Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- April 3rd edition

April 3, 2003: A Navy medic with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit treats an Iraqi baby for a breathing infection in Nasiriya

April 3, 2002:

Ex-smuggler describes Iraqi plot to blow up US warship

Iraq planned clandestine attacks against American warships in the Persian Gulf in early 2001, according to an operative of Iranian nationality who says he was given the assignment by ranking members of Saddam Hussein's inner circle.

The alleged plan involved loading at least one trade ship with half a ton of explosives, and – sailing under an Iranian flag to disguise Iraq's role – using a crew of suicide bombers to blow up a US ship in the Gulf.

The operative, who says he smuggled weapons for Iraq through Iran for Al Qaeda during the late 1990s, says he was told that $16 million had already been set aside for the assignment – the first of "nine new operations" he says the Iraqis wanted him to carry out, which were to include missions in Kuwait.

The first plot, remarkably similar to the attack on the USS Cole on Oct. 12, 2000, was never carried out. The status of the other nine operations remains unclear.

Read the rest at the Christian Science Monitor

April 3, 2003:

U.S., Allies Clash Over Plan to Use Iraqi Oil Profits for Rebuilding

UNITED NATIONS, April 2 -- The Defense Department is pressing ahead with plans to temporarily manage Iraq's oil industry after the war and to use the proceeds to rebuild the country, creating a conflict with U.S. allies in Europe and the Middle East, according to diplomats and industry experts.

The White House maintains that Iraq's oil revenue is essential to financing the country's postwar reconstruction. The administration intends to install a senior American oil executive to oversee Iraq's exploration and production. Iraqi experts now outside the country would be recruited to handle future oil sales. Industry sources said former Shell Oil Co. chief executive Philip J. Carroll is the leading candidate to direct production.

But the postwar oil strategy is clouded by legal questions about the right of the United States to manage Iraq's oil fields. Administration officials are searching for a legal basis to justify the U.S. plan. If the war succeeds, the United States may claim a legal right as an occupying power to sell the oil for the benefit of Iraq, people close to the situation said.

Read the rest at the Washington Post

April 3, 2004:

Powell: Iraq biological labs intelligence was shaky

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Friday that part of his dramatic testimony to the U.N. Security Council before the Iraq war was based on intelligence that appears to have been unreliable.

Powell's speech before the Security Council on February, 5, 2003 --detailing possible weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -- was a major event in the Bush administration's drive to justify a war and win international support.

Powell told reporters at a press briefing that his testimony about Iraq possibly using mobile biological weapons labs "was presented to me ... as the best information and intelligence that we had" but "now it appears not to be the case that it was that solid."

Read the rest at CNN

April 3, 2005:

US troop deaths in Iraq top 1,500, reports say

Four American soldiers were killed in attacks in Iraq, taking the death toll for US troops in that country past 1,500, reports say.

The military said two US soldiers died in Baghdad yesterday after a roadside bomb struck their vehicle, while another soldier was killed in Babil province. A fourth soldier was killed in action today, just south of the capital.

The latest deaths bring the total number of American military fatalities to 1,502 since March 2003, when the US invasion began, according to news agency Associated Press.

Of those, 1,362 have died since May 1, 2003, when George W Bush, the US president, gave a speech on an aircraft carrier in front of a banner proclaiming "mission accomplished".

Read the rest at the Telegraph

April 3, 2006:

Middle-class Sunni take up weapons to counter rising sectarian threat

When the "black shirts" come back, the Sunni Arab men of the middle-class Baghdad neighbourhood of Arasat say they will be ready.

They have posted plainclothes spies on the corners to look out for suspicious strangers, keeping their cellphones close at hand and waiting for the ring that will call them to arms. When it comes, the men will pour out from surrounding homes, guns blazing.

Faced with the growth of Shia militias such as the black-shirted Mahdi army - the militia of the prominent cleric Moqtada al-Sadr - and alleged abuses by the Shia-dominated police forces, Sunni in mixed-sect neighbourhoods and cities throughout Iraq are stashing guns in their mosques and knitting themselves into militias of their own.

Read the rest at the Financial Times