Saturday, April 12, 2008


13 killed as fighting rages in Baghdad
Small children with their parents killed by US strikes targeting ‘criminals’ in Baghdad’s Sadr City.

BAGHDAD - Security forces killed 13 people in clashes in Sadr City overnight, leaving parts of the east Baghdad Shiite militia bastion under siege despite the lifting on Saturday of a two-week blockade.

A US military statement listed the dead in the battles as two snipers, two "criminals" firing rocket-propelled grenades, six gunmen wielding machine guns and automatic weapons, and three men placing roadside bombs.

The US and Iraqi forces hit back with small-arms fire, a Hellfire missile fired from an unmanned aircraft and artillery shells blasted from a M1A2 Abrams tank, the statement said.

The fighting erupted at around 9:00 pm (1800 GMT) in Sadr City, a sprawling district of east Baghdad controlled by the Mahdi Army militia of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, the statement said.

Residents showed an AFP photographer a house in the Jamila sector of Sadr City which had been hit during an air strike.

Neighbours said that two small children and their parents were killed and another five family members wounded in the strike.

Hospital officials said women and children were among those killed and wounded but declined to give a breakdown.

Click on link for rest of story.


Ex-CIA analyst on Petraeus and Cheney
Ray McGovern: Was Cheney behind Iraqi army's failed Basra offensive?
Friday April 11th, 2008

Video from The Real News Network:

Raymond McGovern is a retired CIA officer turned political activist. McGovern was a Federal employee under seven US presidents for over 27 years, presenting the morning intelligence briefings at the White House for many of them. McGovern was born and raised in Bronx, graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University, received an M.A. in Russian Studies from Fordham, a certificate in Theological Studies from Georgetown University, and graduated from Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program.

Transcript:Does Sen. Kennedy know something we don't?MATTHEW

PALEVSKY,PRESENTER: Here on Capitol Hill, both General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker had testified to Iraq several times over the last couple of days. To better understand their testimonies, I spoke with former CIA official Ray McGovern. McGovern worked for the federal government for over 27 years and under seven different presidents, presenting the morning intelligence briefing at the White House for several of them.

RAY MCGOVERN, RETIRED CIA OFFICER AND POLITICAL ACTIVIST: Mostly it was entirely predictable. What shocked me was how Senator Kennedy, at the very end of his remarks, apropos of nothing, asked Petraeus and Crocker, "Tell me, General, and Ambassador Crocker, when the vice president was in Baghdad, were you in any meetings where the offensive against Basra was discussed with the vice president?"

(CLIP BEGINS)TED KENNEDY, US SENATOR (D-MA): Were you at any meetings with the vice president or Ambassador Crocker where the issue of the Basra invasion took place?RYAN CROCKER, US AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: It was not discussed.KENNEDY: It was not discussed at all during the vice president's visit to Baghdad? The possibility of Maliki going into Basra was not discussed? You were not at any meetings where the vice president was present or where this was discussed in his presence?CROCKER: It was not discussed in any meeting I attended. No, sir.KENNEDY: General?DAVID PETRAEUS, COMMANDING GENERAL, MULTINATIONAL FORCE IRAQ: Same, Senator.KENNEDY: Thank you. My time's up.PETRAEUS: Thank you, sir.(CLIP ENDS)

Well, I thought Petraeus was going to have a little conniptionary. He turned a little bit white and looked at Crocker, and Crocker, ashen as he was for the whole time, even paled the more, and he thought really quick, and his eyes sort of went like this, and he said, "No, sir. I was at no meetings, no meetings where Basra was discussed with the vice president." "And you, General Petraeus?" "Same." I think Kennedy knows more than the rest of us know. I think it's very clear that if you're looking for why Maliki went off half-cocked for a big offensive down against Muqtada al-Sadr in southern Iraq, it was because Cheney told him to.

And I would be shocked if Cheney didn't tell Petraeus and Crocker what he was going to tell Maliki—not only Cheney, but McCain. They were both there just days before. Petraeus has hundreds of troops there embedded with the Iraqi forces. He had to know exactly what was going on. He just couldn't stop it. Why? Well, he didn't want to stop it, because Cheney is running things.

The plan was to get down there into the south, to (A) show that this fellow could take the initiative and be—well, the president was instructed two days later to say this is a defining moment, a defining moment in the leadership of Prime Minister Maliki. Oh, yeah, it sure was, but not the way they meant. And so Petraeus and Crocker could come before Congress and say, "Look, you told us," you know, "you told us last time that the Iraqis had to take more initiative so that we're not doing the fighting." Well, look—just what happened. You cleaned out the whole of southern Iraq. And they still played that theme, bring several changes on that theme. Here Maliki finally took the initiative, "Iraqis are doing—you know, we supported them." But that was only an half-truth. The other truth was he lost miserably.

Muqtada al-Sadr has 70,000 people under arms with better arms than Maliki had. And if it weren't for the US air force and US ground troops to bail them out, not only down there in Basra but out from Sadr City, you know, he would have had even a bloodier nose. Right after it became clear that, you know, it's a great initiative, but it was going to lose, you know, they distanced themselves from it and they told all the press people, you know, "We didn't know anything about [inaudible]." I mean, Hayden, the head of the CIA, goes on Meet the Press and says, you know, "I didn't know anything about it, and neither did Petraeus or Crocker."

