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I don't think the administration ever thought we would be where we are today (Monday, May 30, 2005)

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  • jim@leftopia.com
     Iraq Front News Subscribe: IraqFrontNews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com Monday, May 30, 2005 News roundup by Jim Galasyn
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      Monday, May 30, 2005
      News roundup by Jim Galasyn
      Iraq Front News

      Monday, May 30, 2005

      Bring Them Home

      Fool Me Once

      Hearts And Minds

      White Man's Burden

       

       

       



       

       

       

      Graph of US Military Deaths


      Graph of US Military Casualties


      Civilians reported killed by military intervention in Iraq
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      Suicide bombers kill 27; Sunni leader detained
      Mon, 30 May 2005 08:17:06 GMT

      Two suicide bombers strapped with explosives blew themselves up in a crowd of protesting former policemen south of Baghdad on Monday, killing 27 in one of the deadliest attacks in a month of escalating violence.

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      Iraqi helicopter crashes, killing all five on board
      Mon, 30 May 2005 22:08:17 GMT

      An Iraqi helicopter crashed Monday in the eastern province of Diyala, killing all five people on board, a source in Iraq's Defence Ministry told Xinhua.

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      30 Dead, Dozens Wounded by Guerrillas In Response to Operation Lighting
      Sun, 29 May 2005 21:30:00 GMT

      Guerrillas in Baghdad fought determinedly against the 40,000 Iraqi soldiers fielded to crack down on violence in Baghdad. AFP writes, "Four car bombs in and around the capital killed 16 people, most of them security personnel, Sunday, in a swift response to Iraq's widest homegrown clampdown since the fall of Saddam Hussein over two years ago. Nine soldiers taking part in Operation Lightning died in a suicide car bombing at their roadblock just south of the capital, while two policemen were killed when a suicide car bomber targeted their patrol in southwestern Baghdad. In western Baghdad, a car bomb targeting police commandos killed three people and wounded 20, an interior ministry source said, adding that police had then fought a firefight with men in the area. An earlier suicide bombing near the oil ministry left two dead, while violence elsewhere claimed the lives of a British soldier and seven Iraqis." John Burns of the NYT says that the guerrillas are putting up a vigorous fight against government troops and that 14 died in a pitched battle between the two that lasted for hours. US troops arrested Muhsin Abd al-Hamid Monday morning.</a> He is the head of the (Sunni) Iraqi Islamic Party and had served on the Interim Governing Council appointed by Bremer. The IIP initially announced that they would take part in the parliamentary elections, then declared neutrality because of the November, 2004, Fallujah campaign. Forbes reports, "Hamid, leader of the Iraq Islamic Party, was hooded and taken away after US troops broke windows in his home and allegedly mistreated him and his sons, the party official said. " Actually it is not clear under the provisional Iraqi constitution that it is legal for US troops just to go arrest people. The arrest of a major Sunni leader will cerainly have an impact on the guerrilla movement. Journalists are already talking about a new potential civil war among the sects. Will write more on Monday afternoon.

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      Bombers Attack Iraq Police; Up to 30 Dead
      Mon, 30 May 2005 05:32:09 GMT

      Two suicide bombers blew themselves up Monday in a crowd of police officers south of Baghdad, killing up to 30 people and wounding dozens, while U.S. forces briefly detained a Sunni political leader on the second day of an Iraqi-led security sweep in the capital.

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      25 ex-commandos killed in double Iraq suicide bombing
      Mon, 30 May 2005 08:15:10 GMT

      At least 25 former police commandos were killed and 100 wounded in a double suicide bombing outside government offices in Hilla, south of Baghdad, medical sources and an AFP correspondent said.

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      21 Dead In Iraq Suicide Attacks
      Mon, 30 May 2005 14:58:45 GMT

      The militant group al-Qaida in Iraq appears to be claiming responsibility for two suicide blasts that killed at least 21 people and injured 100 others.

