4 US Troops Announced Killed
Troops lack Basic Equipment in Iraq
Bush Admin. launches anti-Iran propaganda campaign
The mission of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is being impeded by lack of armored vehicles and other weapons.
State Dept. figure Nick Burns made a lot of vague and unsubstantiated charges against Iran on Wednesday. Most egregious was his hinting around that the US was "investigating" whether Iranians were involved in the kidnapping and killing of US troops at Karbala recently. Announcing that the US is investigating such a thing is a lazy media way of smearing someone without having to provide any evidence of the charge.
The US announced the killing of 4 US troops on Wednesday. Note that they were killed "north of Baghdad" and "west of Baghdad," i.e. in Sunni Arab areas. Such announcements almost never say the US troops were killed in Shiite areas, such as might be getting Iranian military aid. I conclude that the real problems facing US troops in Iraq are not with Iran, and the innuendoes of officials such as Burns are disingenuous.
There are some reasons to think that the kidnappers at Karbala may have been Sunnis.
1. They busted up a meeting between the US military and Karbala authorities planning for security arrangements to prevent Sunni Arab guerrillas from blowing up the pilgrims in Karbala during Ashura. Why would Shiites want to interfere with those arrangements? More likely Sunnis wanted intelligence on how best to bomb Karbala then, and wanted to send a message to the Shiites that the Americans could not protect them. They probably tortured the Americans to extract what information they could from them about those arrangements.
2. They headed north to Hilla and then Mahawil. They got suspicion from Hilla police (Shiites) which shows that they weren't in cahoots with them. And they killed the US troops in Mahawil and dumped the vehicles there. Mahawil is mixed but a base for Sunni Arab guerrilla operations and part of the Triangle of Death thing. From there they could have gone north to West Baghdad and Sunni havens.
If they had been Iranians why not head east to Kut and thence to Shiite East Baghdad or on to Iran?
The one piece of the puzzle that doesn't fit is that clearly someone on the inside gave them info about the meeting in Karbala. But the Iraqi military had that info and is full of Sunnis, many of whom are double agents.
I don't actually know of any incidents in which Shiite guerrillas in Shiite areas deployed shaped charges to kill American troops. The US casualties I see in the wire services are all in Sunni areas. There are British casualties in the deep south at the hand of Shiites, but those Shiites are anti-Iranian ones like the Garamsha Marsh Arab tribe or the Sadrist splinter group of Mahmoud Hasani al-Sarkhi (which burned down the Iranian consulate in Basra).
Reuters reports on political violence on Wednesday in Iraq. A suicide body used a fuel troop to injure 9 Iraqi soldiers at Muqdadiya in Diyala province. Six bodies showed up in the streets of Falluja. McClatchy reports 3 dead car bombings in Baghdad and a mortar attack on the Sunni Arab neighborhood of Adhamiya.
Tomdispatch.com has Chalmers Johnson on Nemesis and Empire.