The U.S. is conducting an offensive against the terrorists in Iraq. I find Canada’s Globe and Mail coverage of the effort to be amazingly negative in story and poor in detail, even for our supposed allies to the north.
A U.S. offensive aimed at al-Qaeda in Iraq insurgents in western Iraq entered its third day Monday, with air strikes in a town on the banks of the Euphrates River, witnesses said. At least 36 militants have died since the fighting began, officials said.
No serious U.S. casualties have been reported in the â€œIron Fistâ€ offensive by 1,000 Marines, soldiers and sailors near the Syrian border.
Well, so far, so bland. That must stop. So, too, must actual reporting of the offensive, as the story turns now towards negative news elsewhere in Iraq. Hey, the alleged point of the story got over sixty words — time to shift to unrelated gloom-and-doom.
In Baghdad, Iraq’s oil minister narrowly survived an assassination attempt when a roadside bomb blasted his seven-car convoy, killing three of his escorts, officials said.
Elsewhere, roadside bombs and fighting between insurgents and Iraqi forces on Monday wounded at least seven Iraqis in Ramadi, a militant stronghold west of the capital, police and hospital officials said.
Insurgents wearing black hoods were seen carrying machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades in the city’s streets, and Iraqi civilians gathered around two burning Iraqi army pickup trucks. Some of the civilians celebrated the destruction by carrying Iraqi military helmets and a uniform that appeared to have been pulled from the burning Iraqi vehicles.
In the northern city of Mosul, a drive-by shooting killed Nafi’a Aziz, a female member of Ninevah’s provincial council, and her son, said police spokesman Brig. Saeed Ahmed. Mr. Aziz was in charge of the council’s human rights committee and a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the party of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.
The offensive and street fighting come less than two weeks before the national referendum on a new Iraqi constitution. Al-Qaeda in Iraq and other groups in the Sunni-led insurgency have killed at least 207 people over the past eight days in a bid to wreck the vote.
On Sunday, Al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed to have taken two U.S. Marines captive during the fighting and threatened to kill them within 24 hours unless all female Sunni detainees are released from U.S. and Iraqi prisons in the country. The U.S. military said the claim appeared false but that it was conducting checks â€œto verify that all Marines are accounted for.â€
Well, that should be enough to quash any optimism about the offensive. Let’s actually return to that offensive, shall we?
The offensive in western Iraq by 1,000 Marines, soldiers and sailors began early Saturday in the village of Sadah and has since spread to Karabilah and Rumana, two nearby towns on the banks of the Euphrates River. On Monday, witnesses told The Associated Press that helicopter attacks on Rumana were sending up clouds of black smoke.
No casualties were immediately reported in Monday’s fighting by the witnesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern for their own safety, or by the U.S. military command center in Baghdad.
The military says al-Qaeda in Iraq, the country’s most feared insurgent group, has turned the area near Iraq’s border into a â€œsanctuaryâ€ and a way-station for foreign fighters entering from Syria.
In Karabilah, Marines clashed with insurgents who opened fire from a building on Sunday in a firefight that killed eight militants, the military said.
Most of the militants appeared to have slipped out of Sadah before the force moved in, and hundreds of the village’s residents fled into Syria ahead of the assault.
There was â€œvirtually no oppositionâ€ in Sadah, the Marine commander in western Anbar province, Col. Stephen W. Davis said.
At least 28 militants were killed in fighting Sunday, Davis said, bringing the two-day toll among insurgents to 36. There have been no serious U.S. casualties in the operation, he said.
Okay, the American offensive appears to be going well, time to cast a pall on that.
On Monday, a CNN journalist embedded with Marines in eastern Karabilah filed video showing the attack. About 20 Iraqi civilians fled the fighting, and the wounded included an Iraqi mother, father and their child, who were bleeding after being hit by flying pieces of concrete.
Oh holy crap! Civilians in a combat zone were injured by flying bits of building! Oh the humanity! Damn, but large portions of Canada really need wake up, crawl out from under the blanket of protection their southerly neighbors have afforded them for apparently far too long, and actually come face-to-face with a real threat. I doubt their grandfathers on D-Day fretted overly much about bystanders being stung by inadvertant debris.
The rest of the story ignores the offensive and returns to the negative stories covered earlier. It’s almost like the author wants the reader to know a successful operation is underway, but doesn’t want that news to bring any good vibes. On the other hand, for balance’s sake, the article does wrap up with a slightly positive tidbit, again unrelated to the offensive.
Elsewhere, Shiite militiamen released the recently kidnapped brother of Iraq’s interior minister, the freed man, Abdul-Jabbar Jabr said.
Well, there, that’s fair coverage of a friend’s successful venture, wouldn’t you say?
Meanwhile, Chad over at In the Bullpen has a rather speculative story that al Queda in Iraq may be considering bailing on, well, Iraq as a base of operations. Continued offensives like those barely covered above would certainly play a role in such a maneuver. Chad goes on to ponder about possible new sites for the terrorist base of operations.
Where would they move? The Sinai is the first place Iâ€™d look for any reemergence, but thereâ€™s also Northern Africa and the Horn of Africa to consider.
As I’ve noted before, the U.S. military is already planning for such a relocation.