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      Gunmen In Car Kill 2 Iraqi Police Sergeants
      Mon, 30 May 2005 00:00:00 GMT

      Two Iraqi police sergeants employed by the Iraqi Cabinet were killed while driving to work Sunday by unknown gunmen in another car, police said. The attack happened Baghdad's southern Dora neighborhood.

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      Iraq hit with new violence
      Mon, 30 May 2005 00:00:00 GMT

      The most daring assault appeared to have been a sustained attack on the detention center run by the Interior Ministry's major crimes unit in Amariya, where suspected insurgents are held before being moved to the Abu Ghraib prison. The ministry said the assault there involved at least 50 insurgents firing rocket-propelled grenades, mortar shells and machine guns. According to an unconfirmed account by an Amariya resident who was reached by telephone, insurgent bands roaming the district after the battle claimed to have captured weapons from the detention center's armory.

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      Senior Kurdish Official in Kirkuk Shot Dead
      Mon, 30 May 2005 08:29:48 GMT

      A senior Kurdish official died Monday after being shot by gunmen overnight in this northern city, a government official said. Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Barazanchi, the director of internal affairs of Kirkuk province and a former police chief, was shot several times late Sunday, said Ismail al-Hadithi, Kirkuk's deputy governor.

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      Insurgents, police battle in Baghdad
      Mon, 30 May 2005 00:00:00 GMT

      Iraqi police fought pitched battles with insurgents Sunday as thousands of security forces swept through Baghdad's streets to flush out militants. Intelligence official acknowledged there are few indications they "are packing their bags."

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      Shells fall near S. Korean military in Iraq
      Mon, 30 May 2005 00:00:00 GMT

      Four shells fell near the South Korean military contingent in Iraq early Monday (Korean time), but there were no immediate reports of any causalities, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

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      Soldier Who Killed Self Added to War Casualties
      May 30, 2005

      A U.S. soldier who committed suicide at Walter Reed Army Medical Center nearly two years ago has been added to the official Defense Department tally of Iraq war casualties.The name of Army Master Sgt. James C. Coons, 35, was added last month to the more than 1,600 other "Fallen Warriors" of Operation Iraqi Freedom who are listed on a public Web site of the Defense Department, http://www.defendamerica.mil . A military casualty board ruled in December that Coons's suicide in July 2003, which came after he received a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and was evacuated from Kuwait, should be considered a casualty of war.Coons was featured in a front-page story in The Washington Post last year. At the time, military officials said it was Defense Department policy not to count as war casualties soldiers who served in the war and died by suicide outside the combat zone.As a commander of the 385th Signal Company, Coons led soldiers and set up a communications infrastructure for the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. He received a Bronze Star for his service. Several months later, he complained to doctors about hallucinations of a dead soldier's face. He took an overdose of sleeping pills in Kuwait and was taken to Walter Reed for psychiatric treatment.Coons was not admitted to the hospital when he arrived in late June 2003. He stayed at Mologne House, a hotel for outpatients on the 113-acre campus. After he missed a doctor's appointment on July 1 and his family made several concerned calls, a hotel staff member found him on July 4, hanging in his room."He died because of this war," said his mother, Carol Coons of Katy, Tex. She and her husband, Richard Coons, and their son's widow, Robin Coons, have pushed for answers about his death and asked to have him counted among the war casualties."I think it's an open admission that there were mistakes made in how he was handled in coming home," she said. "I hope they have changed that. . . . We don't want this to ever happen again." ...

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      Memorial Day asks for Iraq exit strategy
      Mon, 30 May 2005 14:58:45 GMT

      Memorial Day is a sacred occasion. This day is all the more solemn because it marks a growing death toll of Americans who gave their lives to help ensure a new Iraq.

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      A Look at U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq
      Mon, 30 May 2005 21:42:08 GMT

      As of Monday, May 30, 2005, at least 1,656 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,264 died as a result of hostile action, according to the Defense Department. The figures include four military civilians.

