View Full Version : Myers denies Saddam-era general in charge of new Fallujah Iraqi force

05-03-04, 06:20 AM
Myers denies Saddam-era general in charge of new Fallujah Iraqi force <br />
<br />
By: WILLIAM C. MANN - Associated Press <br />
<br />
WASHINGTON ---- A former general from Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard has not...

05-03-04, 06:21 AM
Militiamen Attack U.S. Troops in Najaf <br />
<br />
By DENIS D. GRAY <br />
<br />
NAJAF, Iraq - Militiamen barraged U.S. forces with mortars in the holy city of Najaf on Monday in one of the more intense attacks on...

05-03-04, 06:23 AM
Marines make big steps in small town
Submitted by: 1st Marine Division
Story Identification Number: 20045283241
Story by Lance Cpl. Macario P. Mora Jr.

JURY JIBB, Iraq(April 29, 2004) -- The Marines walking the streets called the patrol "routine," but hunting terrorists and building relationships in Iraq's small towns is turning out to be the most important mission of all.

A patrol of nearly 20 Marines from 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment's Weapons Company scoured the streets of Jury Jibb, a small village near the Iraqi-Syrian border.

It's part of an effort among Marines here to move among the smaller towns as much as the bigger cities. Marines are keeping the terrorists on the run and don't want them to find refuge in the villages beyond city limits.

They used the patrol to familiarize themselves with locals, pass out school supplies and search for insurgents and weapons caches.

"It's important to get to know the people," said Cpl. Kristopher Benson, section leader for Weapons Company from Columbus, Ohio. "We need them to realize we're here to help them, not just harass them with (vehicle check points), house raids and firefights."

Many Iraqis in the region are frightened by the Marines because of the shooting, according to the town's head sheik. Benson and the sheik sat down and spoke at great length. They discussed many town concerns and ways to improve on relationships.

"I spoke to the sheik and he expressed many of the same concerns the others complained about," Benson explained. "The poor water quality, being harassed by Marines and slow progress with promised projects" were some of the concerns.

But not all was wrong in the village. There were signs that things are getting better around Al Qaim.

"As we walked the streets we saw them rebuilding a school, putting up a phone tower and digging ditches for water lines," Benson said. "So, apparently some things are taking place there."

Marines chose to walk through the town instead of riding in their vehicles. The face-to-face interaction with the locals, they said, helps them to gain a greater connection to the Iraqis and earns their trust.

"We go on a lot of patrols, but normally they're mechanized," said Pfc. John G. Hucko, a mortarman from Buena Park, Calif. "This helps us meet the people better. It adds a little more excitement to our everyday lives."

Along the way local children crowded them waving and giving a thumbs up while the Marines passed out pencils donated to the company by one Marine's mother.

"At first my mom was just going to send me some stuff," said Cpl. John A. Brandon, assistant patrol leader from Corpus Christi, Texas. "I noticed a lot of these kids didn't have much, so I asked my mother to send me stuff. Then all of the sudden my mother's whole law firm got involved and started sending boxes of school supplies. So each time we go out I go through the boxes and give the Marines supplies to hand out."

Many of the Marines feel strongly about what they're doing for the community. Knowing full well the power they have in changing lives of many locals in the area.

"The kids are the ones really suffering out here," said Pfc. Joshua Mitchell, a mortarman from Indianapolis. "We want them to know that we do care. And by doing this we just may find some intelligence to help us in the future, because the children are the ones who help us the most."

The mission was fairly routine, but each day brings more progress.

"This is a basic presence patrol," Brandon said. "We just want to show the terrorist that we're here to stay. They won't come out and fight us one-on-one, because they know they'll lose. But, whenever they feel the need, we're here."



05-03-04, 06:24 AM
FARP fueling 3rd MAW success <br />
Submitted by: 3d Marine Aircraft Wing <br />
Story Identification Number: 200452104615 <br />
Story by Staff Sgt. Houston F. White Jr. <br />
<br />
<br />
<br />
AL TAQQADUM, Iraq(May 2, 2004) --...

05-03-04, 07:39 AM




Press Release 04-029

April 29, 2004

Marines deliver computers to hospital, medical school

Marines in Ar Ramadi delivered 11 desktop computers to the Ramadi General Hospital and the medical school here.

The civil affairs team visited the facilities and delivered the computer systems. These systems included monitors, CPUs, keyboards, other accessories and printers.

