Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Now I too am part of Vilks art

I like satirical cartoons, so in solidarity with Conservative Swede and Gates of Vienna I take a little moment to become part of Lars Vilks Mohammed the Dog caricatures "artwork", and for extra karma add Chris Muir's excellent Day By Day cartoon response :

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Intense attack on Diwaniyah XV/07

So the latest from Diwaniyah , its been comparatively quiet for a while but that (yet again) just changed in a hurry -

July 2 Blackanthem reports that
Insurgents targeted Camp Echo and the surrounding area with as many as 75 mortars and rockets in the early hours of July 2. Coalition Forces responded to the threat with an F-16 air strike on identified points of origin of the attack.
75? That is astounding. That is no longer hit and run. It doesn't happen in a minute or two unless there is a whole battery firing. In either case there is enough time and/or target to respond.
At around 2.00 a.m. Camp Echo and near-by residents of Diwaniyah City suffered a barrage of indiscriminate mortar fire and rocket attacks from insurgents operating in the Al Jumuri district. About 25 mortars and rockets struck within the perimeter of Camp Echo, injuring 3 Coalition Soldiers. The remaining 50 rounds impacted outside of the base in the surrounding neighborhood.
That implies that Echo is surrounded by civilian homes, which is not entirely true. The lack of collateral damage if missing Echo is one of the factors which allows the insurgents to fire at will.
Coalition Forces identified a number of launch points for this attack and directed two F16 aircraft to respond. The aircraft targeted and bombed the insurgent launch sites.

The bulk of the attacks were conducted from Salim Street, where insurgents persistently use urban areas from which to attack, in order to use civilians as human shields. Coalition Forces are reviewing the incident to ensure that appropriate and proportionate force was used in responding to the intense attack.
"Reviewing the incident"? They just had to finally respond to 75 shots inbound, but oh man, what did they actually bomb? The Latvians have left and there is no infantry to send or what?

Air strikes into urban terrain tend to be comparatively ineffectual and with massive collateral damage, making them rather counterproductive. Indescriminate US air strikes are considered one of the prime factors driving support for insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan. William Lind puts it best in his recent note The Perfect (Sine) Wave:
To put it bluntly, there is no surer or faster way to lose in 4GW than by calling in airstrikes. It is a disaster on every level. Physically, it inevitably kills far more civilians than enemies, enraging the population against us and driving them into the arms of our opponents. Mentally, it tells the insurgents we are cowards who only dare fight them from 20,000 feet in the air. Morally, it turns us into Goliath, a monster every real man has to fight.
Reuters reports local hospital sources that 10 civilians including children and 30 wounded (Iraqslogger makes that 13 and 30). Needless to say, that ain't going to make no friends. In the weakly linked cause-and-effect state that is the arab mind the 75 mortar bombs may well be considered as retribution for the bombing.

Unsurprisingly, Iraqslogger reports that the locals are hopping mad, that tensions are high and could break out at any moment. Figure to see more and bigger payback coming up for Echo.

Diwaniyah coverage drawdown.

Since the Latvian Infantry company has withdrawn from that unhappy den of mortar targets, Camp Echo at Diwaniyah, mine own small news roundup from Diwaniyah is more or less drawing to a close.

Apologies to the regular readers, for I see that a small group of folks presumably with relatives in Diwaniyah and/or Echo, have made this blog a daily stop. The Fort Myer's News Press even quoted The Rearguard in a story,
Here’s one of the entries she reads on a blog she checks every day. “June 13-14: During the night Camp Echo in Diwaniyah is hit four times by rockets and/or mortars, and Camp Delta in Al Kut twice. The Mahdi army is busy these days. Four times in one night, that’s a new low in hostility. We are real close to the “Hourly attack on Diwaniyah” here.”
Irritatingly, the jackals failed to attribute or link.

However I will keep an eye on Diwaniyah for the moment, since it appears to have gone hot again.