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      Eleven UK soldiers face war crimes trial
      29 May 2005

      Up to 11 British soldiers and officers are under investigation for alleged war crimes over the death of an Iraqi civilian in British custody, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.Military lawyers are considering the charges as part of a major inquiry into allegations that members of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment beat Baha Mousa, a hotel worker, to death in September 2003. As the IoS disclosed last week, the officers include the regiment's commander, Col Jorge Mendonca, 41, who has been warned he could be tried for allegedly failing to control his troops effectively. There is no allegation that he took part in any abuse.At least four QLR members, thought to be privates and NCOs, face specific charges of murder and abuse over Mr Mousa's death from heart failure and asphyxia, allegedly due to multiple injuries, on 15 September 2003. But alongside another seven soldiers and officers, the four alleged assailants also face wider war crimes charges.Whitehall sources have insisted that no final decisions have yet been taken on who to prosecute, or on what charges. They indicated yesterday that not all the suspects are expected to stand trial, but believe as many as nine men could face a court martial.Army sources yesterday indicated there was disquiet throughout the service at the charges. One source added: "Military law already exists to deal with these kinds of charges. Why the apparent push to bring them under this draconian new war crimes legislation?" He said many soldiers suspect these charges were considered only after the court martial of three soldiers in February, for abusing alleged Iraqi looters at Camp Breadbasket, led to criticism that no one above the rank of corporal was charged. ...

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      Assault On the Media
      May 27, 2005

      So it turns out that the FBI has documents showing that detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, complained about the mistreatment of the Koran and that many said they were severely beaten.The documents specifically include an allegation from a prisoner that guards had "flushed a Koran in the toilet." And yesterday, Pentagon officials said investigators have identified five incidents of "mishandling" the Koran by military guards and investigators. It was the first time Pentagon officials had acknowledged mistreatment of the Muslim holy book, though they insisted that the episodes were minor and occurred in the Guantanamo facility's early days.What, then, is one to make of the Bush administration's furious assault against Newsweek magazine for bringing allegations about the abuse of the Koran to popular attention?Let's be clear: Newsweek originally reported that an internal military investigation had "confirmed" infractions alleged in "internal FBI e-mails." The documents made public Wednesday include only an allegation from a prisoner about the flushing of the Koran, and the Pentagon insisted that the same prisoner, reinterviewed on May 14, couldn't corroborate his earlier claim.But it's also clear, to be charitable, that not all was well in Guantanamo. That's why the administration and its apologists -- more about that word in a moment -- went bonkers over the Newsweek story. ...

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      Al-Zarqawi Message Now Says Wounds Minor
      Mon, 30 May 2005 21:56:26 GMT

      Iraq's insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi purportedly made an audio address to Osama bin Laden on Monday to assure the al-Qaida leader that he was in good health after being wounded in a fire fight with U.S. troops.

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      Oops...
      Mon, 30 May 2005 19:37:00 GMT

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      An Evening with Seymour Hersh
      May 27, 2005

      ... Hersh is firm in his assertion that the war in Iraq has never ended despite the ostentatious proclamation by Bush from the deck of an aircraft carrier. He said the term "insurgency" used to describe those fighting coalition troops is a misnomer because the coalition is still fighting the same people they were engaging before the fall of Baghdad. In April 2003, Hersh says, around 6000 military commanders and soldiers, Baathist bureaucrats and other leaders of the regime (including those who ran the public utilities and oil infractructure) simply disappeared from Baghdad over a short period of days. It's these same commanders and soldiers that are still fighting now. Jihadists have come to the country but the bedrock of the "insurgency" remains Republican Guard units and the like. Hersh also maintains that Iraq is already in a state of civil war and has been for some months, it's merely that a timid American press is afraid to use the term.Bogeyman of the moment Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a useful figleaf to the Iraqi commanders leading the insurgency, said Hersh. In adopting the tactic of killing civilians in an attempt to turn the population against the occupation, the former Baathists find Zarqawi's status as terrorist-in-chief deflects the blame away from them and gives succour to their hope of reassuming control of the country again some time in the future. Their thinking is that the civilian population being told by the coalition to blame Zarqawi for Baathist atrocities will make their task easier.Hersh returned to his assertion that the responsibility for the torture at Abu Ghraib goes all the way up the chain of command to Bush and Rumsfeld. One of the missing pieces of the jigsaw is the chronology of what Bush did between him finding out about the abuses and the story breaking. Hersh is certain Bush did nothing. He also said that you only have to look at the backgrounds of the people convicted of the abuses (he didn't use the word "hicks" but painted that picture) to know that these people had to have been told that the Koran was a tool that could be used against Muslim prisoners.There was no way, he says, that pizza delivery boys would know that the way to break Muslim prisoners (both male and female) would be to prey on one of greatest taboos in their culture, ie. sexual humiliation. The guards at Abu Ghraib were "basically traffic cops" who'd had two weeks of training and found themselves running a jail. At the time, the coalition had no idea who was orchestrating what was becoming a bloody insurgency and were beginning to panic. The order went out to "squeeze the prison population" for information, says Hersh. The guards at Abu Ghraib were told from above how best to soften up Muslim prisoners. ...

