10 Dead 109 Wounded Warren Strobel Of

10 Dead, 109 Wounded

Warren Strobel of Knight Ridder has an excellent retrospective on the damage done to the US effort in Iraq by the Department of Defense’s lack of planning for the post-war, Phase IV period.

Actually, I know that serious thought was given to Phase IV in some areas of the military, especially at National Defense University in Washington, DC, but the ideas that came out of NDU were deep-sixed by Rumsfeld and his neoconservative consiglieres, or were ignored by or unknown to the commanders on the ground in Iraq.

Strobel puts to rest the myth propagated by Bush that the military commanders had everything they asked for. They asked for over 300,000 troops! Rummy wanted to give them 40,000!

Tuesday’s harvest of death in Iraq:

In Mushahadah, a small town just north of Baghdad, some 550 national guardsmen were standing in line at their base to receive their pay. Guerrillas took advantage of the situation to fire mortar shells into the crowds. They wounded 89 persons and killed 5. Among the dead were a US contractor and four Iraqi national guards.

In Baghdad, guerrillas fired mortar shells at a US military compound, killing a US contractor for Halliburton and injuring 7 persons, including one US soldier.

In Iskandariyah south of Baghdad, Iraqi security forces and US Marines made a sweep of a particularly troublesome area, arresting 130 suspected militants. The operation came in preparation for the transfer to that part of Baghdad of a unit of the British military.

In Mosul, guerrillas detonated three car bombs, which could have been devastating, but in fact only killed 2 Iraqi civilians and wounded three. One may conclude that they missed. One car bomber was trying to get at the current governor of Ninevah, who was thought to be in a convoy near Mosul. In fact, he was not present. Another car bomber had aimed at a US military convoy, but only managed to inflict minor injuries on one US soldier.

In Dulu’iyyah in the north, Iraqi national guardsmen and US forces clashed with guerrillas. The clashes left 2 Iraqis dead, 10 wounded, and 18 incarcerated.

In Habbaniyah, a Sunni Arab stronghold west of Fallujah, a suicide car bomber targeted a set of US military vehicles. There was no word of casualties as of this writing, but eyewitnesses spoke of seeing three burned-out vehicles.

The northern Kirkuk oil fields dropped from producing 450,000 barrels a day to only 150,000 b/d after guerrillas blew up part of the pipeline to Turkey, and another pipeline near an important refinery.

Ash-Sharq al-Awsat reported via Reuters that US troops in Beiji in the Sunni Arab center-north burst into internet cafes and confiscated the computers. Angry young computer users complained that this was the second such raid. Residents of Samarra confirmed that similar sweeps had been conducted in that city last month. Obviously, the US military thinks the guerrilla resistance is using the internet to coordinate attacks. Saddam forbade the internet, and figures in the Bush administration took some pride about expanding it after the fall of the Baath Party. Now I suppose they are finding out why Saddam also used to confiscate Iraqis’ computers.

Norimitsu Onishi estimated that 208 Iraqis and 23 US troops died in Iraq in the past week. Many Iraqis complain about the foreign jihadis whose operations kill more Iraqis than Americans.

Jim Krane of AP reports that Maj. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, commander of the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division, believes that “The Iraqi capital is still far short of the numbers of Iraqi policemen needed to secure it and the force won’t be up to strength in time for national elections in January, the U.S. general in charge of security in Baghdad said Tuesday.” Chiarelli says that Baghdad only has 15,000 policemen, the majority of whom have only 8 weeks of training. The capital needs at least 25,000 well-trained policemen, including 7000 just to patrol the slums of East Baghdad or “Sadr City.” The shortfall of 10,000 policemen cannot be filled before spring or summer of 2005, he admitted.

The report also reveals that right now Sadr City has only 500 policemen. In past fights with the Mahdi Army, moreover, the police tended to defect to the guerrillas. It appears that the Mahdi Army has laid large numbers of roadside bombs in Sadr City, which the US military is demanding they clear if the ceasefire is to hold.

AP reports from jihadi internet sites that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has changed the name of his organization from Monotheism and Holy War to something simply. I it is now . . . “al-Qaeda.” OK, so it is “Mesopotamian al-Qaeda” (Al-Qaeda in the land between 2 rivers). But I fear this move says something about where the Sunni Arab regions of Iraq may be heading.

Al-Hayat reports that President Ghazi al-Yawir has approached Iyad Allawi about the possibility of reviving peace talks between the US military and the leaders of the guerrilla resistance in Fallujah.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan commented on the Fallujah operations Tuesday at a press conference in London, saying

“On the question of Fallujah, obviously this is a judgment for the Iraqi government and the multinational force to make, but I think in these kinds of situations you have two wars going on.”

“You have the war for minds and hearts of the people, as well as the efforts to try and bring down the violence, and the two have to go together.

“It has to be calibrated in such a way that you are able to move the people along with you, whilst at the same time you improve the security environment, and I hope that approach is also the one that is being pursued by the government and others in Iraq.”

Al-Hayat misunderstood him as endorsing the military actions against places like Fallujah. What Annan was saying was that any military action against the guerrillas is futile unless efforts are made at the same time to win over local people.

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