View Full Version : Marine battalion defeats attackers in Ar Ramadi again

07-26-04, 05:54 AM
Marine battalion defeats attackers in Ar Ramadi again
Submitted by: 1st Marine Division
Story Identification #: 200472644545
Story by Cpl. Veronika Tuskowski

CAMP HURRICANE POINT, Iraq (July 23, 2004) -- Marines with 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment - along with elements of the Army's 1st Brigade Combat Team - battled back anti- Iraqi fighters in Ar Ramadi July 21. It was the latest in a series of street battles in which Marines responded to ambushes in the city.

Marines and soldiers defeated an estimated force of 75-100 enemy, wounding 17 and capturing another 25. An accurate number of enemy killed was impossible to verify. Marines and soldiers sustained 14 wounded, none that were life-threatening and 10 of those returned to duty the same day.

At about 3 p.m. anti- Iraqi fighters detonated an improvised explosive device near a convoy of Marines traveling near Saddam's Mosque and firing rocket-propelled grenades and small arms. Marines called for support from the quick reaction force.

While the QRF drew closer to the objective, the AIF detonated a vehicle-borne explosive. The explosion startled the Marines meant to reinforce those under fire in the city, but didn't stop them. Several civilians, however, were killed by the blast.

"We got out of the vehicles and started looking for targets and made sure everyone was okay," said Lance Cpl. Mathew L. Brown, a 20-year-old machine gunner for Weapons Company from Hillsdale, Mich. "Then we got back in and started pushing towards Saddam's Mosque."

They encountered a fierce fight. They found themselves in the middle of a hail of bullets, RPGs and more homemade bombs.

"Once we got there, an improvised explosive device went off in front of my vehicle," Brown explained. "An RPG hit a wall right next to our truck and we got out and started suppressing."

Marines ran toward the source of the fire, weapons on all sides blazing.

"While we were still moving we kicked open our doors and started firing at buildings we thought we were taking fire from," said Cpl. Jared H. Mckenzie, a 22-year-old squad leader for Weapons Company.

Mckenzie jumped out of the vehicle, directing the gunner in his vehicle to kill the enemy hiding out in a furniture store.

"While we were engaged there, there were two big explosions," Mckenzie said. "They were shooting rifle rockets at us and my gunner received flash burn from the rocket. It just missed me by a couple feet."

Brown took over for the gunner who received flash burn.

"I jumped up on the gun and started reloading," Brown said. "It was hard to hear if we were receiving any small arms over all the explosions. The gunner in the vehicle in front of me said we were receiving contact. I started looking around and seeing all the impacts of the rounds bouncing off the cement around us."

Brown gripped his weapon and began blasting away at the enemy, not stopping until the clicks of ricocheting rounds and muzzle flashes stopped.

Overhead air support moved on to cover the Marines as they swept through searching out the remnants of the attackers.

During the sweeps the Marines discovered another vehicle-borne explosive they detonated with a TOW missile. Soldiers recovered another homemade bomb in a burlap sack, made from a 155 mm artillery round. Abandoned grenade launchers and enemy machine gun and grenades, two anti-tank mines, a homemade rocket launcher and ammunition were also recovered.

For the Marines who call themselves the "Magnificent Bastards," this firefight was one of many. They have been actively engaged against enemy forces since the beginning of deployment. They fought against terrorists in April, fights that were overshadowed by actions in Fallujah.

"This is my sixth firefight," said Lance Cpl. Blake A. Pepper, 19, a gunner with Weapons Company. "Our platoon as a whole is really good at reacting towards the enemy."

Despite their baptisms by fire, Marines still enter every engagement with a sense of wariness. They don't take their string of successes against the anti-Iraqi forces for granted.

"I am not going to say that I am not afraid when I go out there," Mckenzie explained. "I am always aware of what might happen. But after the first round goes off, I'm not scared anymore because I know where it is actually coming from."


Marines fire on enemy forces holed up in a hotel during a firefight July 21 in Ar Ramadi. Marines captured 25, wounded another 17 and killed an undetermined number of enemy after they ambushing Marines and soldiers.
(Photo courtesy Fox News) Photo by: Courtesty Fox News



07-26-04, 05:56 AM
Iraqi soldiers' sacrifice in Marine zone saves lives of 250
Submitted by: 1st Marine Division
Story Identification #: 20047264282
Story by Cpl. Shawn C. Rhodes

IRAQI NATIONAL GUARD COMPOUND MAHMUDIYAH, Iraq (July 20, 2004) -- The quick reaction of two Iraqi National Guard soldiers cost them their own lives, but saved those of 250 recently.

"The people who did this are against the advancement of Iraq. They are only trying to start violence and cause a nuisance," said Sgt. Ali Al-Hamdani, a spokesman for the Mahmudiyah ING. "These soldiers were very good at their duties. Their sacrifice is necessary for the security of Iraq."

More than 250 Iraqi men had gathered outside the front gates of the compound here during the morning of July 17. Many were interested in joining the newly formed Iraqi National Guard and working to rebuild their country. One terrorist saw this as the best time to strike.

A taxi approached the front gates at 7:45 a.m., according to witnesses. One of the Iraqi soldiers on duty at the gate that morning was Adil Abed, a young man who was planning to be married next week. He would never see his ceremony or his bride-to-be again.

Abed attempted to stop the suspicious taxi. When the driver failed to respond, Abed fired his AK-47 and the driver returned fire with a pistol, hitting Abed.

The soldier's comrade Sadaam Obeeid rushed forward to help his friend when the taxi, packed with explosives, detonated. The blast sent shrapnel and debris a hundred meters in every direction killing the two soldiers, the driver and injuring many of the civilians standing near the gate. The engine block of the taxi landed 80 meters away from the blast. It landed on top of a parked car.

When the confusion caused by the attack died down, the soldiers took time to reflect on what they'd lost a few days later.

"We are very sad. They were our friends and now we've lost them. They were good men," said Deputy Sgt. Thaid Hadiph, an ING soldier from Mahmudiyah. "The sacrifice they made for Iraq will not be forgotten."

The Iraqi solders' actions weren't surprising for the Marines dedicated to training them to take a greater role in security and rooting out terrorism. Lt. Col. Rick Jackson is a 46-year-old from Allendale, N.J. Marine serving as the deputy director of Iraqi Security Forces for 1st Marine Division. He said the actions, while tragic, are telling of the dedication of Iraqis sworn to protect their nation.

"These guys are out training with us every day," Jackson explained. "We do joint patrols together. To hear they stood their ground and acted the way they did isn't that surprising at all."

Jackson refuted rumors that ING soldiers were unwilling or unable to perform their missions. He compared their training to that of Marines.