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      'Things are getting worse by the day.'
      Mon, 30 May 2005 21:25:02 GMT

      The mayhem continues in Iraq, with today at least 40 people dead, including five US soldiers in Diyala province as the meltdown of the failed US-led occupation continues.Two suicide bombers detonated themselves after walking into a crowd of police officers in Hilla, south of Baghdad. The policemen were demonstrating outside the mayor’s office to protest a government decision to disband their Special Forces unit.In yet another horrible PR move (or attempt to raise sectarian tensions?) by the US military the head of Iraq’s largest Sunni political party, Mohsen Abdul Hamid was detained from his home early this morning in western Baghdad. Of course his head was promptly bagged and his hands tied before he was taken away to be interrogated. His three sons were also detained with him. Stun bombs and bullets were said to be used during the raid, according to his wife.It just so happens that his party, the Islamic Party, opposes the new US-backed security operation now engulfing Baghdad because they believe the security forces will disregard the rights of innocent Iraqis.Later today he was released and the military admitted it made a mistake.The military statement concerning the matter said, “Coalition forces regret any inconvenience and acknowledge (Abdul-Hamid’s) cooperation in resolving this matter.”Abdul Hamid refused their apology in the Arab media, and stated that he was humiliated when US soldiers held their boots on his head for 20 minutes. It was also stated that he accused American soldiers of removing items from his home, including a computer. This is standard operating procedure with home raids-I can’t tell you how many Iraqis I’ve interviewed after their homes were raided who complained of money, jewelry and other belongings being looted by American soldiers. The Islamic Party released a statement after the release of Abdul Hamid which said, “The U.S. administration claims it is interested in drawing Sunnis into the political process but it seems that their way of doing so is by raids, arrests and violating human rights.”At least 740 Iraqis have been killed since the new “government” took power in late April, and with the ongoing operations sparking more attacks each day, it doesn’t look like there is an end in sight. Keep in mind, the vast majority of the Iraqi security forces are either Shia or Kurdish battling against a primarily Sunni resistance (for now). It can easily be argued that we are witnessing a US-backed Iraqi government who is deliberating using its power to wage a civil war.On that note, today Major General Ahmed al-Barazanchi, a Kurdish man who was the director of internal affairs of Kirkuk province died this morning after being shot yesterday.My sources in Baghdad also said there have been fierce clashes today in the al-Amiriya district of Baghdad between resistance fighters and Iraqi and US soldiers. “Open gun battles in the streets,” as one friend told me, “And as soon as the Iraqi and US soldiers leave the area, the resistance takes it back over.”Keep in mind that all of this is against the backdrop of well over 50% unemployment, horrendous traffic jams, and an infrastructure in shambles that continues to degrade with next to no reconstruction occurring in Baghdad.“Electricity shut offs drive us crazy in this hot summer,” one of my friends wrote me recently, “Even we can’t read at night because of long hours of electricity cuts and because the outside generators can’t withstand running these long hours and we have to turn these generators off for some time to cool them!”He continues, “Two years of occupation…for God sake where is the rebuilding, where the hell are these billions donated to Iraq? Even not 1% improvement in services and electricity! They say again and again the terrorists are to blame and I would accept this, but why they do not protect these facilities? Do the American camps have cuts of electricity? No, no, and nobody will allow this to happen...but poor Iraqis, nobody would be sorry for them if they burn with the hell of summer, small kids and old men they get dehydrated because no electricity, no cold water, etc. Have you heard about the tea that is mixed with iron particles? It is real in our life. People have to make sure their tea is not mixed with iron by use of magnets.”He concluded his email with, “Things are getting worse day by day. Iraq has become a country not for its people, every day thoughts jump into the mind that sooner or later we have to leave this country, searching for another. And there is a saying, “your home is where you sleep safe,” but this is not true in Iraq anymore.”He sent me that email three days ago.Yesterday the Iraqi government announced that it may decrease subsidies for fuel and electricity, despite a severe shortage of both in the country, according to the electricity minister who warned Iraqis to prepare for more blackouts this summer.Ongoing fuel, electricity and drinking water shortages persist, and only 37% of Iraqis have a working sewage system.As so many of my Iraqi friends continue to say, “This is the freedom and democracy that America has brought us.”

