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Tomb Attack Stokes Sectarian Conflicts

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  • #81
    Bagdat Rejects Report Exonerating US Soldiers

    Bagdat Rejects Report Exonerating US Soldiers
    By Foreign News Desk
    Published: Sunday, June 04, 2006

    The US army, which carries on four separate investigations into civilian deaths in Iraq, being mainly the Haditha massacre, acquitted US soldiers of the killing of 11 civilians, nine of them women, in the town of Ishaqi.

    The US administration defends that an air attack was conducted on the house with civilians inside “upon the demand of soldiers who came under fire.” Nevertheless, Iraqi witnesses and police claim that the bombardment occurred in order to “erase the traces of a civilian massacre.”

    In the frame of the investigation launched, the US army concluded that US soldiers “did no wrong” during the raid; however, the Iraqi government claimed that the investigation results were unfair and asked Iraqi officials to launch a separate investigation.

    Some evidence had been found at the scene of the incident supporting the Iraqi government’s rejection of the US claims.

    The US administration which has come under scrutiny over civilian deaths in Iraq, preparing to give “a two-hour moral training” session to soldiers about the subject, is still carrying on investigations into the civilian killings in Haditha in November, Hamandiya in April and in Samarra, which occurred this week.

    Major General William Caldwell from the US army defended that the allegations saying US soldiers raided a home in Ishaqi on March 15 and “killed” a family and then “tried to cover up the incident”, were completely false.

    A statement from the US army told that the soldiers followed “the usual procedure” during the incident.

    A total of 11 civilians including a six-month baby had been killed due to a US air attack on a house in the town of Ishaqi, 100 kilometers north of Iraq.

    The US army alleges that the civilians in the house opened fire on the soldiers, and so the soldiers “naturally” had to retaliate and in doing so, initiate an air attack on the house.

    Witnesses to the contrary, claim that the house was bombed in order to erase the traces of massacre in which US soldiers gather the people in the house into a room and then killed them.

    Police officials said the house was bombed to remove any trace of the killings after the householders were killed.

    Empty shells belonging to the US soldiers were found in the house during the police investigation and the photographs taken after the incident showed the children with “bullet and shrapnel marks” on their heads.

    The US army has denied the allegations and statements from witnesses. The Iraqi government rejected the results of the US investigation and demanded the event be reinvestigated by Iraqi officials.

    Iraq Deputy Prime Minister Adnan al-Kazimi said they were informed by more than one source that the victims were killed in a suspicious manner. “The US’s report is not fair,” al-Kazimi said, and they will ask the US to apologize and pay compensation for those killed.

    The most important of the four investigations carried out by the US about the Haditha killings, which occurred on November 19 killing 24 civilians, is still continuing and the victims are being autopsied in a forensic lab.

    Meanwhile, The New York Times wrote of a new scandal based on statements made by a military source.

    The paper reported the American commanders were informed of the “intentional killing of civilians” in Haditha two days after the massacre; however, they did not launch an investigation.

    An American commander speaking with The New York Times said it is hard to believe that the commanders were not aware of the oddity of the incident.

    Meanwhile, yesterday, a suicide bombing shook the southern Iraqi city of Basra, relatively more secure than central Iraq and mainly populated by Shiites.

    The attack killed 33 and wounded 55. Iraqi police officials said the attack, carried out with a bomb-laden vehicle, was targeted at the city’s main market.

    In another attack in the capital Bagdat (Baghdad) one Russian diplomat was killed and four others were kidnapped


    • #82
      Is the US Withdrawing from Iraq?

      Is the US Withdrawing from Iraq?

      Published: Sunday, June 25, 2006

      The New York Times reported that the US administration was planning to withdraw its troops from Iraq.

      Relying on anonymous officials claiming that they were informed that General George Casey’s weekly briefing to Pentagon, contained the plan’s framework, calling for the first group of soldiers to return home in September.

      According to the US plan, the 14 combat brigades currently in Iraq, each of which has around 3,500 soldiers, will be reduced to five or six.

      The planned withdrawal would be larger than previously expected by the experts, according to the article


      • #83
        White House plays down Iraq troop withdrawal reports

        White House plays down Iraq troop withdrawal reports

        The Associated Press / Washington

        President George W. Bush said Monday that U.S. troop levels in Iraq will be determined by military commanders, the new Iraqi government and conditions on the ground. His spokesman said a Pentagon troop withdrawal plan is among options being considered.

        Bush told reporters he would await a recommendation from Army Gen. George Casey Jr., the top U.S. commander in Iraq. "And one of the things General Casey assured me of was that whatever recommendation he makes, it'll be aimed toward achieving victory," Bush said.

        "And victory means a free government that is able to sustain itself, defend itself," Bush said.

        The president said he was briefed by Casey at the White House on Friday.

        Bush brushed aside reports that Casey had plans for sending home two combat brigades, or about 7,000 of the 127,000 American troops there, by September without replacing them.

        Tony Snow, Bush's press secretary, said later that such a plan is under consideration among several others.
        "Gen. Casey proposes lots of things and actually laid out more than one option. And everybody's fastening on one," Snow said. "Certainly that's under consideration, but I would warn against saying this is what he's saying, this is what he wants."

        "When he (Casey) makes a recommendation the president's going to follow it. He trusts Gen. Casey, and he's made it clear," Snow said.

        Remarks by the president and Snow followed a New York Times report Sunday that Casey's plan entailed bringing home about 7,000 U.S. troops by September and another 20,000 or more by the end of 2007. Democrats seized on stories about Casey's reported plan to criticize Bush's Republican White House. "Even while Republicans continue their commitment to a failed policy in Iraq, Gen. Casey and the Iraqi government are both drawing up plans for responsible redeployment of American troops from Iraq," said Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Stascie Paxton.

        "The Casey plan closely mirrors proposals made by Democrats just last week, yet only the White House and congressional Republicans continue to oppose a new direction in Iraq," she said.

        The first reductions would involve two combat brigades that would be rotated out of Iraq in September without being replaced, according to the plan. Of the 127,000 troops in Iraq, only about 50,000 are in units considered combat brigades. Two Marine brigades are among the 14 combat brigades in Iraq, each of which has about 3,500 troops. Most U.S. troops in Iraq perform such noncombat duties as support, training, logistics.