BlueHummingbird News

The New Iraq

Iraqi Jihad

By Agence France Presse (AFP) at The Daily Star (Lebanon): Monday, May 17, 2004
Fallujah sends delegation to meet Sadr
Sunnis could fight alongside Mehdi Army
NAJAF, Iraq: Townsmen from the flashpoint town of Fallujah met radical Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Sunday, Shiite sources said, as Islam's rival sects made common cause against the US-led coalition. ...

From the Associated Press at The Boston Globe: 5/16/2004 17:41
Once considered fringe, al-Sadr movement now leads anti-U.S. fight By Hamza Hendawi
NAJAF, Iraq (AP) Not long ago, U.S. officials and senior Shiite clergy viewed radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr as a fringe figure with a narrow base of support. Times have changed. In the six weeks since al-Sadr launched an anti-coalition uprising in Baghdad and across central and southern Iraq, the young cleric has been elevated to heroic status, his movement re-energized. His militiamen now control Najaf, Kufa and Karbala. ...

From The Independent: 17 May 2004
US admits Shia unrest is 'uprising' By Justin Huggler in Baghdad
Fighting continued in Shia cities across Iraq yesterday in what United States occupation forces now admit is a "minor uprising" by forces loyal to the radical Shia cleric Muqtada Sadr. ...

From Reuters: Mon May 17, 2004 03:17 PM ET
Suicide Car Bomb Kills Iraq Governing Council Chief
By Joseph Logan and Khaled Yacoub Oweis
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A suicide car bomber killed the head of Iraq's Governing Council Monday, a major new blow to U.S.-led occupiers battling a Shi'ite insurgency and a growing prisoner abuse scandal as they prepare to hand over sovereignty. ...

From Reuters: Tue May 18, 2004 07:37 AM ET
Iraqis Head for U.N., Seeking Control of Oil By Khaled Yacoub Oweis
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's leaders, flexing muscles as the United States prepares to cede sovereignty, are sending a delegation to the United Nations to demand control of their oil wealth and an end to reparations it pays for Saddam Hussein's wars. ... There were fresh clashes in the south of the country between U.S. troops and militia loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. ... Iraq's foremost Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called on U.S. forces and Sadr's militia fighters to withdraw from the holy cities of Najaf and Kerbala. ... Iraq has so far paid around $20 billion of an estimated $300 billion reparations bill. Revenues from its war and sanctions battered oil industry have amounted to just $9 billion since the U.S. invasion 14 months ago ... Under a U.N resolution from last year, Iraq's oil revenues are deposited in a U.S. account controlled by the United States. ...

From Reuters at Wired News: Wednesday, May 19, 2004 1:09 p.m. ET
Cheney Vows U.S. Will Fight on in Iraq By Sue Pleming
NEW LONDON, Conn. (Reuters) - Despite a persistent Iraqi insurgency, the United States will not be shaken by terror attacks in Iraq and will not run from its challenges there, Vice President Dick Cheney said ... Cheney said Iraq had become the central front in the war on terror and a "collection of killers" was trying to throw that country into chaos. ... "..these enemies are employing the tactics of terror.." ... "They want to shake the will of the American people and show the world that America runs from a challenge. In all of this, the terrorists will fail," he said. ... "And this nation has made a decision. We will engage the enemy -- facing him with our military in Afghanistan and Iraq today, so we do not have to face him with the armies of firefighters, police and medical personnel inside our own country." ...

From Reuters: Wed May 19, 2004 02:55 PM ET
TV: Over 40 Killed in U.S. Bombing of Iraq Village
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (Reuters) - Al Arabiya television said at least 41 civilians were killed Wednesday in a U.S. air raid on an Iraqi village celebrating a wedding. ...
At Aljazeera: Wednesday 19 May 2004, 23:03 Makka Time, 20:03 GMT
Iraqis slain as 'US bombs wedding'
From ABC News: May 19, 2004
U.S. Military Denies Wedding Party Attacked
Arab television networks reported today that a U.S. helicopter had fired on a wedding party in western Iraq, but the U.S. military denied it. ... Kimmitt said coalition forces did conduct an operation about 15 miles from the Syrian border at 3 a.m., and that ground troops found 40 bodies after the attack. He declined to say whether there were any children among the dead. ...
From NBC News at MSNBC: 3:19 p.m. ET May 19, 2004
U.S. denies report of copter attack on Iraq wedding
U.S. officials tell NBC chopper was fired upon
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi officials said a U.S. helicopter fired on a wedding party Wednesday in western Iraq, killing more than 40 people, including children. Senior Pentagon officials confirmed that approximately 40 fatalities in an attack in the area near the Syrian border, but told NBC News that the AC-130 returned fire after coming under attack from militants. ...