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      Anbar University now known as one of Iraq's most dangerous places
      Mon, 30 May 2005 20:36:00 GMT

      BAGHDAD, Iraq -Eighteen students were missing from Wissam Samarraie's engineering class one recent day. Furious that college seniors would skip lessons right before finals, the professor demanded to know where they were.

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      At least three dozen men arrested in Haditha raids
      Mon, 30 May 2005 14:58:45 GMT

      The Haditha raids, a follow-up to the large-scale offensive conducted earlier this month in the western deserts near the Iraq-Syria border, have so far resulted in at least 14 suspected insurgents killed, ...

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      US troops arrest Iraq Sunni political leader
      Mon, 30 May 2005 10:01:06 GMT

      US troops arrested the leader of Iraq's main Sunni party in Baghdad along with his three sons, sparking protests from the group that is key to peace in the country.

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      US says arrest of Iraq Sunni leader was mistake, will release him
      Mon, 30 May 2005 14:58:45 GMT

      Largest Private Cos. People World's Richest People 100 Top Celebrities 400 Richest Americans Best Paid CEOs Places Best Places Personal Finance Estate Planning Funds Philanthropy Retirement Strategies Taxes ...

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      US, Iraqi forces nab former Saddam general
      Mon, 30 May 2005 09:57:35 GMT

      Iraqi and US troops arrested an unnamed former Iraqi general during a raid in west Baghdad.

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      Iraq al Qaeda claims two suicide attacks -Web
      Mon, 30 May 2005 11:38:58 GMT

      The al Qaeda group in Iraq, headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed two suicide bomb attacks against Iraqi security recruits and policemen who were protesting for higher wages, two Internet statements said.

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      Romanian Journalist Recounts Kidnapping
      Mon, 30 May 2005 00:00:00 GMT

      A Romanian journalist held hostage in Iraq for nearly two months recalled how he and his fellow hostages were confined in a hot cellar, blindfolded and ordered not to speak.

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      Iraq healers have become targets
      MAY 31, 2005

      The letter came to this city's main cardiac hospital late last month. It was handwritten and unsigned, but its message was clear: It threatened the hospital's top doctors and warned them to leave their jobs immediately. Four of the hospital's top surgeons stopped going to work. So did six senior cardiologists. Some left the country. And it was far from an isolated incident. The director of another hospital, Dr. Abdula Sahab Eunice, was gunned down May 17 on his way to work, officials at the hospital said. In the past year, about 10 percent of Baghdad's 32,000 registered doctors - Sunnis, Shiites and Christians - have left or been driven from work, according to the Iraqi Medical Association, which licenses practitioners. The exodus has accelerated in recent months, said Akif Khalil al-Alousi, a pathologist at Kindi Teaching Hospital and a senior member of the association. The vast majority of those fleeing, he said, are the most senior doctors. "It represents a very good chunk of the doctors," Alousi said. "They are the people who make the doctors, heads of departments." ...

