Dahr Jamail: Another U.S. Military Operation, More Unrest


Richard Moore

Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2007 07:12:23 -0700
From: Dahr Jamail's dispatches <•••@••.•••>
Subject: MidEast Dispatches: Another U.S. Military Operation, More Unrest

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Another U.S. Military Operation, More Unrest

Inter Press Service
By Ali al-Fadhily*

BAGHDAD, Aug 22 (IPS) - New U.S. military operations across Iraq appear to be 
worsening the situation.

On Aug. 13 about 16,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops began a massive new military 
operation north of Baghdad. According to the U.S. military, the goal of the 
operation, named Lightning Hammer, is to "target insurgents who have fled a 
crackdown in the restive city of Baquba."

The operation is part of a larger military offensive, Operation Phantom Strike, 
whose goal is "to disrupt al-Qaeda in Iraq and Shia extremist operations in 

Both operations have included extensive use of air strikes. Many residents speak
with bitterness about the operations and the language used to describe tem.

"This is not the first time that we have heard nice words about military 
operations that they say aim for our security and prosperity," 50-year-old 
teacher Kassim Hussein told IPS in Baghdad. "Yet every time it was more killing,
sieges and poverty. It is a war that we did not have to fight, but we are the 
biggest losers every time it is ignited by the Americans."

According to a press release on the official website of the Multi-National 
Forces in Iraq dated Aug. 13, Operation Phantom Strike "consists of simultaneous
operations throughout Iraq focused on pursuing remaining AQI (al-Qaeda in Iraq) 
terrorists and Iranian-supported extremist elements."

The MNF press release claimed that the operation had "liberated large segments 
of the Iraqi population from AQI" and that the operations were "appreciably 
improving the lives of the Iraqi people."

But many Iraqis recall U.S. military offensives in Fallujah (60 km west of 
Baghdad), al-Qa'im (400 km northwest of Baghdad), Haditha (240 km northwest of 
Baghdad) and other cities practically destroyed under the flag of fighting 

"I have no house now because of another phantom operation in my city," Hamid 
Salman, a retired government worker from Fallujah told IPS in Baghdad. "I have 
to live with my brother in his small house here in Baghdad, and tens of 
thousands of Fallujah people are suffering the same situation. That was all the 
American ghosts and furies did for us."

According to an Aug. 19 air power summary from the U.S. Air Force, a B-1 bomber 
destroyed three buildings in Baghdad, and F-16 fighter jets dropped guided 
munitions and fired cannon rounds in Baghdad and Iskandariyah (40 km south of 
Baghdad). A total of 68 air support missions were flown in Iraq that day alone.

"Death walks with the military," former Iraqi army Brigadier General Mustafa 
Hashim told IPS in Baghdad. "There is never a clean military operation, and so 
more civilians are expected to be killed, injured or evicted from their homes."

According to the group Just Foreign Policy, an independent organisation 
"dedicated to reforming U.S. foreign policy to serve the interests and reflect 
the values of the broad majority of Americans," more than one million Iraqis 
have died as a direct result of the U.S.-led invasion and occupation.

The group's number is based primarily on data extrapolated from a scientific 
study published in the Lancet medical journal in Britain Oct. 11, 2006.

"The method the U.S. army follows when attacking a city is to intensify fire 
regardless of the possibility of civilians' existence in the targeted place," 
said Hashim. "In fact, they would shoot even when they are certain of civilians'
existence. Their culture is to achieve victory no matter what."

While the U.S. military has issued many reports about the recent operations, 
Iraqis continue to doubt the claims of success.

"It is all about the media, politics, elections, and conflict inside the U.S. 
Congress and such business," Waleed al-Ubaydi, a political analyst at Baghdad 
University told IPS. "They know in advance that their offensives are not going 
to achieve much, but they have to show their people and the world that they are 
active on the ground.

"Al-Qaeda and other fighters have put their cells to sleep for the time being, 
concentrating on taking the U.S. army by surprise here and there. This is an 
endless story unless a miracle takes place in a time when miracles do not take 
place any more."

Many Iraqis say the U.S. occupation leaders should consider what matters to 
civilians, since most Iraqis are now living under the worst conditions possible.
They say it is the responsibility of the occupation forces to provide people 
with decent living conditions, rather than fight Bush's war on Iraqi ground and 
at Iraqi peoples' expense.

"Bush has nothing to lose here except his reputation which he has already lost,"
Hamdan Salih, an unemployed lawyer in Baghdad told IPS. "He is pushing Iraqis to
fight each other and meanwhile attacking our cities in search of his own 
enemies, who most of the time happen to be our sons and brothers. He is 
sacrificing Iraqi pawns for the American oil king."

(*Ali, our correspondent in Baghdad, works in close collaboration with Dahr 
Jamail, our U.S.-based specialist writer on Iraq who travels extensively in the 


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