The bottom line is clear: Our vital interests in Afghanistan are limited and military victory is not the key to achieving them. On the contrary, waging a lengthy counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan may well do more to aid Taliban recruiting than to dismantle the group, help spread conflict further into Pakistan, unify radical groups that might otherwise be quarreling amongst themselves, threaten the long-term health of the U.S. economy, and prevent the U.S. government from turning its full attention to other pressing problems. -- Afghanistan Study Group

Sunday, March 16, 2008

War News for Sunday, March 16, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier by small-arms fire in a southwestern neighborhood of Baghdad on Saturday, March 15th.

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting the death of a Marine who died in his sleep in Camp Lejeune, N.C on Monday, March 10th.Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Scott Bachus was wounded in an explosion in Iraq and received a concussion, and he lost much of his hearing. He returned from Iraq last March 2007. The cause of his death is speculation at this point, his family said. It could take months for test results to come in. But the explosion might well have caused an undetected injury that led to his death, his brother said.

Security incidents:

#1: A civilian was killed and two others were injured when a car bomb detonated near a convoy of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) in western Baghdad on Sunday, an Interior Ministry source said. "A car bomb parked on the al-Amirat Street in the upscale neighborhood of Mansour blew up in the morning near a convoy of SUVs believed to be affiliated to a foreign security firm was," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The attack resulted in the damaging one of the convoy's vehicles and a nearby civilian car, along with the killing of a bystander and the wounding two others, the source said.

#2: Police found five unidentified bodies in Baghdad today. Three bodies were found in Rusafa, the eastern side of Baghdad in the following neighborhoods (2 bodies in Sadr city and 1 body in Ur). The two others bodies were found in Bayaa and Washash neighborhoods in Karkh, the western side of Baghdad.

Diyala Prv:
#1: Fierce clashes broke out Sunday between Shiite militants and Iraqi police in the restive province of Diyala in which at least seven people were killed, a local police officer said. The fighters loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr clashed with police in the villages of Kharnabat and Al-Huwaidar, north of Baquba, the provincial capital, said Lieutenant Colonel Najim al-Sumaidaie from Baquba police. He said five militants from Sadr's Mahdi Army militia and two policemen were killed in the clashes.

#2: A Kurdish young man was killed in an IED explosion in Banmil district, part of Khanaqin town northeast of Baquba city on Sunday afternoon.

#1: Two policemen were killed and three others wounded in clashes that erupted between police forces and fighters believed to belong to Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militias in Baaquba, an official security source said on Sunday. "The clashes, which broke out on Sunday morning in al-Huwayder village between policemen and Mahdi Army fighters, left two security personnel killed and three others wounded," Brig. Ragheb al-Umayri, the head of the joint coordination center in Baaquba, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq

#1: Policemen on Sunday found the body of a contractor working for the Georgian troops one day after he was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen, a police source in Wassit province said. "The contractor, of the name Athir Ibrahim, was found dead one day after he was kidnapped in al-Numaniya district, (40 km) northern Wassit," the source, who asked not to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI). "The body of Ibahim, who used to work for Georgian troops in Iraq, showed signs of having been tortured and shot," the source added.

The body of an Iraqi contractor working with Georgian troops was found with gunshot wounds in Numaniya

#1: Unidentified gunmen on Sunday kidnapped the headmaster of the al-Mustafa School in front of his house in eastern Najaf and led him to an unknown place, a local police source said.

#1: The Basra morgue received on Sunday the bodies of a police officer, ranked a captain, and two soldiers, a morgue source said.

#1: A power cut shut down operations at Iraq's largest oil refinery on Sunday, officials at the plant said, adding it was unclear when work would resume. Officials said exports were not affected by the incident. "This morning at 8:15 work at the refinery was stopped completely because of the shutdown of electricity," said a senior official at the refinery. An engineer at the plant said it was unclear when operations would resume.

#1: Two Iraqi soldiers from the 14th brigade 4th Iraqi army division were kidnapped on Tikrit_ Toz Street about14 miles east of Tikrit on Saturday evening.

#1: A car bomb exploded on Sunday morning in Hawija district, 70 km southwest of the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk with no casualties reported, a police source said.

Two people were wounded by a bomb in a parked car in Hawija, 70 km (45 miles) southwest of Kirkuk, police said.

#1: Two civilians were injured in a car bomb in the industrial area in the outskirt of Kirkuk city north of Baghdad around 1:00 p.m.

#1: At least nine people were injured Sunday in a suicide bombing in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, police said. A suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt blew himself up near the offices of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan in Mosul, police told the Voices of Iraq VOI news agency. Two policemen and seven civilians were wounded.

#2: Seven people were wounded when three mortar bombs landed on a residential area near an Iraqi army base in western Mosul, police said.

#3: Gunmen killed an off-duty Iraqi policeman in front of his house in a drive-by shooting in northern Mosul, police said.

#4: Police said they found a body of a child who was kidnapped by gunmen days before. They also discovered the decapitated bodies of a police officer and his driver in eastern Mosul.

#1: At least 16 people have been killed in a missile strike on a building near Pakistan's northern border with Afghanistan, state television has said. The attack took place in the South Waziristan region, where tribal militants are based, Reuters news agency reported residents as saying. The Pakistani state TV report said several missiles destroyed the house of a suspected militant leader. Reuters reported the military saying seven militants were among the dead.

On the home front:
#1: The pilot of an F-16C fighter jet that crashed in a rugged area of western Arizona was killed when his plane went down, Air Force officials confirmed Saturday. The student pilot was practicing air-to-air combat with another F-16 from Luke Air Force Base about noon Friday when his plane crashed, base spokeswoman Mary Jo May said.

Casualty Reports:

Army Sgt. Matthew Lammers, 25, of Olathe, Kan., had both legs and his left arm blown off June 10, 2007, in south Baghdad.

Ryan Kelly, 27, of Buda. Kelly lost his right leg in July 2003 to a roadside bomb in Iraq.

Army Sgt. Robert Bartlett suffered brain injuries after being hit by improvised explosives in seperate incidents. Bartlett too says he often has times where he can't remember names like he did in the past.

Marine Sgt Kevin Denton suffered brain injuries after being hit by improvised explosives in seperate incidents. Denton says he still suffers headaches from the injury which happened in 2004. He also had trouble with short term memory.

Sgt. Maj. Diane Cochran of the U.S. Army career came to an abrupt halt when the Humvee ambulance she was in met head on with a Russian land mine left over from a previous war in Afghanistan. She was the only one in the ambulance who survived the explosion that was set off by a remote device. Her neck, hands and wrist were broken and her back was broken in two places and she was unconscious until after her rescue. She also suffers the residual effects of chemicals she came in contact with at the former Russian camp where her unit was assigned. She has blind spots in her right eye and a tumor behind it.

Sgt. Norris Galatas nearly three years and 19 surgeries after a bomb in Iraq sent shrapnel tearing through his abdomen in the explosion in April 2005. “He appeared to be dead “swollen and yellow” in a medically induced coma. it took nearly three months for him to become mobile.