"If you enlisted a Marine in February, when these guys stood up, he wouldn't be to his first unit by now," he said. "Now, they're not Marines, but if you look at the amount of formalized training and the threat, they're doing a pretty good job."

The soldiers of the ING here showed some sadness when they talked about their friends killed in the explosion. However, through the loss, they also found new resolve to continue protecting the people of Iraq.

"They are holy victims of the war on terrorism," said Iraqi Sgt. Haair Ahamy, an ING soldier. "They stood up and were brave, protecting their people. They were cowards, the terrorists who attacked us."

Ahamy said the attacks were a blatant attempt by anti-Iraqi forces to derail progress being made to stabilize Iraqi under the new sovereign government. The terrorist's target, he explained, was a group willing to serve their nation's interests. That flow of eager men hasn't slowed.

Every hour, men approach the gate to join the ING. One recruit said he did not like the deaths of the soldiers but he was not afraid of it.

"The terrorists were trying to discourage people from joining the ING with their attack," Ahamy said. "In the days following it we have had many, many men come to us wanting to join. They see the attack as proof they are needed. Terrorists will not win here."

The soldiers gathered the remains of their fallen and draped them with an Iraqi flag. A ceremony was held on the compound before turning the fallen over to their families. Iraqi officers visited the families of the two men during the funeral ceremonies to offer their condolences.

"Their death makes a vibration that is felt in the town. The people want the violence to stop," Haair said. "We all know we must work hard and be responsible for that to happen. We support the soldiers' sacrifice by continuing their holy duty to make that happen."

For the Marines' part, the sacrifice of the two Iraqi soldiers is indicative of the resolve of their comrades.

"I had confidence before this incident," Jackson said. "I've seen what these guys are trying to do. We need to invest time in them and work with them and get them their gear."


A Marine stands guard outside the Iraqi National Guard compound in Mahmudiyah. A vehicle-born explosive device was detonated July 17 outside the front gates claiming the lives of two Iraqi soldeirs and sent shrapnel and debris, like the engine block of the car, a hundred meters in every direction. The quick reaction of the two Iraqi soldiers saved a crowd of 250 from being targeted.
(USMC photo by Cpl. Shawn C. Rhodes) Photo by: Cpl. Shawn C. Rhodes



07-26-04, 05:57 AM
Iraq Fighting Leaves 15 Militants Dead


BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. and Iraqi troops backed by heavy artillery and helicopters killed 15 insurgents in fighting Sunday that began in palm groves and ended in dusty streets of a city north of Baghdad as violence surged throughout the country.

On Monday, a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden car at the gates of a U.S. base in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, killing up to four Iraqi employees and injuring others, base employees said.

Employees leaving the base, located at an airport converted into a U.S. military facility, said the car drove through the gates to the base and exploded.

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Also Monday, a car bomb exploded near a Baghdad bridge and mortar fire struck several locations in the capital. At least three Iraqi civilians suffered minor injuries.

Also Sunday, insurgents assassinated a former government official in Baghdad and gunned down five people in a series of attacks in the northern Iraqi oil city, Kirkuk. A U.S. soldier was killed by a roadside bomb on Saturday near Beiji.

The carnage coincided with the start of delegate selection in Baghdad for a three-day national conference considered a key step in moving the country away from its totalitarian past and toward a democratic future.

The conference, which will select 80 of 100 interim National Assembly members, is scheduled for this week. Organizers refused to confirm the location _ and even the exact date _ of the conference, fearing terrorist attacks.

Militants angry at the presence of foreign forces here and bent on derailing efforts to restore order to Iraq after more than two decades of Saddam Hussein's rule have waged a 15-month insurgency, marked by car bombings, assassinations and kidnappings.

A raid Sunday against insurgents in Buhriz, a former Saddam stronghold about 35 miles north of Baghdad, turned into a five-hour battle between militants and U.S. and Iraqi forces.

Military spokesman Maj. Neal O'Brien said the clash was ignited when U.S. and Iraqi National Guard troops conducted a sweep of palm groves believed to be a staging area for anti-coalition attacks.

Insurgents using small arms attacked the Iraqi forces, who chased the attackers into the town's southern neighborhoods, the U.S. military said. Iraqi fighters later fired mortars indiscriminately, and the U.S. responded with an artillery barrage.

Associated Press Television News recorded several loud explosions, apparently from artillery and mortar fire, booming through Buhriz and bullets ricocheting off building and shop walls. Residents ran for cover as an Apache helicopter hovered overhead.

Local Iraqi fighters, most clad in black clothing and ski masks, roamed the streets carrying rifles and rocket propelled grenade launchers.

The military said 15 insurgents were killed.

Qayser Hameed, an emergency worker at the nearby Baqouba General Hospital, said two dead Iraqis _ a police officer and a civilian _ and six injured civilians were brought to hospital.

It was unclear if the two killed were in addition to those the military said had been killed. Yasir Ahmed Ismail, the slain police officer, died in his house when a mortar hit nearby, said police Lt. Mohammed Adel.

The battle followed a U.S. soldier's death Saturday in a roadside bomb attack near Beiji, about 90 miles south of the northern city of Mosul, the military said.

The soldier, escorting a fuel convoy, suffered serious wounds and died later Saturday. Another soldier was injured.

In Baghdad's al-Dora suburb, gunmen killed Brig. Khaled Dawoud, the former head of Nahyia district in southern Iraq during Saddam's rule, and his son in a drive-by shooting Sunday, police Lt. Mustafa Abdullah al-Dulaimi said.

Also Sunday, Pakistan said two of its citizens working for a Kuwaiti firm had disappeared in Iraq. "They are missing. It is not known yet if they have been kidnapped. No group has contacted us for kidnapping them or made any demand," said Masood Khan, a spokesman for Pakistan's Foreign Ministry.

An important Sunni religious group on Sunday condemned the separate abductions of an Egyptian diplomat and seven foreign truck drivers last week.

Meanwhile, an important Sunni religious group on Sunday condemned the separate abductions of an Egyptian diplomat and seven foreign truck drivers last week.

"If a hostage is unrelated to occupation forces, their abductors should free them if they are to respect Islamic religious principles," said Dr. Mohammed Bashar al-Faidhi, spokesman for the Association of Muslim Scholars, an Iraqi Sunni Muslim group with close ties to insurgents.

Militants said they snatched Mohammed Mamdouh Helmi Qutb, the third-ranking diplomat at the Egyptian mission here, to deter Egypt from sending security assistance to Iraq's interim government.

