Thursday, June 07, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- June 7th edition

June 7, 2003: The Kurdish Peshmerga platoon of the newly-formed Joint Iraqi Security Company marches to class for training, under direction of members of the 101st Airborne Division, to become the first self-sufficient local military force in Iraq.

June 7, 2002:

Iraq threat requires 'decisive response' - Cheney

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney singled out Iraq in calling on Thursday for a decisive response to counter a growing danger of terrorist groups acquiring weapons of mass destruction from sympathetic states.

"This gathering danger requires the most careful, deliberate and decisive response by America and our allies," Cheney said in a speech to the National Association of Homebuilders.

His comments added to a drumbeat of U.S. signals of potential new military action in the U.S.-led war on terrorism. But they went a step further in singling out Iraq than U.S. President George W. Bush's statement on Saturday that Americans must be ready for "preemptive action" against threats to the country.

Bush did not mention Iraq, which he has labeled as part of an "axis of evil" bent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction, in those comments at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Cheney reiterated U.S. concerns over the possibility militant groups such as al Qaeda, blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, would "link up" with governments developing weapons of mass destruction.

"In the case of (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein, we have a dictator who is clearly pursuing these deadly capabilities," Cheney said. "Saddam has also shown that he's willing to use weapons of mass destruction.

"A regime that hates America and everything we stand for must never be permitted to threaten America with weapons of mass destruction," he said.

Cheney has used similar language regarding Iraq in other recent speeches, but coupled with Bush's call for preemptive action, they underscore the U.S. determination against Iraq.

"As President Bush said the other day up at West Point, in the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action. And this nation will act," Cheney said.

Read the rest at the Namibian

June 7, 2003:

US rejects calls for elected council

Paul Bremer, the US overseer for Iraq, said on Saturday that he had agreed to amend his plans for an interim Iraqi administration but rejected demands for it to be elected to avoid it being seen as a puppet government.

In talks with Iraqi delegates on Friday, US overseer Paul Bremer agreed that the caretaker body would immediately appoint “interim ministers” rather than mere “advisers”, a spokesman said.

He also accepted calls for it to be allowed to appoint diplomats overseas to represent Iraq in regional or international bodies, although he added that their powers would be limited.

“Obviously they would have to have coalition advisors sitting alongside them,” the spokesman told reporters.

“They would not be considered ambassadors for legal reasons ... But we would consider them to be diplomats or representatives nevertheless.”

The coalition has already made clear that the same will apply to the “interim ministers” who will work in coordination with the senior advisors already appointed by the coalition in all of Iraq’s government ministries.

Under its interpretation of Resolution 1483 passed by the UN Security Council last month, the coalition will retain ultimate authority until a sovereign government has been installed following a constitutional referendum and nationwide elections, a process that may take as long as two years.

Read the rest at the Dawn

June 7, 2004:

Deal to disband Iraq militias announced

Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi announced a deal Monday to disband nine militias.

The deal calls for most militiamen to join Iraqi security forces or return to civilian life by the beginning of next year.

The agreement excludes the Mehdi Army of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, which launched an uprising against coalition forces two months ago.

U.S. forces arranged a truce with the militia Friday, after weeks of skirmishes.

"While recent news has associated the word 'militia' with the sort of violence orchestrated by Muqtada al-Sadr, in fact most of these groups and individuals were part of the resistance against Saddam Hussein's regime," Allawi said.

Al-Sadr's army will officially be outlawed Monday afternoon, according to a senior coalition official. His militia was not approached to take part in the new arrangement.

"No groups were excluded, other than by their own actions," the senior official said. The new law also makes it illegal for al-Sadr to hold office.

In his comments Allawi said, "I am happy to announce today the successful completion of negotiations on the nationwide transition and reintegration of militias and other armed forces previously outside of state control.

"As a result of this achievement, the vast majority of such forces in Iraq -- about 102,000 armed individuals -- will enter either civilian life or one of the state security services, such as the Iraqi armed forces, the Iraqi police service, or the internal security services of the Kurdish regional government," Allawi said.

Read the rest at CNN

June 7, 2005:

World military spending tops $1T in 2004

Global military spending in 2004 broke the $1 trillion barrier for the first time since the Cold War, boosted by the U.S. war against terror and the growing defense budgets of India and China, a European think tank said Tuesday.

Led by the United States, which accounted for almost half of all military expenditure, the world spent $1.035 trillion on defense, equal to 2.6% of global gross domestic product, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said.

Besides its regular defense budget, the United States has allocated $238 billion since 2003 to fight terrorism, according to the report. "These appropriations are now assuming extraordinary proportions," said SIPRI researcher Elisabeth Skons, who co-authored the organization's annual report.

Adjusted for inflation, the figure for global military spending in 2004 is only 6% lower than its Cold War peak in 1987-1988, Skons said.

Total military expenditure grew 6% in 2004 over the previous year, in line with an average annual increase since 2002, the institute said. South Asia, northern Africa and North America made the largest increases. In Western Europe and Central America, military spending fell.

But the report said the figures might be on the low side as countries are increasingly outsourcing services related to armed conflicts, such as military training and providing logistics in combat zones, without classifying them as military expenditures.

Such outsourcing has more than doubled in the last 15 years, and was estimated to have reached $100 million during 2004, SIPRI researcher Caroline Holmqvist said. The researchers predicted it would double again from current levels by 2010.

Read the rest at USA Today

June 7, 2006:

Commanders Plan Troop Rotations in Iraq

An Army brigade whose deployment to Iraq was put on hold just last month _ triggering talk that a U.S. troop cut might be in the offing _ is now scheduled to be sent there this summer, a defense official said Wednesday.

The move suggests that American commanders are sticking largely to their original plan for early summer troop rotations, leaving unclear when and if a sizable reduction in U.S. troop levels will begin this year.

The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, said last year that he expected "fairly substantial" reductions this spring and summer so long as progress on the political and security fronts remained on track.

There are about 132,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. Pentagon officials had figured that a reduction to about 100,000 by the end of the year was feasible. However, the situation has been complicated by delays in the naming of Iraqi ministers of defense and the interior, as well as by unrelenting sectarian violence, especially in Baghdad.

In a report to Congress last week, the Pentagon said the weekly average number of attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces between February and May was the highest for any similar period since Iraqi sovereignty was restored in June 2004.

Read the rest at the Washington Post