Sunday, April 08, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- April 8th edition

April 8, 2006: Army Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 9th Field artillery inspect an old Iraqi anti-aircraft weapon in Baghdad. The weapon was destroyed and left behind during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

April 8, 2002:

Leaks are confusing, but aim is clear

Not one, not two, but three articles quoting from "secret" plans to invade Iraq have appeared on the front page of the New York Times in the past month. One version of events calls for 250,000 US troops to attack Iraq from three sides.

Another calls for fewer troops to invade Baghdad and topple the government. Previous "secret" plans have been discussed in the Los Angeles Times (250,000 troops, invading from Kuwait) and the Washington Post (200,000 troops, plus airstrikes) among many other public places.

If this superabundance of highly public secret information was intended to scare people, it has: this week, Saddam Hussein suddenly reversed his longstanding refusal to deal with UN weapons inspectors.

Read the rest at the Telegraph

April 8, 2003:

US and UK plan Iraqi elections

President George W. Bush and UK prime minister Tony Blair on Tuesday outlined plans to transform Iraq from dictatorship to democracy, pledging to give the United Nations a "vital role" in the creation of an Iraqi government after Saddam Hussein.

As senior officials in both London and Washington worked on the details of the route map that could lead to the Iraqi people holding free elections within two years, both leaders sought to bridge their differences on the precise role that the UN should play.

The UN's function in post-war Iraq is the thorniest diplomatic issue facing the organisation's Security Council over the next few weeks. The US appears concerned to limit its role, while France insisted on Tuesday that the UN should take charge of rebuilding Iraq.

Read the rest at the Financial Times

April 8, 2004:

Some U.S. troops may stay longer in Iraq because of violence, Rumsfeld says

WASHINGTON – More U.S. troops could be sent to Iraq and other U.S. forces could stay longer than planned to deal with the latest surge in violence, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said.

While Rumsfeld insisted Wednesday that the fighting was not spinning out of control, his remarks were the clearest signal yet that U.S. officials were likely to increase the overall number of troops in Iraq nearly a year after President Bush declared major combat in the country completed.

Gen. John Abizaid, the U.S. commander of the Iraq campaign, and his deputies have not decided whether, or how, to increase the American military presence in Iraq. The focus of discussion was on whether to extend the tours of duty for some of the U.S. troops scheduled to leave by next month after spending a year there.

"You can be certain that if they want more troops, we will sign deployment orders so that they'll have the troops they need," Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon news conference with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Myers.

Read the rest at the San Diego Tribune

April 8, 2005:

An Old US Foe Rises Again in Iraq

GHARAF, Iraq -- Over the loudspeakers set up in this small town in a backwater of southern Iraq, the commands came in staccato bursts. "Forward!" a man clad in black shouted to the militiamen. "March!"

Column after column followed through the dusty, windswept square. Some of the marchers wore the funeral shawls of prospective martyrs. Others were dressed in newly pressed camouflage. Together, their boots beat the pavement like a drum as they goose-stepped or double-timed in place.

Over their heads flew the Iraqi flag, banners of Shiite Muslim saints and a portrait of their leader, Moqtada Sadr -- symbols of their militia, the Mahdi Army, twice subdued by the U.S. military last year but now openly displaying its strength in parts of the south.

Read the rest at the Washington Post

April 8, 2006:

U.S. Is Studying Military Strike Options on Iran

The Bush administration is studying options for military strikes against Iran as part of a broader strategy of coercive diplomacy to pressure Tehran to abandon its alleged nuclear development program, according to U.S. officials and independent analysts.

No attack appears likely in the short term, and many specialists inside and outside the U.S. government harbor serious doubts about whether an armed response would be effective. But administration officials are preparing for it as a possible option and using the threat "to convince them this is more and more serious," as a senior official put it.

According to current and former officials, Pentagon and CIA planners have been exploring possible targets, such as the uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and the uranium conversion facility at Isfahan. Although a land invasion is not contemplated, military officers are weighing alternatives ranging from a limited airstrike aimed at key nuclear sites, to a more extensive bombing campaign designed to destroy an array of military and political targets.

Read the rest at the Washington Post