Another group has threatened to behead an Egyptian, three Indians and three Kenyans if their employer did not stop doing business here and compensate victims of coalition attacks in Fallujah, their countries did not pull their citizens out of Iraq and the United States and Kuwait did not free Iraqi prisoners. Al-Faidhi also said that attacking police was prohibited, because they were responsible for "providing people with security.

Kidnappings and other rampant violence have threatened Iraq's efforts to rebuild the country after the war and years of sanctions and establish democracy.

As part of an important first step on the road to democracy, about 540 people gathered under tight security Sunday at former Baghdad country club to choose 26 delegates to the upcoming Iraqi National Conference.

Iraq must have "real democracy," stressed Abdullah Mansour, sent from Baghdad's western Abu Ghraib area to vote. "I know everyone has a different idea of what it should be, but while it needs to be nurtured slowly it also has to be accountable."

In other violence Sunday, gunmen killed two officers traveling to work at Mahmoudiya police station, about 25 miles south of Baghdad, police Lt. Alla Hussein said.

Police officer Luay Abdullah was also among five killed in a brazen shooting spree across the northern city of Kirkuk.

Gunmen in a passing car killed Abdullah early Sunday while he waited for a ride home after his shift guarding a pipeline, said Kirkuk police Col. Sarhad Qadir.

Assailants also sprayed gunfire at a Kurdish family's house in a predominantly Arab area in south Kirkuk, killing a woman and two of her sons and injuring a daughter, Qadir said.

Shirwan Jilal, a fighter with the pro-U.S. Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party, was also killed in a drive-by shooting late Saturday while walking home.

Qadir blamed the attacks on "a gang of criminals related to the previous regime who want to create feuds between Arabs and Kurds."



07-26-04, 05:57 AM
Iraq Militants Kidnap 2 Pakistanis, Iraqi


BAGHDAD, Iraq - An Iraqi militant group said it had taken hostage two Pakistanis working for U.S. forces and had sentenced them to death because their country was discussing sending troops to Iraq, according to a video shown Monday on pan-Arab Al-Jazeera television station.

The group, calling itself the Islamic Army in Iraq, also said it was holding an Iraqi contract driver.

The kidnappings were the latest in a wave of abductions of foreigners clearly designed to force countries to withdraw their troops from Iraq or to reconsider whether to send any in the first place.

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The video Monday briefly showed the three men and included a statement by the militant group saying it had issued a death sentence against the two Pakistanis. The group did not say when it would kill the men.

The Pakistani government had declared the two men, Raja Azad, 49, an engineer, and Sajad Naeem, 29, a driver, missing over the weekend.

In part of the video, several identity cards belonging to the hostages were shown, including one bearing the name of "Sajad Naeem." There was also a photograph of three men _ at least one appeared to be one of the Pakistani hostages _ standing with Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, a former senior U.S. military official in Iraq.

Azad and Naeem worked for the Kuwait-based al-Tamimi group in Baghdad, said Masood Khan, a spokesman for Pakistan's Foreign Ministry.

One of the identification cards shown in the video had been issued by al-Tamimi.

The men went missing in Iraq on Friday when a convoy of two trucks was attacked, one of Azad's cousins, Amjad Youseaf, told Pakistani television station, Geo.

In the statement released Monday, the militant group said it was imposing the death sentence on the men in part because of Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's statements about the possibility of sending troops to Iraq.

Pakistan, an Islamic nation of 150 million people, has backed the United States' war on terror but has been less supportive of the U.S. role in Iraq.

Pakistan Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has said Pakistan might consider sending troops to Iraq if asked by the interim government and if other Islamic countries also agree to contribute peacekeeping forces.

In June, Iraqi insurgents kidnapped and threatened to behead another Pakistani, Amjad Hafeez, but he was later freed.

The statement also warned the Kuwaiti firm to stop doing business in Iraq or it would kill more of its employees.



07-26-04, 05:58 AM
Facing criticism, Philippines, Spain defend decisions to pull troops from Iraq

By: JIM GOMEZ - Associated Press Writer

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- Facing strong criticism, Spain and the Philippines on Sunday defended their decisions to pull troops out of Iraq, insisting they had the right to do what was best for their countries.

Earlier, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the withdrawals "encouraged" Islamic militants who have stepped up kidnappings and demands that more nations leave Iraq.

His comments came after the al-Qaida-linked Tawhid Islamic Group threatened in a Web site Saturday to turn Australia into "pools of blood" unless it recalled its troops from Iraq.

The Philippines withdrew its troops this month, a few weeks earlier than scheduled, after militants kidnapped and threatened to behead Filipino truck driver Angelo dela Cruz. After the withdrawal, dela Cruz was freed and returned to a hero's welcome last week.

Downer said that because the Philippines capitulated to the terrorists, more hostages have been taken in Iraq.

"Unfortunately these actions have encouraged terrorists to continue these threats, so now we are subjected, as the Italians are and the Poles and the Bulgarians, ... to further threats," Downer told Nine Network television. "It's very important we send a strong message that we will not be threatened by terrorist groups."

The Philippine's national security adviser, Norberto Gonzalez, lashed out at Downer for linking the new threats to the troop withdrawal.

"It's very narrow-minded," Gonzalez told The Associated Press by telephone.

Instead of looking for scapegoats, Australia and other countries in the coalition that invaded Iraq should re-examine why the insurgency there has intensified in recent months, Gonzalez said. He didn't elaborate.

He also said Australia should try to understand the predicament of the Philippines, which wanted to ensure the safety of its workers in the Middle East. There are some 4,000 Filipino contract workers in Iraq, and Gonzalez argued they could do more good than the 51-member peacekeeping force that was withdrawn.

"Our condition is different. We have over 1 million Filipinos scattered in the Middle East, and we need to safeguard them," he said.

Gonzalez also cited his country's efforts to fight terrorism in Southeast Asia, including joint counterterrorism training with U.S. troops.

In Spain, Socialist party spokesman Trinidad Jimenez said Sunday the government would "never have accepted threats of a terrorist group" and described its withdrawal of troops earlier this year as fulfilling a campaign pledge based on long-standing opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

Jimenez called Downer's remarks "totally unacceptable."

"The Spanish government would never have accepted threats of a terrorist group," Jimenez said. "Spain's troop withdrawal is part of an electoral promise and a firm conviction that from the beginning it was an unjust and illegal war."

Spain pulled its 1,300 troops out after Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's conservative government was defeated by the Socialists in elections March 14. The voting came three days after the nation was shaken by the Madrid train bombings, which killed almost 200 people and injured 2,000. Authorities blame Islamic terrorists for the attack.



07-26-04, 05:59 AM
Army sergeant's court-martial wins hearts and minds in Iraq, but loses some back home <br />
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By Kimberly Hefling <br />
10:10 a.m. July 24, 2004 <br />
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The directive at the core...