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      Soldiers in Iraq have mix of hope, worries
      May 29, 2005

      Sgt. Shawn Biederman is simply trying to survive the next two months and make it home. His unit mate, Spc. Brent Short, has just signed up for a one-year extension.As another summer of searing heat bears down on Iraq, many soldiers in this troubled Sunni-dominated region of central Iraq say they remain as committed as ever to winning the war, however long it takes. Others fret about missing newborns' first words or precious time with young wives.Still others worry about the slow pace of creating an Iraqi force to relieve them, and say they aren't sure they are accomplishing anything real."We want to hand it over to them. But when it comes down to it, the (Iraqi police) we're hiring are all bad," said Army Sgt. Nicholas Radde, 21, of LaCrosse, Wis., as his soldiers took a break in the parking lot of an abandoned storage area. ...

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      Insurgency, Terrorism or Civil War? Violence in Iraq Continues to Escalate
      May 30, 2005

      Bombs and blood in Baghdad have become the norm. But with the government throwing more troops into the battle, many Sunnis are speaking of a Shiite offensive. The split could disintegrate into a civil war. Plus, the German opposition finally names its candidate for chancellor and US and North Korea still can't get along.How many deaths does it take to make a civil war? Can the conflict in Iraq, pitting suicide bombers against both home-grown and foreign militaries be described as an internal struggle for control? At what point does the claim that violence in Iraq is "merely" the work of a bunch of terrorists lose its tenability? In Iraq, it's a set of questions being asked more and more often as the death toll this May continues to rocket upwards.On Monday, the violence continued, with two suicide bombers blowing themselves up amid a crowd of policemen in the town of Hillah south of Baghdad. Twenty were killed and just short of 100 were wounded. Sadly, however, such violence -- world news had it occurred in Berlin, Britain or Boston -- is little more than a footnote coming out of Baghdad. After all, 34 people were killed on Sunday in a variety of attacks and roughly 700 have lost their lives at the hands of insurgents in the month of May. Bits of bodies flying through the Iraqi air has become the norm and is no longer terribly newsworthy.And yet, below the numbing continuity of suicide bombs, things are changing in Iraq, and not necessarily for the better. Last week, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari's government announced a crackdown against the insurgents in which he planned to commit 40,000 soldiers and paramilitary police officers. Leaving aside the question as to whether the Iraqi government is capable of fielding that many troops, the announcement is worrisome. Most of the Iraqi forces are Shiites, whereas the insurgency is largely a Sunni affair. ...

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      Four Americans Presumed Dead After Crash Of Iraqi Aircraft
      Mon, 30 May 2005 22:08:17 GMT

      Four Americans and an Iraqi who were board an Iraqi Air Force aircraft that crashed Monday in the eastern part of Iraq's Diyala Province were presumed dead.

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      US military top brass vows to press on in Iraq amid uptick of violence
      Mon, 30 May 2005 17:37:08 GMT

      A top Pentagon official paid tribute to US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan on the annual Memorial Day holiday, and vowed that despite recent marked upticks in violence, insurgencies in both countries will be defeated.

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      Shia Leaders...
      Sun, 29 May 2005 11:43:00 GMT

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      Operation Lightning: Is Iraq Another Honduras?
      May 30, 2005

      On Friday's Big Story substitute host Judge Andrew Napolitano claimed for the umpteeth time that American-trained Iraqi forces will clean up the insurgency in Iraq.

      NAPOLITANO: "Iraqi security forces have been training for this. They're on a mission to take terrorists off the streets. It's called Operation Lightning with 40,000 troops setting up hundreds of checkpoints and going door to door in Baghdad next week. They're trying to curb the deadly violence coming from enemy fighters in Iraq..."

      Lower Chyron: BIG FACT: OPERATION WILL HAVE AN OFFENSIVE POSTURE.

