in Washington said President Bush had asked commanders at Falluja to keep up negotiations. But they may start probing patrols into the city of 300,000 as early as Tuesday, risking serious confrontations. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Baghdad who called the situation in Najaf "explosive," issued an ultimatum to Sadr to withdraw his Mehdi Army militia and its weapons from mosques and schools immediately. ...

From Reuters: Wed Apr 28, 2004 09:14 AM ET
U.S. Forces Renew Strikes on Falluja By Fadel Badran
FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. Marines launched a fresh assault on the besieged Iraqi city of Falluja on Wednesday, sending in air strikes and tanks, residents said. Shelling and fierce exchanges of gunfire broke out in mid-afternoon in the northwestern district of Golan, already pounded overnight by a heavy airborne gunship. Witnesses said jet aircraft, helicopters and heavy planes joined the action. ...

From Reuters: Wed Apr 28, 2004 12:55 PM ET
New U.S. Attacks in Falluja; Bush Warns Guerrillas By Fadel Badran
FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. Marines launched fresh air and ground attacks against guerrillas in Falluja on Wednesday, and President Bush warned his troops would take whatever action was necessary to secure the Iraqi city. Bush said there were "pockets of resistance" in the Sunni bastion, some 30 miles west of Baghdad, but "most of Falluja is returning to normal." "Our military commanders will take whatever actions necessary to secure Falluja," Bush said. ... American troops are trying to quell twin threats to the new order in Iraq -- from the Falluja guerrillas and Shi'ite rebels in the south. ... U.S. commanders near Najaf said an AC-130 attack Monday, which they believed killed some 60 Shi'ite fighters, appeared to have demoralized Sadr's supporters and was part of a strategy to persuade the cleric to give himself up. But Sadr's forces vowed to resist any American incursions. ...

Commentary at The Nation: April 29, 2004
Mutiny in Iraq by Naomi Klein

At CBS News 60MinutesII: April 29, 2004
Abuse Of Iraqi POWs By GIs Probed
At AntiWar: April 30, 2004
The Abu Ghraib Prison Photos (warning: graphic photos)

At The NYT: April 30, 2004
A Full Range of Technology Is Applied to Bomb Falluja

From The Guardian: Friday April 30, 2004
Falluja violence continues as Iraqi force arrives
Iraqi security forces were taking over positions from withdrawing US marines in the flashpoint city of Falluja today as the bloody month-long siege appeared to be nearing an end. ... The Iraqi force moved into the former marine positions in the south-east of Falluja, where they were seen raising the new Iraqi flag. It was hoped that the incoming 1,100-strong Iraqi security force, called the Falluja Protective Army, would be able to succeed in calming the city of 300,000 people, a goal the US forces had failed to accomplish. ... General John Abizaid, who heads US military operations in the Middle East, speaking from the Pentagon, was using cautious language about the reported pullout, saying "what we have there is an opportunity, not necessarily an agreement". ... The commander of the new Iraqi force is Major General Jassim Mohammed Saleh, a veteran of Saddam's republican guard. ... A senior defence official at the Pentagon said the Iraqi soldiers' initial mission was to man checkpoints around the city. Marines will remain on or near the city's perimeter and plan at a later stage to conduct their own patrols inside the city, the official said on condition of anonymity. ...

From AFP at SpaceWar: Apr 30, 2004
Iraqi general receives hero's welcome as US marines leave Fallujah
FALLUJAH, Iraq (AFP) A general in Saddam Hussein's former army entered Fallujah to a hero's welcome Friday as US marines left their main foothold in the flashpoint city after a bloody month-long siege. ...

From Reuters: Sat May 1, 2004 05:57 PM ET
Britain to Dispatch 4,000 Troops to Iraq-Paper
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain has decided to boost its troop strength in Iraq by up to 4,000, about 50 percent, to patrol the Shi'ite flashpoint town of Najaf, the Sunday Telegraph newspaper said. The Ministry of Defense, however, denied any such decision had been made. ...