07-26-04, 06:00 AM
Odai's twisted Games

July 25, 2004

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Torture equipment used by Saddam Hussein's slain son Odai to punish underperforming Iraqi athletes was displayed Saturday at a Baghdad sports stadium.

Journalists were shown medieval-style torture equipment, including an ''iron maidenlike'' casket with metal spikes fixed to the inside that athletes had been forced into and chain whips with steel barbs the size of tennis balls attached to the end.

''During the old regime, Odai was looking for results and he wanted winners. He didn't like second place,'' said Talib Mutan, an Iraqi Olympics Committee official.

''If the athletes didn't come in first, they were punished. And he would punish the people around the athletes, their managers and coaches included,'' Mutan said.

Odai, who ran the Olympic committee while his father ruled Iraq, and his younger brother Qusai were killed in a gun battle with U.S. forces a year ago in the northern city of Mosul.

Mutan said athletes who earned Odai's wrath were tortured in various ways, through beatings, sleep deprivation and being forced to walk barefoot over hot asphalt during Iraq's searing summer.

The official said suggestions had been made to display the torture equipment in a museum, but there had been no final decision.

The International Olympic Committee reinstated Iraq's national Olympic committee in February after it was suspended following the fall of Saddam's regime in 2003, enabling Iraqi athletes to compete at this year's Summer Games.




07-26-04, 07:14 AM
First aid for the mind and body
July 25,2004

CAMP VIRGINIA, KUWAIT - The Marines' new Individual First Aid Kit, or IFAK, is roughly twice the size of its predecessor, but medical experts say it's what's inside that counts.

"Why did we only have things like an eye patch, Neosporin and Betadine?" said Petty Officer 1st Class Howard Chamberlain, 33, a Navy corpsman from Ephrata, Wash. assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit command element.

"You can't put a Band-aid on a sucking chest wound - it was useless for trauma."

At 6 inches by 6 inches square, and 3 inches deep, the new pouch carries all the familiar things for minor first aid - like lip balm, band aids, iodine tabs, battle dressing and a pair of cravats, in addition to the eye patch, and wound disinfectants - in a clear Ziploc bag.

The new model also includes a green vacuum-packed Trauma Kit, which contains a blood absorbent called Quick Clot, burn gel, a tourniquet, two pressure dressings and a pair of gauze rolls.

"Each IFAK is for the person carrying it, and it is to be used only in an emergency," Chamberlain said. "If a Marine goes down, don't use yours, grab his."

Chamberlain displayed a rubber strap with hooks on either end. It's designed to be a tourniquet that can be self applied with one hand if no other help is available.

There have been cases in which a Marine has fought off the body's natural tendency to go into shock and treated himself after losing a hand or a foot, Chamberlain said.

"There are two types of people: those that will freak out and those that will do something about it," Chamberlain said. "In the past it took someone else to put a tourniquet on, but now you can help yourself."

In the past, traditional first-aid training advised Marines to first apply pressure to a wound and, if that didn't stop the bleeding, then find a pressure point at a main artery.

But that takes time the victim might not have.

Now many experts encourage Marines to reach for a tourniquet first - anytime they see a serious limb injury and a large amount of blood.

"That's why I like this stuff - it's so easy to save a life," Chamberlain said. "If you see a lot of bleeding, just stop it, use a tourniquet."

As part of their training, Marines are being mentally prepared to experience carnage - the site of a comrade being seriously injured - so they can effectively treat the victim and continue with their mission.

"When you see major bleeding, you'll actually see a pulse. That's an artery. If you see a lot of bleeding without a pulse, that would be a vein," Chamberlain said. "There will be a gelatinous sludge inside the wound. Clear it out and pour the Quick Clot in there."

The space-age coagulant dries up blood at the site of an injury, but it can be used only on the limbs.

"Not in the face, not in the eyes and don't inhale," Chamberlain said. "You don't want to dehydrate organs."

Chamberlain also discussed how to use a stretcher and how to call for a medical evacuation, something he encourages Marines to practice along with talking to the victim to calm him down.

"What you do in the first two minutes makes all the difference whether they live or die," Chamberlain said. "Reassurance is so big. And with the surgery that we have in theater, many people can get to see their families again. If you get this done, you probably saved his life."

Contact Eric Steinkopff at esteinkopff@jdnews.com.



07-26-04, 08:02 AM
Iraqi soldiers out on their own <br />
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By Borzou Daragahi <br />
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BAGHDAD — For the olive-green pickup truck, it was just one small stretch of road. For the half-dozen Iraqi men and...

07-26-04, 09:54 AM
Trying to Rise Above Their Grief
The family of a slain Marine is determined to face pain without anger or bitterness.

By Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer

EL DORADO HILLS, Calif. — It's a daily battle against anger and bitterness for the Shuder family, whose son, Marine Lance Cpl. Brad Shuder, was killed in combat in Fallouja, Iraq.

With American casualties mounting, it is common for families of the dead or wounded to react with anger.

Some are angry at President Bush for sending their sons to war. Others are angry at the people who oppose U.S. policy in Iraq and those who suggest that American soldiers and Marines are dying in vain.

And still others are angry at whatever target is available: fate, God, people who don't understand their pain, people who say thoughtless things, people who say nothing at all. Anger, counselors will tell you, is one of the stages of grief. For some people it is a stage that can last a lifetime.

The Shuders — Glenn, a top manager at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District; Rosemary, an adult education teacher; and their daughter, Chelsey, an aspiring filmmaker — know how easily grief can turn toxic. They've vowed not to let it happen, but it's not easy — the pain is intense and unrelenting.

"Anger and bitterness is the road I don't want to be on," said Rosemary Shuder, her eyes flooded with tears. "Anger and bitterness is not the road Brad would want me on."

The family is resolutely nonpolitical. Their son loved the Marine Corps and believed in the U.S. mission in Iraq. For the Shuders, that's the beginning and the end of it.

After their son's death, the Shuders opened a fund in his name. Donations have brought in more than $13,000, which the family wants to use to help Marines from Brad's unit — the 2nd battalion, 1st Regiment, 1st Marine Division — who may be suffering physical or emotional wounds from the same fighting that took Brad's life.

They worry about other Marine and Army families who have lost loved ones in Iraq. They worry about families who lack the advantages that the Shuders have had in dealing with their tragedy: a strong family bond, professional counseling and a supportive community.

"I just hope the families have support — people around them when they need them," said Rosemary Shuder. "The grieving process is excruciating."

Grief is like a stalker, always near, always waiting for a moment to strike.

