Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- April 17th edition

April 17, 2003: Iraqi Shi'ites on a pilgrimage of hundreds of miles to the sacred city of Kerbala, for the first time in 35 years.

April 17, 2002:

White House rift could delay attack on Iraq

The fault line that runs through the Bush administration over U.S. policy in the Middle East is not only deep. It is wide.

Here's the scorecard: On one side is Secretary of State Colin Powell. On the other side is Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Vice President Dick Cheney usually sides with Rumsfeld but has agreed with the latest U.S. charm offensive in the Arab world.

The issue is simple: Should the United States go it alone against Iraq? Powell has warned that Arab and Islamic support is vital. Without Islamic support, Turkey will not grant the facilities needed to launch U.S. air attacks on Iraq. Without Arab support, Saudi Arabia and even Kuwait will fear Arab backlash from U.S. warplanes and tanks crossing from their border into Iraq.

U.S. officials said Rumsfeld and Cheney believe Bush should quietly but firmly tell U.S. allies in the Arab world: Make up your mind, are you with us or against us?

Read the rest at World Net Daily

April 17, 2003:

Raid on laboratory of 'Dr Germ' fails to turn up the smoking gun

American special forces have raided the Baghdad home of the Iraqi scientist, nicknamed "Dr Germ", who ran the country's secret biological laboratory.
Intensifying their search for the "smoking gun" to prove Saddam Hussein had banned weapons, about 40 marines burst into the home of the British-educated Rihad Taha, who was in charge of a laboratory which weaponised anthrax...

Sources told the Washington Times that Dr Taha, who was educated at the University of East Anglia in the early 1980s, left Iraq along with Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, nicknamed "Mrs Anthrax" for her role in Iraq's biological weapons programme.

The raid in Baghdad came as the US military attempted to lower expectations of an imminent breakthrough in the search for a "smoking gun" to justify the war against Iraq. Amid mounting criticism of the failure to find any banned weapons, US Brigadier-General Vincent Brooks said people should be patient.

Read the rest at the Guardian

April 17, 2004:

Siege of Fallujah polarizing Iraqis

BAGHDAD - Few were happier than Ayatollah Imad al-Deen Awadi when Saddam Hussein was deposed. "This was a man so bad that people said they'd rather be ruled by Satan - the king of hell himself," says the cleric, who spent 10 years in Mr. Hussein's prisons.

But now Ayatollah Awadi worries that vicious fighting between US Marines and local insurgents in the Sunni triangle city of Fallujah is likely to spread across the country. "This is no longer about Fallujah," he says. "If they aren't ready for peace, it will spread and be just as hot in Ramadi, Abu Ghraib, the southern provinces, the whole country, really."

Indeed, Iraqi leaders and foreign analysts say the fighting in Fallujah, which has claimed around 700 Iraqi lives and has turned the muddled center of Iraqi public opinion - where people were ambivalent about the occupation but not actively opposed - decisively against the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority and its local allies.

"Fallujah has created a major polarization of Iraqi public opinion. There is no middle ground any more," says an adviser to the CPA. "Two weeks ago Iraqis wanted to see us make promises and deliver on them - rebuild, improve - but then they saw pictures of US bombs falling on a mosque in Fallujah. Now they want us out."

Read the rest at the Christian Science Monitor

April 17, 2005:

Iraq rebels ‘unite’ to fight coalition

THE terrorist group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, America’s most wanted man in Iraq, has joined forces with other Iraqi insurgents to carry out “spectacular” attacks, a rebel commander claimed last week.

The commander said Zarqawi’s group, known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq, had agreed to work with insurgents ranging from Islamic radicals to supporters of Saddam Hussein in a loose affiliation called Iraq’s mujaheddin.

“Targets have been selected and plans are in place for coming attacks which will introduce new strategies and updated tactics,” said the commander.

Read the rest at the Times of London

April 17, 2006:

Insurgents Are Alive And Well In Ramadi

For an hour and a half on Monday, Sunni rebels went at an Iraqi government headquarters and two U.S. military outposts in the town of Ramadi. They used everything they had — suicide car bombs, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons.

U.S. troops finally turned them back, and there were no reports of American casualties. But the battle underlined the fact that the insurgency is alive and well in that area west of Baghdad...

As you head into downtown Ramadi, you're left with no doubt that this is enemy territory for U.S. forces. The Marine commander in charge calls it, "the toughest piece of dirt in Iraq" — so tough that every time his Marines leave their base, they know there's every chance they won't make it back.

Read the rest at CBS News