Battle at Haifa Street kills 30
Senate Foreign Relations Committee rejects Escalation
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 12 to 9 for a non-binding resolution condemning the Bush administration’s escalation of the war. All but one of the 10 Republicans on the committee voted against it. The dissenter was Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.
US forces with some Iraqi army accompaniment fought a pitched battle with Sunni Arab guerrillas at Haifa street just north of the Green Zone that houses government offices and the US embassy. They killed thirty persons whom they identified as “insurgents”.
That Iraqi guerrillas killed 3 more US troops was announced on Wednesday.
Reuters reports on political violence in Iraq on Wednesday:
* Police found 33 bodies in Baghdad. Several showed signs of having been tortured.
*Guerrillas clashed with Iraqi army troops in Suwayra 25 miles south of the capital. 3 soldiers are said to be missing.
Iraqi Shiites rejected Bush’s comparison of Iraqi Shiite militias to al-Qaeda. They said that the militias are mainly neighborhood protection committees, not a global terrorist organization aimed at the US.
Patrick Cockburn of the Independent continues his indispensable and clear-eyed reporting from Iraq with this piece on the paralysis of Baghdad. Major points:
*The crew of the Blackwater helicopter may have survived being shot down, but then they appear to have been executed on the ground.
*The toney al-Mansur district of Baghdad is now too dangerous to visit and its posh restaurants have long been closed.
*Baghdad residents are being shanghaied into militia service.
*Baquba is very dangerous but is not addressed in the Bush Baghdad/al-Anbar escalation plan.
The Palestinians, kicked out of their own country by groups like the Stern Gang, are now being kicked out of Iraq. The Palestinians are a homeless nation.
The average percentage by which esteem for the US fell in a BBC poll of publics in 25 country was 7%, i.e. from 36% to 29% in just a couple of years. In the late Clinton period, 75 percent of Indonesians reported that they held the US in high regard. It is now less than 30%.