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Old 04-29-2003, 08:14 AM   #1
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US troops kill 13 Iraqis in Falluja.

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.j...toryID=2648783

FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. troops shot dead at least 13 Iraqis during an anti-American protest in the town of Falluja overnight, witnesses said on Tuesday, in a clash likely to inflame anger at the U.S. presence in Iraq.

Witnesses and doctors in Falluja, 30 miles west of Baghdad, told Reuters U.S. troops opened fire on people demonstrating against their presence at a school in the town.

Falluja general hospital director Ahmed Ghanim al-Ali said 13 people had been killed and at least 75 wounded. Some local people gave higher estimates.

U.S. military headquarters in Qatar acknowledged troops in Falluja had opened fire on a group of Iraqis, but said they were armed with combat rifles and had shot first.

U.S. officers seeking to restore order in the volatile aftermath of Saddam's fall said 3,000 to 4,000 extra troops and military police would pour into Baghdad within the next 10 days to boost security in the capital.

Major General Glenn Webster, deputy commander of U.S. land forces in Iraq, said the decision to bring in reinforcements was not related to any specific incident but the announcement followed a series of setbacks to U.S. efforts to win popular Iraqi support.

With Saddam Hussein removed from power, the United States said it was pulling nearly all of its military forces out of neighboring Saudi Arabia in a major realignment of its presence in the Gulf.

The shooting in Falluja, and a clash between U.S. forces and Iraqi fighters in the northern city of Mosul on Monday in which six Iraqis were killed, punctured some of the optimism generated by a mass meeting convened by the United States in Baghdad to kickstart the transition to democracy.

FALLUJA BURIES ITS DEAD

"Our soul and our blood we will sacrifice to you martyrs," mourners in Falluja chanted as they buried some of the dead at a cemetery while U.S. helicopters flew overhead.

"It was a peaceful demonstration. They did not have any weapons," said local Sunni Muslim cleric, Kamal Shaker Mahmoud. "They were asking the Americans to leave the school so they could use it."

But a spokeswoman for U.S. Central Command in Qatar said the American troops "came upon a group of Iraqis armed with AK-47s."

"The Iraqis fired on them. The troops returned fire," she said.

The shooting followed a firefight in Mosul in which U.S. forces said they killed six suspected paramilitaries loyal to Saddam, whose 66th birthday was on Monday.

In the heaviest fighting in the country for days, U.S. units opened fire with heavy machineguns and lit up the night sky with red flares before calling in helicopter gunships.

U.S. forces announced they were holding Saddam's veteran oil minister, Amir Muhammed Rasheed, whose wife is bioweapons scientist Rihab Taha -- widely known as Dr Germ.

He was number 47 on a U.S. list of the 55 most wanted members of Saddam's administration and the six of spades in a deck of cards issued to troops hunting former Iraqi leaders.

The United States has now captured 14 of those on the list.

At the Prince Sultan airbase in Saudi Arabia, a senior U.S. official traveling with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on a tour of the region said Washington was ending military operations in the kingdom and removing almost all of its forces.

"It was by very mutual agreement," the official said. Only some of the 5,000 U.S. personnel involved in training would remain in Saudi Arabia.

The move effectively ends a relationship dating back to 1991 when the United States used Saudi Arabia as a launch pad for the last Gulf War to oust Iraqi troops from Kuwait and then as a base to police a "no-fly" zone over southern Iraq.

TROOPS NO LONGER NEEDED

"When you no longer have Southern Watch, then it's self evident that you no longer need bodies here," the U.S. official said, referring to the "no-fly" operations.

The presence of Western troops in the kingdom -- home to Islam's holiest sites -- has angered many Saudis, already incensed over U.S. support for Israel.

The U.S. presence was among the first grievances aired by Saudi-born Osama bin Laden to justify attacks against the United States. Washington blames bin Laden for the suicide attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in September 2001.

U.S. officers said on Tuesday the military had already moved operations of a key combat air control center from a Saudi airbase to neighboring Qatar.

U.S. officials have declined to say if Rumsfeld intends to visit Iraq itself during his tour, which has already taken him to Qatar -- U.S. headquarters for the war -- and the United Arab Emirates.

U.S. efforts to introduce democracy to Iraq following the ousting of Saddam made progress on Monday when about 250 prominent Iraqis from across the political, ethnic and religious spectrum agreed to hold a national conference in four weeks time to choose an interim government.