"The grief comes and it goes," said Glenn Shuder. "I was at a movie recently and suddenly I was crying and thinking 'Why am I here? How can I be enjoying myself when Brad is dead?' You try to hold it back, but you can't. It's too deep."

Brad was their first child, adopted from South Korea as a toddler. The Shuders had tried for a decade to have a child. Finally they arranged an adoption and suddenly Rosemary was pregnant; Brad arrived in March, Chelsey was born in December, and the Shuder family was joyously complete.

Brad's interests were eclectic. He played rugby in high school and loved to cook and bake. He took a culinary course in Napa. From an early age, he had wanted to join the military and, soon after graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Marine Corps.

In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he was determined to join the infantry, to be a "grunt." His father suggested he might consider communications or transportation or something less dangerous, but Brad would not be swayed.

After two years in the Corps, he was unsure of his future. Sometimes he talked of reenlisting. At other times he spoke of serving his hitch, getting out and opening a bakery.

Last year, when the U.S. invaded Iraq to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein, Brad Shuder's unit fought in the Umm al Qasr area. One of his best friends was killed, a victim of so-called friendly fire.

This year, when the Marines were ordered back to Iraq, 21-year-old Shuder had a premonition. He felt he would not survive another combat deployment. He organized his finances and said his goodbyes.

"He said: 'Dad, I'm not coming back,' " said Glenn Shuder.

On April 12, Shuder was killed by a mortar round during a five-hour battle between insurgents and Marines in the Sunni Triangle city of Fallouja. The Marines from Echo Company were using an abandoned, bullet-riddled school as a staging area for the fight. A single mortar round landed in the courtyard, killing Shuder and another Marine and wounding nine comrades.

The Marine Corps is investigating whether the mortar was a "short round" mistakenly fired from several hundred yards away by a Marine who dialed in the wrong coordinates.

While some families might react with anger at the prospect that their son was killed by such a foul-up, the Shuders say the details of Brad's death will not change anything.

"He was very proud of the Marine Corps," said Glenn Shuder. The week before his death, Brad Shuder was among a group of young Marines interviewed by The Times.

"We're here to do good for these people, but we have to do some fighting first," he said. After his death, the Shuders thought they could get away from their agony by making a long-planned trip to Italy to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. But the pain followed them, returning every time someone in the tour group asked innocently, "Do you have any children?"

Chelsey Shuder, 19, a student at Cogswell College in Sunnyvale, Calif., expresses some of her pain through art, works dominated by angry shades of red and black. Unlike her parents, she is edging toward politics, annoyed at people who find sinister motives in U.S. policy toward Iraq.

"They weren't going there for oil," she said. "They were going to help people."

She struggles to think of her brother in the present tense.

"I had a brother," she said, and then quickly adds, "I still do. He's still my brother, but I can't physically hug him. Brad made me the person I am today, because I had the privilege of growing up with him."

Grief is both communal and individual. There have been times when Glenn Shuder seemed to be moving past the first stages, while Rosemary has not, and that has caused tension.

"There hasn't been a day when I haven't cried," she said.

Two weeks ago, the family went to Arlington National Cemetery for Brad's memorial services. The ceremony was dignified and moving.

But afterward, as they were gazing at the monuments and the famous buildings of Washington, D.C., the couple were struck by guilt. It seemed terribly wrong to be "playing tourist" when they were there to bury their son.

Thanksgiving will be especially painful for Rosemary Shuder. She will remember last year, when Brad brought his buddies up from Camp Pendleton and they enjoyed a holiday feast of ham, turkey and shrimp, and the Shuder home was filled with the sounds of high-spirited young men with a purpose in life.

"That will be hard, not having a house full of Marines, not hearing Brad and his Marines," she said.

Glenn Shuder cannot forget that day three months ago when he came home to this upscale suburb of Sacramento and found two noncommissioned officers trying to console his wife. They had just brought the family the tragic news.

"I hate coming home on Tuesdays," Glenn Shuder said tearfully. "That was the day I came home and the two Marines were here.

"Other days are OK, but not Tuesdays, not with Brad gone forever."



07-26-04, 11:48 AM
Increasing Cultural Awareness

by Maj Patrick J. Carroll

Company I, 3d Battalion, 2d Marines (3/2), Task Force Tarawa disembarks from assault amphibious vehicles on the outskirts of Najaf, a mile from the Grand Imam Ali Mosque. As they approach the holy shrine, Capt McLaughlin sees that the situation outside the mosque is complete pandemonium. The Marine expeditionary brigade commander (MEB CO) is expected in just under an hour, and McLaughlin is having trouble raising his battalion CO on the net. Two hours ago his CO told him, “Seano, secure the mosque and the area surrounding it, but don’t get decisively engaged. We don’t need a bloodbath when we’re trying to facilitate a meeting between the new Shiite leader and the MEB CO. Shouldn’t be too difficult. Central Intelligence Agency representative with the general says things are fairly quiet in Najaf.” McLaughlin moves forward to meet his lead platoon commander. 2dLt Esposito says, “Sir, I think I can handle this. Let me send Cpls Majeed and Rasheed forward to talk to the crowd. I haven’t seen any weapons . . . I think these people are just angry ‘cuz they think we’re going to defile the mosque.” That’s a good idea; go for it,” says the captain breathing a sigh of relief. Majeed and Rasheed approach the crowd, their fellow Marines providing overwatch. Majeed calls out in the Iraqi Arabic he learned as a boy in Um Qasr, “Iraqi people, don’t worry. We are not here to enter the mosque. We respect Islam and its holy places. We are here simply to meet with the Ayatollah, and we respect the Ali Mosque.” Majeed and Rasheed continue to talk and slowly the crowd starts to calm down and to disperse as Company I, 3/2 takes up security positions around the mosque. “Thank Allah for those international company (IntCo) Marines,” says McLaughlin with a sigh of relief.

This fictional scenario concerns a tactical encounter that could have led to a strategic disaster had the Marines involved not possessed two “strategic corporals” who understood the Shiite Iraqi culture and who were fluent in Arabic. Furthermore, it highlights the need to increase cultural awareness and understanding among junior Marine Corps leaders, particularly noncommissioned officers (NCOs). The importance of this awareness should be readily apparent. As educator and social scientist Dr. Richard McGonigal points out:

Whenever cross-cultural interaction involves the threat of violence; e.g., in riot control or military operations, pre-deployment and in-service personal interaction training are even more crucial to successful communication. The history of our overseas involvement reflects a dearth of pre-deployment training beyond language skills and the transfer of area information. Lest these mistakes be endlessly repeated it would seem that interpersonal skills should be central to future training.1

Over the past 30 years the Marine Corps has conducted operations in Lebanon, Grenada, Iraq, Panama, Somalia, Liberia, Haiti, Turkey, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. Marines on such diverse missions must understand potential enemies as well as communicate with coalition partners. Failing to improve the Corps’ current cultural awareness will arguably prove to be a critical vulnerability for U.S. forces. However, the Marine Corps can take proactive steps over the next 15 to 20 years in order to increase the cultural awareness and understanding of its Operating Forces.