      Napolitano asked his guest, retired Army Lt. Col. James Carafano, a Heritage Foundation Senior Fellow, if Operation Lightning will stop terrorists.Carafano made the following points.(a) The average Iraqi will see this exercise as an assertion of power by the new Iraqi government .(b) With all the hoopla and build-up, not many, if any, real terrorists will still be in the city. He said: "There's kind of a bad news thing here as well, though, I think. One is - this is well known, it's well telegraphed, so the odds are a lot of the terrorists are gonna, they're gonna go underground or go to root or get out of town so there's a question of how many terrorists they'll get."(c) "And the other thing and probably most important, the thing they have to be really careful about is, as they go through Baghdad, it can't be perceived as Shi'as picking on Sunnis. So going into Sunni mosques, dealing with the Sunni population, it has to be perceived as fair and disciplined and balanced and not one part of the city pickin' on another. If it becomes a Shi'a-Sunni thing, that might do as much damage as good."(d) It is a labor-intensive activity to go door-to-door rounding up suspected terrorists.The interview continued, complete with the usual BIG FACT chyrons flashed on the lower third on the screen.

      NAPOLITANO: OK. Colonel. Beyond being fair and balanced (a) are the troops trained? Are they capable of doing this? (b) Are they loyal to the new government?

      Lower Chyron: BIG FACT: IRAQI FORCES WILL SET UP 600+ CHECKPOINTS.

      CARAFANO: Yeah, I don't they would do this unless they had a fairly fair expectation that they could pull it off. You know you say 40,000 troops and you go, I mean, that's a lot of troops. But you have to think, you have to realize, for example, it takes four troops to clear a room. I mean, you go in a room.

      Lower Chyron: BIG FACT: OPERATION WILL ESTABLISH A CORDON AROUND BAGHDAD

      CARAFANO: There's four corners in a room. You have to have one guy look at each corner so when you start goin' through districts and settin' up checkpoints, it eats up an awful lot of troops really quick.

      Lower Chyron: BIG FACT: OPERATION WILL SPREAD AROUND THE REST OF THE COUNTRY.

      CARAFANO: So, 40,000 troops sound like a lot but you know they're certainly not gonna cordon off Baghdad in any way or make this airtight. I mean, so, I think it's a reasonable size operation and, gain, I don't think they'd attempt it unless they felt they can pull it off. ...

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      World watch
      May 30, 2005

      If people happen to have been discussing constitutions anywhere in the world recently, it's a fair bet they were talking about the EU, not Iraq. Yet what is happening in Baghdad probably matters much more than any knife-edge referendums in Paris or The Hague.Iraqis, facing an insurgency that has killed 600 people this month, have to do what the French, Dutch and other Europeans - looking beyond the nation state to something new - no longer have to worry about: build a working democracy from scratch now that the Ba'athist system of Arab socialism, freedom and unity has gone the way of all tyrannies.It really doesn't matter what you think of George Bush, Tony Blair, or their case for war. This - along with an awful lot of other things - has to be done if the occupation is to end and the country is to come out of it in reasonable shape.But US neocons willing a new Middle East to emerge from the rubble make it sound far too easy, fantasising about a Philadelphia-on-the-Tigris, where the founding fathers of free Iraq will be moved by the vision of 1787 to overcome their differences and strike grand bargains as they look, misty-eyed, to some shining city on a hill.Words like "democratic", "pluralistic" and "inclusive", bandied about by an anxious Condoleezza Rice, ring hollow behind the heavily guarded walls of the Green Zone in Baghdad while mass unemployment, power shortages, sectarian incitement and suicide bombings continue outside. ...

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      Gulf actions of U.S. prove boon to Iran
      May 29, 2005

      And the winner is - drum roll, please - Iran!That's at least one surprising answer to the question of who is coming out on top in the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."Everything has gone very well for the Iranians," says Juan Cole, a professor specializing in Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan, a view echoed by many others who study the region."They had two major geopolitical enemies on the region. One was the Tal

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