January 16, 2012 |
BAGHDAD - Iraqi security forces on Sunday battled gunmen who detonated a car bomb before blasting their way into a government compound and killing seven policemen in a one-time Sunni insurgent hotbed, police and local government officials said. The three-hour standoff between Shiite-dominated security forces and suspected Sunni insurgents in the Anbar province capital of Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad, marked the first serious gun battle for Iraqi forces against insurgents without American backup since the U.S. military completed its withdrawal last month.
August 20, 2010 |
For former Army Sgt. Carl Oliver, seeing images of the last American combat brigade leaving Iraq was bittersweet. He's still recovering physically and emotionally from a 2004 insurgent attack in Baghdad that killed two close New Jersey comrades and seriously wounded him. The sight of troops crossing into Kuwait "brought tears to my eyes," the Trenton man said. "I just wish it had been us coming home, that nobody had to die. " Oliver, 55, and other veterans said Thursday that they were proud of their part in the slow progress - over more than seven years - that led to this week's milestone in Iraq.
November 16, 2007 |
When Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha was assassinated Sept. 13 in Ramadi, there were fears that the movement he led to fight al-Qaeda in Anbar province and beyond would stall. The Washington Post quoted one store owner as saying, "Now, we're afraid that the black days of al-Qaeda will return to our city. " Had those fears been realized - if al-Qaeda had the upper hand, if U.S. casualties and enemy attacks had increased since September - one could almost understand Democrats in Washington this week calling for yet another date for surrender.
August 3, 2007 |
John Wroblewski suggests Congress stop all the talk about leaving Iraq in 60 days, or 90 days, or 120 days. Instead, what the country needs, he says, is "more discussion about victory and how we're going to win. " What he seeks is leadership. Courage, to stand up to a relentless, smart and brutal enemy. Patience, to see the nation through the inevitable dark days. Strength, to set priorities and see them through. Wroblewski sees these characteristics in those fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, young men and women he considers heroes.
June 8, 2007 |
Here's one problem with Washington's war-is-lost chorus: It too often drowns out the accomplishments of those who are actually trying to win. But it shouldn't. Consider the recent reports of the Anbar Awakening, a movement by Sunni sheikhs who have rejected al-Qaeda's vision for Iraq and aligned themselves with U.S. forces. Army Col. Sean MacFarland was in Anbar province most of last year, part of the First Marine Expeditionary Force commanded by Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer, who wanted to be more aggressive in challenging al-Qaeda's control of Ramadi.
January 22, 2007 |
From the day three years ago when he learned that his son had been shot to death in Iraq, John Wroblewski told his family he wanted to go there - wanted, as his wife puts it, "to see what our son saw, smell what he smelled. " Last week, Wroblewski almost made it. Almost, but not quite. After traveling thousands of miles with help from the U.S. military, he got to within a short distance of Ramadi, the Sunni-insurgent stronghold in Anbar province where his son J.T. and 11 fellow Marines died.
July 6, 2006 |
Two weeks after thousands of U.S. and Iraqi forces established a series of combat outposts, called "strong points," surrounding Ramadi, residents are returning to the unruly city, hoping to find relative normalcy. As the strong points were being occupied, residents had fled or braced for a full-scale Fallujah-style assault that never happened. Instead, they are seeing a "soft offensive" that is emblematic of the new face of the U.S.-led counterinsurgency effort. Despite the similarities between the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah two years ago and Ramadi today, the current offensive will be slow and deliberate, and will focus on rebuilding local infrastructure, not destroying it. One U.S. commander said of the effort, "It is not a push; it is a slow squeeze.
April 5, 2006 |
HOW DO YOU know Republicans are in real trouble? When they start blaming the media for their problems. Though complaints about the media are the ever-present backbeat to conservative rhetoric, the volume has recently been turned up. In the space of a few days, the claim that the media are distorting the war in Iraq - ignoring all the good news to focus on violence, killings, and sectarian strife - was made in high-profile settings by President Bush,...
December 16, 2005
Iraqis and the Bush administration can bask in some rare optimism about their country following yesterday's election in Iraq. The people of that nation can be heartened by the growing number of them turning to the political process as a way to vent their frustrations and express their hopes. Early reports indicated voter turnout in the election of a permanent parliament was higher than expected. The Sunni minority appears to have turned out in much greater numbers than in the two previous contests held this year.
June 17, 2005 |
The political wrangling of Iraq's infant government can seem futile in the face of relentless violence. But Iraqi lawmakers say politics is their best hope to prevent civil war and to send foreign troops home - and on that front, they claimed a victory yesterday. Now, though, they are left with just two months to draft a constitution. Work on the charter continues daily in a meeting room inside Baghdad's most heavily fortified area. There is a sense of urgency in Washington.