Latvian infantry withdraws from Iraq

On June 19th Latvia has finally withdrawn the infantry from Iraq as promised by the MoD, for which there is much rejoicing.
  • 4 years
  • 1150 soldiers
  • 3 killed
  • $40 million
For my opinion the last two are terribly expensive. The whole of the Iraq is not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier.

actually posted an article. So much for even handed coverage of the coalition of the willing, this the first and only one so much as mentioning Latvian participation in the coalition entitled "Latvian Troops Head Home : Baltic State Ends MNF Deployment".

However, Latvia has not withdrawn from OIF entirely, just the infantry (TVNet).

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Daily attack on Diwaniyah XIV/07

The spiral keeps going down, with no end in sight :

June 13-14
During the night Camp Echo in Diwaniyah is hit four times by rockets and/or mortars, and Camp Delta in Al Kut twice (Lv MoD)

The Mahdi army is busy these days. Four times in one night, thats a new low in hostility. We are real close to the "Hourly attack on Diwaniyah" here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Weekly Daily attack on Diwaniyah XII/07

The weekly attack is back.

Diwaniyah itself has been moderately hot, but most of the damage has come from Iraqi police and army fighting the Mahdi Army militia. General Othman and the 8th Iraqi Division appear to have their act together, and most remarkably are getting the previously useless police to pull some load. Their efforts have apparently kept Camp Echo unmortared for a couple weeks, until last Friday night when the post sermon hate arrived :

June 3 Iraqi army kills 4 suspected insurgents and loses one of the own near Diwaniyah (Blackanthem)
June 4 Clases between the Sadrists and US forces wound four in Diwaniyah (Reuters)
June 6 Fighting between Iraqi army and Mahdi Army leaves three dead (Iraqslogger)
June 9 Camp Echo is mortared in the evening (Lv MoD), but see below and following
June 10 Another US serviceman, Airman 1st Class Barnes, is kiled by IED attack on a convoy in/near Diwaniyah (Plain Dealer), while F-16s provide top cover for ground forces that has taken mortar fire near Diwaniyah (Air Force Link)
June 11-12 Camp Echo takes rocket fire during the night(Lv MoD)

According to the Alalam Iranian satellite TV news site on 9 June "Tens wounded in Diwaniyah clashes between Mahdi Army and a joint US-Dutch force" (Alalam). Joint US-Dutch force? Sounds like BS to me, because the Dutch have long since ended their mission in Iraq. So much for Iranian propaganda news , 'cause the Alalam site is publishing blatant crap despite their slogan being "Winning the Trust of Audience". Losers.

However, speaking of "media" and "losers" our own western MSM has completely missed the significance of Iraqi troops taking up the fight in Diwaniyah. But be reassured, they do a sterling job of reporting US casualties among other reverses in the Diwaniyah area.


Did I mention the weekly daily attack on Camp Echo was back?

Perhaps because of the June 12 Askariya shrine bombing things down Diwaniyah way have gone completely pear shaped again overnight.

June 12 Camp Echo rocketed about 2200 (Lv MoD)
June 13 Camp Echo rocketed about 0400 (Lv MoD)

Friday, June 01, 2007

No attacks on Diwaniyah XI/07

I can find no reports of Echo being mortared, rocketed or shot in the last two weeks. Thats a big change. Trouble still brewing all around of course :

May 16 Fighting in Diwaniyah, 8 civilians wounded, one soldier and one policemam (Reuters)
May 17 Three civilians killed and four wounded in clashes between militia and security forces (Iraqslogger)
May 18 Three Iraqi security forces from a army-police "emergency contingent" wounded by "gunmen" (Iraqslogger)
May 19 Latvian Defence Minister Atis Slakteris visits our troops in Diwaniyah(Delfi)
May 20 Another IED attack near Diwaniyah. One US soldier killed, two wounded (BBC)
May 25 Three offduty Iraqi soldier killed in Diwaniyah (Reuters)
May 30 IED kills two and wounds two police (Telegraph)

On the one hand its now summer and just too damn hot for casual insurgents, but on the other hand the Iraqi security forces appear to have got their act together, which is a quite remarkable development. I opined it would take a fresh elite Iraqi brigade to secure the place after the US surge left, and from the reports above it appears that some kind of Iraqi force ("emergency contingent") has been put into place, and so far getting the job done. The mainstream media of course completely fails to report this, happily reporting casualties and fighting while refusing to them in any perspective.

