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Thursday, 1 May 2003
The allied campaign in Iraq will officially transition from war to reconstruction tonight when President Bush addresses the nation at 9:00 PM, announcing the end of combat operations.

What is less clear is the role the U.S. will play in post-war Iraq, long a subject of contentious debate. Whether peacekeepers consist of U.S./U.K. forces or U.N. personnel, the job will be fraught with danger: The most recent clash in Fallujah injured seven U.S. soldiers as anti-American sentinment continues to escalate.

Lt. Christian Sewell Wilson, right, gets a welcome back hug from his loved one as Carrier Air Wing FIVE returns to the Naval Air Facility in Atsugi, northwest of Tokyo, Thursday, May 1, 2003. The Carrier Air Wing FIVE had participated in Operation Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom. (Associated Press)

Posted by uswarblog at 12:44 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 15 April 2003
The war is not even four weeks old, and already the Pentagon decrees that "major combat" in Iraq is over. With the fall of Tikrit, no more strongholds remain standing for Iraqi forces. Small skirmishes are expected to continue, but the coalition's focus now turns to peacekeeping, humanitarian aid and restoring order from weeks of looting.

Searching for weapons of mass destruction remains high on the priority list as well, and other nations that may be harboring them. Syria has been the subject of pointed remarks made by the U.S. in recent days, with accusations also flying of Iraqi officials taking refuge in the neighboring country.

But the U.S. will still have its hands full with Iraq, and attempting to establish a new government there. Talks begin today between U.S., British and Iraqi factions in trying to steer the best possible course for the divided country.

U.S. Marines drive their armored vehicle through the main square of ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit, central Iraq. With their war all but won in less than four weeks, the United States and Britain headed into talks on April 15 with Iraq's fractious groups on how to rule the country now that Saddam Hussein is gone. (Reuters)

The Other Side - Analysis, angles and opinions on the Web

The Law of Unintended Consequences: Will the War in Iraq Spur Proliferation?, Republicons - Has the war on Iraq opened an international Pandora's Box?

Lie Under the Guise of Virtue, Pravda (Russia) - A counterpoint to the "military hardware" charges leveled by the U.S. and U.K. against Russia and France.

Moral hijinks over post-war Iraq, National Post (Canada) - Letting U.S. companies reap the financial benefits of post-war Iraq is not hypocrisy, says this writer.

Not ready, and all too ready, Berkshire Eagle - Are American troops in even more danger than they were during combat?

Payback?, Sierra Times - This columnist has a few choice words for Russian president Vladimir Putin and chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix.

After the Combat, Depression, Chosun Ilbo (Korea) - A Korean reporter describes the emptiness he feels after the combat has dissipated and he prepares to return home.

Posted by uswarblog at 10:03 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 15 April 2003 10:38 AM EDT
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Monday, 14 April 2003
Saddam Hussein's last gasp may be just that. Coalition troops are encountering their share of resistance from Iraqi forces holed up in Hussein's home town of Tikrit, but have still managed to reach the center of the city. Heavy air support and bombardment overnight helped clear the way for ground troops.

Now that the military phase of the war could soon be winding down, attention now turns to the logistics of building a post-war government. A meeting in Nassiriya next Tuesday between the U.S. and incumbent Iraqi factions will be a key litmus test as to how contentious that process will be.

As far as Saddam Hussein and key Iraqi leaders go, their whereabouts are still unknown. The biggest wins in that department so far have been the killing of Hussein's cousin, "Chemical Ali"; the surrender of Iraq's chief chemical and biological weapons advisor; and yesterday's capture of one of Saddam's half-brothers.

Lieutenant Joseph Peppers of the second U.S. army brigade looks at a mural on a wall inside the main Republican Palace of President Saddam Hussien in Baghdad April 13, 2003. Most of Iraq lived in squalor but the Iraqi President kept up one of the most opulent palaces of the world. (Reuters)

The Other Side - Analysis, angles and opinions on the Web

Why have Iraqi forces capitulated without much fight?, Al-Jazeera (Qatar) - Could bribes and secret negotiations have paved the way for the relatively easy advance of the coalition?