"All efforts should be made to hold a national conference within four weeks ... to select a transitional Iraqi government," they said in a statement read out at the end of the nearly 10-hour meeting with U.S. reconstruction chief Jay Garner.

U.S. troops were widely welcomed for overthrowing Saddam but many Iraqis are now anxious for them to go home. Anti-American sentiment was stoked on Saturday when an arms dump exploded in southern Baghdad, killing at least 12 civilians.

Saddam's fate remain a mystery. His sons Qusay and Uday have also not been found, nor have the weapons of mass destruction which the United States said justified the war.

Key former Iraqi officials in U.S. custody, including former Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz, say Iraq has destroyed all its biological and chemical weapons.

President Bush, speaking on Monday in Dearborn, Michigan, said the United States had no intention of imposing its form of government or culture on Iraq and would ensure all Iraqis had a say in the new government.

"Whether you're Sunni or Shia or Kurd or Chaldean or Assyrian or Turkmen or Christian or Jew or Muslim, no matter what your faith, freedom is God's gift to every person in every nation," Bush told an audience that included a large number of Arab and Muslim immigrants to the United States.
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Old 04-29-2003, 12:45 PM   #2
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Ugh. This is really bad news.
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Old 04-29-2003, 06:36 PM   #3
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What the article does not mention is that there were Baath Party members in the crowd and members in the crowd had been chanting slogans for Saddam.

This will be the strategy of opponents of US forces. Use what looks to be a peaceful rally to fire on US troops. US troops will have no choice but to fire back in self defense, increasing the potential for innocent civilian deaths, and mis-leading charges that the USA is murding innocent civilians.
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Old 04-29-2003, 06:44 PM   #4
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Does anyone have any other sources reporting on this incident. Sting, the article mentioned that some people have claimed there were armed individuals, but do you have anything to back up what you just claimed? Just curious...
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Old 04-29-2003, 06:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
What the article does not mention is that there were Baath Party members in the crowd and members in the crowd had been chanting slogans for Saddam.

This will be the strategy of opponents of US forces. Use what looks to be a peaceful rally to fire on US troops. US troops will have no choice but to fire back in self defense, increasing the potential for innocent civilian deaths, and mis-leading charges that the USA is murding innocent civilians.

Yuck. This is really bad news as well.
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Old 04-29-2003, 10:24 PM   #6
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this is where i read about the shootings...

Quote:
IT WAS THE THIRD reported fatal shooting involving U.S. troops and Iraqi protesters in the past two weeks, underscoring the problems facing soldiers whose training focuses more on combat operations than crowd control.
The incidents, widely reported by Arab news media, have served to fuel growing resentment of the U.S. military presence in Iraq only weeks after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime.
The latest shooting took place about 10:30 p.m. Monday in this town, roughly 30 miles west of Baghdad. The predominantly Sunni Muslim area provided strong support for Saddam’s Baath Party.
Army Col. Arnold Bray of the 82nd Airborne Division said at least seven Iraqis were hit by gunfire, but he could not confirm the reported deaths. The 82nd Airborne has one battalion spread out around Fallujah, and a company of 150 was inside a school that serves as its headquarters when the incident took place, soldiers said.
“There was fire directly over the heads of soldiers on the roof [of the school]. They returned fire in order to protect the lives of our soldiers,” said Lt. Col. Eric Nantz.
Dr. Ahmed Ghanim al-Ali, director of Fallujah General Hospital, said there were 13 dead, including three boys no older than 10. He said his medical crews were shot at when they went to retrieve the wounded, which he said numbered 75 people.

STUDENTS INVOLVED?
The crowd of about 200 demonstrators reportedly was objecting to the presence in Fallujah of troops from the 82nd Airborne’s 1st Battalion, 325 Regiment. Some townspeople, however, said the protest was held by students aged 5 to 20 to ask the soldiers to leave the school where they were staying so classes could resume Tuesday as scheduled.
Soldiers at the scene said many in the crowd had AK-47 assault rifles and were firing into the air — a common practice at boisterous events.
“We saw three guys on the roof firing into the [school] building,” said Sgt. Nkosi Campbell, pointing at the house across the street from the school. “Everybody could see the muzzle flashes.”
Saying his troops acted with restraint, he said his men were worried about the rules of engagement — whether they should open fire.
“They turned around and said, ‘Hey, Sergeant, can we shoot?”’ Campbell said. “That was when they were already receiving fire.”
Bray said there were infiltrators in the crowd, including some who were armed and on nearby rooftops. “Which kind of schoolboys carry AK-47s?” Bray asked.

