According to a press release on the official website of the Multi-National Forces in Iraq dated Aug. 13, Operation Phantom Strike "consists of simultaneous operations throughout Iraq focused on pursuing remaining AQI (al-Qaeda in Iraq) terrorists and Iranian-supported extremist elements."
The MNF press release claimed that the operation had "liberated large segments of the Iraqi population from AQI" and that the operations were "appreciably improving the lives of the Iraqi people."
But many Iraqis recall U.S. military offensives in Falluja (60 km west of Baghdad), al-Qaim (400 km northwest of Baghdad), Haditha (240 km northwest of Baghdad) and other cities practically destroyed under the flag of fighting terror.
"I have no house now because of another phantom operation in my city," Hamid Salman, a retired government worker from Fallujah told IPS in Baghdad. "I have to live with my brother in his small house here in Baghdad, and tens of thousands of Fallujah people are suffering the same situation. That was all the American ghosts and furies did for us."
According to an Aug. 19 air power summary from the U.S. Air Force, a B-1 bomber destroyed three buildings in Baghdad, and F-16 fighter jets dropped guided munitions and fired cannon rounds in Baghdad and Iskandariyah (40 km south of Baghdad). A total of 68 air support missions were flown in Iraq that day alone.
"Death walks with the military," former Iraqi army Brigadier General Mustafa Hashim told IPS in Baghdad. "There is never a clean military operation, and so more civilians are expected to be killed, injured or evicted from their homes."
According to the group Just Foreign Policy, an independent organization "dedicated to reforming U.S. foreign policy to serve the interests and reflect the values of the broad majority of Americans," more than one million Iraqis have died as a direct result of the U.S.-led invasion and occupation.
The group's number is based primarily on data extrapolated from a scientific study published in the Lancet medical journal in Britain Oct. 11, 2006.
"The method the U.S. army follows when attacking a city is to intensify fire regardless of the possibility of civilians' existence in the targeted place," said Hashim. "In fact, they would shoot even when they are certain of civilians' existence. Their culture is to achieve victory no matter what."
While the U.S. military has issued many reports about the recent operations, Iraqis continue to doubt the claims of success.
"It is all about the media, politics, elections, and conflict inside the U.S. Congress and such business," Waleed al-Ubaydi, a political analyst at Baghdad University told IPS. "They know in advance that their offensives are not going to achieve much, but they have to show their people and the world that they are active on the ground.
"Al-Qaeda and other fighters have put their cells to sleep for the time being, concentrating on taking the U.S. army by surprise here and there. This is an endless story unless a miracle takes place in a time when miracles do not take place any more."
Many Iraqis say the U.S. occupation leaders should consider what matters to civilians, since most Iraqis are now living under the worst conditions possible. They say it is the responsibility of the occupation forces to provide people with decent living conditions, rather than fight Bush's war on Iraqi ground and at Iraqi peoples' expense.
"Bush has nothing to lose here except his reputation which he has already lost," Hamdan Salih, an unemployed lawyer in Baghdad told IPS. "He is pushing Iraqis to fight each other and meanwhile attacking our cities in search of his own enemies, who most of the time happen to be our sons and brothers. He is sacrificing Iraqi pawns for the American oil king."
Comments? Send a letter to the editor.
Albion Monitor August
22, 2007 (http://www.albionmonitor.com)
All Rights Reserved.
Contact email@example.com for permission to use in any format.