Scanlyze

The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

Update: Najaf and around Iraq

A few more points of interest on the ongoing victorious US liberation campaign in Iraq.

Air Force Times has more on the Najaf Incident.

Despite the “fog of war” obscuring exactly who were the combatants and non-combatants at Najaf, the US apparently used substantial air assets in a 5 square mile area:

F-16, A-10 power rained down in Najaf fight

Juan Cole has more Iraq news at Bay Indymedia:

1,000 Killed in Iraq in Past Week; Parliamentarians call for Expulsion of Arabs, Iranians

And there is more excellent, detailed coverage from Mohammed al Dulaimy at the McClatchy Newspapers:

Roundup of violence in Iraq – 4 February 2007.

See also: Keyword ‘Najaf’ on scanlyze

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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6 February, 2007 Posted by | 14th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, 332nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, 510th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, A-10, Air Force, Army, Bush, F-16, Iraq, massacre, memory hole, military, Najaf, national security, news, peace, politics, scanlyze, war, war crimes | Leave a comment

Najaf: What happened to the children?

What happened to the ‘terrorist children’ captured in the Glorious Battle of Najaf? I suggest you contact your elected representatives and the responsible agencies and ask as I am. I am looking forward to a call-back from Senator Levin’s office next week.

Apparently a substantial number of those ‘hundreds’ injured, captured or killed in the day-long slaughter by US and Iraqi forces may have been non-combatants, women and children.

Stratfor provides some interesting additional information regarding the Najaf Incident and raises some pertinent questions:

Geopolitical Diary: Deciphering the An Najaf Battle
January 31, 2007 03 00 GMT

…Not only is this perhaps the most bizarre incident in almost four years of incessant violence that has ravaged the country, the government’s version of what allegedly transpired raises more questions than provides answers.

  • How could a cult evolve into such a major threat without getting noticed?
  • If this was an obscure cult, why were government forces unable to deal with it on their own?
  • From where did the group acquire such a large cache of weaponry?
  • Given the deep sectarian differences, how can extremist Shia and jihadists both be part of the group?
  • Why would a Shiite religious group risk alienation by engaging in the murder of the clerical hierarchy, especially during the holy month of Muharram?

These and other such questions indicate the government is withholding a lot of information. However, Stratfor has received some information that provides insight into the circumstances leading up to the battle.

We are told the al-Hawatim tribe wanted to organize its own Karbala procession during Ashurah but that a rival group with considerable influence prevented it from doing so. A number of tribesmen were killed at a checkpoint operated by this influential group, including a senior tribal sheikh. The tribe then launched a retaliatory attack that led to the battle. The fact that a large number of those arrested are women and children [emphasis mine–HH] lends some credence to the report that the fighting was related to Ashurah ceremonies.

Stratfor apparently only provides this article to subscribers or google searchers, so google on: “Geopolitical Diary: Deciphering the An Najaf Battle”.

Mike Whitney raises some more good points in Palestine Chronicle:

Mike Whitney: Whitewashing the Massacre in Najaf

The US military is now being used as an “enforcer” in tribal and clan-based disputes. This will make it even more difficult for Washington to prove that its honest broker who can reconcile the differences between the between the warring factions.

By Mike Whitney
PalestineChronicle.com

So far, there are 2 things that we can say with certainty about the massacre of 250 Iraqis outside Najaf on Monday. First, we know that there is no solid evidence to support the official version of events. And, second, we know that every media outlet in the United States slavishly provided the government’s version to their readers without fact-checking or providing eyewitness testimony.

This proves that those who argue that mainstream news is “filtered” are sadly mistaken. There is no filter between the military and media; it’s a direct channel. In fact, all of the traditional obstacles have been swept away so the fairy tales which originate at the Pentagon end up on America’s front pages with as little interference as possible.

In the present case, we were told that “hundreds of gunmen from a ‘messianic cult’ (Soldiers of Heaven) planned to disguise themselves as pilgrims and kill clerics on the holiest day of the Shiite calendar”. We are expected to believe that they put their wives and children in the line of fire so they could conceal their real intention to lay siege to the city. (AP)

This is absurd. How many men would willingly drag their families into battle? In truth, these same tribes make the pilgrimage to Najaf every year to express their devotion to Imam Hussein and to celebrate the Shiite holiday of Ashura. There was nothing out of the ordinary in their behavior.