Good news is no news, right CNN/Reuters/AP?

In other news which the MSM does report : There are reports in the Arab press that the Americans are threatening by helicopter dropped pamphlets to build a base in the center of Diwaniyah (Iraqslogger), though that whole story sounds pretty damn unlikely. It is now widely reported that opium poppies ares being grown ino the fields around Diwaniyah (The Independent among others). Iraqslogger gleefully reports that "Shi'a Rivalries Succeed Where Al-Qa'ida Fails", which gives some idea of the can of worms we opened by invading Iraq. The WaPo explains that "Iraq's Sadr Overhauls His Tactics".

Last word today to one of the neocons (that is to say one of the idiots who got us into this mess) Frederick Kagan: in this article he mentions Diwaniyah and has met the local Iraqi army commander :
On a recent trip to Iraq, I saw the human stakes in this struggle. I spoke with the commander of the 8th Iraqi Army Division in Diwaniyah, Major General Othman. He is a Shia, commanding a heavily Shia unit in an entirely Shia area. I asked him what was the most serious challenge he faced. He answered at once: Shia militias. General Othman stands strongly for an Iraq ruled by law, in which the government holds a monopoly on the use of force, and in which Sunni and Shia are treated equally. He has put his beliefs to the test of battle. When he saw that members of Moktada al-Sadr's Shia militia, the Mahdi Army, had taken control of the city of Diwaniyah, he conducted a large-scale clearing operation with the help of American forces and drove them out. General Othman now holds Diwaniyah, where the people can breathe free again, subject neither to that militia nor to any other. There is no turning back for General Othman. The Mahdi Army is determined to kill him and his family, and they will do so if we do not continue to support him. The life of this decent man is in our hands.
Good luck General Othman, you gonna need it.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Weekly attack on Diwaniyah X/07

Diwaniyah was back to something approaching normal.

4 May Iraqslogger :
A curfew was imposed on Diwaniya city on Friday night after fierce clashes between gunmen and a joint force of Iraqi and U.S. troops killing an Iraqi soldier and wounding three others, a security source said.
Order is imposed with heavy hand and voila! A Friday night curfew means no Friday night hate. So they switch to Monday.

6 May
Rockets are fired at Camp Echo in the morning, no details and presumably no serious damage. (Lv MoD)

Still, that's only one attack reported in like a whole week. Pretty cool, except that the Cavalry apparently left Diwaniyah by 8 May (Blackanthem, Stars and Stripes). Were they replaced? It is not clear, but if not, then we would expect trouble to ratchet up again presto.

9 May Iraqslogger :
Unknown gunmen on Wednesday shot and killed a police officer outside his house in northern Diwaniya city, 180 km south of Baghdad, a police source said.
10 May : US Army Private first class Roy Jones of 984th Military Police Company/759th Military Police Battalion is severely wounded by small arms fire around 5 pm in Diwaniyah, he is evacuated but dies of his wounds later. Jones is 21 and came from Houston, joined the Army in March 2006 and was sent to Iraq six months later. (US DoD , Colorado Springs Gazette , Blackanthem (1), (2))

11 May Iraqslogger:
An Iraqi army soldier was killed and six policemen wounded when two explosive devices went off near two army and police patrols in Diwaniya, 180 km south of Baghdad, on Thursday night, a security source said
12 May Iraqslogger:
Unknown gunmen on Saturday shot dead a police officer in Diwaniya, 180 km south of Baghdad, a security source said.
13 May Iraqslogger
Iraqi forces detained on Sunday afternoon a leading figure from Sadr movement along with four of his brothers in the Shiite city of Diwaniya, 180 km south of Baghdad, a police source said.
13 May In the evening a Latvian patrol is fired on, no details, presumably no serious damage(Lv MoD)

Damn. At least from this armchair that sure looks like trouble ratcheting up again. Thus so much for Black Eagle, maybe because as Mr. Lind says : sweeps don't work.

Heh, at least Iraqslogger has started posting the news for weekends. It only remains for Jordan Eason's minions to spell "Diwaniyah" properly and find some sources for attribution.