From Reuters: Wed May 19, 2004 05:14 PM ET
U.S. General Forecasts Escalating Iraq Violence
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A further surge in violence is likely in Iraq after the June 30 return of self-governance and leading up to Iraqi elections, which could require the deployment of more American troops, the top U.S. commander in the region said on Wednesday. ...

From Reuters UK: Fri 21 May, 2004 04:32
U.S. raids former protege Chalabi's HQ By Alastair Macdonald
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. troops and Iraqi police have raided the home and party offices of Washington's former top Iraq ally Ahmad Chalabi, whipping up fresh turbulence in the run-up to a U.S. handover of power. Iraqi judge Hassan Muathin said Thursday's raid was carried out under an arrest warrant for men wanted for stealing state-owned vehicles, but CBS reported Chalabi had passed sensitive U.S. intelligence to Iran that could "get Americans killed". ...

From Reuters UK: Fri 21 May, 2004 17:08
New images amplify abuse at Iraq prison By Jacqueline Frank
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hundreds of new images and sworn statements from Iraqis held at Abu Ghraib prison depict harrowing sexual humiliation well beyond abuses reported previously, says The Washington Post. The 13 previously secret sworn statements by detainees obtained by the Post added an overt anti-Islamic dimension to the abuses, with prisoners forced to renounce their religion, eat pork and drink liquor in contravention of Islamic religious tenets. One detainee said he was told during the holy month of Ramadan he would be released if he cooperated and was ordered to curse Islam. "Because they started to hit my broken leg, I curse my religion. They ordered me to thank Jesus I am alive." The abuses were said to include prisoners being forced to masturbate in front of female soldiers as well as an Army translator having sex with a boy 15 to 18 years old, an incident detainee Kasim Mehaddi Hilas said was documented in photos taken by a female soldier. ... Defence Department spokesman Lawrence DiRita told The Post the images sounded like some of the more than 1,600 photos and videos the Pentagon showed to members of the U.S. Congress and that Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had warned might become public. ...
At The Washington Post: Friday, May 21, 2004; Page A01
New Details of Prison Abuse Emerge By Scott Higham and Joe Stephens
Abu Ghraib Detainees' Statements Describe Sexual Humiliation And Savage Beatings
Previously secret sworn statements by detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq describe in raw detail abuse that goes well beyond what has been made public, adding allegations of prisoners being ridden like animals, sexually fondled by female soldiers and forced to retrieve their food from toilets. ...
Sworn Statements by Abu Ghraib Detainees

From CBS News 60Minutes: May 21, 2004
Gen. Zinni: 'They've Screwed Up'
(CBS) Accusing top Pentagon officials of "dereliction of duty," retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni says staying the course in Iraq isn't a reasonable option. "The course is headed over Niagara Falls. I think it's time to change course a little bit or at least hold somebody responsible for putting you on this course" ... Zinni blames the poor planning on the civilian policymakers in the administration, known as neo-conservatives, who saw the invasion as a way to stabilize the region and support Israel. He believes these people, who include Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense, have hijacked U.S. foreign policy. "They promoted it and pushed [the war]... even to the point of creating their own intelligence to match their needs. Then they should bear the responsibility," Zinni tells Kroft. ... "..they've screwed up, and whose heads are rolling on this?" ...

At The Independent: 21 May 2004
One incident. Forty dead. Two stories. What really happened? By Justin Huggler

From Associated Press at the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: Sat, May. 22, 2004
Video shows carnage, bodies among rubble
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Fragments of musical instruments, tufts of women's hair, and a large blood stain are among the scenes in Associated Press Television News film of a destroyed house that survivors say U.S. planes bombed during a wedding party. ...

At CNN: Saturday, May 22, 2004 Posted: 6:30 PM EDT (2230 GMT)
U.S. targets Kufa insurgents
U.S.: No evidence of wedding at strike site in desert

From The Observer: Sunday May 23, 2004
Iraqis lose right to sue troops over war crimes Kamal Ahmed
Military win immunity pledge in deal on UN vote
British and American troops are to be granted immunity from prosecution in Iraq after the crucial 30 June handover, undermining claims that the new Iraqi government will have 'full sovereignty' over the state. ...

