www.albasrah.net

Iraqi Resistance Report for events of Thursday, 19 February 2004, through Saturday, 21 February 2004. Translated and/or compiled by Muhammad Abu Nasr, member, editorial board, the Free Arab Voice . http:// www.freearabvoice.org

Thursday, 19 February 2004.

Two Resistance bombings at al-Khalidiyah leave 2 US troops killed, 1 wounded.

An Iraqi Resistance bomb ripped through a US invader infantry patrol on Thursday killing two American occupation troops and wounding one other, according to the US military command and witnesses.

 

Witnesses said an Iraqi, probably a puppet policeman, was also killed in the attack. The blast occurred at about 10:30am as troops from so-called “Task Force All-American” were investigating an earlier attack on a US aggressor convoy near al-Khalidiyah, about 50 miles west of Baghdad, witnesses said. "About 20 US soldiers and two Iraqi policemen were on foot inspecting the area after the first blast," witness Bilal Hardan said. "Then the second explosion came. I think they hit a land mine." US occupation troops rounded up dozens of Iraqi suspects after the second attack, the witnesses said. The US command confirmed the American casualties but offered no further details.

 

Resistance bomb wounds puppet policeman in Ba‘qubah.

 

An Iraqi Resistance roadside bomb exploded Thursday in Ba‘qubah, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, missing US vehicles but wounding an Iraqi puppet policeman, witnesses said, according to the US Associated Press.

 

The wounded puppet policeman, ‘Amir Salman, told the Agence France Presse (AFP) that “the bomb exploded by one of the axles as the American convoy was passing but it didn't damage it.”

 

A report from al-Jazeera TV said that a roadside bomb in Ba‘qubah had gone off under a US tank and destroyed the vehicle.

 

After the Thursday bombing, the US forces mounted search operations in the city and announced through loudspeakers that they would pay a reward to anyone who provided information on those responsible for the attacks on the US forces.

 

On Wednesday, US troops arrested seven Iraqis in Ba‘qubah claiming that they were “suspected”of being linked to al-Qa‘idah, but gave no further details.

 

Resistance fires mortar barrage at US concentration camp at Abu Ghurayb.

On Wednesday evening the Iraqi Resistance fired a mortar and rocket barrage against the US base and concentration camp at Abu Ghurayb on the western edge of Baghdad. The US occupation command said attackers fired 33 mortar rounds and five rockets between 6:30 p.m. and 6:50 p.m., but claimed that only one soldier was slightly injured. Abu Ghurayb is one of the largest US prison camps in Iraq, holding many Iraq government and Ba‘th Party officials who stood against the invasion.

 

The US aggressor forces said that they returned fire in response to the Resistance attack and that they had killed one “armed person” and rounded up 55 individuals for interrogation.

 

US reports failed Resistance attack in Tikrit.

 

Iraqi Resistance fighters fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a US occupation patrol in Tikrit on Wednesday, but US military sources said it missed the patrol and killed a child by mistake. Sergeant Robert Cargie of the 4 th Infantry Division said that the troops could do nothing to prevent the attack.

 

Wednesday morning attack on occupation forces leaves Resistance fighter martyred, US claims.

 

Near the town of Balad Iraqi Resistance fighters attacked a US occupation patrol on Wednesday morning. According to Sergeant Robert Cargie of the 4 th Infantry Division one Resistance fighter was martyred. His body was found with his Kalashnikov after the operation. Cargie said that following the attack the US aggressors arrested two persons six kilometers west of Baghdad. Cargie made no reference to US casualties or damage in the attack.

 

Pentagon announces arrest of former puppet officials in connection with Resistance attacks.

 

The former acting mayor of al-Fallujah and two US-trained Iraqi puppet so-called civil defense workers are being held on suspicion of involvement in devastating Resistance raids in the Iraqi town last weekend, the Pentagon said on Thursday. Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita and Army Brigadier General David Rodriguez told reporters at a briefing that the former acting mayor and two puppet civil defense corps workers were among Iraqis being questioned in connection with the incident.

"The mayor was suspected, just based on the situation. And the people on the ground determined that they thought he might have something to do with it. So they detained him and we're interrogating him and trying to get to the bottom of it," said Rodriguez, deputy director of the US military's Joint Staff.

 

Police massacre in al-Basrah.

 

Islammemo reports from its correspondent in al-Basrah that Iraqi puppet police killed 11 Iraqi citizens in wild gunfire as they pursued liquor sellers on Tuesday.

