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Iraq Updates

~atp~

TRIBE Member
Let's try to keep this thread on the topic of Iraq updates...

Iraqi Children Refused Treatment by Army Doctors
Date: Tuesday, June 24, 2003 @ 21:42:06 CDT
Topic: News from the Front


WASHINGTON (NFTF.org) -- Three children severely burned after setting fire to a bag of explosives they discovered near a military base were refused aid by U.S. Army doctors.

"I have never seen in almost 14 years of Army experience anything that callous," Sgt. David J. Borell told the Associated Press. "I cannot imagine the heartlessness required to look into the eyes of a child in horrid pain and suffering and, with medical resources only a brief trip up the road, ignore their plight as though they are insignificant."

Borrell, serving at an Army airfield in Balad (approximately 60 miles north of Baghdad), summoned doctors when approached by Falah Mutlaq, the children's desperate father, who had been unable to get them treatment at a local hospital.

The U.S. Army defended the doctors' inaction. Public affairs officer, Maj. David Accetta from the 3rd Corps Support Command, stated the children's injuries failed to meet the criteria for Army aid, namely loss of life, limb or eyesight resulting from non-chronic illnesses or infliction by U.S. forces.

"Our goal is for the Iraqis to use their own existing infrastructure and become self-sufficient, not dependent on U.S. forces for medical care,'' Accetta told the AP via e-mail.

Mutlaq's two daughters received extensive superficial burns. His son has been unable to use his left fingers and right leg because of the extreme pain.

Borrell, a father of two young girls himself, said he felt betrayed by the Army, where he's served for over 10 years.

"After today, I wonder if I will still be able to carry the title 'soldier' with any pride at all."

Coalition forces have not kept statistics on the number of suspected Iraqis injured or killed by loose munition scattered throughout the country, though thousands of such casualties are suspected.

YellowTimes.org correspondent Lisa Ashkenaz Croke drafted this report.
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
Iraqis Suffer From Radiation Symptoms
Saturday June 21, 2003 8:39 PM
By SABAH JERGES
Associated Press Writer


AL-MADA'IN, Iraq (AP) - Dozens of people are showing up every day at a hospital near a defunct Iraqi nuclear plant, suffering from rashes, bloody noses and other symptoms of radiation poisoning, doctors said Saturday.

The Tuwaitha nuclear facility, 12 miles south of Baghdad, was left unguarded after Iraqi troops fled the area on the eve of the war. It is thought to have contained hundreds of tons of natural uranium and nearly two tons of low-enriched uranium, which could be used to make nuclear weapons

U.S. troops didn't secure the area until April 7. By then, looters from surrounding villages had stripped it of much of its contents, including uranium storage barrels they later used to hold drinking water.

...

``Some 30 to 40 patients suffering from bloody diarrhea visit our hospital every day, probably due to their exposure to nuclear radiation,'' said Bassim Abbud, a physician at the Mada'in General Hospital, about 9 miles from the Tuwaitha nuclear facility.

The International Atomic Energy Agency sent a team to Iraq earlier this month to see if any of the uranium was missing, fearing it had been stolen in the chaos of the war. The experts found most of the uranium on or near the site, diplomats said Friday.

Plastic bags containing the uranium were found on the ground where the looters emptied out the barrels and some bags apparently spilled, the diplomats said from Vienna,where the U.N. agency is based.

The mission - whose scope was restricted by the U.S.-led interim administration of Iraq - was not allowed to give medical exams to Iraqis reported to have been sickened by contact with the materials, the diplomats said.

But two doctors at the closest hospital to Tuwaitha said suspicions of radiation poisoning were aroused as early as April 16, when 13-year-old Iltifat Risan came to the hospital with a severely bleeding nose.

...


He said after people were warned against using the contaminated equipment, some of the barrels were collected at a secondary girls school, where they remained while the girls returned to school for their final exams. U.S. military experts involved in the cleanup offered to buy back the barrels at $3 each.

``Symptoms may appear after months or years. Radiation can have genetic effects and could result in cancer tumors,'' he said.
 

Subsonic Chronic

TRIBE Member
"Our goal is for the Iraqis to use their own existing infrastructure and become self-sufficient, not dependent on U.S. forces for medical care,''
That would be fine if the Americans hadn't DESTROYED all of the Iraqi's infrastructure!
 

Subsonic Chronic

TRIBE Member
The mission - whose scope was restricted by the U.S.-led interim administration of Iraq - was not allowed to give medical exams to Iraqis reported to have been sickened by contact with the materials, the diplomats said.
I guess the hope here, much like in Afghanistan, is that if they can ignore all of these problems then people will think they don't exist?

Typical.
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Subsonic Chronic
I guess the hope here, much like in Afghanistan, is that if they can ignore all of these problems then people will think they don't exist?

Typical.
Yes the new report released by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Asia Society is very telling, in regards to Afghanistan. TheCouncil on Foreign Relations basically stated that the US had better start supporting the new government in Afghanistan or else that whole place is going to shit.

Among other problems, there's been a sharp rise in reporter attacks, Pres. Karzai is bordering on committing human rights violations (holding people in detention for arbitrary periods) and the general suppression of media rights to free speech.

The US needs to stop its futile search for the "Taliban" (an enigma) and focus on the reality. Yes, I know, it makes for less exciting television CNN entertainment.


HRW is on the ball by making some recommendations to the US for Iraq reconstruction, in light of the fuckups in Afghanistan.

In other news in relation to Iraq, the Guardian is reporting that the government "made a 'mistake' in not attributing an old PhD thesis within a government dossier on Iraq's weapons".

The guardian also reports that John Major (former PM) is suggesting it's about time to send in the UN. He stated that "I certainly think that is something we should examine...if you had wider forces it minimises some of the risks that are self-evidently there for American troops and British troops as well."

Unfortunately, Major remains diplomatic by ignoring the obvious motives for the invasion. In fact, Major decides to provide us with reasons why we didn't invade Iraq, instead of why we did: "I think what we need to do is to dispel the widespread, but in my view mistaken, myth that Britain and America are there for our own self-interest and that we intend to stay there...it is very potent propaganda and it is very widely believed in Iraq and a lot of the Islamic world".

I declare a new policy: Whenever we go to war, we must declare motives for not going, not for the motives for which we are going.

Makes sense.
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
For those insatiable appetites:

Letter from the Sunni Triangle
Borzou Daragahi, June 24, 2003


The grassy fields sway as the American helicopters patrol the green, bountiful bluffs and floodplains of the Tigris River. I'm with my translator, Tahseen, the same one who worked for me during the war. He made a small fortune working for me during those months. I urged him to save the money for a rainy day. Instead, the crazy kid went out and bought a zippy, candy-red Audi that I'm driving now along the country roads. The windows are down and the radio alternates between catchy Arab pop tunes and American rap and R&B songs. Thank goodness for Radio Sawa, the new U.S.-run AM music station.

