From Islam Online :
Washington will win the military battle in the western Iraqi city of Fallujah but its strategic looses[sic] will certainly outweigh such a victory, said a French strategic expert.
Branding the US practices against the Fallujah residents as â??state terrorism,â?? Pascal Boniface, Director of the Institute for International and Strategic Studies [sic] in Paris, expected the onslaught to further fan anti-US feelings in the entire Islamic world.
Addressing a seminar organized by the Arab World Institute on Wednesday, November 17, Boniface said the cold-blooded killing of an unarmed, wounded Iraqi by a US soldiers in a Fallujah mosques was not an isolated incident.
He said the murder as well as the prisoners abuses in the infamous Abu Ghreib and Guantanamo Bay detentions demonstrate an established policy and doctrine.
The French expert described the Fallujah offensive as a â?? strategic lossâ?? for the Bush administration.
The Americans would undoubtedly win the fighting but they would strategically lose the battle as they did with the Iraq invasion, Boniface said.
The French expert considered the Fallujah operation as a new proof of American troubles in the Iraqis quagmire.
He refuted American allegations that the offensive was to eliminate terrorists from the city.
Boniface expected the onslaught to fan the already spiraling anti-US sentiments across Arab and Muslim countries and create more generations of those described by Washington as terrorists, not only in Iraq but in other parts of the world.
He added that the operation also killed stone dead the legitimacy of the planned January elections and its outcome.
The interim government lost credibility among Iraqis and Arabs who see it as a puppet in the hands of the US occupation forces, said the French expert.
Boniface hailed Arab popular reaction to the Fallujah offensive.
He said that despite the absence of democracy and political pressure groups, the Arab public opinion is turning into a mighty force interacting with developments in Iraq and the Palestinian territories.
The French expert noted that the emerging force of the public opinion, motivated by the Arab satellite channels, is now seen by the west and the Americans as the official spokesman of the Arab world.
The US-led assault on Fallujah has â??broken the back of the insurgencyâ?? in Iraq by taking away its safe haven, scattering operatives and disrupting their command networks, the top US marine commander in Iraq said.(Intelligence Reports)"
Lieutenant General John Sattler said the city was secure 11 days after the start of Operation Dawn, but not safe. Heavy fighting was still erupting in some quarters of the city as marines and Iraqi troops clear buildings of holdouts.
â??Based on some of the records and ledgers weâ??ve been able to uncover, we feel right now that we have â?¦ broken the back of the insurgency and weâ??ve taken away the safe haven,â?? Sattler said.
The offensive would force the insurgents to set up operations in less familiar areas with untested allies, he added.
From Reuters via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :
The marine and soldier died during continuing mop-up operations in the former insurgent bastion, raising the coalition toll in the fighting to retake the city to 51 US dead and eight Iraqis, the top US Marine commander there said.
US-led troops continued to engage in sporadic battles against rebels in Fallujah after launching a major assault to wrest the Sunni Muslim city west of Baghdad from insurgents 10 days ago.
Iraqi volunteers and US troops were able to clear 24 corpses from the battered city and evacuate five civilians.
The Iraqi Red Crescent said 150 families remained stranded.
From the New York Times :
The Department of Defense has identified 1,212 American service members who have died since the start of the Iraq war. It confirmed the deaths of the following Americans this week:(Fallujah)"
HEFLIN, Christopher T., 26, Sgt., Marines; Paducah, Ky.; First Marine Division.
QUALLS, Louis W., 20, Lance Cpl., Temple, Tex.; Fourth Marine Division.
WULLENWABER, Luke C., 24, First Lt., Army; Lewiston, Idaho; Second Infantry Division.
From The Age :
Senior US marine intelligence officers in Iraq are warning that insurgents will rebound from their defeat if planned cuts to US troop levels in Fallujah go ahead.(Fallujah)"
The rebels could thwart retraining of Iraqi security forces, intimidate local residents and derail January elections, the officers say.
They fear that despite the insurgentsâ?? heavy casualties in the week-long Fallujah battle, their numbers will continue to grow, there will be further guerilla attacks and fighters will foment unrest among Fallujahâ??s returning residents, using the idea that expectations for better conditions have not been met.
The warning is contained in a classified report prepared by intelligence officers in the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force last weekend as the Fallujah offensive was winding down. The leaked assessment was distributed to senior officers in Iraq, where one called it â??brutally honestâ??.
The intelligence assessment offers a stark counterpoint to more positive assessments by military chiefs in the wake of the Fallujah operation, which they say completed its goals well ahead of schedule and with fewer Iraqi civilian and US casualties than expected.
Senior military officers in Iraq and Washington who have read the report cautioned that the assessment was a subjective judgement by some marine intelligence officers near the front lines and did not reflect the views of all intelligence officials and senior commanders in Iraq.
â??The assessment of the enemy is a worst-case assessment,â?? the senior military intelligence officer in Iraq, Brigadier-General John DeFreitas, said.
â??We have no intention of creating a vacuum and walking away from Fallujah.â??
A senior officer in Washington said the view from the tactical intelligence level had generally been more pessimistic than that from officers at the strategic level.
From the BBC :
Three Frenchmen have died fighting with insurgents against US-led troops in Iraq, reports say.
The men, all of Arab origin, were killed in the country over recent months as the insurgency has flared.
Two of the men were aged 19 and the third was 24 years old, a French official said.
Authorities estimate that around a dozen Frenchmen of North African or Arab background have travelled to Iraq to join the insurgency.
The men were identified as
- 24-year-old Tarek W, from Paris, killed on 17 September
- 19-year-old Redouane el-Hakim, killed on 17 July
- Abdel Halim Badjoudj, 19, killed on 20 October.
Note that a handful of Australians, Britons and Americans were caught fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan.(Axis of Weasels)"
From the AFP via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):
Iraqi police have arrested a senior aide to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr in the southern city of Najaf.(Torture)"
â??Sheikh Hashem Abu Raghif was arrested at his home Wednesday night after detainees were forced to confess that he had ordered torture against prisoners detained by the Sadr movement,â?? Sheikh Ali Smeism said.
Before it was ousted from Najaf after an August offensive led by the US army, the Sadr movement had established its own tribunals and jails in the holy city.
Meanwhile Iraqi police and national guards have detained more than 100 suspected militants in raids around Haifa Street, a rebellious Sunni Muslim stronghold in Baghdad.
In all 104 people were arrested, including nine who were suspected of having escaped from the US-led offensive against the rebel city of Fallujah over the past 10 days.
From the New York Times :
In Mosul, 225 miles north of the capital, sporadic fighting erupted Saturday, but clashes were smaller than on Thursday, when groups of insurgents overran at least a half-dozen police stations, said Lt. Col. Paul Hastings, a spokesman for Task Force Olympia, assigned to control the northern region. Hundreds of policemen fled the guerrillas that day, and the Iraqi government fired the cityâ??s police chief on Friday.(Mosul)"
Mosul has sizable numbers of Sunni Arabs, Kurds and Christians, and ethnic tensions have run high since the Americans invaded Iraq. It is clear that the Sunni Arabs are leading the insurgency here, while the Kurds and Christians are more sympathetic to the American forces.
A car bomb exploded next to a Kurdish patrol in the afternoon, killing at least six militiamen, witnesses said. The cityâ??s health bureau said that at least 25 people were killed and 62 wounded in violence on Thursday and Friday, though it was unknown how many of them were civilians and how many were guerrillas.
It is clear that the American-led forces were taken by surprise by the magnitude of the uprising. The Stryker Brigade, a light-armored mechanized unit based in Mosul, had to recall a battalion from the fighting in Falluja. The Iraqi government ordered four battalions of national guardsmen, all Kurds, to the city.
Up to 500 insurgents, far more than American and Iraqi intelligence had predicted, carried out the first big wave of attacks on police stations on Thursday by working in groups of 15 to 50, Brig. Gen. Carter Ham, commander of the Stryker Brigade, said in a telephone interview late Friday.
