Tuesday, January 30, 2007




When U.S. troops fight and die for the "Iraqi Army" they are, in effect, fighting for a Persian Empire (read that "Iranian"), strethching from the borders of India to the Meditarranian Sea. It isn't our war, if it ever was. It is a deperate struggle for the distasteful Sunni Muslim more-or-less secular Arab Nationalism against the Theocractic Islamo-fascism of Iran, and their allies now in control of the Iraqi government we created, the increasingly pro-Iranianian Syrian government, and the terrorist allies of both in Lebanon, the Hezbollah. All of this would never have happened without the U.S. getting involved in a region it doesn't understand, under premises that are either lies or don't apply, in an inept manner that the courage and resourcesfulness of the American Military has been used to fight everybody except the real enemy, the Islamist cells and brainwashing schools spread all across the world. We need to draw-down, protect our allies the Israelis and Kurds, rething, learn proper intelligence and operational tactics in the new world of 'asymetical warfare' -- more accurately termed 4GenWar. Henry_Allen

US and Iraqi forces kill 250 gunmen in day-long battle,
Another U.S. Chopper Down in Sectarian Violence

Michael Howard and Sulamaniya Reuters in Najaf
Monday January 29, 2007
The Guardian
US and Iraqi forces killed 250 gunmen in a battle involving US tanks and helicopters on the outskirts of the Shia holy city of Najaf yesterday, a senior Iraqi police officer said.

The day-long battle was continuing after nightfall, Colonel Ali Nomas told Reuters, as tens of thousands of pilgrims converged on the nearby city of Karbala for the climax of the Ashura commemorations, one of the most important days in the Shia calendar. An American helicopter was shot down in the fighting, Iraq security sources said. The US military declined to comment. A Reuters reporter saw a helicopter come down trailing smoke.

Shia political sources said the gunmen appeared to be Sunni Arabs and Shias loyal to a cleric called Ahmed Hassani.

The governor of Najaf province said Iraqi troops fought a day-long battle with up to 200 Sunni gunmen, including foreign fighters, holed up in orchards on the northern outskirts of the city, seat of Iraq's most powerful Shia clerics. Governor Asaad Abu Gilel told Reuters the authorities had uncovered a plot to kill some of the clerics on Monday, to coincide with the climax of Ashura, which occurs today.

A Reuters reporter about a mile from the fighting said he heard intense gunfire and saw US helicopters attack groves sheltering militants. He saw smoke trailing from one helicopter before it came down in the midst of the fighting.

Meanwhile in Baghdad at least four mortar shells struck a girls' secondary school yesterday, killing five pupils and wounding 20.

Witnesses at al-Khaloud school said the shells thudded into the school's yard at about 11am, when many pupils were gathered for a break. Four girls died instantly while a fifth died later in hospital.

"They were just innocently talking to their friends when there was a whistling sound and then deafening blasts," said a parent outside the nearby Yarmouk hospital, where his daughter was being treated for severe leg wounds.

"The mortar rounds shattered the school's windows, spraying glass and shrapnel everywhere," said a police spokesman. He said it was not clear whether the school had been specifically targeted, but it lies in the mainly Sunni district of Adil in western Baghdad.

The area has been the focus of reprisal attacks against Sunni Arabs, following a week of bombings against targets in the east of the city that have killed at least 150 civilians, many of them Shia.

School attendance is down by as much as 60% in some areas amid the general violence in Baghdad and insurgent threats against schools and teachers.

Across the city yesterday another seven people were killed by bombs, while blasts in Falluja and the northern oil city of Kirkuk killed at least 13.

With the war raging in Iraq, America's anti-war movement delivered one of its greatest shows of strength since the invasion in March 2003, when tens of thousands converged on Washington at the weekend to protest against George Bush's decision to send 21,500 more troops to Baghdad and western Anbar province,.

Smaller protests were held in Los Angeles, Seattle, and other US cities.