(CLIP BEGINS)TIM RUSSERT, HOST, MEET THE PRESS: The United States was not informed by the Iraqis that he was going to do this?GEN. VINCENT HAYDEN, CIA DIRECTOR: I don't know what went on on the ground in Baghdad prior to the operation. I do know that this was a decision of the Iraqi government by the prime minister, and personally by the prime minister, and that he's relying on Iraqi forces, by and large, to take this action.RUSSERT: Were you aware of it?HAYDEN: I was—. In terms of being pre-briefed or having, you know, the normal planning process, in which you build up to this days or weeks ahead of time, no, no, I was not.RUSSERT: You didn't know it was going to happen?HAYDEN: No more so than Dave Petraeus or Ambassador Crocker did.(CLIP ENDS)

Well, you know, that's a crock. And in the Bronx, where I come from, we say "that's a crock," okay? Because [inaudible] Petraeus has got people all over that Iraqi army, and there's no way that he could not have known. And I'm sure that Cheney told him, included him as well. Maliki can't scratch his nose without asking Petraeus to make sure there are some bodyguards around. So it was very much a joint operation. Ironically, they wanted to give the initiative to Maliki because they thought it might succeed, and then they wanted to give the initiative to Maliki because it failed so miserably. You know. This is a great crew, you know. Those of us who are old enough to have been through Vietnam, you know, this is an old tactic. You can construct a concept out of language: "special group" can be brought to mean whatever you want it to mean, okay? And so in this case it's always Iranian-influenced, nefarious influence from Iran, and all these adjectives that were used yesterday to blame what's happening on—you know. I mean, you really need to be able to blame somebody. And as has been pointed out ad nauseam, the Iranians are indeed involved with all these groups, including Maliki, including the other part of the government, so to speak. And so to the degree things are going a-¬shambles, well, it must be the Iranians. How do we say the Iranians if they're involved with everybody? Ah! How about "special groups"? Do you think that will work? Well, it seemed to work yesterday, because some of the congress people were using the same thing. And so, you know, those who were more perspicacious or could see through this stuff [were] saying, "Wow, this is really quite a dog and pony show." Petraeus talked about battlefield geometry; I'll talk about arithmetic. Okay? Look at his own manual about insurgency. There's no ratio that can ever cope with a country. He talked about 27 million. There aren't 27 million Iraqis anymore, only 23 million, 'cause four [million] are outside in diaspora, four [million] refugees, okay? But you can't occupy a country that doesn't want to be occupied with the ratio of troops that we have. And the reason we don't have more troops is because there are no more troops. And so what you have is very similar to Vietnam. We have even US colonels—at the very end of Vietnam, Colonel Harry Summers, who was the army colonel who was sent to Hanoi to negotiate the final withdrawal of US and other troops—okay? So he goes there and he makes the big mistake of saying, "Colonel Tu"—that was his opposite number—"Colonel Tu, you have to admit that you never beat us at a pitched battle." And Tu looks at him. He says, "That is correct. It is also irrelevant." Pitched battles don't happen in insurgencies. And so, as somebody pointed out yesterday—I guess it was said at a Web—here we have taken the most sophisticated, maneuverable forces that have ever been created in the world, and wasted them, squandered them on an enterprise that has no chance of being won. And I have been saying that, personally, for four and a half years.

DISCLAIMER:Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


Bloodiest Week of 2008 for US Troops in Iraq Ends With Roadside Bomb Death, Pushing Toll to 19

Apr 12, 2008 13:48 EST

A roadside bomb killed an American soldier in Baghdad on Saturday, capping the bloodiest week for U.S. troops in Iraq this year. Clashes persisted in Shiite areas, even as the biggest Shiite militia sought to rein in its fighters.

At least 13 Shiite militants were killed in the latest clashes in Baghdad's militia stronghold of Sadr City, the U.S. military said. Iraqi police said seven civilians also died in fighting, which erupted Friday night and tapered off Saturday.

The U.S. military said the American soldier was killed in a blast Saturday morning in northwestern Baghdad but did not say whether Shiite militiamen were responsible.

The death raised to at least 19 the number of American troopers killed in Iraq since last Sunday.

American casualties have risen with an outbreak of fighting in Baghdad between U.S. and Iraqi forces and the largest Shiite militia — the Mahdi Army of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.


This video takes you along with a patrol in Iraq and what happens to them.


US troops describe watching a car bomb explode on a bridge in Iraq.


In Basra Battles, Media Quislings Offered Barely Half the Story
By Ramzy Baroud, Middle East OnlinePosted on April 12, 2008, Printed on April 12, 2008

When it comes to Iraq, reporters appear intent on omitting or fabricating news.

The latest battles in Basra, Iraq's second largest city and a vital oil seaport, furnished ample instances of misleading and manipulative practice in corporate journalism today. One commonly used tactic is to describe events using self-styled or "official" terminology, which deliberately confuses the reader by giving no real indication or analysis of what is actually happening.

