Timeline for War & Occupation in Iraq
This Pending Cosmic Elegy

On Day 338, Sunday, February 15, 2004 of the War on Iraq
The War on Iraq and Coalition Occupation --
A Timeline

An Italian soldier next to the barracks in Nassiriya destroyed by a suicide bomb attack yesterday. At least 18 Italians and eight Iraqis were killed
An Italian soldier next to the barracks in Nassiriya destroyed by a suicide bomb attack. At least 18 Italians and eight Iraqis were killed in November, 2003. Photograph: Anja Niedringhaus/AP
February 15th, 2004 Day 338 on the War on Iraq
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) Insurgents attacked two U.S. convoys less than a mile apart in Baghdad on Sunday, and American soldiers in one incident opened fire, killing one Iraqi driving nearby and wounding six others, witnesses and hospital officials said.

The violence came as Iraqi security officials investigated one of the most sophisticated guerrilla attacks yet a bold daylight assault Saturday by dozens of fighters on a police station in Fallujah, west of Baghdad, in which 25 people were killed, most of them policemen.  The attack occurred at the end of a bloody week in which about 100 people were killed in suicide bombings at a police station in Iskandariyah and an army recruiting center in Baghdad. Those attacks and the Fallujah raid suggest an insurgent campaign against key institutions of the U.S.-backed Iraqi administration.

A U.S. military police officer was among more than 30 people wounded, said Col. William Darley, a military spokesman.

Also Sunday, Iraqi police arrested No. 41 on the American military's most-wanted list, Baath Party official Mohammed Zimam Abdul-Razaq. He was the party's regional chairman in the northern provinces of Nineveh and Tamim, which include the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

Police caught Abdul-Razaq at one of his homes in western Baghdad, the Interior Ministry said. He was the four of spades in the military's ''deck of cards'' of top fugitives leaving 10 still at large from the most-wanted list of 55.

In Qaim, near the Syrian border about 200 miles northwest of Baghdad, U.S. troops backed by tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles clashed Sunday with Iraqi gunmen. There were no reports of casualties. Residents said gunmen attacked the Americans in retaliation for a U.S. operation against suspected smugglers the day before.

Also on Sunday, the military said an 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper died when his vehicle overturned near Baghdad a day earlier. The soldier's name was not released.

There were conflicting reports who may have been behind the Fallujah attacks.

Police claimed foreigners Arabs or Iranians were involved and that two of four attackers killed in the battle had Lebanese identification papers. Rumors spread in the city that an Iraqi Shiite Muslim militia with links to Iran, the Badr Brigade, was to blame.

But a U.S. officer in Baghdad said the attack's sophistication pointed to former members of Saddam Hussein's military.

The assault involved simultaneous attacks: One group of gunmen overran the police station, freeing dozens of prisoners being held there, while a second team pinned down Iraqi security forces at a nearby compound with a half-hour barrage of fire to prevent them from helping the policemen.

On Sunday, a roadside bomb went off as a U.S. military patrol passed by in western Baghdad, causing no injuries. The American soldiers opened fire wildly in response, shooting three vehicles, witnesses said. One Iraqi was killed and six wounded, hospital officials said.

''I was driving near the U.S. convoy when I heard an explosion. Then the U.S. soldiers randomly opened fire,'' said Kadhum Salih, a teacher who was wounded in the left hand.

About a half-mile away, gunmen attacked a U.S. convoy on a highway at about the same time, setting one of the vehicles ablaze. Witnesses said U.S. soldiers pulled three wounded people from the stricken SUV.

The convoy was made up of a military Humvee and two sport utility vehicles, the sort used by American civilians and officials in Iraq. The SUV was heavily burned, its hood pockmarked with bullet holes. The U.S. command had no reports of casualties.

Insurgents have launched a series of bloody attacks in the past week, thought to be part of an escalation aimed at wrecking U.S. plans to transfer power to the Iraqis on June 30.

The handover has hit political storms as well, with the United States under heavy pressure to change its method for picking a new government. U.S. administrators want local councils to choose a legislature, which in turn would name a government to rule until elections in 2005.

A prominent Kurdish leader said Saturday he expects the U.S.-picked Iraqi Governing Council to take power June 30 if elections for a legislature cannot be arranged.

''We think that elections are the best way to express the opinions of the Iraqi people,'' council member Jalal Talabani said. ''We expect the Governing Council to receive sovereignty if no provisional government is established or no elections are held.''

Talabani spoke after meeting with Iraq's top Shiite Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, who holds enormous influence among Iraq's Shiite majority and has demanded elections.

In response, a U.N. mission is in Iraq to explore whether elections were possible. A spokesman for the U.N. team sided with the United States and said it was unlikely a vote could be organized by June 6.

But the head of the team, Lakhdar Brahimi, said major changes were needed in the U.S. plan for picking a government to satisfy Iraqi leaders. American officials say they're open to changes in the formula, which calls for regional caucuses, but have not said how far they're willing to go.

When it transfers sovereignty, the United States wants to give Iraqi security forces greater responsibility in battling the insurgency. But Saturday's attack in Fallujah raised questions about how prepared Iraqis are to face the guerrillas, who have kept up attacks despite the Dec. 13 arrest of Saddam.

February 15, 2004

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

February 14, 2004


Rebel assault kills 23, frees prisoners

FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Guerrillas overwhelmed an Iraqi police station west of Baghdad yesterday, meeting little resistance as they went from room to room shooting police. The bold, well-organized assault killed 23 people and freed dozens of prisoners, officials said.

In Muqdadiyah, 50 miles northeast of Baghdad, US soldiers fended off an attack by gunmen yesterday against their base. Ten attackers were killed, witnesses said.

The fierce daylight attack in Fallujah raised questions as to whether Iraqi police and defense forces are ready to battle insurgents, as the US military pulls back from the fight in advance of the November US presidential election.

Police in the Fallujah station said they had only small arms, with nothing larger than an automatic rifle in the face of dozens of fighters armed with heavy machine guns, hand grenades, and rocket-propelled grenades. No US forces took part in the battle.

Before the attack, the gunmen set up checkpoints and blocked the road leading to the police station, Deputy Interior Minister Ahmed Kadhum Ibrahim said in Baghdad. Residents did not notify police, he said. Nearby storeowners were warned not to open yesterday morning, one shopkeeper in Fallujah said.

The battle left 17 policemen, two civilians, and four attackers dead. At least 37 people were wounded, nearly all police. Two wounded attackers were captured, but the rest escaped.

One wounded policeman, Qais Jameel, said he heard the attackers speaking a foreign language that he speculated was Farsi. Rumors were circulating that a Shi'ite Muslim militia with ties to Iran, the Badr Brigade, was behind the attack on this Sunni town.

When US administrators hand power over to a new Iraqi government on June 30, the United States wants the police, civil defense forces, and the military to take the front line against the persistent guerrilla war.

US troops will take a lower profile, pulling out of most towns. But their continued presence in the country would probably mean that the insurgency, led by Saddam Hussein loyalists and foreign Islamic fighters, will also continue its campaign of violence.

Already, guerrillas have launched bloody attacks against the Iraqi security forces. Earlier last week, back-to-back suicide bombings killed 100 Iraqis, most of them volunteers looking to join the police or military in Baghdad and a town just to the south.

About 300 Iraqi security forces have been killed since they were reestablished in May, according to the military.

The US military has been organizing the reconstruction of the Iraqi security forces. The police force has neared its planned goal of 71,000 members. The Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, in charge of internal security, has about 21,000 members and is planned to reach 92,000. The army is recruiting a force of 40,000 soldiers.

In yesterday's attack, about 25 gunmen, some masked and shouting the Islamic slogan ''There is no god but Allah,'' stormed the police station, witnesses said. At the same time, two dozen more attackers pinned down forces at a nearby compound of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps with a barrage of RPGs and gunfire to keep them from coming to the aid of police, according to the witnesses.

At the police station, attackers broke into the jail, gunned down the guards, and shot open the cell doors while others threw grenades in other rooms, said police Lieutenant Colonel Jalal Sabri. Eighty-seven prisoners escaped.

An Iraqi Civil Defense Corps officer, Daeed Hamed, said the assault could have been launched to free two Kuwaitis and a Lebanese captured earlier last week on suspicion of being insurgent fighters. Hamed was unsure whether the three foreigners had been freed.

No civil defense members were killed, a sign of how better protected their compound was than the police station, with concrete walls and sandbag blast barriers.

The same compound came under attack two days earlier by gunmen who opened fire from rooftops with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons as General John Abizaid, the top US commander in the Middle East, was visiting. Abizaid was unharmed in the attack.

Police said two of the slain gunmen had Lebanese identification papers.

''I suspect [the attackers] were Arabs or Syrians or belonged to Al Qaeda,'' Sabri said. ''They want to create instability and chaos.''

With rumors of Iranian or Iraqi Shi'ite involvement spreading, some Fallujah men gathered outside the hospital and beat up two men, accusing them of belonging to the Badr Brigade, witnesses said. In Baghdad, Ibrahim, the deputy interior minister, said recent attacks are aimed at tearing apart Iraqi unity.

Also yesterday, demonstrations broke out in the northern city of Sulaymaniyah and the Baghdad suburb of Abu Ghraib, where hundreds of angry Iraqis demanded an end to US military raids and searches of their homes. Carrying placards that read ''Today Demonstrations, Tomorrow Explosions,'' protesters gathered near a giant American-run prison, built by Hussein, and demanded the release of thousands of Iraqi prisoners.

In Kurdish-majority Sulaymaniyah, thousands of protesters clamored for an independent Kurdish state that includes the three autonomous Kurdish provinces, as well as disputed parts of northern Iraq containing a large Arab population.


February 11 2004
At least 36 Iraqis are killed in a suicide car bomb attack on an army recruitment centre in Baghdad.
36 dead in Baghdad suicide bombing

February 10 2004
A car bomb by a police station in the central Iraqi town of Iskandariya kills around 50 people and injures dozens more.
50 die as bombers target police

February 9 2004
The US releases a letter it says is from an anti-US fighter to al-Qaida's leadership asking for help in launching attacks against the Shia Muslims to undermine the future Iraqi government.

February 8 2004
Prince Charles makes a surprise visit to British troops stationed in Basra, meeting 200 soldiers at one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces, now a coalition headquarters.

British intelligence staff 'spied' on members of the UN security council in the run-up to the crucial vote on a second resolution last spring, it is revealed.
Prince Charles seeks to boost troop morale in Basra
Britain spied on UN allies over war vote

February 5 2004
Iraq's most important Shia Muslim cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, survives an assassination attempt near his office in the central Iraqi city of Najaf.

Tory leader Michael Howard calls for Tony Blair to resign over his admission that he did not know whether the controversial '45-minute' claim publicised in September 2002 referred to battlefield weapons or long-range missiles.
Cleric 'survives assassination bid'
Howard: Blair should resign over WMD claim

February 4 2004
Dr Brian Jones, a former branch head at the Defence Intelligence Staff, admits that intelligence chiefs ignored warnings that they could not be certain whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to war.
Intelligence chiefs 'ignored WMD warnings'

February 3 2004
Tony Blair bows to intense pressure to agree to set up an inquiry to establish why Iraq appears to be devoid of weapons of mass destruction.
Iraq's missing weapons: an inquiry is forced upon Blair

February 2 2004
The failure to find WMDs in Iraq has damaged the credibility of Britain and the US in their battle against terrorism, a committee of MPs warn.

MPs say credibility of war on terror has been damaged

February 1 2004
The White House announces an inquiry into the use of intelligence before the war.

At least 67 are killed and 247 wounded when two suicide bombers blow themselves up at the offices in Irbil of the two main Kurdish factions in northern Iraq.

They came to celebrate. Minutes later Kurdistan was in turmoil
Bush yields to pressure for independent WMD inquiry

February 1 2004
At least 67 are killed and 247 wounded when two suicide bombers blow themselves up at the offices in Irbil of the two main Kurdish factions in northern Iraq.

US soldiers demonstrate the access to Saddam's bolthole

January 19, 2004

Saddam's Interrogation is Ongoing

Step this way
Two US soldiers demonstrate the way in and out of Saddam Hussein's bolthole following the former Iraqi leader's capture.
Photograph: Laurent Rebours/AP

16.12.03: Interrogation

January 19 2004
Tens of thousands of Shia Muslims demonstrate in Baghdad to demand prompt elections.
100,000 demand Iraqi elections

January 18 2004
A suicide bomber detonates a pick-up truck laden with 500kg of explosives at the main gate of the US headquarters in Iraq, killing at least 20 people and injuring more than 100.
Suicide bomb at US headquarters kills 20 and injures more than 100

January 17 2004
The number of US soldiers killed in Iraq since the invasion in March climbs to 500 when a roadside bomb killed three US soldiers and two Iraqi troops.
Bomb takes US toll in Iraq war to 500

January 9 2004
At least five people were killed and dozens more injured when a bomb exploded near a mosque in the central Iraqi town of Baquba.
Five killed in Iraq mosque blast

January 6 2004
Two French nationals working in Iraq were shot and killed after their car broke down in the troubled town of Falluja, the French foreign ministry announces.
French workers shot in Iraq

January 5 2004
Three American soldiers have been discharged after being found guilty of viciously beating and harassing Iraqi prisoners of war, it is revealed.
US soldiers sent home for beating prisoners of war

January 1 2004
Two experienced members of the SAS were are in a crash in Baghdad
SAS men killed in Baghdad crash

December 31 2003
Car bomb at a Baghdad restaurant kills eight and wounds more than 30, including three Western journalists.

December 27 2003
Attacks on government buildings and foreign troops' bases in the southern city of Kerbala using suicide car bombers, machine guns and mortars kill 19 and wound about 120.

December 23 2003
British security officials circulate stories that the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein may have been hoodwinked into believing he possessed weapons of mass destruction; a distinguished Kurdish judge, Youssef Khoshi, is shot dead while driving in the Northern Iraqi city of Mosul.
New theory for missing WMD: Saddam was fooled
Judge shot dead in northern Iraq

December 19 2003
US administrator Paul Bremer reveals that he survived an assassination attempt earlier in the month when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle convoy.
Bremer survived assassination attempt

December 18 2003
A Ministry of Defence inquiry finds that the death of the first British casualty of the war in Iraq, Sergeant Steve Roberts, could have been prevented with better body armour.
Soldier's Iraq death 'avoidable'

December 16 2003
Germany and France agree to a US request to write off part of Iraq's $120bn (£68bn) debt; two divisions of Halliburton - the oil services firm formerly run by the US vice president, Dick Cheney - file for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as part of a $4.2bn (£2.5bn) plan to settle hundreds of thousands of asbestos claims.
Chirac and Schröder agree to debt cuts
Halliburton units file for bankruptcy

December 13 2003
Saddam Hussein, Iraq's deposed leader,is found by US forces at the bottom of a hole near his home town of Tikrit.
Saddam Hussein captured

December 12 2003
A Pentagon audit finds that Halliburton overcharged the government by $61m (about £35m) for delivering petrol to Iraq; Tony Blair insists at the EU summit that it is "for the Americans to decide how to spend their own money" over Iraq reconstruction.
Cheney oil firm accused of overcharging $61m in Iraq
Iraq splits EU summit as Blair backs US

December 10 2003
Pentagon excludes countries that opposed the Iraq invastion from bidding for reconstruction contracts.
US bans anti-war countries from Iraq deals

December 9 2003
Forty-one US troops and six Iraqi civilians are wounded in a suicide car bombing outside a barracks near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.
Barracks blast injures 41 US troops

December 8 2003
Key contract decisions postponed again as Tony Blair is drawn into row over lack of 'level playing fields'
Iraq delays hand Cheney firm $1bn

December 7 2003
An Iraqi officer claims he warned British intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction programme.
Iraqi says he was source for 45-minute claim

December 4 2003
US secretary of state says alliance is united on need to play bigger role.
Powell calls on Nato to send troops to Iraq

December 3 2003
The US is planning to set up a paramilitary battalion in Iraq drawn from the five main political parties to help American troops fighting a fast-spreading insurgency.
Security unit to be run by Iraqi parties

December 2 2003
An American soldier is expecting to be dismissed from the army for taking a break from patrol in Baghdad to marry his Iraqi girlfriend, says his lawyer.
US soldier left patrol duty to marry Iraqi

December 1 2003
Iraqi officials in Samarra challenge US military accounts of a bloody battle, accusing American soldiers of spraying fire at random on the city streets, killing several civilians.
Iraqis challenge US account of battle

November 30 2003
American soldiers kill 46 Iraqis and capture eight in three repelled ambushes on US convoys in the central Iraqi city of Samarra, according to a military spokesman.

Troops kill 46 in Iraq as violence spreads

November 29 2003
US troops return fire on insurgents in the central Iraqi city of Samarra after an ambush on a convoy. Seven Spanish intelligence agents, two Japanese diplomats, two US soldiers and a Colombian oil worker are also killed.

November 27 2003
George Bush makes a surprise visit to US troops in Baghdad to serve them a Thanksgiving Day dinner.

On Day 246 of the War, November 15, 2003
Blasts Rock Synagogues in Turkey, Killing 20

The two car bombings in Istanbul also injure hundreds, most outside the targeted buildings.

ISTANBUL, Turkey Nearly simultaneous car bombs tore into two crowded synagogues during Shabbat prayers here Saturday, killing at least 20 people and laying waste to neighborhoods where Jews have lived easily for generations among Turkey's Muslim majority.

More than 300 people were injured, many critically, officials said.
The government quickly blamed "international terrorists" for the attack, the latest in a string of bombings of civilian targets in Muslim countries.
Mosul, Iraq-- 2 Black Hawk Helicopters Crash in Iraq; 17 Aboard Die
Officials won't comment on reports that guerrillas shot at least one down. The U.S. and the Governing Council sign a pact to transfer power by June.MOSUL, Iraq Two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters plummeted to the ground Saturday in this northern city, killing at least 17 soldiers and wounding five others in the largest single loss of American life in Iraq since major combat ended May 1, the military said.
Plan to End Occupation Could Trim U.S. Force

By Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, November 16, 2003; Page A01

BAGHDAD, Nov. 15 -- Iraq's Governing Council and the American occupation authority agreed Saturday on the terms of a radical new plan for the country's political transition that would end the U.S.-led occupation by July 1 and could facilitate a significant withdrawal of U.S. troops next year.

On Day 235 of the War
Tuesday, November 4, 2003
Blasts hit Baghdad's 'Green Zone'

An Iraqi boy pedals past the remains of a U.S. military vehicle destroyed in a rocket attack on the outskirts of Baghdad Sunday evening.

Bomb explodes at Karbala hotel; 1 U.S. soldier killed in Tikrit

Tuesday, November 4, 2003 Posted: 2:43 AM EST (0743 GMT)
Tuesday, November 4, 2003 Posted: 2:43 AM EST (0743 GMT)

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Three rockets or mortar rounds exploded Monday night in the highly secure "Green Zone" of the Iraqi capital that houses the U.S.-led coalition's headquarters, a coalition spokesman said.

The explosions came a day after a U.S. Army transport helicopter crashed in a suspected missile strike, killing 16 soldiers and wounding 20 others.

One round hit a camp of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment and two others struck areas near central Baghdad, all around 9 p.m. (1 p.m. EST), according to a Coalition Provisional Authority statement.

No damage or injuries were reported. The spokesman said an explosives disposal team was trying to determine whether rockets or mortar fire caused the explosions.

The area has been the target of previous mortar attacks. The Al-Rashid Hotel, which houses coalition military and civilian officials, was targeted in an October 26 rocket strike that killed a U.S. Army officer.

The violence continued Monday night, as a car bomb exploded in front of the Al-Barate hotel in the Shiite Muslim holy city of Karbala, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) south of Baghdad, a U.S. military spokesman said.

A coalition official Tuesday told CNN that the explosion killed one Iraqi and wounded five others.

The hotel is directly behind the Mukhaya mosque, where members of a militia -- formed by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr -- called Mahdi's Army are holed up. There was some damage to the mosque, but most of the damage was to the hotel, which was vacant at the time.

