Monday, February 18, 2008


Just a week ago a Fox News reporter toured the streets of Falluja, Iraq with a U.S. Army General in a display of how safe Falluja has become since the introduction of the "surge."

However, on Monday a partial curfew of Falluja was ordered when reports surfaced insurgents and terrorists had entered the city.

The city of Falluja is the prime jewel in the Bush Administration's crown of selling the American public on the idea the "surge" has been a roaring success in Iraq.

As Falluja goes so goes Iraq is the battle cry of the Bush administration and their propaganda mouthpiece Fox News.

The United States military is going to launch a full-scale effort to seek and destroy any insurgents or terrorists who have entered Falluja.

Commentary by Bill Corcoran, editor of CORKSPHERE

Police impose partial curfew on Falluja

Falluja, Feb 18, (VOI) - Police forces on Monday imposed a partial curfew over Falluja during hunt down operations for gunmen, a police source said."Falluja police imposed a curfew on al-Muhandiseen, al-Mualimeen, and al-Wehda neighborhoods in central Falluja," the source told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI) on condition of anonymity.

"The ban includes vehicles and pedestrians," he explained."Police patrols ordered residents via loudspeakers to remain indoors while searching some houses," the source noted."

This came after a tip-off that indicated some gunmen had entered the city," he highlighted.Falluja is 45 km west of Baghdad.


The violence in Iraq shows no sign of letting up as the toll from Sunday's suicide bombings rose to eight, including three who were killed when a female suicide bomber blew herself up at a shop in central Baghdad.

The mainstream media in the United States continues to ignore the upward trend of violence in Iraq and still praises the "surge" even when there is ample proof the "surge" has not curbed the violence in Iraq and the capital city of Baghdad.

Commentary by Bill Corcoran, editor of CORKSPHERE,, the only blog devoted entirely to bringing readers the truth about conditions in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Toll from Iraq attacks rises to eight

BAGHDAD, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Death toll from attacks in Iraq on Sunday, including a suicide bombing attack in Baghdad, rose to eight, sources with Interior Ministry and police said.

A female suicide bomber blew herself up at a shop in central Baghdad neighborhood of Karrada on Sunday, killing up to three people and wounding eight others, an Interior Ministry source said.

Earlier, the source put the casualties at two killed and four injured.

The female suicide bomber entered the shop after being chased by Iraqi army soldiers on suspicion that she was a suicide bomber, the source said.

The blast destroyed the shop and caused damages to several nearby shops and civilian cars, he said.

In northern Iraq, a car bomb struck a police patrol in the city of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province, damaging a police vehicle and killing a policeman aboard, the police said.

Two civilians were also killed and two others injured by the blast in the city located some 400 km north of Baghdad, they said.

In Salahudin province, a roadside bomb went off in the morning near a civilian car in the town of Beiji, some 200 km north of Baghdad, killing the driver aboard, who was later appeared to be a member of the U.S.-backed Awakening Council group, which fight al-Qaida in Iraq network, a provincial police source told Xinhua.

In a separate incident, unknown gunmen stormed a house in the town of Duluiyah, 90 km north of Baghdad, and shot dead a woman before they fled the scene, the source said.

The attacks came as the Iraqi government have been emphasizing the dramatic security improvement in the war-torn country since months ago, thanks to a large influx of U.S. troops and the cooperation of Iraq's Sunnis.

However, the U.S. military commanders have doubts over security, stressing that the al-Qaida remains a serious threat.


Violence continues throughout Iraq and Afghanistan as both countries teeter on the brink of collapse again.

Despite all the flamboyant talk from the Bush administration and their puppet mouthpiece, Fox News, both Iraq and Afghanistan are in the throes of chaos as suicide bombers take their toll in both countries.

Here is just a partial list of incidents from Iraq and Afghanistan that took place Monday.