What Price Is Muslim Blood?, Jihad Unspun - A fascinating perspective from the other side of the Christian/Muslim fence.

Haunted by the ghosts from 20 years of violence, London Times - One journalist reports how the residents of Basra have lived in a constant state of shock and psychological horror for two decades.

Life without Saddam, Rosbalt (Russia) - The "new Iraq" is at once hopeful yet murky with many questions still unanswered.

Iraq: A new kind of war, BBC - Seems as if the war Donald Rumsfeld and other "armchair generals" envisioned turned out just the way they wanted.

Our Western Mob, National Review - How quickly the Western media forgets about the relative success of the Iraq campaign, says this commentator.

Posted by uswarblog at 11:18 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 14 April 2003 12:11 PM EDT
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Sunday, 13 April 2003
The best feel-good story of the war occurred today after seven American POWs were released by the Iraqis into the custody of the coalition. Five are from the Army's 507th Maintenance Company that were seized in an ambush. The other two are two Apache helicopter pilots who were shot down and captured on the same day.

In other significant news, Saddam Hussein's chief advisor on chemical and biological weapons has surrendered to the allies. Amer al-Saadi came forward and gave himself up after learning he was wanted by U.S. officials, and insists Iraq has been truthful about its weapons of mass destruction program all along.

Meanwhile, Tikrit continues to be the battlefront focus as U.S. Marines clash with Iraqi forces on the southern outskirts of the city.

Posted by uswarblog at 1:26 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 13 April 2003 1:56 PM EDT
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Friday, 11 April 2003
The domino effect of fallen Iraqi cities continues speeding along, with the three largest cities -- Baghdad, Basra and Mosul -- now in coalition hands, and oil-rich Kirkuk seized as well. Now Saddam Hussein's last possible holdout remains his home town of Tikrit, which was pounded by allied warplanes as a prelude to possibly the last big battle of the war.

In preparation for the looming conflict, an American MOAB, or "Mother Of All Bombs," has been moved to the Persian Gulf area and could be used in the final act of this play.

An Iraqi man rips up a photograph of Saddam Hussein inside Iraq's embassy in Tehran as about 200 Iraqis stormed their embassy in the Iranian capital Friday, April 11, 2003. (Associated Press)

The Other Side - Analysis, angles and opinions on the Web

Who gets the oil?, Radio Netherlands - Black gold awaits in them thar Iraqi hills, but can the U.S. refrain from snatching at it?

Erasing Saddam's legacy, BBC - How best to remove all political and cultural traces of Hussein from a society saturated by his face, words and actions?

Long memories of the Crusades overshadow the future, Sydney Morning Herald - Is the Iraq war yet another centuries-old extension of the Crusades?

Lessons from the 'liberation' of Iraq, Malaysia Kini - An American-educated Muslim says the heavy-handed U.S. needs to learn a thing or two about the "Muslim psyche," and that Muslim leaders need to beware if they ignore the welfare of their own people.

Toppling Statues: Going Out On A Limb, The Sierra Times - A diatribe examining slanted media coverage, motives for the war, and the shifting playing field between Democrats and Republicans.

Posted by uswarblog at 10:36 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 11 April 2003 11:18 AM EDT
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Thursday, 10 April 2003
While the turn of events in Baghdad have been fairly stunning, pockets of resistance in the capital city continue to make things dicey for allied ground troops. U.S. Marines are engaged in heavy firefights at a mosque, a government palace, and the house of a Baath Party leader. One soldier has been killed, and up to 20 injured.

Another suicide attack has also taken its toll: a man with explosives strapped to his waist approached a military checkpoint and blew himself up. There are conflicting reports whether U.S. Marines manning the station were only injured, or whether fatalities occurred.

Most of the coalition's attention, however, now turns to cities in the north that are still unsecured. Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's home town, could end up being a flashpoint of the war. In oil-rich Kirkuk, Kurdish fighters overran the town, driving through the streets waving Kurdish flags while residents looted government offices. Kurdish military leaders also report they have seized the border town of Khanaqin.