Lastly, if anyone is interested, Global Terrorism Analysis (published by the Jamestown Foundation) has posted "Shiite Power Struggle Unfolds in Diwaniya" on the background of the ongoing violence in Diwaniyah.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Weekly attack on Diwaniyah IX/07

Diwaniyah seems pretty quiet, so chalk up Black Eagle as a win (for the moment). Summer is coming and Iraq heating up, 40°C daytime temperatures already.

24 April Four rockets fired at Camp Echo (Iraqslogger quoting "a security source")
30 April
Several rockets fired at Camp Echo, no serious damage (Lv MoD).
02 May Explosives attack on US vehicle in Diwaniayh. Vehicle damaged, no casualties reported. (Iraqslogger quoting "a police source")

Considering Eason Jordan's risible track record, Iraqslogger is rather informative, but I have serious reservations about it. There is much material but serious omissions (which is, on second thought, very much in character).
  • Iraqslogger only works workdays -the oh so characteristic Friday/Saturday post Friday sabbath sermon hate goes unmentioned.
  • The "coalition" coverage appears to be nigh exclusively of the Brits (or withdrawals). Although the rest of the Coalition of the Willing is laughably small numerically (and dwindling), it is rather important politically, and for that reason alone demands at least token coverage.
  • Thirdly, it is real weak on naming sources to the point of universal anonymity, hence cannot be trusted (i.e. "slogger sources report that...."). For instance, the reports on attacks on Echo in Diwaniyah match pretty poorly with the reports carefully placed on the Lv MoD homepage.
So anything written without proper sourcing in Iraqslogger must be taken with a grain of salt. Unfortunately, that appears to be most of it.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Weekly attack on Diwaniyah VIII/07

April 20 Rocket attack on Echo base (Iraqslogger), thats Friday so think post sermon hate.
April 21 Reports of Polish convoy 30 km from Diwaniyah hit by IED, one Polish solider killed and three wounded.

That second news is grievous, but the indirect fire attacks inDiwaniyah proper have finally tailed off. MNF(I) reveals two reasons why indirect fire attacks on Echo are down post Black Eagle - the US 1-14 Cav Regiment. First, they patrol likely firing sites (a basic tactic MND(CS) has not carried out in many months since they apparently lost control of Diwaniyah city last summer). Second, a US mortar subunit has set up shop at Camp Echo to deliver counter battery fire, illum and HE missions. Counter battery is critical, because any Muj delivering fire to Echo is likely to be in a hurry before the return fire drops in his lap . Furthermore, since patrols are looking for him the in the likely times and places, he will be nervious setting up, unlike in the recent past when he had time to take coffee and a smoke between shots. Why on earth it took nearly a year and US forces to conduct such fairly basic self defence measures is a question that should be put closely to MND(CS) past and current Polish leadership, but the chances of General Lamla and predecessors being put to the question are probably sadly remote.

How big has the indirect fire threat been before the US took charge? Compare these two photo series from MND(CS) PIO :

Salvadorean change of contingent 16 February - soft hats and bdus for all.

Lithuanian and Ukrainian soldiers recieve medals 20 April, helmets and full armor for the Polish , Ukrainians and Salvadoreans. Only the Lithuanians make light of danger and forgoe the armor.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Daily Weekly attack on Diwaniyah VII/07

Happy news at last, after last weeks daily hate there have been a mere two attacks in the last week (the Lv MoD homepage is not responding so no details). Of course two attacks in one week would have been big news last year.

Furthermore, according to this article, after being al-Sadr's bitch and personal static mortar range for about six months, MND(CS) will finally change policy and be more proactive. Disturbingly, Iraqslogger reports that Black Eagle only occurred after local tribes demanded action. Of course, the current relative calm is helped greatly by the fact that there are regular US troops (stryker/cavalry) still in the streets of Diwaniyah (pictured below by Reuters dodgy stringer Imad al-Khozai). With any luck they will remain there a while, or at least until summer when we are due to withdraw.