No coalition forces were in the area at the time of the explosion, the official said. Iraqi police are investigating and coalition troops are providing security around the blast site.

Witnesses said the bomb blew up near a generator at the hotel, wounding more than 10 people.

North of Baghdad, a 4th Infantry Division soldier was killed Monday afternoon when his vehicle hit a mine in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's ancestral homeland, a U.S. military spokesman said.

Outside the town of Uja, a 4th Infantry Division patrol came under attack by small arms fire Monday evening, the spokesman said. No casualties were reported.

The 4th Infantry said it arrested nine people and seized 15 guns, 16 grenades, three unidentified missiles and four makeshift bombs in raids in northern Iraq.

The latest violence came as 16 of 20 U.S. soldiers injured in Sunday's helicopter crash west of Baghdad arrived at Ramstein Air Base in Germany early Monday and were taken to nearby Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

All were reported in stable condition, but 11 were being treated and evaluated in the hospital's intensive care unit, said Lndstuhl's commander, Col. Rhonda Cornum.

"As with any airplane accident, [there are] a lot of broken bones, a lot of compressions, loss of consciousness from being knocked around, some head injuries -- that sort of thing," Cornum said.

The CH-47 Chinook crash and the deaths of another U.S. soldier in a Baghdad bombing and two civilian contractors in an attack near Fallujah made Sunday the deadliest day for Americans in Iraq since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1.

Witnesses reported seeing missile trails when the twin-engine transport helicopter went down, a U.S. military spokesman said, but the official cause was under investigation. A second helicopter was flying with it but was unscathed.

In a Monday speech largely about the nation's economy, Bush made no direct reference to the crash victims. But he did vow to continue the U.S. mission in Iraq. (Full story)

His comments followed a White House statement Sunday that mourned the soldiers' deaths and said American resolve was unshakable.

Senate Approves $87 Billion For Iraq
Bush Gets Package Largely as Requested

By Helen Dewar
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 4, 2003; Page A01

The Senate gave final congressional approval yesterday to an $87.5 billion spending package for military and reconstruction operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, giving President Bush nearly all he wanted despite some lawmakers' earlier demands for changes.

The bill, one of the largest military and foreign aid spending measures in U.S. history, will go to the president for his signature. The House had approved it, 298 to 121, early Friday.

3 Blasts Seem Aimed at U.S. Compound


Published: November 5, 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 4 Three powerful explosions in rapid succession shook central Baghdad on Tuesday evening in what apparently was a mortar attack on the headquarters of the American civilian authorities here.

Iraqi witnesses standing near the gates said the explosions hit the sprawling, walled-in American compound about 7:45 p.m.

A spokeswoman for American military said Tuesday night that four people had been wounded, but she gave no details.

The witnesses said the mortar shells had come from a neighborhood north of the American headquarters and landed inside.

"I looked up and saw trails of white light, and then they exploded inside there," said Muhammad al-Mayehi, an Iraqi, pointing toward the offices of L. Paul Bremer III, the chief civilian administrator, and his staff.

The explosions, which rattled buildings on both sides of the Tigris River, added to a growing sense of insecurity in the capital and in central Iraq, where guerrillas fighting the American occupation have recently carried out a number of spectacular attacks.

The explosions followed the deaths of at least 15 American soldiers on Sunday, when their helicopter was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over the town of Falluja. (Early reports from the military indicated that 16 had been killed, but the Department of Defense is now confirming only 15.) Last week, suicide bombers struck targets across the capital, killing 34 people.


On Day 243 of the War, November 12 2003
A suspected car bomb on an Italian military police base in the southern town of Nassiriya kills at least 14 Italian officers and eight Iraqis. Until now, no Italian military personnel had been killed in combat in Iraq.
22 killed in Iraq blast

On Day 242 of the War, November 11 2003
Head of the US coalition, Paul Bremer, is summoned to Washington for high level talks amid growing unease at the lack of progress in Iraq and the mounting human and financial cost. The visit prompts speculation that the US is trying to speed up the transfer of power.
Bremer flies to US for crisis talks

On Day 238 of the War, November 7 2003
Six US soldiers are killed when their Black Hawk helicopter crashes in central Iraq, apparently after being hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. It is the third time in two weeks that Iraqi fighters have brought down a US military helicopter.
Six US soldiers die in helicopter attack

On Day 237 of the War, November 6 2003
Several US papers report that, in the weeks before its fall, Iraq's Ba'athist regime made a series of increasingly desperate peace offers to Washington, promising to hold elections and even allow US troops to search for banned weapons.
Saddam's desperate offers to stave off  war

On Day 234 of the War, November 3, 2003
The Pentagon is quietly moving to fill draft board vacancies nationwide. While officials say there's no cause to worry, some experts aren't so sure.
By Dave Lindorff, Colunnist,

Nov. 3, 2003  |  The community draft boards that became notorious for sending reluctant young men off to Vietnam have languished sinced the early 1970s, their membership ebbing and their purpose all but lost when the draft was ended. But a few weeks ago, on an obscure federal Web site devoted to the war on terrorism, the Bush administration quietly began a public campaign to bring the draft boards back to life. Especially for those who were of age to fight in the Vietnam, it is an ominous flashback of a message. Even floating the idea of a draft in the months before an election would be politically explosive, and the Pentagon last week was adamant that the push to staff up the draft boards is not a portent of things to come. Increasingly, however, military experts and even some influential members of Congress are suggesting that if Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's prediction of a "long, hard slog" in Iraq and Afghanistan proves accurate, the U.S. may have no choice but to consider a draft to fully staff the nation's military in a time of global instability. 

Check out the governmnnt's new draft board website on:.

Iraq Timeline

On Day 233, November 2 2003
Sixteen US soldiers are killed after their Chinook helicopter is struck six miles south of Falluja in the deadliest attack against the occupying powers since the US declared major combat to be over.
16 die in attack on US helicopter

On Day 227, October 27 2003
Thirty-five people are killed in attacks in Baghdad on its bloodiest day since the fall of Saddam. A suicide bomber rams an explosive-laden ambulance into barriers outside the Red Cross headquarters and three police stations are attacked.
35 killed and 224 injured in Baghdad bomb attacks

On Day 226, October 26 2003
Iraqi resistance fighters fire a rocket salvo at the Rashid hotel in Baghdad, narrowly missing Paul Wolfowitz, the US deputy defence secretary. An American colonel is killed and 18 people wounded.
US hawk escapes Baghdad rocket attack

On Day 224, October 24 2003
Last-minute pledges from Arab states and Japan gave a major boost to Iraq's reconstruction funds as governments opposed to the US-led invasion began to soften their positions.
Arabs and Japan pledge reconstruction cash

On Day 222, October 23 2003
Major security failures at the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad were partially responsible for the large number of deaths and casualties caused by the truck bomb there in August, according to a report on the incident.
Security lapses blamed for UN bomb

On Day 218 October 19 2003
Two American soldiers are killed and one wounded in an ambush outside the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.
Troops die as Saddam urges jihad

On Day 216, October 17 2003
Three American soldiers and at least seven Iraqis are killed in a gun battle outside the office


On Day 233, November 2 2003
Sixteen US soldiers are killed after their Chinook helicopter is struck six miles south of Falluja in the deadliest attack against the occupying powers since the US declared major combat to be over.
16 die in attack on US helicopter

On Day 227, October 27 2003
Thirty-five people are killed in attacks in Baghdad on its bloodiest day since the fall of Saddam. A suicide bomber rams an explosive-laden ambulance into barriers outside the Red Cross headquarters and three police stations are attacked.
35 killed and 224 injured in Baghdad bomb attacks

On Day 226, October 26 2003
Iraqi resistance fighters fire a rocket salvo at the Rashid hotel in Baghdad, narrowly missing Paul Wolfowitz, the US deputy defence secretary. An American colonel is killed and 18 people wounded.
US hawk escapes Baghdad rocket attack

On Day 224, October 24 2003
Last-minute pledges from Arab states and Japan gave a major boost to Iraq's reconstruction funds as governments opposed to the US-led invasion began to soften their positions.
Arabs and Japan pledge reconstruction cash

On Day 222, October 23 2003
Major security failures at the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad were partially responsible for the large number of deaths and casualties caused by the truck bomb there in August, according to a report on the incident.
Security lapses blamed for UN bomb

On Day 218 October 19 2003
Two American soldiers are killed and one wounded in an ambush outside the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.
Troops die as Saddam urges jihad

On Day 216, October 17 2003
Three American soldiers and at least seven Iraqis are killed in a gun battle outside the office of a Shia cleric in the holy Iraqi city of Kerbala.
Ten killed in firefight as tension grows in Iraq

On Day 213, October 14 2003
A suicide car bomber exploded his vehicle outside the Turkish embassy, killing the driver and a bystander, and wounding at least 13.

On Day 211, October 12 2003
A suicide car bombing near the Baghdad Hotel leaves eight people dead and at least 32 wounded.
Another day in Iraq, another bomb - 84 dates that tell tale of mayhem

On Day 208, October 9 2003
A suicide bomber drives his Oldsmobile into a police station in Baghdad's Sadr City district, killing himself and nine other people.
Eight die in suicide bomb attack
Two US soldiers killed in Baghdad ambush

On Day 201, October 2 2003
The man in charge of a hunt for Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction admits that no weapon stocks had been found, and that all a three-month search, costing some £180m ($300m), had uncovered was a single vial containing a possible strain of biological agent.
'There are no shining weapons'


On Day 192 of the War on Iraq
Wednesday September 24, 2003
Bush isolated as speech to UN falls flat
Gary Younge in New York
The Guardian

George Bush was increasingly isolated on the global stage yesterday as he defied intense criticism from a litany of world leaders at the United Nations over the war on Iraq.

Showing no contrition for defying the world body in March or the declining security situation in Iraq, the US president called for the world to set aside past differences and help rebuild the country: "Now the nation of Iraq needs and deserves our aid - and all nations of goodwill should step forward and provide that support," he said.

But the French president, Jacques Chirac, who spoke after Mr Bush, blamed the US-led war for sparking one of the most severe crises in the history of the UN and argued that Mr Bush's unilateral actions could lead to anarchy.

"No one can act alone in the name of all and no one can accept the anarchy of a society without rules," he said. "The war, launched without the authorisation of the security council, shook the multilateral system. The UN has just been through one of the most grave crises in its history."

Earlier the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, condemned the doctrine of preemptive military intervention, arguing that it could lead to the unjustified "lawless use of force" and posed a "fundamental challenge" to world peace and stability.

"My concern is that, if it were to be adopted, it could set precedents that resulted in a proliferation of the unilateral and lawless use of force, with or without credible justification," said Mr Annan. "This logic represents a fundamental challenge to the principles on which, however imperfectly, world peace and stability have rested for the last 58 years."

The Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who also spoke before Mr Bush, said: "A war can perhaps be won single-handedly. But peace - lasting peace - cannot be secured without the support of all."

Mr Bush's speech was received with polite applause from the 191-member states, while his critics were given a far warmer reception.

The American president was not just under fire for his decision to wage war without international consent but also for his refusal to move more quickly towards handing control of the country back to the Iraqi people.

Both Mr Chirac and the German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, called for a transition within months, insisting that this was crucial to securing peace. Mr Bush has not laid out a timetable. "This process must unfold according to the needs of Iraqis - neither hurried nor delayed by the voices of other parties," he said.

Mr Bush is under increasing domestic political pressure to outline a strategy to get out of Iraq, where increasing military casualties and growing financial burden on a strained economy are draining support ahead of next year's presidential election.

Having bypassed the UN to bomb Iraq, America returned to the security council earlier this month asking for military and financial help to assist it with the costs of the occupation. The resolution is currently before the security council, where France has the power of veto.


A Vague Pitch Leaves Most in Puzzlement

By GlennKessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 24, 2003; Page A01

TED NATIONS, Sept. 23 -- In his speech today to the U.N. General Assembly, President Bush tried to walk a fine line between defending a war deeply unpopular in much of the world and looking for help from reluctant countries to rebuild Iraq. The result left diplomats and lawmakers puzzled about his ultimate intentions.

Bush, in fact, sidestepped direct answers to many of the questions that have arisen since the administration said it would seek a Security Council resolution that would expand the United Nations' role in Iraq and call on countries to contribute more troops and money. How quickly would the United States grant sovereignty to the Iraqis? Would the administration grant any decision-making role to the United Nations in exchange for its imprimatur? Or does the administration simply want assistance without giving up much in return?

One reason for the vagueness is that U.S. diplomats have discovered in recent weeks that little help is likely to be forthcoming. Secretary General Kofi Annan, deeply disturbed by the bombing attacks on the U.N. mission in Baghdad, has urged a slow and careful review of the organization's role in Iraq, U.S. and U.N. officials say. The list of countries willing and able to provide troops appears to have dwindled, not increased, and even financially deep-pocketed countries such as Japan have indicated they would not be able to contribute much to the U.S. enterprise in Iraq, U.S. officials said.

"There is a hell of a case of donor fatigue," a senior administration official said today. "A realistic appraisal [of what a new resolution would bring] is 'not much.' "

Bush's rhetorical maneuvering room was limited in other ways. Faced with the worst approval ratings of his presidency, Bush designed his speech to appeal to a domestic audience. But the president's conservative base, long skeptical of the United Nations, would not approve of an explicit acknowledgment of a broad U.N. role in Iraq. Bush limited his comments on potential U.N. aid to programs that bring broad bipartisan support, such as UNICEF and the World Food Program.

In Bush's most direct plea for assistance, he declared, "Every young democracy needs the help of friends. Now the nation of Iraq needs and deserves our aid, and all nations of goodwill should step forward and provide that support."

Democrats on Capitol Hill quickly took note of Bush's unwillingness to offer a detailed plan for Iraq. "He came before the international community and he could have made the case for more troops, for more resources. He didn't do that," Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) said. "He hasn't presented a plan to the United Nations. He hasn't presented one to this country or to this Congress. It was a missed opportunity, and that's very disappointing."

In the view of many in attendance here, Iraq is largely a problem of Bush's making. The Security Council was deeply divided over whether to authorize military action against Iraq -- and Bush withdrew a proposed resolution before the war when it faced certain defeat. Many nations might have been willing to support a war if the administration had been willing to give U.N. weapons inspections a few more weeks, but the administration refused to alter its military timetable. The inability to find proscribed weapons after the war also hurt the administration's case.

Bush, in defending the war, argued, "Events during the past two years have set before us the clearest of divides: between those who seek order, and those who spread chaos; between those who work for peaceful change, and those who adopt the methods of gangsters."

But in two speeches that bracketed the president's address, Annan and French President Jacques Chirac suggested that it is the administration's doctrine of "preemption" -- the promise to strike against emerging threats -- that threatens to spread chaos across the globe. Both men bluntly said that the Bush administration is undermining the collective security arrangements that have governed the world since World War II.

"The United Nations has just weathered one of its most serious trials in its history: respect for the [U.N.] Charter, the use of force, were at the heart of the debate," Chirac said. "The war, which was started without the authorization of the Security Council, has shaken the multilateral system."

Annan said that reserving "the right to act unilaterally or in ad hoc coalitions . . . represents a fundamental challenge to the principles on which, however imperfectly, world peace and stability have rested for the last 58 years. My concern is that if it were to be adopted, it would set precedents that resulted in a proliferation of the unilateral and lawless use of force with or without justification."

The enthusiastic reaction to those speeches in the General Assembly hall, compared to the tepid, almost perfunctory applause for Bush's presentation, underscored the difficult task ahead for the administration as it tries to build support for the nascent Iraqi government.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan Speaks to U.N. General Assembly

FDCH E-Media
Tuesday, September 23, 2003; 1:26 PM

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan spoke Tuesday before the U.N. General Assembly. Complete transcript follows:

ANNAN (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Distinguished heads of state and government, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, the last 12 months have been very painful for those of us who believe in collective answers to our common problems and challenges.

In many countries terrorism has once again brought death and suffering to innocent people. In the Middle East and in certain parts of Africa violence has continued to escalate. In the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere the threat of nuclear proliferation casts an ominous shadow across the landscape. And barely one month ago in Baghdad the United Nations itself suffered (OFF-MIKE) in which the international community lost some of its most talented servants.

Yesterday, the United Nations was again attacked and it was only because of the prompt action by the Iraqi police that another major disaster was averted. Unfortunately, one Iraqi policeman lost his life.

On this occasion, I convey the most sincere condolences to members of the bereaved families, but I am also thinking of the 19 people who were murdered in the other attack. I hope that very quickly all those who have been injured or who were killed in the war, soldiers and innocent civilians, I do hope that they all remain in our prayers.

In this context I deplore, as you do all I am sure, the brutal attack. Dr. Akila al-Hashimi was attacked, the member of the governing council. I hope that he soon recovers from that attack.

The United Nations is you; you are the United Nations. The staff who were killed and injured in the attack on our Baghdad headquarters were your staff. You had given them a mandate to assist the suffering Iraqi people and help recover their sovereignty.

In future, not only in Iraq, but wherever the United Nations is engaged, we must take more effective measures to protect the security of our staff. I count on your full support: legal, political and financial.

Meanwhile, let me reaffirm the great importance I attach to a successful outcome in Iraq. Whatever view each of us may take of the events of recent months, it is vital to all of us that the outcome is a stable, democratic Iraq, at peace with itself and with its neighbors and contributing to the stability in the region.

Subject to satisfactory security considerations, the United Nations system is prepared to play as full a role in working for satisfactory outcome in Iraq and to do so as part of an international effort, an effort by the whole international community pulling together on the basis of a sound and viable policy.

If it takes extra time and patience to forge that policy, a policy that is collective, coherent and workable, then I, for one, would regard that time as well spent. Indeed, this is how we must approach all the many pressing crises that confront us today.

Excellencies, three years ago, when you came here for the Millennium Summit, we shared a vision, a vision of global solidarity and security expressed in the Millennium Declaration. But recent events have called that consensus in question. All of us know there are new threats that must be faced or perhaps old threats in new and dangerous combinations: new forms of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

But while some consider these threats as self-evidently the main challenge to world peace and security, others feel more immediately menaced by small arms employed in civil conflict or by so-called soft threats, such as persistence of extreme poverty, the disparity of income between and within societies, and the spread of infectious diseases, or climate change and environmental degradation.

In truth, we do not have to choose. The United Nations must confront all these threats and challenges, new and old, hard and soft. It must be fully engaged in the struggle for development and poverty eradication, starting with the achievement of the millennium development goals. In the common struggle to protect our common environment and in the struggle for human rights, democracy and good governance, in fact, all of these struggles are linked. We now see with chilling clarity that a world where many millions of people endure brutal oppression and extreme misery will never be fully secure even for its most privileged inhabitants.

Yet the hard threats, such as terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, are real and cannot be ignored. Terrorism is not a problem only for the rich countries; ask the people of Bali or Bombay, Nairobi or Casablanca. Weapons of mass destruction do not threaten only the Western or northern world; ask the people of Iran or of Halabjah in Iraq.

Where we disagree it seems is on how to respond to these threats. Since this organization was founded, states have generally sought to deal with threats to the peace through containment and deterrence by a system based on collective security and the United Nations Charter.

This may be a moment no less decisive than in 1945 itself, when the United Nations was founded.

At that time, a group of far-sighted leaders, led and inspired by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, were determined to make the second half of the 20th century different from the first half. They saw that the human race had only one world to live in and that, unless it managed its affairs prudently, all human beings may perish.

So they drew up rules to govern international behavior and founded a network of institutions with the United Nations at its center, in which the peoples of the world could work together for the common good.

Now we must decide whether it is possible to continue on the basis agreed then or whether radical changes are needed. And we must not shy away from questions about the adequacy and effectiveness of the rules and instruments at our disposal.

Among those instruments, none is more important than the Security Council itself. In my recent report on the implementation of the millennium declaration, I drew attention to the urgent need for the council to regain the confidence of states and of world public opinion, both by demonstrating its ability to deal effectively with the most difficult issues and by becoming more broadly representative of the international community as a whole, as well as the geopolitical realities of today.