Regardless of the outcome of the fighting that commenced upon the Iraqi army's march to Basra 24 March, and which proved disastrous for Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, we have been repeatedly "informed" of highly questionable assumptions. Most prominent amongst them is that the "firebrand" and "radical" Moqtada Al-Sadr -- leader of the millions-strong Shia Sadr Movement -- led a group of "renegades", "thugs" and "criminals" to terrorize the strategically important city. Naturally, Al-Maliki is portrayed as the exact opposite of Al-Sadr. When the former descended on Basra with his 40,000-strong US- trained and equipped legions, we were circuitously told that the long-awaited move was cause for celebration. The media also suggested we had no reason to doubt Al-Maliki's intentions when he promised to restore "law and order" and "cleanse" the city, or to question his determination when he described the Basra crusade as "a fight to the end". If anyone was still unsure of Al-Maliki's noble objectives they could be reassured by the Bush administration's repeated verbal backings, one of which described the Basra battle as "a defining moment."


Reporters parroted such assumptions with little scrutiny. Even thorough journalists seemed oblivious to the known facts: that the Iraqi army largely consists of Shia militias affiliated with a major US ally in Iraq, Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim and his Supreme Islamic Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI); that the SCIRI's Al-Badr militias have rained terror on the Iraqi people -- mostly Sunnis, but increasingly Shias as well -- for years; that the Sadr movement and SCIRI are in fierce contest for control of Iraq's southern provinces, and that the US allies are losing ground quickly to the Sadr Movement, which might cost them the upcoming provincial elections scheduled for October 1, 2008; that the US wanted to see the defeat and demise of Sadr supporters before that crucial date because a victory for Sadr is tantamount to the collapse of the entire American project predicated on the need to privatize Iraqi oil and bring about a "soft" partitioning of the country.

Al-Hakim is pushing for what is being termed a super Shia province with its center in Basra; Sadr is demanding a unified Iraq with a strong central government. Al-Hakim wishes to see a permanent American presence in the country; Sadr insists on a short timetable for withdrawal. The US's major quandary is that Sadr reflects the views of most Iraqis. His possible victory in the south in fair elections could position him as the new nationalist leader, and a unifying force for Iraqis.

What we are rarely told is that Al-Maliki, although prime minister, is helpless without the validation of Al-Hakim. The latter's SCIRI is the main party in the ruling bloc in the Iraqi parliament. Al-Maliki's own Daawa Party is smaller and much less popular. In order for the coalition to survive another term, Sadr needed to suffer a major and humiliating defeat. Indeed, it was a "defining moment", but the "criminal gangs" of Basra -- and Najaf, Karbala, Diwaniyah, Kut and Hillah -- have proven much stronger than the seemingly legitimate Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and their Al-Badr militias. Even the atrocious US bombardment of Basra proved of little value, despite many civilian deaths. More, the additional thousands of recruits shoved into the battlefield -- tribal gunmen lured by promises of money and power by Al-Maliki -- also made little difference. News analysts concluded that the strength of the "criminal gangs" was underestimated, thus someone had to be blamed.

First, Al-Maliki was blamed for acting alone without consulting with the US government. Even presidential candidate John McCain jumped at the opportunity to chastise Bush's man in Iraq for supposedly acting on his own behest. US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker was quoted in the April 3 New York Times as saying, "the sense we had was that this would be a long-term effort: increased pressure gradually squeezing the Special Groups." Really? Would the US allow Al-Maliki to execute a "long-term effort" -- which is costly financially, politically and militarily -- without its full consent, if not orders?

Second, blame was shifted onto Iran. The media parroted these accusations again with palpable omissions. It is true that Sadr is backed by Iran. It is partly true that he is serving an Iranian agenda. But what is conveniently forgotten is that Iran's strongest ally in Iraq is Al-Hakim's SCIRI, and that the central government in Baghdad considers Tehran a friend and ally. Indeed, it was pressure from the latter that weakened Al-Maliki's resolve in a matter of days. On March 24, Al-Maliki announced his "fight to the end", and on April 4 he ordered a halt to the fighting and compensation for the families of the "martyrs." What took place during this short window of time is an Iran-brokered agreement.

Naturally, skewed reporting leads to slanted conclusions. No, the lesson learned is not that the Iraqi army requires more training and funds, which would necessitate the US and other forces to prolong their stay in the country. It is rather that the tide has turned so fast in Iraq, whereby the new enemy is now largely Shia, and one which envisions a unified and free Iraq which controls its own resources; that Iran's influence in Iraq has morphed to the point of guaranteeing a win-win situation, while the US is playing with a lot fewer cards; that US firepower has proven less effective than ever, and that the upcoming elections could create a nightmare scenario whose consequences could remove the sectarian label from Iraqi violence and replace it with a nationalist one.

Reporters can be quisling, incompetent and parrots of official accounts. Regardless, no matter how they wish to term it, the battle of Basra is likely to change the nature of the US fight in Iraq for years to come.

Ramzy Baroud is editor-in-chief of and head of the Research Studies Department at English.


Truck bomb blast leaves 1 killed, 8 wounded in Mosul
Ninewa - Voices of Iraq :
Ninewa, Apr 12, (VOI) – A civilian was killed and eight others wounded when a truck bomb went off near an Iraqi army checkpoint in western Mosul on Saturday, a police source said.

2 civilians killed, 3 wounded in IED blast in Baghdad
Baghdad, Apr 12, (VOI) – Two civilians were killed and three others wounded in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in eastern Baghdad on Saturday, an Iraqi police source said.


