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.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
July 27, 2015
Susan Babbitt
Thawing Relations: Cuba’s Deeper (More Challenging) Significance
Howard Lisnoff
Bernie Sanders: Savior or Seducer of the Anti-War Left?
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma’s Profiteers: You Want Us to Pay What for These Meds?
John Halle
On Berniebots and Hillary Hacks, Dean Screams, Swiftboating and Smears
Stephen Lendman
Cleveland Police Attack Black Activists
Patrick Cockburn
Only Iraq’s Clerics Can Defeat ISIS
Ralph Nader
Sending a ‘Citizens Summons’ to Members of Congress
Clancy Sigal
Scratch That Itch: Hillary and The Donald
Colin Todhunter
Working Class War Fodder
Gareth Porter
Obama’s Version of Iran Nuke Deal: a Second False Narrative
Joshua Sperber
What is a President? The CEO of Capitalism
Zoe Konstantopoulou
The Politics of Coercion in Greece
Vacy Vlanza
Without BDS, Palestine is Alone
Laura Finley
Adjunct Professors and Worker’s Rights
Jon Langford
Mekons Tour Diary, Episode Three, Where We Thrill Everyone by Playing Like “Utter Bloody Garbage”
Weekend Edition
July 24-26, 2015
Mike Whitney
Picked Out a Coffin Yet? Take Ibuprofen and Die
Henry Giroux
America’s New Brutalism: the Death of Sandra Bland
Rob Urie
Capitalism, Engineered Dependencies and the Eurozone
Michael Lanigan
Lynn’s Story: an Irish Woman in Search of an Abortion
Paul Street
Deleting Crimes at the New York Times: Airbrushing History at the Paper of Record
ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH
Making Sense of the Iran Nuclear Deal: Geopolitical Implications
Andrew Levine
After the Iran Deal: Israel is Down But Far From Out
Uri Avnery
Sheldon’s Stooges: Netanyahu and the King of Vegas
David Swanson
George Clooney Paid by War Profiteers
ANDRE VLTCHEK
They Say Paraguay is in Africa: Mosaic of Horror
Horace G. Campbell
Obama in Kenya: Will He Cater to the Barons or the People?
Michael Welton
Surviving Together: Canadian Public Tradition Under Threat
Rev. William Alberts
American Imperialism’s Military Chaplains
Yorgos Mitralias
Black Days: August 4th,1914 Germany and July 13th, 2015 Greece
Jeffrey R. Wilson
“It Started Like a Guilty Thing”: the Beginning of Hamlet and the Beginning of Modern Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Star Whores: John McCain, the Apache and the Battle to Save Mt. Graham
Pepe Escobar
The Eurasian Big Bang: How China and Russia Are Running Rings Around Washington
Charles Larson
The USA as a Failed State: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Robert Fantina
Israel and “Self-Defense”
John W. Whitehead
The American Nightmare: the Tyranny of the Criminal Justice System
Leonidas Vatikiotis
Rupture With the EU: a Return to the Cave Age or a New Golden Age for Greece?
Murray Dobbin
Harper is Finally Right: the Canadian Election is About Security Versus Risk
Brian Cloughley
Meet General Joseph Dunford: a Real Threat to World Peace
Manuel García, Jr.
The Trump Surge and the American Psyche
Pete Dolack
We May Have Already Committed Ourselves to 6-Meter Sea-Level Rise
Eric Draitser
US Targets Venezuela Using Border Dispute as Pretext
Michael Barker
The Challenge to Labour and Tory Extremism
Robert Hunziker
America’s Purple Politics
Ishmael Bishop
Decentering Whiteness in the Wake of a North Carolina Tragedy
Chad Nelson
Something About Carly: Fiorina and the Professional Political Class