The general said he believed that the insurgency was being organized by former members of Saddam Husseinâ??s security forces.
The Iraqi Interior Ministry appointed a new police chief in Mosul on Saturday, and police officers were returning to the stations, some of which had been set afire, Colonel Hastings said. But the police were being confined to security duties at six sites, he added, because American soldiers might not be able to tell the real police from insurgents who could be roaming the city in stolen police uniforms or body armor.
In Al Wehda, a neighborhood of Mosul, insurgents slit the throats of two Iraqi National Guardsmen in the street, witnesses said.
â??When I was driving back to my house, I saw a huge gathering of people, so I stopped the car and went to see what was the matter,â?? said Muhammad Hazim, a resident. â??I saw a number of insurgents holding two Iraqi National Guard soldiers and reading a statement calling them traitors and collaborators with the enemy, and then they slaughtered them by slitting their throats and yelling, â??God is great!â?? â??
General Ham, the commander in Mosul, said the performance of the Iraqi policemen on Thursday had been â??very disappointing.â?? While raiding six or seven of the cityâ??s 33 police stations, the insurgents made off with up to 40 police vehicles, hundreds of weapons, handheld radios, computers, telephones, police uniforms and body armor.
From the Times-Reporter :
The American military said that a U.S. soldier in Baghdad was killed by â??indirect fire,â?? probably referring to a mortar or rocket attack.(Combat)"
From the Chicago Tribune :
Jump out. Kick in door. Spray machine-gun fire. Run to rooftop. Kill enemy. Jump back into armored vehicle. Move to new location.(Media Bias)"
So goes the battle for Fallujah as experienced Friday by the exhausted and bewildered soldiers of the 3rd Brigade of the Armyâ??s 1st Infantry Division. Flanked by Marines, the bleary-eyed troops led the southern push to corner die-hard Sunni Muslim insurgents who were the last obstacles to full American control of the city.
From the AFP via The Australian :
The body of a woman in her 60s, with her legs and arms cut off and throat slit was found today in the city of Fallujah but it was unclear whether she was a foreigner or an Iraqi, marines said.(Fallujah)"
The discovery was made as the marines moved through the south of Fallujah, hunting out the remaining die-hard rebels after a week of fierce fighting to regain control of the city.
An AFP photographer embedded with the marines said the woman had grey hair, was wearing a blue dress and her face was completely disfigured.
The marines said she appeared to have been on the street for about two days.
Sweeps of rubble-strewn neighbourhoods in Fallujah have already uncovered a grisly underworld of hostage slaughterhouses, prisons and torture chambers as well as the corpses of Iraqis who had been executed, marines say.
From the AFP via The Australian :
Three Marines were killed yesterday by an explosion as they entered a booby-trapped building in central Fallujah, while another 13 were wounded in a firefight nearby, a marine officer told AFP today.(Fallujah)"
Of the 13, ten were seriously injured in the gun battle just south of the main road that cuts through the centre of the Sunni Muslim bastion, the officer said.
The latest deaths bring to at least 25 the number of US troops who have been killed in the fight for Fallujah, which was launched on Monday. Five Iraqi soldiers have also died along with more than 1000 rebels.
From Reuters via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :
Resistance has dwindled in the last rebel redoubt in Fallujah, US officers said, but explosions still shook the smoke-wreathed city as an Iraqi Red Crescent convoy waited nearby to distribute relief.(Fallujah)"
â??Two days ago they were coming out and fighting us. Last night they were running. It looks like we are about to break their will,â?? Captain Robert Bodisch, a US tank company commander, told Reuters. â??I donâ??t think it will be long now.â??
Fighting was focused mainly on the Shuhada district, viewed by US forces as a stronghold for foreign fighters led by Jordanian Al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
But a Reuters reporter with the Red Crescent convoy at Fallujahâ??s main hospital by the Euphrates river on the western edge of the city said explosions had been sending up plumes of smoke in central and southern areas since 6:00am (local time).