Here is 59 seconds of a report from Arwa Damon on CNN International this AM. Damon is reporting live during a gun battle which broke out in Bagdad.
Damon reports in the piece…
Now what led to today actually were incidents that happened over the weekend. Iraqi Army troops operating in this area came under intense attack Saturday and on Sunday.On Sunday in fact 8 Iraqi Army soldiers were killed after they ran out of ammunition. That is what led to today’s operation involving 1000 Iraqi and American troops.
This is why it is so important to have reporters in Iraq to let us know what the hell is going on. I mean 8 Iraqi soldiers killed because they ran out of ammo? That’s pretty significant. More important is that the Iraqis had to ask for US help after about 3 days into a battle which al-Maliki touted the Iraqis would wage to crush insurgents. This is from AP Jan 7…
BAGHDAD, Iraq // In the opening battle of a major drive to tame the violent capital, the Iraqi army reported that it killed 30 militants yesterday in a firefight in a Sunni insurgent stronghold just north of the heavily fortified Green Zone.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, speaking hours earlier at a ceremony marking the 85th anniversary of the Iraqi army, announced his intention for the open-ended attempt to crush the militant fighters who have left Baghdad in the grip of sectarian violence.
Hassan al-Suneid, a key aide and member of al-Maliki’s Dawa Party, said the Iraqi leader had committed 20,000 soldiers to the operation and would call upon American force only when needed. (emphasis mine)
Today WaPo reported the Iraqis had to ask for US help which is what Damon was basically saying in the above video …
Police said the clashes erupted when gunmen attacked Iraqi army checkpoints in the Haifa Street area, and that Iraqi soldiers appealed to the U.S. military for help.
Milaki and the Iraqi government is talking tough but it just ain’t happening. Not when they are barely able to go 3 days in their vaunted attack before needing US help and loosing 8 soldiers due to lack of ammo. We need reporters on the ground because if all we go on is what the Iraqi government says well…the term blowing smoke up our ass comes to mind. Given that, my question is with Bush’s pressure on the Iraqi government to hit benchmarks will we see real progress or grand plans and inflated numbers in terms of troop strength and number of enemy kills?
CNN ‘s Michael Holmes just reported that US involvement was planned in the operation Damon reported on… as she said after what happened to the Iraqis over the weekend. But also the US was called into help (that was not planned) on Haifa Street after an Iraqi patrol was ambushed last night as WaPo reported. Holmes also reported that at present Damon “is pinned down” under fire. Holmes also reports he has never seen this kind of sustained firefight in the years he’s been in Iraq.