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.