Baquba:#1: Three civilians were wounded on Monday when a booby-trapped car went off south of Baaquba targeting Popular Committees fighters, said an official police source. "A car bomb was detonated in Bahraz district, south of Baaquba, targeting a gathering of the Popular Committees fighters, injuring three civilians,” the source, who asked to remain unnamed, told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq

#2: A suicide car bomb targeted the office of the local committees in Shams village south of Baquba city around 12:00 pm. No casualties were reported.Iskandariyah:#1: Gunmen killed one man and wounded another in a drive-by shooting on Sunday in Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.Babel Prv:#1: The Babel provincial council vice chairman was wounded in a quarrel with the guards of the city's court of appeal on Monday and was taken to a hospital, a police source in the province said. "A quarrel occurred between Dr. Niema Jassem, who was entering the court of appeal in the city, and the guards of the court," the source, who asked not to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI) ."The court guards assaulted Jassem, breaking his right arm and causing him bruises in other parts of his body," the source said, adding "Jassem was taken to a hospital while the guards were kept under investigative custody."Basra:#1: A police officer from the internal affairs department survived unscathed an attempt on his life in central Basra on Monday while three of his guards were wounded, an official police source in Basra said. "Unidentified gunmen in a vehicle opened drive-by fire at Capt. Muhammad Nouri, an officer in the internal affairs department, in central Basra," the source, who refused to have his name mentioned, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq

Tikrit:#1: Maj. Nahi Khalaf Ahmad was killed when a roadside bomb detonated before noon outside his house in central the capital city of Tikrit, 170 km north of Baghdad, a provincial police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Three people were also wounded by the blast that caused damages to nearby houses and civilian cars, he said.Samarra:#1: Separately, an Iraqi police force teamed up with fighters from an Awakening Council group and raided on Sunday night al-Qaida hideouts in the open area of the al-Jallam, just east of Samarra City, some 120 km north of Baghdad, Mazin Younis, head of the Awakening group in the city, told Xinhua. During the raid the police and the Awakening Council fighters had sporadic clashes with some militant groups, which resulted in the killing of an insurgent who was wearing an explosive vest and the detention of two others, Younis said.Al Anbar Prv:Hit:

#1: Two civilians were killed and another wounded in a blast that occurred inside a store selling electrical appliances in central Hit, 70 km west of Ramadi, on Monday, a security source said. "The store owner was killed and his son wounded. Another civilian who happened to be inside the store at the time was killed," the source told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI) on condition of anonymity.Ramadi:#1: Police patrols on Monday found two unknown corpses in the city of Ramadi, a police source said. "A police patrol found two bodies thrown on the international road in western Ramadi," the source told Aswat al-Iraq -

Voices of IraqAfghanistan:#1: It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that a soldier from the 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment was killed in southern Afghanistan yesterday, Sunday 17 February 2008. One other soldier was also injured in the incident but his injuries are not life threatening. Just before 2100 hrs local time soldiers from the 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, as part of their Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) role, were taking part in a foot patrol with 40 Commando Royal Marines near Kajaki, Helmand Province, when they were caught in an explosion.

#2: A suicide bomber targeting a foreign military convoy in Afghanistan killed 37 civilians in an attack near the Pakistan border on Monday, the interior ministry said. The attack happened on a narrow bridge in the bustling town of Spin Boldak in southern Kandahar province, a stronghold for Taliban insurgents fighting the Afghan government and its Western backers. Kandahar's governor Assadullah Kahlid told a news conference the bomber was in a car and had attacked a convoy of Canadian troops serving under NATO's command. Four Canadians were wounded, he said. But another official from the area said two foreign soldiers also died.

A suicide car bomber targeting a Canadian military convoy left three Canadian soldiers wounded at at least 37 civilians were killed. The bombing occured at a busy market in southern Afghanistan. The Canadian military released few details initially, saying only that no Canadians were killed.#3: update An Afghan governor says the death toll from a suicide bombing in Kandahar province has risen to more than 100. Kandahar Gov. Asadullah Khalid told a mosque filled with mourners Monday that he had warned the militia commander who was the target of Sunday's attack that bombers were trying to kill him. The suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd of men and boys watching a dog fighting competition.


