Sgrena's Mission Accomplished: Italy to Withdraw Troops
Giuliana Sgrena has finally gotten her way. Islamist media already attributes Italy's announced withdrawal as a response to the Sgrena debacle. Expect more hostage taking (real or feigned) immediately.
Italy will start to withdraw its troops from Iraq this September, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has said. "We will begin to reduce our contingent even before the end of the year, starting in September, in agreement with our allies," he said in an interview on state television RAI on Tuesday. Italy has 3000 troops in Iraq, the fourth largest foreign contingent after the United States, Britain and South Korea. The announcement comes close on the heels of the eventful release of kidnapped Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena in Iraq on 4 March. The release turned bloody following firing by US troops under controversial circumstances on the Italian entourage transporting Sgrena to safety. An Italian secret service agent Nicola Calipari was killed in the firing while Sgrena was injured.And the other Islamist news agency, al Reuters:
Freed journalist Giuliana Sgrena said the US firing was intentional
The incident provoked widespread anger in Italy, with the governnment registering an official protest with Washington. Berlusconi, considered Washington's closest ally in Europe, personally expressed anguish over the incident. US President George Bush apologised for the shooting and instituted an inquiry. But the resentment among Italians does not seem to have subsided.
Earlier Tuesday, Bulgaria's president said his country should withdraw its 450 troops from Iraq by the end of this year after a Bulgarian soldier was accidentally killed by U.S. forces. A final decision is expected by the end of the month.... The Dutch government, defying pressure from Washington, has announced it will pull its troops from Iraq by mid-April, while Poland is looking to withdraw its forces by the end of the year. Just hours before Berlusconi announced Italy's partial withdrawal, an Italian solider died in Iraq during a target-shooting exercise. Some 21 Italian soldiers and five civilians have died in Iraq since the 2003 deployment. Earlier Tuesday, Bulgaria's president said his country should withdraw its 450 troops from Iraq by the end of this year after a Bulgarian soldier was accidentally killed by U.S. forces. A final decision is expected by the end of the month. The Dutch government, defying pressure from Washington, has announced it will pull its troops from Iraq by mid-April, while Poland is looking to withdraw its forces by the end of the year. Just hours before Berlusconi announced Italy's partial withdrawal, an Italian solider died in Iraq during a target-shooting exercise. Some 21 Italian soldiers and five civilians have died in Iraq since the 2003 deployment.
Posted by: Rudolph Carrera at March 15, 2005 02:59 PM
Posted by: -keith in mtn. view at March 15, 2005 03:18 PM
That's the kind of pedestrian detail that Communists overlook.
Posted by: BumperStickerist at March 15, 2005 03:24 PM
But this decision has little to do with Sgrena (or with the poor soldier who died today in Nassirija). The truth is that an overwhelming majority of the Italian people was, has been and is against this war. And in April, 2006 there will be the elections in Italy, and Berlusconi doesn't want to lose them only to please Mr. Bush.
Because you like to bring democracy in every country, and this is, in theory, a noble project. But with democracy people get the right to vote, and now in Europe the hopes of many leaders to get elected grow bigger as they move away from the United States. So many politicians are against your wars, and even those who aren't, will pretend to be against just to be elected.
This was true in France, happened in Germany, happened again in Spain, in Poland too, and hopefully, will happen next year here in Italy.
Posted by: paul at March 15, 2005 03:37 PM
BUT THE FREAKING WOPS TURN TAIL BECAUSE OF THIS COMMIE HARPY? You GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!!
I am pouring all my Ragou down the drain.
Posted by: Filthy Allah at March 15, 2005 03:46 PM
We know that it had nothing to do with her but the
terrorists will think they had a part in this and
Posted by: sparky at March 15, 2005 03:56 PM
Posted by: Collin Baber at March 15, 2005 04:21 PM
Maybe its because Americans call the greasy wops too. You don't appreciate what they did for us, you just want them on your side.
Posted by: Roxabunch at March 15, 2005 04:30 PM
I am now all in favor of unilateralisms. If you want something done right you have to do it yourself.
Posted by: Pile On® at March 15, 2005 04:39 PM
See what happens when you start shooting the wrong people?
Oh and oops, you seem to have done it again:
"US troops shoot dead Iraqi general: police
The deputy commander of the Iraqi army in western Al-Anbar province was shot dead by US troops at a checkpoint Tuesday night, a police officer said.
