Saturday, March 24, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- March 24th edition

March 24, 2005: A soldier poses with a cache of weapons recovered after the military quelled an insurgent attack on a supply convoy

March 24, 2002:

Iraqi exiles ruled out of any attack on Saddam

A leading exiled Iraqi opposition group that has lobbied the US for a military role in any attempt to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein has recognised it will be limited to a political agenda.

This suggests the US may be moving away from any plan to remove the Iraqi president using the "Afghanistan model" in which Northern Alliance opposition forces worked with US forces to unseat the Taliban regime.

The Iraqi National Congress, the London-based group that has sought the application of the Afghanistan model to a military attack on Baghdad, now believes it will be "marginalised".

The INC's new focus comes as the Bush administration seeks to garner support for action against Iraq. The US is broadening its dialogue with exiled groups to include former members of the Iraqi military establishment and other dissident organisations.

Read the rest at the Financial Times

March 24, 2003:

U.S. Troops Run Into Guerrilla Tactics From Iraqi Fighters

The group of Iraqis who approached the U.S. Marines on Monday morning appeared to be hungry and harmless. The men dressed in robes and headdresses begged for water. And the women clad in black veils covered in dust begged for food.

But the Marines in the area around the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah have grown wary of such Iraqis since they pushed into Saddam Hussein's country. Here, in a region about 230 miles from Baghdad, they constantly have to worry that civilians are actually a new sort of turncoat -- soldiers who have changed clothes.

"We saw some black berets hanging up in a tree, and we went to investigate, and we saw all these uniforms hanging there. I figure half these guys you see walking around are soldiers. They've discarded their uniforms," one Marine who did not want to give his name told a wire service reporter. "They're out there, they're watching us, and they're planning small counterattacks."

This was the apparent tactic the Iraqis employed in the Nasiriyah area over the weekend. The U.S. Marines ran into a surprise counterattack by the Saddam Fedayeen militia after they thought they had secured two bridges across the Euphrates River. It was here that the U.S. troops were bloodied. On Sunday, Iraq television showed up to eight corpses of what it said were U.S. soldiers killed in fighting near Nassiriya and five U.S. captives.

Read the rest at Deutsche Welle

March 24, 2004:

Bremer: No. 1 Iraqi priority is security

BAGHDAD — Marking 100 days before the United States cedes political power an Iraq government, the top U.S. administrator said the country was "on the path to full democracy" and has made significant economic progress since Saddam Hussein was ousted a year ago.

Marking the countdown toward the handover of sovereignty to Iraq, the provisional government's chief administrator said Wednesday that personal security remained the nation's top priority.

Paul Bremer also pledged that the U.S.-led coalition would not abandon Iraq when it assumes responsibility for its future in 100 days.

"The coalition will stand with the Iraqi people as they build a future of hope for their children," Bremer told Iraqi leaders gathered under heavy guard at the fortified compound that has served as the provisional government's headquarters since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime a year ago.

Read the rest at USA Today

March 24, 2005:

Heavy Insurgent Toll in Iraq

BAGHDAD, March 23 -- An Iraqi official said Wednesday that 85 insurgents were killed on Tuesday when Iraqi commandos, assisted by U.S. air and ground support, staged a midday attack on a suspected training camp in a rural area northwest of the capital.

The guerrilla death toll was the largest in any battle since the Marines led an assault on the insurgent-held city of Fallujah in November, when more than 1,000 fighters were reported killed.

Seven Iraqi special police officers were killed and five were injured in Tuesday's attack on the camp, located near Tharthar Lake in the Sunni Triangle, Sabah Kadhim, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said in an interview.

"It was cleverly hidden in the middle of swamps," Kadhim said of the camp, adding that the insurgents had used boats to transfer supplies to the site.

The special police, formally known as 1st Police Commando Battalion, are attached to the Interior Ministry.

The clash was the latest in a series of firefights involving large numbers of fighters.

Read the rest at USA Today

March 24, 2006:

58 Dead As Violence Continues in Iraq

The U.S. military spokesman in Iraq asserted Thursday that major violence is largely confined to just three of the country's 18 provinces, but fighting there raged on with at least 58 people killed in execution-style slayings, bombings and gunbattles.

For the third straight day, Sunni insurgents hit a major police and jail facility — this time with a suicide car bombing that killed 25 in central Baghdad. The attacker detonated his explosives at the entrance to the Interior Ministry Major Crimes unit in the Karradah district, killing 10 civilians and 15 policemen, authorities said.

As insurgent forces raised the stakes with the attacks, the U.S. military announced late Thursday that it was in the second day of an operation with Iraqi soldiers "to disrupt anti-Iraqi forces and to find and destroy terrorist caches in the Abu Ghraib area west of Baghdad."

Read the rest at the San Francisco Chronicle