The council needs to consider how it will deal with the possibility that individual states may use force preemptively against perceived threats. Its members may need to begin a discussion on the criteria for an early authorization of coercive measures to address certain types of threats; for instance, terrorist groups armed with weapons of mass destruction.

And they still need to engage in serious discussions of the best way to respond to threats of genocide or other comparable massive violations of human rights, an issue which I raised myself from this podium in 1999.

Once again this year, our collective response to events of this type in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia has been hesitant and tardy.

As for the composition of the council that has been on the agenda of this assembly for over a decade, virtually all member states agree that the council should be enlarged, but there is no agreement on the details.

I respectfully suggest to you, Excellencies, that in the eyes of your peoples, the difficulty of reaching an agreement does not excuse your failure to do so. If you want the council and the council's decisions to command greater respect, particularly in the developing world, you need to address the issue of its composition with greater urgency.

But the Security Council is not the only institution that needs strengthening. As you know, I'm doing my best to make the secretariat more effective and I look to this assembly to support my efforts. Indeed in my report, I also suggested that this assembly itself needs to be strengthened and that the role of the Economic and Social Council and the role of the United Nations as a whole in economic and social affairs, including its relations to the Bretton Woods institutions, needs to be rethought and reinvigorated.

I even suggested that the role of the trusteeship council could be reviewed in light of the new kinds of responsibility that you have given to the United Nations in recent years.

In short, Excellencies, I believe that the time is right for a hard look at fundamental policy issues and at the structural changes that may be needed in order to strengthen them.

History is a harsh judge. It will not forgive us if we let this moment pass.

For my part, I intend to establish a high-level panel of eminent personalities to which I will assign four tasks: first, to examine the current challenges to peace and security; second, to consider the contribution which collective action can make in addressing these challenges; third, to review the functioning of major organs of the United Nations and the relationship between them; and fourth, to recommend ways of strengthening the United Nations through reform of institutions and processes.

The panel will focus primarily on threats to peace and security, but it will also need to examine other global challenges insofar as these may influence or connect with those threats.

I will ask the panel to report back to me before the beginning of the next session of this General Assembly so that I can make recommendations to you at that session. But only you can take the firm and clear decisions that will be needed.

Those decisions might include far-reaching institutional reforms. Indeed, I hope they will. But institutional reforms alone will not suffice. Even the most perfect instrument will fail unless people put it to good use.

The United Nations is by no means a perfect instrument, but it is a precious one. I urge you to seek agreement on ways to improving it, but above all of using it as its founders intended: to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, to reestablish the basic conditions for justice and the rule of law, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.

The world may have changed, Excellencies, but those sayings are as valid and urgent as ever. We must keep them firmly in our sights.

Thank you very much.



In Senate, Kennedy Fuels Sharp Debate
Senator's Comments on War as 'Fraud' Prompt Angry Replies From GOP Colleagues
By Helen Dewar and Vernon Loeb
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, September 24, 2003; Page A25

With scathing criticism of a colleague that is rare in the clubby Senate, Republicans lashed out yesterday at recent comments by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) that depicted President Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq as a "fraud" aimed at helping Republicans at the polls.

Democrats rose to Kennedy's defense, and he later took the Senate floor to restate his criticisms of Bush's Iraq policy. While giving no ground on substance, Kennedy moderated his language somewhat, avoiding words such as "fraud" and "bribery" that infuriated Republicans when he first used them in an interview Thursday with the Associated Press in Boston.

Yesterday's heated exchanges occurred as Bush defended his Iraq policy before a skeptical United Nations and Democratic presidential candidates sharpened their criticisms of his prewar and postwar decisions. Opinion polls, meanwhile, find waning public confidence in the president's postwar policies, and many Democratic voters now say the war wasn't worth the cost

In Thursday's AP interview, Kennedy said the decision to go to war was "made up in Texas," Bush's home state, to help the GOP cause. "This whole thing was a fraud," he said. The administration cannot account for billions of dollars in war spending, he said, suggesting it "is being shuffled all around to these political leaders in all parts of the world, bribing them to send in troops."

White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said yesterday that Kennedy's alleged "bribes" are actually nothing but standard foreign assistance. "As any member of Congress knows or should know, foreign assistance to friends and allies has been a staple of America's international policy for decades," she said. "Reducing the discourse to this level is a real disservice to the American people."

Yesterday's Republican attack and Democratic counterattack were unusual because senators usually avoid direct criticisms of one another, preferring instead to make their points in more oblique, old-school ways. But many GOP senators had been simmering over Kennedy's remarks and wanted to defend the White House.

Bush had called Kennedy's remarks "uncivil," and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) said Democrats had "spewed more hateful rhetoric at President Bush than they ever did at Saddam Hussein." But, with senators out of town over the weekend, little had been heard on a national level from Senate Republicans.

The GOP response to Kennedy, which occurred just as Bush was addressing the United Nations, was led by Sen. Robert F. Bennett (Utah), the Republicans' chief deputy whip. Bennett cited warnings by President Bill Clinton, among others, that force might have to be used to oust then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The allegations of fraud cannot be substantiated, he said, suggesting that Kennedy deserved a rebuke for his remarks.

Armed Services Committee Chairman John W. Warner (R-Va.) took the criticism a step further. "Stop to think of the reaction of a young wife surrounded by small children, not knowing from day to day whether her husband will survive another day's engagement in Afghanistan or Iraq," he said. "And they hear that this whole thing has been a fraud perpetrated upon this family and was made up in Texas. I find that very painful."

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) said: "I think it was a slur on my home state of Texas."

Senate Democratic Leader Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.), noting that he too has come under fire this year for criticizing Bush's Iraq policy, decried what he called an "orchestrated" GOP effort to attack anyone who criticizes Bush. Later, at a news conference, Daschle said it was "McCarthyesque" to criticize people who are vocal in their opposition to certain policies.

"It seems like anyone who comes to the floor to express concern or to express his views or her views on Iraq is now the subject of attack, regardless of one's views," he said.

Kennedy was not in the Senate during the Republicans' speeches but soon entered the chamber to respond. Rather than mentioning the "fraud" charge, he said the "administration's rationale [for war] was built on a quicksand of false assumptions."

"Many Americans share my views, and I regret that the president considers them uncivil and not in the national interest," he said. "The real action that was not in the American interest was the decision to go to war unilaterally, without the support of our allies and without a plan to win the peace."

There are "valid questions and deep concerns about the administration's rush to war in Iraq," he said, including "whether there's a plan for winning the peace, how the money is being spent and when our troops can come home with honor."

To bolster the senator's assertion that the administration could not account for billions of dollars and was "bribing" nations to send troops to Iraq, his office this week released a list of approved loans, expenditures and spending proposals, beginning with a new $8.5 billion loan package for Turkey.

While the United States has been pressing Turkey to provide 10,000 peacekeeping troops to help stabilize Iraq, Treasury Secretary John W. Snow said Monday the loans were designed to help Turkey recover from economic losses due to the war in Iraq and are not contingent on Turkey's provision of soldiers. The $8.5 billion in loans for Turkey, according to Kennedy's spending list, comes on top of $1 billion in economic support funds previously approved in the current fiscal year for that nation.

Jordan, a key Middle East ally that allowed U.S. Special Operations forces to stage operations from its soil, received $700 million in U.S. economic support funds this fiscal year, Kennedy said. Egypt received $300 million in economic support funds plus $2 billion in loan guarantees.

Kennedy's list included $200 million spent by the administration in airlift and support costs for a multinational division under Polish command that recently replaced a U.S. Marine contingent south of Baghdad. In addition, it said the Bush administration has spent $800 million in the current fiscal year to "reimburse key cooperating nations for providing logistical and military support."

Finally, Kennedy cited a number of spending initiatives included in the administration's recent $87 billion supplemental spending request to support military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, including $1.4 billion to reimburse Jordan, Pakistan and other cooperating nations for logistical, military and other support to U.S. military operations and $200 million in economic support funds for Pakistani debt forgiveness.

On Day 193 of the War, September 25 2003
Aqila al-Hashmi, the most prominent of three women on Iraq's governing council, dies of wounds sustained in an ambush.

Iraq council member dies after shooting

On Day 189 of the War, September 21 2003
Officials on Iraq's governing council warn that they are increasingly at risk from attack, a day after one of their number was shot and badly wounded in an assassination attempt.
Attack on Iraq council member spurs tighter security call

On Day 187 of the War, September 19 2003
Saddam Hussein's former defence minister surrenders to US troops in northern Iraq following weeks of negotiations, says a Kurdish mediator.
Former Iraqi defence minister surrenders

September 18 2003
The former UN chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, says he believes Iraq destroyed most of its weapons of mass destruction 10 years ago.
Iraq dumped WMDs years ago, says Blix
Blix accuses UK and US of spin over Iraq

On Day 185 of the War, September 17 2003
An audio tape message purported to have been recorded by the deposed Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, is aired by Arabic television channel al-Arabiya.
New 'Saddam tape' issued

September 14 2003
Colin Powell, US secretary of state, meets Iraqi politicians in Baghdad as an American soldier is killed and three wounded in an attack near Falluja, where Iraqi police died in a "friendly fire" incident.
Powell flies in to Iraqi anger at deaths

September 13 2003
President George Bush's approval ratings have slumped to a lower point than they were in the week of the terrorist attacks two years ago, according to the latest Gallup poll.
Support for Bush and war slumps

On Day 180 of the War, September 12 2003
The US military reignites tension in one of Iraq's most troubled towns when its troops mistakenly shoot dead eight policemen who were chasing a car full of suspected bandits.
US killing of eight Iraqi police fuels anger in troubled town

On Day 178 of the War, September 10 2003
A suicide car bomber attacks the US intelligence base in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, killing three people and injuring 41.
Three killed in Irbil suicide bombing

On Day 176 of the War, September 8 2003
Britain will send 1,000 more troops to bolster its security operation in Iraq, says defence secretary Geoff Hoon.
UK to send 1,000 more troops to Iraq

On Day 175 of the War, September 7 2003
President George Bush seekst to reassure jittery Americans about their country's involvement in Iraq, dismissing doubts by arguing that it remains a central front in the war on terror.
Fear of $80bn Iraq bill moves Bush to address nation

On Day 173 of the War, September 5 2003
A Briton and an American working in Iraq are shot and killed in separate incidents, fuelling concerns that guerrillas launching attacks on the military occupiers may be widening their targets.
British charity worker killed in Iraq gun attack

On Day 171 of the War, September 3 2003
Resolution is defeat for hawks in White House.
Bush asks UN for help in Iraq

On Day 170 of the War, September 2 2003
Tens of thousands of mourners turn the funeral service for the murdered Iraqi cleric Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim into a show of defiance against the US-led occupation.
Shia mourners demand end to US occupation

On Day 169 of the War, September 1 2003
Two Arabic television channels broadcast what they say is a recorded message from Saddam Hussein, denying responsibility for last week's devastating car bomb in Najaf.
Tape said to be by Saddam denies role in Najaf bombing
Iraqi quits council in security protest

On Day 166 of the War, August 29 2003
A leading Shia cleric is among the many people killed in a car bomb attack outside a mosque in the Iraqi town of Najaf.
Huge bomb blast in Najaf
Spiritual and political leader of the Iraqi Shias

On Day 163 of the War, August 26 2003
Humanitarian aid agencies say they are evacuating their workers from Iraq in the latest sign that the security situation is slipping out of the US-British coalition's control.

Aid agencies evacuate their workers

On Day 159 of the War, Friday August 22, 2003

Kelly's chilling words: 'I'll be found dead in the woods'

Diplomat reveals inspector's pre-war doubts

Ewen MacAskill, Nicholas Watt and Vikram Dodd
Friday August 22, 2003
The Guardian

The weapons specialist, Dr David Kelly, said six months ago that he would "probably be found dead in the woods" if the American and British invasion of Iraq went ahead, Lord Hutton's inquiry was told yesterday.

His chilling prediction of his own death during a conversation with the British diplomat David Broucher in Geneva in February, throws new light on his state of mind about the row over Britain's role in the Iraq war.

In a startling string of revelations yesterday, Lord Hutton's inquiry was told that Dr Kelly:

· confirmed there had been a "robust" debate between Downing Street and the intelligence services about the September dossier on weapons of mass destruction

· expressed scepticism about British claims that Iraq's weapons capability could be deployed quickly

· had been in direct contact with senior Iraqi scientists and officials he knew, promising them the war could be avoided

· feared he had "betrayed" these contacts and that the invasion had left him in a "morally ambiguous" position.

The latest twists came as Lord Hutton announced that Tony Blair would give evidence on Thursday and the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, on Wednesday. Both will be pressed about the September dossier and about the way the government helped put Dr Kelly's name into the public domain.

The disclosure of Dr Kelly's unease about the Iraq war even before the invasion on March 20 undermines assumptions that his apparent suicide was tied to recent events, principally the pressure he came under last month over his conversations with the BBC reporter, Andrew Gilligan.

Dr Kelly's body was found in woods near his home last month.

Towards the end of Lord Hutton's inquiry yesterday, Mr Broucher, British ambassador to the disarmament conference in Geneva, made a surprise appearance.

He said he had sent an email to Patrick Lamb, his boss at the Foreign Office, on August 5, recalling a chance conversation with Dr Kelly at disarmament talks in February, in which he set out his concerns.

Elaborating on the email yesterday, Mr Broucher said that Dr Kelly had told him the government had pressured the intelligence community to make the September dossier as "robust as possible, that every judgment [in the dossier] had been robustly fought over".

Contrary to a claim in the dossier that biological and chemical weapons could be deployed within 45 minutes, Dr Kelly said he thought the weapons and the material to be placed inside them "would be kept separately from the munitions and that this meant that the weapons could not be used quickly".

It emerged this week that the MoD knew that Dr Kelly's views on Iraq could make uncomfortable reading for the government, and the conver sation with Mr Broucher bears out why the MoD - in particular, Mr Hoon - was so keen to prevent any disclosures.

A government memo published yesterday showed that Mr Hoon tried to stop Dr Kelly talking about weapons of mass destruction when he appeared before the Commons foreign affairs select committee.

Mr Broucher said that Dr Kelly thought that the UN weapons inspectors could gain a good idea of the state of the Iraqi arsenal because the Iraqis had learned during the British colonial days to keep full written records. That assessment runs counter to the US, which insisted inspectors were wasting their efforts.

A crucial point in the conversation with Mr Broucher was Dr Kelly's revelation about continued links with Iraqis after working in Iraq in the 90s as a UN weapons inspector. He had retained contacts with Iraqi scientists and officials, and told Mr Broucher he had tried to persuade them to comply with the inspectors in order to avoid invasion.

In his email, Mr Broucher said Dr Kelly's concern was that "if an invasion now went ahead, that would make him a liar and he would have betrayed his contacts, some of whom might be killed as a direct result of his actions".

Mr Broucher added: "I asked what would happen then, and he replied, in a throwaway line, that he would 'probably be found dead in the woods'."

His interpretation of this was Dr Kelly feared a personal attack by the Iraqis: "I did not think much of this at the time, taking it to be a hint that the Iraqis might try to take revenge against him, something that did not seem at all fanciful then. I now see that he may have been thinking on rather different lines."

Barney Leith, secretary of the National Spiritual assembly of Britain, who knew Dr Kelly and will testify before the Hutton inquiry about the impact of the Baha'i faith had on him, said he could not know whether the scientist might have taken his own life because of guilt. But he added: "The teachings of the Baha'i faith strongly emphasise the importance of ... keeping one's word."


On Day 156 of the War, Tuesday August 19, 2003
A huge truck bomb strikes at the heart of the international humanitarian effort in Iraq, destroying part of the UN headquarters in Baghdad and killing at least 20 people, including the head of the UN mission.
Iraq: the agony goes on

On Day 154 of the War, August 17 2003
US attempts to restore Iraq's shaky infrastructure suffer a serious setback when guerrillas blow up a vital oil pipeline in the north for the second time. A hole is also blown in a water main in Baghdad.
Iraq hit by fresh attack on oil pipeline

A Reuters TV cameraman is shot dead by US troops after they mistake his camera for a grenade launcher.
Cameraman shot dead by US troops

On Day 152 of the War, August 15 2003
Saboteurs blow up a crude oil export pipeline in northern Iraq, starting a huge oil fire, halting all oil exports to Turkey and starving an economy in chaos of much-needed income to rebuild.
Terror blast cuts off Iraq's oil pipeline to Turkey

On Day 151 of the War, August 14 2003
A British soldier is killed, and two others injured, in an attack on an army ambulance travelling through the outskirts of Basra.
British soldier killed in Basra

On Day 147 of the War, August 10 2003
US officials say they are braced for further large-scale terrorist attacks in Iraq after reports from intelligence sources that hundreds of Islamic militants, who escaped across the border to Iran during the war, may have got back into the country.
Be prepared for terror attacks, says Bremer

On Day 146 of the War, August 9, 2003
British troops in riot gear fight to restore calm in the southern Iraqi city of Basra as dire shortages of fuel and power spark disturbances.
British troops battle to control mobs in Basra

On Day 145  of the War, August 8 2003
US snipers shoot dead two Iraqis and injure at least two others they claim were selling weapons at a street market in Saddam Hussein's home town, Tikrit.
US shoots two dead at start of softer rule

Six Iraqis, including a father and three of his children, are killed in Baghdad by US troops who open fire on them as they hurry home to beat the curfew.
Civilians killed by US troops

On Day 144 of the War, August 7, 2003
Violence returns to the streets of Baghdad with a vengeance when at least 11 people are killed in a massive car bomb explosion outside the Jordanian embassy. The blast leads to fears that guerrilla fighters may now be turning their attention towards so-called soft targets.
Jordanian embassy blast kills 11 in Baghdad

On Day 139 of the War, August 2, 2003
With their coffins wrapped in the Iraqi flag, but guarded by the troops of their mortal enemy, the bodies of Uday and Qusay Hussein are laid to rest in a dusty cemetery in the village where their father was born.
Tribe gathers to bury Saddam's sons

On Day 137 of the War, July 31, 2003
Around 10,000 young men have come forward to join an "Islamic army" in the holy city of Najaf, according to Muqtada al-Sadr, the fiery cleric who is trying to become the unchallengeable leader of Shia opposition.
Anti-US cleric rallies recruits for Islamic army

On Day 135 of the War, July 29, 2003
A tape recording purported to be by Saddam Hussein declares that his two sons, Uday and Qusay, died as martyrs for Iraq, and pledges that the US will be defeated.
Saddam praises dead sons

On Day 134 of the War, July 28, 2003
Tony Blair and other British ministers are accused of crimes against humanity in prosecuting the war against Iraq in a case lodged with the international criminal court by Greek lawyers.
Greeks accuse Blair of war crimes in Iraq

On Day 133 of the War, July 27, 2003
Iraqi guerrillas kill a US soldier in a grenade attack south of Baghdad, bringing the American death toll in 24 hours to five.
Iraqis kill five more US soldiers

On Day 131  of the War, July 25, 2003
Tokyo approves its biggest deployment of troops since 1945 as Washington casts around for help shouldering the post-Saddam burden.
End of an era as Japan enters Iraq

On Day 130 of the War, Thursday, July 24th
US to show corpse photos

Pictures of Saddam's sons to provide proof to Iraqis

Julian Borger in Washington
Thursday July 24, 2003
The Guardian

Graphic pictures of the bodies of Saddam Hussein's heirs, Uday and Qusay, will be released to prove to the Iraqi people that the brothers were killed by US troops, Washington announced last night.

The pictures have been described as "horrific", but Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defence secretary, argued that the US might have to show the "shocking" images because their release could undermine guerrilla groups devoted to restoring the old regime.

"The main consideration on our minds," he said, "is that it is saving the lives of American men and women who are on the line."

The US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, confirmed after a long debate in Washington that the images would be released

Saddam 'supporters' vow revenge
Video of Saddam supporters from Al-Jazeera TV
A Saddam supporter said the US would 'burn'

A group described as supporters of Saddam Hussein has appeared on the Arabic TV channel al-Jazeera.