At least 65 Iraqis were killed and 48 more were injured in the latest violence. More fighting took place overnight in Sadr City, and a news mass grave was found in Mahmudiya. Also, an IED killed an American soldier northwest of Baghdad today.

In Sadr City, the U.S. military reported killed 13 gunmen in overnight clashes. Police and hospital officials added seven civilians, who were killed in a Hellfire missile attack, to that tally.
As many as 33 people were treated for injuries at local hospitals as well. Meanwhile, officials from the al-Sadr organization told Mahdi army members in Sadr City to avoid fighting U.S or Iraqi forces as the conflict is turning into a war of attrition. A blockade, which is scheduled to end today, has trapped many citizens within the slum, as food and water supplies run out and garbage piles up.

At least 289 more people have died so far and 1,448 were wounded since March 25, when battles erupted in this large section of Baghdad. The clashes began after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki targeted followers of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr under the guise of a security crackdown. Although al-Sadr imposed a cease-fire on his followers last summer, they are allowed to protect themselves from attacks. The crackdown was an embarrassing failure for al-Maliki, who was hoping to use it to thwart Sadrist chances in upcoming elections.

In Baghdad proper, a roadside bomb in the Hay Ur neighborhood killed an Iraqi policeman and wounded five others. Two Iraqi soldiers were killed and six more were wounded during security operations in which 15 gunmen were killed, another 15 were detained, and eight dumped bodies were recovered across Baghdad.

Fourteen dumped bodies were discovered in two separate locations near Mahmudiya. A mass grave containing at least 30 bodies was found in the area a few days ago.

In Mosul, the corpses of three bodyguards working for the Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP) were found. A roadside bomb killed an Iraqi soldier west of town. Also, a 12-year-old was arrested for attempting to plant a bomb.

An Awakening Council (Sahwa) member was killed and two more were wounded as they were defusing a roadside bomb in Buhriz.

A roadside bomb near Kirkuk wounded a soldier and a Sahwa member.

In Basra, Iraqi security forces conducted raids in the Qibla district, but no fighting was reported.


Special Note: Due to a malicious attack on our web server we have removed most of the content from this site. The attack caused users to be redirected to random sites that have no affiliation with iCasualties. After a good deal of effort we think that we have identified problem and hope that we will soon return the site back to it's proper state. Ple ase accept our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience this has caused you. Michael White

Latest Coalition Fatalities
04/12/08 MNF: MND-B Soldier attacked by IED
A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier was killed by an improvised-explosive device in an attack at approximately 10:30 a.m. April 12 in northwest Baghdad.

04/11/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Jacob J. Fairbanks, 22, of Saint Paul, Minn., died April 9 in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries suffered in a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team...

04/11/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Sgt. Jesse A. Ault, 28, of Dublin, Va., died April 9 in Baghdad...from wounds suffered in Tunnis, Iraq, when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 429th Brigade Support Battalion, Virginia Army National Guard...

04/10/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Sgt. Shaun P. Tousha, 30, of Hull, Texas, died April 9 in Baghdad, Iraq, from wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team...
04/10/08 DoD Identifies Air Force Casualty

Tech. Sgt Anthony L. Capra, 31, of Hanford, Calif., died April 9 near Golden Hills, Iraq, of wounds suffered when he encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to Detachment 63, 688 Armament Systems Squadron, Indian Head City, Md.



Kyle Strunk, a member of the Kentucky Army National Guard, is recovering from injuries sustained from an insurgent’s grenade attack in Taji, Iraq, on Sunday. According to the Kentucky Army National Guard, Specialist Strunk received shrapnel wounds to the face and upper body during the attack. Strunk, 20, was evacuated to a US Army hospital in Germany and is expected to recover from his injuries. “He received a hairline fracture to the skull and has shrapnel and burn injuries to the upper body and hand. We expect him to be moved to Walter Reed soon and he’s going to have to go through some physical therapy later on. The good news is that he’s going to be all right.”Andrew Pike as a U.S. Army specialist with the 82nd Airborne Division, he was sent to Iraq. On March 26, 2007, a sniper nearly ended his life."We were just on a routine patrol in Baiji, walking through the town, and then - despite what a lot of the news reports have said, I was shot from the front," he said. "Through the abdomen, the kidney, part of my intestines ... I was instantly paralyzed." Pike, paralyzed from the waist down, was treated in Kirkuk, then at Walter Reed Army Medical Center - where Sen. Larry Craig awarded him the Purple Heart.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier in a roadside bombing in an northwestern neighborhood of Baghdad on Saturday, April 12th. No other details were released.


A 23-year-old Milo man serving as a U.S. Army specialist was killed Wednesday when the 5-ton truck he was riding in turned over during a training exercise near Slagle, La., officials said Friday. Spc. William Charles Koelsch III of the Headquarters Company of the 1st Airborne Battalion, 509th Infantry Unit at Fort Polk, La., was a passenger in the truck, which was towing a fuel pump, when it flipped over, said Samantha Evans, a public information officer at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk.

Security incidents:Baghdad:#1: U.S. and Iraqi forces killed at least 13 gunmen in heavy battles overnight around Baghdad's Sadr City, the U.S. military said on Saturday.Iraqi police reported seven civilians were killed as a result of the fighting between American and government troops and al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia.Police said seven people had been killed and 17 wounded in the overnight fighting. Sadr City's two hospitals said they received at least 33 wounded.