Gulf Times says:

US military still probing cult battle

Published: Saturday, 3 February, 2007, 10:33 AM Doha Time

BAGHDAD: The US military said yesterday it was still investigating who its troops and Iraq’s security forces fought last week in clashes in which hundreds of people were killed.

The Iraqi government’s account of the battle near the holy city of Najaf has generated conspiracy theories among bloggers sceptical of its suggestion that those killed were members of a messianic Muslim cult plotting to kill top Shia clerics.

“We are investigating who we engaged there. We are not going to say anything as there is still an ongoing investigation,” US military spokesman Major Steven Lamb said, adding that this was standard practice after any major engagement.

But a week after the battle amid orchards and houses north of Najaf, mystery shrouds exactly who the fighters were and what triggered the day-long battle in which a US attack helicopter was shot down, killing its two crew.

Hundreds of people arrested in the aftermath, including women and children, are under guard. [emphasis mine–HH] Journalists were not allowed to visit the scene of the fighting until Thursday, four days after the battle, and only then accompanied by soldiers.

According to Middle East Online, almost 300 persons were taken into custody after the Najaf Incident:

Iraq lifts curfew in Najaf

Iraqi officials say nearly 2,000 civilians killed in raging sectarian conflict across Iraq in January.

By Hasan Abdul Zahra – NAJAF, Iraq

Iraqi authorities on Friday lifted a curfew imposed on Shiite Islam’s holiest city of Najaf in a bid to thwart attacks a day after 73 people died in twin suicide bombings in nearby Hilla…

On Sunday, Iraqi and US forces fought members of a Shiite sect north of Najaf, killing more than 250 “Soldiers of Heaven,” wounding more than 200 and arresting almost 300 [emphasis mine–HH].

See also: Keyword ‘Najaf’ on scanlyze

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

3 February, 2007 Posted by | 1st Cavalry, Army, Bush, children, covert operations, intelligence, international law, Iraq, law of nations, Levin, massacre, media, memory hole, murder, Najaf, national security, peace, prisoners, repression, scanlyze, SCIRI, war, war crimes, weird | Leave a comment

Bush explains that the violence at Najaf was ’caused by Sunni Arabs like al-Qaida’

George W. Bush said in an interview with NPR on Jan 29, 2007 that the violence in Najaf was the fault of Sunni Arab organizations such as Qa’edat al-Jihad which Bush persists in referring to as Al-Qaida. Al-Qaida, or “the base” was the “other government agency” informal name for the MAK base near Khost during the Saudi and US-financed “Contra” war against the Afghan government in the 1980’s.

Salient points follow:

JUAN WILLIAMS: Mr. President, we can’t say thank you enough for giving NPR this time, so thank you.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: You bet.

MR. WILLIAMS: All right, Mr. President, the reports that 300 militants were killed, an American helicopter shot down yesterday in Najaf – that’s one of the deadliest battles of the war, what can you tell us?

PRESIDENT BUSH: You know, Juan, I haven’t been briefed by the Pentagon yet. One of the things I’ve learned is not to react to first reports off the battlefield. I will tell you, though, that this fight is an indication of what is taking place, and that is the Iraqis are beginning to take the lead, whether it be this fight that you’ve just reported on where the Iraqis went in with American help to do in some extremists that were trying to stop the advance of their democracy, or the report that there’s militant Shia had been captured or killed [emphasis mine–HH]. In other words, one of the things that I expect to see is the Iraqis take the lead and show the American people that they’re willing to the hard work necessary to secure their democracy, and our job is to help them.

So my first reaction on this report from the battlefield is that the Iraqis are beginning to show me something [emphasis mine–HH].