"The US forces opened fire at 8:00 pm on Brigadier General Ismail Swayed al-Obeid, who had left his base in Baghdadi to head home," police Captain Amin al-Hitti said.
"They spotted him on the road after the curfew, which goes into effect at 6pm," the officer said in Baghdadi, 185 kilometres west of the capital.
Posted by: sonic at March 15, 2005 04:57 PM
Posted by: Rusty Shackleford at March 15, 2005 04:59 PM
Posted by: sonic at March 15, 2005 05:05 PM
I mean, it's only a war zone. How dare those nazi zionist baby-killing soldiers make a mistake?
Then again, I don't suppose being out two hours after curfew in the aforementioned war zone had anything to do with it.
Mr. sonic? Reality's on line two. Please pick up.
Posted by: Petoht at March 15, 2005 05:13 PM
Posted by: Young Bourbon Professional at March 15, 2005 05:42 PM
terrorists will think they had a part in this and
we have to be aware of the terrorists feelings!
Posted by: actus at March 15, 2005 05:48 PM
Posted by: concerned at March 15, 2005 06:12 PM
consider their feelings.
Maybe you dont understand the point i was making.
If they think any of this crap with sgrena has helped it
opens floodgates for much more of this and now they have more money to do so
Posted by: sparky at March 15, 2005 06:13 PM
You should charge his family for the bullets.
Posted by: sonic at March 15, 2005 06:22 PM
Blair is down in the polls too.
Posted by: Anna at March 15, 2005 06:31 PM
opens floodgates for much more of this and now they have more money to do so"
We have to look at the root causes. At what motivates terrorists!
Posted by: actus at March 15, 2005 07:14 PM
Posted by: Vonski at March 15, 2005 07:50 PM
root cause what i dont agree with is their methods.
They kill innocent people in a horrific manner they
are killing iraqis WHY if they are supposed to be fighting to liberate them.
What motivates them? Money thats what.
The iraqis are running a programme every night
showing interviews of caught terrorists and their root cause is money
Have you read Hammorabi's blog or the Messopotiman
Iraq the Model these are some of the iraqi blogs who have commented on this you should go read them
Oh and a lot of them dont even come from iraq.
Sgrena angered me when i read of her helping them to make a tape was Margaret Hussan and all the other innocent people they beheaded offered the same hospitality I dont think so.
Her helping them is a disgrace to their memory but
thats only my humble opinion.
In her own words she said they had to re-record the tape because she didnt LOOK SCARED ENOUGH.
Now i dont know about you but i will never forget the haunted look on Margaret face on video this woman should be ashamed of herself.
I just dont believe that this woman was shot at intentionally i honestly believe it was an accident but again it is only my personal opinion
Posted by: sparky at March 15, 2005 07:55 PM
Posted by: Vonski at March 15, 2005 07:55 PM
Berlusconi has just - IN EFFECT - invited the neojihadis to WHACK ITALY MORE MASSIVELY THEN THEY WHACKED SPAIN!
I expect them to do this SOOOOOOON.
Posted by: reliapundit at March 15, 2005 08:08 PM
There is a link to root causes of terrorism at internet haganah
under the 12th march there is a post under Globel called Lies Terrorists Tell the link is there click on it. I think the site might be of interest to you
Posted by: sparky at March 15, 2005 08:36 PM
Posted by: sparky at March 15, 2005 08:38 PM
Posted by: xtremewing at March 15, 2005 08:52 PM
I appreciate Italy's help. If this is their decision, so be it.
Most Italians will continue to plug their ears, shake their heads and make noise to deny that the majority of Iraqis want help, and realize the need for continued economic support to rebuilt the country and repopulate the local and national defense forces. Many will ignore this and any appreciation from Iraqis and dismiss it as "brainwashing." It shouldn't matter to those who have invested an effort into Iraq.
No doubt it about, there is a large group of "anti-war" robots who would rather see Iraq fail and fall into chaos if it meant making America look bad. Very sad.
Posted by: Igor Kazakov at March 15, 2005 08:55 PM
Posted by: firstbrokenangel at March 15, 2005 09:21 PM
Italy was so adament against giving in to the terrorists; they've had losses before; they even paid before, why all of a sudden does this woman have the power to make the Italian goverment change it's mind?
Posted by: firstbrokenangel at March 15, 2005 09:37 PM
i have an extra extinsion cord. let me to know where to mail it to.
Posted by: dreamer at March 15, 2005 09:43 PM
Posted by: sonic at March 15, 2005 09:59 PM
(Captain) Iraqis...who think our oil belongs to them.