We vie for the road with long, noisy columns of American military hardware and rickety tractors. The night before, U.S. forces patrolling the area were ambushed by a group of proverbial "bad guys." The rocket-propelled grenades they launched barely scratched the Americans' M-1 tank. But the Americans responded with full force. Soldiers lit up the night with flares and radioed three Bradley fighting vehicles and an Apache helicopter for backup.

Then the story gets messy.

According to the Pentagon, the Americans killed as many as 27 "bad guys" in a successful counterattack against the terrorists or Saddam loyalists or Ba'ath Party holdouts or whatever they were. But amid the lush gardens, fields and orchards, the soldiers were only able to recover seven corpses.

According to the villagers in Elher, the Americans killed two strangers who had snuck here from another town and five innocent civilians: a father, three sons and a cousin who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I have doubts about the villagers' story. I suspect they're just covering for their relatives. Frankly, most of the people in this area are Sunni Arab supporters of Saddam Hussein. This is the infamous Sunni Triangle, stretching from west Baghdad to Ramadi and north, some say to Tikrit, but I think all the way up to Mosul. I've clocked a quite a bit of quality time in the towns and cities of the desert flatlands, marshes and river valleys here. It's the part of Iraq where locals cried as the Americans tore down the statutes of Saddam. It's where people spraypaint, "Down to USA. Live Saddam!" on walls. It's where people give outsiders dirty looks and threaten them with violence.

I call it Saddamistan.

Americans have been getting hurt at a rate almost every day here. One night in Fallujah, they blew up a power station with a rocket-propelled grenade, injuring two Americans. The other day they shot up a convoy of American trucks, turning one into a twisted heap of metal. The other night they wounded a soldier and killed someone in the ambulance trying to get him to a hospital. The bad guys are getting better. And recently Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz conceded that the U.S. was fighting a guerrilla war in central Iraq.

The soldiers, out on patrol or manning checkpoints, say they're getting fired at constantly at night. Americans are confused by the particularly Middle Eastern brand of hospitality. "During the day they're all friendly and your buddies," said one soldier at a checkpoint near Balad. "At night they're firing at you."

The attacks have gotten so frequent that sometimes the soldiers don't even report incidents to the higher-ups unless someone gets hurt. "They don't have very good aim," said one soldier stationed in Tikrit.

In towns like Saddam's birthplace of Oja, the locals readily admit taking part in ambushes against Americans. Some even whine that not all their operations get onto al Jazeera or al Arabia, the Arab-language news networks Iraqis can now watch freely thanks to the post-Saddam lifting of restrictions on satellites.

I arrive at the wake for the five villagers. It is a lovely affair. Three tents are pitched next to the house to protect mourners from the furious mid-day sun. The men wear the traditional blanched white headdresses and robes of the country's Sunni Arab minority. The women cook and weep in their black Abayas. Servants serve cold water and cigarettes.

I ask one of the relatives point-blank whether the five men were involved in the attack on the Americans. No, he replies, impossible. Weren't your relatives opposed to the U.S. occupation? No, he replies, they welcomed the Americans. This is getting ridiculous.

What would it take, I ask in a trick question, for your people to take up arms against the Americans? Why, a fatwa or religious edict from our spiritual leader, he said. And who might that be?

His answer stuns me: "Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim."

I'm speechless. I know Hakim's folks, inside and out. I've been following his Iranian-backed organization for over a year. I've spied on its troops. I've had candid discussions with its intellectuals and soldies. It was among the top three organizations fighting Saddam for the last few decades.

Now, there may come a day when Hakim orders his flock to violently fight the American occupation. But for now, Hakim and his little brother, Abdel Aziz, are too busy sitting down with the Americans, sipping tea and cutting deals. Its disciplined, 10,000-man army has left its heavy weapons in Iran and begun reinventing itself as a public works and charity organization.

But more importantly, Ayatollah Hakim's a Shiite. So why would Sunni Arabs follow Hakim? "Wait a minute. I'm confused," I say to my host. "Are you Shiites?"

Of course, we're Shiites, he says. This whole village is Shiite.

I'm blown away. I begin to protest that they don't look like Shiites but I shut my mouth. What the hell do I know about Iraq anyway? Just what the hell does a Shiite look like anyway? Just because they're dressed in the clothes that I and most people associate with Sunni Arab tribesman, I assumed they were Sunni Arab. In reality, there was no way on earth these people were diehard Ba'athists, no way they launched an ambush on Americans. The Shiites are happy Saddam is gone. He evicted them from their villages and executed their young in droves. They're not delighted to see Americans occupy their country, but they're not too enraged about it either. That is, they won't be until incidents like the one at Elher are repeated and the Americans find themselves in Vietnam 2, starring, oh, I dunno, Saddam Hussein as Ho Chi Minh, Iran and Syria as China and Russia, and the Kurdish peshmerga as the Hmong militiamen.

Indeed, in contrast to the rest of Iraq, the trees, gardens and bushes of the Triangle make it ideal for guerrilla warfare...

I sit down for a glass of sweetened tea. The story of the five men trickles out: during the attack that night, one of the Americans' flares landed on the family's farm and set a field a fire. The old man ran out of the house to douse the flames. The old man was 70. His three sons couldn't let him go out alone, and ran out behind them. A young cousin followed after them. The Americans, just under attack, fired at everything that moved. Through night-vision goggles, the five men might have looked like people trying to attack them or flee. In any case, all five were killed.

Back beneath the tents, the women weep and wail. The men work their prayer beads and shake their down-turned heads. The Americans, one relative says, were supposed to come here and offer an apology. They have yet to show up. Maybe they still have their doubts. I mean, even I who have devoted the better part of a year to figuring out Iraq and decades to understanding the Middle East just assumed these folks were Sunni Arab Saddam sympathizers.

I don't have doubts. The family members ask me if I now believe their relatives were innocent. I say I do

An Army colonel up in northern Iraq once explained to me the triple pressures under which American soldiers strain. In the mornings, they might work at a ministry handing out meager salaries to mobs of angry desperate Iraqis. In the afternoons they patrol neighborhoods, playing with the local children and acting like jolly ol' officer friendly with an M-16 and flak jacket as well as a sidearm. In the evening they go out on night patrol, shooting down Fedayeen. You can imagine the confusion: Am I here to help, make friends with or kill the Iraqis?

Morale among the soldiers is at a low point. I'm not sure if I can find in my vocabulary the adjectives to describe the intense summer heat here. It's mind-addling. Day and night. Many soldiers are desperate to go back home. Hell, I'm about getting desperate to go home and I've been here just a month. It's hell here.

The intense conditions have bred a sense of camaraderie among all the foreigners here. In Tikrit, I once approached a brigadier general as he planned helicopter attacks. "Excuse me, sir. Could we chat with you for a minute?" No problem. In Oja we asked a bunch of Marines if we could tag along as they conducted house-to-house raids. "Sure," said the squad commander, "just stay out of the line of fire."

"Ah, man, it's just so good to talk to an American," one soldier - a Chicago-area native whose high school played mine in football and basketball -- told me after a 20-minute chat. A good guy.