Kurdish fighters celebrate as they parade along the streets of the strategic town of Khanaqin on the Iranian border in northern Iraq, after sweeping unopposed through the town following the withdrawal of the Iraqi army and joining up with U.S. forces, Thursday, April 10, 2003. (Associated Press)

The Other Side - Analysis, angles and opinion on the Web

Awake after a long, dark night, Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) - A man-in-the-street account of how Iraqi citizens in Baghdad are reacting, from unbridled joy to deep skepticism.

Saddam Hussein Is Toppled, But Where Is He?, Radio Free Europe - Exploring all the different avenues of escape Saddam may have taken.

Why Kirkuk is key, BBC - Could Kirkuk be the second-most important city in Iraq?

Decoding Iraq's symbols of celebration, BBC - A fascinating breakdown of Iraqi gestures, actions and what they mean. What's the significance of hitting with shoes, anyway?

What Lurks in the Ruins?, - Are the fragments of Iraqi culture and politics just too complicated to mold into a democracy?

Happiest Day of My Life as Saddam Falls, Plymouth Evening Herald - An Iraqi-American teenager gives voice to his feelings about the Hussein regime.

Posted by uswarblog at 10:40 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 10 April 2003 5:29 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 9 April 2003
This day marks an important turning point in the battle for Baghdad as the reaction of Iraqi citizens becomes an indicator of how much Saddam Hussein's control in the capital city is crumbling. People are lining the streets welcoming coalition troops with cheers, looting stores and attacking symbols of Hussein's government. Iraqi state television has gone off the air, and Iraqi employees who monitor foreign journalists have not shown up for work.

President Bush and allied officials, however, warn that the task is far from over: it is believed Hussein may have escaped the withering air strikes that targeted his location Monday, and could be making his last stand in his home town of Tikrit.

Jubilant Iraqis tied a noose around a huge statue of Saddam Hussein in the heart of Baghdad, pulling it down and pelting it with shoes as the Iraqi president's 24-year rule collapsed in chaos. (Reuters)

The Other Side - Analysis, angles and opinions on the Web

Picturing the End, Artuz Sheva (Israel) - Saddam Hussein, like Adolf Hitler, may be holed up in an Iraqi bunker somewhere, waiting for the inevitable.

Boycotts and bad acts, The Sentinel - The U.S. says it's "liberating" Iraqi citizens which is all well and good, says this editor, but who watches the watchmen?

Saddam-Chirac: A 30-year liaison, UPI - Just how deep do France's ulterior motives run?

They're Baaaaaack!, New York Post - A much more... colorful dismantling of France and other members of the "Axis of Weasel."

Once an economic dynamo, Iraq is now financial riddle, Knoxville News Sentinel - How can you rebuild a nation's economy if you don't have all the facts?

Posted by uswarblog at 11:03 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 9 April 2003 4:59 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 8 April 2003
For the second time in this war, the allies try to pinpoint Saddam Hussein's location and take out the dictator once and for all. Acting on hot intelligence late yesterday, a U.S. B-1 bomber dropped two JDAMs and two "bunker-busters" on a building where Hussein was reportedly meeting with his sons and other leaders. It's not known yet whether the strike was successful; rescue workers will have to sift through the rubble and may have to test remains to determine if the Iraqi president was killed.

Meanwhile, coalition air and ground troops continue pounding Iraqi positions in Baghdad with artillery shells and bombs, and expanding their area of control. On the eastern outskirts of the city, U.S. Marines have secured the Rashid airfield, making it the second air base to be seized after swarming Baghdad International Airport days before.

Testing of suspected chemical weapons is still ongoing, according to military officials. To date there have been four locations where chemical agents were discovered; barrels found in Hindiya have been conclusively ruled out as WMD. Barrels in Najaf, warheads near Baghdad International Airport, and containers found on an Iraqi personnel carrier are still in the process of being tested.

U.S. Marines of the 3rd batallion, 4th regiment, take position while securing a main road leading into Baghdad on the southeast outskirts of the Iraqi capital, Tuesday, April 8, 2003. (Associated Press)

The Other Side - Analysis, angles and opinions on the Web

Will Iraq Be 'Free' Like Kuwait?, Salt Lake Tribune - There's "freedom," and then there's freedom, says this commentator.

