Saturday, May 12, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- May 12th edition

May 12, 2005: Iraqi Security Forces along with U.S. Marines of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment take a break from patrolling the streets of Ramadi.

May 12, 2002:

Saddam: I'll give inspectors a chance

Saddam Hussein has publicly stated that he is prepared to give UN weapons inspectors the opportunity to prove Iraq did not hold weapons of mass destruction.

He made the comments on Iraqi television, in his first statement on the arrival of weapons inspectors in the country. Talking about accepting the UN resolution, he said: "The basis is to keep our people out of harm's way amid an international situation in which some might claim we didn't give them (the inspectors) the proper chance to disprove the American allegations that Iraq produced weapons of mass destruction during the period of the inspectors' absence."

"For that reason we shall provide them with such a chance, after which, if the weaklings remain weak and the cowardly remain cowards, then we shall take the stand that befits our people, principles and mission.".

Iraq has on the surface given inspectors unrestricted access to examine sites, while claiming that they have no banned weapons programmes. The Iraqi vice president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, accused the inspectors of spying for the US yesterday.

Read the rest at the Telegraph

May 12, 2003:

New Civilian Administrator Says He's Ready to Take on Iraq Reconstruction

BASRA, Iraq — Less than three weeks after the United States' reconstruction agency opened for business in the postwar chaos of Baghdad, one top U.S. official left her post, the chief administrator was preparing to leave and a new administrator arrived in the region Monday, ready to take over.

L. Paul Bremer (search), the new American civilian administrator of Iraq, declared he was "delighted to be here" to begin helping the country piece itself together and take on a democratic course.

"It's a wonderful challenge to help the Iraqi people basically reclaim their country from a despotic regime," Bremer said in a tarmac interview minutes after his plane landed.

Bremer arrived in the southern city of Basra with Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the man Bremer replaced as the senior American civilian in Iraq, retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay Garner.

Read the rest at Fox News

May 12, 2004:

US army seeks to recruit Sadr militia

The US military in Iraq is seeking "a political outcome" in its battle with the forces of rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, as it seeks to win six weeks of calm before it hands over sovereignty on 30 June, a US commander said in Baghdad yesterday.

General Martin Dempsey, commanding general of the 1st armoured division, said he had begun negotiations with "stakeholders" - senior officers in Mr Sadr's militia - to form two battalions of 1,840 troops in Najaf, which he said Mr Sadr's "lieutenants" could help recruit.

The offer resembles last week's deal in the Sunni town of Falluja, in which US troops lifted their three-week siege, withdrew to the town's periphery and handed security to a "Falluja Brigade", in part comprised of insurgents.

Read the rest at the Financial Times

May 12, 2005:

Tally of civilian deaths depends on who's counting

The reports come in with numbing regularity. Iraqi police blown up by suicide bombs. Government officials murdered in the street. Dozens of insurgents killed by U.S. forces. Shoppers killed when cars explode near busy markets. Grieving mourners killed by explosions at funerals for their loved ones.

In the past two weeks alone, about 400 Iraqis reportedly have died across the country. On Wednesday alone, five car bombs and a man with explosives strapped to his body killed at least 69 people in Baghdad and elsewhere.

But while the incidents and the numbers all start to blur together, they raise once again the hotly debated and problematic issue of Iraqi civilian deaths since the United States invaded in March 2003.

The estimates of ordinary Iraqis killed -- by insurgents, U.S. troops and Iraqi criminals -- vary greatly, from as low as 6,000 up to nearly 100, 000, depending on the methodology used.

Read the rest at the SF Chronicle

May 12, 2006:

Iraqi Militias Biggest Obstacle, Bush Says

President Bush said Friday that militias are the biggest roadblock to Iraq's effort to getting a unity government up and running, a goal that would help bolster the president's sagging approval ratings over its handling of the war.

Bush spoke at the White House where he met with 10 former secretaries of state and defense from both Republican and Democratic administrations to discuss Iraq and the broader Middle East.

"Perhaps the main challenge is the militia that tend to take the law into their own hands and it's going to be up to the government to step up and take care of that militia so that the Iraqi people are confident in the security of their country," Bush said.

Iraqi officials plan to restructure police forces in the capital under the newly formed National Police force to rein in militias and death squads.

Read the rest at CBS News