From The Associated Press at MSNBC: 2:10 p.m. ET May 23, 2004
U.S. denies Sanchez witnessed prison abuse
Washington Post: Top U.S. commander knew about interrogation methods
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.S. military command on Sunday denied a report that the top U.S. general in Iraq was present during some interrogations at the Abu Ghraib prison and witnessed some of the abuse of Iraqi inmates. ...

From The BBC: Sunday, 23 May, 2004, 19:08 GMT 20:08 UK
US battles militia in two cities
There has been an upsurge in fighting between US-led coalition forces and Shia militia in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf and nearby Kufa. ... Residents say US aircraft and artillery pounded the area before troops, backed by tanks, moved in. ...

From the Washington Post: Monday, May 24, 2004; Page A01
U.S. Forces Move Into Stronghold Of Cleric By Daniel Williams and Scott Wilson
Insurgents Scatter as Hunt For Their Leader Intensifies
KARBALA, Iraq, May 23 -- U.S. forces expanded an offensive against rebel cleric Moqtada Sadr on Sunday by pushing into his stronghold of Kufa for the first time, as his armed followers vanished from the streets of this Shiite holy city. ...

From Associated Press at Yahoo: Sun May 23, 7:16 PM ET
AP: Video Shows Iraq Wedding Celebration By SCHEHEREZADE FARAMARZI
At The Guardian: Monday May 24, 2004
'Wedding video' contradicts US denials

Commentary at The Guardian: Monday May 24, 2004
What have we done?
The horrific images from Abu Ghraib have come to define the ill-starred occupation of Iraq, but what do they really tell us about America? Are they simply the work of a few rogue soldiers, or the result of the new foreign and domestic policies of the Bush administration, which find ready approval in an increasingly brutalised society?
Susan Sontag on the ugly face of the war on terror

By The Associated Press at My Way News: May 24, 3:31 PM (ET)
Text of U.N. Draft Resolution on Iraq

From Associated Press at Wired News: Monday, May 24, 2004 10:54 p.m. ET
Bush Says U.S. Will Persevere in Iraq By SCOTT LINDLAW
CARLISLE, Pa. (AP) -- President Bush, trying to dispel rising doubts about the war, declared Monday night the United States would stay in Iraq until it was free and democratic and suggested more U.S. soldiers might have to be sent to stop enemy forces bent on destroying the new government. ... Bush outlined five steps that he said would help Iraq achieve democracy and freedom: transferring authority to a sovereign new Iraqi government on June 30, helping establish security in areas still gripped by chaos, urging broader international support, reconstructing the country and setting up national elections. ... "If they need more troops, I will send them," Bush pledged. ...

From Reuters at Wired News: Tuesday, May 25, 2004 12:20 p.m. ET
Iraqis Demand More Freedom, Swift End to Occupation By Alastair Macdonald
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqis reacted with weary skepticism Tuesday to promises from President Bush of a peaceful and independent future, saying a U.S. offer of sovereignty did not go far enough to restore their freedom. ... Bush, in a televised address to assure worried American voters that his project in Iraq was on track, said U.S. forces would stay on and even be reinforced to stabilize Iraq in the run-up to elections there in the new year. ...

From Reuters: Tue May 25, 2004 01:50 PM ET
Pentagon to Replace Top U.S. Commander in Iraq By Charles Aldinger
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon will replace Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez as the top U.S. military officer in Iraq, senior defense officials said on Tuesday. But they argued that the change was not triggered by the Abu Ghraib Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal. ... President Bush praised Sanchez. "Rick Sanchez has done a fabulous job. He's been there for a long time. His service has been exemplary," Bush said in response to a question from reporters at the White House. ... Sanchez testified before a Senate committee last week on the scandal and took responsibility for the abuse because it happened during his time as commander. But he said he was not aware of the abuse while it was happening and moved quickly to investigate after learning about it. ...

From Reuters: Tue May 25, 2004 02:42 PM ET
White House Ignores Critics, Voices Iraq Optimism By David Morgan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration sought on Tuesday to project a unified, optimistic view of its plan to hand over power to an interim government in Iraq, even as President Bush faced criticism over a strategy many find lacking in crucial details. In a televised speech on Monday, Bush tried to convince Americans that he has a workable plan for transforming Iraq from a war-torn occupied nation into a beacon of democratic reform for the Middle East region as a whole. ...

At The NYT: May 26, 2004
Abuse of Captives More Widespread, Says Army Survey

At The BBC: Wednesday, 26 May, 2004, 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK
Report: 'US war on terror bankrupt' By Elizabeth Blunt
Human rights organisation Amnesty International (AI) has issued an annual report in which the United States' war on terror is criticised as bankrupt of vision and bereft of principle. The last year has seen "the most sustained attack on human rights and international humanitarian law in 50 years", AI says. ...