This is why I don't understand the appeal of the embed program. You get so little for all that you give up, which includes a translator and the freedom to publish what you want when you want to. I mean, sure, during the war it was being embedded was about the only way to get safely to the action. But these days, soldiers offer to give me rides and join in patrols and without having to sign away my freedom as a journalist.

Besides, I've ridden in a Humvee. The windows are narrow slits on the world. I prefer my wacky young translator's little red Audi.

Borzou Daragahi, a Tehran-based journalist, writes his occasional "Letters from..." for family and friends. You can subscribe by sending a blank email to borzou-subscribe@topica.com.

To discuss this Article and other issues please visit the Guerrilla News Forum
src: http://www.guerrillanews.com/
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
U.S. soldier killed in Iraqi ambush

This is happening in a different place every day.

"Oh they're just pockets of Saddam followers".

This "war" isn't over. The natives are starting to get restless.


U.S. soldier killed in Iraqi ambush
Remote control explosive strikes military vehicle, sources say

NADIA ABOU EL-MAGD
ASSOCIATED PRESS

BAGHDAD - A U.S. military vehicle was ambushed today on the western outskirts of Baghdad, and at least one American soldier was killed, soldiers at the scene said.

The morning attack on the road leading to Baghdad International Airport apparently involved an explosive device operated by remote control, said the U.S. soldiers, who asked not to be named.

The soldier who died suffered a major wound in the face, the soldiers said. Military commanders released no other details.

It was the latest in a spiralling series of attacks against U.S.-led occupation forces in Iraq. At least 19 U.S. soldiers have died in hostile fire since major combat was officially declared over in May.

On Tuesday, six British soldiers were killed in southern Iraq during a shooting rampage by townspeople furious over the killing of four neighbours during a demonstration, apparently at the hands of British troops.

That attack, in the town of Majar al-Kabir, 290 kilometres southeast of Baghdad, had shattered the peace that had reigned in Shiite-dominated southern Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein, and spurred British authorities to consider requiring troops to wear body armour and helmets.

"My absolute priority is the safety and security of British forces. Already, an urgent review is under way to ensure their safety," Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon told British Broadcasting Corp. radio Wednesday.

Hoon said Britain had "significant forces available should it be necessary. Many thousands, certainly."

Recent attacks on U.S. forces near Baghdad have been blamed on remnants of Saddam's regime or his Sunni followers, but this latest violence came in the mostly Shiite south, where resentment toward Saddam Hussein's government had been strong.

Arab satellite TV station Al-Jazeera reported today it had received a statement and videotape from an Iraqi resistance group that claimed responsibility for attacks on U.S. forces and promised more.

The Shiite gunmen were enraged by the death of their neighbours, allegedly at the hands of British troops during a demonstration earlier in the day, and over weapons searches in homes with women.

On Tuesday, about 100 residents protested the British weapons sweeps in a four-hour demonstration outside the mayor's office, where a dozen British troops were posted, witnesses said. Protesters threw rocks, and British troops fired back with rubber bullets before switching to live ammunition, the witnesses said.

Local police said four Iraqis were killed, and that armed residents then killed two British military policemen. Then, witnesses said, some Iraqis went to their homes to get weapons. At least 20 armed Iraqis stormed the police station, where four British military police were located along with Iraqi policemen.

One British soldier was shot and killed at the station's doorway; the three others were slain after Iraqis stormed the station and cornered them in a single room, said Salam Mohammed, a member of a municipal security force.

British military spokesman in Iraq, Lt.-Col. Ronnie McCourt, said the attack was unprovoked, adding: "It was murder."

"The enemies of peace have claimed that the United Kingdom forces are conducting violent searches of Arab homes and have not respected property. This is simply not true," McCourt said.

In the al-Zahrai Hospital in nearby Amarah, Dr. Mohammed al-Sudani said 10 Iraqi civilians were treated for gunshot wounds, including four children and a woman who was shot in the head.

On Wednesday, there were no British forces to be seen in or around Majar al-Kabir. But U.K. military officials said they were hunting down the gunmen.

"The whole situation is being investigated. We are actively seeking them," said Capt. Gemma Hardy, a British military spokeswoman.

British forces occupying southern Iraq agreed June 23 to stay out of Majar al-Kabir for 60 days and allow local security forces to seize heavy weapons, said Fadhel Radi, a municipal judge and an adviser to the mayor.

Radi said the British violated the agreement by coming into the city, sparking the initial demonstration. He produced a handwritten agreement in English and Arabic, supposedly signed by a British officer.

However, Hardy said she had no information about any such agreement and said it was "highly unlikely" it was valid. British officials said the military police were helping to train local police.

Southern Iraq had been so quiet recently that British troops frequently patrolled without helmets or flak jackets.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair told legislators that the region around Amarah was tense because British soldiers had tried to disarm Iraqis who routinely carried weapons, including machine-guns.

"There have been problems in relation to that and that may form part of the background to it," he said.

British forces in Iraq have been reduced from 45,000 during the war to 15,500 now, two-thirds of them ground forces. The United States has brought home some 130,000 troops from the region; 146,000 American forces remain in Iraq.

http://www.torontostar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1056623705531&call_pageid=968332188492&col=968705899037
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
Recent attacks on U.S. forces near Baghdad have been blamed on remnants of Saddam's regime or his Sunni followers, but this latest violence came in the mostly Shiite south, where resentment toward Saddam Hussein's government had been strong.
Imagine that.
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
The UN And Iraq
Randa Takieddine Al-Hayat 2003/06/25



UN Secretary General Kofi Annan made a good choice when he appointed former Lebanese Minister of Culture Ghassan Salameh as the UN advisor over Iraq to assist his special representative, the Brazilian Sergio Vieira De Mello.

Most probably Salameh's qualifications and his friendship to the UN representative in Afghanistan, Lakhdar Ibrahimi, played a role in his appointment to a position that involves considerable responsibilities. Maybe the UN could make use of Salameh's qualifications better than the Lebanese government did.

Moreover, the meetings that took place at the World Economic Forum in Jordan between Annan, Salameh, De Mello, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, the U.S. administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer and his aide, ambassador Ryan Crocker, indicate that the U.S. administration is prepared to listen and cooperate with the UN due to the growing difficulties the American occupiers are facing.

UN Resolution 1483, which stipulates lifting the sanctions against Iraq, is quite ambiguous; on the one hand, it legitimizes the occupation, but on the other it paves the way for a UN role in that country.

This ambiguity translated the international situation that prevailed when the UN adopted the resolution. The countries that waged the war, especially the U.S. and Britain, wanted to avoid a total break with most countries that opposed the war, and sought a wider role for the UN.

In July, the UN secretariat is to present a report to the Security Council in order to define better the role that the UN would play in Iraq. Until then, De Mello and Salameh will work with the Iraqis on the ground to urge them to agree over demands that can be implemented by the U.S. administration.

The U.S. had refused to appoint Iraqi ministers, but it has now gone back on its decision. Moreover, the political council is to have executive prerogatives, after its role was restricted to providing advice.