The video footage, which the TV said was shot in an unidentified location in Iraq, shows a group of masked men brandishing assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

The men, who are also holding up a picture of Saddam Hussein, threaten to carry out attacks in the United States, Britain and Israel to avenge the deaths of the ousted Iraqi president's sons.

We will make them regret what they did to Uday and Qusay
Saddam supporter on al-Jazeera TV

"If this report about Uday and Qusay proves to be true, we will burn all of the United States," one of the men says.

"The United States, Britain and Israel will not have peace. We will carry out operations inside the United States, inside Britain, inside Israel, and inside Iraq."

"We will make them regret what they did to Uday and Qusay."

"All the Iraqis are ready, and are people of resistance. God willing, we will take revenge."

On Day 129 of the War, Wednesday, July 24th
Hoon pays visit to scientist's widow

Richard Norton-Taylor, Michael White and Nicholas Watt in Hong Kong
Thursday July 24, 2003
The Guardian

The widow of David Kelly yesterday called the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, to her Oxfordshire home to discuss the circumstances which led to the suicide of the government's senior biological and chemical weapons adviser.

The meeting took place as details emerged of Dr Kelly's status as an adviser within the defence hierarchy, fuelling the dispute between the BBC and the government, which Lord Hutton is now set to examine.

The Kelly family has complained about the biologist's treatment at the hands of the Ministry of Defence.

Mr Hoon is likely to have been questioned about his department's hotly contested role in identifying Dr Kelly, who had been warned that his name might leak out.

The defence secretary, fighting for his political survival, spent 75 minutes with Mrs Kelly at her home in Abingdon, six days after her husband's apparent suicide, which came after giving highly publicised evidence on his role - posthumously confirmed - as the prime source of the BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan.

Defence officials declined to indicate what had been discussed. But Mr Hoon routinely sees the grieving families of servicemen killed in action, if they so request it, and faces whatever concerns they may have.

"People ask some very pertinent questions," one said.

The meeting took place as a fuller picture emerged of the central role Dr Kelly played in advising the government on Iraq's chemical and biological weapons programme.

The scientist sat on a number of high-level MoD committees at which intelligence assessments were discussed. Asked whether Dr Kelly would have had access to up-to-date intelligence, a defence source replied: "Yes, it would have been no good if he had not been."

Dr Kelly did not brief Mr Hoon, who never met him. He briefed those who did. His advice had been sought by M16.

It is understood Dr Kelly was a member of a high-level working group responsible for processing intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programme and deciding what information about it could be published - for example in answer to questions from MPs.

As the government's chief chemical and biological warfare expert on Iraq he was security cleared to read sensitive intelligence material. But he was not the "senior intelligence source" claimed in some BBC reports.

As Lord Hutton, the judge appointed to investigate the handling of Dr Kelly, reads himself into the case, aides confirmed he may take some evidence before the TV cameras.

The BBC has confirmed that it has a tape of its science editor Susan Watts' interview with Dr Kelly. It will be given to Lord Hutton.

Also expected to be handed over - instead of being published today - is the transcript of Gilligan's second crossexamination by the Commons foreign affairs committee, in which he denies that MPs' claim that he had changed his story about his sources. A statement from the committee is expected at noon.

The BBC tape's confirmation that Dr Kelly had said ministers were "desperate" for information about Saddam's immediate military threat - about which Dr Kelly was sceptical - is regarded as a crucial part of its defence.

No 10 says it has no quarrel with Watts' reports, which acknowledge the crucial point: that Dr Kelly "was not disputing that the 45-minute claim was included in the dossier by the intelligence services", rather than inserted by Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's communications director, against their will.

In a separate development, Tom Kelly, No 10's spokesman, denied a Guardian report yesterday that he had been "furnishing information" which actively helped the Financial Times identify Dr Kelly.'

One of Lord Hutton's likely witnesses, Mr Blair, yesterday cut short his round-the-world trip as he fled Hong Kong a day early to escape the devastating typhoon Imbudo which has killed six people in the Philippines and threatened the safety of his flight.

On Day 128 of the War, Tuesday, July 22nd

American forces, CIA and Army, kill Uday and Qusay,Saddam Hussein's two sons. They  are killed in a raid and shoot-out at a house in Mosul, near the Syrian border.  One of the son's 14-year old boys is also killed, and a body guard during a 4-hour long assault with helicopter gunships and heavy mortar rounds.

On Day 126 of the War, Sunday, July 21, 2003
2 U.S. soldiers killed in ambush & International aid workers also ambushed

Sunday, July 20, 2003 Posted: 11:18 PM EDT (0318 GMT)
Sunday, July 20, 2003 Posted: 11:18 PM EDT (0318 GMT)

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Two U.S. soldiers were killed Sunday and another was wounded after being ambushed with small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

The attack happened west of Mosul, in northern Iraq. The three soldiers, from the 101st Airborne Division, were brought to a hospital where two of them died, U.S. military officials said. Assailants also attacked a convoy of international aid workers near Hilla, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, U.N. spokesman Ahmed Fawzi said. The driver of one vehicle was killed and another aid worker was injured when their vehicle crashed during the attack, Fawzi said.  The two vehicles in the convoy were carrying members of the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration, he said. An estimated 13,000 troops, mostly British, are in Iraq along with 148,000 U.S. troops. India was asked to contribute 17,000 troops but said it would not contribute peacekeepers unless they had U.N. backing.

Sunday's deaths brought the total Americans killed in Iraq to 92 since President Bush declared an end to major combat operations May 1. Of those, 26 deaths have occurred in July alone. Thirty-five of the 92 deaths were in hostile action.

BBC Says Dead Arms Expert Was Main Source for Disputed Report

Filed at 10:23 p.m. ET

LONDON (AP) -- Prime Minister Tony Blair said he would take full responsibility if an inquiry finds the government contributed to the suicide of scientist David Kelly -- identified Sunday by the British Broadcasting Corp. as its main source in accusing the government of hyping weapons evidence to justify war in Iraq.


Blair, dogged on his trip through east Asia by angry charges about the Ministry of Defense adviser's death, said he has no intention of resigning over the dispute, as some critics at home have demanded.

On Day 125 of the War, Saturday, July 20, 2003
Thousands of Shiites protest outside coalition headquarters in Baghdad Saturday.
Thousands of Shiites protest outside coalition headquarters in Baghdad Saturday.
On Day 124 of the War, Friday, July 19, 2003
Dr. David Kelly, British Microbiologist &  Former U.N. Arms Inspector in Iraq, is found dead near his home in England. 
Dr. Kelly was  reported missing by Thames Valley Police and a major search operation is launched in the vicinity of his home in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. The police say they are "very concerned for his wellbeing". Donald Anderson, the chairman of the foreign affairs committee, says he is "shocked" by the development  that his witness, Dr. Kelly, is missing. Dr. Kelly is later found dead, with one wrist slashed and a packet of pills found near his body. His family say he was despondent after becoming the center of the political controversy of whether the UK government had lied or seriously exaggerated the threat Iraq presented with its so-called "WMD". in order to make a strong case for going to war against Iraq. 

The scientist sat on a number of high-level MoD committees at which intelligence assessments were discussed. Asked whether Dr Kelly would have had access to up-to-date intelligence, a defence source replied: "Yes, it would have been no good if he had not been." Dr Kelly did not brief  Defense Secretary, Mr Hoon, who never met him. He briefed those who did. His advice had been sought by M16.  It is understood Dr Kelly was a member of a high-level working group responsible for processing intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programme and deciding what information about it could be published - for example in answer to questions from MPs.

As the government's chief chemical and biological warfare expert on Iraq he was security cleared to read sensitive intelligence material. But he was not the "senior intelligence source" claimed in some BBC reports.

On Day 123 of the War, Thursday, July 19, 2003

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair offered an unrepentant defense of the war in Iraq, telling members of Congress on Thursday that "history will not forgive" world leaders who fail to confront the threat posed by proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

"If we are wrong, we will have destroyed a threat that at its least is responsible for inhuman carnage and suffering. That is something I am confident history will forgive," he said. "But if our critics are wrong ... and we do not act, then we will have hesitated in the face of this menace when we should have given leadership. That is something history will not forgive."

Blair said he believes with "every fiber of instinct and conviction I have" that the U.S.-British stand in Iraq was right.

Blair's trip to the United States comes amid the contentious dispute over the veracity of intelligence reports on Iraq's banned weapons programs.

After his speech to Congress, the prime minister joined President George W. Bush at an afternoon news conference to refute suggestions that they manipulated the intelligence information to justify toppling Saddam Hussein.

"The regime of Saddam Hussein was a grave and growing threat," Bush said. "Given Saddam's history of violence and aggression, it would have been reckless to place our trust in his sanity or his restraint."

"As long as I hold this office, I will never risk the lives of American citizens by assuming the good will of dangerous enemies."

Blair also said that British intelligence information that the Iraqi regime was trying to buy uranium from the African nation of Niger was "genuine."

"We stand by that intelligence," he said. "In case people should think that the whole idea of a link between Iraq and Niger was some invention, in the 1980s, we know for sure that Iraq purchased around about 270 tons of uranium from Niger."

On Day 121 of the War, Tuesday, July 15th

Microbiologist & U.K. weapons expert Dr. David Kelly gives evidence to the foreign affairs select committee in which he denies that he was the main source for claims that Campbell "sexed up" the September dossier which  Prime Minister Blair's administration used to convince Parliament to go to War against Iraq. MPs on the committee back him in a statement saying they do not believe he is the sole source and accuse the government of treating him as a "fall guy"

Earlier during the session Dr Kelly agreed that he had met Gilligan but said he did not believe he could be the primary source.

Committee members backed his claim when they later issued a statement concluding that Dr Kelly was "most unlikely" to have been the source.

Giving nervous and faltering evidence, Dr Kelly told the committee: "I believe I am not the main source. From the conversation I had with him I don't see how he could make the authoritative statements he was making from the comments that I made."

On Day 115 of the War, July 9th
UK Defence secretary Geoff Hoon names Dr. David Kelly, a Ministry of Defence microbiologist and weapons consultant, as the source for BBC story about UK government's distortion on how serious Iraq's WMD/
UK Defence secretary Geoff Hoon names Dr. David Kelly, a Ministry of Defence microbiologist and weapons consultant, in a letter to the BBC, asking the corporation to confirm or deny whether he is the confidential source of Gilligan's story about how the British government distorted the facts regarding the seriousness of Iraq's Mass Weapons of Destruction. The BBC dismisses the demand and says the situation is descending into farce. Although Dr. Kelly's name has not been made public, in the course of the day lobby journalists become aware of his identity, and Downing Street confirms his name to the Times political reporting team. By 11.40pm, Dr. Kelly has been named on the Press Association's newswire.


On Day 100 of the War, on June 24th
Six British soldiers dead, eight hurt as a fragile peace fractures

Puzzle over death of military policemen in Iraq

Jamie Wilson, Richard Norton-Taylor, Michael White, and Michael Howard in Baghdad
Wednesday June 25, 2003
The Guardian

Six military police officers were killed and eight other soldiers wounded in two attacks in southern Iraq in the biggest setback to British forces since the war was declared officially over.

The bodies of the dead - the largest number of British military personnel to be killed by hostile fire since the war began and the first to die since April 6 - were recovered from the town of Majar al-Kabir, 15 miles south of Amara.

In an emergency statement last night the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, told the Commons that the dead soldiers had been engaged in training the local Iraqi police.

He said local information suggested they might have been involved in what he described as "an incident" at the police station.

"I regret that at this stage I am unable to provide any further details. British commanders are obviously investigating the situation as a matter of urgency," Mr Hoon said.

In a separate incident at 7.30am troops from the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment engaged in a routine patrol in the same town were ambushed by guerrilla forces.

Their two vehicles were attacked with rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machineguns and rifle fire from "a large number of Iraqi gunmen", the defence secretary told MPs.

The paratroopers returned fire and called for assistance. When a troop of Scimitar vehicles and an RAF Chinook helicopter arrived nearby they also came under fire.

Mr Hoon said eight British troops had been injured - one on the ground and seven in the helicopter - and were taken to 202 Field Hospital. Two have since been transferred to a US field hospital in Kuwait for "specialist treatment for very serious injuries".

Mr Hoon, who said an investigation was under way into whether the two attacks were connected, cautioned against reaching wider conclusions about the security situation in southern Iraq, and promised coalition forces "will not be deflected from their efforts by the enemies of peace".

But British commanders began a review of their peacekeeping tactics in the face of what one military source described as attacks from "pretty organised opposition".



On Day 98 of the War, on June 22 2003
George Bush addresses increasing national disquiet over the number of US servicemen killed in Iraq. More than a quarter of US casualties have occurred since the president declared an end to major military combat on May 1.
Bush forced to defend rising US death toll

On Day 95 of the War, on June 19 2003
One American soldier is killed and two are injured when the military ambulance they are travelling in is struck by a rocket-propelled grenade.
US soldier killed in Iraq grenade attack

On Day 94 of the War, on June 18, 2003

US troops kill demonstrator  

US troops fired on protesters here today, killing a former Iraqi soldier, as a British minister warned that lack of security 10 weeks after the fall of Baghdad was hampering rebuilding efforts.
It was the first time that US soldiers fired on a crowd of angry demonstrators in the Iraqi capital since it fell to the US-led coalition on April 9.

The crowd of up to 300 former soldiers was demonstrating at coalition headquarters in central Baghdad and started throwing stones at American troops, who opened fire, said an AFP correspondent at the scene. A US army spokesman refused to comment.

One of the protesters, Essam Mansur Hussein, a 49-year-old officer under the ousted regime, warned that they were now prepared to take up arms against the US troops occupying the city. "Every day we come to protest peacefully, but it's useless. In the coming days it will not be peaceful. They have to realise that if we have nothing to eat there will be Feyadeen (militia) operations every day.

The former soldiers were demanding payment of salaries still unpaid three weeks after the top US civil administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, officially dissolved the Iraqi army on May 23. Bremer, the top US overseer in Iraq, last month abolished the Iraqi army and the network of security services which propped up Saddam Hussein's regime, announcing that a non-political army would be created.

In London, International Development Secretary Baroness Valerie Amos said today she has postponed a trip to Iraq because of the threat of a guerrilla attack by Saddam loyalists. Amos said that the security situation in the country was hampering rebuilding efforts.


On Day 93 of the War, on June 17 2003
Scores of American troops mount new searches through Baghdad after a sniper shot dead a US solider on patrol.
Sniper adds to US toll in Iraq

On Day 91 of the War, on June 15 2003
Hundreds of American soldiers sweep through Falluja in a further, apparently more precise, operation against guerrilla resistance.
Policing Iraqis tests US troops

On Day 89 of the War, on June 13 2003
Almost 100 Iraqis are killed in two of the bloodiest attacks since the fall of Baghdad. A independent research group meanwhile says that as many as 10,000 civilian may have died in the war.
100 Iraqis killed in violent clashes
War may have killed 10,000 civilians, researchers say

On Day 88 of the War, on June 12 2003
US troops questioning about 400 suspects after the biggest military operation in Iraq since the regime collapsed two months ago.
US moves in on Iraq's resistance

On Day 86 of the War, on June 10 2003
The all-party parliamentary intelligence and security committee serves notice that it expects ministers to cooperate fully with its inquiry into Iraq's banned weapons programme.

Hans Blix, the UN chief weapons inspector, meanwhile lashes out at the "bastards" in who he says tried to undermine him throughout the three years he has held his high-profile post.
MPs chastise No 10 over 'dodgy dossier'
Blix: I was smeared by the Pentagon

On Day 84 of the War, on June 8 2003
David Blunkett becomes the most senior minister to admit publicly that Downing Street was wrong to publish the "dodgy dossier" on the military threat posed by Saddam Hussein.
Blunkett admits weapons error

On Day 82 of the War, on June 6 2003
Hans Blix hits out at the quality of intelligence given to him by the United States and Britain on Iraq's alleged chemical and biological weapons programmes. "Only in three of those cases did we find anything at all, and in none of these cases was there any weapons of mass destruction, and that shook me a bit, I must say," he says.
Blix criticises weapons intelligence

On Day 80 of the War, June 4 2003
Tony Blair rejects calls for an independent judicial inquiry into the case for the Iraq war.
Blair rules out judicial inquiry

On Day 78 of the War, June 2 2003
Tony Blair faces mounting pressure from across the House of Commons to hold an independent inquiry into the Iraq war after Clare Short levelled the incendiary allegation at the prime minister that he had lied to the cabinet.
Short: Blair lied to cabinet and made secret war pact with US

On Day 75 of the War, on May 30 2003
Military police question a British soldier about photographs of alleged "torture" of Iraqi prisoners of war, including one gagged and bound, and dangling in netting from a fork-lift truck.
Soldier arrested over Iraqi torture photos

On Day 74 of the War, on May 29 2003
Tony Blair's Iraq crisis deepens as ministers accused of distorting the findings of the chief UN weaponsinspector to support Britain's claims about Saddam weapons programme.
Ministers 'distorted' UN weapons report

On Day 72 of the War, on May 27 2003
Two US soldiers are killed and nine injured in an attack on an army checkpoint in the Iraqi town of Falluja.
Two US soldiers killed

On Day 68 of the War, May 23rd

Colonel Collins: new inquiry into how he ran regiment
Fresh claims prompt MoD to launch second investigation

Richard Norton-Taylor
Friday May 23, 2003

The Guardian

The Ministry of Defence is to conduct a far-reaching inquiry into the Royal Irish Regiment, the unit commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Collins, the officer at the centre of allegations that he seriously mistreated Iraqis in the recent war. This inquiry is entirely separate from an investigation by the military police into allegations made by a US army major that the senior British officer pistol-whipped an Iraqi civil leader - a claim the ministry suggests is an exaggeration; shot at the feet of Iraqi civilians; and shot at the tyres of vehicles when there was no threat to his soldiers.

Allegations of a culture of bullying in the Royal Irish Regiment were prompted partly by the suicide of Paul Cochrane, 18, in Armagh in 2001. His family told the Guardian they believed the army owed them a full explanation as to how a happy teenager living out his childhood dream of being a soldier was suddenly pushed to such an extreme measure. Sources spoke of an "extreme culture of bullying by some senior officers", but Col Collins did not intervene.

Earlier this month, the Northern Ireland-born officer gave an interview to the News of the World, which reported Col Collins' "legendary exploits". It described how he told a looter to stop stealing vital equipment. The man carried on, so the colonel took out his sidearm, shot out all four of the man's lorry tyres and bellowed: "What part of 'No' don't you understand?" He described Ba'ath party officials who "were threatening people who cooperated with us so we paid some of them a visit". He added: "One man found that a shot through his kitchen floor somehow helped him remember where his weapon was hidden." The Iraqi allegedly attacked by Col Collins was also subjected to a mock execution, it was reported today. Ayoub Yousif Naser, a member of Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist party, told the Times that after he was hit by the colonel he and his son were lined up facing a wall. He heard the officer give the order to fire before he saw other troops approach with bandages to treat their wounds.


On Day 67 of the War, on May 22 2003
The UN security council votes 14-0 to lift sanctions on Iraq and hand temporary control of the country to the US and Britain. Syria boycotts the vote.
UN mandate oils wheels for reconstruction of Iraq

On Day 60 of the War, on May 15 2003
Foreign secretary, Jack Straw, concedes that hard evidence of weapons of mass destruction might never be found in Iraq. He says it is "not crucially important" to find them because the evidence of wrongdoing was overwhelming.
Straw retreats on finding banned weapons

On Day 59 of the War, on May 14 2003
Human rights workers accuse the US military of failing to protect and properly excavate the largest mass grave discovered in Iraq. More than 3,000 bodies were dug up in a field near the ancient Babylonian city of Hilla, south of Baghdad.
US accused of failing to protect mass grave

On Day 58 of the War, on May 13 2003
A mass grave is found near Baghdad. It could hold the remains of up t0 15,000 people, missing since a Shiite uprising in 1991. British-trained microbiologist Dr Rihab Taha, known as "Dr Germ" for her role in Iraq's biological weapons programme, surrenders to coalition forces.
Iraq's 'Dr Germ' surrenders to coalition forces

On Day 57 of the War, on May 12 2003
The new head of the US-led interim administration arrives in Baghdad as the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, concedes that progress towards restoring order in the Iraqi capital was "not satisfactory".
New US chief takes control in Baghdad

On Day 56 of the War, on May 11 2003
Iraqi agriculture is on the brink of collapse, with fears that many of its 24.5 million people will go hungry this summer, according to a confidential report being studied by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation.
Iraq in danger of starvation, says UN

On Day 53 of the War, May 8th

2 US soldiers killed in Baghdad

Criminal courts reopen in still-perilous capital

By Charles A. Radin and Patrick Healy, Globe Staff, 5/9/2003

BAGHDAD -- Two US soldiers were killed yesterday in separate attacks in the Iraqi capital, one shot at close range as he sat in an Army vehicle and the other hit by a sniper, military officials said.