#2: The US statement said Friday night's clashes began when a security force convoy was attacked "by multiple roadside bombs, and small-arms fire from adjacent high-rise buildings." Fighting back, security forces killed two snipers and two people firing rocket-propelled grenades from a building "where soldiers were taking RPG and machine gun fire."At the same time, soldiers who were establishing a checkpoint came under small-arms, sniper and machine-gun fire as well as RPG attack after their vehicles were hit by a total of six roadside bombs. A fierce firefight ensued in which four militants were killed, the statement said.Soldiers then came under small-arms fire from another nearby building and US forces in the Abrams tank fired two 122mm rounds killing another two people.About an hour later, it said, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted three people planting roadside bombs. "The UAV fired one Hellfire missile, killing all three criminals," the statement said.Iraqi police and hospital officials said the seven civilians died in one of the Hellfire missile strikes.It said two vehicles were damaged but that no US or Iraqi soldiers were seriously wounded in the fighting.

#3: Residents of Sadr City said sporadic fighting continued through the night but died down after daybreak.#4: Two civilians were killed and three others wounded in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in eastern Baghdad on Saturday, an Iraqi police source said. "A roadside IED planted by unidentified gunmen went off near Ur neighborhood, eastern Baghdad, on Saturday, killing two civilians and injuring three others," the source, who asked not to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

# An Iraqi policeman was killed and five others were injured in a roadside bomb attack in eastern Baghdad on Saturday, an Interior Ministry source said. "A roadside bomb detonated in the morning near a police commando patrol near the al-Firdus mosque in the Shiite-dominated neighborhood of Ur, killing a policeman and wounding five others aboard," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

#5: In a separate incident, a motorcycle packed with explosives detonated near a U.S. patrol while passing through Doura neighborhood in southern Baghdad. It was unclear whether the U.S. patrol sustained any casualties as the troops immediately cordoned off the area, preventing the Iraqi police from approaching the scene, the source added.#6: In eastern Baghdad, a roadside bomb went off near another U.S. patrol in the Baladiyat neighborhood, setting a U.S. Humvee on fire, the source said.Diyala Prv:

Baquba:#1: In Baquba's Had Moksar area, militants shot dead one member of the Awakening Council and wounded another two, police sources told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

#2: In another incident, one Awakening Council member and another two, including an Iraqi soldier, were killed when a bomb went off in Abu Khamis area, police told dpa. The explosive device was detonated as the Iraqi forces along with members of the Awakening Councils gathered to foil the explosion attempt.

#3: Also in Baquba, a police officer was killed and another civilian was wounded when militants shot them in Jlolaa area.Balad Ruz:#1: Gunmen attacked and killed a father and injured his wife and two children as he was driving his car in Baladruz (about 34 miles east of Baquba).

Mahmoudiya:#1: Iraqi soldiers acting on tips from detained Shiite militiamen found 14 bodies Saturday that had been buried in a field south of Baghdad, officials said. It was the second discovery this week of mass graves in the area, raising to 44 the number of bodies located by Iraqi troops. Twelve bodies found Saturday had been dumped in one grave about 500 meters (yards) away from the local office of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's movement, while two others were buried together in a nearby area on the western outskirts of Mahmoudiya, a city spokesman said.

Strait of Hormuz :#1: A US naval vessel fired a flare to warn three high speed boats that approached it while sailing in the Gulf, a Navy spokesman confirmed Friday. The USS Typhoon, a patrol ship, was travelling north in the Gulf when it encountered the unidentified boats Thursday, Lieutenant Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the US 5th Fleet in Bahrain said. 'Typhoon issued standard inquiries to incoming small boats by a bridge-to-bridge radio,' Christensen said. 'Upon receiving no response, Typhoon fired a flare.' The small boats then turned away and moved out of visible range, Christensen said. The nationality of the boats could not be identified, he added.

Kirkuk:#1: A roadside bomb wounded one soldier and one member of a U.S.-backed neighbourhood patrol unit when they were travelling off-duty in their car in southern Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

Mosul:#1: A roadside bomb killed one Iraqi soldier when it struck his patrol, west of Mosul, police said.

#2: Three bodies of Islamic party office guards were found with gunshot wounds to the body and head in western Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

Afghanistan:#1: A suicide bomber killed three Indian road engineers and an Afghan in southwestern Afghanistan on Saturday in the second deadly attack on road builders in a week. The suicide attack on the road crew was in the remotesouthwestern province of Nimroz, said provincial governorGhulam Dastagir Azad. "The bomber got out of a car and then blew himself up,"Azad told Reuters. Three Indians and an Afghan were killed andthree people wounded, the Interior Ministry said.

#2: A provincial official says Afghan and foreign troops have killed 24 Taliban militants in an operation in southern Afghanistan. Provincial official Ghulab Shah Alikheil says the joint forces clashed with militants in two areas of the southern Zabul province late Friday. Alikheil says eight other militants were wounded in clashes and airstrikes. Alikheil says there were no casualties among Afghan and foreign troops.

#3: An ISAF base in Qalat, Zabul province, caught fire Friday around 3 p.m., causing material damage. The fire was limited to domestic areas, but damaged nearly half of the accommodations. The fire has not obstructed base operations and no ISAF soldiers were injured.