PEACEFUL PROTEST?



But Iraqis interviewed at the hospital insisted it was a peaceful demonstration and that no one was armed or throwing rocks. One wounded 18-year-old man, Aqil Khaleil, said U.S. soldiers opened fire with no warning.
“They waited until we came very close, and then they started shooting,” he said.
Residents said the shooting continued for at least 30 minutes. Edtesam Shamsudeim, 37, who lives nearby, said her 45-year-old brother died in the gunfire. She was shot in the leg; her husband was wounded.
“We were sitting in our house. When the shooting started, my husband tried to close the door to keep the children in, and he was shot,” she said at the hospital, sitting in a chair with a bandaged leg, surrounded by some of her children. Their clothes were stained with bloody handprints.
“Americans are criminals,” she said.

U.S. DEFENDS FORCES UNDER FIRE





• Slide show: Occupied Baghdad




In Qatar, the U.S. Central Command said the U.S. soldiers “came under fire from Iraqis armed with AK-47s. The unit exercised its inherent right to self-defense and returned fire.” Central Command said it had no confirmed reports of casualties.
“Incidents directed against coalition forces are evidence that despite the significant decrease in active military operations, dangers are still evident. Coalition forces will continue to use the appropriate amount of force to defend themselves against such threats,” the command said.
The unusual nighttime demonstration sprang from evening prayers held earlier, residents said.
The demonstration Monday was the first organized protest against the Americans in Fallujah, although one soldier was slightly injured recently when a flare was fired toward some troops, according to Nantz.
Residents say they had been growing increasingly disturbed by the presence of U.S. forces.
Some in the conservative town were upset that American soldiers were using night-vision goggles and could see into courtyards and onto rooftops, where women often sleep outside in the hot weather, according to one resident, Basheer Abdul Aziz.

TRUCE PACT
Separately, the U.S. Central Command disclosed Tuesday that the coalition reached a cease-fire agreement with an Iraq-based Iranian militant group that has been designated a terrorist organization by the State Department.
The deal signed April 15 with the Iraq-based Mujahedeen Khalq, or People’s Mujahedeen, also known as the MEK, doesn’t require its fighters to surrender to coalition forces — at least for now, said a military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The deal was first reported Tuesday by The New York Times.
The cease-fire appears to be a way for the United States to increase pressure on Iran, which Washington has accused of meddling in Iraq after the collapse of Saddam’s regime.

The MEK aims to oust Iran’s government and received support from Saddam’s regime. It was added to the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations in 1997 and, according to the Times, is believed responsible for attacks in the 1970s that killed several American military personnel and contractors.
Under this agreement, according to U.S. officials, the MEK agreed not to fire upon or commit hostile acts toward coalition forces, while agreeing not to destroy or damage any government or private property.
However, the MEK reserved the right to self-defense only against groups like the Badr Corps, the Iranian-backed military wing of the Supreme Council on Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).
Underscoring the complications of the unprecedented agreement, the United States at the same time is seeking to draw SCIRI into talks on establishing a transition government in Iraq. After boycotting the first meeting organized by U.S. overseer retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, SCIRI sent a low-level delegation to a meeting held Monday in Baghdad.




Broadband
• How allied troops took the Iraqi capital





OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
Meanwhile, the last U.S. soldier listed as missing in the Iraq war was confirmed killed in action, a Pentagon official said Monday. The soldier was identified as Sgt. Edward Anguiano, who was based at Fort Stewart, Ga., the home of the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division. No further details were available. Relatives had said earlier that he had been found dead. The Pentagon counted 138 dead U.S. service members Tuesday, including one U.S. soldier who was killed by a bus in Baghdad. Of the 138 fatalities, 114 came as a result of hostile action; 24 resulted from non-hostile action. Some 562 troops have been wounded and injured, including a U.S. soldier who was shot and wounded by an unknown attacker in central Baghdad on Tuesday while traveling in a convoy of vehicles, the U.S. military said. The British government said 32 of its soldiers had died in the Iraq war.
Seeking to curtail looting and lawlessness in Baghdad, the U.S. Army said it will deploy up to 4,000 additional military police and infantry soldiers there over the next two weeks.
A top Iraqi Kurdish official — Barham Salih of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan — said U.S. forces should remain in Iraq until a democratically elected government is in place in the country.
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Old 04-29-2003, 10:49 PM   #7
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The major failure of this administration, is in not developing a real coalition before starting the war. Without a true multinational coalition, the United States is perceived as an occupier. As an occupier, we, like it or not, are the major target. This is a lose lose situation.

