Author Topic: Iraq  (Read 402821 times)


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #50 on: November 07, 2006, 01:52:20 PM »
Very well said!


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #51 on: November 08, 2006, 06:02:19 PM »
Back to Iraq
By George Friedman

The midterm congressional elections have given the Democrats control of the U.S. House of Representatives. It is possible -- as of this writing, on Wednesday afternoon -- that the Senate could also go to the Democrats, depending on the outcome of one extremely close race in Virginia. However it finally turns out, it is quite certain that this midterm was a national election, in the sense that the dominant issue was not a matter of the local concerns in congressional districts, but the question of U.S. policy in Iraq. What is clear is that the U.S. electorate has shifted away from supporting the Bush administration's conduct of the war. What is not clear at all is what they have shifted toward. It is impossible to discern any consensus in the country as to what ought to be done.

Far more startling than the election outcome was the sudden resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld had become the lightning rod for critics of the war, including many people who had supported the war but opposed the way it was executed. Extraordinarily, President George W. Bush had said last week that Rumsfeld would stay on as secretary of defense until the end of his presidential term. It is possible that Rumsfeld surprised Bush by resigning in the immediate wake of the election -- but if that were the case, Bush would not have had a replacement already lined up by the afternoon of Nov. 8. The appointment of Robert Gates as secretary of defense means two things: One is that Rumsfeld's resignation was in the works for at least a while (which makes Bush's statement last week puzzling, to say the least); the other is that a shift is under way in White House policy on the war.

Gates is close to the foreign policy team that surrounded former President George H. W. Bush. Many of those people have been critical of, or at least uneasy with, the current president's Iraq policy. Moving a man like Gates into the secretary of defense position indicates that Bush is shifting away from his administration's original team and back toward an older cadre that was not always held in high esteem by this White House.

The appointment of Gates is of particular significance because he was a member of the Iraq Study Group (ISG). The ISG has been led by another member of the Bush 41 team, former Secretary of State James Baker. The current president created the ISG as a bipartisan group whose job was to come up with new Iraq policy options for the White House. The panel consisted of people who have deep experience in foreign policy and no pressing personal political ambitions. The members included former House Foreign Relations Committee chairman Lee Hamilton, a Democrat, who co-chairs the group with Baker; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican; former Clinton adviser Vernon Jordan; Leon Panetta, who served as White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration; former Clinton administration Defense Secretary William Perry; former Sen. Chuck Robb, a Democrat; Alan Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming; and Edwin Meese, who served as attorney general under the Reagan administration.

Before Rumsfeld's resignation, it had not been entirely clear what significance the ISG report would have. For the Democrats -- controlling at least one chamber of Congress, and lacking any consensus themselves as to what to do about Iraq -- it had been expected that the ISG report would provide at least some platform from which to work, particularly if Bush did not embrace the panel's recommendations. And there had, in fact, been some indications from Bush that he would listen to the group's recommendations, but not necessarily implement them. Given the results of the Nov. 7 elections, it also could be surmised that the commission's report would become an internal issue for the Republican Party as well, as it looked ahead to the 2008 presidential campaign. With consensus that something must change, and no consensus as to what must change, the ISG report would be treated as a life raft for both Democrats and Republicans seeking a new strategy in the war. The resulting pressure would be difficult to resist, even for Bush. If he simply ignored the recommendations, he could lose a large part of his Republican base in Congress.

At this point, however, the question mark as to the president's response seems to have been erased, and the forthcoming ISG report soars in significance. For the administration, it would be politically unworkable to appoint a member of the panel as secretary of defense and then ignore the policies recommended.

Situation Review

It is, of course, not yet clear precisely what policy the administration will be adopting in Iraq. But to envision what sort of recommendations the ISG might deliver, we must first consider the current strategy.

Essentially, U.S. strategy in Iraq is to create an effective coalition government, consisting of all the major ethnic and sectarian groups. In order to do that, the United States has to create a security environment in which the government can function. Once this has been achieved, the Iraqi government would take over responsibility for security. The problem, however, is twofold. First, U.S. forces have not been able to create a sufficiently secure environment for the government to function. Second, there are significant elements within the coalition that the United States is trying to create who either do not want such a government to work -- and are allied with insurgents to bring about its failure -- or who want to improve their position within the coalition, using the insurgency as leverage. In other words, U.S. forces are trying to create a secure environment for a coalition whose members are actively working to undermine the effort.

The core issue is that no consensus exists among Iraqi factions as to what kind of country they want. This is not only a disagreement among Sunnis, Shia and Kurds, but also deep disagreements within these separate groups as to what a national government (or even a regional government, should Iraq be divided) should look like. It is not that the Iraqi government in Baghdad is not doing a good job, or that it is corrupt, or that it is not motivated. The problem is that there is no Iraqi government as we normally define the term: The "government" is an arena for political maneuvering by mutually incompatible groups.

Until the summer of 2006, the U.S. strategy had been to try to forge some sort of understanding among the Iraqi groups, using American military power as a goad and guarantor of any understandings. But the decision by the Shia, propelled by Iran, to intensify operations against the Sunnis represented a deliberate decision to abandon the political process. More precisely, in our view, the Iranians decided that the political weakness of George W. Bush, the military weakness of U.S. forces in Iraq, and the general international environment gave them room to reopen the question of the nature of the coalition, the type of regime that would be created and the role that Iran could play in Iraq. In other words, the balanced coalition government that the United States wanted was no longer attractive to the Iranians and Iraqi Shia. They wanted more.

The political foundation for U.S. military strategy dissolved. The possibility of creating an environment sufficiently stable for an Iraqi government to operate -- when elements of the Iraqi government were combined with Iranian influence to raise the level of instability -- obviously didn't work. The United States might have had enough force in place to support a coalition government that was actively seeking and engaged in stabilization. It did not have enough force to impose its will on multiple insurgencies that were supported by factions of the government the United States was trying to stabilize.

By the summer of 2006, the core strategy had ceased to function.

The Options

It is in this context that the ISG will issue its report. There have been hints as to what the group might recommend, but the broad options boil down to these:

1. Recommend that the United States continue with the current strategy: military operations designed to create a security environment in which an Iraqi government can function.

2. Recommend the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces and allow the Iraqis to sort out their political problems.

3. Recommend a redeployment of forces in Iraq, based around a redefinition of the mission.

4. Recommend a redefinition of the political mission in Iraq.

We are confident that the ISG will not recommend a continuation of the first policy. James Baker has already hinted at the need for change, since it is self-evident at this point that the existing strategy isn't working. It is possible that the strategy could work eventually, but there is no logical reason to believe that this will happen anytime soon, particularly as the president has now been politically weakened. The Shia and Iranians, at this point, are even less likely to be concerned about Washington's military capability in Iraq than they were before the election. And at any rate, Baker and Hamilton didn't travel personally to Iraq only to come back and recommend the status quo.

Nor will they recommend an immediate withdrawal of troops. Apart from the personalities involved, the ISG participants are painfully aware that a unilateral withdrawal at this point, without a prior political settlement, would leave Iran as the dominant power in the region -- potentially capable of projecting military force throughout the Persian Gulf, as well as exerting political pressure through Shiite communities in Gulf states. Only the United States has enough force to limit the Iranians at this point, and an immediate withdrawal from Iraq would leave a huge power vacuum.

We do believe that the ISG will recommend a fundamental shift in the way U.S. forces are used. The troops currently are absorbing casualties without moving closer to their goal, and it is not clear that they can attain it. If U.S. forces remain in Iraq -- which will be recommended -- there will be a shift in their primary mission. Rather than trying to create a secure environment for the Iraqi government, their mission will shift to guaranteeing that Iran, and to a lesser extent Syria, do not gain further power and influence in Iraq. Nothing can be done about the influence they wield among Iraqi Shia, but the United States will oppose anything that would allow them to move from a covert to an overt presence in Iraq. U.S. forces will remain in-country but shift their focus to deterring overt foreign intrusion. That means a redeployment and a change in day-to-day responsibility. U.S. forces will be present in Iraq but not conducting continual security operations.

Two things follow from this. First, the Iraqis will be forced to reach a political accommodation with each other or engage in civil war. The United States will concede that it does not have the power to force them to agree or to prevent them from fighting. Second, the issue of Iran -- its enormous influence in Iraq -- will have to be faced directly, or else U.S. troops will be tied up there indefinitely.

It has been hinted that the ISG is thinking of recommending that Washington engage in negotiations with Iran over the future of Iraq. Tehran offered such negotiations last weekend, and this has been the Iranian position for a while. There have been numerous back-channel discussions, and some open conversations, between Washington and Tehran. The stumbling block has been that the United States has linked the possibility of these talks to discussions of Iran's nuclear policy; Iran has rejected that, always seeking talks on Iraq without linkages. If the rumors are true, and logic says they are, the ISG will suggest that Washington should delink the nuclear issue and hold talks with Iran about a political settlement over Iraq.

This is going to be the hard part for Bush. The last thing he wants is to enhance Iranian power. But the fact is that Iranian power already has been enhanced by the ability of Iraqi Shia to act with indifference to U.S. wishes. By complying with this recommendation, Washington would not be conceding much. It would be acknowledging reality. Of course, publicly acknowledging what has happened is difficult, but the alternative is a continuation of the current strategy -- also difficult. Bush has few painless choices.

What a settlement with Iran would look like is, of course, a major question. We have discussed that elsewhere. For the moment, the key issue is not what a settlement would look like but whether there can be a settlement at all with Iran -- or even direct discussions. In a sense, that is a more difficult problem than the final shape of an agreement.

We expect the ISG, therefore, to make a military and political recommendation. Militarily, the panel will argue for a halt in aggressive U.S. security operations and a redeployment of forces in Iraq, away from areas of unrest. Security will have to be worked out by the Iraqis -- or not. Politically, the ISG will argue that Washington will have to talk directly to the other major stakeholder, and power broker, in Iraq: Tehran.

In short, the group will recommend a radical change in the U.S. approach not only to Iraq, but to the Muslim world in general.

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« Reply #52 on: November 14, 2006, 10:00:56 AM »

BAGHDAD, Iraq ? U.S. troops captured 10 terrorists while conducting an early morning raid today in Baghdad. Credible intelligence indicates the terrorists have ties to key leaders of al-Qaeda in Iraq?s network. 

It is believed they are associated with terrorists who are involved in the housing, movement and enabling of foreign fighters, to include the organization of suicide operations within Baghdad.   

Although this is another significant blow to al-Qaeda in Iraq, the terrorist organization still poses a threat as its members continue to try and terrorize the Iraqi people

Iraqi Army captures 3 terrorists in search for IED supplier

BAGHDAD ? Special Iraqi Army Forces, with Coalition advisers, conducted a raid Nov. 11 in Abu Ghraib to capture a criminal who is providing supplies for improvised explosive devices to an IED cell in the area.  The cell is believed to be responsible for bombings which kill and injure Iraqi civilians and security forces.

The Iraqi Force confiscated several sniper and assault rifles during the raid and captured 3 terrorists.

Special IA troops capture terrorists in search for death squad leader

BAGHDAD ? Special Iraqi Army forces, with coalition advisers, conducted a raid Nov. 10, in Sadr City to capture a top-level death squad leader who is responsible for carrying out widespread death squad activities in eastern Baghdad.

This criminal controls the actions of multiple cells, with hundreds of cell members, that conduct murder and torture, kidnappings, improvised explosive devices attacks and other attacks against civilians and Iraqi security forces. 

Iraqi Army forces captured 5 terrorists during the raid and confiscated six improvised explosive devices and Iraqi military uniforms.

IA captures terrorist in search during search
BAGHDAD ? 7th Iraqi Army Division forces, with coalition advisers, conducted a raid Nov. 10 in Al Hawz near Ramadi to capture members of an insurgent cell responsible for attacks in the Ramadi area.  Iraqi Army forces captured one terrorist during the raid.

Iraqi Army captures leader of insurgent cell

BAGHDAD ? 8th Iraqi Army Division forces, with coalition advisers, conducted a raid Nov. 11 near Suwayrah and captured the leader of an insurgent cell responsible for attacks.  The cell leader is responsible for a car bomb attack in Suwayrah that killed at least nine Iraqi civilians.

The insurgent cell also coordinated an attack which destroyed an Iraqi Army headquarters in Suwayrah.  Iraqi forces captured 4 additional terrorists during the raid.

Iraqi Army busts suspected arms ring

TIKRIT, Iraq ?Iraqi soldiers apprehended 4 anti-Iraqi forces and seized a sizeable cache Thursday in an operation southeast of Kan?an.

Iraqi soldiers with 2nd brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division discovered the terrorists, along with a cache, while conducting an intelligence driven operation on an arms dealer and weapons cache.

During the search, Iraqi soldiers came under sporadic small arms fire as the AIF were attempting to flee the area.  The Iraqi soldiers eventually captured the 4 individuals and found the sizeable cache.

The cache consisted of nearly 100 rounds of machine gun ammunition, six rocket propelled grenades, five grenades, IED making materials, anti-Iraqi propaganda and three stolen cars.


CCCI convicts 25 insurgents: Two sentenced to 30 years imprisonment, eight sentenced to 15 years imprisonment   

BAGHDAD, Iraq ? The Central Criminal Court of Iraq convicted 23 individuals from Oct. 13 to 19 for various crimes including kidnapping, possession of illegal weapons, forging passports, heading, leading, joining armed groups, and illegal border crossing.

The trial court found three Iraqi men guilty of possession of illegal weapons, in violation of Order 3/2003, section 6, Paragraph 2B of the Iraqi Penal Code.  The trial panel sentenced two of the men to thirty years imprisonment and the other man to ten years imprisonment

The trial court found three Iraqi men guilty of violating Article 421 of the Iraqi Penal Code, Parts G and H.   When Coalition Forces stopped a suspicious vehicle, they heard a noise coming from the trunk. A search of the vehicle revealed an individual held captive in the trunk. CF also found weapons ammunition and large amounts of money in the vehicle. On October 18, the trial panel sentenced the men to fifteen years imprisonment.

The trial court found a Syrian man guilty of joining armed groups to unsettle the security and stability of Iraq and endangering lives in violation of Article 194 of the Iraqi Penal Code.  On 15 October the trial panel sentenced the man to fifteen years imprisonment.

Those convicted of passport violations and entering the country illegally included four Egyptians, eight Syrians, and one each from Palestine, Yemen, Jordan and Iraq.  Other sentences ranged from 18 months to 10 years imprisonment.

Since its establishment in April 2004, the Central Criminal Court has held 1,660 trials for Coalition-apprehended insurgents.  The proceedings have resulted in 1,424 convictions with sentences ranging up to death.

CCCI convicts 23 insurgents;  One sentenced to death, six sentenced to 30 years imprisonment

BAGHDAD, Iraq ? The Central Criminal Court of Iraq convicted 23 individuals from October 27 to November 1, for various crimes including  possession of illegal weapons, possessing fake civil affair and fake military identifications, using or taking advantage of someone else?s identification, heading, leading, joining armed groups, and illegal border crossing.

The trial court found a Saudi Arabian man guilty of joining armed groups to unsettle the security and stability of Iraq and endangering people?s lives in violation of Article 4/1 of the Iraqi Penal Code of the Iraqi Penal Code.  The defendant admitted to coming into Iraq illegally to fight.  On November 1, the trial panel sentenced the man to the death penalty.

The trial court found four Iraqi men guilty of possession of illegal weapons in violation of Section 6, Paragraph 2B.  The men where apprehended after conducting an attack on Multi-National Forces. A search of their vehicle revealed two RPG launchers, two PKM and one RPD machine guns, five AK-47s and a video camera used to film the attack.  On November 1, 2006, all four defendants were sentenced to thirty years imprisonment.

The trial court found two Iraqi men guilty of possession of illegal special weapons, in violation of section 6, Paragraph 2B of the Iraqi Penal Code.  The defendants were apprehended after a search of their house revealed a large cache of explosives. One of the defendants was also in possession of weapons and IED making materials. The trial panel sentenced the two men to thirty years imprisonment.

Those convicted of passport violations, forging official documents, possession of illegal weapons and entering the country illegally included three Syrians, four Iraqis, two Egyptians, two Saudi Arabians and one each from Lebanon, Yemen, France, Libya and Sudan.  Other sentences ranged from 6 months to 15 years imprisonment.

Since its establishment in April 2004, the Central Criminal Court has held 1,683 trials for Coalition-apprehended insurgents.  The proceedings have resulted in 1,447 convictions with sentences ranging up to death.

Nov. 11, 2006

Iraqi Police drive recruits 400 in Ramadi

RAMADI, Iraq ? Marking the largest recruiting drive in the Ramadi district history, over 409 men joined the Iraqi Police during a three-day recruiting drive here.

Becoming an Iraqi policeman offers young men an opportunity to have a
profession where they can protect their families.

?I want to join the Iraqi Police because I want to save my country from the
insurgency,? stated one police applicant who said the insurgents had killed his cousin.
?It is the duty of every Iraqi citizen to do what they can to protect our country? When I finish training and come back to [Ramadi to] serve, Ramadi will be even safer than it is now.?

According to Marine Maj. Jeff Wicker, Police Implementation Officer, ?The first
requirement is literacy, they have to be able to read and write? We?re getting a better quality recruit as the situation is improving and things become safer, [the potential recruits] feel more secure in coming to the recruiting drive.?

?I joined the IPs because I want to help save my country. I want peace in all Iraq,? said one local IP helping with the recruiting drive. He stated that he has seen an improvement in the security situation, ?I am very proud of everything we have accomplished.?

Potential recruits must be over 18 years of age, and pass a physical and medical test to identify any possible major problems that would keep them from completing the academy or hinder their duties as policemen later.

Dog Dave

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TOTALS SO FAR THIS WEEK: 45 terrorists killed, 117 terrorists captured
« Reply #53 on: November 16, 2006, 04:41:47 PM »

BAGHDAD, IRAQ ? U.S. troops killed 9 terrorists and captured 9 more terrorists during a raid Thursday near Yusufiyah, further diminishing the al-Qaida in Iraq network. As U.S. troops approached the targeted area, they called out for people to exit the buildings. Ground forces noticed several armed individuals in a nearby wooded area maneuvering against them.

Close air support was called in to mitigate the threat to the ground team.  U.S. Air Force aircraft engaged the terrorists with precision fires. Several of the terrorists killed were wearing suicide vests.This and other recent operations in the region highlight the deliberate, methodical dismantlement of the al-Qaida in Iraq network.

BAGHDAD, Iraq ? U.S. troops captured 18 terrorists and destroyed a cache of improvised explosive device materials while conducting multiple raids Wednesday morning.  The raids targeted individuals in the northern Baghdad region and al-Anbar Province who have direct ties to al-Qaida in Iraq terrorist cells. 

Ground troops located and detonated a stockpile of automobile batteries believed to be stored for use in vehicle-borne IED attacks on innocent Iraqi civilians and Coalition Forces.The terrorists are currently being assessed for their level of involvement in terrorist activity.   

The raids are part of ongoing, coordinated efforts to eliminate al-Qaida operations in the Baghdad region.  Coalition Forces continue to prevent suicide bombings by killing and capturing terrorists, intercepting and destroying VBIEDs (aka car bombs) and suicide vests and continuously degrading al-Qaida cells operating within Iraq.

BAGHDAD, IRAQ ? A U.S. air strike killed 3 terrorists in Yusifiyyah during an operation Monday.

U.S. troops were following the terrorists, tracking the terrorists? movement on a dirt road on the outskirts of Yusifiyya. Based on intelligence that linked the vehicle and the 3 terrorists to a local vehicle-borne improvised explosion device facilitation network, U.S. aircraft engaged and destroyed the vehicle with precision fires.

The result of this operation will significantly disrupt the VBIED production in the Baghdad region.

Iraqi Army, U.S. Soldiers seize weapons in apartment complex, 3 terrorists captured

MAHMUDIYAH, Iraq ? Iraqi Army and U.S. Soldiers seized a large weapons cache and captured 3 terrorists in an apartment complex in Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad.

Iraqi Soldiers with the Sixth Iraqi Army Division, teamed up with the 10th Mountain Division, and conducted an operation in the apartment complex. 

Three 107 mm rockets, 24 82 mm mortar rounds, 17 60 mm mortar rounds, 19 60 mm mortar fuses, 100 mortar charges, two mortar tripods and aiming devices, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, an AK-47 assault rifle, a RPK medium machine gun, false identification cards  and four license plates were seized during the operation.

The most significant find in the cache was the discovery of 25 anti-armor improvised explosive device cover plates.

The operation was delayed briefly with the discovery of a car bomb parked near the apartment complex.  An explosive ordinance team was brought in to dispose of the car bomb.  The bomb was detonated on site.


BAGHDAD, Iraq ? U.S. troops killed 8 terrorists and captured 41 other terrorists while conducting multiple raids in the Baghdad area this morning. 
During one of the raids, U.S. soldiers called for the men in a building to surrender.  The terrorists began firing on the troops and attempted to flee the building.  U.S. troops layed down serious fire from all weapons systems,  killing 8 of the terrorists and wounding one.  16 others threw down their weapons and surrendered.

These terrorists are believed to have close ties with members of an al-Qaida in Iraq terrorist cell.

In a separate incident, U.S. Soldiers captured 3 terrorists in Baghdad?s Doura Province Nov. 13.

The Soldiers, from the 4th Infantry Division, responded to a rocket attack and observed 3 terrorists fleeing from the scene.  The suspects attempted to evade the patrol, but were unsuccessful.

U.S, Iraqi forces repel attack, kill 18 terrorists, capture 14 others

KIRKUK, Iraq ? Iraqi security forces and U.S. troops came under fire when anti-Iraqi forces attacked a joint Iraqi and U.S. patrol south of Kirkuk. The enemy then fled to a compound where they were chased by the Iraqi security forces, and the fighting continued.

The fighting started during an ambush of a joint Iraqi and U.S. patrol.  It is unclear how many enemy were in the area at the time of the ambush, but estimates put the number between 25-30 enemy personnel.

After contact, the insurgents split into 2 groups to try to escape.  One group of enemy vehicles was tracked and attacked by Apache helicopters. The other group fled to a compound outside the town where they were chased by Iraqi troops.  This group was heavily armed with machine guns, rocket propelled grenades and a large stockpile of ammunition. 

The Apache attack helicopters, ground troops and close air support aircraft engaged both groups of the enemy, destroying their vehicles and hiding positions with precision fires, killing 18, capturing 14 and neutralizing various weapons and munitions. 
One Iraqi Army soldier gave his life in defense of his country and three others were wounded in action.

Iraqi Army captures 2 IED makers, 7 others

BAGHDAD ? Special Iraqi Army forces conducted a raid in Baghdad and captured 2 members of an illegally armed group responsible for constructing improvised explosive devices and car bombs.

The cell also trains other cells in producing IEDs and car bombs.  IA forces captured 9 other cell members during the raid and confiscated two Iraqi Army uniforms.



BAGHDAD, Iraq ? U.S. troops killed 5 terrorists and captured one Tuesday morning during a raid in Baghdad that targeted individuals associated with a suspected senior leader of an al-Qaeda in Iraq network.                                               

 As U.S.ground forces approached the targeted building, several people ran inside.   The assault force continued inside and received fire.  They immediately returned fire, killing 5 terrorists armed with AK-47s.  Several women and children were also in the building but they were not injured or detained. The ground forces searched the building and discovered an illegal collection of military equipment, destroying it on-site to prevent further use by al-Qaeda members.  Nine weapons were also found on the scene.

This morning?s raid was conducted as a direct result of information gained when U.S. troops captured an al-Qaeda terrorist during an Oct. 28 raid in the same area.  Both raids involved al-Qaeda in Iraq members who have a history of acquiring explosives and building deadly car bombs.   


2 terrorists killed, 5 captured during raid in Balad

BAGHDAD, Iraq ? U.S. troops engaged and killed 2 terrorists while en route to their objective in Balad during an early morning raid.

During the mission, the soldiers observed 2 terrorists placing a roadside bomb and fleeing to an unknown location when they saw the soldiers approaching. The soldiers safely detonated the bomb and continued their mission. 

While continuing their mission, the soldiers observed two other terrorists maneuvering toward their location armed with weapons, including a rocket propelled grenade, a machine gun, and grenades.  The troops engaged with heavy direct fire killing the 2 terrorists.   

Despite the terrorists? ambush attempts, the U.S. troops successfully continued their operation and captured 5 terrorists.

Nov. 13, 2006
Two Task Force Lightning Soldiers killed, two others wounded

TIKRIT, Iraq ? Two Soldiers assigned to 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, were killed Sunday when a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) detonated near their vehicle while conducting operations in Salah ad Din Province.

Two other Soldiers were wounded in the blast and were transported to a Coalition forces medical treatment facility.
Iraqi Army captures kidnapping, murder-cell suspects

BAGHDAD ? Forces from the 7th Iraqi Army Division, with U.S. advisors, conducted a raid Nov. 14 in Ramadi to capture members of a kidnapping and murder cell responsible for abducting, torturing and murdering Iraqi civilian and Iraqi security forces.

The cell members are also responsible for emplacing improvised explosive devices that injure and kill Iraqi police. Iraqi Army forces captured 8 terrorists during the raid.

U.S. troops capture members of insurgent cell

BAGHDAD ? U.S. troops captured 6 insurgents and detained one other suspect Nov 13. in Baghdad during a raid against an insurgent cell responsible for deadly attacks against Iraqi civilians and Iraqi Security Forces in the area.

The insurgent cell is linked to Al Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgent groups and conducts IED, rocket and mortar attacks against innocent Iraqis.


 45 terrorists killed, 117 captured

Of course, the American Public only knows that we've lost 45 troops die this month...not that we have taken out 162 terrorists in less than one week!


oh, by the way:             CCCI convicts 13 insurgents


BAGHDAD, Iraq ? The Central Criminal Court of Iraq convicted 13 detainees from November 2 to 9, for various crimes.

The trial court found 4 Iraqi men guilty of possession of illegal special weapons and for using and forging fake identification. U.S. personnel searched two vehicles after observing the defendants throw a pistol out of one of the vehicle?s window.  The search of both vehicles revealed 35 82mm mortar rounds, eight 122mm artillery rounds and one 12.7mm machine gun. The defendants were found in violation of the Iraqi Penal Code.  On November 7, the trial panel sentenced one man to 42 years imprisonment and sentenced the other three men to 30 years imprisonment. 

The trial court found three Iraqi men guilty of possession of illegal special weapons, in violation of the Iraqi Penal Code. The defendants surrendered to U.S. troops after the defendants fled a targeted house, engaged U.S. personnel in a firefight, and were found with one PKC machine gun, three RPG launchers, five AK-47s, and five hand grenades. On November 8, the trial panel sentenced the three men to 15 years imprisonment.

There were six men convicted of passport violations, forging official documents, possession of illegal weapons, and entering the country illegally.  The sentences ranged from between six months to 10 years imprisonment. Those convicted include three Iraqis, two Saudi Arabians, and one from Egypt.     (THANK YOU FOR VISITING OUR SECURITY FORCES - ENJOY YOUR STAY - FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS)



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The First Iraq
« Reply #54 on: November 17, 2006, 03:13:31 PM »
Friday, November 17, 2006

The First Iraq

Although history never quite repeats itself, current events often resemble earlier occasions so closely there is a temptation to draw lessons from them. Imagine a time when America found itself in a war against a foreign foe whose strategy was to inflict a constant rate of loss on the army; invited US and British reporters to feed antiwar elements with atrocity stories; when US commanders who expected a quick war against a corrupt and oligarchic native elite found they had roused the countryside against them. Imagine a time when the issue of this war was central to an American Presidential election, caused a split in one of the major parties and planted the seeds for a world war. Not Iraq. The war was Philippine-American War and the election that of 1912.

According to the McKinley administration the enemy was not the Filipino population. It was the Spanish oppressor and later, the perfidious and parasitical indigenous landed elite. At the opposite end, "the goal, or end-state, sought by the Filipino Republic was a sovereign, independent, socially stable Philippines led by the illustrado oligarchy. ... The peasants, who provided the bulk of guerilla manpower, had interests different from their illustrado leaders." What flung the oligarchy and the peasants together momentarily was common opposition to the invading US Army. Far from being unsophisticated yokels, the strategic goal of Philippine Republic generals was to send home enough body bags to persuade the mainstream media of the day to electorally repudiate the Republican administration in Washington.