At Voice of America News: 26 May 2004, 20:15 UTC
White House Rejects Amnesty International Criticism David Gollust
The Bush administration Wednesday rejected criticism from Amnesty International that the U.S.-led war on terrorism and invasion of Iraq have sacrificed human rights considerations in the name of security. The White House countered that U.S. actions have liberated the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and afforded them human rights protections..

At MoveOn PAC: May 26, 2004
Remarks by Al Gore
" ... Donald Rumsfeld, as the chief architect of the war plan, should resign today. His deputies Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith and his intelligence chief Stephen Cambone should also resign. The nation is especially at risk every single day that Rumsfeld remains as Secretary of Defense. Condoleeza Rice, who has badly mishandled the coordination of national security policy, should also resign immediately. George Tenet should also resign. ... I believe we have a duty to hold President Bush accountable ... "

At Newsday: May 26, 2004
U.S. using some Iraqis as bargaining chips by By Mohamad Bazzi
Iraqi woman says U.S. imprisoned her husband - and said he'd go free when her father surrenders

From AP at The Baltimore Sun: May 27, 2004, 4:08 PM EDT
Military halts operations in Najaf after deal struck
Iraqi leaders, al-Sadr agree on plan to end fighting in holy Shiite city; Status of militia, warrant against cleric to be determined; 3 Marines killed elsewhere
NAJAF, Iraq - The U.S.-led coalition agreed today to suspend offensive operations in Najaf after Iraqi leaders struck a deal with radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to end a bloody standoff threatening some of Iraq's holiest Shiite shrines. ...
Also from Reuters: Thu May 27, 2004 05:38 PM ET
U.S., Iraqi Cleric Sadr Cease Fire in Najaf By Suleiman al-Khalidi
NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. troops called off an offensive against an Iraqi Shi'ite militia in the holy city of Najaf on Thursday after militant cleric Moqtada al-Sadr began pulling his fighters from their strongholds and offered a truce. ...

From Reuters: Fri May 28, 2004 10:29 AM ET
U.S. Troops, Sadr Militia Clash After Iraq Truce By Suleiman al-Khalidi
NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - Clashes between U.S. troops and Shi'ite militia around the holy city Najaf left five Iraqis dead on Friday, a day after militant cleric Moqtada al-Sadr offered a truce to end two months of fighting. Sadr's followers accused U.S. forces of bad faith by trying to capture their leader and his Mehdi Army fighters returned in force to the streets of Najaf and fired on a rival cleric. ...

From Reuters: Fri May 28, 2004 04:01 PM ET
CIA-Linked Former Exile Picked as Iraqi Premier By Tom Perry
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iyad Allawi, a former member of Saddam Hussein's Baath party who worked with the CIA to topple him, was chosen as prime minister of Iraq Friday. ...
At The BBC: Friday, 28 May, 2004, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
Profile: Iyad Allawi

At The Sydney Morning Herald: May 29, 2004
Who killed Nick Berg?
Conspiracy theories about how the kidnapped American died in Iraq are flying around the world. Richard Neville explores the explanations.

From Associated Press at The Boston Globe: 5/30/2004 16:42
Assailants ambush convoy near Iraqi capital; U.S. soldiers clash with Shiite gunmen in Najaf By Hamza Hendawi
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) Assailants ambushed a convoy of Westerners on Sunday on a northern Baghdad highway, killing at least two people and possibly abducting others, police and witnesses said. U.S. soldiers came under fire in a Shiite holy city as an agreement to halt fighting there appeared to be unraveling. ...

From Reuters: Mon May 31, 2004 01:59 PM ET
Iraqis Chafe at U.S. Block on Choice of President By Tom Perry
BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi leaders were dismayed by the United States and United Nations Monday blocking their choice of a president to replace Saddam Hussein when the U.S. occupation authority is wound up in a month's time. ... The U.S.-appointed Council favors its present leader, Ghazi Yawar ... Council members said U.S. governor Paul Bremer and U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi were pressuring them to back Adnan Pachachi ... The Governing Council caught Brahimi off-guard Friday by announcing the nomination to the top job of prime minister of Iyad Allawi, a secular Shi'ite member of the Council who worked with the CIA from exile to overthrow Saddam. Brahimi and the White House later said they endorsed the appointment. ...

From The BBC: Tuesday, 1 June, 2004, 18:29 GMT 19:29 UK
The quarrel over Iraq appointments By Roger Hardy
The new Iraqi president will be Ghazi Yawer, a Sunni Arab who was the preferred candidate of the Iraqi Governing Council. ...