No information was available last night on the identities of the slain Americans. In one incident, a US soldier said, a man walked up to a military vehicle on a bridge, pulled out a gun, and shot the victim in the head. The soldier, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that many Iraqis had approached the Americans at the scene trying to sell them things. ''We can't tell who is a vendor and who isn't,'' the soldier said. US soldiers said that an arrest had been made in connection with the killing, but they were not clear whether the person arrested was the suspected killer. Low-flying helicopters continued to comb the area long after the incident.

In the second attack, a US soldier was killed when a sniper shot him in the head in east Baghdad, Captain Tom Bryant, spokesman for the Army's Fifth Corps, which is based at Baghdad's airport, told the Associated Press. He had no further details. McKiernan said that disarmament of Iraqi civilians is a priority for coalition forces and the reconstituted police. He said 250 truckloads of ammunition and weapons have been removed from Baghdad recently.

Autopsy suggests British cameraman killed in Gaza shot by Israeli gunfire By Peter Enav, Associated Press, 5/8/2003 08:16

JERUSALEM (AP) A British cameraman killed last week in the Gaza Strip was shot from the front, according to an autopsy that suggests he was hit by Israeli troops.

The autopsy report was released Thursday by Israel's national forensic institute.

James Miller, 34, a prize-winning documentary filmmaker, was shot in the neck Friday in the southern Gaza city of Rafah while he and his crew were filming Israeli troops on a search operation for weapons-smuggling tunnels.

Associated Press Television News footage showed the crew waving a white flag and yelling that they were British journalists as they approached an armored Israeli army bulldozer.

Witnesses said that an Israeli tank opened fire at the journalists, but the army denied that tanks were in the area. The army said it came under fire from rocket-propelled grenades and returned fire.

On Sunday, the army said that Miller had been shot from behind, raising the possibility that he had been shot by Palestinian gunmen, not Israeli troops.

But the forensic institute said Thursday an autopsy showed that Miller had been shot from the front. The army said Thursday that it had not received the report and had no comment.

The local Foreign Press Association, the British Foreign Office, the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders and the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists have called for investigations into Miller's death.

On Day 50 of the War
BBC News, Monday, May 5, 2003
James Miller was well-respected

 In the southern troublespot of Rafah on the Gaza Strip, British journalist, cameraman James Miller, 34, from Devon, England was shot in the back while filming a documentary. The award-winning journalist was filming a documentary on the effect of terrorism on children for the American cable giant HBO.The killing of reporters in war zones should be made a new war crime after his death.  

Initial findings from an Israeli Defence Forces investigation into the affair indicate that the correspondent was shot in the back, with sources suggesting that he may have been hit by Palestinian gunfire. 

Another Briton who had been with Mr Miller said they were waving a white flag and moving towards an Israeli armoured vehicle when it opened fire.  Aidan White, general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists, said the Israeli army must not be allowed to "brush aside" Mr Miller's death with their "routine and callous expressions of regret".  The Israeli army said it had returned fire after being attacked by rocket-propelled grenades and expressed "sorrow at a civilian death".

But a spokesman added: "It must be stressed a cameraman who knowingly enters a combat zone, especially at night, endangers himself."

Palestinians show their solidarity
Palestinian journalists have showed their support

Mr White, whose federation operates on behalf of about 500,000 journalists globally, said there must be a full inquiry into Mr Miller's death, a call echoed by the Foreign Office.

On Day 42 of the War, Wednesday, April 30th
Al Fallujah,, Iraq--
There were more Killings in  Al Fallujah, the "City of Mosques", as U.S. troops fired into a crow of Iraqui civilians. As the crowds became louder and more insistent, the American troops fired into the crowd and killed 13 people and injured more than 20 more according to doctors at the local hospital. The American troops said they were fired on; but all other witnesses at the scene denied the gunfire came from the demonstrators. Today, 2 more people were killed and more injured, with the Muslims of Al Fallujah and the city officials saying no one shot at the Americans, the American troops claiming otherwise.
On Day 28 of the War, Wednesday, April 16th
Three Iraqis were killed and 11 wounded during a shooting in Mosul, and some victims said U.S. troops shot at them. A Marine sergeant denied that, saying American troops shot back after coming under fire from nearby gunmen. So Many deaths since our Peace Vigil in Marblehead on the Eve of War, one month ago, March 16th.
On Day 27 of the War, Tuesday April 15th
Iraquis demonstrate against a meeting to rebuild war-torn Iraq to be held in Nasariyah.
Hundreds of Iraqui Shia's demonstrated , saying their leaders had not been invited to the meeting.
On Day 26 of the War on Iraq, Monday, April 14, 2003
(right) a US soldier sits in a chair at Uday, Saddam's private wing in Baghdad's main presidential palace. 
The Baghdad Library was burned by mobs.
The damage is great, the loss stupefying to the residents
of Baghdad, who plead for our armies to stop
he wanton destruction of the city.
It was revealed by a Harvard University Busch Reisinger Museum archaelogist today that scholars of art and antiquities for the middle east had met with the Bush administration before the bombing of Baghdad began, and the U.S. government had promised to preserve and protect Iraq's National Museum, which houses one of the greatest art collections in the world. They are deeply disturbed that nothing was done to protect these priceless art objects, in age up to 3,000 years old.  Professor Elizabeth Stone of SUNY reveals that we may never recover the thousands of Mesopotamian  sculptures and inscribed stone reliefs. These priceless art objects were stolen by a highly professional group, armed with glass cutters and  special detonating devices to blow off vault doors.  Not one American tank nor one American soldier was present when the art thieves  entered the museum under cover of the looting mobs --they knew exactly which pieces were real, and which were copies, and only stole the valuable items.  See further  notes on the looting of the museum in my "War Crimes" essay.

On Day 23 of the War on Iraq, Friday, April 11, 2003

  • The Iraq National Museum was looted. The museum featured priceless artifacts dating back more than 5,000 B.C. Reporters visiting it found empty glass cases, many of them smashed, and bits of broken pottery and sculpture.

  • Residents in a Baghdad neighborhood complained that U.S. soldiers haven't cleared cluster bombs dropped during the war. The residents said three people were killed and one injured trying to pick up them up.
  • U.S. Brigadier General Vincent Brooks holds up a deck of playing cards with pictures of Iraquis most wanted by the U.S. The deck will be issued to help troops recognize the faces of personalities "they can pursue, capture of kill".

Are we playing with a full deck?

What is going on in the minds of these Pentagon people that they think it's cute to not only demonize Iraqui leaders, but to invoke card-game symbolism  for a process that is serious, monumental, and has grave effect on  the  international rule of law, for human rights, and for a country's ability to maintain its own autonomy? All of these serious issues are glossed over  and characterized as trivial  by the Pentagon's issuing a deck of playing cards. Our government is actively engaged  in the killing of national leaders and the occupation by our armies, and then the "replacement" of  the "despised and discredited" regime (by us) with individuals and groups we help to put in place. Since the military's seizure of major cities in Iraq, "our behavior" (coalition political and military leaders' behavior )   illustrates a contempt for the Iraqui people and culture.  Our  coalition "leaders"  stand by, allowing and encouraging frenzied mobs of poor, oppressed, uneducated men to ransack and destroy Iraqui society's assets  -- its schools, mosques , doctors' offices, research scientists' laboratories, professional offices, and most symbolically -- the ransacking of the national Museum's vaults of all the priceless art tresures and rare, irreplaceable artifacts from civilizations 5,000 years old. We are like the Goths, the Visigoths, and the Vandals,  sacking the city. The mindless mentality of the conqueror.

War Crimes -- Massive Bombings and the Sacking of Bagdad 

The sacking of Bagdad was committed by our military forces, de facto, by allowing frenzied mobs to loot and vandalize.  This is a war crime. Especially, the destruction of the National Art Museum. Great Centers of art and antiquities which house such treasures, like the National Museum in Bagdad, are protected by the Geneva Convention. During World War II, it was agreed by all parties not to bomb or shell Florence, Italy, and the world's great art treasures were preserved.  Even without the looting and vandalizing behavior which occurred this week, the United States and Great Britain and other  coalition governments were already guilty of violating the Geneva Convention.  Blair and Bush are responsible for destroying these priceless cultural treasures, by the reckless and wanton, indiscriminate  massive bombings of Bagdad. The bombs themselves were so heavy, so powerful, weighing often up to 2,000 pounds each,  that they  created enormous vibrations that cracked and shattered the fragile artwork which had survived thousands of years.  Thousands of pieces in the museum's vaults weredamaged beyond repair by the bombings alone -- artifacts from Mesopotamia, Sumeria, Babylon, the cradle of all civilization.  What have we become?  --mcw. 

On Day 20 of the War on Iraq, Tuesday, April 8, 2003
Pentagon sources says that over 30,000 bombing sorties have been flown.


Battle of Bagdahd
left:  warriors resting in Hussein's bombed out palace
below:   Today, three journalists died and three were wounded in three separate incidents in Bagdad.  Left,  Al-Jezeera TV anchor  moments before he was killed by U.S. forces when the Al Jezeera Media Headquarters  was bombed. Right, a Spanish  cameraman is fatally wounded at the Palestine Hotel which came under shelling by U.S. tanks. The third incident reportedly involved the American bombing of Abu Dabi television station.


On Day Nineteen of the War On Iraq, Monday, April 7th
Are we feeling liberated yet?


April 7th from the Los Angeles Times:
Today  Police fired on unarmed citizens protesting the War on Iraq in Oakland,  California.  The police fired "Sting Balls" and "Wooden Batons"on the more than 500 protestors at the Oakland Port. More than one dozen protestors and six longshoremen were injured.  31 were arrested. Read the story below:


Is this the best we can do?
On the Tenth Day of War, Saturday, March 29th
*Coalition has dropped 6,000 precision-guided bombs
*U.S. has fire 675 Tomohawk cruise  missiles
*Coalition warplanes have flown more than 1,000 missions
 women of Basra lined up by U.S. Marines
 in a "security checkpoint" as they attempt
to flee the seige of Basra
*On Monday, March 31, soldiers opened fire at a vehicle  killing seven women and children and wounding two. The four other occupants of the vehicle were unhurt, according to the Pentagon.  William Branigin of the Washington Post says the vehicle contained 15 people, of whom 10 were killed and two seriously injured.  He also reports that soldiers at the checkpoint failed to fire warning shots in time. "You just [expletive] killed a family because you didn't fire a warning shot soon enough!" the paper quotes Captain Ronny Johnson as telling his platoon leader.


Left:   residents of Basra
flee the city on March 31, 2003
For more information on the status
of civilians in Iraq and the impact
this war has on their lives,
please check out the websites
listed below.

Doctors Without Borders. Good source for info on the humanitarian crisis inside Iraq and cost to human Iraqui lives.

"People Have the Power "  -- Feb 15th 2003
A spontaneous expression  by the citizens of the world,
 against War and against the destruction of   Our Sacred Mother Earth

below: Hyde Park, London       Madrid        Rome 
Istanbul,             Berlin,                 Amsterdam, 


above: London,       Dublin,         
below: Amsterdam,      Glasgow,      Athens over 800,000

row 1: Prague, New York & Los Angeles
row 2: Jakarta, Indonesia & Hattiesburg, Mississippi
row 3: Women of Bagdad and  and Seoul, South Korea



Arabs and Israelis together protest
the proposed War against Iraq
in Tel Aviv, February 15, 2003


Greenpeace Flag flies high
over Auckland on the day
of the start of the
America's Cup Race

below: London, Wellington, New Zealand, Bordeaux, France 


above: Shetland Islands,    Tokyo,    Kuala Lampur


Consider the Parallels with Vietnam

An Iraq War & Occupation Glossary


July 11, 2003 from "Counterpunch", a web zine

As the war in Iraq grinds on and American casualties mount, the situation there is increasingly coming to resemble the one in Vietnam some 35-40 years ago. We even have a Defense Secretary who, like Robert McNamara before him, is an over-confident egotist devoid of self-doubt and incapable of tolerating criticism, and who thinks himself so brilliant that he can outsmart a popular insurgency and overpower it with fancy weaponry. What makes this historic parallel particularly haunting is the return of terminology, some of which hasn't been heard in years. To help readers understand likely future developments in Iraq, here is a glossary of some of those terms:

Guerrilla war -- An unconventional conflict, in which the enemy can hide among the people, popping out to fire on U.S. soldiers and ducking back before he or she can be challenged or identified. Are we in a guerrilla war in Iraq? Ask Don Rumsfeld. His denials are starting to sound like his claims before the war about WMD's: empty.

Quagmire -- A sticky situation in which the military cannot hope to win victory, but cannot retreat for fear of losing the entire warSand face. Is Iraq becoming a quagmire? The latest testimony by Rumsfeld and Gen. Tommy Franks (who has, it is worth noting, quit his post as head of the military in Iraq before things can get worse and damage his reputation), is that at least 150,000 troops will be needed in Iraq "indefinitely."

Body count -- A tally of how many of our guys and their guys get killed each day. The U.S. body count has been averaging about one a day until recently, but now we're starting to see two people a day get hit, and larger-scale attacks are becoming more common. We haven't been getting the enemy body counts that used to be de rigeur (and massively inflated) at Pentagon press conferences during the Vietnam War, but as the U.S. body count mounts, the pressure will rise on the Pentagon to respond to public dismay by showing that the "score" of dead is always in our favor. (Obviously, the fact that 10 times as many Vietnamese troops were dying as Americans didn't affect the outcome of that conflict, any more than it is likely to affect the outcome of this one.)

Light at the end of the tunnel -- This gloomy image was popular for years in the White House and Pentagon during the interminable Indochina conflict. We haven't heard it used yet with respect to Iraq, but if "quagmire" starts to be more in vogue, can this grizzled phrase be far behind?

Search and Destroy -- This was a favorite tactic of U.S. forces in Vietnam. It had the effect of killing the occasional Vietcong or Vietcong sympathizer as well as many innocents. It also had the effect of driving entire rural populations into the arms of Vietnamese insurgents. Search and destroy efforts in Iraq are already having the same effect, as innocent bystanders get killed in droves each time the U.S. mounts a campaign. (Search and destroy is likely to be even more counterproductive as a strategy in Iraq than it was in Southeast Asia, given the Arab culture's tradition of eye-for-eye vengeance.)

Allies -- As in the Indochina War, the U.S. in Iraq is twisting arms to compel a few weak client states (in the Vietnam era it was Korea and Australia, now it's Poland, Bulgaria and maybe India, a particularly weird choice given that nation's fundamentalist Hindu government and its militant crackdown against Muslims), to send a token few troops to make the occupation and counterinsurgency look like an international effort. This is, in other words, not your grandfather's allies of World War II.

Letting Iraqi boys defend Iraq -- Nixon's "secret plan" to end the Vietnam War was to "Vietnamize" it. The strategy proved a dismal failure, because he was trying to get a corrupt government to battle committed nationalists. Current plans to create a new Iraqi army of 40,000 to fight with U.S. troops against Iraqi resistance are unlikely to fare any better. (Sound familiar? For a preview of how well it works, check out the performance of the new American-made Afghan "army.")

Winning hearts and minds -- This was what U.S. military efforts in Vietnam were supposed to accomplish. The idea was that somehow by napalming villages, terrorizing populations with high-tech weapons, defoliating cropland and littering it with hair-trigger anti-personnel bomblets, and then after all that distributing some goodies--chocolate bars, medicine and food rations for example--the people's hearts and minds would won over to the U.S. effort. This of course never happened in Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia. Now we're attempting the same thing in Iraq, where similar actions can be expected to produce similar results.

Vietnam Syndrome -- This term came into vogue among Republicans and neo-con Democrats directly after the U.S. defeat in Indochina. The idea was that the loss in Vietnam had soured American policy makers and the public on foreign military actions of any kind. The Bush administration's war-mongering in Afghanistan and Iraq was supposed to drive a stake through that syndrome, by offering an example of successful use of military force in promoting American foreign policy. With Afghanistan quickly returning to its pre-invasion condition of feuding warlords and anarchy (and continuing to prove a hospitable place for Al Qaida-type terrorists), and with Iraq becoming a guerrilla war quagmire that the U.S. has little hope of actually "winning," it seems Bush, Rumsfeld and National Security Director Condoleeza Rice are well on their way to reviving the syndrome, though it will probably eventually get a name change, to Iraq Syndrome. Another variant of Vietnam Syndrome was The Lessons of Vietnam, a phrase more popular among liberals). The irony is that the "lesson" of Vietnam (which was supposedly taken to heart too by Secretary of State Colin Powell), was that the U.S. should not get involved in future wars unless the objective was clear and the public was solidly behind it. Yet here we have a war that, like Vietnam, was entered into based on a series of lies to the American public, and that, like Vietnam, has no clear objective. Eventually, thousands of Iraqi and American deaths hence, we will, sadly, no doubt also be hearing about the Lessons of Iraq.

Peace with honor -- This was the semantic contortion that Richard Nixon attempted to use to disguise America's embarrassing defeat by the peasant army of Vietnam. Again, as the American public loses patience with the continued slaughter of American troops in Iraq, and the lack of progress there towards some resolution of the conflict, we can expect Bush and Rumsfeld to come up with some version of peace with honor to describe their eventual humbling retreat from Iraq.

Escalation -- During the Vietnam war, escalation was the term used for upping the intensity of the fighting. Whenever the U.S. found itself starting to lose the war, presidents, from Kennedy to Nixon would "escalate" the U.S. effort, adding troops and expanding the field of battle, first to North Vietnam, then to Laos, and finally to Cambodia. The more they escalated, the worst they got trounced. We're already hearing the term escalation applied now to Iraq. So far, it's the Iraqi resistance that has been escalating the fighting since the collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime. Inevitably, though, unless the U.S. decides to declare peace with honor and quit Iraq, we can expect to see the U.S. begin escalating the counterinsurgency effort, with the addition of more troops and more aggressive search and destroy tactics.

The Draft -- One big difference between the Vietnam War and the current war in Iraq is that during the decades of the Southeast Asian conflict, the U.S. had a draft, and consequently an almost unlimited supply of soldiers to throw into battle. The U.S. military now, which numbers about 1 million, is largely dependent for front-line combatants upon reservists and National Guardsmen. Already some one-third of U.S. forces are directly committed to the war effort in Iraq, counting the 150,000 actually stationed in Iraq, and the 200,000 who play supporting roles in Kuwait and other regional countries. Given the enormous back-office operation required by today's technologically complex, highly bureaucratic, and managerially top-heavy U.S. military, there is actually little in the way of more troops that could be assigned to this conflict should it escalate in intensity. Moreover, with morale crumbling among the reservists and guard troops in Iraq, most of whom are older than typical soldiers in a draft army, and who have left behind jobs and families, the U.S. is facing a serious manpower crisis, just in terms of replacing current troops in the field. If it doesn't turn to a draft, it will have a hard time recruiting more reservists and guard troops, since most people join those units to make a little extra money, not to actually have to go overseas and fight. If it does restart the draft, popular support for war, such as it is--in Iraq or anywhere in the world--will evaporate completely. (The mechanism for a draft--the Selective Service office and local draft boards, and a lottery machine to allocate priority numbers by birthdate--is already in place, and a national call-up could happen within 30 days of a Congressional vote authorizing a return to compulsory service.)