 

According to the correspondent, the puppet police opened fire indiscriminately as they pursued a number of liquor sellers through the streets of the city killing 11 innocent pedestrians who happened to be on the scene at the time. Fifty other passers by, including several children, were also reportedly wounded.

 

The correspondent reported that the crime took place in the center of al-Basrah's market near al-Fayha' School on last Tuesday.

 

Islammemo comments that it is strange that none of the news agencies have reported similar outrages committed by the police force working for the US occupation, despite the fact that such incidents are well-known among Iraqis. At the same time the Resistance operations undertaken against the occupation and its stooges are regularly distorted by some of the international news media.

 

Collaborationist gangs SCIRI and Da‘wah Party establish arbitrary rule in as-Samawah.

 

The Agence France Presse (AFP) reports that Thamir ‘Abbas Hamid, the Sunni Imam of the Mosque of the Martyrs of the Bridge (a reference to the Iraqis martyred when US forces attacked a bridge in 1991) that Shi‘i militias collaborating with the occupation have taken over two of the five Sunni mosques in the city.

 

AFP quoted ‘Abd al-Husayn Muhammad, a local official in the collaborationist so-called Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) as saying “we have taken over the job of maintaining security in the city in an example that should be followed in all parts of Iraq.”

 

For his part Hasan al-‘Ulwah, Editor-in-Chief of Majallat as-Samawah (as-Samawah Magazine) told the AFP that SCIRI and the Da‘wah Party – another collaborationist organization – control the city by means of the Badr Brigade. The Badr Brigade is a militia that was trained and armed by Iran in Iranian territory over a period of many years before it took part in the US in its invasion of Iraq in the spring of 2003.

 

Al-‘Ulwah told the AFP that the Shi‘i religious parties filled the vacuum left by the Iraqi government and Ba‘th Party after the US invasion pushed them out of the city. “Those of them who did not leave are no longer a danger,” he added, indicating that there had been arrests.

 

Report: 100,000 Arab refugees have fled before Kurdish advance .

 

A report issued under the aegis of the United Nations on Thursday reports that nearly 100,000 Arabs have fled northern Iraq before a wave of Kurdish chauvinist ethnic cleansing.

 

The report by the Geneva-based Global IDP Project warned that the unregulated influx of thousands of Kurds could enflame simmering tensions in the oil-rich towns of Mosul and Kirkuk where Arabs and Turkomans have protested growing Kurdish chauvinist political influence.

 

Many of the displaced Arabs are now living north of Baghdad in abandoned army camps and public buildings, largely without access to health care, electricity or running water.

 

Head of Board of ‘Ulama': “Israelis” buying land in Iraq.

 

The General Secretary of the Board of Sunni Muslim ‘Ulama', Harith al-‘Annari confirmed the truth of stories that are circulating to the effect that “Israelis” are buying up land in Iraq using Arabic names.

 

At a press conference al-‘Annari was asked about the stories that “Israelis” have been coming to Iraq to buy land and real estate. He confirmed that this information is correct. Al-‘Annari said that “Israelis” had bought in Iraq using Arabic and Islamic names as a cover, according to a report in ar-Ra'y al-‘Amm newspaper.

 

Turkoman sources had earlier disclosed American-Zionist plans for land purchases and settlement in northern Iraq as a part of their strategy of bringing the Arab Region under their control.

 

Sources: al-‘Arab al-Yawm daily newspaper, Amman, Jordan, Friday, 20 February 2004.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=514&e=1&u=/ap/20040219/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq

http://www.aljazeera.net/news/arabic/2004/2/2-19-8.htm

http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDNews=25307

http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDNews=25304

http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDnews=25286

http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDnews=25269

http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDNews=25329

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20040219/wl_nm/iraq_usa_falluja_dc&cid=574&ncid=1480

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L19164177.htm

 

Friday, 20 February 2004.

 

Iraqi Resistance bomb wounds one.

 

At least one American was wounded in an Iraqi Resistance bomb blast near the town of Balad, 75km from Baghdad. The soldier was riding in a military convoy carrying thousands of troops who were to leave Iraq having been replaced by the 1 st Infantry Division.

 

American killed in “road accident” in Balad.

 

According to a US military spokesman in Baghdad, one US occupation soldier was killed in a traffic accident in the town of Balad. No further details were provided. An earlier account had reported two Americans and one Iraqi had been killed.

 

10 released from Abu Ghurayb prison camp.

