January 10, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Zach Iscol was a Marine captain in 2004 when his platoon - a combined unit of 30 Iraqis and 20 Americans - seized the railroad station on the first night of the bloody battle of Fallouja. They spent a week kicking in doors and fighting house to house, block by block, in some of the toughest urban combat of America's eight-year war in Iraq. Half a dozen of Iscol's men were wounded, but dozens of Marines in other squads were killed. Today, with ground that Marines fought and died for under control of insurgents flying the banner of Al Qaeda, and growing fears of another civil war, Iscol admits he has deeply conflicting views about the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq in 2011.
January 6, 2014 |
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki urged the residents of Fallouja to expel Al Qaeda-aligned militants who seized the city last week or deal with an imminent attack by government forces to regain the Sunni Muslim stronghold, news agencies in Baghdad reported Monday. Although the statement issued by Maliki on his Shiite-led government's website appealed for troops to avoid striking civilian areas, it warned of the risks of a military onslaught and armed clash with the Sunni warriors of the Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
January 5, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Secretary of State John F. Kerry pledged Sunday to "do everything that is possible" to help Iraqi government forces in an escalating battle against Al Qaeda-linked insurgents in the western province of Anbar, but he said the Obama administration will not send American troops back to Iraq. After heavy fighting, Sunni Muslim militants fighting under the banner of Al Qaeda reportedly have in effect taken control of Fallouja and secured large parts of Ramadi, the province's most important cities.
December 26, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration has begun sending Hellfire missiles and surveillance drone aircraft to Iraq to help the government battle an expanding threat from local Al Qaeda-affiliated militants, U.S. officials said, the first such assistance since the American withdrawal from Iraq in 2011. Responding to an appeal from Baghdad, the administration sent 75 air-to-ground Hellfire missiles this month and is preparing to send ScanEagle surveillance drones early next year to counter intensifying attacks by fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, officials said.
November 16, 2013 |
A U.S. soldier has been charged with two counts of premeditated murder in the killing of two Iraqi civilians. The charges against Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael Barbera, 31, stem from an alleged shooting of two civilians near the village of As Sadah in Diyala Province in March 2007. Barbera was charged Wednesday at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, U.S. Army Public Affairs Officer Major Johnpaul Arnold told the Los Angeles Times. The incident in which Barbera is accused was first made public by an investigation by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in Pennsylvania last December: "AS SADAH, Iraq - Shortly before noon on March 6, 2007, Small Kill Team leader Michael Barbera rose from his squad's position in high grass in a palm grove here and shot two teenage cattle herders.
November 1, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Facing a deadly resurgence of Al Qaeda in Iraq, President Obama signaled Friday that he would begin increasing U.S. military support for Baghdad after five years of reducing it. The new U.S. plan represents a remarkable shift for Obama, whose administration trumpeted the 2011 withdrawal of the last U.S. troops from Iraq as a major achievement and has since shifted its attention to other regional challenges, such as Syria, Egypt and...