From Aljazeera: Tuesday 01 June 2004, 18:50 Makka Time, 15:50 GMT
Iraqis fail to regain control of oil revenue By Ahmed Janabi
The latest Iraqi attempts to recover control of the country's oil revenues from the United States appear to have hit a dead end with a special delegation being rebuffed in its bid to secure UN help. ... The US has imposed secrecy on oil deals, exportation, and use of revenues. ...

At CBS News: June 2, 2004
'Drunk' American Blabs To Chalabi?
From Associated Press at The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Va.): 6/2/04
Chalabi Denies Telling Iran U.S. Had Code By KATHERINE PFLEGER SHRADER

From The NYT: June 4, 2004
U.N. Says Abu Ghraib Abuse Could Constitute War Crime By WARREN HOGE
UNITED NATIONS, June 4 — The United Nations' top human rights official said today that the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers could constitute a war crime, and he called for the immediate naming of an international figure to oversee the situation. ... Mr. Ramcharan said that "willful killing, torture and inhuman treatment" represented a grave breach of international law and "might be designated as war crimes by a competent tribunal." ...

From The Guardian: Tuesday June 8, 2004
US bans cleric from Iraq elections By Jonathan Steele in Baghdad and Patrick Wintour
Bremer vetoes radical Shia leader in order barring militia members from politics
Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shia leader whose militiamen have been fighting the US occupation forces in several Iraqi cities, was banned yesterday from standing in Iraq's forthcoming democratic elections. Paul Bremer, the US administrator in Iraq, signed an order stating that, with immediate effect, members of illegal militias "will be barred from holding political office for three years after leaving their illegal organisation". ...

From Reuters: Tue Jun 8, 2004 05:46 PM ET
U.N. Council Unanimously Adopts Iraq Resolution By Evelyn Leopold
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council voted 15-0 on Tuesday to adopt a U.S.-British resolution that formally ends the occupation of Iraq on June 30 and authorizes U.S.-led troops to keep the peace. ... The U.N. resolution attempts to pave the way for democracy by giving a timetable for elections -- no later than Jan. 31, 2005. It puts Iraq in charge of its oil proceeds and calls for the United Nations to help with elections, a constitution and many other tasks. Control of the 160,000 U.S.-led troops was the most contentious issue in the resolution, which authorizes a multinational force under American command to "use all necessary measures" to prevent violence. The United States pledged "partnership" and coordination with Iraq's leaders but did not agree to give Baghdad a virtual veto over major military offensives as France, Germany, Algeria and others had wanted. However, the resolution gives the Iraqi interim government the right to order U.S. troops to leave at any time and makes clear the mandate of the international force will expire by the end of January 2006. ... U.S. officials late on Monday added a paragraph to the text summing up an exchange of letters between Powell and Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. The letters pledged the American commander and Iraqi leaders would consult and coordinate "fundamental security and policy issues including policy on sensitive offensive operations" through a new security committee Allawi chairs. ...

From The NYT: June 9, 2004
Ex-C.I.A. Aides Say Iraq Leader Helped Agency in 90's Attacks By JOEL BRINKLEY
WASHINGTON, June 8 — Iyad Allawi, now the designated prime minister of Iraq, ran an exile organization intent on deposing Saddam Hussein that sent agents into Baghdad in the early 1990's to plant bombs and sabotage government facilities under the direction of the C.I.A., several former intelligence officials say. ... Dr. Allawi's group, the Iraqi National Accord, used car bombs and other explosive devices smuggled into Baghdad from northern Iraq, the officials said. ... One former Central Intelligence Agency officer who was based in the region, Robert Baer, recalled that a bombing during that period "blew up a school bus; schoolchildren were killed." ... Other former intelligence officials said Dr. Allawi's organization was the only resistance group involved in bombings and sabotage at that time. ... The C.I.A. recruited Dr. Allawi in 1992, former intelligence officials said. ...

From The Associated Press at MSNBC: 5:11 p.m. ET June 09, 2004
Kurds threaten to exit new Iraqi government
Parties angry that U.N. resolution doesn't enshrine their rights

From AFP at Channel NewsAsia: 09 June 2004 1045 hrs GMT + 8 hours
Reagan played decisive role in Saddam Hussein's survival in Iran-Iraq war

At The NYT: June 9, 2004
Rebels Launch an Array of Attacks Across Iraq By EDWARD WONG

From IPS: June 10, 2004
IRAQ: U.S. Troubles Move North By Aaron Glantz
ARBIL, Iraq, Jun 10 (IPS) - And now the United States is running into difficulties in Northern Iraq where it has enjoyed the support of the largely Kurd population. ...