Members of Iraq's Governing Council, from left, Karim Mahud Hattab al-Mahamadawi, Ahmed Chalabi, Jalal Talabani and Adnan Pachachi discuss the transition agreement at a news conference in Baghdad. A constitution will be drafted, and elections for a permanent government would be held by Dec. 31, 2005. (Mauricio Lima -- AFP)
Plan to End Occupation Could Trim U.S. Force

By Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, November 16, 2003; Page A01

BAGHDAD, Nov. 15 -- Iraq's Governing Council and the American occupation authority agreed Saturday on the terms of a radical new plan for the country's political transition that would end the U.S.-led occupation by July 1 and could facilitate a significant withdrawal of U.S. troops next year.

In a major revision of the Bush administration's earlier political blueprints, the new plan authorizes the creation of a provisional national assembly that would assume sovereignty and serve as Iraq's interim government until a constitution is written and elections are held. The administration had demanded that a constitution be drafted and elections convened before a transfer of power, a process that could have stretched into 2005.

Although the creation of the assembly will result in the dissolution of the U.S.-appointed Governing Council, its leaders nevertheless hailed the accelerated handover of sovereignty as a victory for Iraqis. "This is a feast for the Iraqi people," said Jalal Talabani, a Kurdish leader who holds the council's rotating presidency. "This is what Iraqi people were dreaming to have."

Much of the work of organizing the provisional administration will fall to the council, whose leaders pledged to establish a government that would respect human rights, ensure religious freedom and provide for the separation of executive, legislative and judicial powers. The agreement, which calls for members of the national assembly to be chosen in caucuses in each of Iraq's 18 provinces, appears certain to resurrect political discourse that had been suffocated during 35 years of dictatorial rule by former president Saddam Hussein's Baath Party.

But just as it speeds up the political transition, the process will introduce a new level of uncertainty for the U.S. government. By ceding sovereignty to a provisional administration, the United States will lose veto power over the content of Iraq's constitution and the shape of the government. The Bush administration also will have no guarantee that formerly exiled Iraqi political leaders, with which it has long cultivated ties, will be chosen in the caucuses.

"When sovereignty is transferred, sovereignty is transferred," a senior White House official said. But the official added that the administration expects to have "a good working relationship" with the provisional government.

U.S. officials expressed optimism that transferring power over the summer would help quell anger over the occupation and reduce attacks on U.S. forces, which have become more frequent in recent weeks. The establishment of a provisional government also would result in Iraqi security forces taking over more responsibilities from U.S. troops.

"It's going to have an enormous impact," a senior U.S. official in Baghdad said. "The political dimension of the security strategy is as important as the military dimension."

The midyear handover would enable President Bush to head into the 2004 election with a much smaller -- and less vulnerable -- contingent of U.S. forces in Iraq. Under Saturday's accord with the Governing Council, the United States would sign an agreement with the provisional government that would stipulate the size and function of the U.S. force in Iraq after June, although U.S. officials expressed confidence that the new government would endorse a continued U.S. military presence. Pentagon officials have said they want to base tens of thousands of soldiers in Iraq for the next few years.

Talabani said U.S. troops would remain as "invited guests," but he added that precise details on the size of the force and its role would have to be worked out with the U.S. government. Adnan Pachachi, another council member, said the negotiations would be "between two sovereign powers."

Bush welcomed the new plan in a statement issued by the White House, calling it "an important step toward realizing the vision of Iraq as a democratic, pluralistic country at peace with its neighbors."

The agreement was reached Saturday afternoon after a lengthy meeting at Talabani's riverfront villa between council members and the U.S. administrator of Iraq, L. Paul Bremer. "It was a very spirited discussion," the senior U.S. official said.

The plan to create the provisional government was proposed to the council by Bremer. The new approach, crafted by Bremer with input from the Pentagon and the National Security Council, was approved by Bush and other top administration officials during Bremer's visit to Washington last week, U.S. officials said.

Although the council's nine presidents had generally endorsed the creation of the provisional government in a meeting on Friday, several members sought to debate various aspects of the plan. In the end, however, the council reached a consensus to support it, Iraqis and Americans in attendance said.

Iraq War Diary -- Wednesday September 24, 2003
Iraq: the reality and rhetoric

Rory McCarthy reports from al-Jisr, scene of the killing of three farmers at hands of US troops

The Guardian

It was the middle of the night when the crack paratroopers from America's 82nd Airborne Division arrived outside Ali Khalaf's farmhouse in the parched fields of central Iraq.

Some of the family were asleep on mattresses in the dirt yard outside the single-storey house. Ali's brother Ahmad lay there with his wife, Hudood, 25, and their two young sons and so they were the first to hear the soldiers as they approached the house at around 2am yesterday.

"We heard voices and so my husband went out to check what was happening. We thought they were thieves," said Hudood. "My husband shouted at them and then immediately they started shooting."

By the family's account, the troops of the 82nd Airborne - known proudly as the "All American" - opened up a devastating barrage of gunfire lasting for at least an hour. When the shooting stopped, three farmers were dead and three others were injured, including Hudood's two sons, Tassin, 12, and Hussein, 10.

Yesterday a US military spokesman in Baghdad, Specialist Nicole Thompson, insisted that the troops came under attack from "unknown forces". The "unknown forces" ran into a building, which was surrounded by the troops who then called in an air strike. "I can confirm at least one enemy dead," she said.

The US military has chosen not to count the civilian casualties of the war in Iraq. But while more than 300 US soldiers have now been killed since the invasion to topple Saddam in March, thousands more Iraqis have died.

The US military likes to advertise its achievements: how their patrols in the troubled town of Falluja, a few minutes drive from Ali Khalaf's farmhouse, hand out colouring books and repaint schools and how elsewhere they repair broken water mains and sewage plants.

Most of the time it matters little. In the heartlands of central Iraq, home to the Sunni Muslim minority, and now too in the Shia-dominated provinces of the south, there is less and less sympathy for the American military and their allies.

The growing wave of frustration comes only in part from the few loyalists who still fight for Saddam Hussein and increasingly from a population affronted and humiliated by the same American tactics employed yesterday.

Though Sunnis, Ali Khalaf's family can have benefited little from Saddam's rule. Their homes are humble, with little electricity and only brackish drinking water. Five brothers share a few acres of farmland where they grow just enough wheat and cucumbers to survive.

As mourners gathered in a tent outside the farm yesterday, the family walked through the yard, enclosed by a brick wall and pointed out where the "enemy dead" were killed.

"There was no shooting from the house. It was the soldiers who shot at us," said Hudood. "There was so much firing and shelling we couldn't even get out of the farm."

Four thin mattresses still lay in the open air, close to the house and stained in blood. Just a few feet away were two large craters caused, the family explained, by missile strikes from the jet fighters called in as air support. The two young boys were injured on the mattresses and then carried bravely inside by Hudood.

Together the family tried to count the number of bullet holes in the wall of the farmhouse that bore the brunt of the attack. There were at least 90, perhaps 100. Outside in the fields lay dozens of the small 5.56mm bullet casings cast out by the US military's M16 assault rifles.

It was probably one of these bullets which hit Ali Khalaf in the chest. He crawled inside the first room of the farmhouse apparently looking for a strip of cloth to improvise a bandage.

He slumped to the floor just below the shattered glass window and next to an old wooden chest and there he died. A large pool of his blood lay caked to the floor of the room yesterday, chunks of plaster torn off the wall by the gunfire lay close by.

Hudood rushed her children into the second room of the farmhouse. She sat on the ground next to the bed with her children

"I covered my children in my arms and brought them close to my chest. I covered them with blankets, I thought perhaps it would help protect them," Hudood said. "They are just small children. One of them said to me: 'Don't cry mummy. We have got God with us.'"

Next to her on the floor was her cousin Saadi Faqri, 30, who was staying in the house and ran to help her. During the shooting, a rocket or a large piece of shrapnel ripped through the wall of the bedroom, past Hudood and the children, and struck Saadi in the chest. He slumped on the floor and died.

The third man to die, Salem Khalil, 40, was a neighbour who came running to help when he heard the shooting. His body was found lying on the ground outside.

Eventually the shooting stopped, the soldiers pulled back and then they called in the air strike. At least seven missiles were fired but only one hit the house, tearing through the ceiling of an unoccupied storeroom.

Yesterday morning the villagers of al-Jisr gathered to bury their dead in the large graveyard by the main road. At the same time, US military officers arrived at the farmhouse, took photographs, gathered shell casings and, through a translator, briefly apologised to the family. The words meant little.

"My brother was a polite and decent man. He was poor and we had only enough farmland to survive," said Ali Khalaf's brother Zaidan, who lives nearby.

"None of us are interested in politics, none of us worked in Saddam's regime. We got nothing from Saddam.

"I swear we don't have any weapons in our homes and we don't have any intention to fight the Americans. But the Americans have become a heavy weight on our shoulders. They don't respect human beings, they humiliate the Iraqi people. They promised freedom and democracy. Is it freedom to kill people, make bloodshed and destroy our house? Is that what they mean by freedom?"


Interview with Neville Watson: Life in Baghdad  this
Neville Watson, Iraq Peace Team


7 April 2003

Neville Watson is a lawyer and Uniting Church Minister from Australia and is presently with the Iraq Peace Team in Baghdad. He answered a series of questions for IPT.

Question: What is life like for you in Baghdad?

Neville Watson: It's not all that bad. The bombing is frightening at first, especially when you feel the building move beneath your feet. Some of the bombs seem to burst in the air. Others seem to come up from underneath your feet. Some of the group go to the basement each night. Others of us stay in our rooms on the basis that average Iraqis have no basement in their homes. The idea of us being here is to be with the Iraqi people in some small way as they suffer an unjust, unnecessary, and unconscionable war.

Question: Are you still free to move around?

Neville Watson: No. No longer! It's a lock down situation and we can only go out with a minder. The Iraqi people are as gracious as ever and when I go shopping there is always much laughter and good naturedness. I came across the first touch of hostility the other day when I was visiting a hospital and the father of an injured little 5 year old said with feeling: In the name of democracy you kill our children!, which was a fair comment. All I could do was to say I am sorry. I am so very sorry., and in so doing I fulfilled one of the reasons for me being up here, to apologise for the brutality of the Australian Government. What we in the Iraq Peace Team are trying to do is to identify with the suffering of the Iraqi people and apologise for our part in it.

Q: Has there been much damage from the bombing?

Neville Watson: A lot. The accuracy of bombs and missiles is as over-rated as they were in the Gulf War, and when they go astray they cause terrific damage. The death and the personal injury to innocent civilians is horrific and it disturbs me that it is not being shown on television in America and Australia. This is a deliberate strategy of the military machine and the establishment, because if people generally saw the mangled and burned bodies of innocent women and children they would demand a stop to the war.

Q: Have you personally seen instances of the damage?

Neville Watson: Of course. We have visited many hospitals and many sites. That is the advantage of being up here. Where you stand determines what you see, and we see a terrible lot of suffering. This isn't a war against Saddam Hussein. It is a war against the country of Iraq and its people. I don't know who the genius was who dreamed up the phrase Shock and Awe for this senseless bombing but it certainly is shocking.

Q: The Generals say that they try and avoid civilian casualties...

Neville Watson: I do not doubt this but civilian casualties are the name of the game. When war is waged it is not soldiers who are the primary casualties, it is women and children. Look up the statistics of any war. No politicians, no generals, some soldiers and tens of thousands of innocent women and children. Don't talk about 'war crimes' to me. War itself is the crime because it destroys the lives of innocent men women and children.

Q: Are you sure that the damage was caused by American and not Iraqi missiles?

Neville Watson: As sure as I can read. We recovered parts of missiles with part numbers on them and the words Radom not paint. I've no idea what radom is but it certainly isn't Arabic.

Q: What would be your chief concern at the moment?

Neville Watson: I think it would be the hypocrisy and the distortion of the facts by the Americans. Let me give one of a dozen examples I could give. Donald Rumsfeld says that showing prisoners of war on television is against the Geneva Convention. This is the guy who runs Guantanamo Bay which is the most blatant violation of the Geneva Convention of the century. The occupants there are now killing themselves as they recognise they are forgotten people with neither military nor human rights. They are nobodies. Showing prisoners of war on television may be distasteful but it sure beats Guantanamo Bay!

Q: Where do you see Australia fitting in all of this?

Neville Watson: It's very sad. Australia wasn't included in the Azores summit because it is obvious to all that Australia is now adequately represented by the United States. Our Prime Minister is now reduced to fatuous phrases like It is in the national interest. What nation? We have sold our birthright for a free trade agreement. The Australian of the year for me is the pilot who refused to drop his bombs on non military targets. He is the toast of the Iraq Peace Team and I am basking in his glory. I'd very much like to know his name so that at his court martial he gets good legal representation for what was a courageous and legal action.

Q: How long will you be up there?

Neville Watson: I do not know. Nobody knows what is going to happen. Our aim is to be a nonviolent presence in a very violent place. We share a common humanity with the Iraqi people and as my ten year old granddaughter says, our aim is to comfort the Iraqi people as the Americans bomb them. How long that is going to be? I do not know but they are sure copping it at the moment. And if the Americans think that they can win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people by bombing them, the only ones they are fooling are themselves.


Baghdad's hospitals in crisis

Last Updated:  Monday, 7 April, 2003, from the BBC

An injured man arrives at the al-Kindi hospital in Baghdad
The wards were already full before last Saturday's US incursion
Hospitals in Baghdad are being overwhelmed by new patients, are running out of medicine and are short of water and electricity, the Red Cross has said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which is still operating in Baghdad, says the war is stretching the capital's medical resources to their limit.

Around the city, casualties have been admitted on an average of 100 per hour, with staff working day and night.

Wards at the five major hospitals treating wounded were already overflowing with injured when American troops made their first incursion on Saturday.

Surgeons have been working round the clock for two days... Conditions are terrible
Roland Huguenin-Benjamin, Red Cross spokesman

Medicines such as analgesics, antibiotics, anaesthetics and insulin, as well as surgical items are now running out.

ICRC spokesman Roland Huguenin-Benjamin said of the al-Kindi hospital in north-eastern Baghdad: "Surgeons have been working round the clock for the past two days and most are exhausted. Conditions are terrible.

"You could hear very close range explosions. The windows are rattling from the thud of explosions."

Al-Kindi was the only hospital the ICRC could reach on Monday.

Mr Huguenin-Benjamin said hospitals were now relying on generators and that getting clean water to patients was a priority.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned of a health emergency both in Baghdad and in the country as a whole.

Work suspended

The struggle to treat the injured in Baghdad has been complicated further by the disappearance of two aid workers from Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in Baghdad.

Vulnerable people
Woman visitor at Baghdad's al-Kindi hospital
Almost half of Iraqis are aged under 18 and many suffered malnutrition before the war began
Most Iraqi families are entirely dependent on monthly food handouts - due to run out by May

MSF's head of mission in the city, 43-year-old Frenchman François Calas, and Ibrahim Younis, a 31-year-old logistician of Sudanese descent, were last seen on Wednesday.

In a statement released on Monday, MSF said it had to assume that Iraqi officials were holding the two men.

The four remaining members of the six-strong MSF team are still in the Iraqi capital.

MSF's Martyn Broughton told BBC News Online that the team had suspended its work at al-Kindi in response to the disappearance.

Stephen Crawshaw, director of Human Rights Watch in London, told the BBC he was concerned at possible siege tactics in Baghdad, as they might involve "starvation and failure to have access to water".

"It is certainly worrying if we hear talk of ways of prosecuting this war where the concerns of civilians are, if you like, put to one side," he said.

The US military command has talked of "isolating" Baghdad, where the Iraqi Government is still putting up resistance, rather than storming it.

Limited success

ICRC spokeswoman in Geneva, Antonella Notari, told the BBC the organisation might need to bring extra supplies into Baghdad from warehouses in Iran, Kuwait, Jordan or Syria, depending on the length of the fighting, the number of new casualties and security guarantees.

Man admitted to al-Kindi hospital
Hospitals are relying on generators and have fears over water supply

In general, aid agencies have had only limited success in shipping food relief to Iraq, notably to the Kurdish north, although a United Nations team is now assessing conditions at the deep-water port of Umm Qasr in the south.

Caroline Hurford, a public information officer at the UN World Food Programme's Cyprus-based office for Iraq, told BBC News Online that food aid was reaching the north but security concerns were holding up deliveries in the south.

Some 25,000 people in rural areas have received wheat flour - the critical commodity for Iraqis - since lorries carrying 850 metric tons reached Dahuk at the weekend, and a further 1,000 tons is on its way to Irbil.

The WFP has about 30,000 tons of food aid ready to be moved into the south of Iraq, but is waiting for security clearance at Umm Qasr.

The UN's children's agency Unicef has been tankering water to hospitals and other facilities in the area between Umm Qasr and Basra for several days, Anis Salem, Unicef's communications chief in Amman, told BBC News Online.

Tanker drivers report that with electricity down in many areas, hospitals are badly affected and cases of diarrhoea among children are on the increase.



Monday, April 7th, 2003
from "Doctors Without Borders"
Press Release: April 4
MSF Without News of Two Team Members in Baghdad

Paris, April 4, 2003 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) confirms being without news of two members of its team in Baghdad, reported missing since Wednesday evening (April 2). The four other members of the team are safe.

These two volunteers belong to the 6-person team that has been present in Baghdad for several weeks. The team provided medical help to the medical staff of Al-Kindi hospital, in the northeast of the capital. All activities of MSF in Iraq have been suspended.

At this point, MSF is not able to provide further information.

News Update: April 1
Report From Baghdad

Last week, a team from the international medical humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) joined their medical colleagues at the 250-bed Al-Kindi General Hospital in northeast Baghdad to help treat emergency injured patients. A surgeon, anesthesiologist, and emergency physician from MSF became integrated into a surgical and medical team, and will work 24-hour shifts every other day. On Tuesday April 1, one doctor, Morten Rostrup, President of MSF International, spoke to MSF through a journalist from Baghdad:

For two days last week, when the sandstorm raged, you couldn't see for more than 200 meters, and sand was everywhere - in our eyes, ears, sand in our throats. And then there's smoke from oil fires that ring the city. By chance, rain cleared the air, but the bombings continue.

The atmosphere has changed. When the war started, people in Baghdad tried to live a normal life, hoping to keep a pattern in a bizarre situation. But tensions are rising and the bombings intensify.

We've seen some wounded so far, a range of civilian casualties, from very light wounds, to major traumas warranting operations, and some deaths. A lot of the injuries are from flying debris and metal pieces. It's difficult to judge when examining a patient whether bombs or anti-aircraft fire caused the injuries.

A few days ago, parts of a wall fell on one woman, fracturing several bones in her face. Luckily there was no cerebral hemorrhaging. Yesterday, the hospital admitted 19 casualties, including several children. One child died in the operating theatre, while 3 other patients died shortly after arriving at the hospital. The main traumas were from shrapnel. Two days before we were present for two operations on boys who had shrapnel injuries in the abdomen. Luckily, there was no perforation of the intestines, just some less serious injuries of the liver and kidneys. These casualties frustrate and distress the team.

The psychological trauma and shock from explosions has resulted in shock syndromes and stress-related chest pain, breathing problems, and strokes. We've seen an increase in heart attacks, as well. The situation is very tense and people are worried, they're afraid, they're staying in their homes, and most of the shops are closed. Some normal traffic continues on the streets, and our team is able to move back and forth between the hospital and our house in a quiet suburban neighborhood that has been spared for the most part. There are damaged homes in the city, and as we travel we often hear explosions.

Up until now, al Kindi has been functioning well, with skilled local doctors, but there is a need for some specific drugs, especially painkillers and anesthetic drugs. MSF will re-supply these. Normal health services continue - people still need help with chronic health problems - and since war can disrupt supplies of all basic medical materials quickly, we will carefully monitor the situation and try to get more supplies when necessary.

