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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Iran/US Propaganda Wars

Speaking of propaganda wars, here is another version of the alleged US air strike on Iran publicised on this post.

Thanks to MAH 29001

By STEVEN R. HURST, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD - The U.S. military said its forces killed an estimated 49 militants during a dawn raid to capture an Iranian-linked militia chief in Baghdad's Sadr City enclave, one of the highest tolls for a single operation since President Bush declared an end to active combat in 2003.

Iraqi police and hospital officials, who often overstate casualties, reported only 15 deaths including three children. Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said all the dead were civilians.

Al-Dabbagh said on CNN that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, had met with the U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, to protest the action.

Associated Press photos showed the bodies of two toddlers, one with a gouged face, swaddled in blankets on a morgue floor. Their shirts were pulled up, exposing their abdomens, and a diaper showed above the waistband of one boy's shorts. Relatives said the children were killed when helicopter gunfire hit their house as they slept.

One local resident said some of the casualties were people sleeping on roofs to seek relief from the heat and lack of electricity. The Iraqi officials said 52 were wounded in the raid on the sprawling district.

The U.S. military said it was not aware of any civilian casualties, and the discrepancy in the death tolls and accounts of what happened could not be reconciled. American commanders reported no U.S. casualties.

The raid on the dangerous Shiite slum was aimed at capturing an alleged rogue militia chief, one of thousands of fighters who have broken with Muqtada al-Sadr's mainstream Mahdi Army. The military did not say if the man was captured. He was also not named.


Blogger mah29001 said...

It's interesting to see how state-run medias such as the Islamic Republic News Agency would spin it one way, but when there's another news agency with facts, it's always a different story.

Here are two other versions, one from the left-wiing orientated Seattle Times and the other from the even farther left-wing New York Times:

Sadr City raid kills 49 insurgents, U.S. says
By Caina Calvan

McClatchy Newspapers

BAGHDAD — U.S.-led forces reported killing 49 insurgents Sunday during predawn clashes with renegade Shiite militia members.

The fighting was the deadliest in recent months and further stoked furor among Iraqis over the heavy toll the war is taking on civilians.

The U.S. military claimed no civilians were killed or injured during the raid, while Iraqi police said at least 13 were dead, including three children and a woman. Iraqi authorities said 69 people were injured.

Television news broadcast images of caskets and grieving families in the streets of Sadr City.

The gunfights erupted after armored military vehicles, backed by helicopter gunners, arrived on the fringes of Sadr City to conduct a door-to-door sweep for a rogue militia cell leader the United States accuses of masterminding the kidnapping of coalition soldiers and other foreign nationals in May and last November.

The target of the manhunt was neither captured nor killed, the military said.

"It's the biggest raid in two months," said Karem Hellal, 45, who was out on the street when the soldiers descended on his neighborhood.

In August, the U.S. military reported killing 32 suspected insurgents during airstrikes in Sadr City.

Sirens wailed as ambulances carried the injured to the hospital. Doctors treated the injured, including children, at Imam Ali hospital, the biggest in Sadr City.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki expressed his concerns about the raid during a meeting with U.S. Gen. David Petraeus, who leads the coalition forces in Iraq.

In a statement released by the prime minister's office, Maliki promised an investigation. He called for better coordination of military offenses with Iraqi troops to "avoid such regrettable incidents," the statement said.

Emotions are still raw over the Sept. 16 shooting deaths of 11 Iraqi civilians by employees of Blackwater USA, a private security firm hired by the U.S. State Department to protect diplomats.

The military said it had returned fire from machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades in at least three separate gunfights in several Sadr City neighborhoods.

Sunday's raid lasted more than three hours, witnesses said, in a predominantly poor area on the fringes of Sadr City, a stronghold of Shiite militias mostly loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Sadr has called on militias loyal to him to refrain from attacks. In response, U.S. military officials have said they, too, would show restraint.

But Maj. Winfield Danielson, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq, said, "We will not show the same restraint against those criminals who dishonor this pledge by attacking security forces and Iraqi citizens."

U.S. officials declined to name the target of Sunday's sweep, who they said has sought to carry out high-profile kidnappings and has ties with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Quds Force.

In another development, the U.S. military announced Sunday that Abu Ali al-Baghdadi, leader of the Ramadi-based Army of Truth, and a voice of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, was arrested Oct. 12 in a raid at a relative's house 15 miles northwest of Ramadi.


Confusion on Deaths After Fighting in Sadr City
Hadi Mizban/Associated Press
Two men are visited in the hospital after being wounded in a raid in Sadr City Sunday. The American military said it did not believe there were any civilian deaths as a result of the fighting.