At The New Yorker: Posted 2004-04-30 Issue of 2004-05-10
American soldiers brutalized Iraqis. How far up does the responsibility go?
From Reuters: Sun May 2, 2004 07:18 AM ET
Report: Iraq Prisoners Faced 'Sadistic' Abuses By Caroline Drees
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iraqi prisoners faced numerous "sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses" by U.S. soldiers, including sodomy and beatings, according to a U.S. Army report quoted by the New Yorker magazine. The New Yorker said it had obtained a 53-page, internal U.S. military report into alleged abuses at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad. In an article posted on its Web site Saturday, the magazine said the report had been authorized by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top U.S. officer in Iraq, and was completed in February. ...
At the Yurica Report:
The Taguba Prison Abuse Report:

From Reuters: Sun May 2, 2004 10:02 AM ET
Saddam General in Falluja Questions U.S. Demands By Fadel Badran
FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - The general from Saddam Hussein's army put in charge of the volatile city of Falluja challenged his U.S. backers Sunday, saying they were wrong to say foreign Islamic guerrillas were behind an insurgency there. ... For a second day, former Iraqi soldiers on patrol in the town turned a blind eye to gunmen celebrating "victory" over U.S. Marines. The U.S. forces pulled back from siege positions after a month-long stalemate and gave the general a few days to put down an insurgency they say involves hundreds of foreigners. ... U.S. commanders stressed that if Saleh's Falluja Brigade of up to 1,200 men failed in a few days to ensure the handover of heavy weapons in the city and the death or capture of foreign militants, then the Marines were poised to go in and do it. ...

From Reuters: Sun May 2, 2004 10:26 AM ET
Myers: Former Saddam General Not in Charge in Falluja By Todd Eastham
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Gen. Jasim Mohamed Saleh, a former general in Saddam Hussein's army, is not in charge in the volatile Iraqi city of Falluja and is still being vetted for a possible peacekeeping role, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Sunday. ...

From AP at Yahoo: Sun May 2,12:21 PM ET
Spain's PM: Iraq Should Serve As Lesson
MADRID, Spain - Spain's prime minister said Sunday he hopes the deteriorating situation in Iraq will serve as a warning to countries against using preemptive wars in the future. "The mission in Iraq, which is showing itself every day to be a failure, should serve as a lesson to the international community: preemptive wars, never again; violations of international law, never again," Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said. ...

From Reuters: Mon May 3, 2004 07:02 PM ET
U.S. in Falluja Turns to Officer Who Defied Saddam By Joseph Logan
FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. Marines besieging Falluja brought in a new Iraqi general with a history of standing up to Saddam Hussein on Monday to lead a force they have charged with putting down insurgency in the city. Their initial choice, who outraged victims of Saddam's regime because of past service in his feared Republican Guard, said he was stepping aside, leaving command of the new Falluja Brigade to former intelligence officer Mohammed Latif. ...

From AFP at SpaceWar: May 04, 2004
More Iraqi troops arrive to secure Fallujah
FALLUJAH, Iraq (AFP) Troops from the Iraqi Civil Defence Corps (ICDC) took up positions alongside US marines on the volatile northern edge of this Sunni stronghold Tuesday in line with a new security pact designed to end weeks of fighting. ... "I am the Fallujah commander," Latif said, answering his detractors in Washington who have questioned his track record and that of General Jassim Mohammed Saleh, who is tapped to lead the brigade's first battalion. "General Saleh is on my staff," .. Latif said he doubted any foreign fighters were left in the city, although the marines have demanded the Fallujah Brigade hand over foreigners they blame for leading the fight against them last month that left hundreds of Iraqis dead. ... "There are no foreign fighters in Fallujah" Latif said. "Maybe there were some a month ago. Now there are none." ...