What De Mello and Salameh are doing in Iraq today is an attempt to ensure a consensus; similar to what Ibrahimi did in Beirut before the Taif agreement. Even if the final decision is up to the occupying American power, Resolution 1483 demands that the UN work actively with the American authorities and representatives of the people of Iraq in order to create a temporary Iraqi administration as soon as possible.

The main aim for the UN in Iraq is to establish the Iraqi political assembly and provide guidance to it, since the assembly is going to represent Iraq's sovereignty, in addition to the Iraqi government that will be made up of 22 ministers and a constitutional council of 150 members.

The political assembly will be selected in accordance with very slow consultations carried out by the Americans, and the direct presence by the UN will encourage Iraqis to participate in it. They will feel that they are not alone with the Americans.

Salameh is a fitting choice, given his extensive knowledge of Iraq and the Arab world in general, and given his good relations with the U.S. administration.
This is interesting; Salameh and Mello are the UN reps for Iraq which is probably a positive influence. Mello's basic position, and hence the UN's position in regards to Iraqi affairs is one of self-governance. Mello feels that "it will be vital to the success of the international community in Iraq that Iraqis have ownership of all decisions made affecting them. This is and will remain axiomatic for the UN in Iraq for us as long as we are here."

The more the UN gets involved, the better I feel. However, the US still has occupying powers in the country, so the UN is really only there for "image" at the moment--the US probably doesn't mind, maybe it will soften the blow they've received from the retaliating Iraqi civilians.
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
'No evidence' linking Iraq, al-Qaida: UN

Jun. 26, 2003. 02:30 PM
'No evidence' linking Iraq, al-Qaida: UN


UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The UN's anti-terrorism committee has found no evidence to support U.S. administration claims of a link between Iraq and al-Qaida, and Washington has provided the panel with no proof, officials said today.

The committee, charged with investigating al-Qaida and the former Taliban rulers of Afghanistan, circulated a draft report on progress made to shut down Osama bin Laden's network worldwide.

"Nothing has come to our notice that would indicate links between Iraq and al-Qaida," said Michael Chandler, the committee's chief investigator.

He and others revealed that the first they heard of any links was during Secretary of State Colin Powell's February presentation to the Security Council ahead of the Iraq War.

"It had never come to our knowledge before Powell's speech and we never received any information from the United States for us to even follow-up on," said Abaza Hassan, a committee investigator.

A U.S. diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said all the evidence was laid out by Powell in the Security Council.

Powell insisted in his presentation that Saddam Hussein's regime was allowing a senior al-Qaida member named Abu Musab Zarqawi to operate from Baghdad. Zarqawi has been indicted for the murder of a U.S. diplomat in Jordan on Oct. 28, 2002.

The alleged connections were cited by the administration as one of the key reasons for going after Saddam.

But the committee saw no need to investigate Zarqawi's movements. The Jordanian indictment does not refer to Zarqawi as having been a member of al-Qaida.

The committee is investigating al-Qaida activity in Iran, however, and for the first time has added a Chechen to its list of al-Qaida members. Russia has long insisted on a relationship between the Chechens and bin Laden's group.

http://www.torontostar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1056623708918&call_pageid=968332188492&col=968705899037
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
from the June 27, 2003 edition - http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0627/p07s01-woiq.html

The man who would be king of Iraq
After 45 years in exile, Sherif Ali calls for the creation of a constitutional monarchy.


By Ilene R. Prusher | Staff Writer of The Christian Science Monitor

BAGHDAD -Two weeks ago, a man who had spent only the first two years of his life in Iraq came back to Baghdad with a plan for life after Baath.

Iraq should be ruled by a constitutional monarchy, says Sherif Ali bin Hussein - and he, as the chosen prince of the Hashemite royal family, should be the one to steer the country toward stability.

After 45 years of exile in Beirut and London, Sherif Ali has returned to Iraq as head of the Constitutional Monarchy Movement. Rather than offering to rule reluctantly, the investment banker is making a pitch to put himself on a throne that vanished nearly a half-century ago.

"The majority of Iraqis believe that it would be the best system for Iraq, because it would be a neutral umbrella," saysSherif Ali in an interview. "It would be an institution that would be apart from the rough and tumble."

Reinstalling an Iraqi monarchy deposed in a violent 1958 coup - the body of his cousin, King Faisal II, was dragged through the streets - is not an idea that Iraq's remodelers in Washington and London appear keen to support. But the movement could gather momentum - and might even complicate matters for L. Paul Bremer, the chief US civilian administrator in Iraq.

Sherif Ali is diplomatically critical of Mr. Bremer's approach to turning over power to an Iraqi administration. With the rise in violence against coalition troops, the US and British may be hard-pressed to ignore Sherif Ali's and others' calls to speed the political process. "I'd like him to be clearer about the timetable and the steps involved," says Sherif Ali, who wears a tailored gray suit, black dress shoes, and a tie despite the drowning heat.

The sherif - a title for members of the royal family - said when he arrived here that the US-led forces in Iraq should plan to stay for only a matter of months.

"What needs to be done is to say, 'We do have a program to rapidly move toward elections.' The problem people have is that it's open-ended," says Sherif Ali.

But Bremer and other coalition officials argue that Iraq is not yet ripe for elections. Bremer says in the next month he will appoint a political council, then convene a constitutional convention, and then bring its final draft to the Iraqi people in a referendum. Only then will elections be called.

Sherif Ali insists that most Iraqis would choose to be ruled once again by a monarchy to restore security and unite an Iraq splintered into a patchwork of ethnic and religious groups.

"What we propose is a government of technocrats. We don't need politicians to reestablish the electric supply," says Sherif Ali, sitting with some close aides - including an older brother - in a sprawling Baghdad mansion that serves as his headquarters. "We need a healing process," he says, "and if we had [a leader] from a single constituency, that would create tension, because how would we placate those who weren't part of that position?"

Sherif Ali, who talks the talk of a thoughtful, 21st-century monarch, says Iraq needs a system that is, "open, liberal, modern, and just." A return to monarchy isn't reactionary, he says. "We need to create institutions that are independently powerful," he says, mentioning the media and lobbying groups. "Why democracies in the Western world are powerful is that civil institutions are more powerful than the government, which is weak."

From tribal sheikhs to working-class taxi drivers who lingered at Sherif Ali's homecoming party, many here describe him as modest and bright. Posters with his picture, which bears a likeness to his late cousin King Hussein of Jordan hail Sherif Ali as the "The Hope of Iraq."

"What we need is to liberate Iraqi from all this chaos," says Hassan Abdul Amir, a kickboxer who volunteered for Sherif Ali's security detail. "The monarchy will provide equality for all."

Sherif Ali, whose father served as an economics minister under the last king, says it "was in hindsight extremely successful."

But the vast majority of Iraq's subjects led disenfranchised lives, says Charles Tripp, a political scientist at the University of London. "One thing that makes people say nice things to him is a feeling of nostalgia for life before Saddam," says Mr. Tripp in a phone interview. "Most Iraqis weren't even born then, so their knowledge of what happened under the monarchy is quite small. In fact, it was quite ghastly in terms of social status, economic opportunity, and living conditions for most," he says.