The Filipino general Francisco Makabulos described the Filipinos' war aim as, "not to vanquish the US Army but to inflict on them constant losses." They sought to initially use conventional (later guerilla) tactics and an increasing toll of US casualties to contribute to McKinley's defeat in the 1900 presidential election. Their hope was that as President the avowedly anti-imperialist William Jennings Bryan would withdraw from the Philippines.

Unfortunately for the insurrectos, the electorate of 1900 elected to "stay the course". McKinley's victory in 1900 convinced the Filipinos that the US would not soon embark upon a "responsible redeployment". Washington's stated aim was to remove the obscurantist and bloodthirsty Spanish regime from the backs of the downtrodden Islanders and give them a government better than could be provided by the landed illustrado elite. For a long time, however, the War Department publicly pursued this aim. But as armed resistance refused to end, newspapers charged the Department was in denial about the existence and scale of the insurgency against US forces, rejecting the belief that Philippine President Aguinaldo simply represented an elite faction which could never command the loyalty of the downtrodden peasantry. While General Otis maintained the problem consisted of remnants of the old regime, the mainstream media soon began to publish criticisms uttered by none other than Otis' own field commanders. General Arthur McArthur (Douglas' father) told a reporter:

When I first started in against these rebels, I believed that Aguinaldo?s troops represented only a faction. I did not like to believe that the whole population of Luzon?the native population that is?was opposed to us and our offers of aid and good government. But after having come this far, after having occupied several towns and cities in succession, and having been brought much into contact with both insurrectos and amigos, I have been reluctantly compelled to believe that the Filipino masses are loyal to Aguinaldo and the government which he heads.

Faced with a deepening quagmire in an archipelago larger than the State of California Washington agonized over which strategy to use against "a widening insurgency". Arthur McArthur believed in meeting force with ineluctable force. US forces began to take no prisoners, relocate whole towns into controllable areas and recruit indigenous troops. This met with some success and persistent efforts were crowned by a masterful operation in which the US Army captured the leader of the insurrectos in the "spider hole" of his day.

General Frederick Funston was able to use Aguinaldo's poor security against him, when Funston on March 23, 1901 in northern Luzon, faked capture with the help of some Macabebe Filipinos who had joined the Americans' side. Once Funston and his "captors" entered Aguinaldo's camp, they immediately fell upon the guards and quickly overwhelmed them and the weary Aguinaldo. On April 1, 1901, at the Malaca?ang palace in Manila Aguinaldo swore an oath accepting the authority of the United States over the Philippines and pledging his allegiance to the American government. Three weeks later he publicly called on his followers to lay down arms.

This slowed, but did not end the fighting, which spread south to involve Muslim fanatics whose ultimate weapon was the suicide kris charge. Worse, the insurgents had cleverly learned how to use the mainstream media to undermine McKinley's policy. Prior to his capture Emilio Aguinaldo had

managed to smuggle in four reporters?two English, one Canadian, and a Japanese into the Philippines. The correspondents returned to Manila to report that American captives were ?treated more like guests than prisoners,? were ?fed the best that the country affords, and everything is done to gain their favor.? The story went on to say that American prisoners were offered commissions in the Filipino army and that three had accepted. The four reporters were expelled from the Philippines as soon as their stories were printed.

The newspapers were full of allegations of the mistreatment of prisoners; of waterboarding -- the so-called water-cure -- and the cry was taken up by groups like the Anti-Imperialist League, which included politicians, media celebrities and billionaires like William Jennings Bryan, Mark Twain and Andrew Carnegie. But unexpectedly, the tide turned. The real breakthrough came when William Howard Taft, who had been appointed by McKinley to take charge of the situation on the ground, persuaded Washington to return to the spirit of the original mission: to never forget that America had gone into to the Philippines to spread democracy. Taft, who later became Chief Justice after his Presidency engineered Arthur McArthur's removal. He argued that America could not treat the Filipinos so harshly because they were "our little brown brothers". Dean Bocobo at the Philippine Commentary blog has argued that no phrase in history has been so twisted from its original context. Taft's "little brown brother" phrase is portrayed as synonymous with condescending colonialism; what is never remembered is that it was uttered in opposition to Arthur McArthur's mailed-fist approach. Taft eased McArthur from command and replaced him with a powerful weapon in the shape of an Army troopship carrying American teachers: the USS Thomas.

The Thomasites are a group of about five hundred pioneer American teachers sent by the American government to the Philippines in August 1901 to establish a public school system, to teach basic education and to train Filipino teachers, with English as the medium of instruction. The name Thomasite was derived from the transport vessel, the USS Thomas (formerly Minnewaska), that brought them to the shores of Manila Bay. Although two groups of new American graduates arrived in the Philippines before the USS Thomas, the name Thomasite became the designation of all pioneer American teachers simply because the USS Thomas had the largest contingent. Later batches of American teachers were also dubbed as the Thomasites.

It proved the decisive weapon. How decisive was illustrated 40 years later, when Filipinos would fight side by side with the US Army against the Japanese. Taft could little have imagined in 1901 that another Chief Justice, Philippine Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos, would choose in 1941 to be executed by the Japanese rather than renounce his allegiance to the American flag.

Abad Santos was captured by the Japanese near Carcar, Cebu. He was subjected to gruelling investigations for three weeks and was asked to contact General Manuel Roxas and to renounce his allegiance to the United States of America. He replied with dignity and courage: I cannot accede to the things you ask of me. To obey your commands is tantamount to being a traitor to the United States and my country. I would prefer to die rather than live in shame."

He was brought to Parang, Cotabato, and finally to Malabang, Lanao del Sur, where he was told of his impending execution. When his son learned of the verdict, he bust into tears, but Chief Justice Abad Santos confronted him, saying with sincere tenderness: "Do not cry Pepito. Show these people that you are brave. It is a rare opportunity far me to die for our country. Not everybody is given that chance."

Though Taft had won no one had realized it as yet. The attitudes engendered by the Philippine American War lingered in Washington. In 1912 Woodrow Wilson would win the Presidency with the minority of the vote against a divided Republican Party -- sundered by the schism between Taft and Theodore Roosevelt and decide to "cut and run" in a phased transition that would eventually deposit the Philippines in the hands of the illustrado elite.

Nationalist circles in the Philippines were elated over the election of Woodrow Wilson as President ... in 1912 ... Since 1900 the Democrats had voiced anti-imperialist sentiments ... To friends of insular independence, the Democratic victory raised great expectations for the success of their cause. ...

Wilson's views on the Philippine had undergone change over the years since 1898. First reportedly opposing annexation of the Islands, he later advocated a policy of American tutelage to prepare ... The 1912 Baltimore platform, although favoring retention of naval bases, had called for "an immediate declaration ... to recognize the independence of the Islands as soon as a stable government can be established."

But the downside of Wilson's policies, though well intentioned, were too subtle to be understood at the time. The effect of his Fourteen Points in raising, then dashing expectations in Germany is well known and laid the seeds for the rise of Fascism in the 1930s. Wilson's role in ending the Great War inadvertently concluded it in a way that set the stage for World War 2. Less well known are the effects of Wilson's policies in the Pacific. The effect of the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty was to destabilize the Pacific and put the Philippines behind a ring of Japanese-held islands. But its long term effect on Filipinos was to belatedly grant Aguinaldo's war aims. The illustrado elite inherited the colonial government structure while the mass of the inhabitants remained in economic, cultural and political subordination. And so it remained until the early part of the 21st century.

What finally weakened the Filipino elite was economic globalization. By the late 20th century the descendants of the illustrados had nearly run their patrimony into the ground. And to cover up their failures they resorted to the time-tested technique of scapegoating their enemies; first blaming the economic role of foreigners; then junking the American-era Constitution modeled largely after that of the US; finally in 1992 closing the last of the American bases that Wilson wanted retained. The one legacy they had not succeeded in completely dismantling was that of the Thomasites. English remained the official, though declining, medium of higher instruction until 2001 when it was finally replaced by Pilipino at all levels of education. The displacement was to last two whole years.

Even as the "nationalists" put the capstone on their decaying edifice the "peasants" were deserting their structure wholesale. By the early 21st century fully 11% of the entire Filipino population had fled to work abroad, though the percentage was probably higher. As a proportion of population it was a diaspora unprecedented in modern history. There are twelve million overseas Filipinos. By comparison there are only 35 million overseas Chinese. In 2003 the Philippine elite woke to the fact that overseas Filipinos were literally keeping their decaying kingdom afloat, providing 13.5% of total GDP, chiefly in sums sent to relatives. That year the Philippine Department of Education ordered English reinstated as the medium of instruction. Like some strange delayed explosion, the Thomasite weapon had detonated a hundred years into the future. But this time it was not the American teachers who crossed oceans to teach Philippine peasants. It was the Philippine peasants who went overseas to work and to learn.

Contemporary Manila is reeling under the impact of the Overseas Filipino revolution. Some of the changes are subtly cultural. Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos of lower-class origin return for holidays or furlough between contracts with more money than the old social elite. They often return with more sophisticated consumer tastes and better foreign language skills then their social betters, who have never been to anything other than local finishing schools. In particular, many Filipinos of lower-class origin speak American or British standard English learned by immersion overseas unselfconsciously, at a stroke removing the class stigma that often attended the use of fluent English. The ultimate testimony to the return of English has been the widespread rise of that bizarre product of globalization, the Korean-run English academy for Filipinos, pitched at the those desperate to learn enough English to go abroad for a job. One of these unusual academies is shown below beside the another compelling reason to learn English: the Internet Cafe. If anything symbolizes the Overseas Filipino revolution, it is these English academies cheek by jowl with Internet portals.

But if some changes are subtle, others are glaringly obvious. Almost overnight, the ability to stand in line at a ticket booth or at a taxi stand has become a mainstream Filipino value in a country formerly renowned for jumping queues. At a business district in mid-Manila, thousands of call-center workers -- another incentive to learn English and hook into the wider world -- stop for fast-food meals at restaurants open on a 24 hour basis before manning workstations serving every corner of the globe. Perhaps most importantly, many Filipinos no longer expect the government to do anything for them. They simply go out and do it for themselves. A country in which telephones were until recently a comparative rarity has become a hive of cell phones and the text-messaging capital of the world. Nor does anybody rely on government mail when a private courier can be used. Coup rumors which until recently have set the country on its ears are now greeted with indifference. It is the elites who are treated with a amused condescenscion, as a source of entertainment. Dean Jorge Bocobo of Philippine Commentary, to whom I am indebted for much of the information on this post, said "You have all these millions of people coming back who know what works. And they want it. It's funny how in all this discussion over the Middle East everyone in America has forgotten the First Iraq."


Parenthetically, it was the Wahabi religious authorities which began its own "Thomasite" program in the 1970s as it flooded the southern Philippines and many other countries of the world with teachers and textbooks. This is now acknowledged to have greatly influenced the rise of Islamic extremism. A senior Southeast Asian official with whom I recently spoke said that Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) education officials were exploring ways to influence Imam training and texbook provision for the madrassas.

Because history never exactly repeats itself, it would be foolish to copy the Thomasite tactic of Taft. However, it reinforces the argument that the War on Terrorism is largely a war of ideas. Taft understood this. Does anyone now?

posted by wretchard at 11/17/2006 08:14:00 AM


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #55 on: November 18, 2006, 11:18:35 PM »
**This is a good analysis of the aftermath of the midterms.**

Our Enemies' Glee 
By Amir Taheri
New York Post | November 17, 2006

Radical elements across the Middle East see last Tuesday's defeat of President Bush's Republican Party as their victory.
Calling the election "the beginning of the end for Bush," Ayatollah Imami Kashani told a Friday congregation in Tehran that the Americans were learning the same lesson that last summer's war in Lebanon taught the Israelis.

Tehran decision-makers believe that the Democrats' victory will lift the pressure off the Islamic Republic with regard to its nuclear program. "It is possible that the United States will behave in a wiser manner and will not pit itself against Iran," says Ali Larijani, Tehran's chief negotiator on the nuclear issue.

His view is echoed by academics with ties to "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei. "The Democrats will do their best to resolve Iran's nuclear issue through negotiations, rather than resorting to threats," says Yadallah Islami, who teaches politics at Tehran University. "Bush will be forced to behave the way all U.S. presidents have behaved since Richard Nixon - that is to say, get out of wars that the American people do not want to fight."

Nasser Hadian, another academic with ties to Khamenei, goes further. "With the return of a more realistic view of the world, the United States will acknowledge the leading role that the Islamic Republic must play," he says. "There is no reason for our government to make any concessions on the nuclear issue."

Arab radical circles are even more hopeful that Bush's defeat will mark the start of an historic U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East. They draw parallels between the American election and Spain's 2004 vote, days after the Madrid terrorist attacks, which led to an unexpected change of government.

The radicals expect U.S. policies to change on three issues:

Iraq: The assumption is that America will cut and run.

Salafist groups linked to al Qaeda believe that this will mean a stampede of those Iraqis who worked with the Americans. Iraq's Shiite leaders would flee to Iran, where most had been in exile before Saddam Hussein's fall. Kurdish political and business elites will flee to the three provinces they have held since 1991. This would enable the Salafists, in alliance with the remnants of Saddam Hussein's Presidential Guards, to enter Baghdad and seize power.

Absent in that calculation is the role Iran might play: Will the mullahs sit back as Salafists and Saddamites lay the foundations of a new Arab regime that would turn against Shiite-dominated Iran?

Radical Shiites have their own vision of Iraq after the Americans have fled. They believe that, backed by Iran, they'll be able to move into the four Arab Sunni provinces that have been restive since 2004 - and crush the Saddamites and al Qaeda. This ignores the certainty that any Iranian intervention in Iraq will provoke a massive Arab reaction - with Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and even Syria (now an Iranian ally) forced to back Sunni Arabs in Iraq.

In other words, any hasty American withdrawal from Iraq could lead to either a long and bloody civil war or an even longer and bloodier regional conflict.

Iran: Radical circles are unanimous in their belief that Iran can now proceed with its nuclear program without fear of U.S. and allied retaliation. They expect Democrats to revert to Clinton-era policy and seek a "Grand Bargain" with the Islamic Republic - acknowledging Iran as the major regional power and recognizing its right to the full cycle of nuclear technology.

This perception has boosted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's cause in next month's crucial elections. Ahmadinejad argues that Bush's defeat vindicates his own policy of "standing firm against the Great Satan he hopes to see his faction win control of the Assembly of Experts - a body that can elect and dismiss the "Supreme Guide." Ahmadinejad would thus control all levers of power in Tehran.

Yet the expected U.S. retreat on Iran may not materialize - or, if it does, produce the results Tehran desires. Why should Democrats be less worried about a rogue state armed with nuclear weapons than the vilified "neocons"?

Iran's entry into the nuclear club, even if not opposed by Washington, would provoke opposition in the region. Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies - all would be forced to seek nuclear weapons. And the ensuing arms race would be a heavy burden on the Islamic Republic's ailing economy.

Israel: Radical Islamists in both Iran and the Arab countries believe that the Democrats' victory indicates "growing American lassitude." They believe that, once it becomes clear that Americans don't want to fight for the Middle East, many in Israel would emigrate to America and Europe to escape the constant daily pressure from Islamist groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.

In visits to more than a dozen countries in the past few months, Ahmadinejad has been vigorously promoting his "one state" formula for Israel-Palestine. He claims to have won the support of Syria's Bashar al-Assad, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Sudan's Gen. Hassan al-Bashir, and believes that, once it becomes clear that America wouldn't fight a war in support of Israel, most Arab states would rally along.

His "one state" plan turns on a referendum in which Palestinians, including those outside the region, will vote along with those Israelis who have chosen to stay to create a single state in which Jews and Arabs live together.

This euphoria, too, may prove problematic. There is evidence that a majority of Palestinians wish to have a state of their own as quickly as possible, and see outsiders' quest for a single state as a chimera. Nor is there any reason why many Israelis would choose to flee, as Ahmadinejad expects, rather than stay to defend their country.

Also, most Arab states remain committed to the Bush "road map," a fact underlined last week by Saudi Arabia's call for a new peace conference based on the two-state formula.

The mullahs and al Qaeda may soon find out that their celebration of "the end of Bush" was premature. Some Democrats may have promised cut-and-run. But, once in power, the party as a whole may realize (to its horror) that, this time, those from whom Americans run away will come after them.

One more fact for the mullahs and al Qaeda to take into account: Their nemesis, the reviled Bush, is around for another two years, and unlikely to dance to their tune, even if the new Congress demanded it. And two years is a long time in politics.

Amir Taheri is a member of Benador Associates.


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #56 on: November 19, 2006, 03:09:32 PM »
Kissinger: Iraq Military Win Impossible

The Associated Press
Sunday, November 19, 2006; 4:45 PM

LONDON -- Military victory is no longer possible in Iraq, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said in a television interview broadcast Sunday.

Kissinger presented a bleak vision of Iraq, saying the U.S. government must enter into dialogue with Iraq's regional neighbors _ including Iran _ if progress is to be made in the region.

"If you mean by 'military victory' an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible," he told the British Broadcasting Corp.

But Kissinger, an architect of the Vietnam war who has advised President Bush about Iraq, warned against a rapid withdrawal of coalition troops, saying it could destabilize Iraq's neighbors and cause a long-lasting conflict.

"A dramatic collapse of Iraq _ whatever we think about how the situation was created _ would have disastrous consequences for which we would pay for many years and which would bring us back, one way or another, into the region," he said.

Kissinger, whose views have been sought by the Iraqi Study Group, led by former Secretary of State James Baker III, called for an international conference bringing together the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Iraq's neighbors _ including Iran _ and regional powers like India and Pakistan to work out a way forward for the region.

"I think we have to redefine the course, but I don't think that the alternative is between military victory, as defined previously, or total withdrawal," he said.


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #57 on: November 20, 2006, 12:15:16 AM »
**There is no military force capible of pushing the US out of Iraq. Putting ugly images on TV until the sheeple grow weary is their only viable strategy. Sadly, it seems to be working.**

The Human Calculus of National Security
By Philip R. O'Connor PH.D   
Following the Democratic mid-term triumph, California U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer told National Public Radio that the recent average daily loss of three military people in Iraq necessitated disengagement as soon as possible. Sen. Boxer has posed a fundamental question: What price in American lives are we prepared to pay for our national security policies?

There is a cold-blooded calculus at the heart of decisions that must be taken by the leaders we choose. No one likes to talk about it but it's the elephant in the room. Let's stipulate that every life is precious and every one of us cringes when we switch on the TV and hear casualty reports. Let's also stipulate, however, that we expect our elected leaders to make life and death decisions mindful of the interests of the broader society and of generations to come.

Any leader disposed toward treating these decisions in exclusively personal terms is unfit for leadership. But what happens if our leaders have no referent for the human calculus of preserving the nation's security? Suppose they have no idea or refuse to even consider the price they are willing for us to pay for our security. We recognize the inevitability of deaths in our police and fire services and among our utility and sanitation workers. As a society we know that, taken together, these four professions alone have an average daily duty-related death rate of about one per day. But we also appreciate the absolute importance of those jobs for our daily well being.

Let's look at the record on precisely the terms Senator Boxer suggests, the daily average rate of military fatalities. As in any analytical exercise, we must simplify as well as recognize that over the years our casualty reporting systems have become much more precise. We also need to realize that the lethality of warfare is not measured solely in those who perish but also in terms of the injuries suffered.

Over time, the ratio of wounded to dying has risen significantly, from about 1.7 to 1 in both World Wars, to 3 to 1 in Vietnam and about 7or 8 to 1 in the current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. We also must put aside the average daily death rate in the military since the post-Cold War downsizing began of about between two and three per day from training and auto accidents, disease and so forth.

Let's look then only at military fatalities from all causes during our major wars and consider those wars as part of long term national security policy strategies. And we will not treat the losses suffered by our many and varied allies over the years, including those in the current conflict. Further, the Confederate dead of our Civil War must be included. Lincoln himself would have wanted it thus.

In the full sweep of U.S history, from the commencement of the Revolution on Lexington Green in April 1775, until the sunny morning of September 11, 2001, our average daily sacrifice has been between 14 and 15 military fatalities (1,217,000 fatalities/83,461 days = 14.6/day). Since 9/11, the average daily sacrifice has been 1.7 per day (3200/1900=1.68).

From the Revolutionary War until the American entry into World War I, the average daily rate was about 11 per day (578,000/52,231=11.07). From World War I through the break up of the Soviet Union, the rate was over 16 per day (636,000/38,811=16.39). Or in our long running confrontation with Soviet communism following World War II until the collapse of the Soviet empire, the rate was over between 6 and 7 per day (112,400/16,892=6.65).

As things stand, the conflict with Islamic radicalism involves the lowest average daily military fatality rate of any long run national security era. It may worsen, it may improve. If Congress had been asked on September 12, 2001, to endorse a national defense posture against Islamic radicalism that traded up to 2 military fatalities per day over the subsequent five years in return for no additional homeland attacks, the deposing of terror friendly regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, the ending of Libya's nuclear program, what would they have done? Would Congress accept that bargain today?

In making the national defense calculus our leaders cannot ignore parts of history they don't like and choose just the parts they want in order to pretend that national security can be achieved at little or no human cost over the long haul. We can no more remove Vietnam or Korea from the Cold War calculus than we can the Italian campaign or the re-taking of the Philippines from the World War II calculus. Those costly campaigns, seen by as some as inconclusive, misdirected or unwarranted, are part and parcel of ultimately winning strategies. Decisive engagements usually come only after many indecisive ones.

If we choose to resist Islamic radicalism and to help others, especially in the Islamic world, to resist and defeat it, and if we believe that freedom and democracy at home and abroad will certainly demand military force - then what daily military fatality rate are we willing to accept as a matter of policy?

Philip R. O'Connor is a writer in Chicago and holds a doctorate in political science from Northwestern University.


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #58 on: November 20, 2006, 12:23:23 AM »

What a Strange Way to Wage a War
By Josh Manchester : 16 Nov 2006 
I found myself seated at a meeting the other day next to a correspondent for an influential national news outlet. The discussion turned to Iraq. Having spent several years covering the Balkans in the 1990s, my counterpart voiced his concern that he sees in Iraq now many of the same actions - forced migration, for example - that proved to be the incipient signs of ethnic cleansing and genocide in the Balkans then. Then he surprised me. He stated that his fear was that should the US leave precipitously, such atrocities would become headlines rather than speculation, and the world would have no one to blame but the United States.

Nevertheless, over the abyss we happily plunge, with sober heads nodding as Sen. Carl Levin appears on a Sunday morning talk show calling for a "phased redeployment" of US forces to begin in "four to six months."

Why not now? What does the distinguished gentleman from Michigan believe will be accomplished then that isn't already? If the entire enterprise is a miserable failure, why ask our military, whom Mr. Levin will no doubt be the first to vociferously support, to stay one day longer? What magical event will occur four months hence? An optimist might wonder whether Mr. Levin was attempting a clever bit of early April Fools' Day humor, but such levity coming from Levin seems unlikely.

Rather than concerning ourselves with April 1st, 2007, or January 1st, or July 10th, or August 4th, or Saint Swithins Day, there is but one day that should be foremost in our minds during these debates, and that is the 5th of October, 1938. On this day, Winston Churchill addressed the House of Commons, beginning "by saying the most unpopular and most unwelcome thing . . . that we have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat." Churchill was the wet blanket at the parliamentary party to celebrate Neville Chamberlain's efforts at the Munich Conference, where the Sudetenland had been ceded to Hitler. About Czechoslovakia, Churchill said, "All is over. Silent, mournful, abandoned, broken, [she] recedes into the darkness."

And so it will be in Iraq. When comparing the two, it is hard to know which is more ignoble: in one case, Britain bargained away a portion of another sovereign state; in our own, we are ready to cede a sovereign state to (insert here: Iran, Al Qaeda, or pure chaos), after having bought such real estate with the blood of thousands of our young.

Some Senators, mindful of the disaster a withdrawal will prove to be, warn against a precipitous exit. Yet precipitous or not, it is an exit that they seek. Yes, this is truly the problem. Having suffered decades ago from an affliction known as the Vietnam Syndrome, we seem forever destined to have periodic relapses, punctuated by someone offering a cure for our national hangover with a remedy called the Powell Doctrine.

It's an interesting brew, this one: it contains a dash of the idea that we should only fight wars that we know in advance that we'll win, even though no such creature exists; a bit of the notion that at the same time, we'll do so with every possible ally; and most importantly, a bit of whimsy called an "exit strategy," which in every other part of the world, where the inhabitants don't move every two years as we do, means that sooner or later the Americans will bail.

What a strange way to wage a war. It's almost as though everyone were promised . . . that they'd never really be waging one at all! Contrast that concoction with Marine Lieutenant General James Mattis, who related over the summer his reply to an Iraqi who asked when we would leave the country. "I said I am never going to leave. I told him I had found a little piece of property down on the Euphrates River and I was going to have a retirement home built there. I did that because I wanted to disabuse him of any sense that he could wait me out."

Iraq is dangerous. Progress is measured in weeks and inches, not minutes and miles. It is weakly governed when governed at all. But to leave too early will be to compound these seemingly intractable attributes with the most deadly of sins: a failure of willpower. The world will know that when Iraq becomes the next Taliban-like state, or the next Rwanda, that it was only because the United States, the most able, powerful, and wealthy nation in the history of the world, gave up. If that disturbs you, imagine how much it delights our adversaries.

When the "phased redeployment" begins, and the cries of "peace in our time" are shouted from the ramparts, the only important difference between now and 1938 will be that the British at least had a Churchill to tell them, "Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting."

Josh Manchester is a TCSDaily contributing writer. His blog is The Adventures of Chester


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #59 on: November 20, 2006, 12:58:06 AM »

What Do We Do With the Remains?
November 19th, 2006

Press and politicians have decided Iraq?s fate. And so we ask them: What do we do with the remains?


Of Iraq?s 13 million aged 19 or less, how many will join Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups as America leaves? One percent is 130,000, half a percent 65,000.

What does your projection say?

Over 8,000 Iraqi soldiers and police have been killed since Saddam fell. How many more need die before all give up fighting for their country?

What then will those 300,000 US-trained fighters do?

Women now serve in the Iraqi parliament. Will they after America leaves?

Will Iraq have a parliament at all?

What do we do with the new $592 million US embassy? Will an American ambassador be welcome? If so, what will he do?

If Al Qaeda takes over Iraq, what will it teach in its schools?

What will Iraqi girls do?

Other scraps

The UN proved Iraq developed WMD and had the know-how rapidly to produce even more. How many of its scientists will Al Qaeda recruit ? willingly or not?

With America gone, will Iraqi Shias turn to Iran as their ally?

How will Israel react?

What then is the plan for dealing with Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and others in the Middle East?

Since China?s signing oil contracts around the world, how soon after America goes will they ink Iraq?

How high will gas prices rise?

Will Turkey stay an ally if Iraqi Kurds declare independence and urge Turkish Kurds to rebel?

Will Iraqis turn to Russia for tanks, planes, ships, missiles, mines, rockets, and nuclear enrichment?

Or will it be to the Chinese?

What will Saudis say? 

How high will gas prices go?

More scraps

When do we cease spending billions on research to stop IEDs causing over half of American combat deaths? Since we?ll leave Afghanistan soon after abandoning Iraq, what good will anti-IED tactics do? 

When do we announce the new American policy that we refuse to go anywhere IEDs are used, especially if eventually they?re chemical, biological, or dirty nuclear?


The American commander in Iraq says Iraq can protect itself by next Fall or the following Spring. Who takes over their training when the US goes? How many Iraqis will sign up then? Who?ll be in command?

Will an Iraqi general control the country if the current Iraqi government falls?

Will he be a Musharraf or a Mubarak?

As American troops withdraw, what will remaining ones do?

How will they be protected?

If by air, where based?

Will American planes still be accepted on Iraqi soil?

If not there, where?

If elsewhere in the Middle East, will Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Iran, or Saudi Arabia open its air space?

Which ports will still be open to US ships?

Other Angles

Some insist on additional US troops. Saddamists hid when they saw 140,000. Will they surface if they see more?

Will Syria and Iran offset American boosts?

Will Al Qaeda?


Bill Clinton had been in office

? 13 months before the World Trade Center was bombed,

? four years when Osama Bin Laden declared war on the United States,

? six years when Al Qaeda destroyed American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania,

? eight years when the U.S.S. Cole was attacked.

How much time did he need to protect the US?

Five years ago the Twin Towers fell. How much more time does New York need to rebuild?

Iraq has had its constitution for 13 months, its prime minister less than six.