The doctors are experienced in trauma surgery, and are very committed to stay and work in the hospital. We are here to help if our medical colleagues need it. And if there is a battle around Baghdad, Al-Kindi could be a major receiving hospital of injured, so our presence may be important later as well.

Morten Rostrup, MD

Press Release: March 26
Doctors Without Borders Relief Cargo En Route to Baghdad

Amman, Jordan, 26 March 2002 The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) sent two trucks of medical supplies for Baghdad from Amman, Jordan, today. The 10 tons of supplies include materials for 300 surgeries, post-operative medicines, water and sanitation supplies, and some nutritional material.

An MSF team in the Iraqi capital is currently assisting staff at the 250-bed al-Kindi General Hospital in northeast Baghdad. An MSF surgeon, anesthesiologist, and emergency physician, will continue working alongside their Iraqi colleagues at the hospital in the coming days. Earlier, MSF donated some surgical materials from their current stock, and an emergency kit with enough supplies to treat 150 injured. Dressings for treating burn victims may also be provided if needed.

"MSF has notified the relevant coalition and Iraqi officials about this convoy," said MSF midwife Catrin Schulte-Hillen from Amman. "For the moment, the al-Kindi staff is working hard to care for their patients, and MSF can provide help if it is needed. Sending back-up material like this is part of our normal operations for any war situation."

Currently, MSF has a 6-person international team in Baghdad, consisting of volunteers from Italy, France, Austria, Norway, Sudan, and Algeria. MSF is also monitoring the situation as it develops from several neighboring countries, including Syria and Iran.



Three doctors from Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) six-man team in Baghdad are integrated into 24-hour surgical and medical shifts every other day to assist their medical colleagues at al Kindi Hospital in northeast Baghdad, one of several hospitals designated as first-line treatment centers for emergency war-wounded in the city.

While on duty Saturday, five emergency casualties arrived, 3 requiring immediate abdominal surgery. On Monday, the hospital received 19 casualties, many of them children, and some eventually died. Intense bombings continue, and the situation is deteriorating.


Al Kindi is a teaching hospital in northeast Baghdad with about 250 beds, 60 senior doctors, plenty of residents and junior doctors, and main surgical specialties including Ear, Nose, and Throat and opthamology. Up until now, the hospital has been functioning well, especially in terms of doctors, but there are some shortages in painkillers and anesthetic drugs. MSF hopes to re-supply these.

The al Kindi physicians are skilled and experienced in trauma surgery, and there are many surgical specialties available on a 24-hour basis. They are committed to staying and working in the hospital. MSF is there to support the staff if needed. Last Thursday, MSF doctors were integrated into a surgical and medical team, so they will now be at the hospital every other day in scheduled 24-hour shifts.

In addition to war-wounded, normal health services continue at al Kindi - babies are born, people need help with chronic health problems. Elective surgeries have been delayed, though, and war quickly disrupts supplies of all basic medical materials, which is why MSF will try to send more supplies.


MSF has seen only a very limited refugee or displaced movement towards Syria, Jordan, and Iran, and it is still not sure there will be many. People are leaving certain parts of Baghdad to areas that are less exposed, but there has not been a major flow of people either within or outside of Iraq.

MSF has pre-positioned small teams and some material in many of the neighboring countries in the event of a refugee crisis. In Iran, MSF will provide for health needs at 2 camps (out of 10) Iranian authorities have established in Qas-re-Sherin and Kermanshah.

MSF has also entered into agreements with Syrian authorities to provide for health and water and sanitation needs at a camp being prepared for 20,000 people at el Hol, near Hassake. These refugee camps are in the middle of the desert - which could be a burden in terms of water, cooking food, shelter, sandstorms, and extreme heat.

And in Jordan, MSF continues to travel to the border, but there have only been a small number of third-country nationals who left Iraq shortly before and shortly after the war began.


Wolfowitz: Iraq war was about oil

George Wright
Wednesday June 4, 2003

Oil was the main reason for military action against Iraq, a leading White House hawk has claimed, confirming the worst fears of those opposed to theUS-led war. The US deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz - who has already underminedTony Blair's position over weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by describing them as a "bureau-cratic" excuse for war - has now gone further by claimingthe real motive was that Iraq is "swimming" in oil.
The latest comments were made by Mr Wolfowitz in an address to delegates at an Asian security summit in Singapore at the weekend, and reported today by German  news-papers Der Tagesspiegel and Die Welt.  Asked why a nuclear power such as North Korea was being treated differently from Iraq, where hardly any weapons of mass destruction had been found, the deputy defence minister said: "Let's look at it simply. The most importantdifference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil." Mr. Wolfowitz went on to tell journalists at the conference that the US wasset on a path of negotiation to help defuse tensions between North Korea and its neighbours - in contrast to the more belligerent attitude the Bush administration displayed in its dealings with Iraq.
His latest comments follow his widely reported statement from an interview in Vanity Fair last month, in which he said that "for reasons that have a lot to do with the US government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on: weapons of mass destruction."  Prior to that, his boss, defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, had already undermined the British government's position by saying Saddam Hussein may have destroyed his banned weapons before the war.
Mr Wolfowitz's frank assessment of the importance of oil could not come at a worst time for the US and UK governments, which are both facing fierce criticism at home and abroad over allegations that they exaggerated the threat post by Saddam Hussein in order to justify the war.  Amid growing calls from all parties for a public inquiry, the foreign affairs select committee announced last night it would investigate claims that the UK government misled the country over its evidence of Iraq's WMD.  The move is a major setback for Tony Blair, who had hoped to contain any inquiry within the intelligence and security committee, which meets in secret and reports to the prime minister.
In the US, the failure to find solid proof of chemical, biological and nuclear arms in Iraq has raised similar concerns over Mr Bush's justification for the war and prompted calls for congressional investigations.  Mr Wolfowitz is viewed as one of the most hawkish members of the Bush administration. The 57-year old expert in international relations was a strong advocate of military action against Afghanistan and Iraq.
Following the September 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon, Mr Wolfowitz pledged that the US would pursue terrorists and "end"states sponsoring or harbouring militants.  Prior to his appointment to the Bush cabinet in February 2001, Mr Wolfowitzwas dean and professor of international relations at the Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), of the Johns Hopkins University.


Looters swarm into new areas as key bridges are opened

Iraqis disappointed with U.S. response

By Hamza Hendawi, Associated Press, 4/12/03

BAGHDAD, Iraq U.S. forces reopened two strategic bridges Saturday in the heart of Baghdad and crowds of looters surged across -- taking advantage of access to new territory that had not already been plundered. U.S. forces did nothing to stop them.

Iraqis expressed increasing frustration over the lawlessness that has gripped the capital since the arrival of U.S. troops and the fall of Saddam Hussein. Looters ransacked government buildings, hospitals and schools, and trashed the National Museum, taking or destroying many of the country's archaeological treasures.

A museum employee arrived Saturday to find the administrative offices trashed by looters. The only thing she could salvage was a telephone book-sized volume. She refused to give her name. With tears, she said, "It is all the fault of the Americans. This is Iraq's civilization. And it's all gone now."

An elderly museum guard said hundreds of looters attacked Thursday and carried away artifacts on pushcarts and wheelbarrows. The two-story museum's marble staircase was chipped, suggesting looters might have dragged heavier items down on pushcarts or slabs of wood. Glass display cases were shattered and broken pieces of ancient pottery and statues were scattered everywhere.

The National Museum held artifacts from thousands of years of history in the Tigris-Euphrates basin, widely held to be the site of the world's earliest civilizations. Before the war, the museum closed its doors and secretly placed the most precious artifacts in storage, but the metal storeroom doors were smashed and everything was taken.

"This is the property of this nation and is the treasure of 7,000 years of civilization," said museum employee Ali Mahmoud. "What does this country think it is doing?"

On Baghdad's chaotic streets, it appeared American troops were doing nothing to curb the feverish looting. Troops could be seen waving looters through checkpoints and standing idly in front of buildings while they were being pillaged.

Looters swarmed over the Al-Rasheed and the Al-Jumhuriya bridges across the Tigris River, which divides the city. They pushed into several government buildings, including the Planning Ministry, which sits on the edge of the old palace presidential compound on the river's west bank.

Looters were also seen coming out of the Foreign Ministry carrying office furniture, TV sets and air conditioners. Children wheeled out office chairs and rolled them down the street.

U.S. soldiers stood by at the presidential compound as looters some 400 yards away hauled bookshelves, computers and sofas from the Planning Ministry. Bands of men with tools plundered cars nearby for wheels or other parts.

"The Americans have disappointed us all. This country will never be operational for at least a year or two," said Abbas Reta, 51, an engineer and father of five.

"I've seen nothing new since Saddam's fall," he said. "All that we have seen is looting. The Americans are responsible. One round from their guns and all the looting would have stopped."

U.S. Army troops and armor blocked access to the main palace grounds. The Oil Ministry also seemed intact with a heavy U.S. military presence inside. Also intact were some of the power installations, power stations and power grids.

Al-Jazeera's correspondent in Baghdad, Maher Abdallah, described the situation as "tragic," and suggested it could have been prevented.

"They have ousted the regime and the authority, and in such an urban area where there is no tribal authority or rule, chaos should have been expected to break in such a way," Abdallah said.

U.S. officials insist the restoration of law and order will become a higher priority.

The State Department said Friday it was sending 26 police and judicial officers to Iraq, the first component of a team that will eventually number about 1,200. The officers will be part of a group led by Jay Garner, the retired general chosen by the Bush administration to run the initial Iraqi civil administration under American occupation.


Looters ransack Baghdad museum

Baghdad residents inspect looted treasure
Many precious items have been stolen by looters
Thousands of valuable historical items from Baghdad's main museum have been taken or destroyed by looters.

Nabhal Amin, deputy director at the Iraqi National Museum, blamed the destruction on the United States for not taking control of the situation on the streets.

On Saturday, Unesco - the UN's cultural agency - has urged the US and Britain to deploy troops at Iraq's key archaeological sites and museums to stop widespread looting and destruction.

Armed men have been roaming the streets of Baghdad since the city was taken by US troops on Wednesday.

Shops, government offices, presidential palaces and even hospitals have all been looted.

Call for protection

A museum guard said that since Thursday, hundreds of looters had carried away artefacts on carts and wheelbarrows.

The museum's deputy director said looters had taken or destroyed 170,000 items of antiquity dating back thousands of years.

"They were worth billions of dollars," she said

"The Americans were supposed to protect the museum. If they had just one tank and two soldiers nothing like this would have happened."

Reporters who visited the museum on Saturday saw smashed display cases and broken pieces of pottery.

Ancient cities

Treasures at the museum date back 5,000 years to the dawn of civilisation in Mesopotamia, as Iraq was once known.

Ancient archers
Iraq's history stretches back thousands of years
It houses items from ancient Babylon and Nineveh, Sumerian statues, Assyrian reliefs and 5,000-year-old tablets bearing some of the earliest known writing.

There are also gold and silver items from the Ur cemetery.

The museum re-opened to the public six months ago - it had remained closed since the beginning of the 1991 Gulf War.

Iraq is a cradle of civilisation, with thousands of archaeological sites spanning more than 10,000 years.

It is the birthplace of agriculture, empires were in Iraq and the origins of writing have been traced to the region.

Certain organisations, including the British Museum, had called for historical sites to be protected before the current conflict started.

Some of the museum's artefacts had been moved into storage to avoid a repeat of damage to other antiquities during the 1991 Gulf War.

Pentagon Reveals Plans for Massive Civilian Casualties in Iraq  --- U.S. forces to use 10 times amount of bombs in start of Gulf War

March 5, 2003--Anti-War Activists Preparing for National Mass Marches in Washington & San Francisco on Mar. 15

The New York Times reported today that a Pentagon war plan against Iraq would drop 3,000 precision-guided bombs and missiles in the first 48 hours, followed with a nearly simultaneous attack by land and sea, with the goal of "shocking the Iraqi leadership into submission quickly." The plan would use 10 times as many bombs as in the opening days of the Gulf War, and would result in massive civilian casualties.

General Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated "'If your template is Desert Storm, you have to imagine something much, much, much different,'" in a warning to journalists covering the war from Baghdad. He said the Pentagon plan was "'to have such a shock on the system that the Iraqi regime would have to assume early on the end was inevitable.'" U.S. troops ready for attack in the Persian Gulf will soon number 300,000.

"What General Myers is referring to is a high-tech slaughter of Iraqi civilians in order to overwhelm Iraq into submission," said Bill Hackwell, organizer with the International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) Coalition, a leading anti-war group in the U.S. "The Bush administration is preparing to turn the U.S. war machine, the biggest armada in history, on a poor country and cause a bloodbath like we have never seen. People across the world who are alarmed at this ruthless aggression are organizing feverishly for the next major anti-war marches around the world on March 15."

The March 15 National Mass Anti-War March in San Francisco will gather at 11 am at Civic Center Plaza for a rally and march. It is co-sponsored by the International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) Coalition, United for Peace & Justice; Bay Area United Against War; Not In Our Name Project; Vanguard Foundation & Vanguard Alliance; U.S. Labor Against the War; Bay Area Vets for Peace and many others.

Activists are also preparing for emergency response protests if the war breaks out in the next two weeks. If war breaks out, in San Francisco people will walk-out of school & work or leave home and meet at Civic Center at 12 noon, and at Powell & Market Streets at 5 pm.

For more information or updates, call A.N.S.W.E.R. at 415-821-6545 or check .

International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) 2489 Mission St., Rm. 24
San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone: 415-821-6545


Iraq: ICRC calls urgently for protection of the civilian population and services and of persons no longer fighting
Geneva (ICRC) The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is profoundly alarmed by the chaos currently prevailing in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq. Lawless persons, sometimes armed, have been ransacking and looting even essential public facilities such as hospitals and water-supply installations.

Hospitals in Baghdad are closed because of combat damage, looting or fear of looting. Hardly any medical or support staff are still reporting for work. Patients have either fled the hospitals or have been left without care. The medical system in Baghdad has virtually collapsed. The dead are left unattended, and the increasing summer heat and deteriorating water and electricity supplies create a high risk of epidemic disease.

The ICRC urgently appeals to the Coalition forces and all other persons in authority to do everything possible to protect essential infrastructure such as hospitals and water-supply and evacuation systems from looting and destruction. In areas under their control, the Coalition forces have specific responsibilities as Occupying Powers under international humanitarian law. These include taking all measures in their power to restore and maintain, as far as possible, public order and safety by putting a halt to pillage and to violence against civilians and civilian facilities.

Civilian facilities which have been damaged or destroyed must be repaired as soon as possible, in order to ensure that the basic needs of the population can be met. Water and electricity supplies are vital. Medical units and personnel must be protected and their work facilitated, and access to them by all persons in need, whether military or civilian, friend or foe, must be granted. In all circumstances, the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblem must be respected.

To the fullest extent of the means available to them, the occupying forces have a duty to ensure that the population has sufficient supplies in terms of water, food and medical care. As the temporary administrators of the occupied territory, the Occupying Powers must support public services and manage resources primarily in the interests of the population, without discrimination. If the whole or part of the population under occupation is not adequately supplied, the Occupying Powers must allow impartial humanitarian organizations to undertake assistance operations. However, the provision of humanitarian aid in no way relieves the Occupying Powers of their administrator's responsibilities towards the population under occupation.

All persons deprived of their freedom and held in enemy hands must be spared and protected, in accordance with the Third or the Fourth Geneva Convention, depending on whether they are combatants or civilians. Prisoners of war must be treated humanely at all times. The ICRC has been granted access to POWs in Coalition hands. It is deeply concerned that this is not the case as regards Coalition POWs captured by Iraqi forces, and strongly urges those who are holding them today to afford them protection and treat them in full observance of the provisions of the Third Geneva Convention, including their entitlement to ICRC visits.

Wherever military operations are taking place, constant care must be taken to spare the civilian population and civilian objects. All those bearing arms must take all necessary precautions to avoid exposing civilians to the dangers resulting from military activity. The wounded and the dead must be evacuated without delay. Acts of perfidy are prohibited.

The ICRC, which has been present and active in Iraq throughout the conflict, is fully committed to pursuing the tasks incumbent upon it under the Geneva Conventions, to working for the faithful application of international humanitarian law, and to endeavour to ensure that all victims of the conflict and of its consequences receive protection and assistance.

Further information:
Antonella Notari, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++41 22 730 22 82 / ++41 79 217 32 80
Nada Doumani, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++41 22 730 27 56 / ++41 79 244 64 14
Florian Westphal, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++41 22 730 29 30 / ++41 79 217 32 26
Roland Huguenin, ICRC Baghdad, tel. ++873 761 845 610

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UN agencies stress dangers to relief efforts from lawlessness in Iraq
Report, United Nations

11 April 2003

Stressing repeatedly the very grave threat posed to humanitarian activities in Iraq by current lawlessness and looting, United Nations relief agencies appealed to coalition forces today to act swiftly to avoid the breakdown of all aid efforts for the civilian population.

Hospitals had closed down for fear of looters, child nutritional posts were being ransacked, large groups were fleeing Baghdad and other cities in search of safety and security, and water delivery to one hard-pressed city had been postponed until further notice because of insecurity, the agencies told the daily briefing in Amman, Jordan, on UN humanitarian activities.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (UNHCOI) said looting and lawlessness continued in Baghdad, Basrah, Kirkuk and Mosul, and the UN was still awaiting a reply from the US military command on what its official policy position was on "this extremely critical situation." The reply was expected yesterday but had not yet been delivered, spokesman David Wimhurst said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had been unable to visit hospitals in Baghdad yesterday or today, he added. Many hospitals and health facilities there had closed their doors fearing attacks by looters, and the Al Kindi hospital, which was ransacked yesterday, had now been abandoned by its staff, with the fate of its patients who were unable to seek shelter elsewhere unknown.

In the south hospitals and health facilities were struggling to maintain services in spite of staffing shortages, lack of medical supplies and inconsistent water and power, Mr. Wimhurst said. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) was delivering water, but insecurity was affecting operations, he added. Water tank deliveries to Nasiriya had been postponed until further notice, and in the port of Um Qasr, a tanker taking water to a health centre had to withdraw due to an aggressive crowd.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Sergio Vieira de Mello, was seriously concerned by the worsening situation in Baghdad and urged the coalition to ensure immediately the well being of civilians under its control in accordance with its obligations under international humanitarian law, spokesperson Bela Kapur said.

OHCHR was ready to send human rights officers to Baghdad, as soon as security conditions permitted, to help the prevention of new human rights violations and to document violations that had already taken place, she added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the situation being reported from Baghdad, Basra, Zubair, Kirkuk, Mosul and other towns was "extremely alarming," and it urged the military forces and remaining civilian authorities to quickly restore law and order and ensure the safety of hospitals and hospital staff.

The ICRC reported that Al Kindi hospital in Baghdad had been completely emptied by looters, with even the beds stolen, spokesperson Fadela Chaib said.

UNICEF added its voice to the "great alarm." When chaos and lawlessness rule, the most vulnerable segment of the population - the country's children - were certain to suffer, spokesman Geoffrey Keele declared.

Noting that nutritional rehabilitation centres in paediatric hospitals had managed to reduce malnutrition by more than 50 per cent, he said that now when children needed these services the most, they were being dismantled, chair my chair, table by table, medicine by medicine.

All steps must be taken by the coalition forces to ensure that vital social infrastructure was preserved, he added. Otherwise all aid attempts would be hindered and "quite frankly, people may die." He also reported 40 more cases of severe children's diarrhoea in Um Qasr.

The World Food Programme (WFP), which has sent in food convoys to northern Iraq from Turkey, also called on the occupying forces "to do their best to maintain law and order to enable our work to expand quickly to the rest of the country," spokesman Khaled Mansour said.

The UN High Commissioner for the Refugees (UNHCR) echoed the call. While there had so far been no major refugee flow out of Iraq, spokesman Peter Kessler said large groups of Iraqis and foreign nationals were reportedly still moving from Baghdad and other cities, trying to find security and safety. Up to 30,000 displaced Iraqis had reportedly reached the Iraqi border town of Badrah, near western Iran, seeking assistance after fleeing fighting in Baghdad and Nasiriya, he added.