The movement's chances of success, Tripp says, are low. "I don't see any group putting aside their differences and saying, 'that's what we need.'"

Western officials seem distant, thus far, toward the prince. Some of the formerly exiled parties have been cooperative. But restoring the monarchy is bound to have opponents, not just among antiroyalists but among Shiites - about 60 percent of Iraqis - and Kurds - another 20 percent.

The Hashemites are a Sunni monarchy created by Britain at the end of World War I from among the nobility of Mecca, and Iraq was carved out of the Ottoman Empire on the premise of the Sunni elites ruling the majority Shiites. Many Kurds oppose reinstating royalty because it seems incompatible with the decentralized state they want.

None of this worries Sherif Ali. As a direct descendant of Imam Ali, the revered Shiite martyr, he says, Shiites view him as a fitting ruler. And when there is true democracy in Iraq under a monarchy, Kurds will not need an sub-state to defend their rights.

A key reason the US has slowed formation of an interim Iraqi government has been the difficulty of expanding new decisionmakers beyond major exile groups. Implicit in this is a message that "outsiders" don't represent longsuffering "insiders."

Sherif Ali rejects the notion he may be too far removed. "I'm very in tune with what's going on in Iraq," he says. But, he adds, "I am against people coming from the outside and imposing themselves. All political leaders ... have to prove that we have the support of the Iraqi people."
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
It's gonna be interesting to see the American reaction to this.

Does anyone know the history of this guy, or his family well enough to post something on it? I'd go look it up but today's not the day.

Thanks.
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
U.S. soldier killed while shopping in Baghdad

U.S. soldier killed while shopping in Baghdad
Quagmire deepening for coalition as body count mounts

BAGHDAD - Iraqi witnesses said an American soldier was shot in the neck while shopping for videos and an army truck struck an explosive device today amid rising concern that U.S.-led occupation forces could be confronting a guerrilla war in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military said it detained three Iraqis in connection with the disappearance of two servicemen earlier this week north of Baghdad.

Witnesses said a gunman shot a U.S. soldier shopping for video compact discs on a sidewalk in northwest Baghdad. Ammar Saad, a 44-year-old vendor, said the soldier was shot in the neck at close range and appeared to have been killed.

U.S. military spokespeople in Baghdad said they had heard of the incident but were unable to confirm it.

Saad and another witness, 20-year-old porter Jassem Obeid, said the assailant escaped into crowds at a nearby market.

At least three U.S. military personnel have been killed in Iraq since Thursday, two of them in ambushes against U.S.-led occupation forces.

Just northwest of Baghdad this morning, a U.S. army truck struck an explosive device on a dirt road. A U.S. soldier and a witness said wounded Americans were evacuated by helicopter.

The U.S. soldier said on condition of anonymity that the Americans were driving to Baghdad to make telephone calls to their families when the explosion occurred.

Meanwhile, authorities interrogated three suspects detained in the disappearance of the two American soldiers, said Sgt. Patrick Compton, a U.S. military spokesperson in Baghdad.

U.S. forces kept up ground and aerial searches that have so far failed to find the soldiers or their Humvee, Compton said.

The soldiers had been guarding the perimeter of a rocket demolition site near the town of Balad, 40 kilometres north of Baghdad, when they failed to answer a radio call and were reported missing Wednesday night, Compton said.

"We don't know if they were abducted or they were just killed," Compton said.

Tensions in the Iraqi capital have been exacerbated by electricity outages that have worsened over the last week.

The lack of electricity, which prevents the pumping of drinking water, fuels frustrations and anti-U.S. sentiment.

Andrew Bearpark, director of operations for the occupying administration, told reporters Friday that the outages were due to a "mixture of technical problems and criminal sabotage."

He added that part of the problem is that people are buying more appliances and using more electricity - and vowed that reconstruction will go on.

"We will succeed, we will rebuild," he said.

Between Wednesday and Thursday, assailants blew up a U.S. military vehicle with a roadside bomb, demolished an oil pipeline and fired an rocket-propelled grenade at a U.S. army truck, wounding two soldiers.

Assailants Thursday also threw grenades at a U.S. and Iraqi civilian convoy in west Baghdad, killing two Iraqi employees of the national electricity authority. The convoy had U.S. Humvees at the front and back and two Iraqi civilian vehicles in the middle.

Hostile fire killed one U.S. special operations soldier and wounded eight others on Thursday, the military said, without providing details.

Also Thursday, gunmen killed an American soldier who was investigating a car theft in Najaf, 160 kilometres southwest of Baghdad, said a statement from U.S. Central Command.

And a U.S. navy sailor attached to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force died in a non-combat incident Thursday, military spokesperson Army Sgt. Amy Abbott said, declining to provide details.

Until recently, most violence against U.S.-led occupying forces in Iraq occurred in the Sunni Muslim-dominated belt north and west of Baghdad, where Saddam Hussein enjoyed much of his support. In the past few days, attacks have spread to the Shiite-majority south.

Late Thursday, a British plane dropped leaflets on the southern town of Majar al-Kabir, where six British soldiers and at least five Iraqi civilians were killed in clashes Tuesday.

The leaflets stated that the U.S.-led coalition forces regret the loss of life among Iraqi civilians and added that coalition forces were not behind the incident.

"We will not return to punish anyone since these are the methods of Saddam's regime," the three-paragraph statement read. "We will return to set up good relations with you because of our concern about a secure Iraq. Don't let rumours ruin our good relations."

The leaflets added that British forces - who have not been seen in the volatile town since Tuesday's melee - would return to Majar al-Kabir, 290 kilometres southeast of Baghdad, to repair the damage done during Saddam's rule. It didn't specify when the British planned to return.

Officials played down the violence, but the surge in attacks is causing concern that the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq could be turning into a guerrilla war.

The Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera aired statements Thursday from two previously unknown groups urging assaults on U.S.-led forces in Iraq.

One, by a group calling itself the Mujahedeen of the Victorious Sect, claimed responsibility for recent attacks and threatened more. The other, by the Popular Resistance for the Liberation of Iraq, called for "revenge" against the Americans.

Al-Jazeera said it could not verify the statements.

Two U.S. officials familiar with intelligence information said they had not previously heard of the groups issuing the statements and had no way to know whether they were credible.

http://www.torontostar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1056713254988&call_pageid=968332188492&col=968705899037
 

swilly

TRIBE Member
well you have to give it to them, they know that if they just simply killing the americans they will eventually go home.
Shame us natives didint have semi automatics back in the day then perhaps our occupation would of been different. ( oops did i just think aloud)
swilly
 

organik

TRIBE Member
Indian troop deployment in Iraq: Need for caution
JN Dixit (IANS)
New Delhi, June 28

The US has asked India to depute a large Indian military unit (approximately one division) to Iraq to restore law and order. India's Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), which discussed the proposal in early June, could not come to an agreement because non-BJP members of the CCS were opposed to it. The decision was deferred pending Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani's visit to the US (June 8-17).