From Le Monde at t r u t h o u t : Wednesday 05 May 2004
The Red Cross Accuses: "The Photos are Shocking, but Our Reports are Worse"
By Afsane Bassir Pour

From Reuters: Wed May 5, 2004 06:09 PM ET
Bush Seeks $25 Billion More for Iraq, Afghanistan By Adam Entous and Anna Willard
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush on Wednesday asked Congress for an additional $25 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, breaking a pledge not to seek more money before the November election. ... The new money would come on top of $160 billion in Bush's two previous spending bills for Iraq and Afghanistan, and officials said far more money would be needed next year. ... The new request comes one day after the Pentagon, faced with growing military casualties in Iraq, said it was scrapping a plan to reduce its forces and would keep about 138,000 troops there through at least the end of 2005. ...

From The NYT: May 6, 2004
U.S. Troops Start Major Attacks on Shiite Insurgents in 2 Cities By EDWARD WONG
KARBALA, Iraq, Thursday, May 6 — The American military has begun its first major assault against Shiite insurgents, striking at their enclaves here and in Diwaniya in an effort to regain control in southern Iraq. ... The operation began at 11 p.m. on Tuesday and took place in two waves. The first assault began late Tuesday here and in Diwaniya, and ended at dawn on Wednesday. The second unfolded just after midnight Thursday in this city, when more than 450 soldiers in armored vehicles rumbled into a neighborhood amusement park where Mr. Sadr's militiamen, known as the Mahdi Army, were storing heavy weapons near a ferris wheel and bumper car ride. At 12:30 a.m., soldiers were drawn into an intense firefight, killing an Iraqi who had been lobbing grenades from the area of the pirate ship ride. The man was carrying identification showing he worked for an American-trained security force, the Facilities Protection Service. Soldiers killed at least 10 Iraqi fighters and captured 20 people in the first attack in Karbala ... At least nine militiamen were killed in Diwaniya, a Sadr spokesman told Agence France-Presse. ...

From Reuters: Thu May 6, 2004 08:17 AM ET
U.S. Must Leave Falluja, Iraq General Says By Michael Georgy
FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - The Iraqi former general entrusted with pacifying volatile Falluja said on Thursday U.S. Marines must withdraw quickly from around the troubled town and go home so stability can be restored. "I want the American soldier to return to his camp. What I want more is that he returns to the United States," General Muhammad Latif told Reuters in an interview. "They should leave very quickly, very quickly or there will be problems. If they stay it will hurt the confidence and we have built confidence. They should leave so that there will be more calm." ...

From the Los Angeles Times at Yahoo: Sat May 8, 7:55 AM ET
Fallouja's Fighters Trade Weapons, Not Allegiances By Alissa J. Rubin
FALLOUJA, Iraq — As Yassir Harhoush sees it, the work he'll be doing for the new U.S.-sanctioned Fallouja Brigade isn't all that different from what he was doing last week — only then, he says, he was part of the insurgency. ... The members of the new force — most of whom retain the rank they had when they left the Iraqi military — seemed poised to take up arms again against the Americans if there was any sign that the U.S. forces were reneging on the deal, which calls for U.S. troops to withdraw completely by the end of Sunday. ...

From AP at MSNBC: 1:12 p.m. ET May 08, 2004
Shiite gunmen run rampant in Basra
Militia clashes with troops in Karbala and Amarah

At the Boston Herald: Saturday, May 8, 2004
Rueful Rumsfeld: `Cruel' truth hurts: Rape and murder feared in Iraq abuse
By Noelle Straub
WASHINGTON - The Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal took an explosive turn yesterday with the revelation that photos and graphic videotapes not yet made public show abuses more horrific than those already seen. ... The unreleased images show American soldiers beating one prisoner almost to death, apparently raping a female prisoner, acting inappropriately with a dead body, and taping Iraqi guards raping young boys, according to NBC News. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said the scandal is ``going to get worse'' and warned that the most ``disturbing'' revelations haven't yet been made public. ``The American public needs to understand, we're talking about rape and murder here,'' he said. ... Testifying alongside Rumsfeld, Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, defended the military response to the abuses. He said officials acted quickly to investigate the incidents after a soldier reported them. ``Our commanders did exactly the right thing in a timely manner,'' Myers said. ... Lawmakers promised to pursue a series of hearings into the matter. ...