Update : details available

April 12
when several rockets were fired towards the base in the evening with no serious damage (Latvian MoD)
April 17 Camp Echo (aka Echo base, aka FOB Echo) came under mortar attack (Iraqslogger)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Wire services and news in Diwaniyah

Now Reuters is clueless, we knew that, but I begin to wonder if the MSM isn't deliberately excising coverage of the Coalition of the Willing (among other sins). Case in point : Operation Black Eagle in Diwaniyah. The first photo has had plenty of exposure on internet news stories, the second is pretty much unseen. Perhaps the composition is worse. Maybe the intended US audiences aren't too interested in foreigners anyway. But maybe left leaning media outlets want to minimise the Coalition of the Willing? Try to find examples of coalition soldiers doing much of anything in Iraq in the MSM, there is very very little except for fatalities which the MSM reports with alacrity. Now compare these two photos [1] [2] :

A U.S. military convoy drives through Diwaniyah, 130 kilometers (80 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, April 6, 2007. Iraqi forces backed by American soldiers swept into a troubled, predominantly Shiite city south of Baghdad before dawn Friday, and the U.S. military said as many as six militia fighters had been killed. (AP Photo/Jalal Mudhar)

AP via Yahoo! News - Apr 06 11:09 AM

A soldier from the multi-national forces stands guard while U.S. armoured vehicles patrol a street in Diwaniya, 180 km (112 miles) south of Baghdad, April 6, 2007. Iraqi and U.S. troops on Friday moved into the southern city of Diwaniya, a stronghold of Shi'ite militia loyal to anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, in an operation to curb the militia's increasing influence. REUTERS/Imad al-Khozai (IRAQ)

Reuters via Yahoo! News - Apr 06 10:50 AM
That slippery Diwaniyah shifts 50km depending on which wire service you believe. I guess it depends how you measure it, maybe one is road miles and the other crow miles.

The multinational soldier is Latvian, again the unique Latvian digital desert cam, and see the flag on the sleeve pocket. A closer view would reveal "LATVIA" written above the flag. Photographer "Imad" obviously has trouble with reading and/or geography since he was the one who photographed the "Bolivian" soldier in Diwaniyah the following day.

Those two photographs were either taken seconds apart by one camera, or more or less simultaneously from two places. They are from two different wire services, with supposedly two different photographers, and both spell "Diwaniya-/-h" differently. So two local stringers were standing shoulder to shoulder like good friends shooting away? Unless .... nah, couldn't possibly be that the wire services are being taken for a ride?

Are there any more examples? How about these photos [1] [2]?

An Iraqi soldier patrols the deserted streets in Diwaniyah, 130 kilometers (80 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 9, 2007. American troops continued operations in Diwaniyah on Monday, detaining four guards at the office of a Shiite political party and scouring two neighborhoods in the city's northern and eastern sections, police said. At least 24 suspects were detained and one civilian was killed, police said. U.S. officials had no immediate comment. (AP Photo/Jalal Mudhar)
AP via Yahoo! News - Apr 09 8:57 AM

An Iraqi soldier searches for snipers in a street in Diwaniya, 180 km (112 miles) south of Baghdad, April 7, 2007. U.S. forces launched an air strike in the volatile Iraqi city of Diwaniya on Saturday amid sporadic gunbattles between Shi'ite militiamen and U.S. and Iraqi forces seeking to return the city to government control. (Imad al-Khozai/Reuters)
Reuters via Yahoo! News - Apr 07 3:33 PM
But that appears to be the same guy, in an similar pose, in stories filed two days apart. Look at the face, arms bands, silver watch, webbing, the position and pattern of the cam on the vest relative to the webbing is identical. That is the same guy. He is "patrolling" in the first and "searching for snipers" in the second, doing neither very convincingly. Weird huh? Either its a remarkable coincidence or it is staged and/or mislabelled and mis-dated.

Maybe Imad and Jalal are buddies, they travel together and photograph stuff. Or do they just stage together, and inaccurately mislabel the photos as required to fit the moment and the wire services bite? Or does Jalal, who seems to travel (he has photos from many different cities in Iraq) borrow unattributed (staged) shots from his buddy Imad in Diwaniyah?

Hard to say. I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation, but IMHO its just more symptoms of the disease that infects AP and Reuters (and the MSM in general). Pathetic fact checking, reliance on unaccountable crooked stringers, embedded political bias. News that's skewed even if nothing is faked.

