Monday, April 16, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- April 16th edition

April 16, 2004: Militants release a video of Pfc. Matt Maupin, who was kidnapped a week earlier when his convoy was ambushed with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire. His parents have continued the search for him ever since.

April 16, 2002:

US hawk 'tried to sully Iraq arms inspector'

Paul Wolfowitz, the US deputy defence secretary and a leading hawk in the Bush administration, commissioned a CIA investigation of the chief United Nations weapons inspector in an apparent attempt to undermine the importance of inspections and strengthen the case for military action against Iraq, it was reported yesterday.

According to the Washington Post, Mr Wolfowitz asked the CIA earlier this year to look into Hans Blix's record when he was head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) between 1981 and 1997.

Read the rest at the Guardian

April 16, 2003:

European leaders may help stabilize Iraq

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Several European leaders suggested Wednesday they may quickly send peacekeeping troops to help stabilize Iraq, while U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan sought to sort out his organization's postwar role.

"There is a desperate need for stabilization forces in Iraq, here and now," Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said. "We cannot wait for a U.N. resolution."

He and the leaders of the Netherlands and Spain — three backers of the U.S.-led war — said Iraq needed to be stabilized quickly. At separate briefings, Fogh Rasmussen and Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said that their governments were considering sending troops but that it was to early to say when.

Read the rest at USA Today

April 16, 2004:

General Calls Insurgency in Iraq a Sign of U.S. Success

BAGHDAD, April 15 -- The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said Thursday that the deadly insurgency that flared this month is "a symptom of the success that we're having here in Iraq" and an effort to undermine the country's transition to self-government.

Asked at a news conference here whether the military had failed to counter insurgents' attacks in Iraq, Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers said guerrillas want to undermine several political successes, including the creation of the Iraqi Governing Council, the signing of a bill of rights and efforts by the United Nations to devise an interim government that would assume power on June 30.

"I think it's that success which is driving the current situation, because there are those extremists that don't want that success," Myers said.

Read the rest at the Washington Post

April 16, 2005:

U.S. eliminates annual terrorism report

WASHINGTON — The State Department decided to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism after the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered.

Several U.S. officials defended the decision, saying the methodology used by the National Counterterrorism Center to generate statistics had flaws, such as the inclusion of incidents that may not have been terrorism.

But other current and former officials charged that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's office ordered the report, "Patterns of Global Terrorism," eliminated weeks ago because the 2004 statistics raised disturbing questions about the Bush's administration's frequent claims of progress in the war against terrorism.

Read the rest at the Seattle Times

April 16, 2006:

Billion-Dollar Start Falls Short in Iraq

BAGHDAD -- On the southern outskirts of Baghdad, a sewage treatment plant that was repaired with $13.5 million in U.S. funds sits idle while all of the raw waste from the western half of Baghdad is dumped into the Tigris River, where many of the capital's 7 million residents get their drinking water.

Adjacent to the Karkh sewage plant is Iraq's most advanced sanitary landfill, a new, 20-acre, $32 million dump -- also paid for by the United States -- with a liner to prevent groundwater contamination. It has not had a load of garbage dropped off since the manager of the sewer plant was killed four months ago. Iraqis consider the access roads too dangerous, and Iraqi police rarely venture into the area, a haven for insurgents who regularly lob mortar shells across the city into the Green Zone less than six miles away.

The mothballed projects highlight a growing concern among U.S. officials here: whether Iraqis have the capacity to maintain, operate and protect the more than 8,000 reconstruction projects, costing $18.4 billion, that the United States has completed or plans to finish in the next few years, which include digging roadside drainage ditches, refurbishing hospitals and schools, and constructing electric power plants.

Read the rest at the Washington Post