Posts Tagged ‘war’

Falcon.50

Everybody might heard about the USS Stark incident in the 17th of May, 1987, so I am not going into much details about that we already know. If however you know nothing about it then read its Wikipedia entry

The following is a summarized description about the incident from the Iraqi perspective. It is based on a small interview with one of the Iraqi crew on that Falcon 50.

First of all, the Falcon 50 that hit the USS Stark was originally a part of the Presidential Squadron that belonged to Saddam Hussein. It was sent back to France to be modified so it can carry the AM.39 Exocet anti-shipping missiles. So half of the Falcon 50’s cockpit was converted into a Mirage F.1 cockpit. After that the airplane returned and was stationed in Saddam AB nearby Mosul.

Its crew consists of 2 pilots, one handles the Falcon 50 side and the other pilot handles the Mirage F.1 side. With 2 technicians (Master Sergeants) accompanying them. The Falcon 50 pilot is tasked with taking the airplane to the target and then the Mirage F.1 pilot takes control to hit that target then return the controls to the first pilot so he can pilot it back to home.

At that day we received information that there was a large naval target nearby the shores of Bahrain. However no more details were given about the nature of this target, usually they are oil tankers carrying Iranian oil.

The crew of that airplane was tasked with hitting that target, the airplane was loaded two AM.39 Exocet missiles and took off from Saddam AB, when they reached Basra they refueled the airplane and continued their way to the target. When they got nearby it at sunset the usual procedure was to start a radio silence, at that point they discovered that the target was in fact an American vessel.

Then a dilemma started inside the cockpit of the Falcon 50 among its crew, they didn’t know what was the target until and so did their high command. And since they can’t call their HQ back and inform them about the new development due to the radio silence, they have to decide whether to hit it or not right now. So they started to discuss both options. If they hit the American frigate then they might not survive because US Navy aircraft will shot them down not to mention that they will cause an International crisis between USA and their own country. If they don’t then their commander might get very upset and court martial them to be shot because they disobeyed a direct military order. So they decided to fire their missiles at it anyway.

The airplane got closer to the frigate, and they did receive the ship’s radio message where it identified itself to them and asked them for their identification but they didn’t pay attention to it nor cared. First missile was fired, it hit the ship in its engine room but didn’t detonate (but its fuel caused fires). The radio operator in the airplane reported that the Americans are sending SOS messages. Second missile was fired, it hit the ship and detonated.

Once they were done, they started to think how to get away alive from the US Navy fighters, the first pilot decided to ascend into a high altitude and asked the technicians to close the curtains of the jet’s windows and open the internal lights to make an impression that they are carrying passengers back in the airplane. And asked everybody recite Sura al-Fatiha because they might die soon.

Suddenly a pair of USN F-14 Tomcats followed and surrounded them, one from their right and the other from their left. The Iraqi pilots could see the American counterparts sitting in their cockpits and vice-versa. The American formation leader pointed to the Iraqis by hand to open communication with him via radio and so they did. The American asked them: “What are you doing in this area? Where are you coming from and where to are you going?”. The Iraqi pilot answered: “We are Iraqis and we have VIPs from the Iraqi government on board”. Then the American asked: “And who are those VIPs?”. The Iraq replied shortly: “I can’t tell you that, this is a state secret”.

The American pilot was apparently a bit suspicious but he couldn’t do anything because all he was seeing is a civilian jet, so he ordered his wing man to go and both left. That’s how the Iraqi Faclon 50 escaped a probable death. The airplane was refueled again in Basra and then continued its trip to Saddam AB. The next each pilot was awarded with 5000 Iraqi Dinars (equals to 30600 nowadays US Dollars) from the high command, and each technician was awarded with a Volkswagen Passat B1 salon car (called Brazili in Iraq because it was manufactured in Brazil) and were never punished for that incident. That was the first and last mission for this modified Falcon 50.

American losses were: 37 killed, 21 wounded and a damaged frigate. The ship was repaired later at the cost of $142 million. And was decommissioned in 1999 after serving in the Gulf War.

Saddam Hussein inspecting the French made Falcon.50

Iraqi Soldier Posing In Front of Mural

While going through my old files that I’ve written in the last 10 years. I’ve came through this short poem (I am not sure if we can call it a poem) that I wrote (or tried to write).

I wrote this piece in summer 2006. And it is dedicated to all Iraqi soldiers who lost their lives while defending for our fathers’ land freedom, independence and prosperity.

The ‘poem’ isn’t perfect at all. I appreciate all harsh or not so harsh criticism. Hope you will like it.

As the comrades prepared their gear
Without any kind of reluctance or fear
As the assault has no control nor steer
Where the engagement could be very near
As I begun running here
We started to strike the rear
As the enemy shouldn’t be able to hear
While men already done the tear
As we sticked together like smear
When we are already going to shear
As we knew that some of us will meet the Dear
What a shout can’t be taken by any ear
STRIKE…
We cried…
We are at the tip of the Spear.

You may have noticed that I intentionally made the poem open to interpretations and it probably means nothing at all.

 

Red Crescent Movement, Wasit Branch have found an old Iraqi woman that lives like cavemen whom we all read about in history three days ago.

A source inside the organization said:

“we have provided the aid to this woman who is living inside a hole in a tiny hill of sand located near Al-Hayy county 45Km from Wasit Governorate.”

The source added that the hole which the woman used as a living place is made from metallic plates and wood then covered by sand and dirt, and the only main entrance to it is so narrow. The source affirmed that the old woman was frightened when she saw the time of the Red Crescent during their visit to provide her help, the woman who is 70 years old couldn’t speak with comprehensible words, also the source added that there are two rooms built by bricks and mud resides beside the ‘cave’.

The source also affirmed that this woman lived in that place for many decades and she is living on the food provided by the locals who are living around that area, and she has two daughters who are working as goats’ shepherds and one of the old woman brothers were living in a ‘hole’ besides hers but died because a attack by either wolves or foxes that usually inhabit that land.

And at the end of his statement, the source said that the Red Crescent is planning to make routine visits to her and give her what she need from food and water.

Original Source (Arabic)

My comment:

The statement didn’t say why this woman decided to live in this so called cave, although it is good to give her food and water, but they should really have to focus on helping her by providing better living place than a hole and trying to rehabitation and  healing her mentally!

And she is not the only one starving in Iraq, many ‘sane’ people in Iraq are also in need to food (especially widows and orphans) and pure water (especially in rural or remote villages and places ravaged by the war).

In opinion, all Iraqis are going to be cavemen sooner or later if the situation kept worsening like this, as the war destroyed the infrastructure and harmed the civilized life and society there.