During the Marines’ visit to the hospital in March, hospital officials identified computers as a high priority to help improve administration. The Navy surgeon who was part of the civil affairs team , explained the procedures for ordering additional medical supplies from Baghdad. These improvements will go a long way to improve medical care for the residents of Ar Ramadi.

Two of the computers were delivered to the Dean of the Medical School, Dr. Salah Al Ani. Additional medical textbooks are being shipped from the United States and will be here in the near future.

Marines also met with Gov. Abdul Karim Barjis Ezziddeen Al Rawy. The Marines agreed to help with the hiring of three-man teams: an Imam, a janitor and night watch to work at Al Anbar mosques.

In Fallujah Marines helped the Iraqi Police coordinate two ambulances and a firefighting team to respond to three separate emergencies.

We are committed to helping the citizens of Fallujah and the rest of Al Anbar Province achieve a peaceful and secure future that includes improved medical care, upgraded infrastructure and enhanced educational opportunities.

Marines are ready and eager to start civil affairs projects in Fallujah, and will initiate these projects in conjunction with the improvement of security in the city.




05-03-04, 04:20 PM
HMLA-775 "Ordies" dedicate compound to fallen brother
Submitted by: 3d Marine Aircraft Wing
Story Identification Number: 20045255140
Story by Staff Sgt. Houston F. White Jr.

AL TAQQADUM, Iraq(May 2, 2004) -- Silent echoes of the 24-year-old Summit, Ohio, native's memory still resonated in the hearts and minds of the Marines of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 775, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, April 22, as they paid their fallen comrade a heartfelt tribute here.

Dubbed "Brownfield Station" in honor of Cpl. Andrew D. Brownfield, an ordnance Marine, attached to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 16, MAG-16, 3rd MAW, killed in action March 18, while serving in Al Asad, Iraq, the HMLA-775 ordnance facility was the site of the solemn dedication.

Presiding over the festivities was Navy Lt. James A. Bradshaw, chaplain, Marine Wing Support Squadron 374, who reflected upon the life of the deceased Marine.

"He was motivated and had a lot of fun," said the 53-year-old native of Virginia Beach, Va. "He took a personal interest in every Marine that worked with him and spent extra hours mentoring them and helping them earn rank, as well as just helping them be more motivated. Corporal Brownfield was a person who loved people and sacrificed, even to the end, by giving his own life."

According to Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dirk D. Kuntz, aviation ordnance officer, HMLA-775, the decision to name their workplace after their fellow "ordy" was a unanimous one.

"The ordnance Marines here at (HMLA-775) were looking to name our compound just out of habit," said the 35-year-old native of Peshtigo, Wis. "A couple of names were brought up and I mentioned Brownfield Station as a possibility. It immediately caught on and everybody thought it was an awesome idea."

Kuntz also mentioned that the tireless effort of part-time artist Sgt. Jonathan W. Rau, aviation ordnance technician, HMLA-775, was responsible for creating the sign for the ceremony.

For the 25-year-old native of Fargo, N. D., the opportunity to honor the memory of Brownfield was one he couldn't pass up.

"Pretty much, the fact that he was an ordnance Marine made it something I really felt I had to do so that we could keep his memory with us. It makes me feel good that we made it happen," said Rau.

With the new landmark freshly installed, Kuntz hopes that the shrine will become an inspiration to all his Marines on an ongoing basis.

"I would like the monument to be at least a daily reminder to them and refresh their drives on an individual level by helping them focus on mission accomplishment," he said.

Following their return home, the ordnance section has plans to send the sign to the Brownfield family as a gift from the Marines who served with him.

"We want to make sure his family and loved ones know that he will never be forgotten," said Rau.


A newly constructed monument was dedicated by the ordnance Marines of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 775, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, in memory of Cpl. Andrew D. Brownfield, an aviation ordnance technician, killed in action March 18 while serving in Al Asad, Iraq. The HMLA-775 ordnance facility, located in Al Taqqadum, Iraq, is now known as “Brownfield Station” in honor of the Summit, Ohio, native. A moving tribute ceremony was held at the newly named facility April 22. Photo by: Staff Sgt. Houston F. White Jr.



05-03-04, 05:06 PM
May 03, 2004

Fallujah pullout leaves some Marines disappointed
Others believe mission was accomplished

By Gidget Fuentes
Marine Corps Times

KHARMA, Iraq — The news that many in the Arab world believe insurgents defeated Marines in Fallujah and forced them to retreat has been slow to reach the Marines in the field. When it has, the Marines have reacted with weary resignation.
Cpl. Edwin Roman, a 22-year-old from Garden Grove, Calif., said flatly, “They beat the U.S. They beat the Marines.” But his resignation was mixed with anger. “It makes me want to go in there and show them...that we’re not going to back down.”