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Old 04-30-2003, 06:11 AM   #8
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According to al-Jazeera US troops were killing another 2 (4 wounded) civilists who were part of a crowd of 7000 who were protesting in Falludscha (west of Baghdad) against US troops presence (same reason as the tuesday protests).

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Old 04-30-2003, 01:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
The major failure of this administration, is in not developing a real coalition before starting the war. Without a true multinational coalition, the United States is perceived as an occupier. As an occupier, we, like it or not, are the major target. This is a lose lose situation.

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Good point. I think that's true.
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Old 04-30-2003, 01:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Klaus
According to al-Jazeera US troops were killing another 2 (4 wounded) civilists who were part of a crowd of 7000 who were protesting in Falludscha (west of Baghdad) against US troops presence (same reason as the tuesday protests).

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Damn. This situation is really frustrating to me.
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Old 04-30-2003, 03:59 PM   #11
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I don't understand how anyone can defend this shooting with an argument that there were Baas party members in the crowd? so what? What about your holy freedom of speach - it doesen't apply to Iraqui people?

they were fireing - so stay out of the way untill you figure out how to isolate those armed protestants from the crowd...

if there are so many people protesting then some governments should concider the fact that they didn't 'free' anyone...
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Old 04-30-2003, 08:04 PM   #12
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I don't consider the Iraqi people "free". They'll have to have their own government to be free, and they don't have this now.
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Old 04-30-2003, 10:34 PM   #13
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Marko,

I don't understand how you could support people that use innocent civilians as a shield to try and kill US soldiers. Baath members were using the crowd as a way to attack US troops.

Easy for you to say "say out of the way". You were not in the soldiers situation. No one was shooting at you. I hope every US soldier responds without hesitation to terrorist that would try to kill them.

Perhaps you should consider the fact that the number of people protesting represent a tiny fraction of the total population. It should also be noted that the previous government in Iraq would have killed every single protestor in a matter of minutes.

US soldiers did the right thing. Terrorist and Baath party members cannot be allowed to think they can use or stage a peaceful protest to attack US soldiers without suffering return fire from US soldiers.


Dreadsox,

What would you have done specifically that would have created a larger coalition than the one the President created? Please don't explain who you would have brought along but how. Please explain how it would have succeeded where the Presidents actions failed. Also, could it not be the fault of the countries themselves for not going along rather than the Bush administration? I think Colin Powel did an excellant job given the circumstances.
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Old 04-30-2003, 11:01 PM   #14
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Sting,

I think, that Pollack's book clearly details the type of coalition that was necessary to make this work. The fact that we won the war was never in doubt, the question is what do we do now. I think it would have been better to have more of a multinational force. I also think, that if Powell and the President had made a convinving case to the world, more countries would have been with us. You and I went around about this before. Not looking to rehash it. It is my opinion.

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Old 05-01-2003, 02:03 AM   #15
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Dreadsox,

Well the Bush Administration did get the support of over 40 countries for the operation. Bush Jr. got the support of Jordan, something his father did not get the first time in 1990/1991.

Ken Pollack does not state that any Arab country was needed for the military operation, as in Arab troops. He does state that several of them were important for the USA to conduct military operations from a basing and air space point of view. The USA did not need to base troops in Saudi Arabia for the operation. But it did get support in more secret ways from the Saudi's for the operation. Kuwait and Jordan were on board. Turkey was only 5 votes away from approving the basing of an entire US Armored Division on its territory to launch a strike into Iraq. Turkey has cooperated though in many other ways. No one was expecting much in the way of cooperation from Syria and Iran obviously, and Pollack certainly did not see that as a need either. Except for overt support from Saudi Arabia and the basing of a division in Turkey, the USA got everything it needed from the region which Pollack said was key, rather than European Allies.

Can you explain how Powell and Bush could have made a more convincing case to the rest of the world? If one was not convinced by Powell's speach to the UN in February, there is nothing that would have convinced them. But we have over 40 countries with the USA. If you don't think 40 countries is enough, whats your number?

I think most people were amazed by the speed of the military operation, its success, and the cost of lives that was so low, for coalition troops, Iraqi Civilians, and to a certain degree the Iraqi military.

But don't expect nation building to be done at the same speed. Building a stable democracy in Iraq is going to take years. Its a mistake to judge things simply on the past two weeks. This is going to take some time.
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