Thursday, March 29, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- March 29th edition

March 29, 2006: Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, take cover as they try to locate an enemy sniper in a palm grove near the city of Hit, Iraq.

March 29, 2002:

Blair aide advocates 'new imperialism'

A senior foreign policy adviser of the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has infuriated Labour supporters, including MPs, by advocating a "new kind of imperialism'' which would allow the "well-governed'' Western nations to impose order and stability on the world.

Mr. Robert Cooper, who was personally appointed by Mr Blair to represent Britain at the Bonn conference on Afghanistan last year and whose views are believed to have shaped the latter's response to the post-Sept 11 crisis, has called for "defensive imperialism'' to deal with threats from "undemocratic'' states.

Significantly, the pamphlet, "Reordering the World", in which he outlines this controversial idea, has a foreword by Mr Blair who is already facing a split in the Cabinet over his aggressive stance on Iraq amid growing anxiety that Britain is being dragged into avoidable overseas military adventures.

Read the rest at the Hindu

March 29, 2003:

Iraq threatens further suicide bombings

Iraq's vice-president today threatened more suicide bombings against coalition troops, following the death of four US soldiers from a suicide bomb earlier today.

The suicide bombing, the first of the war in Iraq, killed four US soldiers north of Najaf as well as their driver. The bomber, identified as Ali Jaafar al-Noamani, has been awarded two posthumous medals by Saddam Hussein, according to Iraqi state television.

Addressing a news conference, Iraqi vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan said Ali Jaafar al-Noamani was a non-commisioned army officer and father of several children.

The US soldiers, members of the 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, were manning a checkpoint on Highway 9 north of Najaf when a taxi drew up and the driver signalled for help. When the soldiers approached the car it exploded.

Read the rest at the Guardian

March 29, 2004:

Iraq Still Unsettled by Violence on First Anniversary of War

BAGHDAD, Iraq — The first anniversary of the start of the war that ousted Saddam Hussein (search) was a day like many others in Iraq: a mortar attack in a northern city, an attempt to kill a politician and news of a U.S. Marine cut down by rebel fire.

Overall, Saturday was average by recent Iraqi standards.

The millions of Iraqis who exulted in Saddam's downfall did not publicly celebrate the day, nor were there street protests from those who enjoyed his patronage — partly because public gatherings are vulnerable to homicide attackers (search), car bombs, shootings and other violence.

Even those who opposed Saddam are uncomfortable with the invasion and extended occupation of Iraq by foreign armies.

Many Iraqis fear daily they will be caught in the crossfire of the conflict between U.S. forces and anti-American insurgents and other shadowy assailants, and said they felt more insecure now than they did before the United States launched military strikes.

Read the rest at Fox News

March 29, 2005:

Tanks take a beating in Iraq

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military's Abrams tank, designed during the Cold War to withstand the fiercest blows from the best Soviet tanks, is getting knocked out at surprising rates by the low-tech bombs and rocket-propelled grenades of Iraqi insurgents.

In the all-out battles of the 1991 Gulf War, only 18 Abrams tanks were lost and no soldiers in them killed. But since the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, with tanks in daily combat against the unexpectedly fierce insurgency, the Army says 80 of the 69-ton behemoths have been damaged so badly they had to be shipped back to the United States.

At least five soldiers have been killed inside the tanks when they hit roadside bombs, according to figures from the Army's Armor Center at Fort Knox, Ky. At least 10 more have died while riding partially exposed from open hatches.

Read the rest at USA Today

March 29, 2006:

Iraq's premier asserts his right to stay in office

BAGHDAD Facing growing pressure from the Bush administration for him to step down, Iraqi prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari Wednesday vigorously asserted his right to stay in office and warned the Americans against undue interference in Iraq's political process.

Jaafari also defended his recent political alliance with radical anti-American Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, now the prime minister's most powerful backer, saying in an interview that Sadr and his thousands-strong militia were a fact of life in Iraq and need to be accepted into mainstream politics.

Jaafari said he would work to fold the country's myriad militias into the official security forces and ensure that recruits and top security ministers abandon their ethnic or sectarian loyalties.

The existence of militias has emerged as the greatest source of contention between American officials and Shiite leaders like Jaafari, with the American ambassador arguing in the past week that militias are killing more people than the Sunni Arab-led insurgency. Dozens of bodies, garroted or executed with gunshots to the head, turn up almost daily in Baghdad, fueling sectarian tensions that are pushing Iraq closer to full-scale civil war.

Read the rest at the International Herald Tribune