 

US occupation forces announced that they had released 10 prisoners from the massive concentration camp at Abu Ghurayb, west of Baghdad. The US said it was part of its program to release prisoners not directly involved in Resistance operations. It is estimated that the US occupation forces hold over 12,000 Iraqi prisoners in its network of camps and prisons.

 

In all the US has released 72 prisoners from Abu Ghurayb after they declared that they would not be involved in “violence” and received guarantees from religious or tribal authorities for their behavior.

 

4 Egyptians reported murdered in Baghdad.

 

Eyewitnesses and “other sources” reported that four Egyptians – three men and one woman – living in al-I‘lam District of Baghdad have been killed. The sources told the semi-official Egyptian daily al-Ahram , which published the story on Friday, 20 February 2004, that it was not an accidental but an intentional slaying. Witnesses said that they saw two or three cars pull up to the locations were the three intended victims were living and killed them. They indicated that some Iraqi circles were likely behind such killings which, al-Ahram said, come in the context of a series of attacks on Egyptians and Arabs from other states living in Iraq. No party has claimed responsibility for the attack.

 

Many Egyptians, Palestinians, Sudanese and other Arabs were welcomed by the oil-rich Iraqi state of Saddam Hussein where they worked and lived, having obtained relief from the economic distress and other difficulties plaguing their home regions. Many were known for their sympathy for the Iraqi government that the US invasion forcibly overthrew.

 

US closes Iraqi-Syrian border.

 

US occupation forces have closed the Iraqi-Syrian border apparently for several days without explaining the reasoning behind the move. Travelers coming from al-Walid Crossing reported that US invaders backed by puppet police had closed the crossing to Iraqis and non-Iraqis seeking to enter Iraqi territory.

 

In conversations with the Ahmad Sabri, the correspondent for al-‘Arab al-Yawm newspaper in Baghdad, travelers said that for several days there have been hundreds of Iraqis and non-Iraqis stranded outside the sealed Iraqi border. Meanwhile US occupation forces and helicopters can be seen patrolling the various back roads that can also be used as alternate routes across the border in order to prevent any crossings.

 

Trucks, however, both Syrian and Iraqi, are allowed to pass through the border. Observers surmise that the closing of the border is a US attempt to prevent Arab volunteer fighters from entering Iraqi territory to support the Resistance struggle against the US occupation.

 

Relentless, deadly pressure from Iraqi Resistance cripples CIA operations in Iraq.

 

The US newspaper the Los Angeles Times reports that despite the fact that the CIA's Baghdad station has become the largest in agency history, eclipsing the size of its post in Saigon at the height of the Vietnam War, the agency has had difficulty filling key overseas posts, and cannot do its usual work because of the daily preoccupation with security for themselves and US forces occupying the country.

 

The Los Angeles Times said that its sources said the number of CIA personnel in Iraq exceedes 500 people.

A US official told the newspaper that the CIA station chief in Baghdad was removed in December after weeks of increasingly deadly and sophisticated attacks against US occupation and collaborator targets.

"There was just a belief that it was a huge operation and we needed a very senior, very experienced person to run it," the official said.

“The replacement of the station chief,” the LA Times reported, “means that the high-profile post has been held by three senior officers since Bush declared an end to major combat in Iraq in May, sources said.” The newspaper reports that the “current station chief is a highly regarded officer who ‘rose rather meteorically' during operations in Kosovo, which was the agency's last major buildup of assets, a former CIA officer said.”

 

One big problem for the huge CIA station in Baghdad, according to some of the newspaper's sources is that the CIA has been “drawn too much into troop-protection work ordinarily done by the military,” due to the relentless pressure of the Iraqi Resistance. “As a result,” the LA Times reports, “some are concerned that the agency has not been able to concentrate on recruiting the spies that will be needed as crucial sources of information for years to come.”

 

The Resistance has also crippled the massive CIA operation in the country by discouraging “Arabic speakers and qualified case officers willing to take dangerous assignments.” As a result the CIA has had to rely on local translators and often “uses US soldiers for tasks that CIA officers normally perform.” CIA retirees and fresh graduates from the CIA academy in Virginia who have military background are rushed to Iraq. The newspaper quoted a CIA source as admitting: “They don't speak the language, don't know how to recruit.”

 

In general, the paper was told, “the main problem confronting the Baghdad station has been security constraints that inhibit the ability of operatives to move about the country.”

The LA Times reported that the US official who spoke with their reporters “acknowledged that instability and violence made ‘it harder for people to do their job. They're not locked down, but it adds to the degree of difficulty everyone faces.'”

