Friday, April 27, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- April 27th edition

April 27, 2006: A Marine Lance Corporal provides security for Marines from Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines Regiment searching a house in Al Ish, Iraq.

April 27, 2002:

US ready to wage war on two fronts

American forces are ready to take whatever military action is needed against Saddam Hussein while continuing operations in Afghanistan, General Tommy Franks, chief of the Pentagon's central command, indicated in London yesterday.

"We have the capability to do what our leaders ask us to do. This is not specifically tied to any piece of geography... Our military capacities remain up to the task whatever [orders] we're likely to receive," he told journalists.

Read the rest at the Guardian

April 27, 2003:

Iraq files 'show al-Qaeda link'

Documents found in Baghdad show a link between Saddam Hussein's fallen regime and al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, according to a UK newspaper.

The Sunday Telegraph says reporter Inigo Gilmore discovered the files in the bombed headquarters of the Mukhabarat, the feared Iraqi intelligence service.

It says the files, in Arabic, show an al-Qaeda envoy was invited to visit Baghdad secretly in March 1998.

The report comes only days after its sister paper, the Daily Telegraph claimed to have unearthed documents showing left-wing Labour MP George Galloway received money from the Iraqi regime.

Mr Galloway denies the claims and plans to sue the paper for libel.

These latest documents suggest Iraqi officials wanted to pass on an oral message to set up a direct meeting with Bin Laden.

The 1998 visit described in the documents would have taken place before Washington blamed Bin Laden for the bombings of two US embassies in Africa later that year.

Read the rest at the BBC

April 27, 2004:

Winning Fallujah risks losing Iraq

WASHINGTON — Nearly 14 months into a war that the Pentagon predicted would end quickly for occupying forces, the U.S. military faces what could be its most important series of battles since the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam, when insurgents lost badly to U.S. troops but attacked so aggressively and so widely that they changed the course of the war.

Then, Vietnamese guerrillas shocked Americans with their audacity, and the offensive marked a turning point in U.S. public support for the U.S. presence in Vietnam. Now, 36 years later, U.S. forces appear to have come to a different but equally important turning point, when the Iraq war could be on the verge of taking a turn for the better, or for the worse.

As fierce fighting broke out again in the besieged city of Fallujah on Tuesday and U.S. forces faced determined, well-armed insurgents in that Sunni stronghold and in the Shiite holy city of Najaf to the south, U.S. commanders juggled an unenviable set of options.

If they enter the cities in force to kill the insurgents, they risk killing civilians, destroying mosques and touching off a wider, far more dangerous Iraqi rebellion. But if they stay out, they risk looking weak and empowering the insurgents. That tension was at the heart of the recent cease-fire and attempts at negotiations in Fallujah — the scene of the killings and mutilations of four U.S. contract workers — and the decision to surround but not attack Najaf, where radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr settled after fleeing Baghdad.

Read the rest at USA Today

April 27, 2005:

Iraq terrorist attacks reach a record high

WASHINGTON — Terrorists staged nearly 200 significant attacks in Iraq in 2004, exceeding the record number of strikes worldwide the year before, according to data the Bush administration gave to Congress but has been withholding from the public.

The total didn't include some Iraqi insurgent attacks and more than 100 operations by foreign terrorists in Iraq because they didn't fit the State Department's strict criteria of what constitutes an international terrorist attack.

The data raised questions about President Bush's claim that the United States and its allies are winning the war on terrorism.

Read the rest at the Seattle Times

April 27, 2006:

Rice and Rumsfeld bury the hatchet for Iraq visit

Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, and Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, put on a united front during a visit to Iraq yesterday after a series of spats over the conduct of the US military campaign.
The two, travelling separately, visited Baghdad in support of prime minister-designate Jawad al-Maliki, whose appointment after four months of wrangling is regarded by Washington as a breakthrough.

Hopes in the White House for substantial troop withdrawals before the end of the year rest on Mr Maliki's ability to create a more stable and less sectarian Iraqi government.

After meeting Mr Rumsfeld, General George Casey, the US commander in Iraq, said the new government was a major step towards creating the conditions that could allow withdrawal. "I'm still on my general timeline," he said.

The US hopes to reduce its 132,500 troops in Iraq to about 100,000 by the end of the year, and, in the best-case scenario, to 75,000. Britain hopes to reduce its force from 7,500 to about 5,000 by the end of the year.

Read the rest at the Guardian