Another Marine, Cpl. Michael Pinckney, 23, a communications operator from South Hastings, R.I., added, “If the people are saying that they won, I’m not saying they’re ignorant. They are misinformed and misguided. I think we should have finished the job. In the end, we are going to win.”

Other Marines were more philosophical. Sgt. Ed Mitchell said, “We did what we were supposed to do. We did accomplish the mission.”

“We can’t say they won one,” he added. “They lost 700-plus dead. We didn’t lose 700 Marines.” Ten soldiers from Mitchell’s unit, the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment of Camp Pendleton, Calif, were killed in the month-long fight in Fallujah.

Marine Lt. Gen. James T. Conway, I Marine Expeditionary Force commander, said Saturday that the Marines will return to the city for reconstruction efforts once security improves. When they return, Pinckey predicted, the insurgents will be ready to fight again. “You can’t change their minds,” he said.

But beyond the insurgents, Pinckney said, “There’s a lot of good people who need food and water and need to be helped. I just hope in the end, everything works out. Hopefully we’ll get this country back on its feet.”

To that end, Marines who had been poised for an assault on Fallujah instead spent Sunday in Kharma, a town of 25,000 about 10 miles northeast of Fallujah, trying to win hearts and minds.

Last month, Marines on their way to Kharma for a city council meeting were ambushed by insurgents using small arms, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. No Marines were seriously hurt in the hour-long fight, during which Marines claimed to have killed scores of insurgents.

Sunday, their return was peaceful.

Armed Marines patrolled downtown streets while a small civil-affairs team visited the city’s only clinic, which was closed last month because of the fighting. Young boys frolicked nearby as light traffic crossed the roads in the heat of mid-afternoon.

Maj. Larry Kaifesh, a civil-affairs officer with 3rd Civil Affairs Group from Camp Pendleton, Calif., stood in a four-bed ward, where a trash can overflowed with used bandages and bloodstained cotton balls. Kaifesh asked if any casualties from recent fighting sought care here.

Not sure, a security guard replied. “I took my family, and I ran away,” he said, through an interpreter.

The Marines want to improve the clinic as part of the U.S.-led reconstruction efforts in this part of central Iraq. Lt. Col. Brennan Byrne, who commands the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, also wants to establish a youth center in town. On a Saturday visit into town, Byrne found “a degree of normality.”

“People were going about their business, kids were out, shops were open,” he said. “Kharma seems to be up and running.”

Still, there were reminders of the continuing dangers to U.S. military forces, and Iraqis.

On Friday, Alpha Company came across an insurgent preparing a makeshift bomb on a road near Kharma. The man blew himself up. The company located another nine improvised explosive devices placed on local roads.

On Sunday, as the Marine convoy weaved through small villages to Kharma, several mortar blasts were seen in the distance.

The attacks didn’t stop the work. In one small farming village on the road to Kharma, children ran toward the street and adult men politely waved and smiled. Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel Pena, 22, of Waukegan, Ill., and Lance Cpl. Mike Neal, 20, a machine gunner from Chicago’s south side, waved back from their Humvee. Pena gave a thumbs-up to several boys as he drove the armored vehicle through a narrow dirt road. At one small bridge, three teenage boys removed their shirts and dove, one by one, into the sea-green waters of an irrigation channel.

At the Kharma clinic, Navy Lt. Cormac O’Connor, 29, of Indianapolis, Ind., toured the facilities with Kaifesh and two security guards who work at the clinic, which was closed Sunday. Kaifesh asked them to provide a list of needed supplies that the battalion might be able to provide.

“This is kind of nice,” O’Connor said later. “Kind of what we’re supposed to be doing.”



05-03-04, 05:07 PM
May 03, 2004

Former Baathist will not command Fallujah force, Myers says

By William C. Mann
Associated Press

The Pentagon’s top officer says a general who once headed Saddam Hussein’s infantry does not and probably will not command an Iraqi force that is replacing Marines at Fallujah. Nevertheless, on the ground outside the violent city west of Baghdad, Marine commanders describe Gen. Jassim Mohammed Saleh as commander of the newly organized “Fallujah Brigade” and have given no indication they are losing confidence in him.
Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Sunday that news media were “very, very inaccurate” in identifying Saleh as commander of the Iraqi force that moved during the weekend into positions outside Fallujah. Marines previously held the positions as they enforced a 3-week-old siege.

