Friday, February 12, 2010

Assault leaves an estimated 10 people dead

Aref Mohammed and Jack Kimball (Retuers) report that a village near Iraq's border with Iran was stormed by US and Iraqi forces with Maysan Province council member Maitham Laftah stating 10 people are dead and five injured while another count offers 8 dead and three injured: "A Reuters photographer who arrived after the firefight saw bloodstains on the ground and bullet holes in the walls."

Meanwhile Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) reports on the US military beliefs concerning the kidnapping of American citizen Issa T. Salomi by the League of Righteous:

But a senior US military leader, speaking on condition of anonymity, says the kidnapping appears to be a one-off incident possibly sparked by the Iraqi government’s recent arrest of two mid-level members of the AAH, which US officials say is backed by Iran.
He said the group, which broke away from the movement of militant Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr after Sadr agreed to a ceasefire in 2008, appears to have further splintered after its leader Sheikh Qais al-Khazali renounced attacks on Iraqi forces and was released from US and Iraqi custody. The release was an apparent exchange for a British hostage and the bodies of three of his bodyguards and seen as key to reconciliation between the Iraqi government and Shiite militant groups.
“What I think has happened…is that there are elements within AAH that are not following any orders from Qais…. We believe it is that element out of that group that is pursuing their kidnapping campaign,” says the senior U.S. official.

It's always interesting to watch the US military and US officials -- named and unnamed -- offer takes on what this or that group is in doing in Iraq -- you know, as opposed to what Iraqis think the groups doing in Iraq. For example, many don't buy the idea of a 'splinter group' -- or that al-Sadr 'ridded' his organization of the militias.

To stick with the US position presented in the article, so the League of Righteous allegedly felt shut out of the 'political process' and, in their anger/depression/rage, decided that they could best have a 'voice' and get their way via violence? Well wherever could they have learned that? From a US administration that ordered the US military to release the ringleaders of the organization despite the League's claims of responsibility (bragging, actually) for the death of 5 US service members in a raid on a base?

3 dead British citizens and 1 alive also proved to be very beneficial for the League.

Maybe that's why you have to be very careful about entering into negotiations with those who resort to violence? Concerned because of the message you send and the message the current US administration sent by releasing the ringleaders and others starting in June of last year was: Violence means you get your way.

In England, the Iraq Inquiry is in recess but Simon Vezey (Epoch Times) notes John Chilcot, Chair of the Committee, and others' statements to offer:

One exchange hinted that the panel had access to secret documents revealing that George Bush planned to attack Iraq even if Iraq complied with inspectors and was in compliance with the crucial UN resolution 1441.
Sir Lawrence Freedman had asked Mr Straw: "Was there any point where Powell said to you that, even if Iraq complied, President Bush had already made a decision that he intended to go to war?"
When Mr Straw said this was not the case, "to the best of my recollection", and talked more broadly around the question, Sir Lawrence pressed him a few times on the issue.
Sir Lawrence Freedman said: "I was going to suggest you might want to look through your conversations and check."
"I will go through the records, because I think you are trying to tell me something," said Mr Straw.

Ya think?

The following community sites updated:

We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "US Says It Has Right To Kill American Terrorist Suspects Abroad" (Veterans Today):

Aping the assassination tactics of Josef Stalin, the U.S. has created an illegal “hit list” of Americans abroad marked for murder.
Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told a House Intelligence Committee hearing February 3rd the U.S. may, with executive approval, target and kill American terrorist suspects, Inter Press News Service of Rome reported. ”We take direct action against terrorists in the intelligence community,” he said.
Blair’s statement recalls the policies of Soviet Russia’s secret police, who often murdered those who fled Stalin’s tyranny. Red Army founder Leon Trotsky, for example, was tracked to Mexico by a Soviet agent who killed him with an ice pick.
Ben Wizner, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project, said, ”It is alarming to hear that the Obama administration is asserting that the president can authorize the assassination of Americans abroad, even if they are far from any battlefield and may have never taken up arms against the U.S., but have only been deemed to constitute an unspecified 'threat.'”
Blair's remarks followed a Washington Post article reporting President Barack Obama had embraced President George W. Bush’s policy of authorizing the killing of U.S. citizens involved in terrorist activities overseas.

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