Time?s up.

?We cannot save the Iraqis from themselves,? the incoming Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee noted.

Could he tell us what we do with the remains?

Michael J. O'Shea


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Dividing the Iraqi Pie
« Reply #60 on: November 21, 2006, 05:05:17 AM »
Geopolitical Diary: Dividing the Iraqi Pie

Iraq announced on Monday that President Jalal Talabani and Syrian President Bashar al Assad will travel to Iran this weekend to discuss the security situation in Iraq and its regional implications in a three-way summit with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iraqi government also said that Baghdad and Damascus will restore diplomatic relations during the current visit by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem.

These two events underscore the aggressive moves by Iran and (to a lesser degree) Syria to consolidate their positions ahead of their expected negotiations with the United States over the future of Iraq. Back in Washington, there is great anticipation regarding the forthcoming recommendations from the Iraq Study Group to the Bush administration in a report that is being seen as a U.S. blueprint to stabilize Iraq.

The big question on everyone's mind is this: given the deep divisions among Iraq's Shia, Sunni and Kurds, and given the divergent interests of all the parties who have a finger in the Iraqi pie, what kind of settlement can prevent the Iraqi state from imploding and creating havoc in the region? In other words, is there a formula for resolving the Iraqi crisis that is acceptable to all sides involved?

The triangular struggle within the country and the moves toward creating a federal Iraq with autonomous regions -- enshrined now in the country's constitution -- necessitate a restructuring of the Iraqi state at the subnational level. In fact, this process is already under way, with the creation of the autonomous Kurdistan region in the north and the moves by the Shia to create a similar autonomous zone in southern Iraq.

Currently, the Kurds have authority over the provinces of Arbil, Dahuk and As Sulaymaniyah, as well as de facto control over portions of Diyala, Ninawa and At Tamim provinces. The Shia envision their own future autonomous zone as comprising the governorates south of Baghdad -- Karbala, An Najaf, Al Muthanna, Basra, Dhi Qar, Maysin, Wasit, Al Qadisiyah and Babil.

What this means, however, is that the Sunni zone in central Iraq will be left with just two provinces: Anbar and Salah ad Din (with Baghdad likely being shared by all three sides). Not surprisingly, the Sunnis remain in staunch opposition to these moves because of the fear that such an arrangement leaves them politically and economically emasculated. Such a bleak prospect goes a long way toward explaining the Sunni insurgency. It is unlikely that the Sunnis can reverse the tide, however -- so if there is an agreement, it will be some permutation of federalism, and will require concessions from the Shia and the Kurds.

A potential compromise could have the Kurds giving up the provinces of Ninawa, At Tamim and Diyala. Significantly, the northern oil fields are located in the Kirkuk region in At Tamim province; the Kurds have been trying to run their independent oil operations in this area. However, it is quite possible that an agreement can be reached regarding the distribution of oil revenues, with the responsibility falling on Baghdad to make sure each community is represented. This is one issue on which the Sunni and the Shiite positions are close to one another, because both want oil to be under the control of the central government.

If that happens, the northern parts of these three provinces could merge into the Kurdish zone, while the central and southern areas could become part of the Sunni zone. Such an arrangement might be acceptable not only to the Shia, Sunnis and Kurds, but also to Iraq's neighbors, because it could keep the state from descending into anarchy. The Sunni Arab states would be relieved to see a robust Sunni zone. Turkey's concerns regarding the Kurds in the north could also be assuaged. And Iran will see the formation of the Shiite zone it is seeking in the south. Notably, none of the regional players is actually interested in a complete partition of the country, because of the threat of regional instability. The Arab states have long seen Iraq as a buffer between them and Iran, and the Iranians also want Iraq as a buffer -- but one in which they have more control than the Arab states do.

Of course, there is the question of whether such an arrangement could hold. For the moment, the various players involved in Iraq are likely to endorse such an arrangement just to back away from the precipice. They each have the option of coming back later on and subverting it when it furthers their interests to do so.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2006, 05:51:42 AM by Crafty_Dog »

Dog Dave

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More good news from the Sand Box
« Reply #61 on: November 22, 2006, 09:26:49 AM »
CAMP TAJI, Iraq ? A patrol from 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 4th Infantry Division captured 2 terrorists while conducting a traffic control point operation north of Baghdad, on Nov. 18.

The Company E patrol searched a vehicle containing two suspicious occupants and found two cellular phones with text messages from wanted terrorists. The patrol arrested the terrorists.
In Baghdad, Soldiers from the 1st Squadron, 89th Calvary Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, seized a cache at approximately 9:30 a.m.

The seizure of arms and munitions consisted of three 155mm artillery rounds, a 120mm mortar round, 55 60mm mortar rounds, 37 anti-personnel RPG rounds, 32 anti-armor RPG rounds,? a hand grenade, 3 rifle scopes, a double-barrel shotgun, a crew-served weapon, a bag of blasting caps, 400 7.62mm linked rounds, 400 7.62 mm loose rounds and 200 .50 caliber rounds.

ISF, Coalition Forces find enemy cache complex

TIKRIT, Iraq ? Soldiers from 1st Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army, and paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division, dealt a blow to anti-Iraqi forces by killing nearly 50 insurgents and capturing 20 while uncovering a large cache complex.

During this combined operation, Soldiers from the Iraqi Army and U.S. soldiers uncovered 6 caches, many of which were buried in underground bunkers.? The caches included over 400,000 rounds of small-arms ammunition, 15,000 rounds of heavy machine gun ammunition, 5 mortars and numerous mortar rounds, 3 heavy machine guns, 3 anti-tank weapons, 2 recoilless rifles and numerous grenades, and artillery rounds.?
Additionally, the Soldiers noticed an abandoned Nissan truck with false license plates.? Upon searching the vehicle, the Soldiers uncovered a number of IED making material and anti-Iraqi forces items such as batteries, cellular phones, blasting caps, explosives, propaganda materials and a large amount of U.S. dollars.

?We made a significant impact on the enemy?s ability to conduct any type of anti-Iraqi force operations in this area,? said Lt. Col. Andrew Poppas, the paratroopers' commander.

BAGHDAD, Iraq ? A Saturday morning raid targeting a terrorist in the Ramadi area led to 10 terrorists killed and 2 captured in separate incidents.

As U.S. forces moved toward the target building, terrorists began firing rocket-propelled grenades at them; ground forces returned fire, killing 3 terrorists. 2 terrorists were captured, one of whom had been shot during the raid.

Ground forces also received mortar fire from armed terrorists during the raid.? U.S. air support used precision fires to destroy the terrorists? vehicle, killing 5 terrorists.

After inspecting the targeted building and property, U.S. forces found multiple weapons caches, explosives, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms.
In a separate incident, U.S. forces killed two terrorists in an air strike Saturday afternoon near Baghdad. Intelligence reports indicated the terrorists were responsible for IED attacks and suicide bombing operations. U.S. aircraft engaged and destroyed the vehicle with precision fires, killing the driver and occupant.
U.S. forces conduct air strike at insurgents in Ramadi, 2 insurgents killed

RAMADI, Iraq - U.S. forces were engaged at several locations Sunday in Ramadi by a group of insurgents with small-arms fire.?

The insurgents took refuge in a nearby building and continued to engage U.S. forces. After establishing positive identification and in an effort to avoid endangering civilians, U.S. forces? conducted an air strike against the insurgents using a laser-guided missile, killing one insurgent. 3 insurgents fled the building and were engaged by U.S. forces, resulting in the death of another insurgent.
Iraqi Police deliver medical supplies in Ramadi

RAMADI, Iraq ? Iraqi Policemen with the Western Ramadi Police Sub-Station provided nearly 3,000 pounds of medical supplies to the Women?s and Children?s Hospital in Ar Ramadi Nov. 16.?

The Policemen conducted the relief operation, with assistance from Marines of 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, in response to requests from the local populace concerning a shortage in medical supplies.

The supplies, provided by the World Health Organization, are enough to support 10,000 residents for a period of three months. The supplies contain essential medicines and medical devices for primary healthcare workers with limited training.

The operation was the first step in a partnership between the hospital and Iraqi Security Forces to provide aid and basic services to the neediest citizens of Ramadi.

?This is a big and great help for us,? said Abd Alkhalq Z. Hassein, Director Assistant of the hospital. ?We are very proud that the Police of this city look after the needs of the people.?

BAGHDAD, Iraq ? U.S. forces killed 11 terrorists and captured 24 other terrorists in multiple raids throughout Iraq Saturday.

During the first raid in the Tikrit area, U.S. forces captured 7 al-Qaida terrorists. After searching the targeted building, ground forces captured 5 more terrorists and discovered a cache of weapons and $20,000.? ?

U.S. forces also captured 2 terrorists and killed another terrorist in a raid east of Baqubah.? ?

In Hit, an armed terrorist threatened U.S. forces with small arms fire.? U.S. forces returned fire killing the terrorist and captured 4 other terrorists.? One of the terrorists is believed to have financed foreign fighters and is responsible for vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices and kidnappings in the Haditha and Hit regions. Weapons manuals and an overhead projector were also found in one of the rooms.

In Yusufiyah, U.S. forces were engaged by enemy forces and they returned fire, killing 9 terrorists and capturing 2 other terrorists.

A raid in Baghdad resulted in U.S. forces capturing 3 more terrorists.

Iraqi soldiers capture insurgents, find caches

TIKRIT, Iraq - Iraqi and U.S. forces captured 4 insurgents and found multiple caches during combat operations Thursday just east of Balad.

The caches included more than 30 artillery rounds, 16 mortar rounds, two machineguns, two rocket launchers, and several thousand rounds of small arms ammunition.? ?

?The discoveries of these caches put a dent in the roadside bombs in our area,? said Lt. Col Kevin Dunlop, commander of 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division.? ?This will send a message to all who plant and supply roadside bombs.?

Iraqi, US Forces Seize 2 Weapons Caches in Mansour

BAGHDAD ?U.S. Soldiers seized a weapons cache and assisted Iraqi security forces in discovering another, in the Baghdad today.

Soldiers from the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team searched a residence of a terrorist and discovered a supply of weapons. They confiscated two AK-47s, six AK-47 magazines, a rifle, two hand grenades and an unknown amount of sniper ammo. In addition, the Soldiers detained a suspect for questioning.?

In a separate incident, U.S. Soldiers assisted Iraqi Army soldiers in seizing a weapons cache in the same area at approximately 3:20 p.m.

Iraqi police from the Mamun Station, with the assistance of Soldiers from 615th Military Police Company, were conducting a joint patrol when a citizen tipped the Iraqi policemen on a possible improvised explosive device in a nearby home.

When the joint patrol arrived at the suspect?s house, they discovered a cordon around it had already been set up by soldiers from the 6th Iraqi Army Division.
As a result, the U.S. forces reported that the Iraqi soldiers were able to confiscate a sniper rifle, two machineguns, a mortar tube, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, numerous RPG rounds, and explosives and other materials used to fabricate improvised explosive devices from the residence.
Iraqi Security Forces target kidnapping cell

BAGHDAD ? Special Iraqi Security Forces, with coalition advisers, conducted a raid Nov. 18 in Sadr City, Baghdad to recover kidnapped persons and disrupt kidnapping and terror cells operating within Baghdad.? The Iraqi unit conducted an Iraqi government directed operation.

Credible intelligence indicated that an illegal armed group element held persons kidnapped from earlier this week. Documents found at the scene may lead to the whereabouts of other terrorists.

Iraqi Security Forces captures leader of a terrorist cell? ? ? ?

BAGHDAD ? Special Iraqi Security Forces, with coalition advisers, captured the leader of a terrorist cell responsible for attacks during a raid in the Arab A?Jabur area, south of Baghdad, Nov. 15.

The terrorist cell is linked to Al Qaeda in Iraq and is responsible for kidnappings; murder; home invasions; rape and car bombs.

Iraqi forces conducted a helicopter air-assault in the vicinity of the objective and captured the terrorist who had attempted to escape.


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #62 on: November 22, 2006, 03:22:30 PM »
Here's a different take on things:

November 22, 2006
How Violent Is Iraq?

I've written previously on the level of violence in Iraq, comparing it to
murder rates in other times and places and to death rates that have been
experienced in actual civil wars. See here and here, for example. My
impression has been that violence in Iraq has skyrocketed since July, when I
found that the murder rate in Iraq was 140 per 100,000 (the usual way in
which murder rates are expressed). I was surprised, therefore, to learn this
morning that rate of violence has increased only slightly:

The United Nations said Wednesday that 3,709 Iraqi civilians were killed in
October, the highest monthly toll since the March 2003 U.S. invasion and
another sign of the severity of Iraq's sectarian bloodbath.
That compares to an estimated 3,500 killed in July. If 3,709 people were
murdered in October, that translates to a rate of 171 per 100,000. That is a
high rate of violent death. But, for purposes of comparison, the murder rate
in Washington, D.C. in 1991 was 80 per 100,000. So the rate of violence in
Iraq today is just over double the rate in the District during the first
Bush administration. I don't recall anyone describing conditions in
Washington in the early 90s as a "bloodbath."

I wrote in June that based on the data at that time, the murder rate in Iraq
outside of Baghdad is about the same as American cities like Chicago,
Philadelphia and Milwaukee. With the current numbers, it looks like that
would still be true.

A consensus seems to have developed that Iraq is a disaster because of
out-of-control sectarian violence. That consensus is driving proposals to
change our policy in Iraq, perhaps in the direction of a pull-out that could
lead to truly cataclysmic violence. So I think it makes sense to step back
and get a more realistic picture of the level of what is happening in Iraq:
violent? Yes. A disaster comparable to a civil war? No.

Posted by John at 11:31 AM

Dog Dave

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Did you Know
« Reply #63 on: November 23, 2006, 10:20:08 AM »
 Did you know that 47 countries' have reestablished their embassies in Iraq?

 Did you know that the Iraqi government currently employs 1.2 million Iraqi people?

 Did you know that 3100 schools have been renovated, 364 schools are under rehabilitation,

263 new schools are now under construction and 38 new schools have been completed in Iraq?

 Did you know that Iraq's higher educational structure consists of 20 Universities, 46 Institutes or colleges and 4 research centers, all currently operating?

 Did you know that 25 Iraq students departed for the United States in January 2005 for the re-established Fulbright program?

 Did you know that the Iraqi Navy is operational? They have 5 - 100-foot patrol craft, 34 smaller vessels and a naval infantry regiment.

 Did you know that Iraq's Air Force consists of three operational squadrons, which includes 9 reconnaissance and 3 US C-130 transport aircraft (under Iraqi operational control) which operate day and night, and will soon add 16 UH-1 helicopters and 4 Bell Jet Rangers?

 Did you know that Iraq has a counter-terrorist unit and a Commando Battalion?

 Did you know that the Iraqi Police Service has over 55,000 fully trained and equipped police officers?

 Did you know that there are 5 Police Academies in Iraq
that produce over 3500 new officers each 8 weeks?

 Did you know there are more than 1100 building projects going on in Iraq? They include 364 schools, 67 public clinics, 15 hospitals, 83 railroad stations,22 oil facilities, 93 water facilities and 69 electrical facilities.

Did you know that 96% of Iraqi children under the age of 5
have received the first 2 series of polio vaccinations?

 Did you know that 4.3 million Iraqi children were enrolled in primary school by mid October?

 Did you know that there are 1,192,000 cell phone subscribers in Iraq and phone use has gone up 158%?

 Did you know that Iraq has an independent media that consists of 75 radio stations, 180 newspapers and 10 television stations?

 Did you know that the Baghdad Stock Exchange opened in June of 2004?

 Did you know that 2 candidates in the Iraqi presidential election had a televised debate recently?


Instead of reflecting our love for our country,
we get photos of flag burning incidents at Abu Ghraib
and people throwing snowballs at the presidential motorcades.

 Tragically, the lack of accentuating the positive in Iraq serves two purposes:? It is intended to undermine the world's perception of the United States thus minimizing consequent support, and it is intended to discourage American citizens.

 ---- Above facts are verifiable on the Department of Defense web site.

 .......Pass it on!? Give it a Wide Dissemination!

Dog Dave

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All of this in one day's work: 21Nov06
« Reply #64 on: November 24, 2006, 05:48:14 PM »
All of this in one day's work: 21Nov06         

BAGHDAD, Iraq ? U.S. troops killed 3 terrorists and captured 4 terrorists during a raid in Baghdad Tuesday.

Upon approaching a building, ground forces received small arms fire.  U.S. troops returned fire killing three terrorists. During the search of the second targeted building, U.S. troops captured 4 terrorists and found 4 machine guns,

ISF targets kidnapping and murder cell, captures 7

BAGHDAD ? Special Iraqi Army Forces captured an illegal armed group kidnapping and murder cell leader during a raid Nov. 21 in Sadr City. The raid was launched to target this individual and to obtain information on the whereabouts of a kidnapped U.S. Soldier, Spec. Ahmed Al Taie, who was abducted Oct. 23. 6 additional terror cell members were captured.
4 insurgents captured, weapons cache found and 2 hostages rescued

TIKRIT, Iraq ? Soldiers from the 5th Iraqi Army Division and U.S. Soldiers from 1st Cavalry Division, captured 4 insurgents, recovered two kidnapped victims and seized a sizeable weapons cache Nov. 21 during an operation north of Muqdadiyah. The soldiers also discovered and disarmed seven IEDs near the sight.

Joint operation captures 45 south of Iraqi capital

LUTUFIYAH, Iraq ? Soldiers from the 6th Iraqi Army Division and U.S. soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division, captured 45 insurgents and terrorists Nov.21 during a combat operation in Lutufiyah, Iraq.

The brigade-size operation, Operation Silver Eagle, targeted personnel who were implicated in various crimes, terrorist activities and murders.

U.S. Marines & Iraqi Army troops rescue hostages during Operation Talon

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq ? Marines from Regimental Combat Team 5, operating in concert with 2nd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division, rescued two hostages and captured 13 insurgents near Fallujah Nov 21.

Acting on reliable intelligence, the Coalition Forces were conducting cordon-and-search operations as part of Operation Talon when they discovered the hostages and apprehended the suspects.
In a separate incident, Marines captured 6 insurgents and various small arms near Habbaniyah today.



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Running Away Realistically
« Reply #65 on: November 28, 2006, 10:39:26 AM »
Broader in scope than the "Iraq" header, but it certainly applies.

Surrender as "Realism"
By Robert Kagan and William Kristol

Weekly Standard | November 27, 2006

Foreign policy realism is ascendant these days, we are told. This would be encouraging if true, because our foreign policy must indeed be realistic. But what passes for "realism" today has very little to do with reality. Indeed, if you look at some of the "realist" proposals on the table, "realism" has come to be a kind of code word for surrendering American interests and American allies, as well as American principles, in the Middle East.

Thus, the "realists" advise us to seek Syria's help in Iraq even as the Syrian government engages in a concerted campaign of assassinating every Lebanese political leader who opposes the return of Syrian hegemony in Lebanon. Presumably, the "realist" position is that we should give Lebanon back to Syria, or at least turn a blind eye to its murderous efforts to regain control there, as an incentive to Syria to help us in Iraq, where Syria is also engaged in supporting terrorists. "Realism" is letting dictators get away with terror and murder--and, in particular, letting them get away with the murder of our friends.

The "realists" advise seeking Iranian help in Iraq as well. They are coy about suggesting what the United States could give Tehran as an inducement for such assistance, but the implications of their position are clear. After all, the Bush administration has already offered to talk to Iran, provided the Iranians agree to suspend enrichment of uranium. That has also been the position of the Europeans. The Iranians have refused.

So the "realists" are adapting to the reality of Iranian intransigence. They are in effect suggesting that the administration drop its long-standing position and begin negotiating with Iran despite the Iranian regime's refusal to agree to the common U.S.-European demand. What the realists have in mind, then, is that the United States should turn a blind eye to Iran's nuclear weapons program, in exchange for Iran's help in easing our retreat from Iraq. Who cares if this would destroy U.S. credibility, weaken those in Europe who are trying to be strong, undermine the effort to prevent Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons, and lead to a cascade of additional nuclear states in the region? It would at least make possible further "realistic" accommodations to these new and deadly realities.

The "realists" also advise putting pressure on Israel to deal in a more forthcoming way with the Hamas-dominated Palestinian government. Israel should be induced to make concessions despite the ongoing violence and the refusal of Hamas to ratify even Yasser Arafat's acceptance of Israel's right to exist. Thus, in order to conciliate Arab dictators and radicals, Washington should retreat from long-standing principle and hand a dramatic victory to the forces of violence and extremism in Palestine.

So let's add up the "realist" proposals: We must retreat from Iraq, and thus abandon all those Iraqis--Shiite, Sunni, Kurd, and others--who have depended on the United States for safety and the promise of a better future. We must abandon our allies in Lebanon and the very idea of an independent Lebanon in order to win Syria's support for our retreat from Iraq. We must abandon our opposition to Iran's nuclear program in order to convince Iran to help us abandon Iraq. And we must pressure our ally, Israel, to accommodate a violent Hamas in order to gain radical Arab support for our retreat from Iraq.

This is what passes for realism these days. But of course this is not realism. It is capitulation. Were the United States to adopt this approach every time we faced a difficult set of problems, were we to attempt to satisfy our adversaries' every whim in order to win their acquiescence, we would rapidly cease to play any significant role in the world. We would be neither feared nor respected--nor, of course, would we be any better liked. Our retreat would win us no friends and lose us no adversaries.

What our adversaries in the Middle East want from us is very simple: They want us out. Unless we are prepared to withdraw, not just from Iraq but from the entire region, and from elsewhere as well, we had better start figuring out how to pursue effectively--realistically--our interests and goals. This is true American realism. All the rest is a fancy way of justifying surrender.

Dog Dave

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We're Killing the terrorists, but why no news coverage?
« Reply #66 on: November 29, 2006, 08:36:32 AM »
BAGHDAD, Iraq ? U.S.troops killed 12 terrorists during a mission Saturday morning North of Baghdad. U.S.troops were en route to capture a terrorist associated with the manufacturing of vehicle borne improvised explosive devices.  The terrorist and his associates were traveling in three vehicles.
As U.S.troops approached the vehicles, 12 armed terrorists ignored warning shots and attempted to maneuver on the ground force. U.S.troops engaged the vehicles with precision fires killing the 12 terrorists.
BAGHDAD, Iraq ? U.S.troops killed 4 terrorists and captured 8 others during a mission to disrupt an al-Qaida vehicle-borne improvised explosive device cell in Tarmiyah Friday.
As ground forces made their way toward the targeted building, they received enemy fire from the vicinity of a mosque.  U.S.troops returned fire, killing 4 terrorists, and continued toward the targeted building.
At the targeted building, the ground forces captured 2 terrorists.  After they left the building, they returned to the vicinity of the mosque and captured 6 more, including two wounded men.
Apache helicopter destroys rocket launcher in Sadr City, 3 terrorists killed

BAGHDAD ? A crew from an Apache attack helicopter destroyed a rocket launcher observed firing from a Sadr City neighborhood Nov. 24.

After observing the rocket fire, the air crew moved to the location where the rockets were launched and made positive identification of the 3 terrorists firing the rocket launchers. They engaged the target, killed 3 terrorists and destroyed the launchers. Insurgents six rockets prior to the U.S. intervention.
Also today, U.S. troops used precision artillery munitions to strike an explosive-laden building.  Local residents tipped the U.S. troops to the building. U.S. troops intervened to diffuse the explosives. Efforts to diffuse the bombs failed and precision artillery fire was used to destroy the booby-trapped building.

Baghdad, Iraq -- U.S. troops killed 10 terrorists and conducted an air strike on
an improvised explosive device factory during 3 simultaneous raids near al-Taji today. While approaching the objectives, U.S. troops encountered small arms fire and killed 10 terrorists.

During the exchange of fire, insurgents fired upon civilians. One pregnant woman and one teenaged male were injured. She and the teenage male were immediately evacuated to  medical facilities.  The teenage male died shortly after arriving at the hospital. 

After the fighting, U.S. troops conducted a search of the area and discovered caches consisting of rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns. anti-aircraft weapons & pipe bombs. The caches were destroyed by coalition aircraft.
 Joint Operation captures 10, seizes cache near Euphrates

CAMP STRIKER, Iraq - Soldiers of the 6th Iraqi Army Div., and 10th Mountain Division, captured 10 terrorists and found a cache of improvised explosive device components near al Taqa, a village on the banks of the Euphrates.

The 10 Iraqi males were caught attempting to emplace IEDs along a route which the U.S. forces were traveling. Upon questioning, the group identified a cache site. The cache contained two pressure plates, three portable phones and other explosive materiel.
 Insurgent SVBIED kills two children, two others

FALLUJAH, Iraq - An insurgent suicide car-bomber murdered two children, one adult civilian, and one Coalition servicemember at a vehicle checkpoint near Khalidiyah today. Also injured in the attack were nine other civilians and another Coalition servicemember. The car-bomber was also killed in the explosion.

The nine injured civilians were taken to an Iraqi medical facility in Fallujah. ?The insurgency in Al Anbar continues to demonstrate its complete lack of concern for the people of the province,? said Marine Lieutenant Col. Bryan Salas.  ?This brings the total to 10 children murdered by the insurgency in the last three months when adding the eight other children murdered during the insurgent IED attack on the soccer game on September 14 in Fallujah.?
 U.S. troops conducts strike on insurgents killing 2, destroying weapons in vehicle

AR RAMADI, Iraq ? U.S. troops conducted a precision strike on insurgent forces after observing three men loading weapons from a known cache site into a vehicle in central Ramadi Nov. 26.
After establishing positive identification, U.S. troops fired precision ordnance at the vehicle, killing 2 terrorists. One terrorist was seen fleeing from the scene.
       TOTAL:      32 dead terrorists, 8 captured in 3 days


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General Cronkite Declares Defeat
« Reply #67 on: November 29, 2006, 11:47:40 AM »
November 29, 2006
When Killing is Enough to Defeat America

By Denis Keohane
Thanks to the development of mass media inclined to oppose the nation's efforts to obtain military victory, a new path to victory has opened up for America's enemies. Historically there have been instructive and useful criteria to gauge whether one was winning or losing a war. Most often, the tracking of such was a matter of looking at a mix of setbacks and advances, tactical or strategic. A linear path to victory or defeat is somewhat rare.

There have been, of course, exceptions. WWII France and First Gulf War Iraq fashioned an unblemished advance to utter defeat in almost record setting time. More often than not, though, the path to either victory or defeat was a mix. Our experience in the WWII Pacific theatre began with Pearl Harbor, followed by the fall of Bataan and Corregidor, and then at Midway things turned. During the Civil War, the Federal Army of the Potomac suffered defeat after defeat for two years, before achieving ultimate victory.

Yardsticks used to measure loss or gain were tangible, if not always clear to the general public as to the tactical or strategic implications. Ground seized and held was easy to see, especially if the enemy had held that ground and was forced into retreat, as with the German army's retreat from the Stalingrad. Despite the repeated failure of the Army of the Potomac to ?take Richmond', tacticians both North and South saw the slow but inexorable Union seizure of the strategic Mississippi northward from New Orleans and culminating in Grant's movements south to Vicksburg as the strategic stranglehold of the Confederacy that it was.

Then there were battles won and lost, surrenders, retreats and casualties. When one side ?quit the field' it was an easy benchmark. If the casualties taken in a battle by one side were dramatically worse than the other, as were Federal losses at Fredericksburg, it was easy to score as a defeat.

During the Vietnam War, public perceptions of what was a win or loss, strategic or tactical, began to change, and it is simply a fact that such change in perception came about through the evolution of the media. The Tet Offensive of 1968-1969 is now and belatedly admitted by virtually all sides to have been a major battlefield defeat for the communist forces, but the perception of the public in the United States was that it was a defeat for us. The communist forces made short term gains, took and held ground for a time, but were beaten back, and decisively so, suffering ten times the KIA as the US and our allied ARVN forces  .

Yet Walter Cronkite took that opportunity to inform the American public that we were not winning, an idea that took hold here even though it was at odds with even the conclusion of the North Vietnamese commander, General Giap. It was a psychological victory, based on emotion, but psychological victory was and is sufficient to sap a nation's will to win.