When is all this going to stop? When will someone have enough sense to realize what the US has done to Iraq is an atrocity? Why should all these children have to suffer because some politicians in Washington lied to get the US into a war with Iraq? When is the media in the United States going to start reporting on the war instead of covering up for the Bush administration?

This video is graphic evidence the United States has been the aggressor in a war that never had to be fought.

Warning: This video of wounded Iraqi children is very graphic:


American forces in Iraq clashed with the Mahdi Army in Baghdad on Friday evening, leaving 13 dead.McClatchy reports civil war violence on Friday:

Baghdad Iraqi Army found a mass grave containing 25 bodies in Mahmoudiyah, to the south of Baghdad late Thursday. The bodies were in an advanced state of decomposition and investigations are ongoing in an effort to identify them.1

Katyusha rocket hit the Palestine Meridian Hotel on the Abu Nawas side, in central Baghdad at 3.15 pm Friday. It landed on the second floor causing the death of 3 civilians and the injury of 7.1 Katyusha rocket fell on the Green Zone at around 3.15 pm Friday. No casualties reported.

A roadside bomb exploded targeting a police patrol in Shaab, northeast Baghdad at around 2 pm Friday, killing 1 policeman and injuring 3.A roadside bomb exploded targeting a joint US/Iraqi patrol in Baladiyat, north east Baghdad at 3 pm today killing 3 civilians.

Clashes broke out with the gunmen after the IED went off. No casualties were reported.A mortar round fell on a bread bakery in Talbiyah, Square 83 killing 2 civilians and injuring 5.3 unidentified bodies were found in Baghdad today by Iraqi Police. 1 in Baladiyat; 1 in Shaab and 1 in Hurriyah.

AnbarA car bomb driven by a suicide bomber targeted al-Hamudhiyah checkpoint, east Ramadi which is manned by Sahwa (CLC) members. The explosion took place at 5.30 pm Friday and caused the death of 4 Sahwa members and injuring 3 civilians.SalahuddinA car bomb driven by a suicide bomber targeted a Sahwa checkpoint, 20 km to the north of Baiji on the main route of Baghdad/Mosul at 5.30 pm Friday. 1 Sahwa member was killed and 8 were wounded.

DiyalaA roadside bomb exploded targeting an Iraqi Army patrol in Abu Khamis, 10 km to the south of Baquba at 12.15 this afternoon injuring 2 army servicemen.A roadside bomb exploded as a civilian car was passing in al-Muradiyah, 20 km to the east of Baquba at 1 pm Friday. In the car was a family of 7. 1 child was killed; the mother, father and 4 other siblings were severely injured.NajafSeyid Riyadh al-Noori, brother in law to Seyid Muqtada a-Sadr, leader of the Sadrist trend and the Mahdi Army was assassinated by gunmen in Adala neighbourhood, Najaf city at 2.20 pm Thursday as he was returning from Friday prayers. Seyid Riyadh was Head of the Sadr office in Najaf city, and a close friend and associate of al-Sadr.KirkukA police patrol found the body of a policeman in al-Orouba neighbourhood Friday morning. The policeman was 30 years old; he was shot to death.'


WASHINGTON — Iran is engaging in a proxy war with the United States in Iraq, adopting tactics similar to those it has used to back fighters in Lebanon, the United States ambassador to Iraq said Friday.


The remarks by the ambassador, Ryan C. Crocker, reflected the sharper criticism of Iran by President Bush and his top deputies over the past week, as administration officials have sought to trace many of their troubles in Iraq to Iran.

Mr. Crocker said in an interview that there had been no substantive change in Iranian behavior in Iraq, despite more than a year of talks between the Bush administration and Iran over how to calm Shiite-Sunni tensions in Iraq. He said that the paramilitary branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps was continuing to direct attacks by Shiite militias against American and Iraqi targets, although he offered no direct evidence.

Asked if the United States and Iran were engaged in a proxy war in Iraq, Mr. Crocker said, “I don’t think a proxy war is being waged from an American point of view.” But, he added, “When you look at what the Iranians are doing and how they’re doing it, it could well be that.”
While Bush administration officials have long denounced

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US Defense Secretary Robert GatesThe US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has renewed allegations against Iran, claiming that Tehran's support for militias in Iraq has grown.

Sat, 12 Apr 2008 08:46:52

"I think that there is some sense of an increased level of supply of (Iranian) weapons and support to these groups," Gates claimed after a series of hearings on Capitol Hill on Friday. "But whether it's a dramatic increase over recent weeks, I just don't know," AP quoted Gates as saying.

Asked what would be the response to the issue, Gates said the US will be as aggressive as possible to counter the increase in the Iranian activity in Iraq. Gates and the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, repeated the same allegations made by the top US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, claiming that Iran was behind clashes between the Iraqi security forces and Shiite militias in Basra in late March.


NAJAF, Iraq — Followers of the renegade cleric Muqtada al Sadr chanted anti-American slogans and vowed revenge for the assassination Friday of Sadr's top aide in Najaf, where outrage over the killing threatens to spiral into the second deadly uprising in southern Iraq in a month.