Posted by: Collin Baber at March 15, 2005 10:08 PM
You're a coward. Plain and simple.
Posted by: Dough at March 15, 2005 10:09 PM
i thought you might you know want to hang yourself with it
Posted by: dreamer at March 16, 2005 05:43 AM
Consider the position Berlusconi will be in when the next Italian (probably female) is kidnapped in Iraq. Having publically foresworn ransom, there will be tremendous pressure to locate the captive and mount a rescue operation - two things that can't simply be pulled out of a hat. It's a bad situation for a government leader to be in, especially when a sizable chunk of the populace regards such acts as a predictable side effect of a war that it vehemently opposes. I wouldn't want to be in his shoes, now or then. The terrorists have at least 12 more months to further exploit anti-war sentiment in Italy.
Posted by: trish at March 16, 2005 06:15 AM
The IRA has been killing people for on the bright side of a 100 years, but they have the support of the white house because they only kill "Legitimate targets". Now Hamas and Hizbullah are getting the support of the white house, because they have become legitimate groups. The fact is many countries have been dealing with terrorism long before we woke up and said "oh my God look at the attacks on September 11th!" Italy dealt with the Red Brigade and other nut cases long before we did, hell when they were throwing the key away on the mafia our FBI was going "There is no such thing as the mob!"
One woman didnt change the minds of the people, the people are sick and tired of the double talk by our government on who is good and who is bad ... the only fact is they are doing something moronic called thinking! Did they protest us en-mass for Afghanistan? No. Just like the fact that everyone is willing to over look, an illegitimate cause for invading a soveraign nation (albeight dictatorial) doesnt become legitimate because you have something resembling democracy in the end. It brings nothing less than joy every time I hear that progress is being made, but will it really work? Afghanistan is already a full blown Narco State, and that took less than three years ... AND we are still in that country to prevent things like that from happening. The sum of it is you can't apply your views to other countries who have a lot more experiance at this than we do ... and trust me an idoit at the airport with a double digit IQ earning a triple digit income routing around grandma's bags and taking her nail clipper away is not a solution ... controling assault weapon sales is!
I hope time proves me wrong.
Posted by: Salamander at March 16, 2005 07:43 AM
New York Times
March 16, 2005
Iraqis Say Italians Aren't Cooperating In Kidnapping Investigation
By James Glanz
BAGHDAD, Iraq, March 15 - Iraqi investigators who are trying to find the kidnappers of the Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena say their work has been stymied by a lack of cooperation from the Italian intelligence services that won her release exactly a month after she was abducted on Feb. 4.
The Iraqi investigators say they conducted as many as half a dozen raids in a northwest Baghdad neighborhood where they think Ms. Sgrena, 56, a reporter for the far-left Rome daily Il Manifesto, was being held. But the kidnappers slipped through their fingers, and she was released after the abductors negotiated with Italian intelligence agents. One of those agents was killed when American troops fired on the car taking Ms. Sgrena to freedom.
Even after her release, Italian officials have refused to share information with the Iraqis, said Col. Jabbar Anwar, chief of the major crimes unit in the sector of Baghdad that includes Gazalea, the neighborhood where she was thought to be held.
The ring that committed the kidnapping was a profit-making organization that is likely to repeat the crime, he said. "They made a big mistake when they let the criminals go, especially if they gave them money," Colonel Jabbar said, referring to reports in the Italian news media and denied by the Italian government that a ransom as large as $8 million was paid. Erminio Amelio, one of the Rome public magistrates leading the investigating into Ms. Sgrena's abduction, said there had been no intent to deprive the Iraqi police of information. "I don't know what type of relationships our people have with the Iraqis in Baghdad," Mr. Amelio said. "Our people have a strong relationship with the Americans, and the Americans deal more with the Iraqis."
"We haven't received any request for information," he said. "Maybe they have approached some Italians there in Iraq, I don't know, but we haven't been asked officially."
Colonel Jabbar and a second officer in the crimes unit said the investigation suggested that the kidnappers were tipped off to Ms. Sgrena's itinerary on the day she was seized. On Feb. 4, Ms. Sgrena went to a district near the University of Baghdad to conduct interviews at a Sunni mosque where refugees from Falluja had been staying. An Italian photographer who helped arrange Ms. Sgrena's visit to the mosque, Franco Pagetti, saw her in the building's courtyard by about 12:45, he said in an e-mail message.