MR. WILLIAMS: Well, now, one of the concerns might be that you have – the gunmen were trying to assassinate clerics and pilgrims – Shia pilgrims. So I’m wondering if that’s an indication of a civil war – a term that, you know, you’ve been reluctant to use.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, I think it’s an indication that there are murderers who will kill innocent people to stop the advance of a form of government that is the opposite of what they believe. You know, we can debate terms, but what can’t be debated is the fact that Iraq is violent, and the violence is caused by Sunni Arabs like al-Qaida, [emphasis mine–HH] who have made it clear that they want to create chaos and drive the United States out so they can have safe haven, and then they could launch attacks against America.

Full Transcript: NPR Interview with President Bush , National Public Radio (US) Jan 29, 2007. Link to audio of interview.

See also: Keyword ‘Najaf’ on scanlyze

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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1 February, 2007 Posted by | Afghanistan, Army, Bush, covert operations, intelligence, interviews, Iraq, massacre, media, military, Najaf, national security, news, NPR, politics, radio, repression, scanlyze, war, war crimes | Leave a comment

More on the Najaf Incident: hundreds of terrorist children defeated?

I’ve collected some more links on the Najaf ‘incident’. I find it very peculiar that the US media are sticking to the rather unlikely sounding ‘official story’. BBC to its credit followed up its initial reporting of the ‘official story’ with a skeptical analysis by Roger Hardy (no relation AFAIK). Apparently of the 500-1000+ casualties being reported among the ‘terrorists’ over 100 were what I guess in the Orwellian Newspeak of the Bush Administration would logically be termed ‘terrorist children’.

Roger Hardy Confusion surrounds Najaf battle BBC

The official version of events has not gone unchallenged.

According to accounts on an Iraqi website and in the British newspaper The Independent, the drama began with a clash between an Iraqi tribe on a pilgrimage to Najaf and an Iraqi army checkpoint.

The fighting escalated, army commanders called for reinforcements, and US aircraft launched an intense aerial bombardment – with significant loss of life.

According to this account, the involvement of the Soldiers of Heaven appears to have been accidental.

Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily Pilgrims massacred in the ‘battle’ of Najaf Asia Times, Feb 1, 2007
Battle in Najaf: Is US-Iraqi Claim of Gunfight with Messianic Cult Cover-up for a Massacre? Democracy Now Includes interviews with Patrick Cockburn and with a local doctor, Dr. Amer Majid who says he treated the wounded. Video and Audio feed available.
Peace Voter Najaf: Victory or Massacre? Daily Kos
James Risser Massacre in Najaf: Maliki learns that the best way to deal with dissent is with US bombs Daily Kos
Mike Whitney The Media Cover-up of the Najaf Massacre uruknet.info
DoD Identifies Army Casualties AubreyJ.org

See also: Keyword ‘Najaf’ on scanlyze

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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1 February, 2007 Posted by | 1984, 1st Cavalry, Army, audio, Bush, children, covert operations, intelligence, Iraq, massacre, media, military, Najaf, national security, news, Newspeak, Orwell, peace, politics, protest, repression, scanlyze, strategy, video, war, war crimes | 2 Comments

Another Glorious Victory for Our Forces in Najaf! [not]

Interesting story regarding the glorious victory at Najaf by the US and our valiant allies in The Independent:

US ‘victory’ against cult leader was ‘massacre’
By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad
Published: 31 January 2007There are growing suspicions in Iraq that the official story of the battle outside Najaf between a messianic Iraqi cult and the Iraqi security forces supported by the US, in which 263 people were killed and 210 wounded, is a fabrication. The heavy casualties may be evidence of an unpremeditated massacre.

Healing Iraq [several long articles with sources]
The Media Cover-up of the Najaf Massacre Atlantic Free Press
Robert H. Reid Analysis: Najaf Battle Raises Questions The Guardian, January 30, 2007
Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily Official Lies over Najaf Battle Exposed Inter Press Service
Stop the Massacres Being Done in Our Name No Questions Asked
Patrick Cockburn The Waco of Iraq? US “Victory” Against Cult Leader was a Massacre Counterpunch

See also: Keyword ‘Najaf’ on scanlyze

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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31 January, 2007 Posted by | Army, Bush, Independent, Iraq, massacre, media, military, Najaf, news, politics, repression, scanlyze, war, war crimes | Leave a comment