3 Marines Killed
Dozens of Bodies found
3 US troops were announced killed by Sunni Arab guerrillas on Friday. At least 22 bodies were found in Baghdad. A prominent Iraqi politician and clan leader, Muhsin al-Kanan, an elected member of the Basra provincial council, was shot down on Friday.
On Thursday, dozens of people were kidnapped in Baghdad by persons dressed as police, then 25 or 30 were released, mainly Shiites. There was nothing more about this story on Friday and Saturday. Some 45 bodies were reported found on Thursday, including some in Wasit province, a Shiite area south of Baghdad. The Vice President of Iraq, Adil Abdul Mahdi, was almost assassinated.
Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki will launch a new initiative during the inauguration of the Reconciliation conference, aimed at bringing ex-Baathist Sunnis in from the cold. He will rehabilitate ex-Baathists against whom no civil cases have been filed.
Carne Ross, who was the UK point man on Iraq at the UN 1998-2002 says that the Blair government’s and the Bush administration’s sudden charges against Iraq concerning weapons of mass destruction were trumped up and came as a surprise to him.
‘ “During my posting, at no time did HMG [her majesty’s government] assess that Iraq’s WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests,” Mr Ross wrote in evidence submitted to the Butler inquiry in June 2004.
“It was the commonly held view among the officials dealing with Iraq that any threat had been effectively contained.” Mr Ross said when the United States raised the topic of regime change.
He and others would argue against such a move, “primarily on the grounds that Iraq would collapse into chaos”, he said in written testimony given to an inquiry into the run-up to the March 2003 conflict.
“With the exception of some unaccounted-for Scud missiles, there was no intelligence evidence of significant holdings of CW [chemical weapons], BW [biological weapons] or nuclear material,” the official said. ‘
Ross’s testimony was secret until recently, under Britain’s Official Secrets Act, but a parliamentary committee has now released it with the acquiescence of the foreign office.
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