Monday, May 04, 2009


Awakening leaders have been squeezed from all sides in recent months, with Iraqi authorities carrying out a series of arrests against them and Al Qaeda in Iraq continuing to target them with bombs. Late last month, Jibouri escaped a suicide attack at a mosque in the town where he was also an imam. The bomber, who detonated an explosives vest, killed five people and wounded 18, including one of Jibouri's now-detained brothers.
In an interview with The Times the day after the explosion, Jibouri blamed the attack on the insurgents he had abandoned when he agreed to join the Awakening, called the Sons of Iraq by the U.S. military.
"There are people who I used to be fighting with who are seeking to settle scores with me," he said. "I left them and now I am fighting them, so it's obvious that they will target me."

The above is from Hameed Rasheed and Liz Sly's "Iraq police arrest high-ranking member of U.S.-allied movement" (Los Angeles Times) about the arrest of Mullah Nadim Jibouri, a Sahwa leader, and the arrest of his two brothers. The three were apparently arrested on an outstanding warrant that was two to three years old. On her own, Sly offers "In Iraq's Anbar province, the Awakening grapples with a new role" which is a glossed over look at mobster
Ahmed abu Risha [apparently applying lip gloss in the photo Khalid Mohammed (AP) which accompanies the article]. Sheiky Risha's all thrilled to have bullied and blackmailed his way into power of Anbar Province. Or maybe he's just happy that that YoYo Glitter Lip Gloss for Girls is available in Anbar?

Saturday the US military announced: "CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, TIKRIT, Iraq -- Two Multi-National Division -- North Soldiers were killed and three wounded during a small arms fire attack at a combat outpost south of Mosul early this evening. According to initial reports, an individual dressed in an Iraqi Army uniform fired on the Coalition forces and was killed in the incident. The incident is currently under investigation. The names of the deceased and wounded are being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense." The Dept of Defense has not released the names yet but one family has spoken to the press and identified one of the two killed. (Click here for DoD releases.) In "Soldier from Inverness killed in Iraq" (Contra Costa Times), Brent Ainsworth notes this of Jake Velloza:

Jake Velloza was a football and baseball standout at Tomales High, where Leon Feliciano served as his football coach. Feliciano remembers Velloza playing wingback, defensive back, kick returner and kicker on a team that won the 2002 North Coast Section Class B championship with an 8-4 record.
"I think he knew from the first day he got into high school that he was going into the military," Feliciano said. "We talked about college, but he said, 'No, Coach, I want to be a Ranger doing special ops.' He was set on his goals. He was one of those young men who knew what he wanted to do and did it. Service to his country is what appealed to him."
Jake Velloza worked briefly reading meters for the North Marin Water District in Novato - for which his grandfather worked for 21 years
- before he joined the Army in 2006, Richard Velloza said. He completed his first overseas tour, mostly in Baghdad, and then spent about six months training in Texas. Earlier this year, then re-upped for a second tour after a short break at home in Marin.
Caleb Davis, a neighbor who served three tours in the Army and finished his commitment in February, attended Tomales High with Jake Velloza and they often talked as teens about
serving their country.
"Everybody found out within a few hours," Davis said of the Inverness response. "People found out almost immediately because the community is so small. Obviously it's shocking. Everybody wants to believe nothing like this would ever happen, but that's just not reality."

Friday the US military announced: "AL ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq – Two Marines and one sailor were killed while conducting combat operations against enemy forces here April 30. The names of the service members are being withheld pending next-of-kin notification and release by the Department of Defense." Those three have been identified by DoD, Petty Officer 2nd Class Tyler J. Trahan, Sergeant James R. McIlvaine and Staff Sergeant Mark A. Wojciechowski. We noted Trahan on Saturday. Cincinnati's WLWT notes Wojciechowski (link has video and text) and he went by Tony Wojciechowski:

His stepgrandmother, Cathy Dillinger, said the 25-year-old was on a mission with a bomb squad. She said Wojciechowski had been a Marine for six years and was on his second deployment to Iraq.
The 2002 Glen Este graduate was assigned to 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
News 5 learned that Wojciechowski was a classmate of Matt Maupin’s at Glen Este High School.

Matt Maupin (Keith Matthew Maupin) was captured outside Baghdad's airport when his convoy was attacked in April of 2004 and his body was found nearly four years later (Mach 2008). James McIlvaine was the third who died last Thursday. Brent Jones (Baltimore Sun) reports on him:

The grandmother of Olney native Sgt. James R. McIlvaine, killed Thursday in Iraq, characterized him as a man who longed to please his father, which is exactly what he did when became a Marine in 2001.Sergeant McIlvaine joined the Marines after attending Sherwood High School and graduating from a military school in Virginia.
"His father was very patriotic, loved the flag and country," said Patty DeSimone, Sergeant McIlvaine's paternal grandmother, who said her grandson died in combat in Al Anbar province. "James felt the same way. His father missed out on serving, so when James joined, he was proud to have a son in the military. He was proud to see him in uniform. I was proud of him, too."
Family members say he loved Washington sports, and when he was in the area, he frequently would take in a Capitals game. Sergeant McIlvaine's uncle said his nephew played hockey, and he was teaching his 7-year-old son the game.

There have been a number of deaths recently. April 19th, the death toll stood at 4274. Last night (May 3rd), it stood at 4284. Tim King (Salem-News) has an overview of some recent deaths; however, there were more US fatalities in Iraq in April than in Afghanistan. As for May, we'll leave predictions for someone else and just stick to reality which is more than ugly enough. Ruben Vives' "Army 1st Lt. Daniel B. Hyde, 24, Modesto; killed in grenade attack in Iraq" covers another death in Iraq but drops back to March:

But after just two months as a platoon leader, Hyde, 24, was killed March 7 when two anti-tank hand grenades struck his mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle in Tikrit, Iraq, north of Baghdad.
In Modesto, Hyde's mother said she was home alone when the three Army representatives knocked on her front door.
"I almost didn't want to open the door," she said, adding that she at first thought the men had posed as military officers to gain access inside her home to rob her. "But then something came over me like 'Oh, this is what happens when something bad happens to your kid.' "
Glenda Hyde said she was shocked to hear that her son had been killed.
"I was confident that it was safe over there," she said. "[Daniel] would say 'It's really quiet' and he would tell me a little bit about what he would do . . . he'd say 'I'm going to meet with people, drink tea and chit-chat,' and I thought: This doesn't sound like a war at all."
Hyde's ambition to become a leader began in the seventh grade, when he was voted class president. At Thomas Downey High School, he was a three-sport athlete, serving on at least one academic honor society while also serving as the first two-term student body president in the school's history.

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Useless Blogger" went up last night. The e-mail address for this site is

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