Just as was anticipated the insurgents and the Taliban have shifted their attacks away from Iraq and are now targeting Afghanistan.

On Sunday 100 people were killed in Afghanistan when a suicide bomber blew themselves up at a dog fight, and on Monday another 37 were killed in Afghanistan when a suicide bomber set off an explosive in the middle of a foreign military convoy. The deaths were mostly Afghan civilians.

The Taliban as well as Al Queda have been showing signs of stepping up their attacks in Afghanistan where the United States military has over 25,000 troops.

There is already talk in the Bush White House and at the Pentagon of sending additional troops into Afghanistan.

Commentary: President Bush obviously bit off more than he can chew when he decided to invade both Afghanistan and Iraq.

The resurgence of the Taliban and Al Queda in Afghanistan is very worrisome, and military leaders in Iraq are now saying the withdrawal of troops from Iraq will probably not take place.

The United States military--especially the Army and the Marines---are stretched to the breaking point and are in dire need of more recruits to offset the rotations that find some units going back to Iraq and Afghanistan for their third fourth or fifth tour.

The "surge" in Iraq is like a band-aid and there is already talk it will not have a lasting effect on the violence in Iraq which is already showing signs of increasing.

A female suicide bomber killed three people on Sunday in Baghdad and the bodies of ten Iraqi citizens who had been decapitated were found in Baghdad.

There are also troubling signs with the Iraqi government as members of the Sunni bloc are voicing displeasure with the way the government is handling matters in Iraq.

The British government was in Iraq for 30 years with 90,000 troops and were never able to bring stability to Iraq.

There is no reason to believe the results will be any different even if the U.S. military stays in Iraq and Afghanistan for the next 100 years as Sen. John McCain has proposed.

Bill Corcoran, Chicago,
editor of CORKSPHERE, the blog that tells the TRUTH about Iraq and Afghanistan and not Bush White House and FOX NEWS spin.

Suicide bomber kills 37 in Afghanistan

18 Feb 2008 13:42:53 GMT 18 Feb 2008 13:42:53 GMT Source: Reuters

By Mirwais Afghan and Ismail Sameem

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, Feb 18 (Reuters) - A suicide bomber targeting a foreign military convoy in Afghanistan killed 37 civilians in an attack near the Pakistan border on Monday, the interior ministry said.

The attack, a day after more than 100 people were killed in the deadliest suspected suicide raid since the Taliban were overthrown in 2001, comes as some Western politicians call for a stronger resolve to stop Afghanistan sliding back into anarchy.

"The suicide attack ... caused the killing of 37 non-combatants and wounding of 30 others," the ministry said in a statement in Kabul.

The attack happened on a narrow bridge in the bustling town of Spin Boldak in southern Kandahar province, a stronghold for Taliban insurgents fighting the Afghan government and its Western backers.

Kandahar's governor Assadullah Khalid told a news conference the bomber was in a car and had attacked a convoy of Canadian troops serving under NATO's command. Four Canadians were wounded, he said. But another official from the area said two foreign soldiers also died.

A NATO spokesman in Kabul confirmed the blast, but refused to provide more details. Several fuel shops were on fire in Spin Boldak after the bombing, witnesses said.

Despite the presence of more than 50,000 foreign soldiers led by NATO and the U.S. military, as well as some 140,000 Afghan troops, Taliban militants have made a comeback in the past two years and more than 11,000 people have been killed in violence.

Sunday's attack happened as a crowd of people were watching dog fights in Arghandab, on the western outskirts of Kandahar city. Dozens of victims were buried side-by-side in a mourning ceremony on Monday.

Provincial governor Khalid has accused the Taliban of the attack, but the insurgents denied responsibility.