By Qassim Zein and Hannah Allam McClatchy Newspapers

Riyadh al Nouri, 41, who ran the main Sadr office in Najaf and was known as a relative moderate within the movement, was gunned down as he returned home from prayers Friday afternoon, according to Iraqi authorities and the Sadr camp. No group has claimed responsibility for the slaying, which amounted to a highly provocative strike at Sadr's inner circle. Nouri was Sadr's brother-in-law.

"Long live Sadr! Muqtada is the bridge to heaven!" mourners chanted at Najaf's sprawling cemetery. Other slogans cursed the U.S. military and its Iraqi allies. Throngs of Sadr supporters referred to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki as "the enemy of God," "infidel," "coward" and an "agent of the Americans."

"The martyrdom of Seyyed Riyadh al Nouri has burned my heart, and I will not rest until I have avenged him," said Mohamed Hassan, a Mahdi Army militiaman who drove from the town of Kufa for the funeral.

The timing of the killing — not even two weeks after more than 120 people died and at least 300 were wounded in fighting between Sadr's militiamen and government forces in the port city of Basra — raises the specter of a wider rebellion that could spread to Sadr's strongholds in Baghdad.

That scenario would only further tax the outgunned Iraqi security forces and could undo the gains of the U.S. military's widely touted troop buildup strategy.

Sadr, who's believed to be studying theology in neighboring Iran, issued a statement blaming the United States and the Iraqi government for his aide's assassination, describing his enemies as acting "traitorously and aggressively against our dear martyr." Sadr also demanded a swift investigation from the authorities and calm from his furious supporters.

"We will not forget this precious blood. I call upon Sadr followers to be patient. The occupiers will not rest in our land as long as I am alive," Sadr said in the statement.

Maliki quickly condemned the killing and said gangs were behind the attack. In a brief televised address, Maliki also mourned Nouri and included the slain Sadr aide among targeted "moderate religious personalities."

Nouri was married to one of Sadr's sisters, and one of Nouri's sisters is married to Sadr's brother, Mustafa, according to the Najaf office. Despite their close relationship, Nouri had at times challenged his militant brother-in-law and was well known for his stance against spilling the blood of Iraqi security forces and rival Shiites, as well as his opposition to the Sadr movement's decision last year to step down from posts in Maliki's administration.

Nouri was also Sadr's handpicked chief negotiator with the Iraqi government, said Abdulhadi al Mohammedawi, director of the Sadr office in nearby Karbala.

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Iran Top Threat To Iraq, U.S. Says
Focus on Al-Qaeda Now Diminishing

By Karen DeYoungWashington Post Staff Writer Saturday, April 12, 2008; Page A01

Last week's violence in Basra and Baghdad has convinced the Bush administration that actions by Iran, and not al-Qaeda, are the primary threat inside Iraq, and has sparked a broad reassessment of policy in the region, according to senior U.S. officials.

Evidence of an increase in Iranian weapons, training and direction for the Shiite militias that battled U.S. and Iraqi security forces in those two cities has fixed new U.S. attention on what Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates yesterday called Tehran's "malign" influence, the officials said.

The intensified focus on Iran coincides with diminished emphasis on al-Qaeda in Iraq as the leading justification for an ongoing U.S. military presence in Iraq.

In congressional hearings this week, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus said the U.S. military has driven al-Qaeda from Baghdad, Anbar province and central Iraq, and he depicted the group as now largely concentrated in a reduced territory around the northern city of Mosul.

During their Washington visit, Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker barely mentioned al-Qaeda in Iraq but spoke extensively of Iran.
With "al-Qaeda in retreat and disarray" in Iraq, said one official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record, "we see other obstacles that were under the waterline more clearly. . . . The Iranian-armed militias are now the biggest threat to internal order."

Partly in response to advice from Petraeus and Crocker, the administration has initiated an interagency assessment of what is known about Iranian activities and intentions, how to combat them and how to capitalize on them. The review stems from an internal conclusion, following last week's fighting, that the administration lacked a comprehensive understanding and a sophisticated approach.

President Bush reiterated yesterday that if Iran continues to help militias in Iraq, "then we'll deal with them," saying in an interview with ABC News that "we're learning more about their habits and learning more about their routes" for infiltrating or sending equipment.
But he also reaffirmed that he has no desire to go to war with Tehran. Saying that his job is to "solve these issues diplomatically," Bush suggested heightened interest in reaching a solution with other countries. "You can't solve these problems unilaterally. You're going to need a multilateral forum."

Iran has long been seen as a spoiler in Iraq, with such strong ties to all of the major Shiite political and militia groups, including that of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, that other Arab countries have begun to regard Iraq as almost a client state of Iran.

The recent fighting in Basra, which began when Maliki launched a military offensive against the Mahdi Army militia of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, revealed a threat and an opportunity, officials said.

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April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. T S Eliot's famous opening lines from The Waste Land come to mind as Washington confirms that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is heading for the Middle East to attend an international conference regarding the Iraq situation, in Kuwait on April 22.

