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Baghdad bombed as US faces prospect of long war
Cat : War Against Iraq
Date : 2006-10-13 17:17:31                      Reader : 261

policy force and power will never solve crises. But dialogue and negotiations through UN will lead to peace. The British head of army already told the truth, that there is no sense for troops to stay. Iraq is bleeding giving the worst example of US ambition of democratic country. UN should take action against US troops in Iraq. The more they stay, the more the problems aer. Hundred civilian deaths per day is more than enough for US to leave.

Associated France Press 13/10/2006

Baghdad bombed as US faces prospect of long war

by Dave Clark

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Gunmen killed nine staff at a television studio and bomb attacks rocked Baghdad as Pentagon officials said plans had been laid to allow US forces to stay in Iraq until 2010 if needed.

This latest sign that the Iraqi crisis is far from over came as a gang stormed the offices of Al-Shaabiya TV and slaughtered staff, including the general manager Abdul-Rahim al-Nasrawi, a minor Shiite politician.

"We came in this morning and we saw the massacre. All were killed. We think gunmen broke into the house and killed them," said a journalist from the private satellite network, who asked not to be identified.

Nasrawi ran the little-known Justice and Democratic Progress party, and his satellite channel has not yet started broadcasting.

The government condemned the attack, with spokesman Ali al-Dabagh saying it "aimed to muzzle the media" and vowing that authorities would take greater measures to protect the safety of journalists.

Coalition spokesman Major General William Caldwell confirmed that, as US officials predicted, there had been a "tremendous spike" in violence in Iraq since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan two weeks ago.

"Ramadan has been a violent period," he said. "We assume it will still get worse before its get better. We expect violence to continue to increase over the next two weeks, until the end of Ramadan."

A coordinated pair of bomb attacks killed at least five people and wounded 10 more in a busy square in central Baghdad, security sources said.

One police officer was killed and three wounded in the attack, security officials said, suggesting that the blasts had targeted security forces working for Iraq's US-backed government.

The attackers first triggered a car bomb then detonated a roadside booby trap in the immediate aftermath of the first blast, in a bid to maximise casualties, security officials said.

Three more people, including another policeman, died when a booby-trapped motorcycle exploded as officers examined it. Ten bystanders and five police were injured, a security official said.

Meanwhile, police continued to collect the bodies of murder victims slain in Baghdad's dirty war between rival Sunni and Shiite death squads. A US military spokeswoman said 16 corpses had been found on Thursday.

The military also announced the death of another US soldier. That brought the number killed since the start of the month to 41 and since the US-led invasion of 2003 to 2,750, according to an AFP count based on Pentagon figures.

The US military has 142,000 soldiers deployed in Iraq, supporting the coalition government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and battling the Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias pushing the country towards civil war.

In Washington, army chief of staff General Peter Schoomaker confirmed Wednesday that contingency plans were being drawn up to have enough troops ready to maintain current force levels in Iraq until 2010.

Schoomaker said the army had scheduled troop rotations "at exactly what we have today" through the next four years, but said the actual number deployed will depend on conditions on the ground.

"This is not a prediction that things are going poorly or better," he told reporters. "It's just that I have to have enough ammo in the magazine that I can continue to shoot as long as they want us to shoot."

A few months ago US officials predicted that some of the 15 combat brigades deployed in Iraq would be able to come home by the end of the year, but since then mounting sectarian violence seems to have forced a rethink.

Meanwhile, Dabagh said Iraq needs foreign troops to remain in the country indefinitely, until its own forces are in a position to combat the insurgency.

"We believe that the presence of the multinational force is necessary now to prepare Iraqi forces to combat terror and improve the lives of Iraqis," he told a press conference.

"The government considers that Iraqi security forces still need to be trained and reinforced... The multinational force should participate in the building of Iraqi forces," he said, without saying when that would be achieved.

Meanwhile the US ambassador to Iraq accused Iran and Syria of using "Iraqis as cannon fodder" and of fuelling a wave of violence designed to divide Iraq and leave it powerless.

"Two countries are particularly playing a negative role: the Iranian and Syrian regimes. These regimes are supporting groups who are killing Iraqis," Zalmay Khalilzad said in a speech in the town of Tikrit.

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