The acceptance of a defeat when the facts said victory was in large part the result of a media onslaught on the public's emotions. There has been no battle of history, whether won or lost, for which still photos, film and impassioned reporting of tragedy and loss could not have been presented for either the victorious or losing side. Simply put, if in June of 1944, American newspaper and periodicals were flooded with photos of the torn bodies of hundreds or thousands of dead Americans littering the beaches and hedgerows of Normandy, and likewise showed images of some of the 12,000 French civilians killed during the six weeks of Operation Overlord, the nation might have seen something less than a victory and possibly something as not worth the high cost.

In all the years of the Vietnam War, US forces never lost any battle or engagement with the North Vietnamese or the Viet Cong larger than company size. No US battalions or regiments were overrun, wiped out or captured, as had happened to the French in Vietnam at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Yet the years-long imagery of our young men wounded and dying and Vietnamese civilians suffering most certainly cemented the idea of constant loss and ultimate waste in much of the public's consciousness.

Then another crtical development occurred. The ability to kill, to kill anyone, became a credential for legitimacy and a criteria for being granted some respectability at the bargaining tables and in the media of the world. In the seventies, both the IRA and the PLO showed that murder obtained political respect and got attention.

From those events and since Iraq, there is an evolving new standard of measurement of victory or loss taking hold in our perceptions of warfare, that has serious and potentially disastrous long term implications for how we understand, if we do, the wars we are in or may be in. We are establishing a generally held war psychology whereby something like victory is granted to one side based on nothing more than that side's willingness and ability to kill, even indiscriminately kill, soldiers, non-combatants and civilians.

Almost every TV report on the War in Iraq seems to begin with something along the line of ?The killing continues in Iraq...' or ?Despite administration claims of progress in Iraq, more bombings today claimed the lives of....' Democrats and Iraq War opponents repeatedly point to the continuing, or periodically escalated spikes in, levels of violence and killing as evidence that we cannot win or are not winning. Yet the various insurgent and terrorist groups can kill our soldiers and Iraqi forces, but only in numbers that, while individually tragic and an irreplaceable loss, pale in comparison to our experiences in other wars.

When our nation's population was one tenth of what it is now, we suffered more KIA in the one day Battle of Antietam than we have suffered in both Afghanistan and Iraq combined since both wars began. On D-Day alone, the US had 1,465 KIA. We lost over 6,800 KIA in the battle for Iwo Jima. We suffered almost 54,000 deaths in Korea in just three years. In every year from 1966 through 1970 in Vietnam we suffered between 6,000 and 16,000 deaths.

We have had no bases overrun in Iraq. No unit as small as a platoon has been wiped out or captured. At Corregidor in WWII, 11,000 American troops surrendered and were taken prisoners by the Japanese, and another 15,000 were taken at the Fall of Bataan. Many thousands of those died under brutal conditions imposed by their captors. If one or two American soldiers are captured in Iraq, and we presume with cause that they will be killed, it is indeed a tragedy, but it is treated in the media as something of a cause for national trauma.

The various insurgencies and terror groups from the Sunni-Baathists to the Shia militias to the Al Qaeda affiliates can and have held ground, but as at Tal Afar, Ramadi, Fallujah and elsewhere, when pressed, cannot hold that ground. None of those groups has been able to rally enough Iraqi public sentiment to its side to be seen as anything like the popular favorite and inevitable winner in the bloody Iraqi intramural. None has the popular leader or vision of governance that is rallying ever more popular support, and each simply maintains its particular and mostly stagnant core of support. Each of those groups has taken more and more to hitting soft targets. Unable to gain even minor real tactical victories against coalition and now even Iraqi national forces, all are targeting civilians, with death squads and bombings that intentionally kill civilians in large numbers at Mosques, markets and even soccer fields.

More and more that death toll is being presented as evidence that we are not winning, and cannot win. That makes the reverse true: that if they can merely kill, even civilians, they are winning tactically and even strategically.

Merely killing a lot of civilians is not a high bar to attain, and that lesson will be learned and copied, again and again.

If we withdraw from Iraq before the country is stable, and do so on the grounds that the continuous killing of civilians and our forces at historically low levels is unacceptable, we will have taught many an able and willing student that victory in war can be had simply by slaughter, constant, repeated, indiscriminate slaughter, of anyone, including women and children.

If the ability of the enemy to kill even the unarmed is what grants victory, Iraq cannot be won. All the various insurgents need to do when any area or region becomes too hot, is go elsewhere and kill! If we seal the supply routes from Iran and Syria and deprive them of arms and weapons, just remember that in Rwanda, hundreds of thousands were killed by clubs and knives.

Success will be copied by the next determined group of murderous psychopaths and thugs, and we will have allowed it to happen by granting psychological victory fed by imagery that preys on emotions and saps our will. If we withdraw and lose this one out of a desire to stop the violence, just because we can't stop all killing while there, we will guarantee a massive amount of worldwide murder in the future!

Forget Sun Tzu, ClausEwitz or Mahan! Al-Zarqawi will posthumously be granted the distinction of having been a great military theoretician. Just kill! Anyone. Continuously.

If we do not meet murder on a horrendous scale with resolve and retribution but rather with retreat, a simple path to victory opens up for any thuggish group or regime, and the world will descend further toward a state of nature.

Page Printed from: at November 29, 2006 - 02:42:13 PM EST


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #68 on: November 29, 2006, 12:50:29 PM »
I'm still up in the air about civil war/not civil war in Iraq, but I'n surprised that no one seems to be looking up the actual definition of the words. So here it is:

As per Webster:

civil war
Function:   noun
: a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country

As per American Heritage dictionary:

civil war
A war between factions or regions of the same country.
A state of hostility or conflict between elements within an organization.

As per Wikipedia:

A civil war is a war in which parties within the same culture, society or nationality fight for political power or control of an area. Political scientists use two criteria: the warring groups must be from the same country and fighting for control of the political center, control over a separatist state or to force a major change in policy. The second criterion is that at least 1,000 people must have been killed in total, with at least 100 from each side.

Some civil wars are also categorized as revolutions when major societal restructuring is a possible outcome of the conflict. An insurgency, whether successful or not, is likely to be classified as a civil war by some historians if, and only if, organized armies fight conventional battles. Other historians state the criterion for a civil war is that there must be prolonged violence between organized factions or defined regions of a country (conventionally fought or not).

Ultimately the distinction between a "civil war" and a "revolution" or other name is arbitrary, and determined by usage. The successful revolution of the 1640s in England which led to the (temporary) overthrow of the monarchy became known as the English Civil War. The successful insurgency of the 1770s in British colonies in America, with organized armies fighting battles, came to be known as the American Revolution. In the United States, and in American-dominated sources, the term 'the civil war' almost always means the American Civil War, with other civil wars noted or inferred from context.

Factors such as nationalism, religion, and ideology played little role in pre-modern civil wars. Modern nationalists have commonly read past revolts (such as Scotland against England or Catalonia against Spain) as early stirrings of nationalism, the truth is that these conflicts were in fact feudal or dynastic rather than national. There are some pre-modern civil wars that can be seen as fueled by religion (the Jewish Revolts against Rome), but these can also be seen as revolts by a servile people against their oppressors or uprisings by local notables in an attempt to gain independence.

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Re: Iraq
« Reply #69 on: November 30, 2006, 09:45:28 AM »
U.S.& Iraqi Army troops kicking bad guys in the butt:

BAGHDAD, IRAQ – U.S. troops killed 8 al-Qaida terrorists today in an early-morning raid near Baqubah.

Acting upon intelligence sources, U.S. troops launched an operation to detain individuals running a known terrorist cell. At the objective, U.S. troops received enemy rifle and machine gun fire.  Due to the heavy volume of enemy fire, U.S. troops also engaged the terrorists by calling in airstrikes.     

U.S.A.F. fighters fired rounds neutralizing the enemy threat. U.S. troops then cleared the objective of terrorists.  Upon a search of the objective area, they found 2 female nationals who were killed during the firefight.  U.S. troops found machine guns, AK-47s and rifles at the scene.

U.S. Troops Conducts Strike On Insurgents, Killing 2

AR RAMADI, Iraq – U.S. troops conducted a precision strike on insurgent forces after observing 3 men loading weapons from a known cache site into a vehicle in central Ramadi.

After making positive identification, U.S. troops fired precision ordnance at the vehicle, killing 2 terrorists. One terrorist was seen limping away from the scene.

U.S. Forces Engage Insurgents & Supporters In Ar Ramadi, 6 Killed

AR RAMADI, Iraq – 6 Iraqis were killed in conjunction with a firefight in the hostile Hamaniyah area in Ar Ramadi in the early hours of Nov. 28.

Prior to dawn, U.S. troops discovered an improvised explosive device in a historic IED location in Hamaniyah. The patrol spotted 2 insurgents moving away from the trigger site. The 2 men took up positions on the roof of a house and observed the U.S. troops clearing the IED.

As U.S. troops cleared the IED, the insurgents engaged the soldiers providing security with small arms fire. After establishing positive identification, U.S. troops engaged with small arms and machine gun fire. As the insurgents continued to engage the patrol, U.S. troops returned fire with M1-A1 Abrams main gun tank rounds.  U.S. troops conducted an extensive search of the house and found 6 Iraqis dead.

According to local residents, the house was a known insurgent safe house. It was reported that one of the insurgents was wounded and other insurgents came to him from the house.

2 Terrorists Arrested In Funeral Procession

FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAHMUDIYAH, Iraq — Soldiers of the 6th Iraqi Army Division stopped a vehicle north of FOB Mahmudiyah Nov. 24, discovering that the driver and passenger were heavily armed.

Soldiers found an Uzi submachine gun with a silencer in the vehicle, as well as a number of hand grenades, and multiple false identification papers.  The vehicle had infiltrated a funeral procession when it was stopped, but none of the people in the procession could identify the men.

The men were uncooperative during questioning by Iraqi troops and were taken to an Iraqi Army facility for further interrogation.

Special Iraqi Army Forces Captures 2 Leaders, 7 Others, of Illegal Armed Group IED Cell

BAGHDAD – Special Iraqi Army Forces, with U.S. advisors, captured 2 leaders of an illegal armed group cell during a raid Nov. 28 in Baghdad who are believed to be responsible for producing and detonating improvised explosive devices and car bombs. 7 other terrorists were captured by Iraqi forces during the raid.
Iraqi Army captures 2 in mortar attack near Taji

TAJI, Iraq – Iraqi Army Soldiers of the 9th Iraqi Army Division captured 2 insurgents here today on a motorcycle carrying 3 mortar rounds and a large sum of money.
The two men were placed into custody after allegedly firing two mortar rounds into the 2nd Iraqi Brigade’s area of operations.  The insurgents were passing through an Iraqi checkpoint at the time of their capture. Iraqi Army soldiers were conducting a reconnaissance mission in the area after discovering mortar rounds had been fired in their vicinity.
Iraqi Army Troops Kill 3, Captures 28 Insurgents
BAGHDAD - Iraqi soldiers killed 3 insurgents and arrested 28 during the past 24 hours in different parts of Iraq, the Defence Ministry said.
Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.

(I have a catapult. Give me all the money, or I will fling an enormous rock at your head.)


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #70 on: November 30, 2006, 11:59:21 AM »
EXCLUSIVE: Iranian Weapons Arm Iraqi Militia

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2006 —  U.S. officials say they have found smoking-gun evidence of Iranian support for terrorists in Iraq: brand-new weapons fresh from Iranian factories. According to a senior defense official, coalition forces have recently seized Iranian-made weapons and munitions that bear manufacturing dates in 2006.

This suggests, say the sources, that the material is going directly from Iranian factories to Shia militias, rather than taking a roundabout path through the black market. "There is no way this could be done without (Iranian) government approval," says a senior official.

Iranian-made munitions found in Iraq include advanced IEDs designed to pierce armor and anti-tank weapons. U.S. intelligence believes the weapons have been supplied to Iraq's growing Shia militias from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which is also believed to be training Iraqi militia fighters in Iran.

Evidence is mounting, too, that the most powerful militia in Iraq, Moktada al-Sadr's Mahdi army, is receiving training support from the Iranian-backed terrorists of Hezbollah.

Two senior U.S. defense officials confirmed to ABC News earlier reports that fighters from the Mahdi army have traveled to Lebanon to receive training from Hezbollah.

While the New York Times reported that as many as 2,000 Iraqi militia fighters had received training in Lebanon, one of the senior officials said he believed the number was "closer to 1,000." Officials say a much smaller number of Hezbollah fighters have also traveled through Syria and into Iraq to provide training.

U.S. intelligence officials believe the number of Al-Sadr's Mahdi army now includes 40,000 fighters, making it an especially formidable force.


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #71 on: December 08, 2006, 03:55:07 PM »

Geopolitical Diary: Undoing De-Baathification, Maybe

Ali al-Lamy, head of Iraq's Supreme National Council for De-Baathification, said Monday that the government has drafted a law that could reinstate thousands of members of the Baath Party who were purged in the wake of the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Al-Lamy, a Shi'i, said the move will allow many former Baathists -- but not the top 1,500 party cadres considered complicit in crimes -- "to return to their posts or get pensions." He also warned that the party will remain outlawed and that those who insist on remaining affiliated with it will be considered terrorists.

This announcement is most likely a Shiite response to reports that Washington is engaged in negotiations with Sunni insurgent groups. The Iraqi Shia and their Iranian patrons would prefer to control the magnitude and direction of any accommodation with the Sunnis themselves, and do not want to see the United States engaging in direct talks.

The decision to rehabilitate former ruling party members would also explain this weekend's offer from Tehran to consider a hypothetical U.S. offer of talks on Iraq. The Iranians realize that there is an opportunity at hand to consolidate their gains in Iraq; they also feel that they need to counter any U.S.-Sunni deals that could upset Tehran's calculations and those of its proxies within Iraq.

There has been a recent increase in tensions between the Bush administration and its erstwhile Iraqi Shiite allies, but there has been friction over Washington's desire to use the Sunnis as a lever to contain Shiite ambitions for quite some time. In fact, the de-Baathification issue came up during last year's intense negotiations over the drafting of the Iraqi Constitution. At one point, U.S. President George W. Bush personally telephoned the leader of the ruling Shiite United Iraqi Alliance, Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim -- who is also chief of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Iran's closest ally in Iraq -- asking him to make compromises on parts of the constitution that would purge former members of Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated Baath Party from government jobs.

That the Shia, some 15 months later, are willing to make considerable concessions to the Sunnis on this point demonstrates that they fear direct dealings between Washington and the Sunnis can hurt the Shiite position in Iraq. This draft law is essentially a Shiite offer to the Sunnis, who have been demanding the reversal of de-Baathification in exchange for containing the insurgency.

But the Shia are also hedging their bets. They are not prepared to see the reversal of their efforts to neutralize the Baath Party. The law, at the moment, is only a draft. It will be subject to significant back-and-forth negotiations before it comes anywhere close to making it onto the books. The actual law will be a watered down version of today's generous offer.

By extending this olive branch to the Sunnis, the Shia -- who are under pressure to rein in the Shiite militias -- hope to thwart any U.S. moves and to contain the Sunni insurgency. The question now is, how will the Sunnis respond?


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Iraq Surrender Commision's Silver Lining
« Reply #72 on: December 11, 2006, 09:46:34 AM »
Into Every Blue Ribbon Commission a Beam of Light Must Shine
Baker/Hamilton opened a window onto Iran.

By Michael Ledeen

At first I, too, thought the Iraq Surrender Commission Report was a total downer. But I’m more and more convinced that it was a great blessing. Not that they intended it to work out this way, but the Wise Men (and the token Lady) have elevated Iran to its rightful place in our national squabble over The war: dead center.

The Surrender Commission Report underlines the basic truth about The War, which is that we cannot possibly win it by fighting defensively in Iraq alone. So long as Iran and Syria have a free shot at us and our Iraqi allies, they can trump most any military tactics we adopt, at most any imaginable level of troops. Until the publication of the report this was the dirty secret buried under years of misleading rhetoric from our leaders; now it is front and center. Either deal effectively with Iran, or suffer a humiliating defeat, repeating the terrible humiliation of Lebanon in the Eighties when Iran and Syria bombed us out of the country (thereby providing the template for the terror war in Iraq).

The Surrender Commission members do not shrink from humiliation. They want American troops out of Iraq, and therefore they advocate appeasing the Syrians and Iranians. But a considerable number of Americans don’t want to be humiliated by the clerical fascists in Tehran, and I think it’s fair to say the recommendations have largely bombed, despite the flattering photos in Vogue, and the fawning attention from the MSM, including Time’s respectful parroting of (what they must know is) mullah disinformation, and reporting, with an obvious tone of sadness, that the Baker/Hamilton call for talks is more popular in Tehran than in America.

Most Americans are disgusted at the thought of an American president kissing the Supreme Leader’s turban, as are Jim Woolsey and Jon Kyl, who put it very nicely in an open letter to President Bush. Talking to the mullahs is wrong for many reasons, they say:

First, such negotiations will legitimate that increasingly dangerous regime and reward its violent and hostile actions against us and our allies. We should rather endeavor to discredit and undermine this regime. Second, such a course will embolden our enemies who already believe they are sapping our will to resist them. Third, such an initiative would buy further time for the Iranian mullahs to obtain and prepare to wield weapons of mass destruction. Fourth, entering into negotiations with Tehran’s theocrats will create the illusion that we are taking useful steps to contend with the threat from Iran — when, in fact, we would not be. As a result, other, more effective actions — specifically, steps aimed at encouraging regime change in Iran — will not be pursued.

Notice that Woolsey and Kyl are not just talking about Iraq; they have a commendable focus on Iran itself. They call it dangerous, violent, and hostile, they want its downfall, not its good will. They want a policy to promote regime change instead of further blithering that will give the mullahs more time to rout us and our allies all over the Middle East.

Maybe the sight of the Iranian hangman is beginning to concentrate the minds of our political class. I wish other members of the Senate had had the courage and coherence of Senator Santorum, who voted against the Gates nomination because he didn’t find Gates tough enough on Iran. A big ‘no’ vote, accompanied by criticism of appeasement of Iran and Syria, would have sent a message to the entire administration. But courage and coherence are always in short supply in this town, and it’s nice to hear a broad-based Bronx cheer for the Surrender Commission.

It would be far nicer to see some real action from this administration. For starters, the president and the secretary of state should finally educate the American public about the real dimensions of the Iranian threat:

Somalia, where the Iranian-backed “Islamic courts” have seized a large part of the country and imposed the usual medieval methods made infamous in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Notice the (Shiite) support for these Sunni fascists;

Lebanon, where Iranian-backed (indeed, Iranian-created) Hezbollah is laying siege to the freely elected government, demanding its surrender. Moreover, Iran has rearmed Hezbollah forces in the south, providing new rockets and missiles for another round of the ongoing war against Israel;

Palestine, where Iranian-backed Hamas, in open defiance of the usual calls for negotiations with Israel, has renewed its vow to never recognize the existence of the Jewish state. The most recent such proclamation came in Tehran, on the eve of a conference on the Holocaust, designed to both deny it ever happened and encourage its repetition;

Iraq, where, after three years of official denials, the U.S. has confirmed what our troops have long known, namely that the Iranian regime is manufacturing weapons and providing them to terrorists for use against our soldiers and Iraqi military and civilian personnel. And in recent days, the U.S. has finally confirmed that Hezbollah is training Shiite terrorists in Iraq.

In short, Iran is waging war against us and our allies throughout the region, and a real debate about Iran may, at long last, force us to face the real (regional) strategic problem. If that happens, we can take the Woolsey/Kyl letter as a starting point for a serious war-winning policy, which must have as its basic mission the removal of the regimes in Tehran and Damascus.

Faster, Please! Good old Jim Baker and Lee Hamilton have unexpectedly given us a window of opportunity, don’t run away from it.

— Michael Ledeen, an NRO contributing editor, is most recently the author of The War Against the Terror Masters. He is resident scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute.

National Review Online -


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #73 on: December 14, 2006, 05:58:55 PM »


December 14, 2006 -- AMERICAN diplomats and politically correct gener als
want to be honest bro kers in the Middle East, to achieve peace through
forbearance and negotiated compromises. It may be the most-hopeless dream in
the history of foreign affairs.

The deadly hatred goes too deep between Shia and Sunni (killing Jews is just
for practice). You can't broker peace between fanatics.

East of Athens, you have to pick a side and stick to it, no matter how it
behaves toward its enemies. Restraint is viewed as weakness; olive branches
signal cowardice, and aid is seen as a bribe.

Although Israel's existence is increasingly threatened, the unavoidable
struggle is between Sunni and Shia. Transcending their internal fault lines
- for now - these two competing forms of Islam are already at war in Iraq.
It's only a matter of time until the fighting spreads.

The question isn't "How can we stop it?" We can't. Even delaying the
confrontation may come at too high a price. The right question is "How do we
make sure we're on the winning side?"

The dynamism is with the Shia. Oppressed for centuries, Arab Shia have found
their strategic footing. Tehran's backing helps, but the rise of Shia power
is not synonymous with Iranian power - unless our old-school diplomacy makes
it so.

East of Suez and west of Kabul, Sunni Arab dominance is waning. To future
historians, al Qaeda may appear little more than the death-rattle of a
collapsing order. Jordan may have a future - if that future is guaranteed by
the West - but Syria's grandiose ambitions are unsustainable, and it's
difficult to imagine the long-term survival of the decayed Saudi royal

Now the Saudis are threatening us: If we turn our backs on Iraq's Sunni
Arabs, Riyadh says it will fund the insurgents.

The threat might carry more weight if Saudis weren't already funding Iraq's
Sunni butchers. And note that Saudi Arabia hasn't threatened to intervene
militarily - the playboy princes know that their incompetent armed forces
would collapse if sent to Iraq.

It's time to call Riyadh's bluff.

Having made whores of innumerable politicians on both sides of the aisle in
Washington, the Saudis still hope to steer American policy the way they did
before their citizens attacked us on 9/11.

Now they demand American protection for those Iraqis who have done their
best to kill our troops, instigate a religious civil war, slaughter the
innocent and destroy any hope Iraq has of a better future.

You bet we can always count on our Saudi pals to look out for our interests.
Perhaps we should reciprocate by threatening to fund the discontented Shia
who live atop the richest Saudi oil fields.

The Saudis could have undercut the insurgency in Iraq in 2003. Instead, they
backed it - because they refused to give up the old order in which the Sunni
Arabs - less than 20 percent of Iraq's population - ruled in Baghdad. But
Riyadh's policy of channeling funds through private donors didn't fool
anybody who didn't want to be fooled.

The Saudi (and Syrian) tactics backfired: Enraging Iraq's Shia only made the
weakness of the Sunni position obvious. Now only the presence of our troops
- whom the Sunnis continue to attack - protects Iraq's Sunnis from a
massacre. Isn't it time to stop defending those who murder our troops?

Our wrongheaded attempt to placate Iraq's Sunni Arabs failed utterly. Some
military officers suffering from client-itis argue that their Sunnis really
are on our side. But we need to face the facts: For all of Muqtada al-Sadr's
Shia shenanigans, it's the Sunni Arabs who have destroyed Iraq.

We've tried all of the politically correct negotiations-and-aid nonsense.
Now it's time to take sides.

Unfortunately, Washington's impulse will be to continue squandering the
blood of our troops to preserve the - doomed - existing order in the Middle
East, to keep borders intact and the region's miserable kings, sheikhs,
emirs and presidents-for-life in power.

Our political leaders are lazy creatures of habit who default to
yesteryear's failed theories in any crisis. New ideas just upset them.

So any attempt to disengage from our Sunni Arab enemies to back the
ascendant Shia will hit plenty of roadblocks in D.C. The slam-on-the-brakes
question will always be, "Do you want to strengthen Iran?" (Unless, of
course, you're a congressman responsible for intelligence oversight, in
which case all those pesky Sunni/Shia, Iran/Iraq details are beneath your

Equating "Shia" with "Iran," then writing off the Shia option would be
strategic idiocy (in other words, business as usual). Instead, we need to
ask ourselves how we can wean the region's Shia - including restive young
Iranians - from Tehran's breast.

Some Iraqi Shia do feel an affinity for Iran - but many don't; Arabs find
Persians racist and condescending.

Here's the critical issue: How do we channel the unstoppable rise of Shia
power into a course that doesn't threaten us? (One answer: Don't pander to
their deadly enemies, such as Iraq's Sunni insurgents).

And if the terrified Saudis want us to rescue their nasty backsides again,
let's ask just what they plan to do for us in return - then let's see them
actually do it.

But our response to any threat from Riyadh should be a public smackdown.
Without our support, the Saudis are defenseless. Let's stop pretending we're
the ones who need help.

We have to shift onto the winning side of history. Increasingly, that
doesn't look "Sunni side up." Yes, face down Iran. But do it wisely, by
cooperating with those Shia who fear Tehran's imperial ambitions - rather
than alienating them for the sake of Jim Baker's Saudi friends.

We've tried to be fair, and we failed. Now let's concentrate on winning.

Ralph Peters' latest book is "Never Quit The Fight."


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #74 on: December 15, 2006, 10:11:54 AM »
Neo Culpa

Please don't call them "architects of the war": Richard (Prince of Darkness) Perle, David (Axis of Evil) Frum, Kenneth (Cakewalk) Adelman, and other elite neoconservatives who pushed for the invasion of Iraq are beside themselves at the result.
by david rose january 2007

I: About That Cakewalk …

I remember sitting with Richard Perle in his suite at London's Grosvenor House hotel and receiving a private lecture on the importance of securing victory in Iraq. "Iraq is a very good candidate for democratic reform," he said. "It won't be Westminster overnight, but the great democracies of the world didn't achieve the full, rich structure of democratic governance overnight. The Iraqis have a decent chance of succeeding."

In addition to a whiff of gunpowder, Perle seemed to exude the scent of liberation—not only for Iraqis, but for all the Middle East. After the fall of Saddam Hussein, Perle suggested, Iranian reformers would feel emboldened to change their own regime, while Syria would take seriously American demands to cease its support for terrorists.

Perle had spent much of the 1990s urging the ouster of Saddam Hussein. He was aligned with the Project for the New American Century, a neoconservative think tank that agitated for Saddam's removal, and he had helped to engineer the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, which established regime change as formal U.S. policy. After the accession of George W. Bush, in 2001, Perle was appointed chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, and at its first meeting after 9/11—attended by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz; and Rumsfeld's No. 3, Douglas Feith—Perle arranged a presentation from the exiled Iraqi dissident Ahmad Chalabi. Perle wanted to shut down terrorist havens—not only in Afghanistan but also in Iraq. When we spoke at Grosvenor House, it was late February 2003, and the culmination of all this effort—Operation Iraqi Freedom—was less than a month away.

Three years later, Perle and I meet again, at his home outside Washington, D.C. It is October 2006, the worst month for U.S. casualties in Iraq in nearly two years, and Republicans are bracing for what will prove to be sweeping losses in the upcoming midterm elections. As he looks into my eyes, speaking slowly and with obvious deliberation, Perle is unrecognizable as the confident hawk I once knew. "The levels of brutality that we've seen are truly horrifying, and I have to say, I underestimated the depravity," Perle says, adding that total defeat—an American withdrawal that leaves Iraq as an anarchic "failed state"—is not yet inevitable, but is becoming more likely. "And then," he says, "you'll get all the mayhem that the world is capable of creating."

According to Perle, who left the Defense Policy Board in 2004, this unfolding catastrophe has a central cause: devastating dysfunction within the Bush administration. The policy process has been nothing short of "disastrous," he says. "The decisions did not get made that should have been. They didn't get made in a timely fashion, and the differences were argued out endlessly. At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible.… I think he was led to believe that things were chugging along far more purposefully and coherently than in fact they were. I think he didn't realize the depth of the disputes underneath. I don't think he realized the extent of the opposition within his own administration, and the disloyalty."

Perle goes as far as to say that, if he had his time over, he would not advocate an invasion of Iraq: "I think if I had been delphic, and had seen where we are today, and people had said, 'Should we go into Iraq?,' I think now I probably would have said, 'No, let's consider other strategies for dealing with the thing that concerns us most, which is Saddam supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.' … I don't say that because I no longer believe that Saddam had the capability to produce weapons of mass destruction, or that he was not in contact with terrorists. I believe those two premises were both correct. Could we have managed that threat by means other than a direct military intervention? Well, maybe we could have."

Having spoken with Perle, I wonder: What do the rest of the war's neoconservative proponents think? If the much-caricatured "Prince of Darkness" is now plagued with doubt, how do his comrades-in-arms feel? I am particularly interested in finding out because I interviewed some of the neocons before the invasion and, like many people, found much to admire in their vision of spreading democracy in the Middle East.
I expect to encounter disappointment. What I find instead is despair, and fury at the incompetence of the Bush administration many neocons once saw as their brightest hope.

