*Guerrillas set off three home made bombs at Ramadi as a convoy of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment soldier was passing, killing one US soldier. Two other US soldiers in the convoy were injured. The BBC correspondent reports that “there are about 12 attacks a day against American soldiers in Iraq according to coalition sources.” The BBC also reported that on Tuesday in Mosul guerrillas ambushed US military vehicles with rocket propelled grenades around 4 pm. Eyewitnesses saw wounded soldiers being taken away, but no confirmation from the US Army. Al-Zaman says 4 US soldiers were wounded. The same source says that in a separate incident in Falluja a US vehicle was hit by RPG fire, wounding one US soldier. It is rumored that the Iraqi guerrillas have upped the bounty on American troops from $250 to $1000. But I don’t think very many of these attacks are being carried out for the money. Those guerrillas are angry about foreigners over-running their country.
*Ali Nourizadeh of al-Sharq al-Awsat alleges that there is a struggle going on between the office of President Mohammad Khatami and the hardline elements like the al-Quds Guards in Iran over the disposition of al-Qaeda refugees. He says that when Sayf al-`Adil, al-Qaeda’s chief military planner, was implicated in the May Riyadh bombings, he and other al-Qaeda figures were put under house arrest, inspiring alarm among other such fugitives in Iran. Nourizadeh says that Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s no. 2, had been in Iran but that he escaped when Khatami attempted to have him arrested in Zabul and brought to Tehran. He says that Imad Mughniyah, the Lebanese Shiite terrorist, is also no longer in Iran. His source indicates that Khatami, fearing a major conflict with the US, is attempting to clean house on the al-Qaeda front, but often is thwarted by the al-Quds Guards, who established friendships with some al-Qaeda figures back in the Sudan days when Iran was supporting the Sudanese Islamists that were hosting Bin Laden.
*Ahmad Jawdah reports in al-Sharq al-Awsat on his visit to Basra recently. He finds the Czech military hospital treating a lot of wounded who accidently set off mines, or who were hurt in clan feuds, along with a few persons with severe illnesses (there are about 150 cholera cases in Basra presently, along with some typhoid). But one of the doctors at a major civilian hospital (the city has 8) complained that his facility still lacks enough medicine. He maintained that the physicians are well trained, so the personnel are there to provide care, but years of sanctions have left medicine stocks still too low. Jawdah seems to say that things are nevertheless better than they were in April on the hospital front. He also reports shortage of fuel, even firewood, for cooking, and shortage of kerosene and gasoline. One woman complained that she could not cook for her family under these circumstances. Obviously, the city, which exploded in rioting on Sunday and Monday, is irritable and tired of not having enough electricity, power, and water filtration. If it is true that there is not enough medicine in the hospitals, that is terrible, and the Coalition or aid agencies have a duty to do something about it.
*A source in Iraqi security tells al-Sharq al-Awsat that Iraqi women will be allowed to join the police force. Apparently they have to have university degrees, and will be trained in accordance with British policing practice. The decision came after counsel and “some pressure” from the Coalition. This sort of opening to Iraqi women is not new or unusual in Iraqi political history. The Baath ideology, at least, favored women’s liberation. But it is potentially a controversial step given the growth of hard line Shiite tendencies among some in Basra, who follow the radical Muqtada al-Sadr.
*Fred Kaplan at Slate goes over all the evidence Colin Powell presented to the UN about the alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction program, and concludes that perhaps none of it amounts to anything. The aluminum tubing was for rockets, not for centrifuges. Al-Baradei of the IAEA already blew that one out of the water last March. More was ordered than necesssary as part of some Iraqi officer’s get rich quick scheme. The mobile “germ labs” were for making helium for weather blimpls. There just wasn’t much of a program there and apparently all the stockpiles were destroyed or had gone bad by 1998. No one is suggesting that Powell didn’t believe what he presented. He just presented circumstantial evidence that in retrospect can all be explained away. It is a salutary lesson about the doctrine of preemptive war. In the real world, you cannot actually easily know which country poses a real threat. Better to fight wars when the threat level can be proved by more than circumstantial evidence. See http://slate.msn.com/id/2086924/.
*The Neocons’ preemptive war against their critics in the State Department and among the brass in the armed forces is detailed by Justin Raimondo. “Make it good for Ariel Sharon” appears to have been the real marching orders with regard to the Iraq war. See http://www.antiwar.com/justin/j081303.html. For the key writings of whistle blower Karen Kwiatkowski, who exposed the shenanigans in the office of Deputy Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, see http://www.lewrockwell.com/kwiatkowski/kwiatkowski-arch.html.