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New U.S. offensives in Iraq

Published Oct 8, 2005 11:27 PM

Just as the month-long Ramadan fast was beginning, the U.S. Army opened a new offensive in the West of Iraq called “Operation River Gate.” On Oct. 4, U.S. occupation troops began attacking the cities of Haklanija, Parwana and Haditha in Iraq’s Anbar province.

According to reports from news agencies, combat aircraft and helicopters bombed areas the U.S. forces described as “possible hiding places for resistance groups.”

Some 2,500 U.S. soldiers and several hundred Iraqis were involved in the assault. While the U.S. military reported that at least 57 resistance fighters were killed, local doctors reported that women and young children were among the dead.

Numerous explosions reportedly lit up the sky over the three cities, while cannon fire could be heard. Electricity went out in large areas of Haklanija. According to the Pentagon, bridges over the Euphrates in Haditha and Haklanija were destroyed in an attempt to keep resistance fighters from fleeing into the desert.

“Operation River Gate” is said to be aimed at wiping out resistance forces in the three towns in anticipation of the Oct. 15 referendum on a “constitution.” This is a document drafted by the occupiers and tweaked by different elements among the collaborators. Though the attack was supposed to be a surprise, there were reports that the invading troops were hit by many roadside bombs.

Earlier in the week, on Oct. 1, some 1,000 U.S. soldiers carried out an offensive called “Iron Fist.” Both offensives continued, but reports from the area said that most resistance fighters had slipped out of the area before the U.S. struck.

In an attempt to assure passage of the “constitution,” the Iraqi puppet parliament passed a new law requiring that two-thirds of “registered” voters in three provinces would have to vote against the charter for it to be rejected.

At home, the Pentagon is still having trouble filling its quotas of new enlistees. According to a report in USA Today, some 73 soldiers in a special reserve program have refused to appear for wartime duty. Some have been absent for more than a year.

Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty told the newspaper that the Army has chosen not to take action against them. “We just continue to work with them,” he said, “reminding them of their duty.” The soldiers belong to the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR).

To partly make up for the lack of soldiers, private companies are hiring “third-country nationals” to clean the areas where the troops are gathering.