U.S., Iraqis launch raid on “insurgent hotbed”

2006-03-17

Richard Moore


Friends,

Here's the BBC headline of the same story:

     http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4814094.stm
     "US launches major Iraq offensive"
         The US military says it has launched its biggest airborne
     operation in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, targeting
     insurgents near the city of Samarra.

The CNN version below, describing the latest US war crimes
in Iraq, is an interesting example of matrix journalism.
While we see many details, the elephant in the kitchen is
ignored: Why is it that all the kings horses and all the
kings men cannot deal with three villages without the help
of this "biggest airborne operation"?

What pretends to be a story of progress, as regards the
fighting ability of 'Iraqi troops', tells us instead of a
failed occupation.

rkm

--------------------------------------------------------
http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/03/16/iraq.main/index.html

CNN.com
 
U.S., Iraqis launch raid on insurgent hotbed

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- About 1,500 Iraqi and American forces
stormed into a restive region north of the capital Thursday,
searching for insurgents and terrorists, the U.S. military
said.

More than 50 aircraft and 200 tactical ground vehicles are
involved in Operation Swarmer, a mission to find insurgents
in rural areas of Salaheddin province northeast of Samarra.

Commandos raided several structures in the area, a news
release said. (Watch as choppers ferry troops to the
insurgent area -- 2:28)

"We are conducting a real thorough search of the area,
ensuring that we are very precise in determining who we
detain," said Maj. Tom Bryant, a public affairs officer in
Tikrit for the 101st Airborne Division.

Bryant said there were no initial reports of injuries among
the U.S.-led coalition and Iraqis.

He said there were "a few more" Iraqi troops than coalition
soldiers. Many of them were ferried in by UH-60 Blackhawk
and CH-47 Chinook helicopters, he said.

The offensive is focusing on three villages in a largely
Sunni area where fighters are believed to be based, Iraqi
security sources said.

The insurgents are suspected in lootings and killings,
including the deaths of three Al-Arabiya journalists in
Samarra.

The reporters were killed while covering the aftermath of
the February 22 bombing of a revered Shiite shrine in
Samarra that escalated sectarian tensions and pushed Iraq to
the brink of civil war.

Samarra, about 75 miles (121 kilometers) north of Baghdad,
is predominantly Sunni but has mixed Sunni-Shiite areas.

Iraq Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the operation "has
been anticipated for some time." (Watch Iraq's foreign
minister describe the area as a hotbed of insurgents --
3:49)

"It is very close to Baghdad ... and really it has been the
transit for many of these terrorist insurgents to send car
bombs or to attack convoys in that part of the country,"
Zebari said.

"The insurgents and the terrorists have been assembling
themselves there trying to create another Falluja," he said,
referring to an insurgent command center in that western
Iraqi city that was scene of a bloody offensive in November
2004.

The operation is expected to last several days as the
military searches for insurgents and weapons stockpiles.

Zebari said the Samarra push shows the "rising capabilities"
of Iraqi forces.

"This is a good exercise and indicates that this strategy is
working to build Iraqi troops to be sufficient," he said.

Bryant said Iraqi and U.S. commanders planned the mission,
acting on intelligence gained by Iraqi forces.

Bodies found in Baghdad

The death toll from apparent reprisal killings rose in
Baghdad as Iraqi emergency police said they had found 31
bodies across the capital -- 25 on Wednesday and another six
Thursday.

Since a string of car bombings in a poor Shiite neighborhood
killed at least 46 people Sunday, police have reported
finding the results of grisly execution-style slayings
daily.

The latest discoveries came during a vehicle curfew in the
capital.

More than 160 bodies have been recovered since Sunday. Many
were shot to death, and some showed signs of torture.

In northern Iraq, one person was killed and three injured in
demonstrations marking the 18th anniversary of the gassing
to death of thousands of Kurds in Halabja, police and
hospital officials said.

Diyala province, north of Baghdad, continued to be a hotbed
of violence.

In Khalis, a roadside bomb killed three girls and wounded
five boys Thursday as students were leaving school, an
official with Diyala's Joint Coordination Center said.

A roadside bomb in Muqtadya exploded near an Iraqi police
patrol, wounding seven officers and one civilian, the
official said.

In the provincial capital of Baquba, a gunmen killed one
civilian and wounded another.

Parliament meets briefly

Iraq's newly elected parliament met for the first time
Thursday and adjourned after 30 minutes.

The lawmakers were sworn in amid tight security, but they
did little else. (Full story)

The meeting begins the 60-day countdown during which time a
president, two vice presidents and a prime minister will be
selected.

The process likely will be difficult. The nominee for prime
minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, is controversial with many
Sunni, Kurdish and secular Shiite lawmakers and their
constituents. Al-Jaafari has been the transitional prime
minister.

Other developments

-- 

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