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and President George W Bush repeated the request to Advani and implied that India's response to the US request would be a fairly substantive test of how meaningful an equation India wishes to have with the US. Rumsfeld sent a military mission led by Assistant Defence Secretary Peter Rodman to New Delhi to give required clarifications about the conditions which would govern the deployment of Indian troops in Iraq.

The Indian government is examining these and has raised three specific questions - what would be the command structure under which Indian troops would function; what is the likelihood of a legitimate and effective interim government coming into being in Iraq and, thirdly, what would be the role of UN in overseeing activities carried out to restore peace in Iraq?

Congress party president Sonia Gandhi, in a letter to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, objected to Indian troops being deployed in Iraq without the UN umbrella. She also suggested that India should finalise its decision on the issue in consultation with Iraq's neighbours.

The government has since then announced that a final decision about the deployment and details thereof would be announced only after Vajpayee's return from China. A CCS meeting held on June 21 left the decision to the Prime Minister.

There are reports that the armed forces headquarters has been asked to initiate preparations for sending one division of Indian troops with requisite armour and air support as well as for deputing two field hospitals with necessary equipment and medical personnel. These initial steps were the result of clarifications given by the Pentagon team.

Although details of the US clarifications have not been made public, indications are that the US will deploy Indian troops in different parts of Iraq, subject to Indian consent. Second, Indian personnel will function under the control of Indian commanding officers. Third, the senior-most Indian commander will be a member of the Coordinating Committee of Security and Military Affairs in Iraq.

While these assurances are considered adequate by Vajpayee's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the NDA government has taken other steps to follow through the assurances given that the final decision will be based on discussions with Iraq's neighbours and on the basis of consultations within the country leading to a national consensus. Senior external affairs ministry officials have proceeded to Jordan, perhaps even to Syria and Iraq, for consultations.

The visit to Iraq would be to see if an invitation for Indian troops could be obtained from Iraq's interim authority, which is being put in place. Iran and Gulf countries are being consulted through diplomatic channels.

A decision, one way or the other, would be announced by the end of June or the first week of July. Nevertheless, it is necessary to take note of certain considerations, which should influence the government's decision in this matter.

Public opinion in India views the issues related to deputing of Indian troops in Iraq as a matter of national concern above party politics, and that whatever decision is taken by India should be based on national consensus.

The Congress opposition to sending troops to Iraq is based on the fact that there is no UN umbrella. Other reasons are: a majority of people of Iraq are resentful of the American military presence; no major power apart from the US is sending troops for "peace-making operations" in Iraq; the terms of reference under which Indian troops will be deployed are not clear; and the US-led interim authority in Iraq may delegate the controversial aspects of work related to maintaining law and order to Indian troops, subjecting India to criticism by the Iraqi people.

Parliament and the Indian people would like to be fully informed about the framework and terms of reference, details of the command and control structure of possible Indian troops deployment; whom the Indian commanders would report to; where in Iraq the Indian troops would be deployed; and the extent of autonomy and freedom of action Indian troops would have in discharging their functions.

Would the Indian troops be engaged in "peace-making", coercive action, or in "peace-keeping" tasks?

There is general acknowledgement of the high importance of India's relations with the US, but policy decisions on this issue and other such issues have to be primarily based on considerations of India's supreme national interests and the country's international credibility.

The US government's attempt at establishing a credible interim government in Iraq has not succeeded so far. None of the political figures projected as possible heads of Iraqi are acceptable to the Iraqi people. The Shia population under the leadership of the clergy is expressing incremental opposition to the US and western military presence in their country. The Sunnis and Kurds have their own reasons for being disappointed with the political dispensation orchestrated by the US, which has not been able to find an `Iraqi Karzai' to repeat its success in Afghanistan.

Prospects, therefore, are of political uncertainty and internal instability for some months to come.

India has to take a decision on the issue with caution and deliberation. It is important to keep in mind that there is growing resentment among the people of Iraq over the manner in which the US is managing the affairs in that country since the removal of Saddam Hussein. India should not find itself in a position where its credibility with the people of Iraq stands diminished.

India can play an important role in reviving the education system of Iraq, having assisted Baghdad in the field for decades. Wherever possible or feasible, India can contribute to reviving the infrastructural spheres of Iraq's social and economic development programmes. The guiding principle for India's involvement in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Iraq should be how it would benefit the people of Iraq, taking into account their sensitivities and aspirations resulting from the trauma of war.

(The writer is a former foreign secretary and a foreign policy adviser to the Congress Party)

SOURCE: http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_293125,001300180038.htm
 

AVE

TRIBE Member
Iraqi elections cancelled by U.S.
Army hand-picks its own mayors
Frustration builds among citizens

WILLIAM BOOTH AND RAJIV CHANDRASEKARAN
SPECIAL TO THE STAR

SAMARRA, Iraq—U.S. military commanders have ordered a halt to local elections and self-rule in provincial cities and towns across Iraq, choosing instead to install their own hand-picked mayors and administrators, many of whom are former Iraqi military leaders.

The decision to deny Iraqis a direct role in selecting municipal governments is creating anger and resentment among aspiring leaders and ordinary citizens, who say the U.S.-led occupation forces aren't making good on their promise to bring greater freedom and democracy to a country dominated for three decades by former president Saddam Hussein.

The go-slow approach to representative government in at least a dozen provincial cities is especially frustrating to younger, middle-class
professionals, who say they want to help their communities emerge from post-war chaos and to let, as one put it, "Iraqis make decisions for Iraq."

"They give us a general," said Bahith Sattar, a biology teacher and tribal leader in Samarra who was a candidate for mayor until that election was
cancelled last week. "First of all, an Iraqi general? They lost the last three wars! They're not even good generals. And they know nothing about running a city."

The most recent order to stop planning for elections was made by Maj.-Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, which
controls the northern half of Iraq. It follows similar decisions by the 3rd Infantry Division in central Iraq and those of British commanders in the south.

In Baghdad, U.S. officials never scheduled elections for a city government but have said they are forming neighbourhood councils that at some point will play a role in selection of a municipal government.

L. Paul Bremer, the civil administrator of Iraq, said in an interview that there is "no blanket prohibition" against self-rule.
"I'm not opposed to it, but I want to do it a way that takes care of our concerns. ... Elections that are held too early can be destructive. It's got to be done very carefully."

Iraqi critics of the policy shift say the American and British forces are primarily hurting themselves by smothering aspiring leaders who would benefit from the chance to work more closely with Westerners. In addition, they say, the occupation authorities are fostering a dependent, passive mindset among Iraqis and leaving no one but themselves to blame for the crime, faltering electricity and general misrule Iraqis see in their daily lives.

Sattar, the would-be candidate in Samarra, said, "The new mayors do not have to be perfect. But I think that by allowing us to establish our own governments, many of the problems today would be solved."

Occupation authorities initially envisioned the creation of local assemblies, composed of several hundred delegates who would represent a city or town's tribes, clergy, middle class, women and ethnic groups. Those delegates would select a mayor and city council.

That process was employed successfully in the northern city of Kirkuk, but U.S. civilian and military occupation officials now say post-war chaos has left Iraq unprepared to stage popular elections in most cities.