"Silence is no longer an option," Jane Fonda told the crowd in what she said was her first appearance at an anti-war demonstration since her visit to Hanoi during the Vietnam war. The resulting furore kept her away from such protests for 34 years, she said. "I've been afraid that because of the lies that ... continue to be spread about me and that war that they would be used to hurt this new anti-war movement," she said.

Saturday's protest, organised by a coalition of 1,400 local organisations, straddled the generations of those two wars, with those old enough to remember the tumult of the Vietnam era marching along with younger demonstrators. Protesters arrived by bus from across America, carrying placards reading: "Bush bin lying" and "Civil war accomplished". For the first time since the beginning of the war, the demonstration also included a sizeable contingent of active duty soldiers as well as veterans of the fighting in Iraq. But while there was considerable representation from Hollywood, with Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon addressing the rally, all but one of the contenders for the Democratic leadership in 2008 stayed away.

Sen. Biden: 'Failed policy' emboldening the enemy
Posted 1/28/2007 12:33 PM ET
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman on Sunday dismissed criticism a resolution opposing a troop buildup in Iraq would embolden the enemy and estimated perhaps only 20 senators believe President Bush "is headed in the right direction."

"It's not the American people or the U.S. Congress who are emboldening the enemy," said Biden, D-Del., and White House hopeful in 2008. "It's the failed policy of this president — going to war without a strategy, going to war prematurely."

The Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell, cast doubt that a clear majority would be able to coalesce behind one of the many competing resolutions on Iraq. "I'm not certain any" will get the necessary votes, he said.

The Democratic-controlled Senate plans to begin debate this week on a non-binding resolution declaring that Bush's proposal to send 21,500 more troops to Baghdad and Anbar province is "not in the national interest."

Last week, Biden's committee approved the measure on a near party-line vote of 12-9.

In reaction, Bush challenged lawmakers not to prematurely condemn his buildup and Vice President Dick Cheney said the administration would proceed even if a non-binding resolution won Senate approval.

With the Senate having just confirmed a new top U.S. commander for Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said it was "pretty clear that a resolution that in effect says that the general going out to take command of the arena shouldn't have the resources he thinks he needs to be successful certainly emboldens the enemy and our adversaries."

Senate Republicans mostly oppose the committee-passed measure. They are lining up alternatives that express concern about a buildup or in other cases set performance benchmarks for the Iraqi government.

McConnell said Republican leaders would not seek to block a vote on the non-binding resolution with a filibuster. He called a proposed resolution that focuses on benchmarks "the best way to go."

"I think I can pretty well speak for virtually all Republican senators when I say this is the last chance for the Iraqis to step up and do their part," said McConnell, R-Ky.

Biden acknowledged that votes in Congress could splinter among several competing proposals but contended that Senate opposition to the buildup was widespread.

"We will have a full throated debate on this policy," Biden said. "I will make you a bet, you will not find 20% of the Senate standing up and saying the president is headed in the right direction."

Cheney said most Republicans "recognize that what's ultimately going to count here isn't sort of all the hurrah that surrounds these proposals so much as it's what happens on the ground on Iraq. And we're not going to know that for a while yet," according to a Newsweek interview released Sunday.

Cheney again cited "significant progress" in Iraq and said the war is part of a long-term fight against extreme elements of Islam.

"It's not something that's going to end decisively, and there's not going to be a day when we can, say, 'There, now we have a treaty, problem solved,"' Cheney said. "It's a problem that I think will occupy our successors maybe for two or three or four administrations to come."

Sen. Richard Lugar, the top Republican on the Foreign Relations committee, said the public's concern against the war was evident by the tens of thousands of demonstrators who turned out for a protest rally Saturday in Washington.

But he said a congressional resolution would not be constructive, expressing optimism that Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, the new U.S. commander in Iraq, can do a capable job.

"I don't believe that it's helpful right now to show there's disarray around the world as well as in our body at home," said Lugar, R-Ind. "We really need, at this point, to get on the same page."

Biden and Lugar appeared on ABC's This Week and McConnell spoke on Face the Nation on CBS.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2007-01-28-biden-iraq_x.htm?csp=34

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