Military: more evidence of Iran-made explosives
In the latest attempt to link the deadliest form of roadside bombs in Iraq to components manufactured in Iran, U.S. Army officers Monday displayed...
BAGHDAD, Iraq — In the latest attempt to link the deadliest form of roadside bombs in Iraq to components manufactured in Iran, U.S. Army officers Monday displayed plastic explosives they said were made in Iran and recovered during a raid Saturday in violence-racked Diyala province.
An Army explosives expert said the C-4 plastic explosives were used to make lethal bombs that the military calls EFPs — explosively formed projectiles. The explosives were found alongside enough bomb-making materials to build 150 EFPs capable of penetrating heavily armored vehicles, according to the expert, Maj. Martin Weber.
Mortars and rockets found in the same cache also were manufactured in Iran, Weber said. The cache included 150 machine-milled copper plates that form a lid on the projectile. When the weapons explode, those lids form balls of molten metal that can punch through the armor on vehicles.
The briefing was the third in two weeks in which U.S. military officials set forth evidence that they said showed Iran's hand in Iraq's violence. By contrast with previous sessions, officers at Monday's display were careful not to accuse the Iranian government of involvement. U.S. officials have had to backtrack from previous assertions of direct involvement by Iran's top government officials.
Weber said cutting, stamping and milling the copper plates requires technical expertise, as does arming and triggering the EFPs. He said Iran has the necessary expertise. That country provides weapons and technical support for Hezbollah, which has used similar explosive devices in southern Lebanon.
Referring to the C-4, rockets and mortars, Weber said, "you can establish the country of origin, and that is a fact."
EFPs have killed at least 170 U.S. troops, according to U.S. officials. So far, 3,155 U.S. troops have died in the war. The military reported a Marine died Monday in Anbar province.
Proposal for boosting oil production set
BAGHDAD, Iraq — After months of negotiations over the postwar spoils of Iraq's most valuable natural resource, the government announced Monday night that it had approved a draft plan to ramp up oil production and share the proceeds.
The agreement must still be approved by Parliament, but because all of Iraq's vested ethnic and regional interests are represented in the Cabinet, the deal was viewed as having overcome a significant hurdle.
The United States has long wanted to capitalize on Iraq's oil resources, especially as a means of paying for the country's reconstruction since the 2003 invasion.
The agreement will open international investment in Iraq's oil industry — a bonanza for foreign oil companies.
Iraq's oil riches predominantly lie in the Kurdish-controlled north and the Shiite-controlled south. Reaching an agreement essentially required both parties to be willing to share their bounty with Sunnis in the middle — a particularly painful prospect as Sunnis under Saddam Hussein controlled the entire government.
Kurds, who are pushing a referendum on withdrawal from Iraq, wanted more control over their ability to strike contracts with foreign firms and spend profits as they see fit.
According to the statement from the office of U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, all revenues from oil sales will go into a single national account, but all regions and provinces will have a seat on an energy policy-making body, and provinces will receive shares of revenue and have control over how they spend it.
The oil sector in Iraq has not been in full-scale development since the 1980s, but it is expected to bring in $31 billion this year.
Withdrawal timetable supported in poll
WASHINGTON — With Congress preparing for renewed debate over President Bush's Iraq war policies, a majority of Americans now support setting a deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces from the war-torn nation and also support putting new conditions on the military that could limit the number of personnel available for duty there, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News Poll.
Opposition to Bush's plan to send an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq remained strong, with two in three Americans registering their disapproval — 56 percent said they strongly object.
The Post-ABC poll found that 53 percent of Americans favored setting a deadline for troop withdrawals.
This is the first time a Post-ABC News poll has found a majority of Americans supported establishing such a timetable for withdrawal.
The Post-ABC News poll found that 46 percent of Americans supported restricting funding for the war while a bare majority, 51 percent, opposed it.
The latest poll also registered a new low on the question of whether the Iraq war was worth fighting. Just 34 percent responded that the war was worth fighting while 64 percent said it was not — 51 percent strongly. On this question, 51 percent of military veterans and 53 percent of veteran households said they strongly believe the war was not worth fighting.
Seattle Times news services
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.
(The Associated Press) Fuel rules get support A Consumer Federation of America survey conducted in April found that a large majority of Americans R...
Post a comment