Daily attack on Diwaniyah VI/07 and Operation Black Eagle

An operation to finally clean up Diwaniyah began on April 6th - Operation Black Eagle. Notably it appears MND(CS) is not leading, but the main work is being done by US forces - though it is claimed to be lead by the Iraqi 8th division with US and multinational support*.

Iraqslogger has a number of articles, Diwaniyah is under curfew since April 6th, the US has used air strikes, and the enemy claims to have smoked 3 HMWVVs, at least one American has been killed, and about 60 or so from the Mahdi army, IED factories have been uncovered, including for EFPs.

And how does this affect our beloved Camp Echo?

31 March During the evening Camp Echo takes unspecified incoming fire (Lv MoD)
02 April Camp Echo is mortared at 0430 in the morning (Lv MoD)
06 April Camp Echo is rocketed at about 2200.
07 April Camp Echo is mortared around 1700 (daylight!).
08 April Camp Echo is rocketed around 1300 (daylight!).
09 April Camp Echo is quiet (Easter roundup summary at Lv MoD).

The 6th was Friday, so figure the usual post-sermon evening hate, but daylight indirect attacks are rather unusual. At a guess, unable to effectively target the moving operation, the Sadrists vented at the big static target just outside town.

Will Black Eagle help to ease the attacks on Camp Echo?

Short term while the operation rolls and heavy outside security remains probably so.

Long term (>month) I have doubts. There were similar operations just six months ago (October). The locals have to take charge again sooner or later, and up to now they've been good Sadrists. The local police were useless and unable to maintain control, and will continue to be so. The Iraqis would need to import a crack police brigade or so from elsewhere to significantly change that (and Diwaniyah is not that important in the big picture). Killing off some 100 Sadrist militia in a city of 500 000, where 10% or more may be potential militia fighters changes little. The supply of weapons likewise is unchanged (though with any luck key IED makers/cells have been nailed, and that would make the whole operation worthwhile). I fear the net effect, with bodies and city center airstrikes, may just be buckets of bad will from the remaining locals.

None of this changes Camp Echo's inability to act as more than a static mortar range target, or MND(CS) inability to conduct meaningful operations.

* If there exist any photographs showing any MND(CS) soldiers outside the wire excepting the Latvians, well, I cannot find them on the english language internet. If any visitors do see any please leave a comment and a link.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Micro-ReutersGate in Diwaniyah

The trouble in Diwaniyah has finally come to a head, with forces being diverted from elsewhere to clean the militias out. But more about that elsewhere.

Reuters has bungled a photo caption, in itself a quite trivial event, but IMHO illustrative of Reuters poor quality. Reuters stringers are apparently covering the operation, and Reuters shows this picture and captions it "A soldier from Bolivia patrols a street in Diwaniya".

A soldier from Bolivia patrols a street in Diwaniya, 180 km (112 miles) south of Baghdad, April 7, 2007. U.S. forces launched an air strike in Diwaniya on Saturday as U.S. and Iraqi troops seeking to return the volatile Iraqi city to government control fought sporadic gun battles with Shi'ite militiamen.
Reuters problems with suspect stringers and negligent basic fact checking has been noted previously ("Reutergate"). Here is another example, though this may be news to Reuters :

- there are no Bolivian soldiers in Diwaniyah, mainly because
- there are no Bolivian soldiers in Iraq, mainly because
- Bolivia is not currently taking part in Operation Iraqi Freedom, mainly because
- Bolivia has never taken part in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

There are soldiers from El Salvador in Diwaniyah, part of MND(CS). Bolivia, Costa Rica whatever, I mean what's the difference, right? Course, some of us instincitively realize that the pseudo-narcostate pseudo-marxist Morales lead Bolivia is entirely unlikely to deploy to Iraq, but Reuters highly paid editors obviously needed to do some googling. Unless they think that a Bolivian born soldier serving in (for example) the US army, justifies a tagline like that. But the soldier is 100% most assuredly not from Bolivia in any way.