Published: October 22, 2007
BAGHDAD, Oct. 21 — American forces on Sunday came under heavy fire in three locations in Sadr City, the Shiite enclave in Baghdad, and returned fire, killing 49 militants, according to an American military official and a military statement about the episode.

Iraqi witnesses said that 17 people had been killed, one of whom was an elderly woman who died of her wounds, and that of 40 people who had been wounded, a number were children. At least four of the wounded children were at Imam Ali Hospital in Sadr City, where family members helped the overtaxed hospital staff and anxiously hovered over the children.

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki said in a statement that the American military should avoid using excessive force that ran the risk of harming civilians and that the government would investigate the episode. However, he did not condemn the attack outright. The Iraqi government has given tacit approval for a number of similar American raids on both Sunni Arab and Shiite militants.

In the operation, American soldiers were searching for an Iraqi who is believed to be in charge of a kidnapping ring. “Our objective was to go in and locate one high-value target responsible for an extensive Iranian-backed kidnapping ring,” said the military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the military is still gathering data about the attack.

The operation failed to capture the man, but as it was under way, American soldiers came under heavy fire from gunmen using automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, the statement said. The soldiers called for air support and the military said that at least 33 people were killed by ground fire in the initial engagement and 6 others by air attacks. As the American forces tried to leave the area, heavy fire continued and the attackers detonated a roadside bomb. Ten other Iraqi fighters were killed as the Americans tried to withdraw, the military statement said.

Although the area has been controlled by the militia of the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr, militia members have been quiet since late August when Mr. Sadr asked them to lay down their arms. The suspension of militia operations has allowed the American military to focus its attacks on people who have continued to fight despite Mr. Sadr’s call for a truce. The military contends that at least some of those still fighting have links to Iran.

For Sadr City residents in the areas where the fighting was under way, at least some of whom appeared to have nothing to do with Mr. Sadr’s militia, the gunfire was terrifying. Two cousins, Murtada Saiedi, 8, and Ali Saiedi, 11, were walking home at 6:15 a.m. after buying fresh samoun for their families. Samoun is a triangular bread beloved by Iraqis for breakfast.

“I was holding the samoun in my arms in a big bag,” said Ali Saiedi, adding that he was taking the bread home for his eight siblings and his parents. “Then I heard a big sound and I tried to run, I wanted to reach my home, but I couldn’t.

“And then when I woke up, I was here,” he said, as he lay in a bed at the Imam Ali Hospital with bandages on his arms from shrapnel cuts.

His cousin, Murtada Saiedi, in the next bed, would not speak. He winced as he shifted his weight in the bed and looked up silently at his father and uncle, who were leaning over the child. The doctor had just come by to say that he thought Murtada might have some internal bleeding.

An official at the hospital, Abu Ibrahim, said an elderly woman whose midsection had been nearly severed by shrapnel died Sunday evening, bringing the total dead at the hospital to 16. There were 38 wounded who were admitted to the hospital, he said. Officials at a second hospital in the neighborhood reported one dead and two wounded.

The military said it did not believe there were any civilian deaths as a result of the fighting. “Ground forces reported they were unaware of any innocent civilians being killed as a result of this operation,” the military statement said.

The episode highlights the difficulty of determining the facts after military operations, especially ones involving firefights in which much happens quickly. The military said the reason so few bodies were taken to hospitals was that the militants picked up the bodies of their own people to prevent American soldiers from gaining intelligence about them.

In cases where Iraqi casualty numbers are far higher than American numbers, the American military sometimes says the discrepancy is a result of exaggeration by Iraqis. In any individual occurrence it is hard to tell which factors play the most important role.

Outside of Baghdad on Sunday, preparations were under way in Anbar Province for a parade in honor of the tribal councils that have been fighting Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a homegrown extremist organization that American intelligence sources say has some foreign leadership.

The celebration on Monday will be just two days after a tribal delegation from Karbala Province, which is primarily Shiite, came to meet with the Anbar sheiks to discuss border issues of concern to both of them. The sheiks agreed that they needed to work together to secure the border between the provinces. The Karbala sheiks are worried that without a tough and organized security plan, Sunni Arab militants might migrate to Karbala.

Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Mudhafer al-Husaini contributed reporting from Baghdad, and Iraqi employees of The New York Times from Karbala and Anbar.


Even as the New York Times openly is against the Iraq war, it hasn't printed similar propaganda the likes of the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency has been promoting this sort of propaganda.

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's all this about Iran, Trev? Sadr City is in Iraq.

- Sam Buchanan

9:48 AM  
Blogger mah29001 said...

The Iranians consider NEVER consider any of those who were in the U.S.-Iraqi strike in Sadr City were militants/terrorists but "all" civilian. Iranian sources are giving a biased view point of the manner is the main point.

10:01 AM  

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