 

The Kuwaiti regime promotes acceptance of Zionist entity and the US Plan for the “Greater ‘Middle East'”.

 

The Kuwaiti Prime Minister has called for “understanding” with regard to western demands and calls for what he described as “the development of education and political systems” in the Arab States. He also said that the Arabs must “get aboard the peace train,” referring to US and Zionist efforts to compel the Arabs to accept the Zionist occupation of Palestine and Zionist regional hegemony.

 

In an interview with the semi-official Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram , Sabah al-Ahmad said, “I believe that we must be wary of moving to reject things and holding on to the ‘old' simply because some party has said they would like to change it.” Sabah al-Ahmad said that such an approach will “keep us among the backward even as international studies have shown that our region is the one most afflicted by backwardness,” he said echoing the claims of the US plan for a Greater “Middle East” a preliminary version of which was presented to the G-8 countries earlier in February.

 

A final version of the plan is expected to be presented to the G-8 in June. The US plan entails a transformation of the Arab Region into an open free market for US and Zionist economic activity while overhauling the educational and political systems so as to replicate the consumerist mentality and general liberal outlook prevalent in the US and western Europe.

 

Sabah al-Ahmad also called on the Arab states to get aboard the “peace train” quickly, saying that the region had had enough of armed conflict and that the time had come for the states to get aboard the peace train while it is still in the station. He said the “peace train” had enough room for all the states and peoples in the region, clearly implying acceptance of the Zionist occupation of Palestine and an end to resistance struggle.

 

Karbala' cleric demands new local puppet council to replace existing council.

 

On Friday ‘Abd al-Mahdi al-Karbala'i, the representative of the Shi‘i religious authority Ayat Allah ‘Ali as-Sistani in the city of Karbala', called for an armed popular revolution in the city if the local council appointed by the US occupation authorities is not dissolved.

 

Al-Karbala'i attacked John Perry, the local representative of US proconsul L. Paul Bremer, for having dissolved an old puppet council and installed a new one without consulting as-Sistani or other Shi‘i authorities. Al-Karbala'i therefore called the new council “invalid” and “illegal”. Al-Karbala'i called on the members of the council to resign.

 

The local US governor, Perry denied al-Karbala'i's claim, saying “a large number of those who came to my office confirmed that they represented as-Sistani and there are at least two people – a woman and a man – who said that they represent the legal agent of the Shi‘i authority in the city.” He acknowledged, however, that “I didn't consult anyone from as-Sistani's group, and they never sent anyone for that purpose either.”

 

Sources: al-‘Arab al-Yawm daily newspaper, Amman, Jordan, Saturday, 21 February 2004.

http://www.aljazeera.net/news/arabic/2004/2/2-20-11.htm

http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDNews=25393

http://www.ahram.org.eg/Index.asp?CurFN=arab2.htm&DID=8037

http://www.ahram.org.eg/Index.asp?CurFN=fron5.htm&DID=8037

http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDnews=25378

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-cia20feb20,1,4570519.story?coll=la-home-headlines

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1802&ncid=1802&e=6&u=/washpost/20040218/ts_washpost/a49272_2004feb17

 

 

Saturday, 21 February 2004.

 

Saddam Hussein slams “inhuman treatment” to Red Cross team.

 

The Jordanian daily al-‘Arab al-Yawm reported in its Sunday, 22 February edition that informed sources in Baghdad say that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein complained of the “inhuman treatment” that he has received from the occupation forces in the prison where he is confined.

 

The sources say that the Red Cross team that visited the Iraqi President in his secret prison cell spent an hour with Saddam Hussein. During that time he denounced the treatment to which he had been subjected and gave them a lengthy letter to his daughter Raghd in which he refuted American rumors and claims about his capture and the occupation of Iraq.

 

On Saturday, for the first time since they captured the Iraqi President nearly two-and-a-half months ago, the US occupation allowed the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit Saddam Hussein. A spokeswoman for the International Red Cross in Iraq, Nada Dumani, said in Amman that their two-person team, which included a physician and an Arabic speaker, stayed with the Iraqi President for the “time required to assess his physical and mental condition.”

 

Dumani said that the Iraqi President had given them a letter to convey to his daughter, now living in Jordan. The Red Cross team expects that the letter will be delivered, after the US invaders have read it and have decided that it “contains no instructions to his followers or other banned messages,” according to the American Associated Press (AP).