From IPS: June 12, 2004
IRAQ: Saddam Will Miss Old Buddy Reagan By Aaron Glantz
BAGHDAD, Jun 12 (IPS) - The Iraq issue today may never have arisen if it were not for the support former U.S. president Ronald Reagan gave Saddam Hussein. ...

At the Sunday Herald: 13 June 2004
Ronnie & Saddam
How America armed Iraq

From Reuters: Tue Jun 15, 2004 12:52 PM ET
Iraq President Sees Political Role for Sadr By Lin Noueihed
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's interim president urged firebrand Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Tuesday to lay down his arms and enter politics, a prospect which President Bush said he would not oppose. Interim President Ghazi Yawar said he welcomed the recent decision by Sadr -- whom Bush only last month had branded an anti-democratic thug -- to create a political party that could take part in elections early next year. ...

From Reuters: Tue Jun 15, 2004 06:12 PM ET
Saboteurs Cut Iraqi Oil Exports, Test Government By Alistair Lyon
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Insurgents cut nearly all of Iraq's oil exports, with two acts of sabotage ... saboteurs blasted a pipeline feeding storage tanks at the southern city of Basra ... Iraqi leaders are fighting assassinations, bombings and sabotage by guerrillas ... An explosion on Tuesday ripped through a pipeline linking the northern fields ...
Yawar said Sadr could take part in politics after June 30, indicating Iraq's leaders have no faith in the confrontational U.S. approach to a man the military vowed to "kill or capture." Sadr last week gave the interim government conditional approval and said he planned to set up a political party that could contest national elections due to be held by January. ...

From Reuters: Tue Jun 15, 2004 07:45 PM ET
CIA Restricts One-Third of U.S. Senate WMD Report By Tabassum Zakaria
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The CIA has decided that about one-third of a U.S. Senate report criticizing prewar intelligence on Iraq contains secret information that should not be released to the public, intelligence sources said on Tuesday. After reviewing the roughly 400 pages for classified data, the intelligence agency returned the report to the Senate Intelligence Committee with brackets around 30 percent to 40 percent of the contents to signal the information was secret, intelligence sources said. The report examines the intelligence on Iraq before the U.S.-led invasion last year, including estimates that Baghdad had stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. ... "I think they (CIA) went way overboard. Clearly what they are doing is taking the heart of the report out of it," Sen. Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, said. ...

From Reuters: Tue Jun 15, 2004 08:11 PM ET
Bush Touts Afghanistan as Model for Iraq By Caren Bohan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush lauded Afghanistan as a model for Iraq on Tuesday as he tried to paint U.S. involvement in the Central Asian nation as a success in his run-up to the November presidential election. ... In an indication of some of the difficulties Afghanistan still faces, Karzai asked U.S. lawmakers for a multiyear package that would provide funding of $2.2 billion a year, according to a congressional source. ... An international peacekeeping force provides security for Karzai's fragile government in Kabul, but government control outside the capital is limited, with parts of the country in the grip of regional warlords and militant fighters. ... A former Clinton administration official slammed Bush for not proposing new steps to crack down on opium cultivation in Afghanistan, which has grown sharply since the Taliban was ousted. ...

At The Chicago Tribune at Yahoo: Thu, Jun 17, 2004 9:41am ET
Sadr tells militia to stand down, says he will form political party By Liz Sly

At FFF: June 18, 2004
Reagan’s WMD Connection to Saddam Hussein by Jacob G. Hornberger

From Reuters at Yahoo: Fri Jun 18, 3:58 PM ET
Russia Says It Warned U.S. Saddam Planned to Attack By Raushan Nurshayeva
Also from AP and Globe Staff at The Boston Globe: June 19, 2004
Putin says he warned US that Hussein plotted attack By Farah Stockman
US officials voice surprise at words of Russian leader
WASHINGTON -- President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said yesterday that his government had warned Washington that Saddam Hussein was preparing attacks on US soil and on American interests abroad before the US invasion of Iraq. ... Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, who spent days searching through CIA intelligence for proof of Iraq's threat to present to the United Nations last year, said he had never come across such information. ... Another State Department official said people were "scratching their heads" over Putin's remarks. ...

