March 07, 2005

Always a day away, redux

In other news, the Americans are liberating Samarra again. For previous attempts to control Samarra, click here.

The short version is the second or possibly third attempt to install a pro-American city leadership failed when they all resigned last week, apparently because the Americans wouldn't leave. This led, as in October, to anti-American marches in the street, which led the Americans, as in October, to conclude Zarqawi was in the city, which has now led, as in October, to the current lockdown. The forcible reoccupation, once again with a prominent role for those Iraqi troops which fixed everything the last time, would seem inevitable.

Also in other news, the Dutch have nearly finished their pullout. Their contingent in southern Iraq had two fatalities during its time there. They had been the seventh-largest contingent in Iraq for some time, with 1500 soldiers at the peak of their deployment.

This leaves the coalition (non-US) or Iraqi forces comprising:

3 UK Division, with one Italian brigade and a Romanian battalion (11,000 total);
A South Korean brigade (2,800);
Single battalions from Denmark, El Salvador and Georgia (3-500 ea);
A battalion group en route from Australia.

Everything else is non-combat, or tokenistic. With the exception of the Salvadorans, the entire Multi-National Division (South), which also comprises a Polish brigade, a Ukrainian brigade, and a Bulgarian battalion, is headed home by the end of the year, at which point the division will presumably be stood down.

Total Iraq coalition fatalities to date are: Britain, 86; Italy, 21*; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 17; Spain, 11; Bulgaria, 8; Slovakia, 3; Estonia and Thailand, 2 each; 1 each from Denmark, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, and El Salvador.

*including the Intelligence officer killed late last week at a U.S. checkpoint. You'd think 21 dead would give a country some immunity from jingopunditry accusations of "ineptitude". Apparently not.

Posted by BruceR at 10:15 AM