From AP at Yahoo: Sat, May 08, 2004 1:22pm ET
More Bad News May Be on the Way for Bush By TERENCE HUNT
WASHINGTON - In one of the darkest weeks of his administration, President Bush saw America's reputation sullied, the U.S. effort in Iraq damaged and his own campaign for re-election clouded. And more bad news may be on the way. While the world already has been horrified by pictures of American soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners, the Pentagon warns there are many more photos and videos that have not been disclosed. They show "acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhuman," embattled Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress. ... Bush, in his weekly radio address Saturday, said, "They are a stain on our country's honor and reputation." He said the abuses were the work of a few and do not reflect the overall character of the 200,000 members of the U.S. military who have served in Iraq in the past year. ... Bush pledged in his radio address that the United States would not be thrown into retreat. "This has been a difficult few weeks," Bush said. "Yet our forces will stay on the offensive, finding and confronting the killers and terrorists who are trying to undermine the progress of democracy in Iraq."

From AFP at Yahoo: Sat, May 08, 2004 2:19pm ET
New allegations blunt Bush's bid to quell Iraqi prisoner scandal
WASHINGTON (AFP) - More allegations of abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US and British soldiers emerged, just as US President George W. Bush was seeking to quell the scandal and fighting between coalition forces and supporters of a radical cleric spread. ... The unrelenting violence and prisoner abuse scandal have thrown into disarray plans for a smooth handover of power in eight weeks. Some 500 eminent Iraqis opposed to the occupation met in Baghdad to set up a political force to rival the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council, just as the United Nations special envoy to Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi, was meeting council members to discuss the transfer of sovereignty on June 30. The group of moderate Shiites, Sunnis and Arab nationalists called for an end to the occupation, vowed to boycott political groups set up by the United States, demanded a stronger army and requested talks with Brahimi.

At the Sunday Herald: 09 May 2004
Bush and Blair say they are shocked by the abuse of war prisoners ...
but they knew about it two years ago
By James Cusick, Westminster Editor
String of reports warned of widespread torture by troops dating back to Afghanistan
THE US and British governments have received Red Cross reports “month after month” since the declared end of the Iraq war a year ago, detailing the abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners. ...

From The Observer at The Guardian: Sunday May 9, 2004
by Peter Beaumont in London, Paul Harris in New York, and Jason Burke in Baghdad
The White House faced its biggest crisis over Iraq last week, but its origins lie in practices that may have been routine. We reveal how the abuse of prisoners began long before the sickening images which have outraged the world appeared

From Reuters: Mon May 10, 2004 07:36 AM ET
U.S. Marine Convoy Enters Iraqi Town of Falluja By Fadil Badran and Ibon Villelabeitia
FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - A U.S. Marine convoy entered Falluja for the first time in more than a month on Monday, testing a shaky truce with insurgents in Iraq's most rebellious town, witnesses said. ... "We are glad you are here with us and that you liberated Iraq, but we would like the Americans to stay out and let us deal with the security," Falluja Police Captain Hammed Alayash told Major-General James Mattis, commander of the 1st Marines Division. ... U.S. Marines control checkpoints with Iraqi security forces on the edges of Falluja while maintaining positions within striking distance of the town, keeping open the option of another offensive if the truce collapses. ... A dozen light-armored vehicles mounted with machineguns, Humvees and pick-up trucks carrying Iraqi police officers in crisp blue shirts accompanied U.S. commanders who held talks at the mayor's office in Falluja, 32 miles west of Baghdad. "This is an important mission. We are here trying to rebuild trust with the Iraqis," Mattis told Reuters. ...