The Marine Corps has a reasonable track record, sometimes through structured programs and sometimes unintentionally, at leveraging cultural expertise to improve its Operating Forces’ performance. Requiring officers to study Spanish at Marine schools between the two world wars2 is one example of a structured program.3 At that time, many officers were destined to see service in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. The Small Wars Manual of 1940 specifically highlights the importance of cultural and linguistic awareness. In contrast to this structured program, multiple assignments of Marines to China and the Philippines in the first half of the 20th century highlight unintentional steps taken by the Marine Corps to develop cultural awareness.4 However, as the overseas basing of Marines has shrunk, the opportunity for Marines to gain cultural awareness through the process of “cultural osmosis” has been reduced. Moreover, apart from Vietnam, the Marine Corps’ involvement in hotspots around the world over the past 30 years has been of such short duration that the rationale for Marine schools to concentrate on any one region or language has not presented itself.

Where does the Marine Corps currently have its largest pool of cultural awareness? Over 90 percent of the enlisted Marines studying foreign languages at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey, CA come from the intelligence (02xx) and signals intelligence (26xx) military occupational specialties (MOSs)—individuals destined for radio battalions and intelligence companies within the Marine expeditionary forces (MEFs).5 This hardly provides the average Marine rifle company assigned to patrol an unfamiliar “third world” city with cultural or linguistic savoir-faire. The 0200s and 2600s remain primarily in general support for a higher headquarters as interrogator-translator teams (ITTs) or cryptolinguists. Although there are linguists—foreign area officers (FAOs) and regional affairs officers (RAOs)—within the MEF’s Marine liaison element, they are few and will likely serve in a higher headquarters liaison role.6

Does the average Marine Corps rifle company lack cultural and linguistic expertise? The answer is a resounding yes. While one can point to the ethnic diversity across the United States, this diversity does not necessarily translate into a culturally diverse military. The single largest ethnic minority enlisting in the Marine Corps today that provides some cultural and linguistic expertise comes from the Hispanic community.7 However, the requirement for Spanish-speaking linguists and an understanding of the Latin American area of operations is minimal compared to the requirements for other regions of the world. Most potential flashpoints around the world are in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia.

Examining the numbers of immigrant and first-generation sub-Saharan Africans, Balkan Slavs, Arabs, Persians, Indians, Pakistanis, Indonesians, and Chinese enlisting in the Marine Corps, one observes the following general trends:

These numbers are hardly sufficient to augment the intelligence and signals intelligence communities, to say nothing of trying to have some of this expertise filter down to the battalion, company, platoon, and squad level. In order to increase the level of cultural awareness of its personnel, particularly among its junior NCOs within the combat arms, the Corps should take two steps over the next 15 to 20 years. First, create two Marine Corps IntCos and man them through active recruitment of foreign nationals both abroad as well as within the United States. Second, create “cultural villages” for each of the three MEFs for unit training and evaluation prior to deployments.

The two projected IntCos would be designated 1st IntCo and 2d IntCo. These units would be attached to the MEFs along lines similar to a force reconnaissance company. In other words they could be employed in components or teams rather than as a complete unit. The IntCo would be a force provider and trainer, and each company would be composed of multiple platoons. IntCo Marines would be attached as individuals or as fire teams to infantry squads of the ground combat element within a Marine expeditionary unit (MEU), MEB, MEF, or joint task force (JTF). 1st IntCo would be based in Camp Pendleton and under the operational control (OpCon) of I MEF, although also available to serve III MEF and II MEF. The exact makeup of each platoon would vary depending on projected future conflicts. The executive agent for determining cultural/language requirements for nonintelligence related units would be Deputy Commandant, Plans, Policies, and Operations (PP&O), relying on input from the Strategic Initiatives Group and the Unified Commands and International Issues Branch. PP&O would validate these requirements through the Assistant Deputy Commandant for Intelligence, who would retain overall responsibility for the Marine Corps’ Foreign Language Program.8 Based on current needs and predictions, the Corps could create the following platoons: China platoon (Mandarin, Taiwanese speakers), Java platoon (Bahasa, Malay), Filipino platoon (Tagalog), Siam platoon (Thai, Laotian, Khmer/Cambodian, Burmese), Korea platoon (Korean), Mogul platoon (Hindi, Urdu, Bengali), Persia platoon (Farsi, Dari, Pashtun), and Arabia platoon (Arabic).

2d IntCo could be located at Camp Lejeune and OpCon to II MEF (serving I and III MEF as required). Again, the makeup of platoons would vary, but currently there might be a Hispania platoon (Spanish, Portuguese, and Creole), Africa platoon (Arabic, French, Somali, Swahili, and Lingala), Balkan platoon (Serbian and Croatian, Greek, and Albanian), Turk platoon (Turkish and Kurdish), and Slav platoon (Russian). These platoons would be organized and trained as rifle platoons with infantry skills. The platoon leadership would consist of an infantry captain or major (with an FAO additional MOS) and a platoon sergeant with a 3/3-level foreign language capability in one or more of the languages resident in his platoon. All other members of the platoon might be immigrants or first-generation speakers of the target languages. Foreign birth should not present a problem:


07-26-04, 11:48 AM
Although there is no policy or statute restricting the enlistment of aliens into the regular component, the following criteria for enlistment into the Regular Marine Corps is imposed . . . (1) Entered the United States on a permanent resident visa or has an Alien Registration Receipt Card (INS [Immigration and Naturalization Service] Form 1-551/I-551 green card or stamped I-94), and (2) Established a bona fide residence, and (3) Established a Home of Record in the United States.9

The Department of State (DoS), in conjunction with the Marine Corps, would specifically recruit foreign nationals to serve within the Marines. DoS would be the preferred tool to accomplish this goal as it is a less intrusive presence in an overseas environment and already has some experience in this sort of process. As a result, squads and platoons conducting peace operations would not be faced with the potentially deadly quandary of a lack of language or foreign interpersonal skills. The Marines of IntCo would supply these tools. A unit deploying for a contingency could request IntCo attachments and have those Marines undergo predeployment training with their parent unit, which would help integrate the IntCo Marines into the supported unit.