The soldier is Latvian, although Latvian participation in the Coalition of the Willing may also be news to Reuters. That a pale north european looking guy is patrolling in Diwaniyah may have been a clue, but the key diagnostic features are the unique Latvian large pixelled digitial desert camoflague and the custom H&K G36 (Compare the Reuters foto with these at Lv MoD).

Good morning Reuters. Try buying a clue.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Weekly Daily attack on Diwaniyah V/07

March madness continues unabated in Diwaniyah. First up, late news on the usual post Friday sermon Islamic rage attacks

March 23
Camp Echo is hit during the evening by several mortar bombs (Lv MoD)

March 24 Shots directed towards Camp Echo during the evening (Lv MoD)
DIWANIYA - The bullet-riddled body of a military intelligence officer was found in the centre of Diwaniya, 180 km (110 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. (Reuters),

but elsewhere in the former MND(CS) area :

Hilla- At least eleven civilians were killed and 45 were wounded on Saturday afternoon when a car bomb detonated near a Shiite mosque in north of Hilla, 100 km south of Baghdad, a police source said.(Iraqslogger)
March 25 Nothing reported from Diwaniyah but :
Hilla- Fierce clashes erupted on Sunday morning between armed groups and citizens mourning the victims of a suicide bombing at a (Shiite) mosque that killed 11 and wounded 45 on Saturday north of Hilla. (Iraqslogger)
March 26
DIWANIYA - The body of a man was found with gunshot wounds, bound and bearing signs of torture on Sunday in the southern city of Diwaniya, 180 km (110 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. (Reuters)
And its only Monday.


March 27  Several rockets are fired towards Camp Echo during th evening at about 20:20.
 (Lv MoD)
DIWANIYA - Six bodies were found in different parts of Diwaniya, 180 km (110 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. The victims had been tortured, bound and shot. (Reuters)
March 28 Several rockets are fited towards Camp Echo in the evening.
 (Lv MoD)

The Latvian MoD provides few details on events in their posts other than noting that the Latvian contingent is unharmed. 

While on the subject of details, I understand the reports of bodies with "signs of torture" mean real horror like the liberal use of power drills on the victim.  Dreadfull stuff.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Last to Know

MND(CS) has posted the foto on their own website .

Now, given the flurry of police on gunman madness during the last week in Diwaniyah, MND(CS) commander Lamla has seen fit to comment on the hopeless state of the local police

The Age :
Polish general rates Iraqi police poorly

The commander of Polish forces in Iraq says Iraqi police are performing poorly in his sector and were collaborating with Shi'ite militiamen.
Like, no s**t Sherlock.
Major General Pawel Lamla, the commander of multinational forces based in Diwaniyah, 130 kilometres south of Baghdad, also accused the police of not taking firm action against Sunni insurgents in his area.

"Iraqi police do not do their duties as they should do because of some of their elements have connections with the militias with whom they collaborate," Lamla told Iraqi reporters.

He said the recent security deterioration was due "to police incompetence as well as the presence of the political parties who do not intervene to stop violence."

Lamla also confirmed that insurgents attack the multinational base in Diwaniyah on a daily basis but said his forces cannot return fire because the attacks come from residential areas. "We do not want to hurt residents," he said.
Doh! This problem is old, they seem to have lost control of central Diwaniyah last year. I would like to hear General Llama explain why is a military base is maintained a easy mortar/rocket attack from a insurgent save haven? Or if the base is immovable, why is the no-go area permitted? And what exactly does MND(CS) actually do in Diwaniyah anyway, since they have handed over responsiblity for the district to local forces last year?
Underscoring the threat, police said gunmen attacked an American patrol in Diwaniyah and two civilians were wounded in clashes.
Police, which police? The militia supporting ones? Who were the gunmen, maybe they were police?
In spite of his criticism to Iraqi police, Lamla praised the Iraqi army's 8th Division which is in charge of Kut and Diwaniyah.

"This division is the best formation in the Iraqi army, it is well-equipped and has the best commander and officers and are doing excellent job in a very wide and sprawling area ," he said.
"Excellent job" ... excellent? The excellent job does not include preventing nightly attacks on Camp Echo or constant IED attacks in the district. Nor is it so excellent that MND(CS) can claim "mission accomplished" and leave.