Myers said officials in Baghdad were checking into Saleh’s background. Friends and relatives have said he served during the 1980s in deposed Iraqi President Saddam’s Republican Guard. Later, they said, he headed Saddam’s infantry forces.

“There are people that know his record, know what he’s done in the previous Saddam Hussein regime,” Myers told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“They’re going to have to find an appropriate role, if a role at all, for him,” he said.

On “Fox News Sunday,” Myers said Saleh “has not been vetted yet and probably won’t be the one in command.”

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan agreed that “those who’ve committed crimes have no business getting involved” in the Iraqi people’s security forces.

But “you had people in the army — this was a large army, I don’t think all of them committed atrocities, but most of the leadership is gone,” Annan said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “But those who are clean, I think, can be used.”

On Sunday, Marine Lt. Col. Brennan Byrne told reporters near Fallujah that Saleh had opposed Saddam’s regime and paid a “steep personal price.”

Byrne and his colleagues appear to have accepted Saleh because he offered the best alternative to bloody fighting that could have produced casualty rates politically untenable both in Iraq and the United States.

The Marines backed off their threatening posture around Fallujah, inhabited by adherents of Saddam’s Sunni branch of Islam, as elements of Saleh’s brigade replaced them Saturday. In the city, crowds waved Iraqi flags, cheered and celebrated, many flashing “V” for victory signs.

Whatever the disposition of Saleh, Myers said, “We want Iraqis to do this work, and this is a microcosm of what we want to happen all over Iraq.”

He said the original objectives in Fallujah remained:

• “Deal with the extremists, the foreign fighters.”

• “Get rid of the heavy weapons out of Fallujah.”

• Find the folks who perpetrated the Blackwater atrocities.”

The siege began after four civilian security personnel from the North Carolina-based Blackwater Security Consulting were attacked, killed and burned and mutilated.

“The reports that the Marines have pulled back, not true. The Marines are still where they’ve been,” Myers said. “The Marines are prepared to follow through on this action if they have to.”

But, he said, “We think this is far preferable than the U.S. going in there in a very major combat operation to achieve those objectives. If we can do it with Iraqis, that is preferable.”

Arizona Sen. John McCain, second-ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, found considerable fault with the outcome so far in Fallujah. McCain, a naval aviator in the Vietnam War who spent 5½ years as a prisoner of war, said the U.S. military has made too many threats without following through.

“The perception right now is that we are not acting in a decisive fashion and there’s no greater mistake you can make in the conduct of warfare,” McCain said on ABC’s “This Week.”



05-03-04, 09:03 PM
Marines Deliver Supplies, Begin Work Projects

AR RAMADI, Iraq - Marines delivered supplies to the 1st Battalion of the Fallujah Brigade Saturday, which is currently being integrated into the mission of providing security and stability in Fallujah. These supplies will enhance the service's ability to function and identify them more readily as a respected and lawful authority.

Marines also negotiated a contract for workers to begin assembling equipment to clean up Fallujah. The clean-up project will ensure a safer environment for Fallujans by clearing debris from the streets and restoring damaged or dilapidated infrastructure.

Soldiers with the 1st Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division, assigned to the 1st Marine Division in Ramadi, met with a group of 12 sheiks and other leaders of the Al Jazirah region. The soldiers initiated $21,000 for a project to repair roads in Khalidiyah. Soldiers also initiated a project to employ municipal maintenance workers. The cost of this project is estimated at $13,800, employing more than 200 custodial workers. This will result in well-maintained municipal and school buildings.

Additionally, Iraqi Civil Defense Corps soldiers who recently began guarding key sites in Khalidiyah discovered one improvised explosive device. They are expected to increase patrols in the Al Jazirah region.

Coalition forces will gradually turn over more security responsibilities in the Al Anbar province to Iraqi Security Forces so that Iraqis may police and govern themselves.

Release #040502b


05-03-04, 09:04 PM
May 03, 2004

Most Fallujah combatants were Iraqi nationals, commanders say

By Jim Krane
Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq — U.S. officials have for months publicly promoted the notion that foreign fighters and terrorists are playing a major role in the anti-American insurgency in Fallujah and the rest of Iraq.
By blaming foreigners, U.S. authorities hope to quash the idea that Iraqis are rising up against military occupation and frame the conflict as part of the wider war on terror. However, foreigners play a tiny role in Iraq’s insurgency, many military experts say.

