Thursday, April 19, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- April 19th edition

April 19, 2003: International animal rescue organizations step in as this picture is published of Mandor, a 20-year-old Siberian tiger and the personal property of Saddam Hussein's eldest son Uday. The plight of Mandor and 8 more big cats (1 tiger, 7 lions) came to international attention after looters took or freed all other animals in the zoo. The zoo's director had been distraught about the condition of his animals, who eat 5 kilos of meat per day. But he could not personally afford it. "Five kilos of meat would cost me 80,000 dinars ($30). And there are nine animals. I have nothing like this kind of money There is no government, no security, no organisation. We are alone here and without help our animals will die." Relief organizations quickly stepped in and saved the felines.

April 19, 2002:

Japan offered naval role in Iraq: report

TOKYO, Japan -- The United States has sought naval assistance from Japan for a possible military offensive against Iraq, according to a Japanese press report.

Japan was quizzed about the possibility of sending an Aegis-equipped destroyer to support U.S. forces in the Arabian Gulf, the Asahi newspaper reported Friday.

But Japan appeared unlikely to overcome its reluctance to interfere in Middle Eastern affairs, with the government reportedly describing the option as "politically difficult."

In Japanese diplomacy, such an expression means it would be virtually impossible.

Read the rest at CNN

April 19, 2003:

Iraqi cleric warns U.S. to leave before 'we force you out'

Amid cheers at the Abu Haneefa Al Nu'man mosque in Baghdad, a leading cleric warned Americans on Friday to get out of Iraq before they are forced out, and thousands of people took to the streets crying, "No to America, no to Saddam!"

As Shiite and Sunni Muslims prayed together for the first time since U.S. forces entered the city, the cleric, Ahmed al Kubeisy, used his sermon to attack what he called the U.S. occupation, telling the Americans: "You are the masters today, but I warn you against thinking of staying. Get out before we force you out."

Another cleric warned that "long queues of holy warriors" were lining up to fight the Americans.

Then the worshipers, joining a large crowd outside, marched peacefully, calling for unity among the country's Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish populations. "Our revolution is Islamic," they chanted, in the biggest nationalist demonstration in many years.

A large banner said: "Leave our country. We want peace."

Read the rest at the International Herald Tribune

April 19, 2004:

Iraq: Rising Radicalism And Falling Hopes

Whether L. Paul Bremer III knew it or not, America's top official in Iraq was taking a big risk when he decided in late March to curb the movement of the firebrand Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Now, violence sparked by Sadr's militia has swept half a dozen Iraqi cities, including Baghdad. Bremer's relations with the Iraqi Shiite majority are in jeopardy, and Iraqi resistance to the Americans has gained a public face -- that of the defiant 30-year-old cleric.

Sadr poses a tricky problem for Bremer as well as for Shiite leaders such as Ayatollah Ali Husaini Sistani, the top Shiite authority. Bremer, who has vowed to arrest Sadr on murder charges, needs to figure out how to neutralize or co-opt him without making him a bigger hero or a martyr. It would be a disaster for the U.S., which has struggled to suppress a Sunni insurgency in areas such as Falluja, if the Shiite community were to rise up against the coalition as well.

Read the rest at Business Week

April 19, 2005:

The Grim Reaper, Riding a Firetruck in Iraq

HUSAYBAH, Iraq -- Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua Butler shook himself from the rubble of a suicide truck bombing. He staggered to the ledge of his three-story guard tower and stared into a cloud of white smoke.

Butler, 21, of Altoona, Pa., was temporarily deafened by the blast, but he recalled what came next with cinematic clarity. The white smoke parted to reveal a clean red fire engine. It sped past a mural bidding travelers "Goodbye From Free Iraq" and hurtled directly toward Butler, who shot at the fire engine until it exploded about 40 yards away from him.

This true-life nightmare occurred on Monday last week. The attack on this remote Marine outpost abutting the Syrian border caused only minor injuries, but it signaled a dramatic change in the methods of the insurgents, who have staged mostly guerrilla-style hit-and-run attacks against the U.S. military for two years.

Read the rest at the Washington Post

April 19, 2006:

Bush: Failure in Iraq 'Not an Option'

WASHINGTON — President Bush said Wednesday he didn't expect to get unanimous support at home for the decision to invade Iraq and said failure there "is not an option."

Talking to reporters on the White House South Lawn after a meeting with a group of governors who have returned from a visit to Iraq and Afghanistan, Bush said he thanked the state chief executives for "sending a message from home that we care ... we appreciate the fact that people are willing to make sacrifices."

"I assured them that our goal in Afghanistan and Iraq is victory and victory will be achieved when there is a democracy in both countries," and those democracies can sustain and defend themselves, he said.

Read the rest at Fox News