David Frum, the former White House speechwriter who co-wrote Bush's 2002 State of the Union address, accusing Iraq of being part of an "axis of evil," says it now looks as if defeat may be inescapable, because "the insurgency has proven it can kill anyone who cooperates, and the United States and its friends have failed to prove that it can protect them. If you are your typical, human non-hero, then it's very hard at this point to justify to yourself and your family taking any risks at all on behalf of the coalition." This situation, he says, must ultimately be blamed on "failure at the center."

Kenneth Adelman famously predicted a "cakewalk" in Iraq.

Kenneth Adelman, a longtime neocon activist and Pentagon insider who has served on the Defense Policy Board, wrote a famous op-ed article in The Washington Post in February 2002, arguing, "I believe that demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk." Now he says, "I am extremely disappointed by the outcome in Iraq, because I just presumed that what I considered to be the most competent national-security team since Truman was indeed going to be competent. They turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the postwar era. Not only did each of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together they were deadly, dysfunctional."

Fearing that worse is still to come, Adelman believes that neoconservatism itself—what he defines as "the idea of a tough foreign policy on behalf of morality, the idea of using our power for moral good in the world"—is dead, at least for a generation. After Iraq, he says, "it's not going to sell." And if he, too, had his time over, Adelman says, "I would write an article that would be skeptical over whether there would be a performance that would be good enough to implement our policy. The policy can be absolutely right, and noble, beneficial, but if you can't execute it, it's useless, just useless. I guess that's what I would have said: that Bush's arguments are absolutely right, but you know what? You just have to put them in the drawer marked CAN'T DO. And that's very different from LET'S GO."

James Woolsey, another Defense Policy Board member, who served as director of the C.I.A. under President Clinton, lobbied for an Iraq invasion with a prodigious output of articles, speeches, and television interviews. At a public debate hosted by Vanity Fair in September 2004, he was still happy to argue for the motion that "George W. Bush has made the world a safer place." Now he draws explicit parallels between Iraq and Vietnam, aghast at what he sees as profound American errors that have ignored the lessons learned so painfully 40 years ago. He has not given up hope: "As of mid-October of '06, the outcome isn't clear yet." But if, says Woolsey, as now seems quite possible, the Iraqi adventure ends with American defeat, the consequences will be "awful, awful.… It will convince the jihadis and al-Qaeda-in-Iraq types as well as the residual Ba'thists that we are a paper tiger, and they or anybody they want to help can take us on anywhere and anytime they want and be effective, that we don't have the stomach to stay and fight."

Professor Eliot Cohen of Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, yet another Defense Policy Board member and longtime advocate of ousting Saddam Hussein, is even more pessimistic: "People sometimes ask me, 'If you knew then what you know now, would you still have been in favor of the war?' Usually they're thinking about the W.M.D. stuff. My response is that the thing I know now that I did not know then is just how incredibly incompetent we would be, which is the most sobering part of all this. I'm pretty grim. I think we're heading for a very dark world, because the long-term consequences of this are very large, not just for Iraq, not just for the region, but globally—for our reputation, for what the Iranians do, all kinds of stuff."


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #75 on: December 15, 2006, 10:13:17 AM »
II: Let the Finger-Pointing Begin

I turn in my piece on Thursday, November 2—five days before the midterm elections. The following day, the editors phone to say that its contents—especially the comments by Perle, Adelman, and Frum—are so significant and unexpected that they have decided to post an excerpt that afternoon on the magazine's Web site,

The abridged article goes up at about 4:45 P.M., eastern standard time. Its impact is almost immediate. Within minutes, George Stephanopoulos confronts Vice President Dick Cheney with Perle's and Adelman's criticisms during an on-camera interview. Cheney blanches and declines to comment, other than to say that the administration remains committed to its Iraq policy and will continue to pursue it, "full speed ahead." By the next morning, news of the neocons' about-face has been picked up by papers, broadcasters, and blogs around the world, despite a White House spokesperson's attempt to dismiss it as "Monday-morning quarterbacking."

Some of my interviewees, Richard Perle included, protest in a forum on National Review Online that they were misled, because they believed that their words would not be published until V.F.'s January issue hit newsstands—after the midterms. Posting a preview on the Web, they say, was a "partisan" attempt to score political points. In response, the magazine issues a statement: "At a time when Vice President Dick Cheney is saying that the administration is going 'full speed ahead' with its policy in Iraq and that 'we've got the basic strategy right,' and the president is stating that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's job is secure, we felt that it was in the public's interest to hear now, before the election, what the architects of the Iraq war are saying about its mission and execution."
Some of the neocons also claim that the Web excerpt quotes them out of context—implying, perhaps, that in other parts of their interviews they had praised the performance of Bush and his administration. That charge is untrue. Meanwhile, not all the neocons are unhappy. On Wednesday, November 8, with news of the Democratic takeover of Congress still fresh and Rumsfeld's resignation still hours away, I receive an e-mail from Adelman. "I totally agree with you," he writes. "Why keep Issue #1 behind closed doors until the American people have a chance to vote? That's why I was (among the only ones) not giving any 'rebuttal' to the [Web] release, despite being asked and pressured to do so, since I think it's just fine to get word out when it could make a difference to people.

"Plus I personally had no rebuttal. I thought the words I read from you were fair and right on target."

A cynic might argue that, since the Iraqi disaster has become so palpably overwhelming, the neocons are trashing what is left of Bush's reputation in the hope of retaining theirs. Given the outcome of the midterms, it also seems likely that these interviews are the first salvos in a battle to influence how history will judge the war. The implications will be profound—not only for American conservatism but also for the future direction and ambitions of American foreign policy. The neocons' position in this debate starts with an unprovable assertion: that when the war began, Iraq was "a doable do," to use a military planner's phrase cited by David Frum. If not for the administration's incompetence, they say, Saddam's tyranny could have been replaced with something not only better but also secure. "Huge mistakes were made," Richard Perle says, "and I want to be very clear on this: they were not made by neoconservatives, who had almost no voice in what happened, and certainly almost no voice in what happened after the downfall of the regime in Baghdad. I'm getting damn tired of being described as an architect of the war. I was in favor of bringing down Saddam. Nobody said, 'Go design the campaign to do that.' I had no responsibility for that."

Some of those who did have responsibility, and were once the most gung-ho, are also losing heart. In December 2005, I spoke with Douglas Feith, the former undersecretary of defense for policy, whose Office of Special Plans was reportedly in charge of policy planning for the invasion and its aftermath. He told me then, "I have confidence that in 20 to 30 years people will be happy we removed Saddam Hussein from power and will say we did the right thing. They will look back and say that our strategic rationale was sound, and that through doing this we won a victory in the war on terror."

When we talk again, in October 2006, Feith sounds less certain. It is beginning to seem possible that America will withdraw before Iraq achieves stability, he says, and if that happens his previous statement would no longer be justified. "There would be a lot of negative consequences," he says, adding that America's enemies, including Osama bin Laden, have attacked when they perceived weakness. Leaving Iraq as a failed state, Feith concludes, "would wind up hurting the United States and the interests of the civilized world." In 2005, Feith thought failure unimaginable. Now he broods on how it may occur, and envisions its results.

At the end of 2003, Richard Perle and David Frum published a book, An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror. Neoconservatives do not make up an organized bloc—much less a "cabal," as is sometimes alleged—but the book ends with a handy summary of their ideas. Foreign policy, write Perle and Frum, should attempt to achieve not only the realist goals of American wealth and security but also less tangible ends that benefit mankind. The neoconservative dream, they say, is similar to that which inspired the founders of the United Nations after World War II: "A world at peace; a world governed by law; a world in which all peoples are free to find their own destinies." But in Perle and Frum's view, the U.N. and similar bodies have failed, leaving "American armed might" as the only force capable of bringing this Utopian world into being. "Our vocation is to support justice with power," they write. "It is a vocation that has earned us terrible enemies. It is a vocation that has made us, at our best moments, the hope of the world."

Although Perle was one of the first to frame the case for toppling Saddam in realist terms of the threat of W.M.D.—in a letter he sent to Clinton in February 1998 whose 40 signatories included Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Feith—he insists that the idealist values outlined in his book shaped the way he and his allies always believed the war should be fought. At the heart of their program was an insistence that, no matter how Saddam was deposed, Iraqis had to be allowed to take charge of their destiny immediately afterward.

In the 1990s, the neocons tried to secure American air and logistical support for an assault on Saddam by a "provisional government" based in Kurdistan—a plan derided by former CentCom chief General Anthony Zinni as a recipe for a "Bay of Goats." After 9/11, as America embarked on the path to war in earnest, they pushed again for the recognition of a provisional Iraqi government composed of former exiles, including Chalabi. In addition to acting as a magnet for new defectors from the Iraqi military and government, they argued, this government-in-exile could assume power as soon as Baghdad fell. The neocons, represented inside the administration by Feith and Wolfowitz, also unsuccessfully demanded the training of thousands of Iraqis to go in with coalition troops.

The failure to adopt these proposals, neocons outside the administration now say, was the first big American error, and it meant that Iraqis saw their invaders as occupiers, rather than liberators, from the outset. "Had they gone in with even just a brigade or two of well-trained Iraqis, I think things could have been a good deal different," James Woolsey tells me at his law office, in McLean, Virginia. "That should have been an Iraqi that toppled that statue of Saddam." Drawing a comparison to the liberation of France in World War II, he recalls how "we stood aside and saw the wisdom of having [the Free French leaders] de Gaulle and Leclerc lead the victory parade through Paris in the summer of '44." The coalition, he says, should have seen the symbolic value of allowing Iraqis to "take" Baghdad in 2003. He draws another historical parallel, to the U.S. campaigns against Native Americans in the 19th century, to make another point: that the absence of Iraqi auxiliaries deprived coalition soldiers of invaluable local intelligence. "Without the trained Iraqis, it was like the Seventh Cavalry going into the heart of Apache country in Arizona in the 1870s with no scouts. No Apache scouts. I mean, hello?"

If the administration loaded the dice against success with its pre-war decisions, Kenneth Adelman says, it made an even greater blunder when Saddam's regime fell. "The looting was the decisive moment," Adelman says. "The moment this administration was lost was when Donald Rumsfeld took to the podium and said, 'Stuff happens. This is what free people do.' It's not what free people do at all: it's what barbarians do. Rumsfeld said something about free people being free to make mistakes. But the Iraqis were making 'mistakes' by ruining their country while the U.S. Army stood there watching!" Once Rumsfeld and General Tommy Franks failed to order their forces to intervene—something Adelman says they could have done—several terrible consequences became inevitable. Among them, he tells me over lunch at a downtown-D.C. restaurant, was the destruction of Iraq's infrastructure, the loss of documents that might have shed light on Saddam's weapons capabilities, and the theft from Iraq's huge munitions stores of tons of explosives "that they're still using to kill our kids." The looting, he adds, "totally discredited the idea of democracy, since this 'democracy' came in tandem with chaos." Worst of all, "it demolished the sense of the invincibility of American military power. That sense of invincibility is enormously valuable when you're trying to control a country. It means, 'You fuck with this guy, you get your head blown off.' All that was destroyed when the looting began and was not stopped."

Former Bush speechwriter David Frum fears that defeat in Iraq will push the U.S. toward isolationism.

According to Frum, there was a final ingredient fueling the wildfire spread of violence in the second half of 2003: intelligence failures that were, in terms of their effects, even "grosser" than those associated with the vanishing weapons. "The failure to understand the way in which the state was held together was more total," he tells me in his office at the neoconservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute (A.E.I.). America assumed it was invading a functional, secular state, whose institutions and lines of control would carry on functioning under new leadership. Instead, partly as a result of the 1990s sanctions, it turned out to be a quasi-medieval society where Saddam had secured the loyalty of tribal sheikhs and imams with treasure and S.U.V.'s. Here, Frum says, another disadvantage of not having an Iraqi provisional government made itself felt: "There's no books, there's no treasury, and he's distributing. One guy gets a Land Rover, another guy gets five Land Rovers, somebody else gets a sack of gold.… That is information that only an Iraqi is going to have, and this is something I said at the time: that Iraq is going to be ruled either through terror or through corruption. Saddam knew how to do it through terror. Ahmad Chalabi would have known how to do it through corruption. What we are now trying to do, in the absence of the knowledge of who has to be rewarded, is to do a lot of things through force." The state had ceased to "deliver" rewards to loyalists, and in that vacuum the insurgency began to flourish.


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #76 on: December 15, 2006, 10:15:09 AM »
III: The Trouble with Bush and Rice

As V.F. first revealed, in the May 2004 issue, Bush was talking about invading Iraq less than two weeks after 9/11, broaching the subject at a private White House dinner with British prime minister Tony Blair on September 20, 2001. With so much time to prepare, how could the aftermath have begun so badly? "People were aware in February or March of 2003 that the planning was not finished," Frum says. "There was not a coherent plan, and in the knowledge that there was not a coherent plan, there was not the decision made to wait." The emphasis here needs to be on the word "coherent." In fact, as Frum points out, there were several plans: the neocons' ideas outlined above, a British proposal to install their client Iyad Allawi, and suggestions from the State Department for a government led by the octogenarian Adnan Pachachi. To hear Frum tell it, the State Department was determined to block the neocons' anointed candidate, Ahmad Chalabi, and therefore resisted both Iraqi training and a provisional government, fearing that these measures would boost his prospects.

It would have been one thing, the neocons say, if their plan had been passed over in favor of another. But what really crippled the war effort was the administration's failure, even as its soldiers went to war, to make a decision. Less than three weeks before the invasion, Bush said in a rousing, pro-democracy speech to the A.E.I., "The United States has no intention of determining the precise form of Iraq's new government. That choice belongs to the Iraqi people." But with the administration unable to decide among Allawi, Pachachi, and Chalabi, the Iraqis ultimately were given no say. Instead, L. Paul Bremer III soon assumed almost unlimited powers as America's proconsul, assisted by a so-called Governing Council, which he was free to ignore and which, to judge by Bremer's memoir, he regarded as a contemptible irritant.

The place where such interagency disputes are meant to be resolved is the National Security Council, chaired during Bush's first term by Condoleezza Rice, who was national-security adviser at the time. A.E.I. Freedom Scholar Michael Ledeen—whose son, Gabriel, a lieutenant in the Marines, recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq—served as a consultant to the N.S.C. under Ronald Reagan and says the council saw its role as "defining the disagreement" for the president, who would then make up his mind. "After that, we'd move on to the next fight." But Rice, says Ledeen, saw her job as "conflict resolution, so that when [then secretary of state Colin] Powell and Rumsfeld disagreed, which did happen from time to time, she would say to [then deputy national-security adviser Stephen] Hadley or whomever, 'O.K., try to find some middle ground where they can both agree.' So then it would descend at least one level in the bureaucracy, and people would be asked to draft new memos." By this process, Ledeen complains, "thousands of hours were wasted by searching for middle ground, which most of the time will not exist." Sometimes—as with the many vital questions about postwar Iraq—"it may well have been too late" by the time decisions emerged.

"The National Security Council was not serving [Bush] properly," says Richard Perle, who believes that the president failed to tackle this shortcoming because of his personal friendship with Rice. "He regarded her as part of the family." (Rice has spent weekends and holidays with the Bushes.) The best way to understand this aspect of the Bush administration, says Ledeen, is to ask, Who are the most powerful people in the White House? "They are women who are in love with the president: Laura [Bush], Condi, Harriet Miers, and Karen Hughes." He cites the peculiar comment Rice reportedly made at a dinner party in 2004, when she referred to Bush as "my husb—" before catching herself. "That's what we used to call a Freudian slip," Ledeen remarks.

Whatever the N.S.C.'s deficiencies, say the neocons, the buck has to stop with the president. "In the administration that I served," says Perle, who was an assistant secretary of defense under Reagan, there was a "one-sentence description of the decision-making process when consensus could not be reached among disputatious departments: 'The president makes the decision.'" Yet Bush "did not make decisions, in part because the machinery of government that he nominally ran was actually running him." That, I suggest, is a terrible indictment. Perle does not demur: "It is." Accepting that, he adds, is "painful," because on the occasions he got an insight into Bush's thinking Perle felt "he understood the basic issues and was pursuing policies that had a reasonable prospect of success." Somehow, those instincts did not translate into actions.

Frank Gaffney, president of the Pentagon-friendly Center for Security Policy, blames Bush for tolerating "palpable insubordination."

On the question of Bush, the judgments of some of Perle's ideological allies are harsher. Frank Gaffney also served under Reagan as an assistant secretary of defense; he is now president of the hawkish Center for Security Policy, which has close ties with the upper echelons of the Pentagon. Gaffney describes the administration as "riven," arguing that "the drift, the incoherence, the mixed signals, the failure to plan this thing [Iraq] rigorously were the end product of that internal dynamic." His greatest disappointment has been the lack of resolution displayed by Bush himself: "This president has tolerated, and the people around him have tolerated, active, ongoing, palpable insubordination and skulduggery that translates into subversion of his policies.… He doesn't in fact seem to be a man of principle who's steadfastly pursuing what he thinks is the right course," Gaffney says. "He talks about it, but the policy doesn't track with the rhetoric, and that's what creates the incoherence that causes us problems around the world and at home. It also creates the sense that you can take him on with impunity."

In 2002 and '03, Danielle Pletka, a Middle East expert at the A.E.I., arranged a series of conferences on the future of Iraq. At one I attended, in October 2002, Perle and Chalabi were on the platform, while in the audience were a Who's Who of Iraq policymakers from the Pentagon and the vice president's office. Pletka's bitterness now is unrestrained. "I think that even though the president remains rhetorically committed to the idea of what he calls his 'freedom agenda,' it's over," she says. "It turns out we stink at it. And we don't just stink at it in Iraq. We stink at it in Egypt. And in Lebanon. And in the Palestinian territories. And in Jordan. And in Yemen. And in Algeria. And everywhere else we try at it. Because, fundamentally, the message hasn't gotten out to the people on the ground.… There is no one out there saying, 'These are the marching orders. Follow them or go and find a new job.' That was what those fights were about. And the true believers lost. Now, that's not to say had they won, everything would be coming up roses. But I do think that we had a window of opportunity to avert a lot of problems that we now see."

For Kenneth Adelman, "the most dispiriting and awful moment of the whole administration was the day that Bush gave the Presidential Medal of Freedom to [former C.I.A. director] George Tenet, General Tommy Franks, and Jerry [Paul] Bremer—three of the most incompetent people who've ever served in such key spots. And they get the highest civilian honor a president can bestow on anyone! That was the day I checked out of this administration. It was then I thought, There's no seriousness here. These are not serious people. If he had been serious, the president would have realized that those three are each directly responsible for the disaster of Iraq."

The most damning assessment of all comes from David Frum: "I always believed as a speechwriter that if you could persuade the president to commit himself to certain words, he would feel himself committed to the ideas that underlay those words. And the big shock to me has been that, although the president said the words, he just did not absorb the ideas. And that is the root of, maybe, everything."


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #77 on: December 15, 2006, 10:16:59 AM »
IV: Was Rumsfeld Lousy? You Bet!

Having started so badly, the neocons say, America's occupation of Iraq soon got worse. Michael Rubin is a speaker of Persian and Arabic who worked for Feith's Office of Special Plans and, after the invasion, for the Coalition Provisional Authority (C.P.A.), in Baghdad. Rubin, who is now back at the A.E.I., points to several developments that undermined the prospects for anything resembling democracy. First was the decision to grant vast powers to Bremer, thus depriving Iraqis of both influence and accountability. "You can't have democracy without accountability," says Rubin, and in that vital first year the only Iraqi leaders with the ability to make a difference were those who controlled armed militias.

The creation of the fortified Green Zone, says Rubin, who chose to live outside it during his year in Baghdad, was "a disaster waiting to happen." It soon became a "bubble," where Bremer and the senior C.P.A. staff were almost completely detached from the worsening realities beyond—including the swelling insurgency. "The guys outside—for example, the civil-affairs officers, some of the USAID [United States Agency for International Development] workers, and so forth—had a much better sense of what was going on outside, but weren't able to get that word inside," Rubin says. Because Bremer was their main source of information, Rumsfeld and other administration spokesmen were out of touch with reality and soon "lost way too much credibility" by repeatedly claiming that the insurgents were not a serious problem.

Meanwhile, waste, corruption, and grotesque mismanagement were rife. Perle tells me a story he heard from an Iraqi cabinet minister, about a friend who was asked to lease a warehouse in Baghdad to a contractor for the Americans in the Green Zone. It turned out they were looking for someplace to store ice for their drinks. But, the man asked, wouldn't storing ice in Iraq's hot climate be expensive? Weren't the Americans making ice as and when they needed it? Thus he learned the extraordinary truth: that the ice was trucked in from Kuwait, 300 miles away, in regular convoys. The convoys, says Perle, "came under fire all the time. So we were sending American forces in harm's way, with full combat capability to support them, helicopters overhead, to move goddamn ice from Kuwait to Baghdad."

Perle cites another example: the mishandling of a contract to build 20 health clinics. While it is certainly "a good thing for the U.S. to be building clinics, and paying for it," Perle says, "the prime contractor never left the Green Zone. So there were subcontractors, and the way in which the prime contractor superintended the project was by asking the subcontractors to take videos of their progress and send them into the Green Zone. Now, you've got to expect projects to go wrong if that's the way you manage them, and indeed they did go wrong, and they ran out of money, and the contract was canceled. A complete fiasco." He knows, he says, "dozens" of similar stories. At their root, he adds, is America's misguided policy of awarding contracts to U.S. multi-nationals instead of Iraqi companies.

To former C.I.A. director Woolsey, one of this saga's most baffling features has been the persistent use of military tactics that were discredited in Vietnam. Since 2003, U.S. forces have "fought 'search-and-destroy' instead of 'clear-and-hold,'" he says, contrasting the ineffective strategy of hunting down insurgents to the proven one of taking territory and defending it. "There's never been a successful anti-insurgency campaign that operated according to search-and-destroy, because bad guys just come back in after you've passed through and kill the people that supported you," Woolsey explains. "How the U.S. government's post-fall-of-Baghdad planning could have ignored that history of Vietnam is stunning to me." But Rumsfeld and Bush were never willing to provide the high troop levels that Woolsey says are necessary for clear-and-hold.

Adelman's dismay at the handling of the insurgency is one reason he now criticizes Rumsfeld so severely. He is also disgusted by the former defense secretary's claims that the mayhem has been exaggerated by the media, and that all the war needs is better P.R. "The problem here is not a selling job. The problem is a performance job," Adelman says. "Rumsfeld has said that the war could never be lost in Iraq; it could only be lost in Washington. I don't think that's true at all. We're losing in Iraq."

As we leave the restaurant together, Adelman points to an office on the corner of Washington's 18th Street Northwest where he and Rumsfeld first worked together, during the Nixon administration, in 1972. "I've worked with him three times in my life. I have great respect for him. I'm extremely fond of him. I've been to each of his houses, in Chicago, Taos, Santa Fe, Santo Domingo, and Las Vegas. We've spent a lot of vacations together, been around the world together, spent a week together in Vietnam. I'm very, very fond of him, but I'm crushed by his performance. Did he change, or were we wrong in the past? Or is it that he was never really challenged before? I don't know. He certainly fooled me."


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #78 on: December 15, 2006, 10:18:51 AM »
V: "A Huge Strategic Defeat"

Though some, such as James Woolsey, still hope against hope for success in Iraq, most of the neocons I speak with are braced for defeat. Even if the worst is avoided, the outcome will bear no resemblance to the scenarios they and their friends inside the administration laid out back in the glad, confident morning of 2003. "I think we're faced with a range of pretty bad alternatives," says Eliot Cohen. "The problem you're now dealing with is sectarian violence, and a lot of Iranian activity, and those I'm not sure can be rolled back—certainly not without quite a substantial use of force that I'm not sure we have the stomach for. In any case, the things that were possible in '03, '04, are no longer possible." Cohen says his best hope now is not something on the way toward democracy but renewed dictatorship, perhaps led by a former Ba'thist: "I think probably the least bad alternative that we come to sooner or later is a government of national salvation that will be a thinly disguised coup." However, he adds, "I wouldn't be surprised if what we end up drifting toward is some sort of withdrawal on some sort of timetable and leaving the place in a pretty ghastly mess." And that, he believes, would be "about as bad an outcome as one could imagine.… Our choices now are between bad and awful."

In the short run, Cohen believes, the main beneficiary of America's intervention in Iraq is the mullahs' regime in Iran, along with its extremist president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And far from heralding the hoped-for era of liberal Middle East reform, he says, "I do think it's going to end up encouraging various strands of Islamism, both Shia and Sunni, and probably will bring de-stabilization of some regimes of a more traditional kind, which already have their problems." The risk of terrorism on American soil may well increase, too, he fears. "The best news is that the United States remains a healthy, vibrant, vigorous society. So, in a real pinch, we can still pull ourselves together. Unfortunately, it will probably take another big hit. And a very different quality of leadership. Maybe we'll get it."

Frank Gaffney, of the Center for Security Policy, is more pessimistic. While defeat in Iraq is not certain, he regards it as increasingly likely. "It's not a perfect parallel here, but I would say it would approximate to losing the Battle of Britain in World War II," he says. "Our enemies will be emboldened and will re-double their efforts. Our friends will be demoralized and disassociate themselves from us. The delusion is to think that the war is confined to Iraq, and that America can walk away. Failure in Iraq would be a huge strategic defeat." It may already be too late to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, Gaffney says, pointing out that the Manhattan Project managed to build them in less than four years from a far smaller base of knowledge. "I would say that the likelihood of military action against Iran is 100 percent," he concludes. "I just don't know when or under what circumstances. My guess is that it will be in circumstances of their choosing and not ours."

Richard Perle is almost as apocalyptic. Without some way to turn impending defeat in Iraq to victory, "there will continue to be turbulence and instability in the region. The Sunni in the Gulf, who are already terrified of the Iranians, will become even more terrified of the Iranians. We will be less able to stop an Iranian nuclear program, or Iran's support for terrorism. The Saudis will go nuclear. They will not want to sit there with Ahmadinejad having the nuclear weapon." This is not a cheering prospect: a Sunni-Shia civil war raging in Iraq, while its Sunni and Shia neighbors face each other across the Persian Gulf armed with nukes. As for the great diplomatic hope—that the Iraq Study Group, led by George Bush Sr.'s secretary of state James Baker III, can pull off a deal with Syria and Iran to pacify Iraq—Perle is dismissive: "This is a total illusion. Total illusion. What kind of grand deal? The Iranians are not on our side. They're going to switch over and adopt our side? What can we offer them?"

If the neocon project is not quite dead, it has evidently suffered a crippling blow, from which it may not recover. After our lunch, Adelman sends me an e-mail saying that he now understands the Soviet marshal Sergei Akhromeyev, who committed suicide in the Kremlin when it became clear that the last-ditch Communist coup of 1991 was going to fail. A note he left behind stated, "Everything I have devoted my life to building is in ruins." "I do not share that level of desperation," Adelman writes. "Nevertheless, I feel that the incompetence of the Bush team means that most everything we ever stood for now also lies in ruins."

Frum admits that the optimistic vision he and Perle set out in their book will not now come to pass. "One of the things that we were talking about in that last chapter was the hope that fairly easily this world governed by law, the world of the North Atlantic, can be extended to include the Arab and Muslim Middle East," he says. "I think, coming away from Iraq, people are going to say that's not true, and that the world governed by law will be only a portion of the world. The aftermath of Iraq is that walls are going to go up, and the belief that this is a deep cultural divide is going to deepen." This is already happening in Europe, he adds, citing the British government's campaign against the wearing of veils by women and the Pope's recent critical comments about Islam. As neoconservative optimism withers, Frum fears, the only winner of the debate over Iraq will be Samuel Huntington, whose 1996 book famously forecast a "clash of civilizations" between the West and Islam.

Reading these interviews, those who always opposed the war would be justified in feeling a sense of vindication. Yet even if the future turns out to be brighter than the neocons now fear, the depth and intractability of the Iraqi quagmire allow precious little room for Schadenfreude. Besides the soldiers who continue to die, there are the Iraqis, especially the reformers, whose hopes were so cruelly raised. "Where I most blame George Bush," says the A.E.I.'s Michael Rubin, "is that, through his rhetoric, people trusted him, people believed him. Reformists came out of the woodwork and exposed themselves." By failing to match his rhetoric with action, Bush has betrayed them in a way that is "not much different from what his father did on February 15, 1991, when he called the Iraqi people to rise up, and then had second thoughts and didn't do anything once they did." Those who answered the elder Bush's call were massacred.