From Reuters: Mon May 10, 2004 09:10 AM ET
Iraq Cleric to Widen War After U.S. Bombs Baghdad HQ By Suleiman al-Khalidi
NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr Monday ordered his Mehdi Army to launch a broad new offensive against U.S.-led occupying forces following a U.S. crackdown on his strongholds in Baghdad and across the south. ... "Our policy now is to extend the state of resistance and to move it to all of Iraq because of the occupiers' military escalation and crossing of all red lines in the holy cities of Kerbala and Najaf," Qais al-Khazali said. ...

From Le Monde Diplomatique: May 2004
Iraq: all together against the occupation
Washington never predicted, even never seemed to consider that the most successful way to revive Iraqi nationalism, and beyond that Arab nationalism, was to occupy the country and treat it contemptuously and rapaciously: this has created unexpected alliances between enemies.

At Reuters: Mon May 10, 2004 11:38 AM ET
Red Cross Was Told Iraq Abuse 'Part of the Process' By Peter Graff

From The Advertiser at May 10, 2004
Top brass 'picked man who ordered torture' By William Lowther in London
THE torture tactics used to "soften up" Iraqi detainees at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib jail began under orders from the highest level of the US defence administration, it was claimed yesterday. The creation of torture units was the consequence of orders by the Defence Department – headed by Secretary Donald Rumsfeld – to prise information out of prisoners. Last August, the Department ordered General Geoffrey Miller – then in charge at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay – to go to Iraq to find ways to improve the flow of intelligence from detainees, an investigation by Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper has found. ... General Miller, who had returned to Camp X-Ray, was last week put in control of running Abu Ghraib. ...

The Taguba Prison Abuse Report:

At Information Clearing House:
Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the Treatment by the Coalition Forces of Prisoners of War and Other Protected Persons by the Geneva Conventions in Iraq During Arrest, Internment and Interrogation:
Also a link at Indymedia:

From AP at the Chicago Sun-Times: May 11, 2004
Up to 90% of Iraqi detainees arrested by mistake, Red Cross says
GENEVA -- Up to 90 percent of Iraqi detainees were arrested ''by mistake,'' according to coalition intelligence officers cited in a Red Cross report disclosed Monday. Abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers was widespread and routine, the report finds -- contrary to President Bush's contention that the mistreatment ''was the wrongdoing of a few.'' ...

From Reuters UK: Tue 11 May, 2004 21:15
Qaeda leader "beheads American" By Ghaida Ghantous
DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda's leader in Iraq beheaded an American civilian and vowed more killings in revenge for the "Satanic degradation" of Iraqi prisoners, an Islamist website says. ... "Nation of Islam, is there any excuse left to sit idly by? And how can free Muslims sleep soundly as they see Islam being slaughtered, honour bleeding, photographs of shame and reports of Satanic degradation of the people of Islam, men and women, in Abu Ghraib prison?" the statement said. ... The militants' statement, addressing families of U.S. soldiers, said Zarqawi's group had offered Washington to swap Berg for Iraqi prisoners held by U.S. troops "but they refused". "You will only get shroud after shroud and coffin after coffin slaughtered in this manner," it said. ...

At 12th May, 2004 10amET
Beheaded Man's Firm Was On Right-Wing 'Enemies' List
by Fintan Dunne, Editor - Research by Kathy McMahon

From the Associated Press at Newsday: May 12, 2004, 2:11 PM EDT
U.S. Soldiers Battle Al-Sadr Supporters By HAMZA HENDAWI

From The Associated Press at the Washington Post: Thursday, May 13, 2004; 1:44 PM
U.S. Troops, Militiamen Battle in Karbala By Hamza Hendawi
Heavy gunfire and huge explosions resounded Thursday as American forces battled Iraqi militiamen near a gold-domed shrine that is one of the most sacred sites for Shiite Muslims. ...

From the Washington Post: Thursday, May 13, 2004; 1:10 PM
Troops Get a Chance to Question Rumsfeld By Fred Barbash
Moments after Donald H. Rumsfeld said how much more "fun" it was (to) be questioned by the troops in Baghdad than the critics in Washington, the troops in the Iraqi capital hit the defense secretary with a barrage of serious, probing and sometimes personal inquiries, some of which, he confessed, he just could not answer. ... Rumsfeld got one thing he never gets from the press in Washington: a standing ovation. ...