Shia militias battle openly corrupted cops in broad daylight

I am not impressed.

Weekly flurry of attacks on Diwaniyah IV/07

March 16 March Camp Echo took incoming fire on the evening (Lv MoD)

March 18 Reuters reports that
The body of a man, shot dead and tortured, was found on Saturday in the southern city of Diwaniya, 180 km (110 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.
March 19 Fighting in Diwaniyah, reportedly between US forces and elements of the Mahdi Army, no word of casualties (IHT), while the body of a police captain is found in the city, and "gunmen" kill the head of the local passport office. (Reuters)

March 20 MND (CS) commander General Pawel Lamla criticises the local police (1)

March 20-21 During the night Camp Echo is fired apon, again (Lv MoD).

March 21 All manner of (preumably) Badrist/Sadrist trouble in Diwaniyah again, and the day ain't over yet (Reuters).
DIWANIYA - The bodies of two police commandos were found with gunshot wounds in the southern city of Diwaniya, 180 km (110 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

DIWANIYA - A policeman was killed and eight wounded, including four civilians, when clashes erupted between police and gunmen on Tuesday in several districts of Diwaniya, 180 km (110 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

DIWANIYA - Police said they found the body of a man, shot in the head and bound, on Tuesday in Diwaniya.

March 21 Camp Echo again under fire during the 21st, time and type of attack unknown, nothing of import hit (Lv MoD)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Weekly attack on Diwaniyah III/07

At 1740 on March 12 a Latvian patrol from Diwaniyah was involved in some manner of action. Details are murky. The wording at the MoD website implies an ambush/ contact, though it may be an IED. No place is mentioned either. One of ours lightly wounded (shrapnel in the arm).

Update 1

At about 1825 on March 13th several rockets were fired at Camp Echo (Latvian MoD).

Monday, March 05, 2007

Weekly attack on Diwaniyah II/07

The weekly attack on Camp Echo in Diwaniyah. I have lost count.

The Latvian MoD reports more fire directed against Camp Echo on 03 March. Type unreported, damage nil.

MND(CS) reports only on their successfull EOD unit from Bosnia-Hercegovina, which is kind of trippy following the decade of peacekeeping there (which has not yet wrappd up).

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Latvian soldiers may leave Iraq this summer

Latvian portal DELFI reports that the Latvian National Security Council has decided to effectively withdraw the Latvian infantry company from Iraq this July, as the company that rotates out will not be replaced. Latvia will not leave Iraq entirely, there will still be a staff contingent of some 15 officers.

The drawdown in Iraw will allow increasing the contingent to Afghanistan to some 100 men.

Apparently General Petraeus was in Camp Echo yesterday :
At the end of the patrol, General Petraeus praised General Othoman's leadership and the Soldiers of the 8th Iraqi Army, stating that they are, "shining examples of the new professional Iraqi Army whose combat readiness and disciple are to be noted as another example of an ever-growing professional Army and example for the future."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Weekly mortar attack on Diwaniyah, redux 2007

Camp Echo has been subject to a mortar attack on February 13 and direct fire on February 16. No serious harm done, though one hopes the miscreants in the second incident ate some lead from return fire.

Update : There appears to have been another direct fire attack on the camp on the night of February 22-23.(timing uncertain, the Lv MoD post is rather ambiguous). No damage done.

Hmmm, two consecutive attacks on Thursday/Friday night, prior the Muslim holiday.

Heads up next Thursday evening, on the night March 1-2. Normal people would have a couple drinks down the pub before their day off. Bloody Muslims.

Update: March 1- 2 passed without incident. I love being wrong sometimes.

MND (CS) Commemorative Medal

Consul-At-Arms asked for details of the MND-CS 90 day award. This is the "Multinational Division Central-South Commemorative Medal" (Medal pamiatkowy Wielonarodowej Dywizji Centrum-Poludnie), and is a non-official commemorative decoration.
Instituted in the fall of 2003, by the Commander of the Multinational Division Central-South in Iraq. It is awarded to all servicemen and women, as well as to civilians serving with the Division, irrespective of nationality, who have completed 90 days of service in the operational zone. First medals were awarded in January 2004.[link]