Monday, May 15, 2006

Iraq - Saddam refuses to plea at his trial

The Saddam Hussein trial resumed today [Monday]. Defendants were asked to enter pleas but Saddam Hussein refused to enter any plea. “I do not recognise the traitors who were brought in…therefore I cannot answer you with a yes or no”, the former leader told the judge. The judge said the plea was a formality only and then stated to the court that the defendant had refused to enter a plea. When Saddam’s trial began over 7 months ago it was required viewing by many Iraqis. But many Iraqis now see it as a side show to the daily attacks that kill scores of people every day.
Meanwhile, the troubles continue on the ground as the coalition of the willing take more casualties in further unrest. More British soldiers were injured in Basra on Sunday and a wave of attacks around the rest of the country saw more than 40 Iraqis killed. Three soldiers were injured in attacks in Basra when their camp came under attack and the MOD released further details of those killed on Saturday by a roadside bomb [BBC]. The Ministry of Defence named them as Private Joseva Lewaicei, 25, from Fiji, and Pte Adam Morris, 19, both of 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment. The latest deaths increased the number of British military casualties in Iraq since 2003 to 111. Meanwhile the US death toll rose again after four marines were killed near Karma in the Anbar province [CNN]. The deaths resulted not as a result of enemy action, according to military sources, but was caused when their M1A1 Abrams tank rolled off a bridge. In an attempt to discredit the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Major General Rick Lynch showed a ‘complete’ video of Zaqarwi which had been uncovered by US authorities [CNN]. Lynch showed parts of the "complete video" that pictured the militant leader and what he called "supposedly competent" aides after al-Zarqawi was seen firing the machine gun. Al-Zarqawi is seen walking toward a white pickup truck in "New Balance tennis shoes" with associates around him, called "his trusted advisers" by Lynch. They "do things like grab the hot barrel of a machine gun and burn themselves," Lynch said, narrating the video to reporters. Lynch said the images he showed indicate that al-Zarqawi "tends to have a problem" with mastering his own weapons system and with finding capable and competent aides. "Why he's their leader, I don't know." But the question perhaps is why the US has been unable to capture or kill a terrorist of such apparent incompetence. Posted by Picasa

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