In Fallujah, U.S. military leaders say around 90 percent of the 1,000 or more fighters battling the Marines are Iraqis. To date, there have been no confirmed U.S. captures of foreign fighters in Fallujah — although a handful of suspects have been arrested.

Those who have spent time inside Fallujah have described a city consumed with the fight — fathers and sons fighting for the local mujahedeen and wives and daughters cooking and caring for the wounded.

“The whole city supports this jihad,” said Houssam Ali Ahmed, 53, a Fallujah resident who fled to Baghdad when his neighborhood was caught in the fighting. “The people of Fallujah are fighting to defend their homes. We are Muslim mujahedeen fighting a holy war.”

Elsewhere in Iraq, U.S. military commanders say foreigners have an even smaller role in the insurgency.

In Baghdad, Maj. Gen. Martin Dempsey has said foreigners account for just 1 percent or so of guerrillas. Dempsey said his 1st Armored Division detained just 50 to 75 foreign fighter suspects in Baghdad over the past year, among a population of captured guerrillas that reached 2,000.

In the south, no one has suggested that foreigners pack the ranks of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s al-Mahdi Army. The group, which has fought U.S. and allied troops across southern Iraq, is made up of Shiite Muslim radicals, many of whom hail from the slums of Baghdad.

In March, Dempsey called the idea that foreign fighters were flooding Iraq “a misconception.”

Foreigners are present, and have had a greater impact on the insurrection than their numbers would suggest, Dempsey and others have said. Foot soldiers of Jordanian terror suspect Abu Musab al-Zarqawi are thought to have operated in Fallujah and launched devastating bombings elsewhere.

At least one al-Qaida-linked suspect has been detained in Iraq, and a Yemeni man attempting to set off a car bomb was detained last summer. A Kuwaiti newspaper reported Sunday that four of the country’s citizens have been killed fighting the occupation.

Marines have captured at least one foreigner in Fallujah, a Sudanese man, said Lt. Col. Brennan Byrne, a Marine battalion commander. Five foreign passport holders have been detained in the city, a top military official said. Byrne said he was unsure whether any had fought in the uprising.

But foreign participation appears far lower than U.S. occupation officials like chief spokesman Dan Senor have suggested. Senor has portrayed the battle of Fallujah as one in which foreign fighters and terrorists were holding the city’s “silent majority” hostage.

“I would also say that there is a sense of frustration we are hearing among the silent majority of Fallujans about the foreign fighters and international terrorists that are hanging their hats in Fallujah right now,” Senor said in a news conference last month. “That is not something the majority of Fallujans support.”

Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the command’s chief spokesman, suggested this week that foreign fighters and terrorists were “driving a wedge” between Fallujah’s residents and the Americans.

“I find it hard to imagine that the people of Fallujah would tolerate outsiders turning their town into a battlefield,” said Jeremy Binnie, a Middle East military analyst with London consultancy Jane’s. “The foreign fighters are not the primary problem. Iraqi nationalists and Islamists are the problem.”

Guerrillas in Fallujah have the support of many, a U.S. defense official in Washington said. Referring to the brutal March 30 killing of four U.S. contractors and the mutilation of their corpses, he said, “It wasn’t Fedayeen cheering those burning bodies. It was young children and adults.”

A British aid worker, Jo Wilding, 29, spent five days working with an ambulance crew inside Fallujah during the fighting. Wilding said rebels detained her and took her to meet local imams and tribal leaders who appeared to be leading the uprising.

“We probably saw hundreds (of fighters) and talked to a couple dozen,” she said. “I had the impression it was very much grounded in the local area.”

One top U.S. military official — who had publicly blamed foreign fighters for a large measure of the revolt — conceded privately that the U.S. military may never find out whether many foreigners had fought in Fallujah. Many may have escaped, he said.

Previous U.S. claims that foreigners were behind attacks in Iraq have turned out to be shaky.

In March, after suicide bombers killed up to 271 people during the Shiite holiday of Ashoura, U.S. and Iraqi leaders quickly blamed foreign terrorists — fingering al-Zarqawi as the chief suspect. Officials said 10 foreigners had been arrested, five of whom were released, and five of whom later turned out to be Iraqis.

Other suicide bombings, including two in February that killed almost 100 police and army recruits, were initially blamed on foreign groups. Subsequent evidence suggested Iraqis were behind the attacks.