Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- April 4th edition

April 4, 2006: Soldiers from the Provincial Police Training Team provide close-combat training to the the Diwaniyah Police SWAT team at Camp Echo, Iraq.

April 4, 2002:

Iraq fears Allied bombs caused cancer

Iraqi doctors claim that the use of weapons containing depleted uranium by British and American forces during the Gulf War is causing an "epidemic of cancer".

Allied forces have admitted using hundreds of tonnes of shells tipped with depleted uranium against Iraqi forces in the south of the country.

But they have denied that the weapons have caused high cancer rates.

Iraqi health officials say the town of Basra has suffered a dramatic rise in cancer and birth defects since 1991.

Read the rest at the BBC

April 4, 2003:

Allies Find Signs of Iraq's Chemical Preparedness

As the military advances closer to Baghdad, signs of Iraqi chemical preparedness are multiplying, although there is still no conclusive evidence Saddam Hussein's regime possesses weapons of mass destruction.

On Friday, troops at a training facility in the western Iraqi desert came across a bottle labeled "tabun" -- a nerve gas and chemical weapon Iraq is banned from possessing.

Closer to Baghdad, troops at Iraq's largest military industrial complex found nerve agent antidotes, documents describing chemical warfare and a white powder that appeared to be used for explosives.

U.N. weapons inspectors went repeatedly to the vast al Qa Qaa complex -- most recently on March 8 -- but found nothing during spot visits to some of the 1,100 buildings at the site 25 miles south of Baghdad.

Read the rest at Fox News

April 4, 2004:

Bush and Blair made secret pact for Iraq war

President George Bush first asked Tony Blair to support the removal of Saddam Hussein from power at a private White House dinner nine days after the terror attacks of 11 September, 2001.

According to Sir Christopher Meyer, the former British Ambassador to Washington, who was at the dinner, Blair told Bush he should not get distracted from the war on terror's initial goal - dealing with the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Bush, claims Meyer, replied by saying: 'I agree with you, Tony. We must deal with this first. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.' Regime change was already US policy...

Details of this extraordinary conversation will be published this week in a 25,000-word article on the path to war with Iraq in the May issue of the American magazine Vanity Fair.

Read the rest at the Guardian

April 4, 2005:

Iraqi insurgency ‘running out of steam'

Britain's senior military officer in Iraq said on Monday that the country's Sunni-led insurgency was flagging, thanks to a series of recent political and military defeats over the past six months.

Since he arrived in October, guerilla attacks had fallen to 300 a week from 500, thanks largely to a series of setbacks that had “helped to take the wind out of the sails of parts of the insurgency”, Lt Gen Sir John Kiszelysaid in a briefing prior tohis departure later this month.

Guerrillas, he said, had failed in four major objectives: to retain their safe haven in the city of Falluja; to deter Iraqis from voting in January's elections; to disrupt the creation of Iraq's own security forces; and to demonstrate that Iraq was ungovernable.

As a result, many Iraqis including guerrilla sympathisers had concluded that the government had the upper hand.

Read the rest at the Financial Times

April 4, 2006:

Iraq's interior ministry refusing to deploy US-trained police

Iraq's interior ministry is refusing to deploy thousands of police recruits who have been trained by the US and the UK and is hiring its own men and putting them on the streets, according to western security advisers.
The move is frustrating US and British efforts to build up a non-sectarian Iraqi police force which would not be infiltrated by partisan militias.

The disclosure highlights growing US and British concern about the role of militias in sectarian killings, and their links to senior Iraqi politicians. "You can't have in a democracy various groups with arms - you have to have the state with a monopoly on power," Condoleeza Rice, the US secretary of state, said at the end of her two-day visit to Baghdad yesterday.

"We have sent very, very strong messages repeatedly, and not just on this visit, that one of the first things ... is that there is going to be a reining in of the militias... It's got to be one of the highest priorities."

The interior ministry, which is controlled by the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution (SCIRI), has not deployed any graduates of the civilian police assistance training team (CPATT), a joint US/UK unit, for the past three months.

Read the rest at the Guardian