To provide an incentive for an individual to join the Marine Corps for service in an IntCo, he might be offered U.S. citizenship after a successful first-term enlistment. Depending on how successful the program became such an individual might remain on active duty and serve in another Marine Corps organization based on additional MOS skills acquired. Discipline problems—depending on the offense—could result in deportation of the individuals who fail to maintain the standards of a U.S. Marine. There are potential hazards for such a unit change: (1) an IntCo Marine would almost surely have to battle “outsider” mentality while working alongside “native-born American” Marines, and (2) he might be a potential risk should he decide to go back on his oath to serve the United States and the Marine Corps once he is reintroduced into his native environment. This is probably the greatest danger to his fellow Marines.

The best way to prevent, or at least to reduce, these instances would be rigorous screening and training. First, DoS would make an initial estimate of the individual’s capacity and reliability stressing the following attributes: English language proficiency, demonstrated academic potential (based on his native school system), and a willingness to serve the United States. Next, individuals approved by the DoS and granted green cards (waiving the requirements for a bona fide residence and U.S. home of record) could be transported to a Marine Corps recruit depot (MCRD) and undergo a 4-week course in U.S. history, civics, social studies, and American values (all taught in American English). This course is obviously something new that would have to be devised by the Marine Corps Recruiting Command and staffed with military/civilian instructors. After successful completion of this course, these individuals would be assigned to an incoming recruit platoon. These foreign-born Marine recruits would be integrated into a majority American-born recruit population that would assist in their assimilation process. Following the successful completion of the 13-week basic training, these individuals would continue on to School of Infantry to attend the 52-day training cycle at the Infantry Training Battalion (ITB) course to become basic infantrymen (0311). Upon graduation from ITB these Marines would be awarded an MOS based on their foreign language skills and assigned to either the 1st or 2d IntCo. From the time these individuals arrive in the United States (at an MCRD), they would experience over 6 months of military training and “Americanization.” On a day-to-day basis these Marines would continue to be trained as infantrymen and would be regularly attached to deploying MEUs (integrated into existing rifle platoons)10 and to other organizations (MEBs, MEFs, JTFs) as required. The specific table of organization (i.e., how many IntCo Marines per platoon) would remain flexible, and IntCo Marines would be attached to deploying units at the earliest stage to facilitate full integration into an existing unit.

The positive implications of having linguistic and cultural expertise on the squad/platoon level each time a unit deployed overseas are huge, and in the long run, they will contribute to saving Marines’ lives. The citizenship incentive (with its inherent access to the U.S. quality of life) is not something to be underestimated. For many individuals from the developing world, the attraction of a far better life in the United States for themselves and for their families—with dependents being allowed to immigrate to the United States after a successful completion of 4 years of obligated service by the IntCo Marine—could be a huge draw.

The second step that the Marine Corps can take to increase cultural awareness within its Operating Forces is to create several “cultural villages.” Basically, the Marine Corps would utilize existing bases and construct multiple realistic urban blocks, rural villages, refugee tent cities/camps, etc. These villages, like the IntCo platoons, would be developed based on the regional focus of each of the MEFs. In other words, on the east coast (II MEF), the Marine Corps could create a generic Balkan city block, an urban area akin to Mogadishu or Casablanca, and a jungle-like village or city block one might find in Latin America. On the west coast (I and III MEF), there could be a Korean and Southeast Asian village, an Asian urban block, a typical Middle Eastern city block, a Southwest Asian mountain village, etc. The second step that the Corps could take is to recruit appropriate employees to operate these villages. This would entail hiring two categories of employees: actual instructors and role players, and basic worker bees. With regard to the instructors and role players, recruitment might be handled in the same way as the recruitment for IntCo Marines, or by recruiting newly arrived immigrants or first-generation citizens. The goal would be to have a cadre of about 20 to 30 individuals for each village. Any additional village citizens might be civilian employees recruited through local communities. Next, a training cadre of Marines for each village that would specialize in the target region’s culture and/or languages should be created. These Marines might be a combination of FAOs/RAOs, ITT linguists, cryptolinguists, IntCo Marines (on a second or third tour), etc., and their job would be to put a user unit or supported unit through roughly a 1-week period of classroom/practical application instruction either at the village or by conducting a mobile training team, which is more economical. After the classroom instruction the deploying unit would then be transported to the village (much as they might be for a Combined Arms Exercise or to Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, CA). They would then undergo 2 weeks of training scenarios in the village. After each scenario, the Marine instructors and foreign role players would critique the Marines. IntCo Marines could be attached to Marine units for this predeployment training, allowing these foreign-born Marines to show their worth to their U.S. Marine compatriots. Without delving into the mechanics of the village scenarios, the scenarios would involve a combination of role players and electronic (video and acoustic) surveillance and listening devices to evaluate and to assign grades to the Marines training at the village.

In summary, imagine what a Marine Corps rifle squad might look like in 2012 if such steps were taken. On the macrolevel, Marines dispatched to the Malay Peninsula would find operational planners who might speak Bahasa Indonesian and other regional experts on Southeast Asia. On the microlevel, one would find fire teams made up of native Indonesians or Malaysians serving alongside their fellow U.S. Marines (part of 1st IntCo). This seasoned unit would already be familiarized with Malaysian/Indonesian culture after having trained at Jakarta Village at Fort Ord, CA.

With the current global war on terrorism, the Marines have been reexamining their relationship with the joint special operations community (JSOC) and trying to determine how best the Marine Corps—while retaining its unique ethos—might be able to “plug into” these JSOC missions. By embracing the changes proposed, the Marine Corps could become a more capable force, able to operate successfully in our culturally diverse and sensitive world—not just in low-intensity conflict but across the spectrum of conflict.


1. McGonigal, Richard A., A Model for the Cross Cultural Interaction of Adults, thesis submitted to Michigan State University, 1971, p. 49.

2. Memorandum from the Director, Division of Operations and Training, Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC) to the Major General Commandant, dated 5 June 1934.

3. McTernan, Maj William, Tongue-tied Leathernecks or Word Warriors? Foreign Language Issues in the USMC: a Marine Corps Foreign Language Program and a Language Intelligence Officer at HQMC to Manage It, thesis submitted to Marine Corps Command and Staff College, 1988, pp. 6–7, 6–8.

4. Clark, George, Treading Softly: U.S. Marines in China, 1819–1949, Praeger, Westport, CT, 2001, pp. 100, 118, 119, 127.

5. Statistical Information provided by Maj David Reynolds, Marine Detachment CO, DLI Monterey via e-mail dated 2 December 2002.


07-26-04, 11:49 AM
6. In accordance with Marine Corps Order 1520.11E (MCO 1520.11E), International Affairs Officer Program.