Security guards at the mosque gate were acting suspiciously, Mr. Pagetti said. "They were asking us how many weapons we have," he said, "how many foreigners and if we had a second car."
Mr. Pagetti left, but not before taking a picture of Ms. Sgrena with his digital camera; the picture had a time stamp of 1:37 p.m. Around 1:40, her cellphone had been turned on, and it briefly transmitted the sounds of the kidnapping: gunfire and the sounds of footsteps slogging across wet pavement on a rainy day.
The Iraqi investigators say eight kidnappers brandishing pistols and Kalashnikovs, their faces hidden by head cloths, had arrived in a gray Opel and a black Kia. Witnesses heard Ms. Sgrena scream as the kidnapping unfolded.
Her frightened driver neglected to inform a nearby university guard. The driver was later detained by the police and is still being held, according to the second officer in the crimes unit.
The guard finally saw what was happening and opened fire, but took cover as the heavily armed men drove away with Ms. Sgrena, leaving the driver and her interpreter behind. The investigators say they believe that she was taken to a series of safe houses in Gazalea.
The Iraqi investigators said they had obtained highly specific tips from two informants about where Ms. Sgrena was taken in Gazalea. But as they raided houses in the area, she slipped through their fingers, probably because the kidnappers moved her from house to house.
The only arrest so far occurred when a resident of one of the houses, a major in the Iraqi police force, was found to have an array of phony identification cards, including one for the American Embassy. The other three suspects, who are believed to be originally from Falluja, are still at large.
"We were 100 percent positive that she was in Gazalea," the second officer said. "When we received information that they were there, we hit the house. And they were gone. The neighbors said, 'We saw them.' "
Twelve days after Ms. Sgrena was abducted, she was seen on a videotape pleading for her life and asking all foreigners, in particular Italian troops, to leave Iraq immediately. But Iraqi investigators believe that the display was essentially a bargaining ploy in ransom negotiations.
Information from the Italians, Colonel Jabbar asserted, could have made the difference in cracking the case and bringing the kidnappers to justice. Instead, he said, his investigators saw the lines of communication shut down once the Italians began negotiating with the kidnappers.
Jason Horowitz contributed reporting from Rome for this article.
Posted by: Phil McCavitty at March 16, 2005 07:47 AM
OH NO! Not POLAND! after all they are part of the "BIG THREE" in the allience as Bush so bluntly said during the Pres. debates
Posted by: Red Wolf at March 16, 2005 07:54 AM
Posted by: Venom at March 16, 2005 08:59 AM
Are you serious about the IRA having the support of the whitehouse
as they only target "legitimate targets" because if you are you are wrong they have targeted civillians in the past eg Manchester, Birmingham and London innocent people were all killed, whether it was interntional or not.
I would also like to point out that that would make America a funder of terrorism. Terrorism is terrorism no matter how you want to butter it up, it is never acceptable when innocents are killed.
Also if America is our alley what are they doing supporting people who are against our government
Posted by: sparky at March 16, 2005 11:48 AM
Posted by: sparky at March 16, 2005 12:03 PM
You are not spliting the hair fine enough to get to the point of the white house ... see if you fight for our cause you are a freedom fighter, i.e. see south american death squads, sandanistas, m19 and any anti-FARC factions, anti-soviet afghan forces, and factions in angolan against the then soviet backed factions. If you fight agaisnt our cause your a terrorist, i.e. see unreformed south american death squads, some broken factions of sandanistas, M19 and FARC, Taleban (not to be mixed with anti-soviet afghan forces), and not to be left out ... "where was angola again?".
See its all so clear ... dont you get it? it seams the coalition of the willing understand it so well and are standing beside ... around ... well their somewhere here.
Posted by: Salamander at March 16, 2005 12:14 PM
Posted by: sparky at March 16, 2005 12:29 PM
Time has been proving you wrong and continues to prove you wrong at this very moment!!!! This is what I have been trying to get dolts like you to understand!
It is apparent in your message that all you care about is how America looks in the end. You cannot bear to think that it might be seen in a good light "because you have something resembling democracy in the end." Fine. I agree that the pretense to war cannot be legitimized by the successes in Iraq. People still need to be held accountable for disinformation (cough Challabi cough) as well as neglecting to distinguish between true information, and false information. But that is ALL you care about. Will someone like you ever mention the other movements we're seeing in the Middle East? I'm not a big Bush fan by any means, but if you're really convinced that the renewed effort for peace between Israel and Palestine just HAPPENED to come into existence and was purely an effort on the part of those two groups then you are a fucking idiot.
