Monday, April 02, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- April 2nd edition

April 2, 2003: A soldier from Delta Company, First Platoon 93, plays with May, a puppy the National Guard unit came across during their convoy to a coalition air base in southern Iraq. The puppy got its name because May is when the unit hoped to be home.

April 2, 2002:

Iraq pushes for Arab oil embargo on US

As Egypt and Jordan consider downgrading diplomatic relations with Israel, Iraq on Monday pressed Arab nations to impose an oil embargo on western countries supporting Israel...

Iraq on Monday rattled oil markets by calling for a reimposition of the oil boycott against supporters of Israel - in other words the US.

In statements carried in the official Iraqi media, the ruling Ba'ath party attacked US and Israeli aggression against the Arab world and urged that the "oil weapon" be used. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, however, have ruled out cutting oil supplies.

Read the rest at the Financial Times

April 2, 2003:

Myers, Rumsfeld lash out at critics of Iraq strategy

(04-02) 04:00 PDT Washington -- Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tried to silence a growing chorus of critics of the Iraq war plan Tuesday, saying the second-guessing of active and retired military officers was "bogus" and harmful to troops engaged in combat.

In their most extensive comments to date, Myers and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld strongly defended the war plan as more than adequate for the military campaign...

But nagging questions over the Iraq battle plan continue to divert the attention of the Pentagon leadership. For nearly a week, Rumsfeld and Myers have been bedeviled by retired Army generals-turned-news commentators and some current officers, who have said Rumsfeld's overwhelming desire to showcase his vision of a technologically advanced, fleet ground force had delayed deployments of heavily armed troops and pushed the military into fielding an army that has proved lean and overextended.

Read the rest at the SF Chronicle

U.S. faces hurdles on postwar Iraq plans

Secretary of State Colin Powell told Washington's European allies and friends Thursday the United States — not the United Nations — must have the lead role in Iraq's postwar reconstruction.

In a fast-paced series of meetings with his NATO and European Union counterparts at the NATO headquarters here, Powell did not resolve differences over the nature of the U.N role after the fighting is done in Iraq.

"I think the coalition has to play the leading role," he told a closing news conference. "But that does not mean we have to shut others out. There will definitely be a United Nations role, but what the exact nature of that role will be remains to be seen."

Read the rest at USA Today

April 2, 2004:

Powell appeals to NATO for Iraq peacekeeping role

BRUSSELS (AP) — Secretary of State Colin Powell tried to persuade NATO ministers on Friday to assume a peacekeeping role in Iraq, but acknowledged approval was unlikely at least until later in the spring.

On a day marked by the ceremonial raising of the flags of seven new members of the alliance at NATO headquarters, Powell made his case for NATO to approve doing what a majority have done individually: join the United States in peacekeeping during Iraq's reconstruction.

The job is a dangerous one. Hundreds of U.S. troops and civilians have been killed by foreign terrorists and remnants of the regime of the deposed leader, Saddam Hussein.

At a news conference after Friday's meeting, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said he saw a lot of support for a U.N. resolution offering the use of peacekeepers in Iraq.

But he said NATO ministers were not ready to take that step until the interim Iraqi government takes over from the U.S. occupation on July 1. Even then, de Hoop Scheffer said, "I don't know if it is going to happen."

Read the rest at USA Today

April 2, 2005:

Pentagon Blamed for Lack of Postwar Planning in Iraq

A study of U.S. military operations in Iraq, prepared for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, sharply criticizes Pentagon attempts to plan for the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion two years ago, saying stabilization and reconstruction issues "were addressed only very generally" and "no planning was undertaken to ensure the security of the Iraqi people."

The study, done by the Rand Corp., an independent research group that was created by the U.S. government and frequently does analyses for the Pentagon, also says the experience in Iraq has underscored the Pentagon's tendency "not to absorb historical lessons" when battling insurgencies. It notes a lack of political-military coordination and of "actionable intelligence" in the counterinsurgency campaign, and urges creation in the Army of a "dedicated cadre of counterinsurgency specialists."

The study highlights shortcomings as well in the conduct of the invasion. It cites inflated expectations at the outset about airstrikes in toppling the Baghdad government, poor performance by Apache helicopters in attack missions, delays in bomb damage assessments, gaps in tactical intelligence for battlefield commanders, disruptions in supply lines and inadequate coordination between Special Operations units and conventional forces.

Read the rest at the Washington Post

April 2, 2006:

Civilians in Iraq flee mixed areas as killings rise

BAGHDAD The war in Iraq has entered a bloodier phase, with American casualties steadily declining over the past five months while the killings of Iraqi civilians have risen tremendously in sectarian violence, spurring tens of thousands of Iraqis to flee from mixed Shiite-Sunni areas.

The new pattern, detailed in casualty and migration statistics and in interviews with American commanders and Iraqi officials, has led to further separation of Shiite and Sunni Arabs, moving the country toward a de facto partitioning along sectarian and ethnic lines - an outcome that the Bush administration has doggedly worked to avoid over the past three years.

The nature of the Iraq war has been changing since at least late autumn, when political friction between Sunni Arabs and the majority Shiites rose even as American troops began to carry out a long-term plan to decrease their street presence. But the killing accelerated most sharply after the bombing on Feb. 22 of a revered Shiite shrine, which unleashed a wave of sectarian bloodletting.

About 900 Iraqi civilians were killed in March, up from about 700 the month before, according to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, an independent organization that tracks deaths. Meanwhile, at least 29 American troops were killed in March, the second-lowest monthly total since the war began.

Read the rest at the International Herald Tribune