Friday, April 06, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- April 6th edition

April 6, 2004: Marines with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment yell back at another Humvee full of Marines as they prepare to rejoin the fight after a fellow Marine was seriously wounded in an ambush while on patrol just inside the northwest corner of Fallujah, Iraq.

April 6, 2002:

New CIA Survey of Iraqi Airfields May Herald Attack

In the first concrete sign that the US is planning military action against Iraq despite objections from its allies, CIA officers have surveyed three key airfields in northern Iraq.

The airfields, situated in northern Iraq near the cities of Arbil, Dohuk and Sulaimaniyah in Kurdistan--the only part of Iraq not held by Saddam Hussein--could be used to receive arms and troops in the event of a conflict between the US and Iraq, an Iraqi source has told The Independent.

Read the rest at Counterpunch

April 6, 2003:

Nations in tug-of-war over post-Saddam Iraq

WASHINGTON — As U.S. forces advance toward military victory in Iraq, the Bush administration faces stark choices about how it will manage the peace.

Will it try to reconcile with countries that opposed the war, such as France and Germany? Or will it engage in payback, penalizing old allies, monopolizing Iraqi reconstruction for U.S. companies and marginalizing the role of the United Nations?

Administration officials say on-the-ground realities dictate that the U.S. military and U.S. companies will initially play a dominant role. But what comes next remains murky. There is already a bureaucratic tug-of-war between the Pentagon and the State Department over how sensitive to be to international diplomatic concerns. Participants say the disagreement is intense enough that President Bush will have to resolve it.

At stake is not only the future of Iraq but the fate of a trans-Atlantic alliance that has suffered its gravest crisis in decades. Europeans say a major role for the U.N. in post-Saddam Iraq would help heal the wounds caused by the opposition of many countries to the war.

Read the rest at USA Today

April 6, 2004:

Rumsfeld: Troops stationed in Iraq may be reinforced

WASHINGTON - If violence in Iraq gets worse, U.S. military commanders will get the troops they need to deal with it, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday.

Coalition forces fought on two fronts Tuesday, battling a Shiite-inspired uprising in southern Iraq and Sunni insurgents in the city of Fallujah in clashes that have killed dozens of American troops and at least 100 Iraqis since the weekend.

Commanders are studying ways they might increase troops in Iraq if violence should spread much more widely, defense officials said.

Read the rest at Newsweek

April 6, 2005:

Economy still stalled across Iraq

Two years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, much of Iraq's infrastructure remains impaired and insurgents are working to wreck the economy as fast as the U.S. and Iraqi governments can restore it.

The tattered and struggling country has become one of the world's poorest — ranking at the level of Haiti and Senegal — and economists see little hope for major improvements this year.

Overall, Iraq has less electricity each day than a year ago. Oil production so far this year has slipped even below 2004's disappointing levels, and 60 percent of the people depend on food handouts.

Read the rest at the Washington Times

April 6, 2006:

The tethered goat strategy

Since the Iraqi elections in January, US foreign service officers at the Baghdad embassy have been writing a steady stream of disturbing cables describing drastically worsening conditions. Violence from incipient communal civil war is rapidly rising. Last month there were eight times as many assassinations committed by Shia militias as terrorist murders by Sunni insurgents. The insurgency, according to the reports, also continues to mutate. Meanwhile, President Bush's strategy of training Iraqi police and army to take over from coalition forces - "when they stand up, we'll stand down" - is perversely and portentously accelerating the strife. State department officials in the field are reporting that Shia militias use training as cover to infiltrate key positions. Thus the strategy to create institutions of order and security is fuelling civil war.

Rather than being received as invaluable intelligence, the messages are discarded or, worse, considered signs of disloyalty. Rejecting the facts on the ground apparently requires blaming the messengers. So far, two top attaches at the embassy have been reassigned elsewhere for producing factual reports that are too upsetting.

Read the rest at the Guardian