 

The AP quoted Dumani as saying in Amman: “The aim of this visit is to track and monitor the conditions of detention and treatment of the detainee. We want to see whether he is getting enough food and water and also to check his health condition and to give him the possibility to write a message to his family - which he did.”

 

According to al-Jazeera TV, Dumani declined to say anything about how the team found Saddam Hussein's condition. Dumani said the Red Cross would periodically visit the Iraqi President as long as he remains in custody, but she gave no further details.

 

She said that in keeping with Red Cross procedures, they would convey their observations directly to the occupation authorities.

 

Later, a Red Cross representative in Amman, Mu‘in Qassis, said that the Iraqi President had filled in a form and written a personal message to his family.

 

The Red Cross stipulates that it must meet a prisoner face-to-face without the presence of any other party, that they must carry out a medical exam, and correspondence with the prisoner's family.

 

The US occupation announced that it had captured the Iraqi President in his hometown of Tikrit on 13 December 2003, after he had eluded the clutches of the invaders for about eight months. The International Committee of the Red Cross formally requested permission to visit Saddam Hussein on 30 December 2003. In January, the Pentagon formally declared Saddam Hussein a prisoner of war because of his status as commander in chief of Iraq's military. As a POW, the Iraqi President is entitled under the Geneva Conventions to certain rights, including visits by the international Red Cross and freedom from coercion of any kind during interrogations. The Red Cross was not allowed to visit Saddam Hussein, however until Saturday, 21 February 2004.

 

The Red Cross has visited more than 10,000 prisoners in Iraq since March, even though fewer than 100 have been formally classified POWs, spokeswoman Antonella Notari said.

 

In keeping with rules laid down by the US invaders, Dumani would not reveal where the Iraqi President was when she visited him at some location in Baghdad.

 

Resistance attack wounds four US occupation troops in “civilian” car.

 

Iraqi resistance fighters in a car on Saturday opened fire on three supposedly “civilian” jeeps wounding four US occupation soldiers and killing one Iraqi translator who was working for them, according to a US military spokesman. The attack occurred in al-Haswah district of southwestern Baghdad. The attack caused one car to explode and burst into flames and another to crash. US occupation forces sealed off the area and prevented anyone approaching.

 

Witness Khalid ‘Ali Husayn who works as a mechanic near the scene of the attack said, “I heard gunfire and saw a car on fire and four riders fleeing from it. And there was another car stopped by the side of the road. But the third car was not hit and was able to escape.” Husayn said that a US patrol took away the body of the translator.

 

Later, around noon, Iraqi youths broke apart the car that had stopped by the roadside. Inside, patches of blood were plainly visible. One of the youths said, “these are spoils of war for the Muslims.”

 

Resistance attacks puppet forces in al-Huwayjah, killing one.

 

Iraqi Resistance forces carried out an attack on the headquarters of the puppet so-called civil defense forces in the town of al-Huwayjah near Kirkuk in northern Iraq on Saturday. One member of the puppet defense forces was killed. The chief of the puppet military organization in the Kirkuk region, Major General Anwar Amin told the Agence France Presse “two groups of armed men today attacked the headquarters of the civil defense force in the center of the town of al-Huwayjah west of Kirkuk. The attack left one member of the force dead.”

 

Al-Jazeera TV reported that members of the puppet forces were killed in the Resistance strike, but had no specific information on the extent of losses or damage.

 

General Amin claimed that the Iraqi Resistance had attacked the same post on Friday night and that one of the Resistance fighters had been martyred at that time.

 

Resistance attacks puppet police chief.

 

Iraqi Resistance fighters carried out an armed attack on the house of the puppet police chief in the province of Ninwa, Major General Muhammad Habawi. Puppet police forces battled the Resistance fighters and claim that two of the Resistance men were martyed and one other wounded.

 

The puppet police chief in the city was targeted for elimination by the Resistance eight months previously. In that attack he received a bullet wound in the leg.

 

60 killed as blast devastates arsenal in an-Nasiriyah.

 

At least 60 people were reported killed in an explosion at a supply depot for ammunition and materiel in an-Nasiriyah on Saturday, according to a report on Islammemo's website. Islam memo said that reports claim that the explosion was the result of the activity of thieves who had broken into the armory. According to the reports, bodies were sent flying and only 15 bodies have been recovered initially.

 

Iraqi children seriously wounded by stray ordnance.

