FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Al-Qaeda Group Behind US Deaths in Iraq

by PATRICK COCKBURN

 

A group linked to al-Qa’ida has claimed responsibility for two suicide truck bombs that killed nine US soldiers and wounded 20 in Diyala province in one of the deadliest attacks on American forces in the past year.
“Two knights from the Islamic State of Iraq … driving booby-trapped trucks, hit the heart of the Crusader American headquarters in the region of Diyala,” said a statement from the group calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq, which was posted on the internet.

The US military said that only one truck had exploded yesterday at a patrol base of the 82nd Airborne Division in the much-fought over province of Diyala, north-east of Baghdad. The death of the paratroopers brings to 85 the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq so far this month. This is higher than the total in each of the previous three months.

Residents in the Ameen area south of the provincial capital, Baquba, said the base attacked was in an old primary school called Sheikh Abdul Qadir al-Qailani. In a sophisticated attack, gunmen opened fire on US snipers on the roof of the school. Then one suicide truck bomb blasted a gap in the concrete wall protecting the base through which a second truck was able to pass before blowing up and causing the school building to collapse.

Ever since President George Bush announced that US soldiers would play a more active role in the war in a speech on 10 January, US casualties have been creeping up. Although it is the figure of 3,332 US soldiers dead since 2003 that is heavily publicised, many of the 24,314 wounded have suffered severe injuries that would have killed them in previous wars but they survive because of advances in medicine. US losses have been surprisingly steady over the past three years, with 849 soldiers killed in 2004, 846 in 2005, 822 in 2006 and 329 so far this year.

But the US strategy since the start of the “surge” in Baghdad on 14 February has been to make greater use of US troops and give less priority to training Iraqi forces. This is likely to lead to an increase in US casualties that are often a function of the number of patrols being made.

So far, US soldiers have seldom been attacked by suicide bombers, whose targets are usually Shia civilians in markets or soft, military targets such as Iraqi police stations. A suicide bomber who hit a police station in Baquba yesterday killed 10 people and wounded 23. The dead included Brig-Gen Safa al-Tamimi,a city police commander. Another suicide bomber in a truck killed 25 people and wounded 44 in Ramadi in an apparent attack on a police patrol.

The most effective method of attack against US and British forces has been the roadside bomb, to which neither has found an effective answer. No less than 1,310 US military fatalities have been caused by bombs in or beside roads. While the suicide bombers have hitherto not concentrated on US forces, possibly because they are too well defended, the more aggressive use of US forces is likely to make them more of a target.

PATRICK COCKBURN is the author of ‘The Occupation: War, resistance and daily life in Iraq‘, a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award for best non-fiction book of 2006.

 

Patrick Cockburn is the author of  The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution.

More articles by:
May 26, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts
The Looting Stage of Capitalism: Germany’s Assault on the IMF
Pepe Escobar
Hillary Clinton: A Major Gold-Digging Liability
Sam Pizzigati
America’s Cosmic Tax Gap
Ramzy Baroud
Time to End the ‘Hasbara’: Palestinian Media and the Search for a Common Story
José L. Flores
Wall Street’s New Man in Brazil: The Forces Behind Dilma Rousseff’s Impeachment
Patrick Cockburn
The Battle of Fallujah: ISIS Unleashes Its Death Squads
John Feffer
The Coming Drone Blowback
Alex Ray
The Death Toll in Syria: What Do the Numbers Really Say?
Richard Pithouse
We Shall be the Prey and the Vulture
Binoy Kampmark
Trump and the Polls of Loathing
Manuel E. Yepe
A Cruise Ship Without Tourists Arrives in Havana
Jack Rasmus
Greek Debt Negotiations: Will the IMF Exit the Troika?
Ajamu Nangwaya
Pan-Africanism, Feminism and Finding Missing Pan-Africanist Women
Howard Lisnoff
Israel, a Palestinian State and Anti-Semitism
May 25, 2016
Eric Draitser
Obama in Hiroshima: A Case Study in Hypocrisy
Ryan Mallett-Outtrim
Does Venezuela’s Crisis Prove Socialism Doesn’t Work?
Dan Arel
The Socialist Revolution Beyond Sanders and the Democratic Party
Marc Estrin
Cocky-Doody Politics and World Affairs
Sam Husseini
Layers of Islamophobia: Do Liberals Care That Hillary Returned “Muslim Money”?
Susan Babbitt
Invisible in Life, Invisible in Death: How Information Becomes Useless
Mel Gurtov
Hillary’s Cowgirl Diplomacy?
Kathy Kelly
Hammering for Peace
Dick Reavis
The Impeachment of Donald Trump
Wahid Azal
Behind the Politics of a Current Brouhaha in Iran: an Ex-President Ayatollah’s Daughter and the Baha’is
Jesse Jackson
Obama Must Recommit to Eliminating Nuclear Arms
Colin Todhunter
From the Green Revolution to GMOs: Living in the Shadow of Global Agribusiness
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey as Terror: the Role of Ankara in the Brexit Referendum
Dave Lindorff
72-Year-Old Fringe Left Candidate Wins Presidency in Austrian Run-Off Election
May 24, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
The Financial Invasion of Greece
Jonathan Cook
Religious Zealots Ready for Takeover of Israeli Army
Ted Rall
Why I Am #NeverHillary
Mari Jo Buhle – Paul Buhle
Television Meets History
Robert Hunziker
Troika Heat-Seeking Missile Destroys Greece
Judy Gumbo
May Day Road Trip: 1968 – 2016
Colin Todhunter
Cheerleader for US Aggression, Pushing the World to the Nuclear Brink
Jeremy Brecher
This is What Insurgency Looks Like
Jonathan Latham
Unsafe at Any Dose: Chemical Safety Failures from DDT to Glyphosate to BPA
Binoy Kampmark
Suing Russia: Litigating over MH17
Dave Lindorff
Europe, the US and the Politics of Pissing and Being Pissed
Matt Peppe
Cashing In at the Race Track While Facing Charges of “Abusive” Lending Practices
Gilbert Mercier
If Bernie Sanders Is Real, He Will Run as an Independent
Peter Bohmer
A Year Later! The Struggle for Justice Continues!
Dave Welsh
Police Chief Fired in Victory for the Frisco 500
May 23, 2016
Conn Hallinan
European Union: a House Divided
Paul Buhle
Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail