Friday, June 16, 2006

Major developments in Iraq (part 3)

I'm just posting the articles that catch my eye. All emphasis is mine.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Gunmen killed the local head of a Sunni religious group in the Iraqi Shi'ite city of Basra on Friday, the group and state television said.

Unknown gunmen shot dead Yusif al-Hassan near the mosque where he led prayers in Basra, 550 km (340 miles) south of Baghdad, colleagues said.
The New York Times:
A man wearing explosives in his shoes blew himself up as worshippers gathered at a Shiite mosque in northern Baghdad today, killing 11 and wounding 25. The attack came just days after military forces launched a sweeping security operation aimed at calming terrorist violence in the Iraqi capital.
Stars and Stripes:
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Iraqi city of Ramadi may be full of insurgents, but U.S. military leaders are not planning a major operation along the lines of the battle of Fallujah in 2004 to clear the nest, according to a senior Pentagon official.

“I think those who are looking for, perhaps, a large-scale offensive [in Ramadi] may be somewhat off the mark,” Brig. Gen. Carter Ham, Deputy Director for Regional Operations, Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Pentagon reporters Wednesday.
The Los Angeles Times:
Caldwell said U.S. officials for days debated whether releasing the photo and a brief biographical sketch would bolster the Egyptian's media profile, and play into his hands. "Our intention is not to glorify him," he said.

The U.S. intention instead appears to be to keep attention on the foreign element of Iraq's insurgency — a small but effective force within a broader opposition led by Sunni Arabs. Masri and Muhajir mean "Egyptian" and "immigrant," respectively, in Arabic.

"He has absolutely no ties to this country," Caldwell said.
The Christian Science Monitor:
BAGHDAD – An Al Qaeda document linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi purports to show that Iraq's insurgents believe they face a "current bleak situation" that may require fomenting a war between the US and Iran to "get out of this crisis."

The document, released Thursday, could not be independently authenticated. But senior Iraqi officials were ebullient about its message, as well as the magnitude of intelligence "treasure" that has emerged surrounding Mr. Zarqawi's death.


"The documents and all the arrests mean there has been a depletion of talent" among Zarqawi's group, says Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert at the Swedish National Defense College in Stockholm.


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