I've decided there is no point in me arguing with people like you anymore. We have completely different belief systems. You don't really care about what happens in Iraq, you care about how America looks in the end. I don't give a shit about weapons of mass destruction. Any dictatorship like the one created by the Baathists deserves to be annihilated. Governments need to be shook up a bit (ahem, Sudan) so that people stop dying needlessly. When the majority cries out against their government but are incapable of doing anything someone should help them. And I don't CARE who's at the forefront of this much needed change. Europe doesn't either, unless it is America. They've decided that it is INHERENTLY detrimental to any and all societies to be supported by America. America is imposing its will! Really?
Take a look at Iran you dimwits. If the U.S went in and took the legs of the government from under them, the majority of Iranians would be overjoyed. Young adults in Iran don't want the government to step down so they can continue to do things the way they've been ordered to do for so long. They want change because they want freedoms that are not associated with hardcore, Islamic law. But I guess if this ever happened America would once again be the devil for IMPOSING non-Islamic beliefs, even though such a large number of Iranians have been pushing for such rights for years independently.
What is this "sovereign nation" crap thrown around all the time? Do you have any idea what you're talking about? ENGLAND is a sovereign nation. Iraq has not been a sovereign nation for a while. And even if it was, so what? Is that just another pathetic cop out, an excuse to sit around and do NOTHING under the pretense that countries should be left alone to deal with their own problems because they're sovereign? "Well, it's sovereign so, obviously everything is fine."
Please provide your source that proves the White House supports the IRA. I remember living in England and seeing plenty of civilians being wiped out by those evil bastards. I've tried searching and I can't find any credible information that shows that the White House in any way supports the IRA.
Posted by: Igor Kazakov at March 16, 2005 03:32 PM
Now where have I heard that argument before? oh I remember it was about how Iraq would be a cakewalk....
Posted by: sonic at March 16, 2005 09:04 PM
Compared to past wars, it IS a cakewalk so far. It sounds callous, but compared to past wars our casualties really are very light.
Fallujah wasn't Stalingrad by a long shot, and proved the US can adapt effectively to urban warfare and that our MOUT training was going in the right direction.
Most of the country is peaceful, even if every car bombing is shoved in our faces by CNN. The number of Iraqis killed that way is trivial in relation to the size of the country.
The baseline level of violence in Iraq is not overly destabilising, and as Wahabi Jihadists focus on other Iraqis they are building the backlash that will disempower them. The best thing the Wahabis/Sunnis can do for the US is to keep killing civilians until the civilians become angry enough to strike back with a vengeance.
I wouldn't counsel invading Iran though.
Iranian mullahs came to power through popular revolution, and nothing reinforces regious fervor like an attack from outside.
The best way to get rid off superstious, er..., religious nut cases is public ridicule and homegrown revolution. The youth of Iran wil have to do the bleeding if they are to earn secular freedom like that in civilised nations.
Posted by: monckywrench at March 17, 2005 12:21 PM
Posted by: greyrooster at March 17, 2005 11:41 PM
Posted by: greyrooster at March 18, 2005 08:59 AM
The official line from the White House, for those who were napping, was that hard times lay ahead. The administration never suggested this would be a walk in the park, though those who are in opposition to the effort would certainly like to believe they did.
But, I believe they were overly optimistic about the timetable, and the level of resistance they expected to encounter after the fall of the Baathists - at least publically. Privately, they may have known full well that Iraq would become a battleground with Islamists, and that in fact may have been an integral part of the plan. It seems a bit of a no-brainer to expect that, espescially after Osama-bin-hidin' called on Islamists to go to Iraq. (To protect or avenge his avowed mortal enemy, Saddam, heh)
Did they have a "flypaper" strategy? I hope so, I believe so. because it's working. And one would harldy expect them to announce that strategy pre-invasion, for obvious reasons.
Whatever the case, it's obvious that the Islamist terrorist element in Iraq is not having as easy time winning the hearts and minds of the common Iraqi as they are in cowing members of the coalition. Polls seem to indicate that Iraqis really don't want their Arab neighbors meddling in their affairs. After all, they weren't much help when Saddam was "ruling" them. They may not like US occupation, but they're realists. Given the choice of US occupation for a time, or Islamist rule for loooong time, I believe they've chosen to back the lesser of two evils, or dare I say, the "strong horse"?
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