Fighting in Tal Afar, Latifiyah
1100 US Troops Wounded in August
Heavy fighting raged in the northern city of Tal Afar, which lies west of Mosul, again on Sunday, according to ash-Sharq al-Awsat. The population of Tal Afar is largely Turkmen Shiites, and it is unclear why the US military is fighting there. [Actually they are largely Sunnis, which explains the fighting. 7/8/05] A US spokesman claimed that the city is a transit point for foreign terrorists slipping in from Syria. This could well be the case. But would Turkmen Shiites really give over their town to the control of Arab Sunni fundamentalists? Many Turkmen Shiites have given their allegiance to Muqtada al-Sadr, but no source mentions Mahdi Army as an issue there. It appears that the city, not just a handful of fighters, is resisting the US troops, though the Wall Street Journal spoke of the gunmen as a “cell”. At least in the Sunni Arab cities, such as Fallujah, Ramadi and Samarra, it makes sense for Sunni nationalists and fundamentalists to ally with a handful of outside Sunnis who have come as volunteers. In Tal Afar, that scenario makes no sense. Local Tal Afar medical authorities said that two Iraqis were killed and 9 wounded in battles.
American planes bombed Balad in the Sunni heartland, killing two and wounding five others.
Guerrillas detonated a carbomb near a US patrol in the city of Dajil, 25 km. norther of Baghdad (a mixed Sunni-Shiite city). One US soldier was wounded, and six civilians received minor injuries.
In Baqubah to the east, two Iraqi women were killed and three persons injured by American indiscriminate fire.
Around 1100 US troops were wounded in Iraq in August, the highest one-month total so far. The injuries came because the US was actively fighting “in four cities” according to a US military spokesman (Fallujah, Ramadi, Samarra, and Najaf). Actually it was much more than that. There was also fighting in August in Sadr City and some southern cities. This finding underscores the point I made on Saturday, which is that the period since March 19 should properly be seen as an ongoing war.