"In a post-war situation like this, if you start holding elections, the people who are rejectionists tend to win," Bremer said.
"It's often the best-organized who win, and the best-organized right now are the former Baathists and to some extent the Islamists."

He was referring to members of Saddam's Baath Party and religiously oriented political leaders.

Bremer and other U.S. officials are fearful that Islamic leaders such as Moqtada Sadr, a young Shiite Muslim cleric popular on the streets of Baghdad, and Ayatollah Mohammed Bakir Hakim, leader of the Iranian-supported Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, would be best positioned to field winning candidates.

Bremer promises that as soon as an Iraqi constitution is written and a national census taken, local and national elections will follow. But that process could take months.

Ten weeks into the occupation, the cities and towns outside of Baghdad are largely administered by former Iraqi military and police officers and people who had close ties to the Baath Party. Iraqi generals and police colonels, for example, are now mayors of a dozen cities, including Samarra, Najaf, Tikrit, Balad and Baqubah.

The U.S. military contends these people have been vetted and were not in leadership positions under the old government or associated with its crimes.

In Najaf last week, several hundred demonstrators took to the streets to demand elections and the removal of mayor Abdul Munim Abud, a former Iraqi artillery colonel. The protesters' banners read: "Cancelled elections are evidence of bad intentions" and "O America, where are promises of freedom, elections, and democracy?"

In Samarra, about 120 kilometres north of Baghdad, the selection of a new mayor and city council by delegates was postponed twice, and finally cancelled late last week.

"There will be no elections for the foreseeable future," said Sgt. Jeff Butler of the U.S. Army's 418th Civil Affairs Battalion, which is charged with running the city.

The current mayor of Samarra is Shakir Mahmud Mohammad, a retired general in the Iraqi army, who came into power here in April as U.S. forces arrived in the city.

Mohammad was selected by a council representing the seven major tribes in and around Samarra, and by most accounts did an admirable job keeping order in the city in the post-war weeks.

Butler described Mohammad "as a very personable guy, with a decent amount of legitimacy, and he is basically somebody we thought we can work with."

In Saddam's hometown of Tikrit, Lt.-Col. Steve Russell's mission is not to establish democracy in the region, but to hunt down remnants of the former government and others who are attacking U.S. troops.

That's understandable, said Nabel Darwesh Mohammad, the mayor of nearby Balad, who is a former colonel in the Iraqi police corps.

"But the American soldiers must understand that security comes also from giving the people their own leaders, their own powers."

WASHINGTON POST

source http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1056838210022&call_pageid=968332188854&col=968350060724
 

beaker

TRIBE Member
Mistrust Mixes With Misery In Heat of Baghdad Police Post
Frustrated Reservists See a Mission Impossible

By Anthony Shadid
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, July 1, 2003; Page A01


BAGHDAD, June 30 -- To Staff Sgt. Charles Pollard, the working-class suburb of Mashtal is a "very, very, very, very bad neighborhood." And he sees just one solution.

"U.S. officials need to get our [expletive] out of here," said the 43-year-old reservist from Pittsburgh, who arrived in Iraq with the 307th Military Police Company on May 24. "I say that seriously. We have no business being here. We will not change the culture they have in Iraq, in Baghdad. Baghdad is so corrupted. All we are here is potential people to be killed and sitting ducks."

To Sgt. Sami Jalil, a 14-year veteran of the local police force, the Americans are to blame. He and his colleagues have no badges, no uniforms. The soldiers don't trust them with weapons. In his eyes, his U.S. counterparts have already lost the people's trust.

"We're facing the danger. We're in the front lines. We're taking all the risks, only us," said the 33-year-old officer. "They're arrogant. They treat all the people as if they're criminals."

These are the dog days of summer in Mashtal, and tempers are flaring along a divide as wide as the temperatures are high.

Throughout the neighborhood, as in much of Baghdad, residents are almost frantic in their complaints about basic needs that have gone unmet -- enough electricity to keep food from spoiling, enough water to drink, enough security on the streets. At Mashtal's Rashad police station, where Pollard's unit is working to protect the police and get the Baath Party-era force back on its feet, the frustrations are personal and professional.

Many of the Iraqi officers despise the U.S. soldiers for what they see as unreasonable demands and a lack of respect. Many of the soldiers in Pollard's unit -- homesick, frustrated and miserable in heat that soars well into the 100s -- deem their mission to reconstitute the force impossible.

The Rashad station, where a new coat of paint has done little to conceal unmet expectations, is an example of the darker side of the mundane details of the U.S. occupation. While perhaps not representative, it offers a grim, small window on the daunting task of rebuilding a capital and how the course of that reconstruction, so far, has defied the expectations of virtually everyone involved.

"I pray every day on the roof. I pray that we make it safe, that we make it safe home," Pollard said. "The president needs to know it's in his hands, and we all need to recognize this isn't our home, America is, and we just pray that he does something about it."

Pollard is a 22-year veteran, and he had thought about retiring before his Iraq tour. Now, he says, he doesn't know when he will return to his job at the maintenance department at a community college in Pittsburgh, and that uncertainty nags at him.

Asked when he wanted to leave, he was blunt: "As soon as we can get the hell out of here."

This morning, in a dusty second-floor room with sandbags piled against the windows, helmets hung on nails over flak jackets and a sprawling map of Baghdad on the wall, Pollard's unit debated that question. Gossip swirled.

"There's a rumor going around that we'll be here for two years," Spec. Ron Beach said.

Others rolled their eyes and shook their heads. "You can put me up in a five-star hotel, and I'm not going to be here for two years," said Sgt. Jennifer Appelbaum, 26, a legal secretary from Philadelphia.

They started talking about what they lacked: hot meals, air conditioners, bathrooms a notch above plywood outhouses and something to do on their 12 hours off other than sweat. Electricity is on one hour, off five. Staff Sgt. Kenneth Kaczmarek called his flak jacket an "Iraqi weight loss system" and said he had shed at least 15 pounds. Pollard said he had lost 18.

Pollard's second granddaughter was born this month, but he hasn't been able to call home to learn her name. Kaczmarek's daughter, Isabella Jolie, was born May 28 -- eight days after he arrived in Iraq as part of an advance team.

"It makes life miserable," Pollard said. "The morale, it's hard to stay high with these problems."

Once largely undefended, Rashad police station -- 12 tiles missing from its blue sign -- has taken on the look of a bunker. Two cream-colored, armored Humvees are parked outside; another Humvee with a .50-caliber machine gun is at the side. Pollard said he wants barbed wire strung atop the cinder-block wall behind, and an engineering team is preparing to heighten the brick-and-cement wall in front. In coming days, he said, he would put sand barricades along the street outside the entrance.

Shots are fired every day at U.S. troops in Baghdad, and on Friday night, an ambush on a military convoy down the road killed one soldier and left at least one other wounded. As Pollard recalled, the blast shook the entire block. He said he suspects everyone. Two Iraqi journalists, one with a camera, visited two weeks ago, and he was convinced the men were casing the station.

