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Old 08-22-2006, 02:07 PM   #1
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Commander: UK may cut Iraq force level

Commander: UK may cut Iraq forces

Tuesday, August 22, 2006; Posted: 8:29 a.m. EDT (12:29 GMT)

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Britain may cut its force in Iraq in half by the middle of next year after handing over security responsibility for the south to Iraqis within nine months, a senior British commander said on Tuesday.


"These are all conditions-based, subject to a variety of factors, but in terms of the tactical plan and the competence of the Iraqi army, it is perfectly feasible," he said.


The 3,000 to 4,000-strong British force would remain in the Basra area after the handover "to protect our investment" in security in the mainly-Shi'ite south and show support for U.S. troops still facing security problems in other parts of Iraq.

The mainly Shiite south has been far more peaceful than Sunni-dominated and ethnically mixed provinces in the center of the country.

But Basra has seen a surge in violence over the past year, which British officials blame on rival Shiite factions battling for control of the city, which is at the heart of one of Iraq's main oil-producing regions.

The British commander said the main security concerns are local militia, such as offshoots of the Jaish al-Mehdi -- the Mehdi Army -- of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

"The mainstream Jaish al-Mehdi are not a particular worry, but there are rogue elements, some of them rather alarmingly close to government structures."


http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/...eut/index.html
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Old 08-23-2006, 12:06 AM   #2
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US, British military say attacks down in targeted Baghdad districts

by Jim Mannion
Tue Aug 22, 8:28 PM ET



WASHINGTON (AFP) - A campaign to staunch sectarian bloodletting in Baghdad has sharply curtailed assassinations and bombings in some of the city's most violent neighborhoods, US and British military officials said.

The positive signs emerged about three weeks after US commanders deployed thousands of additional US troops in the Iraqi capital amid rising sectarian violence and fears of an all-out civil war.

"The numbers of sectarian killings which have taken place in Baghdad over the last few weeks are dramatically reduced," said Fry.

"And the reason for that is that a highly effective security operation is taking place on the streets of Baghdad," said Fry.

US and Iraqi forces sealed off those areas and then conducted house-to-house searches to clear them of weapons and insurgents.

They have followed up with street patrols and cleared the streets of trash, established contacts with community representatives and worked to restore services.

At the same time, US and Iraqi forces have conducted raids across the city aimed at disrupting death squads linked to Shiite militias and Sunni insurgent groups, according to officials.

Last week, 22 such operations resulted in the killing of seven alleged leaders of death squad cells and 31 cell members, said Major General William Caldwell, a military spokesman in Baghdad.

"What we have seen in August is a downturn," said Caldwell, who told reporters in Baghdad the number of attacks has come down to 21 a day.

In Dura, which was experiencing as many as 20 to 30 attacks a day at the start of the campaign, "they've now gone to literally zero attacks, almost, a day," he said.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060823...y_060823002806
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Old 08-23-2006, 10:30 AM   #3
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[q]Aug 22 (Reuters) - Following are security and other developments in Iraq reported on Tuesday, as of 1630 GMT.

Asterisk denotes new or updated item

*MOSUL - Gunmen killed a family of five, including two children, after entering their home in the al-Zanjeeli district of Mosul 390 km north of Baghdad, a hospital source said.

MADAEN - The bodies of eight fruit traders were found with their throats slit by a road in Madaen, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, said Ahmed Diabil, a spokesman for Najaf province. The men, who were from Najaf, died on Monday.

RAMADI - Gunmen killed one of the bodyguards of the governor of Anbar in a drive-by shooting in the restive Sunni stronghold, west of Baghdad, police said. The governor was not present during the attack.

MUQDADIYA - Fifteen people were wounded in a mortar attack on a market in Muqdadiya, 100 km (60 miles) northeast of Baghdad, police and hospital sources said.

NEAR KIRKUK - Gunmen killed two people on the main road near Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD - The body of Dawoud Salman, an employee in the Shi'ite Endowment, a religious foundation that cares for mosques, was found in the southern Saidiya district of Baghdad, police said.

NEAR HILLA - The body of a man with gunshot wounds to the head was found near Hilla, 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

BAQUBA - Gunmen killed a police major and seriously wounded his driver as he was heading home in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of the capital, police said.