Khalid said he had intelligence about the attack and had tipped off the Canadian forces about it.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday she saw no need to change parliamentary mandates limiting the number of troops her government can send to Afghanistan, despite mounting pressure from NATO allies.

"We are not changing the mandates as they are at the moment," Merkel told reporters. "I see no need for a change at the moment."

Germany, which has roughly 3,300 troops in Afghanistan, is under pressure from allies, particularly the United States, to send additional soldiers and shift them from the north to the more dangerous south to help battle Taliban insurgents.

The main mandate, due to expire in October, allows Germany to send a maximum of 3,500 soldiers to Afghanistan. German media have reported Merkel's government seeks to increase the number of troops.


Senator John McCain, the likely Republican candidate for POTUS, has an expression for it. He calls it "whack-a-mole."
What McCain is referring to is how when U.S. forces seem to be getting the upper hand on IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) in Iraq they pop in Afghanistan.

This has been the MO (Modus Operandi) of the insurgents and Al Qaeda since the U.S. invaded and occupied both Iraq and Afghanistan. Violence is putdown in one area only to pop up in another area.

A study release by Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) spells out what is working and what isn't working in the ongoing effort to stop IED attacks.

It is worth reading.

Bill Corcoran, editor CORKSPHERE, the blog that brings readers the latest developments in the Iraq and Afghanistan war zones.

Improvised Bombs: Down in Iraq, Up in Afghanistan; Tech Barely a Factor

By Sharon Weinberger
February 14, 2008 1:40:00 PMCategories: Bomb Squad
There's good news in Iraq: improvised explosive device (IED) attacks against coalition forces in Iraq have dropped dramatically over the last year. Not only is the use of IEDs dropping off, but more IEDs are being found before they go off, and more Iraqis are alerting forces of possible attacks.

That's all good news, but as noted in the just released Fiscal Year 2007 Annual Report of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), while IEDs are declining in Iraq, "the opposite trend has been observed in Afghanistan." The report notes, "In that theater, an emboldened, increasingly aggressive enemy has increased the use of IEDs. The number of IEDs employed against U.S. forces in FY07 reached an all-time high, more than doubling over the last half of the fiscal year."

More interesting are the reasons cited for this turnaround. It's not a silver bullet technology, or frankly, anything specifically the JIEDDO has done (though no doubt it's contributed in some areas). Rather, the report points to four major factors:

1) "The decision of many local faction to support coalition force efforts."
2) "The sustained presence of coalition forces throughout the Baghdad security zones that have greatly reduced the monthly number of IED incidents in Baghdad."
3) "The success of numerous locally focused brigade and regimental-level operations against networks."
4) "Relentless efforts to disrupt the event chain which enables activities."

If operational tactics dealt the biggest blow to the IED threat, how, then, has JIEDDO contributed to the drop-off? Well, protective capabilities, which JIEDDO has supported, have played a role, the report notes, so too has better training. Also, JIEDDO has been involved in a number of efforts to disrupt IED networks (cited above as a contributing factor to the overall decrease). The reports notes that over the last year, insurgents have had to employ six IEDs to bring about one coalition casualty. On the flip side, IEDs that do go off have become more lethal, demonstrating how insurgents are adapting. But the report makes clear that it's military operations that have played the greatest role in this turnaround.

What hasn't worked? Well, nifty gimmickry doesn't always pan out. JIEDDO says over the past year it's canceled Alexis and Electra-C, systems that emitted wave forms to pre-detonate IEDs. They interfered with the counter-IED jammers. That's not good. Warlock Dragon, which uses high-power microwaves against IEDs, also ended up being something of a dud. Despite promising tests, it didn't work well in the field (because insurgents were using countermeasures, JIEDDO says).

Interestingly, although the report appears to place heavy emphasis on the success of things like attacking the IED network, counter-IED systems still gets the lion's share of JIEDDO funding ($2.57 billion out of $4.77 billion) for fiscal 2008. This could simply be because technology is cash-intensive, while efforts to attack the network are not. But, it's still an interesting data point.