Friday, March 30, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- March 30th edition

March 30, 2003: An Apache AH-64 crashes during landing in Iraq, brought down by mechanical problems caused by the fine dust of the Iraqi desert.

March 30, 2002:

Iraq Attack Inching Closer?

The U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf has increased substantially due to the war in Afghanistan, but there's little doubt the new troops and equipment could be turned on Iraq in a future offensive.

The number of U.S. military personnel in the Gulf region and Central Asia - from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan - has increased from fewer than 25,000 to nearly 80,000 since the Sept. 11 attacks.

An attack on Iraq would probably start with a fierce air bombardment, analysts say. Next, special forces could fan out to create "no-movement" zones and then search for biological and chemical weapons. Predator remote-controlled planes would patrol for Scud missiles on the ground.

In the end, however, it would take a much more massive military commitment than in Afghanistan if the United States were to attack Iraq.

Read the rest at CBS News

March 30, 2003:

Kurdish Fighters Move Toward Kirkuk as Iraq Repositions

TAQTAQ, Iraq — Kurdish fighters took control Sunday of more territory left by Iraqi forces withdrawing toward the major oil center of Kirkuk, apparently to tighten defenses around northern Iraq.

The nearly 10-mile advance by the U.S.-backed Kurdish militia was unchallenged but slowed by dense mine fields left by Saddam Hussein's troops, said Ares Abdullah, a Kurdish commander.

It was the third significant shift since Thursday in the front line separating Iraqi forces from the U.S.-backed Kurds. Each Iraqi move since last week allowed Kurds to move closer to Kirkuk -- the nation's No. 2 oil-producing region and considered by Kurds as an essential part of their ethnic lands.

Read the rest at Fox News

March 30, 2004:

White House concedes Bush asked about Iraq

The White House has acknowledged that on the day after the September 11 terror attacks President George Bush asked his top counter-terrorism adviser, Richard Clarke, to find out whether Iraq was involved.

Mr Bush wanted to know "did Iraq have anything to do with this? Were they complicit in it?" National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told the 60 Minutes program on Sunday.

Mr Bush was not trying to intimidate anyone to "produce information", Dr Rice said.

Given America's "actively hostile relationship" with Iraq at the time, he was asking Mr Clarke "a perfectly logical question", she said.

The conversation - which the White House suggested last week never took place - centres on perhaps the most volatile charge Mr Clarke has made public in recent days: that the White House was fixated on Iraq and Saddam Hussein at the expense of focusing on al-Qaeda.

Read the rest at the Age

March 30, 2005:

Iraq prison population doubles in 5 months

WASHINGTON - The United States is holding about 10,500 prisoners in Iraq, more than double the number held in October, the military says.

About 100 of those prisoners are under age 18, said Army Lt. Col. Guy Rudisill, a spokesman for detention operations in Iraq.

Five months ago, the military said it was holding about 4,300 prisoners in Iraq. The growth in the prison population has come amid a lingering insurgency in Iraq and despite the formal transfer of power to an interim Iraqi government last June.

Read the rest at MSNBC

March 30, 2006:

Bush speech focuses on violence among factions in Iraq

WASHINGTON - President Bush rejected claims Wednesday that sectarian violence and unrest in Iraq were sparked by the U.S.-led invasion, saying that Saddam Hussein's rule left the nation brutally divided.

"The argument that Iraq was stable under Saddam and that stability is now endangered because we removed him is wrong," Bush told the Freedom House, a non-governmental organization founded 60 years ago by Eleanor Roosevelt and others to promote freedom.

In his third speech this month on the war, Bush addressed U.S. concerns about violence among Iraqi groups and threats to Iraq's stability. Those concerns have significantly eroded public support for the war, which a majority of Americans polled think was a mistake.

"Iraq," Bush said, "is a nation that is physically and emotionally scarred by three decades of Saddam's tyranny. And these wounds will take time to heal."

Read the rest at the Houston Chronicle