MOSUL - Gunmen killed a man in the northern city of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

YUSUFIYA - A civilian was killed and two wounded when a roadside bomb went off near a police patrol near Yusufiya, 15 km (9 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.[/q]


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Old 08-23-2006, 12:56 PM   #4
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[q]Aug 22 (Reuters) - Following are security and other developments in Iraq reported on Tuesday, as of 1630 GMT.

Asterisk denotes new or updated item

*MOSUL - Gunmen killed a family of five, including two children, after entering their home in the al-Zanjeeli district of Mosul 390 km north of Baghdad, a hospital source said.

MADAEN - The bodies of eight fruit traders were found with their throats slit by a road in Madaen, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, said Ahmed Diabil, a spokesman for Najaf province. The men, who were from Najaf, died on Monday.

RAMADI - Gunmen killed one of the bodyguards of the governor of Anbar in a drive-by shooting in the restive Sunni stronghold, west of Baghdad, police said. The governor was not present during the attack.

MUQDADIYA - Fifteen people were wounded in a mortar attack on a market in Muqdadiya, 100 km (60 miles) northeast of Baghdad, police and hospital sources said.

NEAR KIRKUK - Gunmen killed two people on the main road near Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD - The body of Dawoud Salman, an employee in the Shi'ite Endowment, a religious foundation that cares for mosques, was found in the southern Saidiya district of Baghdad, police said.

NEAR HILLA - The body of a man with gunshot wounds to the head was found near Hilla, 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

BAQUBA - Gunmen killed a police major and seriously wounded his driver as he was heading home in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of the capital, police said.

MOSUL - Gunmen killed a man in the northern city of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

YUSUFIYA - A civilian was killed and two wounded when a roadside bomb went off near a police patrol near Yusufiya, 15 km (9 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.[/q]


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Thats a shockingly low casualty list given what has been seen the past couple of months. Only one person killed in Baghdad? All these towns appear to be in northern Iraq as opposed to southern Iraq where the British are. If the above list is accurate and representitive of day to day casualties, then the British may be correct in their decision to start withdrawing their troops from the South.
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Old 08-23-2006, 01:49 PM   #5
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Originally posted by Maoilbheannacht


Thats a shockingly low casualty list given what has been seen the past couple of months. Only one person killed in Baghdad? All these towns appear to be in northern Iraq as opposed to southern Iraq where the British are. If the above list is accurate and representitive of day to day casualties, then the British may be correct in their decision to start withdrawing their troops from the South.

it is amazing what happens when we misunderestimate the expected standard of basic security.

it also demonstrates the near total inefficacy of the Iraqi army, considering 3,500 people were killed in July and the numbers have only gone down due to the huge increase in the numbers of American troops on the ground in Baghdad. perhaps this is a lull, perhaps it's going to get worse, perhaps better, but it does seem as if Rumsfeld's initial strategy -- just enough troops to loose -- was hugely flawed from the beginning, and we still can't get away from years of unnecessary mass death. the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force has been bolstered by the tragedy in Iraq.

so, at this premature point, it seems as if we have two options: indefinite occupation, or full-out Iraqi Civil War. we'll see what happens.
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Old 08-23-2006, 02:05 PM   #6
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[q]Number of U.S. troops in Iraq climbs By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer
58 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - The number of U.S. troops in Iraq has climbed back to 138,000, driven up in part by the need to control the escalating violence in Baghdad and the decision to delay the departure of an Alaska-based Army brigade.

The increase comes as the U.S. Marine Corps is preparing to order thousands of its troops to active duty in the first involuntary recall since the early days of the war.

No more than 2,500 Marines will be recalled at any one time, but there is no cap on the total number who may be forced back into service in the coming years as the military helps fight the war on terror. The call-ups will begin in the next few months, and most of the Marines are expected to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Troop levels in Iraq had been declining, from about 138,000 for much of last year to a low of about 127,000 earlier this summer, amid growing calls from Congress and the public for a phased withdrawal. Part of the latest increase is due to the overlap of units that are currently moving in and out of Iraq. But much of it comes from the decision late last month to delay the departure of the 172nd Stryker Brigade for four months. The brigade had served its one-year deployment and was beginning to head home to Alaska, but was instead ordered into Baghdad.

This is the first time the Marines have had to use the involuntary recall since the beginning of the Iraq combat. The Army, meanwhile, has issued orders recalling about 10,000 soldiers so far, but many of those may be granted exemptions.

Marine Col. Guy A. Stratton, head of the manpower mobilization section, estimated there is a shortfall of about 1,200 Marines needed to fill positions in upcoming deployments.

[/q]

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