Bush's Alderaan, The Consortium - Is George Bush akin to Darth Vader, and Iraq his Alderaan?

Peaceful solutions not effective in Iraq, The Stanford Daily - This Stanford senior proposes that true leadership sometimes means doing the unpopular thing.

How the media changed, UPI - People outside Iraq may accuse embedded journalists of losing objectivity, but an inside account from Martin Walker describes newfound appreciation and respect for the men and women of the coalition's armed forces.

Revenge waits in the wings, Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) - The Kurds in northern Iraq are chomping at the bit for regime change, and for good reason.

War and recriminations, - "A brief guide to the coming finger-pointing on Iraq."

Posted by uswarblog at 11:14 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 8 April 2003 11:39 AM EDT
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Monday, 7 April 2003
Armored divisions continue battling their way through the streets of Baghdad, driving towards the heart of the city. Saddam Hussein's main presidential palace is now under coalition occupation, the images broadcast around the world. Tanks are also rolling through Baghdad's main parade grounds, and a 40-foot statue of Saddam Hussein was blown up.

Incredibly, Iraqi government mouthpieces continue insisting they are inflicting heavy casualties on U.S. forces, and that no sign of occupation can be seen.

The fighting is not without allied losses, to be sure: an Iraqi missile strike targeting a U.S. Army tactical center south of Baghdad killed two soldiers, two journalists, and wounded 15 others.

Even further to the south in Basra, British officials claim the body of Saddam Hussein's cousin, "Chemical Ali," has been found in his home after being hit with two laser-guided missiles.

Back closer to the capital, the first U.S. cargo plane has landed at Baghdad International Airport, symbolically significant for an airfield that will become an important staging area and supply line center.

An Iraqi man pushes a cart loaded with his children past a U.S. military check point in Nasiriyah, southern Iraq, on Monday, April 7, 2003. (Associated Press)

The Other Side - Analysis, angles and opinions on the Web

How Baghdad's jet set lived, Toronto Star - An inside peek at Baghdad International Airport's opulent VIP lounges.

How the US plans to take control of Baghdad, Christian Science Monitor - An exploration of urban warfare throughout history, outlining two basic methods of attacking a city.

The Emperor's new clothes, (India) - This commentator calls the allied propaganda as he sees it.

Posted by uswarblog at 11:06 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 7 April 2003 11:08 AM EDT
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Sunday, 6 April 2003
After quick hit-and-run ventures yesterday, the invasion of Baghdad has begun in earnest, with tanks rolling into southern suburbs of the city and allied soldiers engaging in building-to-building fighting.

Thousands of Iraqi residents are fleeing the city, creating some chaos and confusion: Russian diplomatic envoys leaving Baghdad were attacked, with several wounded. It was not clear who fired upon them, and the incident is under investigation by U.S. and British officials.

Further away from the city, another friendly fire incident has killed U.S. and Kurdish soldiers. Reportedly, an American warplane mistakenly targeted a convoy of vehicles in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq. The final casualty count is not known, but reporters on the scene say at least ten people are dead.

The Other Side - Analysis, angles and opinions on the Web

The footsteps factor, The Daily Camera - This writer gets psychoanalytical with the Presidents Bush; are there deep-rooted, subconscious motivations for W. to go after an arch-nemesis shared with his father?

Exclusive: An Anglo-American Miscalculation!, Arab News (Saudi Arabia) - A fascinating op-ed piece outlining why all the mistakes the U.S. has made will result in its military slinking out of Iraq.

A very Roman lesson for today, The Guardian (UK) - The U.S. military moves with all the speed, daring and ferocity of the ancient Romans, writes this commentator, and like the intimidating legions of old, much of the world fears and distrusts America as well.

Once Baghdad's surrounded, the tricky part begins, Toronto Star - This military strategist outlines the two things General Tommy Franks will want to have in place before getting serious about taking over Baghdad.

Why has there been no word from Osama bin Laden?, Hindustan Times (India) - The silence from the world's #1 terrorist is deafening, and this editor explores the possibilities.

Posted by uswarblog at 9:15 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 6 April 2003 9:18 AM EST
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