All the neocons are adamant that, however hard it may be, stabilizing Iraq is the only option. The consequences of a precipitous withdrawal, they say, would be far worse. Listening to them make this argument, I cannot avoid drawing a deeply disturbing conclusion. One of the reasons we are in this mess is that the neocons' gleaming pre-war promises turned out to be wrong. The truly horrifying possibility is that, this time, they may be right.


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #79 on: December 18, 2006, 08:57:16 AM »
I loathe Sen. Hillary Evita Clinton, but this seems like a responsible piece:

An Oil Trust for Iraq
December 18, 2006; Page A16

Every day, American troops in Iraq continue to sacrifice while serving bravely and magnificently under deteriorating circumstances. And every day, the Iraqi people are paying an enormous price for the future of that country as well -- a future that, by all accounts, is in jeopardy. For the sake of our soldiers and for the future of Iraq, it is time we place greater rights and responsibilities of citizenship in the hands of the Iraqi people. This includes a stake in oil revenues, which are central to political reconciliation and an end to the sectarian violence.

Recent news reports suggest that Iraqi officials are nearing a compromise on how to divide Iraq's substantial oil revenues, based on population, among the various regions in the country. As part of the final compromise regarding oil revenues, we believe that the distribution of funds should be structured in a way that helps the Iraqi people directly.

We have urged for three years that the Bush administration pursue an Iraq Oil Trust, modeled on the Alaskan Permanent Fund, guaranteeing that every individual Iraqi would share in the country's oil wealth. Oil revenues would accrue to the national government and a significant percentage of oil revenues would be divided equally among ordinary Iraqis, giving every citizen a stake in the nation's recovery and political reconciliation and instilling a sense of hope for the promise of democratic values.

The implications would be vast.

• The future of Iraq's oil reserves remains at the heart of the political crisis in Iraq, as the regional and sectarian divides in Iraq play out over the division of resources and revenues. As the Iraq Study Group writes, "The politics of oil has the potential to further damage the country's already fragile efforts to create a unified central government." An Iraq Oil Trust would chart an equitable path forward for dividing oil revenues in a way that transcends the divide among Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis.
• As report after report indicates, one of the challenges to building Iraq's oil revenues has been insurgent attacks against oil infrastructure. A distribution of revenues to all Iraqis would mean they would have a greater incentive to keep the oil flowing, help the economy grow, reject the insurgency, and commit to the future of their nation.
• While demonstrating that the U.S. is not in Iraq for oil, an Iraq Oil Trust would also inhibit corruption and the concentration of oil wealth in the hands of a privileged few.
• Finally, an Iraq Oil Trust would demonstrate the values at the heart of democratic governance: Individuals would have the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Indeed, the study group reports, "Iraqis have not been convinced that they must take responsibility for their own future." By trusting ordinary Iraqis, ordinary Iraqis would in turn gain greater trust in the national government while seeing something positive about the future at a time when positive signs have been few and far between.

Of course, there are obstacles to putting an Iraq Oil Trust in place, from the ability to perform a census to the capacity to distribute funds. But these obstacles do not seem so daunting when compared to the implications of not taking all the steps we can to find a political solution.

There is a bipartisan consensus about the importance of placing in the hands of Iraqis greater control over their own destiny. Sadly, with Iraq riven by sectarian strife, terrorism, insurgency, corruption and day-to-day criminality and violence, the ability of Iraqis to determine their own future seems to be in jeopardy. In order to build popular support for an end to the chaos, ordinary Iraqis must believe that keeping the nation unified holds the promise of a brighter future for their families. An Iraq Oil Trust will be an important step in the right direction.

Now is the time to act. We are at a critical juncture in our nation's policy toward Iraq. In the aftermath of the Iraq Study Group report, the administration is conducting several reviews of our Iraq policy. We should seize this moment and chart a course that places greater responsibility in the leaders and citizens of Iraq. It's time to put our trust where our democratic values lie: in the Iraqi people.

Mrs. Clinton, a Democratic senator from New York, and Mr. Ensign, a Republican senator from Nevada, are members of the Senate Armed Services committee. Mrs. Clinton is the author of "It Takes a Village," rereleased last week by Simon & Shuster to mark the book's 10th anniversary.

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Re: Iraq
« Reply #80 on: December 18, 2006, 03:34:03 PM »

Subject  Iraq last week

Saturday, 16 December 2006 

Commando Brigade captures 9 terrorists

Camp Striker, Iraq – Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division captured 9 terrorists in three separate incidents, Dec. 14 -15. The soldiers captured 5 men near Yusufiyah, Iraq Dec. 14.

The Soldiers observed 3 men near a flat bed pick-up truck congregating around a pot hole in the side of the road. The men fled on foot into a house as the Soldiers approached to investigate. The Soldiers entered and cleared the house, capturing the three.

As the Soldiers searched the outlying area, they discovered 2 more men
stripping electrical wires, preparing to wire improvised explosive devices. The Soldiers arrested these two as well. Upon returning to the pothole, the Soldiers found a partially buried Improvised explosive devise.

In a separate incident, Company C, 4-31 Inf. captured 3 men wanted for their  ties to al Qaeda terrorism cells.

Also on Dec 15, Soldiers from the 89th Cavalry Regiment, captured one insurgent 6 miles north of Yusufiyah for involvement in IED placement along Iraqi Highway 1. An IED exploded while the Soldiers were conducting during a route clearing mission.

The unit searched the area and encountered 2 men in a house near the
explosion site. One man implicated the other in the IED incident. The man implicated was arrested.

3 insurgents killed attempting to emplace IEDs in Ramadi

RAMADI - U.S. troops killed three insurgents with a precision munition and direct fire for hostile actions Dec. 14 in Ramadi. 

U.S. troops observed one insurgent emplacing an IED. He was killed.  Four more insurgents were observed emplacing another IED.  U.S. troops used a precision munition to destroy a shack that insurgents were entering and exiting while emplacement was occurring.  The shack was destroyed and two insurgents were killed.

4 insurgents killed attempting to emplace IEDs

FALLUJAH - 4 insurgents were killed by aviation fires after precision munitions were employed to destroy a truck used to transport improvised explosive devices in Fallujah.

Marines observed insurgents excavating IED-making material from the side of a road and loading it into a truck. The truck then proceeded to another location where the insurgents began emplacing the IEDs.

The Marines established positive identification of the insurgents and destroyed the truck with precision munitions.  The 4 insurgents were killed by direct fire.

Coalition Forces kill 3 terrorists, capture 1 following gunfights

BAGHDAD – Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry, currently attached to the 1st Cavalry Division, killed 3 terrorists and captured a 4th following two attacks on coalition forces in the capital mid-morning.

The first terrorist was killed when Soldiers spotted him on a rooftop aiming a rocket propelled grenade at the patrol in the Furat neighborhood. The second attack began with small arms fire on a coalition patrol in the Bayaa neighborhood. The patrol engaged a small group of terrorists, killing two and wounding one.

A total of 3 assault rifles and a rocket propelled grenade launcher were recovered from the two attacks.
ISF Captures Illegal Armed Group Cell Leader -

BAGHDAD – 8th Iraqi Army division forces captured the head of the Al Kut Office of the Martyr Sadr for involvement in illegal arms smuggling activities and directing attacks against Iraqi Security Forces.

He ordered his followers to conduct indirect fire attacks and place improvised explosive devices targeting Iraqi and Coalition Forces. He also took part in an ambush carried out against an Iraqi Army patrol on Sept. 11, 2006.

Iraqi Army forces cordoned and entered the buildings to arrest the leader and other cell members. The man was found along with IED making components consisting of an artillery projectile, 2 rocket propelled grenades, hand grenades and mortar rounds. Also found were 2 assault rifles, 17 rifle magazines, night vision goggles, cell phones and a hand-held two-way radio

During the operation, Iraqi Security Forces exchanged fire with hostile elements, wounding one enemy fighter. The fighter was captured along with 3 additional armed men.
Iraqi Troops Free 23 Kidnap Victims

BAGHDAD – Iraqi Soldiers found 23 hostages and arrested 6 kidnappers when conducting ongoing operations in Baghdad Dec. 11.

The 6th Iraqi Army Division team observed two vehicles that had stopped a local national bus, forcing the passengers off the bus at approximately 10:40 a.m.. The Iraqi Army Soldiers pursued the suspects who got back into the two vehicles and drove off in separate directions.

The Iraqi Army soldiers stopped one of the fleeing vehicles near an established checkpoint in the area. One kidnapper was killed and two others wounded due to the small arms fire used by the Iraqi soldiers to stop the fleeing car. In the trunk of the stopped vehicle, one kidnap victim was found.

The other car, a white Daiwoo, was also followed from the location where
passengers were forced from a bus. The Iraqi Army pursued this vehicle until it stopped in front of a house nearby. Two additional kidnap victims were freed from the trunk of the vehicle and 20 more kidnap victims were found inside the house. 6 kidnappers were captured from this incident.

After further investigation, most of the kidnapped victims are believed to be Shi’a and predominately from Ramadi. Some of the victims showed signs of
abuse; they had been badly beaten. All 23 rescued victims have been transferred to the 4/1/6 IA Headquarters and are receiving medical treatment.

The kidnappers have been identified as Sunni’s. The kidnapping cell leader, a Syrian named Abu Mousan, escaped capture.

BAGHDAD - The Iraqi army arrested 95 insurgents during the last 24 hours in different parts of Baghdad, the Defence Ministry said.
Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.

(I have a catapult. Give me all the money, or I will fling an enormous rock at your head.)


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #81 on: December 19, 2006, 06:18:31 AM »
Thank you for that C-Stray Dog-- we certainly won't be hearing that from MSM.


Geopolitical Diary: Al-Samarraie's Second Prison Break
Former Iraqi Electricity Minister Ayham al-Samarraie broke out of prison the afternoon of Dec. 17, reportedly with the help of an American security company operating in Baghdad. It was al-Samarraie's second prison break from the heavily fortified Green Zone in the past two months.

Why would a U.S. security contractor help an Iraqi convict twice break out of jail? There is no clear answer, but a few conclusions can be drawn.

Al-Samarraie served as electricity minister under former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's interim government. Before that, he worked in Chicago as a manager at KCI Engineering, where he built up strong ties to the Republican Party before returning to Iraq after the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion. The United States enlisted al-Samarraie in the fall of 2002 to help create a State Department-funded postwar strategy for Iraq.

Al-Samarraie also is a Sunni with Iraqi-U.S. citizenship who draws his roots from Anbar province, the main hotbed of Sunni insurgent violence, which made him an attractive candidate for a ministry position. He cultivated an extensive network with prominent Sunni tribe leaders in Anbar, and has worked with U.S. and Iraqi officials to co-opt Sunni nationalist insurgents into the political process.

But al-Samarraie also had dollar signs in his eyes when he took the ministry position. Despite his critical links to the Sunni nationalist insurgency, al-Samarraie was convicted on one of 13 corruption charges and sentenced to a two-year jail term in October. He still has to face an Iraqi court for the remaining 12 charges for pocketing approximately $1.5 billion from phony construction contracts, which could very well link back to his business buddies in Chicago. Al-Samarraie's contacts in Washington, however, apparently agreed to give him a "get-out-of-jail-free card" in October, when a few armed American security officials snuck al-Samarraie out of the courtroom through a tunnel from the basement of the building and into a safe house in the Green Zone. After he told Arab satellite stations that he was in U.S. custody, U.S. officials reportedly returned al-Samarraie to the Iraqi prison guards for unknown reasons.

Over the next couple months, al-Samarraie asked U.S. and Iraqi officials to release him, saying Shiite gunmen would kill him while in custody. Shiite militiamen apparently tried to kill him and Allawi, who lives next-door to al-Samarraie, in September 2005; a car bomb was found behind Allawi's house. A roadside bomb also went off in February near al-Samarraie's convoy in Baghdad, wounding three of his bodyguards. Even before he went to jail, al-Samarraie hired a private U.S. security contractor for protection.

After spending less than two months in prison, al-Samarraie's pleas for freedom were answered Dec. 17, when a group of American security officials arrived in two GMC vehicles at the jail where he was incarcerated, held jail guards at gunpoint and then whisked the convict away without firing a shot, said Judge Radhi Radhi, a senior anti-corruption official in Iraq.

Al-Samarraie is evidently still important enough for U.S. security contractors to get the go-ahead and break him out of prison once again. His prison break comes at a time when Washington is desperate for solutions to help alleviate the sectarian violence in Iraq and bring some semblance of control to a foreign policy blunder that has largely paralyzed the U.S. military and government. Al-Samarraie may be a crook, but he also is a key figure in the Sunni political bloc that could aid the Americans in getting the Sunnis on board with a deal to co-opt more Baathists into the political system.

Al-Samarraie could have been released as part of a political bargain with the Sunni political leadership, or as a means of re-enlisting him to act as a go-between for the Americans to deal with the Sunni insurgents. Either way, we cannot help but notice that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced on Monday that his government has decided to welcome back former Sunni Baathists who served in the Iraqi army under Hussein's rein. The reintegration of Sunni Baathists is a major concession for the Shiite-dominated and Iranian-influenced government to make, which has a logical interest in ensuring that Sunnis are prevented from reasserting themselves politically or militarily in post-Hussein Iraq. Nonetheless, it appears that the Shia have taken a big step forward by throwing out this concession to the Sunnis. And if Washington wants this latest attempt at a political resolution to bear fruit, it will have to enlist the aid of influential Sunni mediators, such as al-Samarraie.
A War That Abhors a Vacuum
Ben Connable is a major in the Marine Corps.
The New York Times
December 18, 2006
Op-Ed Contributor

THE niceties are up for debate: phased or partial withdrawal from Iraq would
entail pulling troops back to their bases across the country, or
leapfrogging backward to the nearest international border, or redeploying to
bases in nearby countries.

But whatever the final prescription, the debate must include a sober look at
the street-level impact of withdrawal. What will become of Iraqi villages,
towns and cities as we pull out? Although past is not necessarily prologue,
recent experience in Anbar Province may be instructive.

American units have already withdrawn from the western Euphrates River
valley - twice, in fact. As the insurgency heated up in early 2004, the
Seventh Marine Regiment pulled up stakes and went to fight insurgents in
eastern Anbar, leaving the rest of the province in the hands of a battalion
of troops. The Marines balanced obvious risk against the possible reward of
overwhelming some of the insurgent groups in the east.

The consequences were immediate and bloody. Insurgents assumed control of
several towns and villages. They tortured and executed police officers,
local politicians, friendly tribal leaders and informants. They murdered
contractors who had worked with the Americans or the Iraqi government. They
tore down American-financed reconstruction projects and in a few cases
imposed an extreme version of Islamic law. Many Iraqi military units
collapsed in the absence of United States support.

The insurgents celebrated their self-described victory and exploited the
withdrawal for propaganda purposes. Baathist-led insurgents used the
opportunity to establish training camps and weapons caches in the farmland
and along the river banks while other groups, including Al Qaeda, smuggled
in fighters, suicide bombers and money to support operations in Ramadi,
Falluja and Baghdad. Western Iraq became a temporary haven for criminals,
terrorists and thousands of local thugs who made up de facto mini-regimes in
the absence of a stabilizing force.

When the Seventh Marines returned to western Anbar it was essentially forced
to retake some of the towns it once controlled. Many local Iraqis were
openly hostile; the battle for the hearts and minds of the population was
set back months, if not years. With the politicians murdered, local civil
administration was almost nonexistent and any influence held by the central
government was lost.

The Seventh Marine Regiment pulled up stakes again in November 2004 to join
the second fight for Falluja. Conscious of the damage done by the earlier
withdrawal, the Marines left behind more troops in an effort to stem the
inevitable surge of insurgent and criminal gangs; Iraqi forces were not yet
ready to assume control.

Despite this Marine presence, the results were similar. What had been
rebuilt in the summer crumbled in the fall.

The two withdrawals left the western Euphrates River valley in a shambles.
At the end of 2005 the Marines were forced to conduct sweep and clear
operations from Anbar's capital, Ramadi, to the Syrian border town of
Husayba. As they pushed west they uncovered hundreds of weapons caches,
elaborate insurgent propaganda centers, carefully camouflaged training
camps, suicide vehicle factories and complex criminal networks that were
feeding a steady stream of money to insurgents and terrorists across the
country. Marine units settled back in, spread out and brought attack levels
to unprecedented lows.

Since 2005, the situation in Anbar has significantly deteriorated. But as
bad as things have become, American and Iraqi forces retain some degree of
control in even the most turbulent areas. The border cities of Husayba and
Qaim are relatively stable and have effective security and government.
Falluja, also stable, is a model for Iraqi-American military cooperation.
Advisers are embedded with Iraqi units across the province.
American-supported tribes are beginning to combat Al Qaeda in Iraq in the
east. Anbar is down but not out, thanks to the American troops along the
Euphrates River.

American presence might be likened to a control rod in a nuclear reactor:
Leave it in place and the potential energy of the insurgents and criminals
is mostly kept in check; remove it and the energy becomes kinetic.
Withdrawal of United States presence from any town or city in Anbar will
almost certainly lead to the creation of safe havens for western Iraq's
impenetrable snarl of foreign fighters, nationalist insurgents and local
thugs. Many abandoned cities and towns would come to closely resemble the
Falluja of mid-2004.

If American forces conduct even a phased withdrawal before the full
certification of Iraqi Army battalions, those units incapable of sustaining
independent operations would be forced to pull back alongside their minders,
or collapse as their logistics and fire support lifelines disappeared. Most
local police forces would scatter, be co-opted or slaughtered wholesale, as
they were in 2004.

Insurgents of all stripes would make the most of the combined American and
Iraqi withdrawal, harassing the departing convoys with homemade bombs and
small-arms fire. Videos of insurgents dancing in the streets would become
prevalent on the Internet and international television. No public relations
campaign could succeed in painting an early phased withdrawal as anything
but a strategic defeat.

"Redeployed" in large bases far from the enemy centers of gravity, American
troops wouldn't be able to keep insurgent groups from forming
semi-conventional units. This pattern has repeated itself countless times
across Iraq and follows historic guerrilla-warfare models: insurgents
exploit any safe haven to strengthen and train their forces. The longer they
are left alone, the stronger they become. As our presence in the countryside
diminishes, our ability to gather intelligence and to protect valuable
infrastructure, communications lines and friendly tribal areas will
deteriorate rapidly.

Should the Iraqi Army stay in place as American units withdraw, the American
advisers embedded within these units probably would have to be removed,
leaving nobody to control air support, coordinate unit pay from Baghdad,
supervise the monthly convoys to take troops home on leave, prevent gross
violations of the Geneva Convention or shore up shaky leadership. Given
patient support, most of these units eventually will develop the capacity to
conduct independent operations. However, some adviser teams already report
that their Iraqi counterparts have said they intend to desert if the
Americans leave too soon.

Although Anbar may be the most violent province in Iraq per capita, it is
relatively free of the sectarian tensions found in Baghdad and the center.
The confusion caused by withdrawal would be compounded as religious, militia
and political loyalties divided inadequately prepared military and police
units. Full-scale ethnic killing would become a very real possibility.

For some, the collapse of Iraqi society into Hobbesian mayhem is inevitable
no matter how many American troops remain on the ground. A few argue that
disintegration of the Iraqi state actually would bring about the national
catharsis that seems so elusive today - that absolute civil war would be a
greater good.

This cold calculus ignores the very real impact of an American withdrawal on
the people we now protect. Any debate that does not consider the bloody
reality we would leave in our wake does a disservice to the people of Iraq
and the troops who have fought so hard to defend them.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2006, 07:54:27 AM by Crafty_Dog »


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One War at a Time
« Reply #82 on: December 21, 2006, 07:10:48 AM »
Col. Ralph Peters has called for taking out Sadr right away.  Here is a different approach offered by an ex-CIA officer in today's NY Times

In Iraq, Let’s Fight One War at a Time
Published: December 21, 2006
ONCE again American officials are growing dissatisfied with an Iraqi government. In Baghdad and in Washington, officials privately and the press publicly suggest that the Bush administration would prefer that Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki fell, and that Adil Abdul Mahdi, a French-educated economist who is a vice president, would replace him. Mr. Maliki is politically too dependent, the reasoning goes, on the young Shiite militia leader Moktada al-Sadr, a scion of a prestigious clerical family and the boss of a pivotal bloc of votes in Iraq’s Parliament.

Mr. Mahdi may look like a good bet for Washington. He is a far more amiable gentleman than Mr. Maliki, and doesn’t appear to be emotionally distressed when he is in the company of Americans. His group, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, was created in exile in Iran; its militia, the Badr Organization, has never had a serious clash with the United States military and is less prominent in the sectarian strife than Mr. Sadr’s followers, the Mahdi Army. In addition, the Supreme Council’s top man, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, has long dealt directly and pleasantly with American officials.

Since President Bush is now immersed in a top-to-bottom Iraq review, in which a substantial surge of American soldiers into Baghdad seems ever more likely and the Army is again seriously considering directly confronting Mr. Sadr, the appeal of Mr. Mahdi and the Supreme Council may grow in Washington and Baghdad.

If so, the administration should nip in the bud such inclinations. Changing the Shiite parts of the Iraqi government and quickly taking on Mr. Sadr would do nothing to end the Sunni insurgency and the holy war of foreign jihadists against the new Iraq.

Indeed, such a tack would not likely diminish the appeal or the power of the Mahdi Army, which is largely made up of poor, radicalized young men whose families were brutalized by Saddam Hussein and have been savaged by Sunni Arab fighters since the fall of 2003.

Nor would changing prime ministers and confronting Mr. Sadr’s militia advance the cause of reconciliation among the Sunni and Shiite Arabs and Kurds, allow the Iraqi government to operate more effectively, or let American troops leave Mesopotamia one day sooner.

In fact, attacking Mr. Sadr now and elevating the Supreme Council is likely to accomplish the exact opposite of what we want. And it shouldn’t be that hard to see why: the sine qua non for peace in Iraq, and for a democratic future for the country, has always been unity among the Shiites. Any violent struggle between the Mahdi Army and Supreme Council could provoke anarchy throughout the entire Arab Shiite zone, including Iraq’s holy cities and the oil-rich south. As bad as things seem now, such Shiite strife could impoverish all of Arab Iraq, dropping the non-Kurdish regions to an Afghan-like subsistence level.

In such a situation, we would likely see the hyper-radicalization of the Shiites, who have already become more militant owing to the tenacity and barbarism of the Sunni insurgency. In addition, whatever fraternal and nationalist bonds remain among moderate Sunni and Shiite Arabs would probably disappear in a Shiite-versus-Shiite bloodbath.

We would do well not to underestimate how these age-old familial and national ties and sympathies still diminish the sectarian strife. A genocidal Shiite-versus-Sunni conflict in Iraq — a real possibility — would be much more likely after an intra-Shiite war that destroys the traditional social and religious hierarchy that has remained vastly stronger among the Shiites than among Sunni Arabs since the American invasion.

Yes, the forces of the Supreme Council might be able to beat Mr. Sadr’s militia, the Mahdi Army. Trained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Badr Organization is a serious army that might handle Mr. Sadr’s more numerous and passionate supporters. The mullahs in Tehran, who have aided both Mr. Sadr and Mr. Hakim, would probably throw their support to the latter’s Supreme Council in the event of all-out war. Such a confrontation, beyond wrecking Iraq politically, would probably allow the worst elements in the Supreme Council — those who envision a religious dictatorship along the lines of Iran — to become more powerful within the party.


Page 2 of 2)

And an American assault on Sadr City, the impoverished Baghdad stronghold of the Mahdi Army, would be militarily and politically counterproductive if undertaken before the United States launches a serious new counterinsurgency against the Sunnis.

Even with a substantial surge of soldiers along the lines recommended by Jack Keane, a retired four-star general, and the military historian Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute — approximately 35,000 more combat troops — the United States still wouldn’t have enough forces to fight a two-front war against the Sunnis and the Shiites, as it briefly did in 2004.

In Iraq, the United States is much weaker than in 2004. So is Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the moderate bulwark of the Shiite establishment — so the tentative support he gave yesterday for a plan to isolate Mr. Sadr should be taken with a grain of salt. Because of the nonstop insurgency, Shiite politics are fragile. We absolutely cannot afford to have an American effort to pacify Baghdad be seen as a “pro-Sunni” military assault on the capital’s densely populated Shiite ghetto.

If the administration first focuses militarily on the Sunni insurgency, as called for in the Keane-Kagan plan — and the press indicates Mr. Bush is taking the two men very seriously — the United States and the Iraqi government would be better able to diminish sectarian violence. With more troops, we can clear and hold Sunni areas in Baghdad and thereby prevent Shiite militias from streaming out of Sadr City to attack defenseless Sunnis.

Shiite militias are clever predators. They fear American power — the confrontation in Najaf in 2004, during which thousands from the Mahdi Army perished, taught them about the destructive capacity of the American military. If the Americans leave sufficient forces in cleared Sunni areas, they will stay away. But if we pass the holding part of counterinsurgency campaigns to ill-equipped units of the Iraqi Army and to the Iraqi police, who often aid Shiite militias, they will pounce.

Only after Baghdad’s Sunni neighborhoods are fully secured can the Americans turn their attention to the Shiite quarters, ensuring that American and reliable Iraqi forces control the streets and municipal facilities necessary to sustain city life. We may eventually have to confront militarily the Mahdi forces inside Sadr City, but we want to do this only as the last step in counterinsurgency operations in the capital.

Mr. Sadr and his radicalized followers — temperamentally, they are as much children of Saddam Hussein as are the savage Sunnis who glorify the murder of Americans and Shiite civilians — are unlikely to become peaceful players in Iraqi politics. But Mr. Sadr’s reputation can be reduced and his charisma countered if ordinary Shiites have more moderate alternatives, backed by American power, who can protect them from insurgency-loving Sunnis and death-squad Shiites.

It’s unclear how Prime Minister Maliki will react to any American effort to diminish Mr. Sadr. His party, Islamic Dawa, is a bundle of mostly militant contradictions. In the end, President Bush may have to ignore the prime minister if the latter sides with Mr. Sadr.

And some Shiites, and perhaps most Sunnis, may threaten to walk out of Iraq’s government and forsake reconciliation talks if the Americans get serious about pacifying Baghdad and the insurgency elsewhere. Let them. If the city’s and country’s Shiites, who represent about 65 percent of Iraq’s population, see that the Americans are committed to countering the insurgency, any protest from Mr. Maliki or call to arms by Mr. Sadr will have increasingly less power.

No, it won’t be easy — but with American and Iraqi troops all over Baghdad and daily life returning to some normality, the situation will certainly be more manageable than what we confront now. The politics of peaceful Shiite consensus, which is what Grand Ayatollah Sistani has tried to advance since 2003, could again rapidly gain ground.

No progress can be made in Iraq, however, if the Sunni Arabs, who have regrettably embraced the insurgency and holy war in large numbers, are allowed politically to check counterinsurgency operations.

The key for America is the same as it has been for years: to clear and hold the Sunni areas of Baghdad and the so-called Sunni triangle to the north. There will probably be no political solution among the Iraqi factions to save American troops from the bulk of this task. The sooner we start in Baghdad, the better the odds are that the radicalization of the Iraqi Shiites can be halted. As long as this community doesn’t explode into total militia war, Iraq is not lost, and neither is Mr. Bush’s presidency.

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Stray Dog

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« Reply #83 on: December 24, 2006, 10:10:18 AM »

BAGHDAD, Iraq – U.S. troops captured a senior al-Qaida leader and 5 terrorists during a raid in Mosul Dec. 14.

The terrorist leader was captured when U.S. troops raided a known terrorist meeting place.  The terrorist leader was attempting to flee from the location when U.S. troops chased him across a street and detained him.

As the Military Emir of Mosul in 2005, he was personally responsible for hundreds of civilian deaths, to include women and children.  He housed foreign fighters to be used in suicide bombing attacks against U.S, Iraqi troops and the Iraqi people. The capture of this terrorist responsible for anti-Iraqi activity will seriously disrupt al-Qaida in Iraq operations.
Iraqi troops capture terrorist mortar team 
KALSU, Iraq – Iraqi Army troops and Soldiers from the 4th Brigade (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, captured 3 men attempting to set up a mortar tube near Al Qasim, Iraq, Dec. 20.

