While the Iraqi insurgency rages on, it appears all is suddenly well in Baghdad.
The good news was announced Friday in a video-teleconference interview from Baghdad between Maj. Gen. William Webster, head of the 30,000 U.S. and foreign troops and 15,000 Iraqi soldiers known as Task Force Baghdad, and reporters at the Pentagon. Webster announced yesterday that insurgents apparently are no longer capable of carrying out more than sporadic attacks in Baghdad after a seven-week security crackdown. Webster told the press (see for example “General Says Insurgency Weakened in Baghdad” in Saturday’s Washington Post)”the ability of these insurgents to conduct sustained high-intensity operations, as they did last year — we’ve mostly eliminated that.”
Interesting. It would appear that Maj. Gen. Webster is getting bad intelligence. Perhaps he should consult the internet.

According to the web site Iraq Coalition Casualty Count we suffered at least eighteen American deaths in Baghdad during the month of June, the fourth highest monthly total of the war, and the worst U.S. Baghdad casualty count since January, 2005 when twenty-four fell. Casualty figures among Iraqi civilians, military and police are not available, but based on news reports one would imagine they were also on the high side.

Meanwhile, perusing the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count site and Google News might lead one to a conclusion, contrary to the soothing words of the Major General, that all is not necessarily quiet on the Baghdad front.

Turk US News reported on July 7th : “A US soldier was killed and three others were wounded in a car bomb and rocket attack in Baghdad on Thursday. After the event, US soldiers took up tight strict security measures around the incident place. The wounded were taken to military hospitals by helicopter.” And “Iraqi Eyewitness Muhammed Musa said, `US convoys have come with Humvee vehicles to the incident place. When the last vehicle arrived at the incident place a roadside bomb blasted and the car hit it. Some people exited from cars and opened a fire on them. I was afraid of a bad escape from the incident place. However the US vehicle fell into the river’ “.

Reuters also reported the same day that “Gunmen assassinated Shi’ite imam Hashim Attiya al-Fadhli in the Dora district of southern Baghdad, police sources said. Two of his brothers, also clerics, were in the car and one of them was seriously wounded.” And “Three Baghdad barbers were shot dead by militants on Tuesday in Baghdad, a Defence ministry statement said on Thursday. Radical Islamists have killed dozens of barbers in the past year for giving clean shaves which they say is `un-Islamic’ “.

From Al Jazeera on July 8th: “A huge fire has broken out at the Dura oil refinery outside Baghdad after it was hit by a mortar shell, an Interior Ministry source says.”

again on July 8th Arabic News reported that “To the north of Baghdad unidentified gunmen killed a member in the municipal council of Salah Eddine governorate.”

and again on July 8th The New York Times reported that “The insurgent group Al Qaeda in Iraq said Thursday that it had killed Egypt’s ambassador-designate in Iraq, Ihab al-Sharif, four days after gunmen seized him on a street in a diplomatic quarter in western Baghdad, where he had driven alone to buy a local newspaper.” And also reported that “a pipeline supplying water to western Baghdad was bombed for the third time in three weeks, depriving nearly half the city of water.”

and on July 9th Reuters reported that “…In one attack, four civilians travelling from Baghdad were dragged out of their car and shot in the south of the city.”

This morning, July 10th, Associated Press reports that “In the deadliest blast Sunday, a man strapped with explosives blew himself up at a west Baghdad airfield now used as a military recruiting center, police said. Early casualty reports varied, with a hospital official saying at least 16 died while a Defense Ministry employee reported up to 25 killed.” and “Other violence overnight and into Sunday morning killed at least five others in Iraq, including a police colonel shot in Baghdad, two other policeman killed in the capital, a security official in Kirkuk and a civilian in Baghdad.”

It is indeed heartening to know that all is quiet in the Iraqi capitol. Thanks for the good news Maj. Gen. Webster.

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