From the Washington Post: Thursday, May 13, 2004; 4:35 PM
Rumsfeld Pays Surprise Visit to Iraq By Josh White
Defense Chief Visits Abu Ghraib Prison
BAGHDAD, May 13 -- Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, on a surprise visit to Baghdad Thursday, visited the Abu Ghraib jail facility that is the center of allegations of prisoner abuse and acknowledged to U.S. troops here that the issue has been a "body blow" to American efforts in Iraq. ... "We're not on an inspection tour," Rumsfeld told reporters Wednesday afternoon aboard an Air Force on his way to Baghdad. "If anyone thinks I'm there to throw water on a fire, they're wrong." ... Rumsfeld held a town hall-style meeting with hundreds of soldiers at Saddam Hussein's Al Faw palace Thursday afternoon, which serves as an operations command center, thanking them for their hard work. Speaking under a massive chandelier in the main foyer, he told the soldiers "you're going to be proud" of the work in Iraq. ...

From AP at My Way News: May 13, 6:48 PM (ET)
Rumsfeld in Iraq: No Cover-Up of Abuses By ROBERT BURNS
ABU GHRAIB, Iraq (AP) - Hoping to contain a spreading scandal, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld went to the Abu Ghraib prison camp on Thursday and insisted the Pentagon did not try to cover up abuses there. ... All 3,800 Iraqis at Abu Ghraib are "security detainees," said the commander, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, or people suspected of roles in insurgent attacks on coalition forces. No one is a prisoner of war, Miller said. ... "I'm absolutely convinced we laid down the foundations for how you detain people humanely," said Miller ...

At Reuters: Thu May 13, 2004 07:39 PM ET
Pentagon admits Iraq methods violated Geneva rules By Will Dunham

From The Associated Press at MSNBC: 10:08 a.m. ET May 14, 2004
Bremer says U.S. will leave Iraq if new government asks
Rulers not likely to seek quick exit, administrator says
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.S. administrator of Iraq told regional officials Friday that the United States would leave Iraq if requested to do so by the new Iraqi government — although he thinks such a move is unlikely. L. Paul Bremer told a delegation from Iraq’s Diyala province that American forces would not stay where they were unwelcome.
“If the provisional government asks us to leave we will leave,” Bremer said, referring to an Iraqi administration due to take power June 30. “I don’t think that will happen, but obviously we don’t stay in countries where we’re not welcome.” ...

At American Patriot Friends Network: May 14, 2004

At the World Socialist Web Site: May 14, 2004
The Terrible and Strange Death of Nick Berg By James Conachy

From Reuters: Fri May 14, 2004 07:41 PM ET
Bush Says Zarqawi Killed Berg, Cites Saddam 'Ties' By Caren Bohan
MEQUON, Wis. (Reuters) - President Bush on Friday blamed al Qaeda supporter Abu Musab al-Zarqawi for beheading American Nicholas Berg and cited him as an example of Saddam Hussein's "terrorist ties" before the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Bush's revival of accusations linking Saddam to terrorism comes as the president faces growing doubts among Americans over his Iraq policy. At a fund-raising lunch in Bridgeton, Missouri, Bush said Zarqawi was an example of the threat posed by the ousted Iraqi leader. "We knew he (Saddam) had terrorist ties. The person responsible for the Berg death, Zarqawi, was in and out of Baghdad prior to our arrival, for example," Bush said. ... "They're glad to be rid of Saddam," he said. "And they obviously want to run their own country. If I were them I'd want to run my own country too." ...