People were fleeing because they were desperate and frightened by the chaos in the streets around them, and it was "absolutely imperative" that coalition forces provide a policing function to ensure security on the street and the cities, he said.

May 1, 2003

Killings in Al Fallujah, City of Mosques

Has America Taken on a New Military Culture with New Rules that Allow Us to Kill Civilians at Will?


Al Fallujah is known in Iraq as the "city of mosques." There is a reverence for the holiness of the city and Muslim leaders made clear to American troops that they did not want them in their city. The US troops responded by saying they had to be there for "security." The Muslim leaders, led by Sunni Imam Jamal Mahmood, said they had their own security. The US troops were determined to stay. They say, Saddam had weapons factories there. The Iraqis say the "factories" have been destroyed and there is no need for the US troops to stay. This is a situation that the Americans cannot say is being fomented by the Shi'a or Iran because Al Fallujah has always been a Sunni stronghold.

What happened next has raised questions among Iraqis and many international Middle East experts. Crowds gathered and demanded the troops leave. As the crowds became louder and more insistent, the American troops fired into the crowd and killed 13 people and injured more than 20 more according to doctors at the local hospital. The American troops said they were fired on; but all other witnesses at the scene denied the gunfire came from the demonstrators. Today, 2 more people were killed and more injured, with the Muslims of Al Fallujah and the city officials saying no one shot at the Americans, the American troops claiming otherwise.

There is something troubling about this situation. Why is it that crowds of people cannot be dispersed by tear gas rather than bullets? Certainly, this is not an unknown tactic.

Furthermore, why is it that the American troops insist in remaining or trying to remain in these "holy cities"? Surely, the commanders must be at least half way intelligent; they should know this will cause upset and protests. Or, are these commanders following orders from above so that there can be cause for firing on the crowds in order to terrorize them into submission-just as the Israelis do to the Palestinians? Are the American troops following the Israeli style of occupation, massive force, even against stone and shoe throwing protesters to show them that America controls Iraq and that the Iraqis had better get used to it in a hurry?

Where did I get this idea. Ironically, from a rabbi who is a friend of mine, a man who protested Sharon's brutality in Israel because he said it was against Judaism. He called me and said, "Look at that, it's Israel and Palestine all over again!" At first, I thought it was his fixation and anger, but then as time went on, I began to feel that he was right.

Just as America has hired many former KGB agents to work with the Homeland Security Agency, so too has the National Transportation Security Agency that "protects airports" hired many former Mossad agents. We also have the tie in between the Israeli and the American military on so many levels, why not on the levels of strategy and crowd control. This is not normal command procedures for American troops when confronted by a demonstrating crowd; they are told not to cause civilian casualties-at least they were up until this new administration. Has something changed in our military rules of engagement when dealing with crowds? Has America taken on a new military culture? If so, we need to know.

I am worried that our men are becoming part of a new brutality as seen through their behavior in Iraq. I remember one young soldier, early in the war, when interviewed on TV saying, "I want to get my nose wet-I want to get me some Iraqis, I want to kick some butt." These are not the words of a mature human being-they are the mouthings of an immature and impressionable TV spawned juvenile who neither realizes the value of human life or the humanity of the soldier fighting on the other side. Many of the US military, when I have heard them at West Point and in Annapolis, sound the same as our Commander in Chief, Bush, when he says, "I'm gonna git him, dead or alive."

It almost sounds as if he's come out of a bad Western movie. But to hear Rumsfeld, Cheney and Franks and some of the other generals speak, I can start to believe that our men are getting the same cruel orders the Israelis have given their soldiers when they go in and kill demonstrators. If not, then why were there children killed in this massacre they perpetrated in the last few days in Al Fallujah? Surely, the children did not shoot at them, if anyone shot at them at all. NO, something is wrong in this scenario and should be the subject of congressional hearings. Just what are the orders to our soldiers and who is giving them. There has to be an explanation for the shootings in Al Fallujah two days in a row, without apology; with a terse, "we heard gun shots coming at us"-with the Imams and the cities leaders contradicting them.

It is also strange that the people have their own security, but that our troops refuse to leave, but want to remain to provide "security" and end up shooting civilians in the town square just because they were protesting. But lest you say I am one-sided, allow me to say, suppose there were shots at them. I understand, having been in combat, that you would consider shooting back. However, we always understood that you don't just shoot your gun off at first blush, you have to look at what the situation is, where the shots may be coming from, and then the best way to return fire without killing innocent civilians in the process-this is true in the military and in our police training. To shoot into the crowd of protesters two days in a row, killing unarmed civilians (in all cases these people killed had no weapons, though someone else, somewhere else, may have had weapons-that is still a moot point), including children, is not something our military has ever allowed, advocated or allowed to happen without arrests and punishment.

As a veteran and as a US citizen, I am waiting to see what the military will do about these killings in Al Fallujah. I hope our congress will look into this matter and find out if our troops are being given new orders of engagements toward civilians, or are our troops so poorly trained that they panic at the slightest thing.

Sam Hamod is an expert on world affairs, especially the Arab and Muslim worlds, former editor of THIRD WORLD NEWS (in Wash, DC), a professor at Princeton University, former Director of The National Islamic Center of Washington, DC, an advisor to the US State Department and author of ISLAM IN THE WORLD TODAY. He may be reached at



Despite Protests, U.S. Soldiers Detain Photographer and Driver

Associated Press
Wednesday, September 24, 2003

BAGHDAD, Sept. 23 -- U.S. soldiers detained an Associated Press photographer and driver today, handcuffing them, forcing them to stand in the sun for three hours and denying them water and use of a telephone.

Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 70th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Division detained photographer Karim Kadim and driver Mohammed Abbas near Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad, and kept guns trained on the two Iraqis despite their repeated attempts to explain they were journalists.

The troops were looking for explosives planted in the area.

"We identified ourselves from the very beginning as press, even before we approached the troops," Kadim said. "I was asked not to take any pictures and I didn't. We were told to leave and we walked away, and then one of them shouted at us to come back."

An armored personnel carrier arrived moments later. Three soldiers disembarked and aimed their guns at the two men.

"We were searched, and they took away all my camera gear. Then our hands were tied behind our backs, first with rope, and then with plastic handcuffs," Kadim said.

The two were made to stand for three hours in temperatures of 110 degrees. Abbas said the soldiers accused them of being part of the insurgency attacking U.S. troops.

The two were taken to a U.S. base, where Maj. Eric Wick apologized. Wick also called the AP office in Baghdad and said the incident "was a misunderstanding on our part."

On Thursday, U.S. soldiers shot up Kadim's car in Khaldiya during a firefight after an American convoy was hit with a remote-controlled roadside bomb. Kadim and another driver jumped from the car after they saw a tank had them in its sights. They were fired on as they ran and the car was badly damaged, but neither man was hurt. The AP sent a letter of protest to the U.S. military in Baghdad.

© 2003 The Washington Post

The Marsh Arabs

The southern marshes as they looked in 2000
The southern marshes as they looked in 2000. By May 2001, more than 90 percent of the Al 'Amarah and the Hawr al Hammar marshes were almost completely dry according to the UN Environmental Program. (Landsat photo)

24 April 2002

Iraqi Regime Devastates Environment of Marsh Arabs

Satellite imagery shows extensive injury to wetland ecosystem

By Jim Fuller
Washington File Science Writer

Washington The marshlands of southern Iraq are a unique part of the world. The region, lying between the lower reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, is where the ancient Sumerians, it is believed, became the first people to control the flow of rivers by means of dams and irrigation canals.

The region's current inhabitants, known as the Ma'dan people or Marsh Arabs, have spent the last 5,000 years subsisting through farming, fishing, hunting, reed gathering and the grazing of water buffalo. They live on islands entirely constructed of reeds, using these to build beautiful, cathedral-like homes in a wetland environment that extends over an area of about 20,000 square kilometers about the size of Lebanon and Qatar combined. The Marshlands are the Middle East's largest wetland ecosystem.

After the Gulf War ended in 1991, the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein began an ambitious civil engineering project aimed at deliberately draining the marshes to permit military access and greater political control of the Marsh Arabs. Iraq's Sunni government is attempting to weaken the Marsh Arabs because they are Shiite Muslims. The systematic draining of the land followed a 1991 uprising by Shiite Muslims in southern Iraq that was immediately crushed by Iraqi forces.

Various international organizations monitoring the situation in southern Iraq, such as the U.N. Human Rights Commission, the International Wildfowl and Wetlands Research Bureau, and Middle East Watch, have found evidence indicating that the Iraqi government has been attempting to force the Marsh Arabs from their southern wetland settlements by literally draining the life from Iraq's marshes.

According to a report released last February by the AMAR International Charitable Foundation a non-governmental organization set up in 1991 in response to the plight of the Marsh Arabs the draining of the marshes has led to the destruction of the Marsh Arabs' self-sufficient economy, the near-complete atrophy of the entire ecosystem, and the flight of tens of thousands of refugees, including 95,000 to a camp in Iran.

The AMAR Appeal (which stands for "Assisting Marsh Arabs and Refugees") maintains a web site at, which contains documentation of the environmental devastation occurring in the Iraqi marshes.

AMAR Executive Director Peter Clark said in an interview April 23 that the key findings of the report, entitled "The Iraqi Marshlands: A Human and Environmental Study," are based on satellite photos spanning over two decades. The findings demonstrate how the government's practice of draining the marshes through a series of dams and irrigation works has devastated both the environment and the way of life of the marsh dwellers the marshes themselves being reduced to 15 percent of what they once were.

Clark concludes that because the marsh dwellers have no sustainable way of life to which they can return, they represent some of the most desperate and overlooked victims of Saddam's regime.

Clark said the AMAR report is part of an effort to promote the human rights of the Marsh Arabs and Iraqi refugees.

"We have been delivering essential medical and educational services to Iraqi refugees in Iran over the last 10 years," Clark said. He said AMAR has received funding for its humanitarian projects from the United States and Kuwait, as well as private organizations. He also said AMAR has been in contact with international experts to explore the feasibility of restoring a large portion of the Marshlands.

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, European Parliamentary Rapporteur on Iraq and AMAR president, told a conference in London last May that the draining of the southern Iraqi marshes was "a humanitarian and cultural catastrophe as much as an ecological one."

"One of the oldest natural habitats in the world has been systematically destroyed for political reasons and its inhabitants either killed or sent into exile," she said.

The United Nations, which has been attempting to monitor the situation, has passed only one piece of legislation applying to the Marshlands situation. U.N. resolution 688, passed in April 1991, calls on the Iraqi government to provide free access to U.N. and non-governmental humanitarian agencies to all parts of the marshes so that essential aid can be provided.

In January 1995, the European parliament passed a resolution characterizing the Marsh Arabs as a persecuted minority "whose very survival is threatened by the Iraqi government." The resolution described the government's treatment of the marsh inhabitants as "genocide."

In March 1995, the U.N. Human Rights Commission passed a resolution calling for an end to military operations and efforts to drain the Iraqi marshes.

According to a U.N. report, from December 4, 1991 to January 18, 1992 "military attacks were launched against the Marsh Arabs ... resulting in hundreds of deaths. Animal and bird life was said to have been killed in large numbers, while the marsh waters themselves were allegedly filled with toxic chemicals."

AMAR reports that during that two-month period, the Iraqi army had encircled the region and tightened control over food supplies coming into the area. Iraqi army records showed that more than 50,000 people were removed and 70 marsh villages were destroyed.

According to AMAR, in September 1994, "military forces used incendiary bombs and launched an armored attack against the area of Al Seigel in the Al Amara marshes," home to the Ma'dan people near the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The army later set fire to the entire area. The 1994 military operations caused an undetermined number of civilian casualties, and forced more than 10,000 refugees from the marshes to flee to Iran.

A report released on September 13, 1999, by the U.S. Department of State, entitled "Saddam Hussein's Iraq," ( states: "In the southern marshes, government forces have burned houses and fields, demolished houses with bulldozers, and undertaken a deliberate campaign to drain and poison the marshes. Villages belonging to the al Juwaibiri, al Shumaish, al Musa and al Rahma tribes were entirely destroyed and the inhabitants forcibly expelled. Government troops expelled the population in other areas at gunpoint and also forced them to relocate by cutting off their water supply."

AMAR reports that there have been schemes for draining the marshlands throughout the 20th century. However, while drainage plans drawn up by British companies in the 1940s and 1970s were linked to irrigation and cultivation projects, the massive water diversion efforts undertaken by the Iraqi regime over the last decade were aimed at destroying the environment of the marsh dwellers.

According to AMAR, another motive for the drainage is related to Iraq's negotiations since 1991 with several international oil companies for the prospective development of southern oil fields in close proximity to the marshes.

The AMAR reports provide satellite imagery that shows the draining of the marshes increased sharply in 1991-1992. Compared to the mid-1980s, when initial marsh drainage projects were conducted to reclaim agricultural land, "the amount of land drained (by 1992) had quadrupled to approximately 367,000 hectares," the report said.

It notes that within the central Marshland area, a large, formerly permanent lake, Haur Zikri, appeared on satellite imagery to be "desiccated and covered with a salt crust." The most easterly of the central marshes, Al Azair and Al Jazair, had been completely reclaimed.

According to reports from various international organizations, the Iraqi government by 1993 was able to prevent water from reaching two-thirds of the Marshlands; the flow of the Euphrates River had been almost entirely diverted to the so-called Third River Canal, bypassing most of the marshes; and the flow of the Tigris River had been channeled into tributary rivers, their artificially high banks prohibiting water from seeping into the Marshlands.

AMAR reports that this has had disastrous ecological, social and human consequences for the region. The sparse water remaining has contributed to the salinization of the land. Crops are being destroyed, as well as the land and the marshes themselves. Humans are being displaced. The future for wildlife in the region also looks bleak. The marshes are home to fish and migratory birds from western Eurasia such as pelicans, herons and flamingos. Without fresh water, the ecosystem will easily become damaged.

U.S. government analysts have estimated that more than 200,000 of the 250,000 former inhabitants of the marshes have been driven from the area since 1991. Experts report that if the marshes continue to be drained at the current rate, they will probably cease to exist in another 50 years.

Source: Refugees International
Date: 13 Jun 2003

Forgotten people: The Marsh Arabs of Iraq

In Southern Iraq, near where the Tigris and Euphrates River join - the traditional recognized site of the Garden of Eden - live the Marsh Arabs or Ma'dan. Fifteen years ago, 250,000 Marsh Arabs lived on 20,000 square kilometers of waterways and marsh, an area as large as New Jersey. Today only 40,000 remain. The Marsh Arabs have been forced from their homes; their economy and their environment devastated by the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Why are the Marsh Arabs Forgotten?

The destruction of the Marsh Arabs illustrates the ability of a totalitarian regime to cover up the brutal repression of the people under its rule. The international community and the media had little access to the people of Iraq during Saddam Hussein's rule, especially to those Iraqis who lived in remote parts of the country. The flight of the Marsh Arabs from their land in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War and the draining of the marshes in which they lived was noted, but there was a lack of political will by the international community to respond. More than 40,000 of the Marsh Arabs fled as refugees to Iran, but the Iranian government also limited access to them by international organizations and the media.

Thus, only in the wake of the fall of Saddam Hussein is the plight of the Marsh Arabs garnering international interest. Their dilemma is complex. Perhaps they could now return home safely to their former homes, but much of the watery environment in which they lived for millennia has been destroyed, perhaps irreversibly.

The People and the Land

North and west of the city of Basra, along both banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, are the Iraqi marshlands, the largest wetland ecosystem in the Middle East. The marshlands are the habitat for many species of waterfowl and other wildlife. The earliest civilizations known to mankind grew up near the marshes. This area probably saw the first successful efforts in the world to use irrigation to grow crops and the oldest known city in the world, Ur, was at the edge of the marshes, near the present city of Nasariyah.

The history of the present inhabitants of the marshes goes back thousands of years. In the swamps created by the overflow from the two great rivers, the Marsh Arabs traveled by boat, built imposing reed houses and mosques, and fished, raised water buffalo, and grew rice and dates for a livelihood. The Marsh Arabs' unique culture harnessed the rich environment and predates the migration of desert- and oasis-dwelling Arabs.

Anatomy of the Crisis

The draining of the marshlands in the southern Iraq coincided with Saddam Hussein's attacks on the Kurdish population in northern Iraq. In both incidences, the aims were the same - the deliberate and systematic removal of regime resistance. The Marsh Arabs were punished for their lack of support of Saddam's invasion of Kuwait and brutally so. Not only was their environment decimated, which created food shortages and health crises, but the population was also subjected to deadly chemical attacks.

By 1993, the government had completed canals to divert much of the water in both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and to prevent it from seeping into the marshlands. The ostensible reason for the drainage project was to create new agricultural land, but salinization destroyed the usefulness of the land. At the same time, according to a Human Rights Watch report, the Iraqi government was bombarding villages and arresting, torturing, and executing Marsh Arabs. The great majority of people living in the marshlands had no choice but to leave their land. Tens of thousands of them sought safety in other regions of Iraq, but more than 40,000 crossed the border into Iran. They are still there, living in several refugee camps.

The fall of Saddam Hussein does not mean that the problems of the Marsh Arabs are at an end. Whether those who are displaced in Iraq or those who sought refuge in Iran will be able to go home is still an open question. They have been victims of severe repression and the deliberate destruction of their environment. Whether the marshes of southern Iraq can be restored is unknown. According to the latest fact sheet on humanitarian and reconstruction assistance in Iraq issued by the U.S. Agency for International Development (Fact Sheet #47, June 9, 2003), "new satellite imagery reveals modest signs of recovery in the marshlands" due to the opening of floodgates and heavy rain. Factors which might hinder their restoration include the presence of large deposits of petroleum under what a few years ago was a maze of waterways, a refuge for countless species of wildlife, and the home of an ancient and enduring culture.

Humanitarian Conditions

The conditions of Marsh Arabs displaced within Iraq during the 1990s are unknown. The Brookings Institution-SAIS Project on Internal Displacement estimates that 100,000 Marsh Arabs are displaced inside Iraq. Most are believed to have taken up residence among the urban population of southern Iraq. Some Marsh Arabs may have been part of the people being sent north to Kurdish areas as part of Saddam Hussein's Arabization campaign, but the Brookings-SAIS report in internal displacement in Iraq does not attempt to estimate the numbers.

About 45,000 Marsh Arabs in Iran live in refugee camps managed by the government of Iran. An international NGO, Assisting Marsh Arabs and Refugees (AMAR), helps in the camps by providing health care and emergency supplies. The largest contributors to AMAR have been the aid agencies of the government of the United Kingdom and the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO). The United States, through the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) of the Department of State also contributes to AMAR.


As a people, the Marsh Arabs are probably doomed if their ecosystem cannot be restored. About 90 percent of the swamps in which they lived have been drained. Thus, the alternatives are for them to adapt to a new environment or for their old environment to be restored to them. The second alternative, if feasible, is more desirable as the ecosystem of the Iraqi marshlands was rich and irreplaceable.

Refugees International, therefore, recommends that:

  • Leadership in Iraq should recover the country's rich agricultural heritage by restoring the marshlands through careful and thorough study of dam removal and by ensuring an adequate flow of water for the marshlands from existing dams. A mixed economy should be developed so that Iraq has the agricultural capacity to help feed its population and is not dependent on oil exports for food.

  • A regional river utilization strategy be developed to ensure a steady supply of water to Iraq.

  • Continued financial and political support must be provided to the USAID and AMAR feasibility study regarding the restoration of the marshlands. This presence in the region will help promote coordinated and long-term development projects.

  • The government of Iran should permit greater access to the refugee camps by aid agencies and non-governmental organizations to help the Marsh Arabs.

Larry Thompson is Director of Advocacy for Refugees International. He can be contacted at

TO CONTACT: RI · 1705 N ST NW · WASHINGTON · DC · 20036 · 202.828.0110 · RI@REFINTL.ORG

Iraq's Eden: Reviving the Legendary Marshes

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