From The Associated Press at MSNBC: 11:37 a.m. ET June 19, 2004
U.S. missile strike kills at least 16 in Fallujah
Official says target was hideout of al-Zarqawi’s terrorist network
BAGHDAD, Iraq - A U.S. military plane fired missiles Saturday into a residential neighborhood in Fallujah, killing at least 16 people and leveling houses there, police and residents said. A U.S. official said the target was a known hideout of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's terrorist network. It was the first significant U.S. military action in the city since Marines ended a bloody three-week siege against insurgents. ... Al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born militant believed to have ties to al-Qaida, has been blamed for the string of car bombs across Iraq, including one Thursday that killed 35 people and wounded 145 at an Iraqi military recruiting center in Baghdad. ...

From Reuters: Sun Jun 20, 2004 06:32 AM ET
Iraq's Allawi Welcomes U.S. Strike That Killed 22 By Fadel Badran
FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraq's prime minister on Sunday defended a U.S. air strike that killed 22 people in Falluja, but Iraqi officers in the town said the dead included women and children rather than foreign Muslim militants. "We know that a house which had been used by terrorists had been hit. We welcome this hit on terrorists anywhere in Iraq," interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi told a news conference. He said the U.S. military had informed the government before carrying out Saturday's air strike on what it said was a safe house used by militants led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian described by the Americans as al Qaeda's leader in Iraq. However, Falluja's police chief and a senior officer in the Falluja Brigade in charge of security in the fiercely anti-U.S. town denied that foreign fighters had operated from the house. "We inspected the damage, we looked through the bodies of the women and children and elderly. This was a family," Brigadier Nouri Aboud of the Falluja Brigade told Reuters. "There is no sign of foreigners having lived in the house. Zarqawi and his men have no presence in Falluja." ... U.S. military officers said there was no sign Zarqawi himself -- who has a $10 million price on his head -- was in the house in Falluja when it was destroyed. ...

From AFP at The Taipei Times: Monday, Jun 21, 2004,Page 1
`Precision' foul-up in Fallujah causes death of 26 civilians
FALLUJAH, IRAQ - Iraqi police said yesterday that they had found no trace of the Islamic militants US commanders say were targeted in an air strike on the town of Fallujah. Only ordinary civilians, 26 of whom were killed. "We have not found any trace of an armed group there," Captain Mohammed Abdul Karim said after Saturday's strike on the Jbail neighborhood of this hotspot. ...

From Reuters: Sun Jun 20, 2004 09:59 PM ET
S.Korea Vows to Send Iraq Troops Despite Kidnapping
By Kim Miyoung and Rhee So-eui
SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea will go ahead with its plan to send 3,000 troops to Iraq despite a televised threat from Iraqi militants to behead a South Korean hostage, the foreign ministry said Monday. ... Vice Foreign Minister Choi Young-jin .. said Kim had been kidnapped in Falluja on June 17 -- the day before South Korea announced where its troops would be deployed in Iraq and two days after he arrived in the country. ...

At The NYT: June 21, 2004
U.S. Is Quietly Spending $2.5 Billion From Iraqi Oil Revenues to Pay for Iraqi Projects

At The New Yorker: Issue of 2004-06-28 Posted 2004-06-21
As June 30th approaches, Israel looks to the Kurds.
" ... Israeli intelligence and military operatives are now quietly at work in Kurdistan, providing training for Kurdish commando units and, most important in Israel’s view, running covert operations inside Kurdish areas of Iran and Syria. Israel feels particularly threatened by Iran, whose position in the region has been strengthened by the war. The Israeli operatives include members of the Mossad, Israel’s clandestine foreign-intelligence service, who work undercover in Kurdistan as businessmen and, in some cases, do not carry Israeli passports. ... The Israeli decision to seek a bigger foothold in Kurdistan—characterized by the former Israeli intelligence officer as “Plan B”—has also raised tensions between Israel and Turkey. It has provoked bitter statements from Turkish politicians and, in a major regional shift, a new alliance among Iran, Syria, and Turkey, all of which have significant Kurdish minorities. ... All three countries fear that Kurdistan, despite public pledges to the contrary, will declare its independence from the interim Iraqi government if conditions don’t improve after June 30th. Israeli involvement in Kurdistan is not new. .... There are fears that the Kurds will move to seize the city of Kirkuk, together with the substantial oil reserves in the surrounding region. ... "

From Reuters: Tue Jun 22, 2004 12:50 PM ET
Pentagon's Wolfowitz Says Iraq Is No U.S. Quagmire By Deborah Zabarenko
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A top architect of the Iraq war on Tuesday rejected a suggestion that the United States was stuck in a quagmire but said U.S. troops could be there for years, until Iraqi forces can defend the country on their own. ...