While conducting a routine patrol, the joint force spotted the 3 men sneaking into a wooded area. The patrol set up an observation post and called in their quick reaction force who moved in and captured the 3 terrorists. The patrol found a complete mortar system and 5 high-explosive rounds.

National Police capture 12 men at power plant facility

BAGHDAD – Elements of the 2nd Iraqi National Police Division captured 12 men involved in sectarian murders at a power plant facility in the Jazeera neighborhood Dec. 19.

The raid was the result of tips from local residents. The Iraqi national police were attacked by small arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices during the operation. The men were surrounded and eventually surrendered after a gunfight. Two vehicles were damaged. No police officers were injured in the attack.

The 12 men are being held for further questioning regarding their roles in sectarian murders in the al-Doura area of the Iraqi capital.
2 insurgents killed by U.S. forces, 1 captured
In Fallujah today U.S. troops killed 2 insurgents who attacked the northwest Iraqi Police gate of the Government Center. 

The U.S. troops observed 4 insurgents exit a parked vehicle and fire a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire at the Iraqi Police gate.  As they attempted to fire the second RPG round, U.S. troops engaged the insurgents with small arms fire.  Two insurgents were killed and one was injured.  One insurgent escaped.

Paratroopers capture 18, secure cache at enemy safe house

FOB KALSU, Iraq – Paratroopers from Company A,
1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, captured 18 insurgents and a weapons cache while searching a house Dec 17. The cache consisted of three rifles, one scope, one sword, one pistol, assorted military uniforms, one American protective chemical suit, and a large amount of currency.


3-61st Cavalry troops foil bomb makers in, uncover and destroy IED

FOB LOYALTY, Iraq – Soldiers with the 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment killed one insurgent and captured 2 others after they caught them attempting to place an improvised explosive device in eastern Baghdad Dec. 16. Also recovered were 2 loaded AK-47 rifles and 8 magazines. In a separate incident, 3-61st Soldiers found and detonated an IED during a morning patrol.
Iraqi Army, Paratroopers Disrupt Terrorists in Turki

TURKI, Iraq – Iraqi Army soldiers and Paratroopers captured 5 terrorists
and seized a weapons cache Thursday during an air assault operation targeting terrorist
cells in Turki Village.

Nearly 200 soldiers from the 5th Iraqi Army Division and Paratroopers from 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division conducted the air assault.

During the mission, a U.S. air weapons team identified 2 armed terrorists and engaged them, killing both.

Continuing on patrol, the Soldiers discovered a cache containing a rocketpropelled
grenade, over 200 rounds of small-arms ammunition, material for making improvised explosive devices, and other small arms munitions.

Iraqi Army coordinates for air support to kill terrorists near Balad

TIKRIT, Iraq – Iraqi Army soldiers from the 5th Iraqi Army Division, with
support from 1st Cavalry Division, called in an air strike on a house harboring eight terrorists after receiving small-arms fire from the house Thursday while they were on patrol east of Balad.

After receiving clearance, an F-15E dropped a guided bomb on the house,
partially demolishing it. However, Iraqi Army continued to receive small-arms fire. Terrorists were observed going into the house. An air weapons team was called to assist ground forces. Terrorists engaged the IA and U.S. Soldiers from a second house. Ground forces engaged the second house killing the terrorists. The Iraqi soldiers secured the site after the house had been destroyed, discovering the bodies of the 8 terrorists with AK-47 semi-automatic machine guns.
Operations net 5 terrorists, weapons
FOB LOYALTY, Iraq – U.S. Soldiers captured 5 terrorists in two separate incidents and found weapons and other items during routine traffic checks in eastern Bagdad Dec. 16.

During one of the traffic stops, the unit found three 9mm pistols, three cell phones and a black ski mask.  They arrested 3 men during this incident. The second incident netted a video camera, recorder and two more terrorists.  U.S. troops use precision-guided munitions to stop enemy.


Numerous terrorists killed, 2 wounded and captured during attack

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq – U.S. troops were attacked by insurgents with small arms fire from a building Saturday in Ramadi. U.S. troops returned fire with small arms and machinegun fire.  4 insurgents were seen running down the road and were engaged with machinegun fire.  One insurgent was killed and two more were wounded and captured.

When the enemy’s attack did not cease, U.S. troops used precision guided munitions to destroy the building being used as an insurgent fighting position.  Parts of the buildings were destroyed.  The enemy’s attacks stopped.  The number of insurgents killed and wounded as a result of the strike is unknown at this time.

While investigating the area after the strike, U.S. troops discovered an Iraqi citizen shot by an insurgent earlier in the engagement. Insurgents had taken his vehicle to transport the body of the killed and wounded insurgents out of the area.


4 terrorists killed, 6 captured outside of Dujayl

TIKRIT, Iraq – U.S. troops killed 4 terrorists and captured 6 others near Dujayl, about 80 miles north of Baghdad, Dec. 15 after the terrorists attempted to engage a U.S. Army convoy during curfew hours. 
Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, engaged the enemy after they observed the terrorists setting up ambush positions along Highway 1, the main highway between Baghdad and Mosul. 

Upon further investigation, U.S. troops discovered various semi-automatic machine guns – including three AK-47s, three rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and one RPK fully-automatic machinegun.


Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police capture a document forger working for insurgent groups and a weapons smuggler

BAGHDAD – 1st Iraqi Army Division forces captured a forger during operations Dec. 17 in Fallujah who produces forged documents and false identifications for insurgents operating from Ramadi to Baghdad.
Iraqi forces captured 2 more insurgents believed to be part of an improvised explosive device cell operating in the area. Iraqi forces confiscated equipment and material used to produce false identification and documents.

In a separate operation, Iraqi Police Forces captured a weapons smuggler during an operation in Tikrit, who is supplying weapons and improvised explosive devices used in insurgent attacks against Iraqi civilians and security forces.

The weapons smuggler is an experienced IED maker and provides IEDs, small arms and heavy weapons to insurgent groups conducting attacks in the Tikrit area. Iraqi forces confiscated 3 assault rifles and a pistol.

Iraqi Army captures IED, murder leader and 7 other terrorists

BAGHDAD – Ninth Iraqi Army Division troops captured a member of an illegal armed group during operations Dec. 16 in Baghdad who is involved in attacks against Iraqi civilians and Iraqi Security Forces.

He is involved in IED attacks against civilians and security forces as well as kidnapping and murder.  He is also involved in setting up illegal checkpoints to help facilitate his kidnapping and murder operations. The Iraqi Force captured seven other terrorists.


Iraqi Army, Coalition Forces Discover Cache, Kills Seven Terrorists

BAQUBAH, Iraq – Soldiers from the 5th Iraqi Army, with support from 1st Cavalry Division troops, killed 7 terrorists, captured 3 other terrorists and discovered a cache while conducting operations in Baqubah Tuesday. This terrorist cell is responsible for the kidnappings and violence throughout the Baqubah markets. They have been eliminated from further operations against U.S. and Iraqi troops and civilians.

While conducting operations to eliminate terrorists and insurgents from
the Baqubah area and provide a secure and safe environment for the people of the
region, U.S. soldiers were involved in several small arms fire attacks. Anti-Iraqi
forces killed one Iraqi Army soldier and wounded seven.

With assistance from a U.S. air weapons team, 7  terrorists were killed during the attacks and an additional 3 terrorists were captured. The troops also discovered a cache consisting of rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds and other improvised
explosive device material.

“This operation is ongoing evidence that the 5th Iraqi Army is conducting
intelligence-driven, evidence-based operations,” a U.S. Colonel said.

Iraqi National Police prevent casualties, saved lives from car bomb

BAGHDAD – Iraqi National Police manning a security checkpoint potentially saved many Iraqi lives by thwarting a car bomb threat here Dec. 17.

The driver of a car stopped short of a checkpoint in the Al Amariya district and got out of his car.  He told police officers he had been kidnapped and forced to drive to that location. The driver said he suspected his kidnappers placed an explosive device in the vehicle. 

An alert Iraqi National Policeman immediately cleared the area after seeing a suspicious bag in the vehicle’s trunk.  Not long afterward, the bomb detonated causing only minor damage to an adjacent car. No one was injured from the blast.

 More than 500 gunmen killed, arrested in Iraq 3 weeks ago

BAGHDAD   -- The Iraqi Ministry of Interior said Thursday that it killed or captured 537 gunmen 3 weeks ago.
The National Police arrested 79 gunmen while the local police arrested 403 others in scattered areas of Iraq, the ministry said in its weekly report.
10 terrorists were killed by national police forces while 45 others were killed by local forces. He added that 7 hostages were rescued and released.

The report carried on by saying that 41 policemen were killed by insurgents throughout the previous week 156 policemen were injured. The statement revealed the names of top Iraqi members of leading terrorist groups that were arrested in addition to five Egyptians and five Syrians in Dyala province near  Baghdad.

Police also managed to dismantle 3 booby-trapped vehicles and seize 6,000 pieces of weapons.

In other news, Iraq's government has executed a Tunisian man, Yousri Fakher Mohammad, 30 days after being found guilty in an Iraqi court. Mohhammad was one of several people responsible for the attacks on the shrines last February. Those attacks have led to thousands more Iraqi deaths due to sectarian violence.
Iraq Executes 13 Prisoners                             Dec. 19, 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - 13 men convicted of murder, kidnapping and other crimes were hanged in a Baghdad jail on Tuesday, lining up shortly before their execution in hoods and green jumpsuits, their hands bound behind their backs.

The government executed the 13 men after an appeals court and the presidency approved the verdict, said Busho Ibrahim, undersecretary of the Justice Ministry. ``They included terrorists and other criminals convicted of abduction and murder as well as assassination plots in several provinces,'' he said.

Television footage showed the hooded men standing in a row shortly before they were hanged. Several stooped, and one man had his arm around the shoulder of another. Some images showed two men standing together on a gallows with nooses around their necks.

The footage also showed a bearded man without a hood as he listened to an official tell him that his appeal had been rejected and the sentence was death. ``OK,'' the prisoner said, impassively.

‘Cache house’ uncovered in Baghdad, huge number of weapons

FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Iraq – Soldiers with the 1st Bn, 26th Infantry Regiment discovered a weapons cache in a militia safe house in Baghdad Dec. 19.

While establishing a cordon around the house, the U.S. Soldiers came under small arms fire and responded by hurling a grenade, which killed an insurgent.

Once inside, the unit discovered a large cache of weapons and rounds including
30,000 rounds of ammunition, 200 mortar rounds, 1 prefabricated improvised
explosive device, 2 suicide vests, 2 suicide belts, 20 107mm rockets, 31 grenades, 10 AK-47s, 6 machine guns, 2 rocket-propelled grenade launchers, 20 propanetanks, and 4 anti-tank mines.

Also recovered were materials used to forge identification cards, and 20 walkie-talkies.
Iraqi Police recruiting drive signs up 1,115 in Al Anbar

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq – In one of the most successful recruiting efforts in
western Iraq to date, 1,115 Iraqi men have recently signed up to join the Police Forces in the restive Al Anbar Province.

The new recruits, mostly from the Anbar cities of Ramadi, Fallujah and Hit, will
attend a five-week training course at the Jordanian International Police Training
College. Following successful completion of the course the new officers will join the
more than 8,000 police currently serving in communities throughout Al Anbar Province.

The successful recruiting effort this month moves the Government of Iraq and
Multi-National Forces West one step closer to achieving the joint goal of ensuring
11,330 trained law enforcement officers are on the job by April 2007.

“There are no spectacular victories in a counterinsurgency, but this represents a
significant development in the fight for the people of Anbar,” said a Marine LTC.
Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.

(I have a catapult. Give me all the money, or I will fling an enormous rock at your head.)


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #84 on: December 26, 2006, 08:35:21 AM »
Today's WSJ:

Give Sadr the Treatment
How to beat Iraq's Shiite extremists.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST

 BAGHDAD--Understanding the question is half of the answer: That's what we used to say back in school. Then when we became dentists and doctors, we changed that to "diagnosis is half the treatment," and it looks that's where we're standing right now.

Everyone now seems to agree that any plan to fix the situation in Iraq has to have a military component along with a political one. The latter, as I understood, is supposed to bring together or facilitate a set of compromises and mutual concessions among the political powers in Iraq in order to achieve an acceptable level of stability and allow for sustained progress.

But why has it been that difficult to advance this political path despite all the time and effort spent in this direction?

There's a problem we should address and do something about if we want a political solution to see the light, and that is that some of the key political players in Iraq who are interested in finding a solution cannot move in that direction because they have their hands tied by former deals or affiliations with current or former extremist allies of the same sect as theirs, and those extremists have taken the entire political process in Iraq hostage.

What I'm trying to say here is that the military component we need at this particular stage should be different from the routine military operations that U.S. and Iraqi military had been conducting so far.

The new military component should be designed to create a friendly climate where politicians can strike deals and reach compromise without coercion from radical extremists.
And so if more boots are to be added on the ground then the mission will have to include freeing politicians and parties such as Nouri al-Maliki and Tariq al-Hashimi (of the Dawa and the Islamic party respectively) from the ropes that bind them to Muqtada al-Sadr and harmful elements in the Sunni political scene.

Right now is a good time, perhaps the best time we have, to launch this effort since there's already a large front forming from the parties that are willing to talk against the extremists' camp.

If the way forward requires maintaining the basic course of the political process and empowering (and cleaning) the current government and its head then the only way to do this is to relieve Mr. Maliki, his party and the rest of the Shia alliance from the dominance and influence of Sadr, and there are two ways to accomplish this: either persuade Mr. Maliki and his team and promise them great support and protection from Sadr's reach, or deal a lethal blow to Sadr and his militia in order to render him unable to inflict harm on Mr. Maliki and other members of the United Iraqi Alliance.

Now really, it shouldn't be that difficult to figure out that the first way isn't working out right, what's needed now is to take the decision to try the second way and deal with the biggest threat to stability in Iraq in the way we should.

If claims that the militia is fragmented and not entirely under Sadr's control are true (and it's actually hard to believe that one man can control a militia of dozens of thousands spread over 11 provinces) then this must be an advantage for us, because if that's the case there would be little reason to believe those renegade units would fight for Sadr. Many have reached financial independence from the center leadership, and let's not forget that money and fear are the main weapons militia leaders use to expand their power and maintain control over the militia members and the population.
The members were recruited by either fear or persuasion, and these bonds that still keep some units highly loyal will fall apart once the head is taken. Ideological fighters constitute a minority in my opinion and those, along with presumed Iranian and Hezbollah fighters who are assisting Sadr will represent the bulk of the remaining actual force that U.S. and Iraqi troops would have to fight and eliminate. Those are highly organized, but they are not invincible.

Together we succeeded in reducing the threat posed by al Qaeda when it was identified as the biggest threat to Iraq's stability and security. Now together we can do the same with Sadr and other thugs. We understand the question, and we have a diagnosis that seems sound; it's time to proceed with the treatment.

Mr. Fadhil, along with his brother Mohammed, runs Iraq the Model, a blog based in Baghdad.

IRAQ: An Iraqi appeals court confirmed the death sentence for former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Iraqi National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie said. According to Iraqi law, Hussein must be executed within 30 days.

« Last Edit: December 26, 2006, 09:14:01 AM by Crafty_Dog »


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #85 on: December 26, 2006, 09:32:43 PM »
New York Post

December 26, 2006 -- UMQASR, IRAQ

WHILE the American political elite is using Iraq as an excuse for fighting
internal political wars, a different reality is taking shape in parts of
this war-torn nation. Wherever some measure of security is assured - that is
to say in more than 80 percent of Iraq - towns and villages long left to die
a slow death are creeping back to life.

Nowhere is this slow but steady return to life more startling than in Um
Qasr, in the southeast extremity of Iraq on the Persian Gulf. Four years
ago, this was a jumble of rusting quays, abandoned houses and gutted
buildings. By the spring of 2003, its population had dwindled to a few
dozen, along with hundreds of stray dogs. There was even talk of abandoning
it altogether.

Today, however, Um Qasr is back in business as a port with commercial and
military functions. Hundreds of families that had left after the first Gulf
War in 1991 have returned - joining many more who have come from all over

The boom in Um Qasr is part of a broader picture that also includes Basra
(the sprawling metropolis of southern Iraq), the Shi'ite "holy" cities of
Najaf and Karbala, Mandali on the Iranian border and much of Baghdad.

When the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank reported two years
ago that the Iraqi economy was heading for a boom, skeptics dismissed it as
misplaced optimism. Now, however, even some of those who opposed the
toppling of Saddam Hussein admit that many Iraqis share that optimism.

Newsweek has just hailed the emergence of a booming market economy in Iraq
as "the mother of all surprises," noting that "Iraqis are more optimistic
about the future than most Americans are." The reason, of course, is that
Iraqis know what is going on in their country while Americans are fed a diet
of exclusively negative reporting from Iraq.

The growing dynamism of the Iraqi economy is reflected in the steady
increase in the value of the national currency, the dinar, against the three
currencies in direct competition with it in the Iraqi marketplace: the
Iranian rial, the Kuwaiti dinar and the U.S. dollar, since January 2006.

No doubt, part of the dinar's strength reflects the rise in Iraq's income
from oil exports to almost $40 billion in 2006, an all-time record. But oil
alone does not explain all, since both Iran and Kuwait are bigger exporters
than Iraq.

The fact that civil-servant salaries have increased by almost 30 percent,
with a further 30 percent due to come into effect early next year, also has
helped boost demand.

But a good part of the boom is due to an unexpected flow of foreign capital.
This has been facilitated by the prospect of a liberal law on direct foreign
investments, which exists only in such free-trade parts of the region as
Dubai and Bahrain. None of Iraq's six neighbors offers such guarantee for
the free flow of capital to and from the country.

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the number of private companies in
Iraq has increased from a mere 8,000 to more than 35,000 this year. Each
week an average of 60 new companies spring up in Iraq's booming areas. A
good part of the investment in southern Iraq, including in Um Qasr, comes
from Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

"Whatever happens, Iraq is Iraq," says a Kuwaiti businessman, building
hotels in the south. "Iraq will always remain the country with the world's
largest oil reserves and the Middle East's biggest resources of water."

One hears similar comments from local and foreign businessmen investing in
real estate in Najaf and Karbala. Over 200 million Shiite Muslims regard the
cities as holy. Najaf and Karbala have always been dream destinations for
pilgrims. Under Saddam Hussein, however, few foreign pilgrims were allowed.
With the despot gone, pilgrims are pouring in - and with them the fresh

That good business is possible in Iraq is reflected in the performance of
new companies, most of which did not exist three years ago. One privately
owned mobile phone company is expected to report revenues of more than $500
million this year, a sevenfold increase in three years. Another private firm
marketing soft drinks has seen profits double since the end of 2003. The
number of luxury cars imported has risen from a few hundred in 2002 to more
than 20,000 this year.

But what about continued terrorist attacks? Most foreign investors coming to
make money in Iraq shrug their shoulders. "Doing business in any Arab
country is always risky," says a Turkish investor who has set up a trucking
company and a taxi service. "In some Arab countries, you risk
nationalization or straight confiscation by the ruler. In other Arab
countries, you must give a cut to one of the emirs. Here, you face possible
terrorist attacks. But such attacks are transitory."

The relatively low cost of labor is another attraction to investors. Wages
in Iraq, where unemployment is over 30 percent, are less than a quarter of
the going rates in Kuwait. Nevertheless, the Iraqi boom appears to be
attracting some Iranian laborers from areas close to the border - people who
come in for a few days to make some money before returning home.

Although Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government has slowed down the
pace of privatization, the foundations of the command economy created by
Saddam continue to crumble.

The transition from a rentier economy - in which virtually the whole of the
population depended on government handouts - to a free-market capitalist one
entails much hardship for some segments of society. Many pensioners and some
civil servants find it hard to make ends meet as prices rise across the
board. The end of government subsidies on virtually everything - from bread
and sugar to gasoline and water - is also causing hardship.

But, judging by the talk in teahouses and the debate in Iraq's new and
pluralist media, most people welcome the switch to capitalism and regard it
as an exciting adventure.

As trucks are loaded with a variety of imports destined for Baghdad, I ask
the drivers what they think would happen if the multi-national force, led by
the United States, left Iraq soon. Most shrug their shoulders.

"Why leave?" one driver asks. "Do I abandon the goods that have come from
such a long way before they reach their destination?"

This amounts to a plea to "stay the course." The man in Um Qasr does not
know that in the United States the phrase "staying the course" drives so
many up the wall.

Amir Taheri is a member of Benador Associates.


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #86 on: December 27, 2006, 01:54:43 PM »
Second post of the day.


December 27, 2006 -- WITH a troop surge nearly inevitable in the new year, we still lack a strategy to win in Iraq. Radical surgery on our approach is the patient's only hope - but the policy doctors in D.C. just want to up the medication.

Washington may be the unofficial capital of the world, but it's a town that thinks small. The real-and-present danger is that a desperate administration and a nervous new Congress won't imagine genuine alternatives to losing slowly or leaving.

Is Iraq hopeless? No. But the path to a positive outcome doesn't follow the traditional wisdom about what's "doable." We must think clearly and boldly, without regard to vested interests.

One thing's clear: If we can't enforce security, nothing else matters. So the wisest course of action seems obvious - except to the Washington establishment: Return to a wartime footing.

Focus exclusively on security. Concentrate on doing one thing well. Freeze all reconstruction and aid projects. Halt every program and close every office that doesn't contribute directly to pacifying Iraq.

Empty the Green Zone. Pack off the contractors. Reduce the military's overhead to those elements essential to support combat operations. Make it clear to "our" Iraqis that it's sink-or-swim time. Remove our advisers from any Iraqi unit that can operate marginally without them (and let the Iraqis do security their way without interference).

Above all, establish unity of command: Stop pretending there's a fully functional government in Baghdad, recall our ambassador until the fighting's over and make this a purely military effort until Iraq has been pacified.

Shedding extraneous programs would allow us to withdraw some military elements, increase the impact of combat units already in Iraq and use any additional forces more efficiently.

By attempting to do far too much, we diffused our capabilities. Program after program faltered. We need to return to the principle of concentration of effort.

We tried to refashion a country and rebuild its infrastructure before we made it secure. The result has been the waste of American lives, four years and billions of taxpayer dollars.

Defying the power of inertia - a tremendous force in Washington - we need to grasp that throwing good money after bad undercuts our last, slight hope of a win.

We need an exclusive focus on the defeat of the foreign terrorists, uncooperative Sunni Arabs and Muqtada al-Sadr's Shia thugs. Our enemies control Iraq with fear. We need to make them fear us more than the population fears them.

And we must stop reciting insupportable platitudes about every element of government playing a role and the supreme power of negotiations. That's just nonsense. Contrary to pundit blustering, the overwhelming majority of insurgencies over the past 3,000 years have been defeated - by uncompromising military responses.

Contributions from government departments other than the Pentagon may be desirable in theory, but they've been AWOL in fact. You can't build an effective team if the players don't show up.

The worst failure has been that of the State Department. State couldn't get enough volunteers even for its 90-day stints in Iraq - every major program that it insisted on running failed.

Worse, military officers complain that our diplomats in Baghdad undercut their efforts. Even if State were competent, you can't have parallel chains of command in wartime. Our blundering diplos only fall prey to sharper-minded Iraqis.

As for negotiations offering the only way forward, where in the Middle East have negotiations ever produced enduring peace? All the media drooling over an expected American retreat has left all of Iraq's opposing factions calculating how they can win after we're gone.

You can't hold successful negotiations with irreconcilable, unbroken factions who have no incentive to compromise. And even when you cajole promises from one group or another in the Middle East, no party feels bound to honor its commitments.

You can only drive negotiations from a position of uncontested strength - which we threw away.

Our enemies don't believe we have the guts to pacify Iraq. They may be right.

It would be obscene to deploy more troops and further strain our military unless we're serious about winning. And all half-measures will fail.

The paradox is that beleaguered Iraqis would welcome a harsh security crackdown - our toughest obstacle would be a global media alliance already patting itself on the back for our defeat.

Of course, if we make security our sole focus, the Daddy Warbucks profiteers will howl to the congressmen they've bought; our self-adoring diplomats will spew more of their poisonous jealousy into the Potomac - and those military commanders who've lost focus will argue that bribing Iraqis with reconstruction efforts is essential to pacification.

But bought allies never stay bought. Diplomats don't disarm terrorists and militias or defuse roadside bombs. And the administration's cult-like belief in the power of outsourcing to bring peace created the mess we now face.

Iraq may never be the inclusive and just democracy we sought. Our age reflects the rise of popular power, but demotic passions do not inevitably lead to democracy. In times of widespread systemic breakdown such as these, demagogues and dictators can embody the popular will as readily as presidents or prime ministers. "People power" is here to stay, but we're far from knowing all it will produce.

But we may be certain of this: Democracy can't exist without security. All of our other ambitions for Iraq are hopeless if men and women can't walk the streets without fear. Whether or not we still can win, merely tweaking our policy promises failure.

It's time to strip for action - and fight to win.

Ralph Peters' latest book is "Never Quit The Fight."


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #87 on: December 28, 2006, 06:39:16 AM »
Geopolitical Diary: The al-Sadr Threat to the U.S. Plan for Iraq

Although much of Wednesday's news from Iraq concerned a letter reportedly written by former President Saddam Hussein, the most important event centered on U.S. efforts against radical Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr.

The letter -- allegedly written by Hussein on Nov. 5, the day an Iraqi court sentenced him to death for crimes against humanity -- urges Iraqis to unite to fight foreign forces in the country. Following its release, a Baath Party Web site posted a statement saying American interests worldwide would be attacked if the Iraqi government executes Hussein, and that his death would make cooperation between the surviving Baathists and the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad impossible.

But, for all the drama sparked by Hussein's letter and the threats, the former president and his followers pose no real danger. The violence in Iraq will continue no matter what happens to Hussein. Given his lack of influence in the country since his ouster, and the fact that most armed groups in Iraq would string him up themselves if they could, his execution might inspire emotional outbursts and some isolated attacks but it is unlikely to be the catalyst for major violence. This is largely because Hussein loyalists are responsible for a very small part of the bloodshed; they do not have the presence or the means to significantly increase attacks, and they will probably be more concerned with staying one step ahead of the various Shiite militias and rival Sunni groups than with retaliating against coalition forces for the execution of the former president.

What is important, however, is the death of Sahib al-Ameri, al-Sadr's representative in the holy Shiite city of An Najaf and the secretary-general of the Martyrs Foundation, a pro-Sadr political organization. According to coalition forces, al-Ameri was killed Wednesday when he ran to the roof of his house as it was being raided by coalition and Iraqi troops and pointed an assault rifle at an Iraqi soldier. The raid in An Najaf was one of many in recent months targeting known associates of al-Sadr.

These raids are part of an effort to put pressure on al-Sadr, who could be a serious obstacle to any U.S. exit strategy. The Shiite leader's Mehdi Army and its associated militias are not as constrained by politics as the other major Shiite militant group, the Badr Brigades; they are less organized and their members are less integrated into the Iraqi security forces and Cabinet, which makes them more difficult to control. From its bases in Sadr City and other strongholds, the Mehdi Army constitutes a significant armed presence in many areas of Baghdad. The militias -- and their associated death squads -- present a considerable obstacle to security in the capital.

The U.S.-led coalition has been working hard to constrain al-Sadr's power in recent months, most notably by going after his allies and lieutenants and disrupting his operations in Baghdad and other cities. U.S. and Iraqi forces have conducted several raids in Sadr City since November, arresting members of the Mehdi Army believed to be linked to Shiite death squads. During one four-day period, the neighborhood was raided three times. More recently, British forces deliberately demolished the headquarters of the Iraqi police's Serious Crimes Unit in Basra after the unit, which was heavily infiltrated by the Mehdi Army, was linked to death squads and arms- and oil-smuggling rackets.

The pressure on al-Sadr makes things difficult for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose coalition is nominally supported by the Shiite leader. Despite al-Maliki's protests, the United States has continued to target al-Sadr's forces -- an indication of just how important it is to Washington that al-Sadr be weakened or neutralized. Because any prospective U.S. reinforcements will not arrive in the region until January, and not in significant numbers until months later, now is al-Sadr's time to act. His best hope is to convince al-Maliki that any campaign against the Mehdi Army would be too costly for the Iraqi state to endure.

While Hussein might be urging Iraqis to carry on bravely without him, and his party is threatening terrible repercussions if he is executed, it appears that al-Sadr is the greater threat to the U.S. plan for Iraq.