He once sat at a desk outside, then moved indoors. "Let the Iraqis guard the gate," he said, next to a sandbagged window.

The way Pollard sees it, the Iraqi police should be taking the risks, not his 13 reservists at the station.

"It's not fair to our troops to build a country that's not even ours and our lives are at risk," he said. "They've got to take control. They may have to kill some of their own people to make a statement that we're back in control. No doubt."

For the most part, the Iraqi police and Pollard's soldiers say little to each other -- and even then it's done through interpreters. The Iraqis dislike Pollard, and he has little regard for them. The neighborhood is dangerous, he said, and fighting crime here might require twice the 86 police officers they still have. But of the 86, he said, at least half should be dismissed for corruption or ineptitude.

"This is a crooked cop sitting here," he said, pointing to a major who didn't understand English.

He walked through the station, leaning into a room with two officers busy at a desk. "Here's a room where they're acting like they're doing real important paperwork," he said. He walked outside to a balcony where three officers were sitting on newspapers and a green burlap sack, one with his shoes off. "This is a couple more lazy cops, sitting down when they should be outside," he said. They all greeted Pollard with cold stares, forgoing the traditional greetings that are almost obligatory in their culture.

Near an iron gate, where residents gathered in hopes of filing a complaint, Shoja Shaltak, an Iraqi lieutenant, brought a brown folder with an order from a judge to release three men. Pollard suspected a bribe.

"Tell him he can go, go, go," Pollard said to an interpreter. "I don't jump at their requests."

The lieutenant protested, insisting that the order came from a judge. The interpreter, Ziad Tarek, answered on his own. "The judge has nothing to do with this anymore," Tarek told Shaltak. He pointed to Pollard, "He's the judge now."

Jalil, the veteran Iraqi policeman, watched with disgust.

"It's embarrassing. It's embarrassing for us and for the lieutenant," he said. "We are police and they don't respect us. How is it possible for them to respect the Iraqi people?"

His complaints were aired by virtually all the station's officers: They don't receive the flak jackets the Americans wear, they have to check out rifles from the soldiers, they have no uniforms, they have no badges and they don't like Pollard.

Asked if he was afraid to go on patrol, Jalil shot back angrily, "The opposite.

"They're the ones who are scared," he said. "I'm ready to go out alone, but they should give me the equipment."

Jalil said he was so frustrated that he planned to quit in days. He said he can't support his parents, wife and 8-month-old daughter on a salary of $60 a month. He spends half of that on daily lunches and the 30-cent fares for a shared taxi to and from work.

With water in short supply or of poor quality, he buys a bottle of mineral water every two days for his daughter -- a cheap variety but still another 50 cents. Sewage floods daily into his home, where four families totaling 30 people share six rooms. And, with electricity running no more than six hours a day, Jalil worries that his daughter will become ill from the heat.

"The truth has become apparent," he said.

"The Americans painted a picture that they would come, provide good things to the Iraqi people, spread security, but regrettably" -- his voice trailed off.

"Iraqi people hate the Americans," he said.

The one thing on which everyone agrees is that Mashtal is a tough neighborhood. Gunfire crackles at night. A chop shop is down the street. Parked outside the station are six stolen cars recovered by the police. Kaczmarek called it "Chicago in the '30s" and said he saw someone the other day toting a tommy gun. Jalil called murder the easiest crime to commit. Last week in his neighborhood, an Iraqi hit his 28-year-old ex-wife with a bicycle, then, as she lay on the ground on a hot afternoon, shot her in the face with an AK-47 rifle.

"People just watched," Jalil said. "If they interfered, they would be killed, too."

Outside the police station's gate, Qassim Kadhim, a 30-year-old day laborer, had been waiting for hours to report a stolen motorcycle. On Thursday, three thieves broke into his house, a two-room shack where he lives with his wife and four children. He said he knew who they were, and when he went the next day to confront them, one of them beat him with a rifle butt. He still had a black eye.

"There's no security, there's no stability in Iraq," he said. "I swear to God, things are going to get worse."
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
Bushie blunders:

Bush Taking Heat for 'Bring Them On' Remark
Thu July 3, 2003 01:44 PM ET
By Steve Holland


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush has used colorful language before to great effect, but he is taking some heat for his "Bring them on" challenge to Iraqi militants attacking U.S. forces, who he said were tough enough to take it.

Even some aides winced at Bush's words, which Democrats pounced on as an invitation to Iraqi militants to fire on U.S. troops already the subject of hit-and-run attacks by Saddam Hussein loyalists and others.

"These men and women are risking their lives every day, and the president who sent them on this mission showed tremendous insensitivity to the dangers they face," said Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean.

Another Democratic presidential candidate, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, said condemned the comment, saying, "The deteriorating situation in Iraq requires less swagger and more thoughtfulness and statesmanship."

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer dismissed the criticism and said Bush viewed his comment as a way to express confidence in U.S. troops.

"I think the men and women of the military are appreciative of the fact that they know they have a president who supports them as strongly as he does, and who has as much faith in their ability to complete the mission, despite some of the second-guessing that this president has," Fleischer said.

Bush, a proud Texan with a penchant for plain talk, told reporters on Wednesday: "There are some who feel like that conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is: Bring them on. We have the force necessary to deal with the situation."

'DEAD OR ALIVE'

In the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks he said the United States wanted al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden "dead or alive" and vowed to "smoke" them out of their holes.

University of Texas political scientist Bruce Buchanan, a longtime Bush watcher, said Bush uses such language when under strain, and that he is likely feeling the heat of criticism about the lagging post-war effort in Iraq.

He called the remark an unfortunate choice of words because it sounded belligerent.

"I think that when he feels up against it, as he did at the time of the 9/11 attacks, or when he does when coming under criticism now, he has a tendency to strike back verbally, and I think that's what you're seeing there. He's not choosing his words diplomatically at those moments because he's not feeling particularly diplomatic," Buchanan said.

At least 25 U.S. and six British troops have been killed by hostile fire since Bush declared major combat in Iraq to be over on May 1.

Brookings Institution presidential scholar Stephen Hess said many Americans like what they hear from the president, calling his words reminiscent of his defiant stance against the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks when he stood in the rubble of the World Trade Center towers and vowed to fight back.

"My observation is he's saying exactly what the American people want him to say, and saying it even in a way that they would want him to say it," Hess said.

He added: "Obviously we're going into a presidential election era and one expects the opposition to oppose. That's their job. But the sort of response that somehow he was inviting the enemy to attack us I think is more than a stretch."
 

Subsonic Chronic

TRIBE Member
Bush, a proud Texan with a penchant for plain talk, told reporters on Wednesday: "There are some who feel like that conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is: Bring them on. We have the force necessary to deal with the situation."
That's easy to say when he's sitting behind a desk, sending young men off to die so his corporate friends can make more money off of Iraq's oil.

Pete
 

OTIS

TRIBE Member
Bush, a proud Texan with a penchant for plain talk, told reporters on Wednesday: "There are some who feel like that conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is: Bring them on. We have the force necessary to deal with the situation."
What a brave draft dodger!
 
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