Sunday, June 26, 2005

Reports on Iraq from outside the US press

The Islamic Army in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's Al Qaeda Organisation in the Land of Two Rivers and Ansar al-Sunna have denied they have met US representatives over the violence in Iraq.
US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld has confirmed a British newspaper report that US officials had contacted insurgents in a bid to stem the violence plaguing Iraq but insisted such overtures were commonplace.
The Islamic Army in Iraq has vowed to punish any insurgents who did so, according to an Internet statement.
"The leadership of the Islamic Army in Iraq categorically denies that its representatives have negotiated with the crusaders either directly or indirectly," said the statement whose authenticity could not be verified.
"Whoever does so will receive the appropriate punishment," it added.

The above is from "Iraq insurgents deny contact with US" (Australia's ABC, the story is by Reuters) and Hank e-mailed in to note it.

Dominick e-mails to note, from Ireland's BreakingNews.i.e., "Suicide bombers kill 36:"

A string of suicide attacks killed at least 36 people and wounded 19 more in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul today, the US military and police officials said.The first attack happened at a police headquarters in Mosul, killing 13 policemen and two civilians and wounding six more, said US Army Captain Mark Walter, a spokesman in Mosul. Earlier reports had put the death toll at six.

On the subject of the first attack mentioned above, Dominick also notes "Bomber hid explosives under watermelons" (also from Ireland's BreakingNews.i.e.):

A suicide bomber hid explosives under watermelons in the back of a pick-up truck which he drove into a police headquarters in northern Iraq today,killing five people and wounding eight others, police and hospital officials said.The explosion partially destroyed Bab al-Toob police station in central Mosul, 225 miles north-west of Baghdad.

And it's not just watermelons as Kelli's e-mail points out. She e-mails to note The Australian's Herald's "Booby-trapped dog explodes in Iraq" (credited to Big News Network):

A booby-trapped dog targeting a police patrol exploded in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk Sunday, injuring one police office, police said.
Sources in the oil-rich city said the dog was apparently drugged and blew up as a police patrol was passing on a main road in eastern Kirkuk.
Insurgents have previously used animals pulling carts in targeted attacks against the U.S.-led forces in the country as well as human suicide bombings. The sources said another police patrol was targeted in the same area just two minutes after the dog exploded, injuring two officers.

From Baghdad Burning, we'll note the latest from Riverbend:

The cousin, his wife S. and their two daughters have been houseguests these last three days. They drove up to the house a couple of days ago with several bags of laundry.
"There hasn't been water in our area for three days…" The cousins wife huffed as she dragged along a black plastic bag of dirty clothes. "The water came late last night and disappeared three hours later… what about you?"
Our water had not been cut off completely, but it came and went during the day. Water has been a big problem in many areas all over Baghdad. Houses without electric water pumps don't always have access to water.
Today it was the same situation in most of the areas. They say the water came for a couple of hours and then disappeared again. We're filling up plastic containers and pots just to be on the safe side. It is not a good idea to be caught without water in the June heat in Iraq.
"I need to bathe the children and wash all these clothes," S. called to me as the older of the little girls and I hauled out their overnight bag. "And the sheets- you know nothing has been washed since last weeks ajaja…"
We call a dust storm an "ajaja" in Iraq. I don't think there's a proper translation for that word. Last week, a few large ajajas kept Baghdad in a sort of pale yellow haze. What happens when an ajaja settles on the city is that within a couple of hours, the air becomes heavy and thick with beige powdery sand. Visibility decreases during these dust storms and it often becomes difficult to drive or see out the window.

Lastly, from The Independent, we'll note Kim Sengupta's "Abu Ghraib expanded as violence sweeps Iraq:"

Faced with unremitting violence, the United States is building new detention areas at Iraqi prisons including the notorious Abu Ghraib.
President George Bush had declared that Abu Ghraib would be torn down in a symbolic gesture after shocking pictures emerged of Iraqi inmates being abused and tortured by American forces.
But the continuing insurgency and rising death toll has meant that not only can the US not hand over Abu Ghraib to the new Iraqi government, according to a planned timetable, but other prisons including Camp Bucca in the British-controlled south of the country are being expanded.
The numbers of prisoners being held by the US in Iraq has reached record levels this month, with 10,783 in custody, up from 7,837 in January and 5,435 in June last year. American Iraqi officials agree there is no sign of the resistance or the prisoners it produces abating soon. "It's been a challenge" said Col James Brown, commander of the 18th Military Police Brigade. "Many of the people we have captured have not given up the struggle."
President Bush will make a nationwide television address tomorrow after opinion polls showed increasing numbers of Americans are disenchanted with the war.
But the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, was forced to admit yesterday that the fighting could go on for years, adding: "We are not going to win against the insurgency, the Iraqi people will win against the insurgency". Mr Rumsfeld tried to play down reports that the US and Iraqi officials had been meeting representatives of the Sunni insurgency to try to forge a peace deal. He insisted such contacts were "routine".
The decision by American commanders to add to the detention facilities instead of their planned decommissioning would be seen as an admission of just how much the situation is out of control more than two years after invasion.

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