Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- March 27th edition

March 27, 2003: U.S. Army paratroopers prepare to board a C-17 Globemaster III. This was the first combat insertion of paratroopers using a C-17.

March 27, 2002:

US paves way for war on Iraq

The US Air Force has begun preparations to move its Gulf headquarters from Saudi Arabia to Qatar, to bypass Saudi objections to military action against Iraq, according to Saudi analysts and businessmen involved in the relocation.

A senior executive of a Saudi contracting firm told the Guardian that several companies had been invited to prepare bids to move computers and electronics from the hi-tech command centre at Prince Sultan air force base.

The independent Saudi Information Agency, based in Washington, reported that US military trucks had been seen leaving the base at al Kharj, 50 miles south of Riyadh, and arriving at the border with Qatar in the second week of March.

Read the rest at the Guardian

March 27, 2003:

Top U.S. official: Iraq has executed some POWs

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Iraq has executed some prisoners of war in what the Pentagon's No. 2 general described Wednesday as one of many "disgusting" war crimes committed by forces loyal to Saddam Hussein.

"They have executed prisoners of war," said Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live."

Pace did not elaborate. Earlier in the day, Pentagon sources told CNN they were looking into a report that Iraqi soldiers shot dead seven U.S. Army soldiers as they were surrendering with their hands up Sunday.

Read the rest at CNN

March 27, 2004:

Troops cite low morale, poor leadership in Iraq

A slim majority of Army soldiers in Iraq -- 52 percent -- reported that their morale was low, and three-fourths of them said they felt poorly led by their officers, according to a survey taken at the end of the summer and released this week by the Army.

In addition, 7 in 10 of those surveyed characterized the morale of their fellow soldiers as low or very low. The problems were most pronounced among lower-ranking troops and those in reserve units.

"Nearly 75 percent of the groups reported that their battalion-level command leadership was poor" and showed "a lack of concern" for their soldiers, said an Army report accompanying the data. "Unit cohesion was also reported to be low."

The survey was part of a study initiated by the Army last summer after a number of suicides provoked concern about the mental well-being of soldiers in Iraq.

Read the rest at the San Francisco Chronicle

March 27, 2005:

Iraqi resistance begins to crack after elections

The Iraqi resistance has peaked and is 'turning in on itself', according to recent intelligence reports from Baghdad received by Middle Eastern intelligence agencies.
The reports are the most optimistic for several months and reflect analysts' sense that recent elections in Iraq marked a 'quantum shift'. They will boost the government in the run-up to the expected general election in May.

Though the reports predict that violence against coalition troops and local forces is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, at least two Middle Eastern intelligence agencies believe that recent 'backchannel' initiatives aimed at persuading Sunni Muslim tribes in western Iraq to cease their resistance are meeting with some success.

Read the rest at the Guardian

March 27, 2006:

US troops may find it impossible to steer clear of Iraq civil war

The U.S. military hopes to steer clear of getting trapped in the middle as civil warfare heats up in Iraq, but Shiite outrage over a purported raid on a mosque illustrates how difficult that will be.

With Sunni-Shiite violence worsening every day, U.S. troops may find it almost impossible to avoid getting drawn into full-scale religious conflict.

The prospect clearly has Washington uneasy: As public support for the Iraq mission has waned in the United States, American officials have played down talk of a full-blown civil war between Shiites and Sunni Arabs, mindful that a widened conflict could wreck plans to draw down its 133,000-strong military force.

Read the rest at the San Diego Tribune