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Saddam would be executed before 6 a.m. Saturday, or 10 p.m. Friday EST.
« Reply #88 on: December 29, 2006, 05:32:22 PM »
Saddam would be executed before 6 a.m. Saturday, or 10 p.m. Friday EST. The time was agreed upon during a meeting Friday between U.S. and Iraqi officials.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (Dec. 29) - The official witnesses to Saddam Hussein's impending execution gathered Friday in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone in final preparation for his hanging, as state television broadcast footage of his regime's atrocities.
Al-Maliki said opposing Saddam's execution was an insult to his victims. His office said he made the remarks in a meeting with families of people who died during Saddam's rule.

"Our respect for human rights requires us to execute him, and there will be no review or delay in carrying out the sentence," al-Maliki said.

State television ran footage of the Saddam era's atrocities, including images of uniformed men placing a bomb next to a youth's chest and blowing him up in what looked like a desert, and handcuffed men being thrown from a high building.
Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.

(I have a catapult. Give me all the money, or I will fling an enormous rock at your head.)


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Iraq Economy
« Reply #89 on: January 05, 2007, 11:07:00 AM »
This Kuwait Times article tells a positive side of the economic story in Iraq.  It starts slowly with complaints about no mainstream media coverage of progress, then gives plenty of first-hand, specific information about projects, jobs, salaries, locations, currency valuation, price of gas, etc.

Iraq on the right path
Generally speaking, the media worldwide report predominantly about the sensational, catastrophes, deaths, controversial statements by international personalities, wars, celebrity stories, gossip, rumours and the abnormal.

News about socio-economic success, development and progress is scantily tackled. A veteran German reporter told me this kind of news is boring for media consumers. People prefer the sensational. Hence, media providers fiercely compete to get hold of dramatic events. This is the kind of news that mesmerises people to the media. Commercial media, above all TV channels rejoice in reporting about wars and killing, the sooner the better. They rush to the scene of events and report live. "Thank God! At last something sensational is happening. Now we can make money (through commercials of course)." Commercial TV owners celebrate joyfully. Sensational events overshadow normal, ordinary, effective, humane achievements.

Had Mohammed Yunus not won this year's Nobel Prize for peace, no body would have taken notice of his great Mini-Loan Bank in Bangladesh which helped eradicate poverty for seven million people. International media used to report almost only about floods and poverty from Bangladesh. Yunus's work was ignored. It was not sensational enough. Commercial media live on the sensational, the weird, the bloody, the negative, the abnormal, and the controversial.

All this seems to apply to Iraq. We only hear and read bad news from Iraq: suicide and car bombs. Random killing, sabotage, and destruction are the only news we get from Iraq. Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General describes the situation in Iraq as "worse than a civil war." Obviously he watches only CNN. But is Iraq really only killing and destruction?

An American businessman with links to major parts of Iraq told me another story of Iraq. While he admits that there is daily killing and destruction in Iraq, there is also construction, development, progress and freedom. Here are some of his facts: Slowly but steadily, "80 per cent of Iraqis are creeping (back) to (normal) life."

"Um Qasr, in the southeast extremity of Iraq on the Persian Gulf" which was deserted by the spring of 2003 is back to normal. "It is back in business as a port with commercial and military functions. "Hundreds of families have returned - joining many more who have come from all over Iraq."
"The boom in Um Qasr is part of a broader picture that also includes Basra, the sprawling metropolis of southern Iraq"

Very few media report about good news from Iraq. "Newsweek has just hailed the emergence of a booming market economy in Iraq as "the mother of all surprises," noting "Iraqis are more optimistic about the future than most Americans are." The reason, of course, is that Iraqis know what is going on in their country while Americans are fed a diet of exclusively negative reporting from Iraq."

The growing dynamism of the Iraqi economy is reflected in the steady increase in the value of the national currency, the dinar, against the three currencies in direct competition with it in the Iraqi marketplace: the Iranian rial, the Kuwaiti dinar and the US dollar, since January 2006."

"No doubt, part of the dinar's strength reflects the rise in Iraq's income from oil exports to almost $40 billion in 2006, an all-time record. But oil alone does not explain all, since both Iran and Kuwait are bigger exporters than Iraq."

"The fact that civil-servant salaries have increased by almost 30 per cent, with a further 30 per cent due to come into effect early next year, also has helped boost demand.

But a good part of the boom is due to an unexpected flow of foreign capital. This has been facilitated by the prospect of a liberal law on direct foreign investments, which exists only in such free-trade parts of the region as Dubai and Bahrain . None of Iraq 's six neighbours offers such guarantee for the free flow of capital to and from the country."

"Since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the number of private companies in Iraq has increased from a mere 8,000 to more than 35,000 this year. Each week an average of 60 new companies spring up in Iraq 's booming areas. A good part of the investment in southern Iraq , including in Um Qasr, comes from Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates."

"Whatever happens, Iraq is Iraq ," says a Kuwaiti businessman, building hotels in the south. "Iraq will always remain the country with the world's largest oil reserves and the Middle East's biggest resources of water."

"One hears similar comments from local and foreign businessmen investing in real estate in Najaf and Karbala. Over 200 million Shiite Muslims regard the cities as holy. Najaf and Karbala have always been dream destinations for pilgrims. Under Saddam Hussein, however, few foreign pilgrims were allowed. With the despot gone, pilgrims are pouring in-and with them the fresh money."

"That good business is possible in Iraq is reflected in the performance of new companies, most of which did not exist three years ago. One privately owned mobile phone company is expected to report revenues of more than $500 million this year, a sevenfold increase in three years. Another private firm marketing soft drinks has seen profits double since the end of 2003. The number of luxury cars imported has risen from a few hundred in 2002 to more than 20,000 this year. The leading export of Iraq is producing nearly $41 billion in revenues."

But what about continued attacks of insurgents and terrorists?

"Most foreign investors coming to make money in Iraq shrug their shoulders. "Doing business in any Arab country is always risky," says a Turkish investor who has set up a trucking company and a taxi service. "In some Arab countries, you risk nationalization or straight confiscation by the ruler. In other Arab countries, you must give a cut to one of the emirs (and princes). Here, you face possible terrorist attacks. But such attacks are transitory."

"The relatively low cost of labour is another attraction to investors. Wages in Iraq , where unemployment is (still) over 30 per cent, are less than a quarter of the going rates in Kuwait . Nevertheless, the Iraqi boom appears to be attracting some Iranian labourers from areas close to the border-people who come in for a few days to make some money before returning home."
"Although Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki's government has slowed down the pace of privatisation, the foundations of the command economy created by Saddam continue to crumble."

"The transition from a rentier economy-in which virtually the whole of the population depended on government handouts-to a free-market capitalist one entails much hardship for some segments of society. Many pensioners and some civil servants find it hard to make ends meet as prices rise across the board. The end of government subsidies on virtually everything-from bread and sugar to gasoline and water-is also causing hardship."

"But, judging by the talk in teahouses and the debate in Iraq's new and pluralist media, most people welcome the switch to capitalism and regard it as an exciting adventure.

 "Since 2003 the salaries of average Iraqis have risen in excess of 100 per cent. In addition the Iraqi government has slashed the income tax rates from 45 per cent to just around 15 per cent. That has resulted in the average Iraqi family being able to develop long term nest-eggs (we call them IRAs)."
"Gasoline is only .56 cents a gallon. It wouldn't be that high except that Iraq decided to payoff some of its debt to the World Bank and are using energy profits to do so.

In addition much of the formerly centralised organisation of the economy has been turned over to private sector endeavours and while some government sectors have seen a spike in unemployment, private sector unemployment is hovering around 30 per cent. High to you and me, but still better than in the Saddam era."

The more and more Iraqis are taken on the board of development, the less they would listen to warlords and terrorist groups. Insurgents are not recruited among the 70 per cent of peaceful and diligent Iraqis; they are recruited among the 30 per cent jobless and retainers of the old regime. I'm confidant and millions of Iraqis with me that the course of development will prevail.


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #90 on: January 08, 2007, 05:53:08 AM »
Geopolitical Diary: The Surge and a Gamble

This will be the week that U.S. President George W. Bush announces a surge of troops into Iraq. The numbers appear to be locking down in the range of 15,000 to 20,000, but this is a bit misleading. In addition to more deployments into Iraq, there will probably be redeployments within the country as well, with the U.S. presence being reduced in some areas in order to bring a larger force into Baghdad. The Democratic leadership in Congress will oppose the surge, but likely to no avail. The mechanism the Democrats have for blocking the deployment is to cut off funding for the effort, and they are not going to do that. They will be on record as opposing the surge, and then let it play itself out.

The troops deploying to Baghdad will find themselves in a city with more than 5 million inhabitants -- and which, like any city, has uncharted alleys and basements. Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias are operating on their home turf there. They are surrounded by friends and family, by others who want nothing to do with the war, and by yet others who might hate the Iraqi militants but also fear them. The United States has failed to pacify Baghdad with existing forces, so what is to be expected now?

The target of all of this is the Shiite militias -- and Muqtada al-Sadr's militia, the Mehdi Army, in particular. Bush speaks publicly about Sunni insurgents, but at this point, the issue is the Shia -- and more than that, it is the Iranians who are encouraging al-Sadr and others to stand hard against the Sunnis and the Americans. Assuming that the violence in Baghdad as a whole cannot be pacified, it is possible that al-Sadr can be broken by this military surge. Possible, but far from certain or even likely.

However, neither al-Sadr nor the Iranians can be certain that it will fail. Like Bush, they are going to be gambling everything on an assumption -- in their case, that the offensive will fail. But if it succeeds, and al-Sadr's forces are decimated, an entirely new dynamic could emerge in Iraq: Shia factions that are less heavily influenced by Iran would emerge as the dominant force, the political process could be revived and the Iranians lose their historic opportunity to dominate Iraq. No one knows how a war will turn out, including the Iranians. They have in the past miscalculated on American cunning -- such as after the fall of the Shah, when the United States encouraged Iraq to attack Iran, locking down the revolution for a decade.

We suspect that what Bush is hoping for is less a military victory than a psychological one, creating a sense of profound uncertainty in Tehran and among Iraqi Shia that causes them to hedge their bets. It's not an accident, in our view, that at the same time the surge is being rolled out, the Israelis have carefully orchestrated a discussion of their options in the event that Iran approaches nuclear status. The analysis by an Israeli think-tank as to the uses of tactical nuclear weapons against Iran's nuclear facilities is the perfect counterpoint to the U.S. surge strategy. It creates two massive and vital uncertainties for the Iranians: First, their position in Iraq might not be as secure as they thought, and second, their nuclear program could suddenly evaporate. If both were to happen, Iran's position would be much worse than it has been in decades.

The United States is driving hard into the land of "if." Between Bush's announcement and the actual beginning of post-surge military operations, there will be a period of uncertainty on all sides. From the American point of view, uncertainty is a marked improvement from the sense of complete failure that had taken hold in November and December. From the position of the Iraqi Shia and the Iranians, the introduction of uncertainty marks a decline from the heady sense of near-victory during that same period.

So now the question is simply this: How confident are al-Sadr and the Iranians that the U.S. surge will fail and the Israelis won't strike? Exactly how strong are their nerves? Carefully generated perceptions of the Iranian leadership as complete fanatics masks the fact that they are shrewd and careful gamblers. Some in Tehran and Baghdad will be arguing that the U.S. surge is too little, too late and that the Israelis are bluffing. Others who have fought the Americans and know the Israelis will be more thoughtful.

Iran and al-Sadr could choose to try to close a political deal without increasing their risks. The Americans would probably deal. Or, they could go big, absorb the surge, break it and try to pick up all the chips. Plans for the U.S. surge will be set this week, but it will take weeks for forces to deploy. We are not confident in the success of this strategy, but then what we think is much less significant than what the Iranians and the Shia think. What is their appetite for risk? They may not, themselves, be sure at this moment.

But this much they know. They did not expect the United States to increase troops after the mid-term elections in November. On that they were wrong. Now they have to ask this question: Having guessed wrong once, are they feeling lucky now? We expect that forcing that question on the Iranians and Shia is the primary purpose of the surge.


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #91 on: January 08, 2007, 08:32:40 AM »
I'm afraid the controversy around the hanging of SH and the published mobile video only shows that the patchwork democracy of Iraq is far from being what the west would expect of it. Freedom and law have become caricatured in the hand of a shiite dominated, Sadr loyal, government.
"En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero
acordarme, no ha mucho tiempo que viv?a un hidalgo de los de
lanza en astillero, adarga antigua, roc?n flaco y galgo corredor."


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #92 on: January 10, 2007, 08:06:39 AM »


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #93 on: January 10, 2007, 09:24:39 AM »
What an interesting insight into the Iraqi disputes (aside from its comedic qualities  :wink:). Especially the conflict between former Saddamites (Sunnites) and Shiites, scoffed at by the Sunnites as 'Iranians', 'Persians'. Here comes the difference between Arabians (Sunnites) and Persians (Shiites) to daylight. A distinction very important for the Iraqi people, but basically neglected by the US administration. Unfortunately the Sunnites would be the lesser evil.  The Iranian president can feel confident, the path through Iraq to Isreal is now paved by Shiite enclaves. I question how serious the Shiites take the Iraqi democracy and how long it'll take for them to overthrow it as soon as the US troops leave the country.
"En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero
acordarme, no ha mucho tiempo que viv?a un hidalgo de los de
lanza en astillero, adarga antigua, roc?n flaco y galgo corredor."


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #94 on: January 10, 2007, 02:23:34 PM »
You may be right or may be not-- Sistani is of the quietist school of Shia and seems sincere about democracy and Ahmadinejad (sp?) et al are from the school that says that they must cleanse the world to prepare for the 12th Iman.

See my recent post on the Islam the Religion thread by a senior Bush advisor and also see my post today on the Big Picture WW3 thread by Luttwak.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2007, 02:54:56 PM by Crafty_Dog »


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #95 on: January 10, 2007, 02:59:07 PM »
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 10, 2007

Fact Sheet: The New Way Forward in Iraq

      Highlights of the Iraq Strategy Review (PDF)
      Background Briefing by Senior Administration Officials
      In Focus: Renewal in Iraq

The President's New Iraq Strategy Is Rooted In Six Fundamental Elements:

Let the Iraqis lead;
Help Iraqis protect the population;
Isolate extremists;
Create space for political progress;
Diversify political and economic efforts; and
Situate the strategy in a regional approach.
Iraq Could Not Be Graver – The War On Terror Cannot Be Won If We Fail In Iraq.  Our enemies throughout the Middle East are trying to defeat us in Iraq.  If we step back now, the problems in Iraq will become more lethal, and make our troops fight an uglier battle than we are seeing today.

Key Elements Of The New Approach: Security


Publicly acknowledge all parties are responsible for quelling sectarian violence.
Work with additional Coalition help to regain control of the capital and protect the Iraqi population.
Deliver necessary Iraqi forces for Baghdad and protect those forces from political interference.
Commit to intensify efforts to build balanced security forces throughout the nation that provide security even-handedly for all Iraqis.
Plan and fund eventual demobilization program for militias.


Agree that helping Iraqis to provide population security is necessary to enable accelerated transition and political progress.
Provide additional military and civilian resources to accomplish this mission.
Increase efforts to support tribes willing to help Iraqis fight Al Qaeda in Anbar.
Accelerate and expand the embed program while minimizing risk to participants.

Both Coalition And Iraqi:

Continue counter-terror operations against Al Qaeda and insurgent organizations.
Take more vigorous action against death squad networks.
Accelerate transition to Iraqi responsibility and increase Iraqi ownership.
Increase Iraqi security force capacity – both size and effectiveness – from 10 to 13 Army divisions, 36 to 41 Army Brigades, and 112 to 132 Army Battalions.
Establish a National Operations Center, National Counterterrorism Force, and National Strike Force.
Reform the Ministry of Interior to increase transparency and accountability and transform the National Police.

Key Elements Of The New Approach: Political


The Government of Iraq commits to:
Reform its cabinet to provide even-handed service delivery.
Act on promised reconciliation initiatives (oil law, de-Baathification law, Provincial elections).
Give Coalition and ISF authority to pursue ALL extremists.
All Iraqi leaders support reconciliation.
Moderate coalition emerges as strong base of support for unity government.


Support political moderates so they can take on the extremists.
Build and sustain strategic partnerships with moderate Shi'a, Sunnis, and Kurds.
Support the national compact and key elements of reconciliation with Iraqis in the lead.
Diversify U.S. efforts to foster political accommodation outside Baghdad (more flexibility for local commanders and civilian leaders).
Expand and increase the flexibility of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) footprint.
Focus U.S. political, security, and economic resources at local level to open space for moderates, with initial priority to Baghdad and Anbar.

Both Coalition And Iraqi:

Partnership between Prime Minister Maliki, Iraqi moderates, and the United States where all parties are clear on expectations and responsibilities.
Strengthen the rule of law and combat corruption.
Build on security gains to foster local and national political accommodations.
Make Iraqi institutions even-handed, serving all of Iraq's communities on an impartial basis.

Key Elements Of The New Approach: Economic


Deliver economic resources and provide essential services to all areas and communities.
Enact hydrocarbons law to promote investment, national unity, and reconciliation.
Capitalize and execute jobs-producing programs.
Match U.S. efforts to create jobs with longer term sustainable Iraqi programs.
Focus more economic effort on relatively secure areas as a magnet for employment and growth.


Refocus efforts to help Iraqis build capacity in areas vital to success of the government (e.g. budget execution, key ministries).
Decentralize efforts to build Iraqi capacities outside the Green Zone.
Double the number of PRTs and civilians serving outside the Green Zone.
Establish PRT-capability within maneuver Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs).
Greater integration of economic strategy with military effort.
Joint civil-military plans devised by PRT and BCT.
Remove legal and bureaucratic barriers to maximize cooperation and flexibility.

Key Elements Of The New Approach: Regional


Vigorously engage Arab states.
Take the lead in establishing a regional forum to give support and help from the neighborhood.
Counter negative foreign activity in Iraq.
Increase efforts to counter PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party).


Intensify efforts to counter Iranian and Syrian influence inside Iraq.
Increase military presence in the region.
Strengthen defense ties with partner states in the region.
Encourage Arab state support to Government of Iraq.
Continue efforts to help manage relations between Iraq and Turkey.
Continue to seek the region's full support in the War on Terror.

Both Coalition And Iraqi:

Focus on the International Compact.
Retain active U.N. engagement in Iraq – particularly for election support and constitutional review.


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #96 on: January 11, 2007, 05:37:04 AM »
We live in interesting times , , ,

Geopolitical Diary: Iraq After al-Maliki

On Wednesday, the same day U.S. President George W. Bush unveiled his new plan to deal with the situation in Iraq, rumors circulated that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki could resign in as little as four months. The leading contender to replace him is Vice President Adel Abdel Mahdi, who was al-Maliki's main rival for the position when he was elected in April 2006.

Should he leave office, al-Maliki would be the second elected Shiite prime minister in two years to have met with failure. Both al-Maliki and his predecessor, interim Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, are members of Hizb al-Dawah (HD). They were able to take power when the other main Shiite factions -- the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and the al-Sadrite Bloc -- agreed to give HD the prime ministership, each to prevent the other from gaining power.

Al-Maliki's potential resignation is an indication that the problem is not a question of performance (or lack thereof) for any individual prime minister, but rather has to do with intra-Shiite politics. If Abdel Mahdi, the No. 2 man in SCIRI, were to become prime minister, it would upset the internal balance of power within the Shiite community and, more important, exacerbate intra-Shiite tensions, thus leading to further violence and instability within the country.

Should al-Maliki resign and Abdel Mahdi take his place, the Shia would have to agree on someone to assume the position of vice president, and the other factions would have to compensate HD in some way for the loss. This also would likely deepen tensions between the Iraqi government and the Mehdi Army, the militia loyal to radical Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, since SCIRI is al-Sadr's main rival.

Should SCIRI take the top post, it would mean the prime ministership would be controlled by the most pro-Iranian Shiite group. This would further undermine Washington's influence in Baghdad, given that the Bush administration does not want to negotiate with Tehran over Iraq -- at least not from its current, weakened position.

Al-Maliki's resignation also could bring about the collapse of the Shiite coalition, which is currently hanging by only a thread, with deep internal differences between its members. The Shia cannot afford for their collective position to be further weakened.

Thus far, the Shia have chosen to sacrifice effective governance for the sake of unity. They will continue to do so. Therefore, it is unlikely that any new prime minister, particularly one from SCIRI, will be able to govern the country effectively.

1236 GMT -- UNITED STATES, IRAN -- U.S. troops raided an Iranian consular office in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil on Jan. 11, detaining five employees and seizing documents and computers, Iran's official news agency IRNA reported.

1230 GMT -- IRAQ -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Jan. 11 threatened Shiite militiamen with an all-out assault if they do not surrender their weapons. The announcement came hours after U.S. President George W. Bush pledged to control violence in Iraq with 21,500 additional troops and a more agressive Iraqi army. Al-Maliki had previously resisted such a move because the fighters are loyal to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, his powerful political ally.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2007, 05:41:41 AM by Crafty_Dog »


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #97 on: January 12, 2007, 06:44:43 AM »

Geopolitical Diary: Iran's View of the Surge

U.S. forces raided an Iranian consular office on Thursday in the Iraqi city of Arbil and captured several people. This is the second operation of this kind in a month against Iranians in Iraq, but this one took place shortly after the end of U.S. President George W. Bush's speech announcing a new "surge" of troops into the country. The Iranians, obviously, objected strenuously to the raid, which they argued was carried out without the approval of the Iraqi government -- diplomatically important since it was an office of the Iranian Consulate. The United States did not comment directly, but clearly couldn't care less.

We have been talking about the psychological and political dimension of Washington's new strategy. Obviously, the increase in troops, rather than the drawdown expected after the Democratic victory and the Iraq Study Group report, was a surprise to the Iranians. It seems that the Bush administration is now trying to increase the pressure. The Israeli discussion of using nuclear weapons against Iraq, the report that the CIA has been authorized to act against Hezbollah (which is Iran's asset in Lebanon), attacks on Iranian offices in Iraq, and statements by various Bush administration officials warning Tehran, taken together, point to a concerted effort to intimidate Iran.

The question, of course, is whether Iran finds itself intimidated. Certainly, the world has changed since November 2006, when the Iranians reasonably felt they were on the verge of the strategic triumph of dominating Iraq. Washington has now taken the game to extra innings. But extra innings do not mean victory. From the Iranian point of view, it would seem, the fundamentals have not changed much. The United States is still in the game with too little, and too late; Israeli nuclear strikes would create an interesting political dynamic for Iran, even more interesting than having nukes; Hezbollah can take care of itself against the CIA; and the U.S. raids in Iraq are pinpricks.

At the same time, the Iranians are also aware of American resiliency and American deviousness. They recall how the Iraqi invasion of Iran bogged down the revolution for a decade and how the United States quietly manipulated the situation. They watched the Soviet Union collapse after the United States seemed to be a declining power in the 1970s. There are leaders in Iran who remember that the Americans have enormous reserves of power and resources and a very unpredictable political process.

Things always look better on the other side of the hill. From the Iranian point of view -- as opposed to the gloomy American view -- the United States is resourceful and treacherous. As events diverge from the expected path, the Iranians, at least some of them, have to be wondering whether they have made another major miscalculation. So, just as the Americans are gloomily trying one last gambit, the Iranians are wondering if their strategic hopes are going to fade.

There are interesting developments in Iranian politics that have been discussed here before. With Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei apparently ill, and impeachment moves in the works against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, one wonders how much of this apparent instability is due to unease over the possibility that the Iranians are more vulnerable than they might appear. Iranian politics are opaque, and it is not clear whether any of this is serious; but still, it is there and has arisen at the same time that the United States has shifted policy and defied expectations.

Obviously, this is Bush's hope. He hopes that he can force Iran to re-evaluate its position in light of his unexpected moves. That might seem unlikely from an American point of view, but we have to wonder whether the Iranians see things as Americans do. Pessimism and exaggerated fears could well be endemic in this situation.


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Re: Iraq
« Reply #98 on: January 12, 2007, 02:17:51 PM »
Iraqi campaign against terrorism:
"En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero
acordarme, no ha mucho tiempo que viv?a un hidalgo de los de
lanza en astillero, adarga antigua, roc?n flaco y galgo corredor."


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Complex Insurgency
« Reply #99 on: January 15, 2007, 05:52:23 PM »
Iranians in Iraq: Making a Complex Insurgency Even More So

The United States is in the process of interdicting the Iranian support network for Sunni insurgents in Iraq. And a strange network it is. Given that a significant portion of Sunni insurgents are Baathists and jihadists -- actors hostile to Iran -- Tehran has been careful to back only those Sunni militants who are not part of the jihadist alliance and has tried to create splinter groups by exploiting differences among jihadist factions and between jihadist and Iraqi Islamists. Iranian support of the Sunni insurgency is only making a complex insurgency even more so.


U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad said Jan. 15 that Washington plans to "go after" what it says are networks of Iranian and Syrian agents in Iraq.

Iran's primary militant assets in Iraq are Shiite militias and unaffiliated gunmen. But Iran's support for the Iraq insurgency is not limited to its Shiite allies. Tehran also has been providing support to segments of the Sunni insurgency. Though it might sound like a contradiction for Shiite Iran to support Sunni groups in Iraq, it is not unprecedented -- and there is a certain logic behind the groups the Iranians choose to support.

Reports of Iranian support for Sunni insurgents have percolated in the media for quite some time but, given the sectarian tensions in Iraq, Iran has managed to brush off such reports. The understanding has been that Iran is not in a position to support Sunni insurgents, given the deep theological differences and divergent political objectives between the two sects. Sunni insurgents have mostly been either Iran's archenemies the Baathists, or jihadists attacking Iraqi Shia. There are also Sunni nationalists in Iraq who are trying to protect Sunni interests following the downfall of Saddam Hussein and the resulting rise of the Shia. Iran has not been able to use any of these three groups to its advantage.

But Tehran also wants to avoid overusing Shiite militants in Iraq in order to prevent a rift between Iraqi Shia and the United States; it intends to use its Arab Shiite allies as an instrument in consolidating its interests in Iraq. At the same time, the Iranians need to ensure that the Sunni insurgency would keep the United States tied down in Iraq so that U.S. forces would not be in a position to threaten Iran.

To those ends, Iran has had to gain some influence within the complex universe of Iraq's Sunni insurgency. The Iranians have backed certain elements of the insurgency -- such as Kurdish Islamist militant organization Ansar al-Sunnah -- that are Sunni Islamists, are not part of the jihadist alliance and are opposed to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Many elements of Ansar al-Sunnah reportedly have been operating from inside Iran.

Moreover, the proliferation of both jihadist and Sunni nationalist groups in Iraq has allowed Iran to take advantage of their differences. By offering support in the form of training, weapons and logistics to these groups, Iran has been able to influence Sunni militants and encourage attacks that suit its interests. Such groups are willing to accept assistance from wherever it may come in order to enhance their own positions within the insurgent movement, and are unlikely to become Iranian proxies. They have their own agendas, which they see as being served through cooperation with Iran. Some of these groups feel that the United States is a far greater threat than Iran, while others simply want access to the sophisticated technology the Iranians have to offer.

Iran actually has a long history of supporting Sunni groups under the guise of promoting pan-Islamist causes. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas are two prime examples of Arab Sunni groups that have received Iranian assistance. In fact, PIJ's founders were heavily influenced by the 1979 Islamic revolution that brought the current Iranian regime to power.

In Iraq, Iranian support for Sunni militants will further complicate an already complex insurgency, making it all the more difficult for U.S. and Iraqi forces to contain it. It will also create suspicions and rifts among various Sunni groups that will cause intra-Sunni violence. On the other hand, the situation provides an opportunity for Washington to drive a wedge between the Iranians and their Iraqi Shiite allies by showing that Tehran has actually been backing their enemies. This is why Iran has tried to encourage the Sunni militants it supports to focus on U.S. and other non-Shiite targets.

Should the United States decide to adopt this strategy of trying to cultivate frictions between Iran and its Iraqi Shiite allies, its success will depend on how convincing the evidence is. Given the level of anti-U.S. sentiment in Iraq, Shiite acceptance of what the United States has to say will vary from group to group. But creating any rifts between Iran and the Iraqi Shia could weaken the degree of leverage Tehran seems to enjoy in the maelstrom of Iraq.