 

In the ‘Amiriyat al-Fallujah area, west of Baghdad, two Iraqi children received serious wounds when an explosive left over from the last war exploded. Medical sources told al-Jazeera TV that one of the children had to have his leg amputated as a result of his injuries. The other received “serious” wounds.

 

Witnesses said that the explosive detonated when the two children were herding sheep. They were brought to the General Hospital in al-Fallujah for treatment.

 

Sunni religious leader assassinated.

 

Al-Jazeera's correspondent in Baghdad reports that unknown armed persons assassinated Shaykh Damir Sulayman ad-Darri, the Imam and preacher in the Mosque of the Martyr Ra‘d in al-Khadra' neighborhood in Baghdad. Damir ad-Darri was the brother of Shaykh Harith ad-Darri, the General Secretary of the Sunni Board of Muslim ‘Ulama'. Shaykh Damir ad-Darri died of his wounds after being taken to al-Yarmuk Hospital in the occupied Iraqi capital.

 

Algerian, Moroccan, Tunisian Intelligence help US occupation on Iraq border.

 

A news report in the Saudi daily ar-Riyad relates that members of the intelligence services of Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria are now in Iraq, specifically on the Iraqi border with Syria, in order to help the US occupation forces to identify Arab volunteers from among the Resistance fighters. In addition to simply identifying Arab volunteers trying to get into Iraq, one of the main tasks of the Moroccan, Tunisian and Algerian security men is to try to determine how they were recruited and how they made their way to the Iraqi frontier. The report, which first appeared in The Australian , then in Jeune Afrique , and then in the Saudi daily ar-Riayd, maintains that the security men seek to find out what groups or individuals are facilitating the mission of the volunteers.

 

US website admits: “We're paying foreigners to die in Iraq, so we don't have to.”

 

In an article entitled “Outsourcing Death”, dated 18 February 2004, US writer Travis Daub writes “The US is hunting mercenaries -- so we [i.e., the US] can put them to work. Some of the most dangerous jobs in Iraq, formerly carried out by American and British service people, have been handed over to soldiers of fortune.”

 

There has been a “massive shift of duties” he writes. “Private military companies, some hired independently, are now guarding US bases, manning checkpoints, providing security to travelers and driving unarmored trucks loaded with fuel, food, weapons, and other supplies.”

 

As a result, statistics are expected to show a drop in the numbers of dead American occupation soldiers, because those people hired by private security companies can be ignored from the official statistics.

 

“The use of commercial forces to bolster US military action is nothing new,” Daub writes. Increasingly over the last ten years, the US has relied on private military companies to provide additional personnel when the Pentagon finds itself short. Hiring help is cheaper than maintaining a standing army -- even if it will cost the defense department an estimated $30 billion this year alone.

 

Mercenary companies, which call themselves “risk management agencies” are mostly based in the US or in the UK, but some hail from India, Kuwait, and South Africa.

 

The exact number of such “risk-management” mercenaries deployed in Iraq is unclear. But, Daub writes, according to some estimates the mercenaries now outnumber British troops in occupied Iraq.

 

Since the Pentagon spends $30 billion to hire the mercenaries, Daub poses the question “why?” His answer: “The Bush Administration doesn't want dead US soldiers in the press.”

 

Indeed.

 

In a feature report by the Associated Press on 21 February 2004 about the makeshift morgue set up by the US military in Kuwait, the correspondent noted: “The military denied permission to photograph the mortuary area, saying it was the most sensitive portion of Camp Wolverine.”

 

Zionist corporation buys first-class Iraqi hotel.

 

Quds Press reports that the news that an “Israeli” company had bought the al-Mansur Melia hotel in Baghdad has aroused public outrage. Iraqi sources say that a number of employees of the Iraqi tourist organization disclosed that a Zionist tourism company from occupied Palestine had bought the al-Mansur Melia hotel using Iraqi front men who had been abroad but came back to Iraq after the US occupation claiming that they were interested in investing in tourism projects in Iraq.

 

Since the purchase it is reported that the Arab character of the décor in the establishment has begun to come under attack, as motifs of Menorahs and the star of David feature on the new hotel furniture.

 

The al-Mansur Melia is considered one of four first-class hotels in Iraq. It was originally built by the Spanish Melia Corporation in the late 1970s but was then turned over to Iraq after the initial investment period came to an end.

 

Sources: al-‘Arab al-Yawm daily newspaper, Amman, Jordan, Sunday, 22 February 2004.

http://www.aljazeera.net/news/arabic/2004/2/2-21-12.htm

http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDNews=25462

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