Bush Urges Patience Amid New Violence In Iraq




 
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Boots
 
March 12th, 2008  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Bush Urges Patience Amid New Violence In Iraq


USA Today
March 12, 2008
Pg. 7
Rash of attacks follows 60% drop overall since June

From wire reports
BAGHDAD Violence killed at least 42 people Tuesday, including 16 bus passengers caught in a roadside bombing in southern Iraq, after the deadliest day for U.S. troops in six months.
The U.S. military announced that three American soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing north of Baghdad on Monday, bringing to eight the number of troops who died that day. The last date so many U.S. military personnel were killed in Iraq was Sept. 10, when 10 died.
President Bush said Tuesday that he believes his strategy of sending more troops into Iraq last year is working. However, he cautioned that "the gains in Iraq are tenuous, they're reversible, and they're fragile, and there's much more work to be done" as he appealed to Americans for patience nearly five years after the U.S.-led invasion.
Bloodshed has increased recently despite what the military said has been a 60% drop in attacks across Iraq since June. Last Thursday, two massive bombs killed 68 people in Baghdad's Karradah neighborhood. On March 3, two car bombings killed 24 people in the capital.
According to an Associated Press count, at the height of unrest from November 2006 to August 2007, on average approximately 65 Iraqis died each day because of violence. As conditions improved, the daily death toll steadily declined. It reached its lowest point in more than two years in January, when on average 20 Iraqis died each day.
Those numbers have since jumped. In February, approximately 26 Iraqis died each day as a result of violence, and so far in March, that number is up to 39 daily.
These figures reflect the months in which people were found, and not necessarily in the case of mass graves the months in which they were killed.
Military spokesman Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, in what has become a military mantra of caution, said Sunday that "on any given day, al-Qaeda and other extremist groups are still very much disposed toward handing out violence indiscriminately to achieve whatever means and ends they hope to achieve with those attacks."
Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington said the recent attacks don't necessarily signal renewed strength of al-Qaeda in Iraq.
"I believe they attack when they can, roughly as much as they can, without worrying too much about timing," he said. "I don't think they have elaborate strategies. They tend to maximize their violence at most times, given their capacities."
While al-Qaeda in Iraq is Sunni, Shiite extremists with alleged ties to Iran are also believed to have carried out attacks.
In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said he is in favor of substantive discussions with Iran about what the United States claims is Iran's continued funding and training of extremists in Iraq.
Petraeus said he did not meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his visit to Iraq last week because he thought it would have been a "relatively meaningless encounter."
"What we would like to do with Iran, of course, is sit down across the table and let's discuss," he added. "You know, the Iranians have pledged at the very highest levels to stop arming, training, funding and equipping and directing the special groups and these other militia extremist elements and yet it appears very clear that Iran does continue."
The roadside bombing that killed the three U.S. soldiers and an interpreter Monday took place in Diyala, a violent province where al-Qaeda in Iraq has been active.
The five other U.S. soldiers were killed while on foot patrol in central Baghdad. A suicide bomber approached them and detonated his explosives vest.
Tuesday's attack on the bus traveling from Najaf to Basra killed 16 civilians and wounded 22, a policeman told the Associated Press.
Gunmen sprayed another bus with machine-gun fire shortly after it hit a roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad. One person was killed and four others were wounded, police said.
In Duluiyah, 45 miles north of Baghdad, police said a suicide bomber blew up his truck at a checkpoint near the headquarters of the local Awakening Council, killing five people.
Awakening Councils are made up of mostly Sunni fighters who have accepted U.S. backing to switch allegiances and fight al-Qaeda in Iraq.
And in Kut, 100 miles southeast of Baghdad, clashes with the Mahdi Army militia of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr left 12 dead and 14 injured.
In Mosul, an unknown number of gunmen attacked a police checkpoint, killing four policemen and injuring one civilian.
Four of the attacking gunmen also were killed in the firefight, according to a Ninevah police officer who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
 


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