By M K Bhadrakumar

This will be no ordinary run-of-the-mill international conference. It's about Iraq. And Rice may well bump into her Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki. The big question is, as Eliot wrote, will they "drink coffee, and talk for an hour?" Indeed, will Mottaki call Rice "the hyacinth girl"? All that US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack would say at his press briefing on Wednesday was that "there's nothing on the schedule for them to meet". He wouldn't make promises, nor rule out anything. But then Tehran hasn't yet announced Mottaki's participation at the Kuwait conference. McCormack, however, volunteered an estimation that the Iranians have incrementally thawed in recent months. He added, "There was a sort of avoidance [initially] on the part of the Iranians. But that's changed ... They [Rice and Mottaki] didn't have what I would describe as any substantive conversations, but there was some interaction [at a previous Istanbul meet on Iraq]." So, if the "iceman cometh" from Tehran, this could undoubtedly turn out to be one of the most crucial missions undertaken by Rice in her diplomatic career.

The entire Middle East will be watching, attentively looking for clues in Rice's gait, her demeanor. They will want to know whether Washington is taking the plunge for unconditional talks with Tehran. Everyone knows that when the Americans talk to the Iranians, finally, the kaleidoscope of Middle Eastern politics will have irrevocably shifted.

The stakes are particularly high for the Middle East's "pro-West" sclerotic rulers. There is already serious unrest in Egypt, a key US ally. Helena Cobban, the contributing editor of the Boston Review and veteran writer on the Middle East, promptly put down in her blog a recollection from the great Cairo riots of 1977, when the late Mohammed Hassanein Heikal told her as he sat in his lovely Nile-side office at the al-Ahram newspaper that "the Egyptian people are like the Nile: they run deep and apparently quietly - until the point where suddenly they burst their banks".

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Pat Buchanan, who once ran as an Independent for POTUS and is now a regular contributor on MSNBC news, says the testimony of General David Petraeus last week before Congress is a prelude for the US going to war with IRAN.

Petraeus Points To War With Iran

By Patrick J. Buchanan11/04/08 "WND"

The neocons may yet get their war on Iran.

Ever since President Nouri al-Maliki ordered the attacks in Basra on the Mahdi Army, Gen. David Petraeus has been laying the predicate for U.S. air strikes on Iran and a wider war in the Middle East.Iran, Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee, has "fueled the recent violence in a particularly damaging way through its lethal support of the special groups.

"These "special groups" are "funded, trained, armed and directed by Iran's Quds Force with help from Lebanese Hezbollah. It was these groups that launched Iranian rockets and mortar rounds at Iraq's seat of government (the Green Zone) ... causing loss of innocent life and fear in the capital."Is the Iranian government aware of this – and behind it?"President Ahmadinejad and other Iranian leaders" promised to end their "support for the special groups," said the general, but the "nefarious activities of the Quds force have continued.

"Are Iranians then murdering Americans, asked Joe Lieberman:"Is it fair to say that the Iranian-backed special groups in Iraq are responsible for the murder of hundreds of American soldiers and thousands of Iraqi soldiers and civilians?""It certainly is. ... That is correct," said Petraeus.

The following day, Petraeus told the House Armed Services Committee, "Unchecked, the 'special groups' pose the greatest long-term threat to the viability of a democratic Iraq."Translation: The United States is now fighting the proxies of Iran for the future of Iraq.

Click on link to read full Pat Buchanan op/ed piece.


A resident of Sadr City in Baghdad said things are going from bad to worse as the US Air Force unleashes air attacks on civilians in the Sadr City part of Baghdad. This Real News video captures interviews with residents of Sadr city as they explain the US air attacks.


U.S. Army and Iraqi patrol came under fire setting up checkpoint About 9 p.m. -- at least six roadside bombs damaged vehicles in a U.S. Army convoy that was transporting barriers for a group of Iraqi Army soldiers establishing a checkpoint, the military said.Afterward, the military said, the Iraqi and U.S. soldiers were attacked by small-arms, machine-gun and RPG fire from buildings overlooking the road.

Mortar attack kills three at Palestine Hotel across from International Zone

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The office of Muqtada al-Sadr accused Iraqi and U.S. forces of attacking Sadr City on Friday, just hours after the Shiite cleric called for calm in the wake of the assassination of one of his top aides in the southern city of Najaf.

Witnesses and media in the heavily Shiite Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, home to the cleric's power base in the capital, reported heavy fighting between U.S.-backed Iraqi troops and al-Sadr's Mehdi Army militia.

The witnesses said U.S. aircraft had been bombarding the area for hours, and media reported rockets slamming into houses and many casualties.

Witnesses and al-Sadr's office said mosques were making loudspeaker announcements about Mehdi Army attacks on U.S. military armored vehicles.

U.S. troops working in support of Iraqi soldiers killed two snipers, two other men firing rocket-propelled grenades and "multiple others from a nearby building where soldiers were taking RPG and machine gun fire," the U.S. military said in a statement
The soldiers fired back at their attackers, killing at least four of them.

More explosions from the buildings indicated possible arms and munitions stored there, the military said. But the small-arms attack continued until the U.S. forces fired two rounds from an M1A2 Abrams tank, killing two more attackers.

Not long afterward, the U.S. Air Force, operating an unmanned aerial vehicle, fired a Hellfire missile at three men spotted setting roadside bombs, killing all three.

Maj. John Gossart, executive officer of the American unit involved, said that no U.S. or Iraqi troops were seriously hurt.

Earlier, al-Sadr issued remarks about the killing of Sayyed Riyadh al-Nuri, who was shot outside his house in Najaf's Adala neighborhood after returning from Friday prayers