Sunday, April 22, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- April 22nd edition

April 22, 2006: U.S and Iraqi soldiers react as insurgent gunfire echoes around them in Ramadi

April 22, 2002:

Chemical weapons body sacks head

The body that polices the ban on chemical weapons has ousted its chairman, after the United States threatened to withhold funding.

The US objected to Jose Bustani's plans to encourage Iraq to join the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Mr Bustani believed it would be a means to carry out new arms inspections in Iraq.

But the US said the inspections envisaged by the Brazilian director-general would be too lenient...

The proposal at a crisis meeting in The Hague called by the US was carried by 48 to seven, with 43 countries abstaining.

The Americans - who backed Mr Bustani's re-appointment just a year ago - accuse him of pursuing ill-conceived initiatives and of poor management.

But Mr Bustani's supporters say his efforts to get Iraq to sign up to the chemical weapons convention have angered the Americans, as it would weaken the case for a US attack to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Washington opened a public campaign against Mr Bustani two months ago, less than a year after Secretary of State Colin Powell congratulated him for the achievements under his leadership.

Read the rest at the BBC

April 22, 2003:

Finding Iraq arms evidence to take time

The US and UK are not expecting to unearth significant evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction before they have full control of the country, which could be at least another two weeks, intelligence officials said on Tuesday.

Military planners have given May 10 as the date they expect to establish full control. Only then would there be a systematic search for the weapons whose alleged existence provided the reason for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime, the officials said.

Both the British and US governments are under mounting pressure to provide evidence that Iraq was hiding its WMD programmes. Though foreign troops now have a presence throughout the country, officials believe Iraqi scientists with knowledge of WMD programmes are only likely to provide information once all signs of resistance by the deposed regime have ended.

US troops in areas near Baghdad have publicised a number of apparent finds of WMD-related material in recent weeks, but in each case have had to retract their claims.

However, intelligence officials insist there has been no significant change in their analysis of Iraqi capabilities, now that they have been able to make preliminary assessments on the ground.

Read the rest at the Financial Times

April 22, 2004:

Troop buildup in Iraq exposes critical shortages

A USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll this week showed that a third of Americans believe that the U.S. needs to send more troops to Iraq to help stem the rising violence. After months of insisting additional forces weren't necessary, President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld now agree that's the wiser course. As a result, the Pentagon has canceled plans to reduce U.S. troops to 115,000, and it is drawing up contingency plans to quickly deploy even more soldiers to Iraq if necessary.
The change of plans is a bow to reality. April isn't even over, yet it's already the bloodiest month for the U.S. since the war began in March 2003, claiming at least 105 U.S. lives so far. On Wednesday, four British soldiers were wounded in a rash of suicide bombings that killed at least 68 people in the southern city of Basra, which had enjoyed relative calm until now. Iraqi forces that the U.S. had hoped to depend on have proved unreliable, as many switch sides or refuse to fight.

Until the insurgency is crushed, the fighting threatens U.S. goals of rebuilding Iraq and bringing democracy to the region. But agreeing to add more U.S. troops is far easier than actually finding them. Though the U.S. can cobble together 20,000 or so extra troops in the short term, coming up with the hundreds of thousands of soldiers some military experts estimate are needed to quell the Iraqi resistance is fraught with problems.

Read the rest at USA Today

April 22, 2005:

Bush's $81bn war budget approved

The US Senate has approved President George W Bush's request for an extra $81.3bn for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A majority of 99-0 agreed the spending, which will mostly be used to pay army wages and replace or repair equipment.

But some funds will also go towards helping tsunami victims and paying for additional US border guards.

The new money pushes war spending to about $300bn since the 11 September 2001 attacks.

The amount is in addition to the Pentagon's annual budget, which already totals more than $400bn.

The bill also calls on the presidency to give better estimates of how much the war is going to cost.

Read the rest at the BBC

April 22, 2006:

Bush: Iraqis to Shoulder Security Burden

President Bush said Saturday that the new political leadership in Iraq will shoulder the burden for securing the country, but he did not commit to a drawdown of American forces that now are playing the lead role.

"There's going to be more tough fighting ahead in Iraq and there'll be more days of sacrifice and struggle," Bush said. "Yet, the enemies of freedom have suffered a real blow today, and we've taken a great stride on the march to victory.

"This historic achievement by determined Iraqis will make America more secure," he said.

Bush spoke hours after Iraq's president designated Jawad al-Maliki to form the new government.

Read the rest at the Washington Post