Friday, June 15, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- June 15th edition

June 15, 2006: While covering their movements with smoke, a soldier attached to the I Marine Expeditionary Force signals a Marine to cross a street during a firefight with insurgents in Ramadi

June 15, 2002:

Israel Has Sub-Based Atomic Arms Capability

Israel has acquired three diesel submarines that it is arming with newly designed cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, according to former Pentagon and State Department officials, potentially giving Israel a triad of land-, sea- and air-based nuclear weapons for the first time.

The U.S. Navy monitored Israeli testing of a new cruise missile from a submarine two years ago off Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, according to former Pentagon officials.

One former senior American official said U.S. analysts have studied the nuclear capability of the cruise missile. But, according to a former Pentagon official, "It is above top secret knowing whether the sub-launched cruise missiles are nuclear-armed." Another former official added, "We often don't ask."

The possible move to arm submarines with nuclear weapons suggests that the Israeli government might be increasingly concerned about efforts by Iraq and Iran to develop more accurate long-range missiles capable of knocking out Israel's existing nuclear arsenal, which is primarily land-based.

Although developing a sea-based leg would preserve the deterrent value of Israel's nuclear force, according to analysts, it would complicate U.S. efforts to keep other countries in the Middle East and elsewhere from seeking to acquire nuclear arms. It also could spur a nuclear arms race in the Middle East...

The U.S. government "favors" Israel's preserving the ambiguity surrounding its nuclear force, just as it has since the late 1960s, a former senior U.S. diplomat said. "It gives it a strategic deterrence," he said, adding, "If [Israel] were being explicit, that would create problems with its neighbors like Egypt and Syria whose leaders years ago agreed that [ambiguity] did not pose an offensive threat to them."

Iraq and Iran, he added, are different because "they are destabilizing" countries and could launch a first strike against Israel or U.S. forces in the region if they succeed in developing and deploying nuclear weapons.

Read the rest at the Washington Post

June 15, 2003:

Iraq: deeper into chaos

INSTEAD of looking up, things in Iraq seem to be getting worse. The death of 100 Iraqis in two days of clashes with US troops serves to highlight this fact. One of the clashes was in Mosul, which US occupation authorities had recently described as “a model of security” in the country. Mosul residents said the clash was between US soldiers and the demobilized troops of the former Iraqi army. These soldiers have not been getting their salaries since the Americans announced the disbanding of the Iraqi army on May 23. Their frustration is symptomatic of the mood now sweeping Iraq. The clashes were followed by the arrest of 74 Al Qaeda supporters — the first such major claim by the occupation authorities. Whether they really belong to Al Qaeda there is no way of knowing. For all practical purposes, there is censorship in Iraq, and the outside world is not getting a fuller picture of what is going on in the occupied land. All one can hope is that the Americans will not try to turn Iraq into another Palestine where the people will be forced to take recourse to suicide bombings to drive the occupiers out...

The clashes show that the Iraqis are not going to watch their country’s humiliation for long. They might have welcomed the fall of the Baathist regime, but they would most certainly not like to change the local dictator for foreign masters. They want freedom, and they want to rule their country themselves. It is to this fundamental point that America should pay attention. No weapons of mass destruction have been discovered in Iraq. This has scuttled the moral basis of the war on Iraq. The only way America can now salvage the situation is by pulling out of Iraq at the earliest after handing over power to an interim Iraqi administration. Such a set-up should not be headed by a man of questionable credentials. An American military presence can be there during the period in which the interim administration should prepare for elections. An unnecessary prolongation of America’s military and political presence in Iraq will only mean continued chaos and violence — and more bodybags.

Read the rest at the Dawn

June 15, 2004:

Official: Cheney Didn't Know Halliburton Would Get Iraq Contract

WASHINGTON — Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff was told in 2002 that Cheney's former company would receive no-bid work to secretly plan restoration of Iraq's oil facilities, but the information wasn't given to the vice president, a White House official said Tuesday.

Kevin Kellems, Cheney's spokesman, told The Associated Press he confirmed the decision not to inform Cheney with the vice president's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby

"The vice president was not informed" that Halliburton would get the Defense Department contract, Kellems said.

Libby informed participants at a Defense Department briefing in October 2002 that "the vice president's office would not be involved and would have nothing to do with the matter," Kellems said.

Libby's presence was controversial because Cheney repeatedly has said he had no involvement in that contract or any other matters involving Halliburton, a Houston-based energy and construction company.

Read the rest at Fox News

June 15, 2005:

Iraq 'no more safe than in 2003'

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has acknowledged that security in Iraq has not improved statistically since Saddam Hussein's fall in 2003.

Mr Rumsfeld told the BBC insurgents crossed Iraq's "porous" borders from Iran, Syria and elsewhere.

But he said Iraq's military forces were growing in numbers and he was confident the insurgency would be defeated...

In an interview for the BBC's Newsnight programme, Mr Rumsfeld said Iraq had passed several milestones, like holding elections and appointing a government.

But asked if the security situation had improved, he admitted: "Statistically, no."

"But clearly it has been getting better as we've gone along," he added.

"A lot of bad things that could have happened have not happened."

Read the rest at BBC News

June 15, 2006:

Iraq Amnesty Plan May Cover Attacks On U.S. Military

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Wednesday proposed a limited amnesty to help end the Sunni Arab insurgency as part of a national reconciliation plan that Maliki said would be released within days. The plan is likely to include pardons for those who had attacked only U.S. troops, a top adviser said.

Maliki's declaration of openness to talks with some members of Sunni armed factions, and the prospect of pardons, are concessions that previous, interim governments had avoided. The statements marked the first time a leader from Iraq's governing Shiite religious parties has publicly embraced national reconciliation, welcomed dialogue with armed groups and proposed a limited amnesty.

Reconciliation could include an amnesty for those "who weren't involved in the shedding of Iraqi blood," Maliki told reporters at a Baghdad news conference. "Also, it includes talks with the armed men who opposed the political process and now want to turn back to political activity."

Maliki stressed that he had not yet met with the Sunni resistance and added, "We will talk to those whose hands are not stained with blood, and we hope they would rethink their strategy." He vowed that they "will not be able to interrupt the political process, either by wanting to bring back the old regime, or imposing an ugly, ethnic new regime upon Iraq."

As Maliki spoke, Iraqi soldiers and police led the first day of a security crackdown in Baghdad. A force of more than 30,000 uniformed Iraqi security personnel, backed by more than 30,000 U.S.-led foreign troops, enforced the first day of a dusk-to-dawn curfew and stepped up checkpoints throughout the capital. Iraq's Interior Ministry said Tuesday that no additional troops were brought in for the operation.

Thanks to Wednesday's expanded checkpoints -- one of the first clear efforts of Maliki's new government -- there were traffic-snarling jams across Baghdad. "We have noticed less and less people shopping, but I would rather have security than more customers," said Wisam Saad, 29, who stood in a shop empty of customers, surrounded by cigar boxes, teapots and trinkets.

Iraq's previous, transitional government, led by Ibrahim al-Jafari, a Shiite, launched a similar crackdown last year but it failed to deter the violence.

Read the rest at the Washington Post