From the Washington Post: Saturday, May 15, 2004; Page A01
Powell Says Troops Would Leave Iraq if New Leaders Asked By Glenn Kessler
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, joined by the foreign ministers of nations making key contributions of military forces in Iraq, emphatically said yesterday that if the incoming Iraqi interim government ordered the departure of foreign troops after July 1, they would pack up without protest. ...
And from The NYT: May 15, 2004
Powell Says U.S. Would Withdraw Troops From Iraq If New Government Requests It
... "I have no doubt that the interim Iraqi government will welcome the continued presence and operation of coalition military forces," Mr. Powell said... "were this interim government to say to us, `We really think we can handle this on our own; it would be better if you were to leave,' we would leave." ...

From Voice of America News: 15 May 2004, 17:14 UTC
US Troops to Stay in Iraq After June 30, Bush Says by Scott Stearns - White House
President Bush says U.S. troops will stay in Iraq after the June 30 handover of power. Presumptive Democratic challenger John Kerry is questioning the president's military leadership. President Bush says U.S. troops will stay in Iraq after the handover of power, until the country's new security forces can defend against what he called external aggression and internal subversion. "Iraq's new interim government will assume a sovereign authority," said President Bush. "America will keep its commitment to the independence and national dignity of the Iraqi people. Yet, the vital mission of our military in helping to provide security will continue on July 1 and beyond."
U.S., British, Italian, and Japanese foreign ministers Friday said they would pull their troops out of Iraq, if the new interim administration decides it can handle the situation on its own. But Secretary of State Powell said it is highly unlikely they will be asked to leave. In his weekly radio address, Mr. Bush said U.S. Marines are conducting joint patrols with Iraqi security forces in and around Fallujah to take back the city from what he calls Saddam loyalists, foreign fighters and other militants. Around Najaf and Karbala, Mr. Bush says, U.S. and Iraqi forces are systematically dismantling militias loyal to cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. "The Iraqi people oppose the actions of this illegal militia, and Shia religious leaders have called on it to withdraw," he said. "Recent days have seen demonstrations, in which ordinary Iraqis have taken to the streets, calling on the militia to withdraw from their cities and towns."Mr. Bush also said those responsible for abuse of Iraqi prisoners in U.S. custody would be brought to justice. ...

From The New Yorker: Issue of 2004-05-24, Posted 2004-05-15
How a secret Pentagon program came to Abu Ghraib.
The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. ... the Pentagon’s operation, known inside the intelligence community by several code words, including Copper Green, encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq. ...

At Reuters: Sat May 15, 2004 09:01 PM ET
U.S. Forces Renew Holy City Battles in Iraq By Suleiman al-Khalidi
KERBALA, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S.-led forces battled insurgents around some of the holiest Shi'ite shrines in Iraq on Saturday as pressure built for an interim government to be given real control of military affairs. ...

At Bloomberg: May 15, 2004 22:54 EDT
U.S. Denies Rumsfeld Approved Iraq Interrogations Methods
May 16 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld didn't approve any operations that led to the interrogation methods used on Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison, the Defense Department said. The denial was made in response to an article on the New Yorker magazine Web site ... ``Assertions apparently made in the latest New Yorker article on Abu Ghraib and the abuse of Iraqi detainees are outlandish, conspiratorial, and filled with error and anonymous conjecture,'' the Department of Defense statement said.

Opinion at The Sacramento Bee: 2:15 am PDT Sunday, May 16, 2004
Atrocities in Iraq: 'I killed innocent people for our government' By Paul Rockwell

From AP at Yahoo: May 16, 2004 2:34pm ET
Powell: Arab Response to Berg Insufficient
WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Colin Powell scolded Arab governments Sunday for not expressing more outrage over the videotaped beheading of an American civilian in Iraq. ...

From the Washington Post: Sunday, May 16, 2004; 3:00 PM
U.S, Russia on 'Same Page' Regarding Iraq, Rice Says By Peter Baker
MOSCOW, May 16 -- The United States and Russia are now "on the same page" regarding the future of Iraq despite past disputes, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said Sunday after consultations on a new U.N. resolution guiding the transfer of limited authority to an Iraqi government this summer. ...

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