From AP at The Australian: June 23, 2004
Militants decapitate hostage
ISLAMIST militants beheaded a South Korean hostage overnight, drawing international condemnation and a vow from Seoul to stand firm on its decision to send thousands of troops to the war-torn country. Kim Sun-Il's death was reported by the Arab satellite-channel Al-Jazeera, which said it received a videotape of the killing by a group linked to al-Qaeda. The body of translator Kim, 33, was later found by the US military dumped on the road from Baghdad to Fallujah. ... The beheading is the third in recent weeks blamed on Islamist militants. ... Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group, Tawhid wa al-Jihad (Unification and Holy War), claimed the kidnappings of both Mr Berg and Mr Kim. ...

From Reuters: Tue Jun 22, 2004 05:15 PM ET
U.S. Air Strike Kills Four in Iraqi Town of Falluja By Fadel Badran
FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - The U.S. military said it launched a "precision strike" on a safe house used by militants linked to al Qaeda operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in the Iraqi city of Falluja on Tuesday night. But witnesses and a hospital official said the strike hit a garage, killing four civilian guards and wounding six other people in Iraq's most rebellious town. ...

From Aljazeera: Wednesday 23 June 2004, 12:36 Makka Time, 9:36 GMT
Allawi's life threatened by 'al-Zarqawi'
An audiotape posted on the internet in the name of Iraq's al-Qaida-linked chief Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi threatens to kill Iraqi interim prime minister Iyad Allawi. ...

From The Washington Post: Thursday, June 24, 2004; Page A01
U.S. Immunity In Iraq Will Go Beyond June 30 By Robin Wright
The Bush administration has decided to take the unusual step of bestowing on its own troops and personnel immunity from prosecution by Iraqi courts for killing Iraqis or destroying local property after the occupation ends and political power is transferred to an interim Iraqi government, U.S. officials said. ...

From Reuters: Thu Jun 24, 2004 07:54 AM ET
About 75 Die in Wave of Iraqi Attacks By Alistair Lyon
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Rebels bent on disrupting a handover to Iraqi rule bloodied five cities Thursday with coordinated assaults on local security forces in which about 75 people, including three U.S. soldiers, were killed. The violence in Baquba, Falluja, Ramadi, Mosul and Baghdad intensified a sustained campaign by Iraqi insurgents and foreign militants to sabotage Iraq's formal transition from U.S.-led occupation to an interim government in six days' time. More than 200 people were wounded. ... Gunfire rattled across Mosul as insurgents fought running battles with U.S. troops and Iraqi police. ... Scores of black-clad gunmen, some claiming loyalty to Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, attacked a police station and other government buildings in Baquba ... Many of the fighters wore yellow headbands bearing the name of a Muslim militant group "Saraya al-Tawhid and Jihad" ... Arabic television channel Al Jazeera showed hooded fighters brandishing their weapons in Baquba and saying they were followers of Zarqawi. ... Fierce clashes raged for two hours between U.S. Marines and rebels in Falluja, west of Baghdad, and U.S. planes dropped 500-pound bombs on guerrilla positions ...

At The New Standard: Friday, June 25
Baqouba Sealed Off as U.S. Forces Lose Control of City by Dahr Jamail

From AP at Yahoo: June 25, 2004 2:15pm ET
U.S. Launches Airstrike in Fallujah By ROBERT H. REID
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.S. military launched its third airstrike in a week Friday in Fallujah, using precision weapons to destroy a suspected safehouse for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's terror network. U.S. officials estimated there were 20-25 Iraqi casualties. ... Al-Jazeera television, in a report from Fallujah, said four U.S. missiles struck a vacant house in the eastern part of the city, injuring four residents of a nearby home. ...
In Thursday's coordinated attacks, insurgents set off car bombs and seized police stations in an offensive aimed at creating chaos just days before the handover of power to a new Iraqi government. U.S. and Iraqi forces regained control in heavy fighting, but the day's violence killed more than 100 people, most of them Iraqi civilians. Three U.S. soldiers were among the dead. At least 320 people were wounded, including 12 Americans. As the situation worsened, Iraq's interim vice president warned that a drastic deterioration in the country's security could result in the implementation of emergency measures or martial law — however undesirable that may be in a democratic society. ..."We underestimated the nature of the insurgency that we might face during this period, and so the insurgency that we are looking at now ... has become a serious problem for us," Powell told the British Broadcasting Corp. The U.S. military responded with heavy firepower, dropping 11 500-pound bombs and a 2,000-pound bomb. ...

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