7. Statistical information provided by Maj Al Koenig and Capt Kasper at Marine Corps Recruiting Command, HQMC via e-mail on 20 December 2002.

8. In accordance with MCO 1550.4D, Management of the Marine Corps Foreign Language Program.

9. In accordance with MCO P1100.72B, Military Personnel Procurement Manual, Volume 2 for Enlisted Personnel.

10. Based on comments provided by Maj Joseph Zimmerman, officer assignments, Manpower and Reserve Affairs, officer staffing goal model officer. Rifle battalions are traditionally staffed/manned at 95 percent. With that in mind the most efficient manner to “make room” for IntCo Marines within infantry platoons would be to redesignate two to four billet MOSs in each squad and attach additional MOSs (IntCo AMOSs) to meet those requirements. Phone call with author on 8 March 03.

>Maj Carroll is currently assigned to the Office of the Coalition Provisional Authority, Baghdad, Iraq.



07-26-04, 02:03 PM
July 26, 2004

Suicide bomber strikes near Mosul base; three soldiers wounded

By Paul Garwood
Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq — A suicide car bomber attacked near a U.S. base in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, assassins gunned down a senior Interior Ministry official, and militants said they kidnapped two Jordanian truck drivers in spiraling violence that left eight people dead on Monday.
Employees leaving the base in Mosul said a Chevrolet sedan drove up and exploded about 50 yards from the gates, setting nearby cars on fire.

“It was a suicide operation,” base employee Imad Joseph told The Associated Press.

U.S. military spokeswoman Capt. Angela M. Bowman said a woman and a child standing nearby and an Iraqi guard were killed. Three soldiers and two Iraqi guards were injured. Mosul has been the scene of numerous terrorist attacks, including two car bombings in January and June that each killed nine people.

The crises were the latest in a wave of attacks against coalition forces and abductions of foreigners designed to pressure countries to withdraw their troops from Iraq and to hamper efforts to rebuild the country.

George Sada, spokesman for interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, said the abductions were affecting Iraq’s reconstruction because some countries were now preventing their citizens — laborers and experts alike — from coming to help. Still, the kidnappings “might delay the process but they are not going to stop it,” he said.

Many of those abducted have been truck drivers bringing needed supplies. Adel Abou Hawili, a manager for Kuwait’s Al-Roomi Shipping Agency, said the wave of kidnappings has forced transport costs up “50 to 65 percent” and made it harder to find drivers to work in Iraq.

Amid the latest abductions, many blamed the Philippines’ decision a week ago to withdraw troops as militants demanded to secure the release of captured Filipino truck driver Angelo dela Cruz. Since dela Cruz’s release last Tuesday, 12 foreigners — including an Egyptian diplomat — have been kidnapped by four different groups. A top Iraqi businessman was also seized.

“We’ve seen since the Philippines government acceded to the demands of the terrorists a whole spate of new hostage taking,” Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said. “And I’m afraid that’s what inevitably is going to happen in those circumstances.”

Sada also expressed regret at the Philippines decision: “We think that to bow to the terrorists’ threats is the wrong policy.”

Militants holding the two Jordanian drivers threatened to kill them in 72 hours if their Jordanian employer did not stop doing business with the American military. Their company, Daoud and Partners, works in construction and catering in Iraq.

In a video obtained by Associated Press Television News, the men, identified as Fayez Saad al-Udwan and Ahmed Salama Hassan, said they were being treated well and pleaded with their company to meet the kidnappers’ demands. Hassan called on all Arabs and Muslims “not to deal with the Americans and to aid the militants.” Al-Udwan said he was “regretful,” and if he could turn back time he would not have worked with the company.

In two other videos aired Monday on Arab television, militants said they had abducted two Pakistanis and an Iraqi driver, and separate kidnappers extended a deadline for their demands to be met for the release of seven foreign drivers — three Kenyans, three Indians and an Egyptian. It was unclear how long the deadline had been extended.

The drivers’ employer, the Kuwait and Gulf Link Transport Co., said militants have not demanded a ransom, and that it was confident that “Iraqi friends” involved in negotiations would help secure their release.

In the capital, a suspected car bomb exploded near the eastern entrance to the Sarafiya Bridge downtown, according to an Associated Press photographer at the scene. At least three Iraqi civilians suffered minor injuries.

Also, at least two mortars struck the former Higher Education Ministry near Baghdad’s central Saddoun Street, Interior Ministry official Maj. Mushtaq Abbas said. He told AP the building was under renovation and no casualties were reported. U.S. military officials had no immediate comment.

In Basra, insurgents killed two Iraqi women working as cleaners for British forces in southern Iraq and seriously injured two others, police and hospital officials said.

Basra police Lt. Col. Ali Kadhem said gunmen drove alongside the women’s car and shot them as they drove to work at Basra airport, used as a base for British forces.

Insurgents have routinely targeted Iraqis working for coalition forces, describing them as collaborators with occupation troops. Angered by foreign-based troops on Iraqi soil, militants also have become bolder in their violent campaign to get countries to withdraw.

In the latest assassination of an Iraqi politician, Col. Musab al-Awadi and his guards had just left his house in al-Baya neighborhood in Baghdad when gunmen shot them dead in a drive-by attack, according to Sabah Kadhim, an Interior Ministry spokesman. Al-Awadi was ministry’s deputy chief of tribal affairs.

A group calling itself the Islamic Army in Iraq announced it had kidnapped the two Pakistanis and an Iraqi contract driver. In a video aired on Al-Jazeera, the group said it had sentenced the captives to death because Pakistan was discussing sending troops to Iraq. It did not say when it would kill them.

The Pakistani government had declared the two men, Raja Azad, 49, an engineer, and Sajad Naeem, 29, a driver, missing over the weekend. They work for the Kuwait-based al-Tamimi group in Baghdad, said Masood Khan, a spokesman for Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry. Militants also warned the company to stop doing business in Iraq or it would kill more of its employees.

Part of the video shows identity cards belonging to the hostages. Also shown is a photograph of three men — one apparently one of the hostages — standing with Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, a former senior U.S. military official in Iraq.

In Pakistan, Naeem’s parents pleaded for the hostage takers to spare their son’s life. “If they release him, he will leave Iraq. He will not work there,” said Mohammed Naeem, 56.



07-26-04, 05:30 PM
U.S. Marines Back from Iraq Reflect on Service

Day to Day audio

July 23, 2004

NPR's Eric Niiler reports from Camp Pendleton in Southern California, where Marines returning from Iraq are reflecting on their time serving in the war.

Click link


07-27-04, 04:41 AM
Good to go! Glad to hear we are kicking ass over there!