The bottom line is clear: Our vital interests in Afghanistan are limited and military victory is not the key to achieving them. On the contrary, waging a lengthy counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan may well do more to aid Taliban recruiting than to dismantle the group, help spread conflict further into Pakistan, unify radical groups that might otherwise be quarreling amongst themselves, threaten the long-term health of the U.S. economy, and prevent the U.S. government from turning its full attention to other pressing problems. -- Afghanistan Study Group

Sunday, January 27, 2008

News of the Day for Sunday, January 27, 2008

Iraqi neighbors react as they gather outside a house where a former Baghdad city official was stabbed to death along with his wife and daughter in their home in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in northeastern Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2008. The knife-wielding attackers stormed the two-story house late Saturday, killing Ahmed Jwad Hashim, his wife and their daughter, and leaving a visiting nephew seriously wounded, according to police and hospital officials.
(AP Photo/ Karim Kadim)

Reported Security Incidents


A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier was killed Jan. 27 when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive devise in northeastern Baghdad.

A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier was killed Jan. 26 while conducting a dismounted patrol near Kadamiyah when an improvised explosive device detonated.

A U.S. Hummer-modeled vehicle was completely destroyed in a car bomb attack in central Baghdad, Iraqi police said on Sunday. "On Sunday noon, a car bomb detonated near a U.S. patrol in front of the finance ministry building in downtown Baghdad's Bab al-Muazzam area," the source, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq, Voices of Iraq, (VOI). A U.S. Hummer was completely burnt in the explosion," the source said.
The source did not indicate whether any casualties were reported on the U.S. side, but said that U.S. forces sealed off the scene immediately after the blast. Note: This does not appear to correspond to the death announced by MNF, which occurred in northeastern Baghdad. This report from McClatchy probably refers to the same incident, which it locates in the Waziriyah neighborhood of east Baghdad. I don't know whether the geographic references are consistent or not. -- C

Unknown gunmen killed a four-member family in an eastern Baghdad neighborhood, an Iraqi police source said on Sunday. "On Saturday night, unidentified gunmen raided a house in Baghdad's eastern area of al-Talibiyya and killed a family, including the father, mother, son and daughter," the source, who preferred to remain unnamed, told Aswat al-Iraq, Voices of Iraq, (VOI). The motivations behind the murder remain unknown," the source explained. he father worked as a general director in Baghdad mayorship under the former Iraqi regime, the source noted. The AP version of what I presume is the same incident has slightly different details. A former city official was stabbed to death along with his wife and daughter in their home in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in northeastern Baghdad, officials said Sunday. The knife-wielding attackers stormed the two-story house late Saturday, killing Ahmed Jwad Hashim, his wife and their daughter, and leaving a visiting nephew seriously wounded, according to police and hospital officials.

Gunmen ambush a minibus, kidnap the driver, but release the passengers unharmed after a few minutes. The passengers were female university employees on their way to work.

A roadside bomb wounded six people including three Iraqi soldiers when it hit their patrol in the Qahira district of northern Baghdad, police said. McClatchy gives the casualty toll as 3 civilians and 2 soldiers injured.

Iraqi Army spokesman says security forces made six arrests and defused seven explosive devices in past 24 hours.

Bomb attack in Karrada, apparently no casualties.


Gunmen killed a man in a drive by-shooting on Saturday outside his house in central Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

al-Muqdadiya (Diyala province)

"Joint forces on Sunday found four corpses in Shirwin village of al-Muqdadiya district, during a search-and-raid operation," the source, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI). The bodies showed signs of having been shot, mostly in the head," the source added.


Policemen found the body of a tribal chief on Sunday afternoon hours after he was reportedly kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in central Basra, eyewitnesses said. "Policemen in Basra found the corpse of Sheikh Sami Hussein, one of the tribal chiefs of the al-Bahadel clan in Basra on Sunday morning, in the area of Kut al-Hajja, central Basra, hours after he was kidnapped," Abdul-Amir Jassem, Hussein's cousin, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI). Unidentified gunmen had kidnapped the sheikh on Saturday noon in al-Ashar area, central Basra, and led him to an unknown place. The body showed signs of having been shot in the head three times," Jassem said.

Other News of the Day

Reuters Wisam Mohammed reports that Iraqi tanks and helicopters are being sent to the northern city of Mosul and troop reinforcements should arrive later on Sunday for a big offensive against al Qaeda militants, Iraqi security officials said. However, the U.S. military seems to have rather an odd attitude about this. Mohammed goes on to report: U.S. military officials on Sunday said their own operations around Iraq's third largest city were continuing. "As it stands ... we are executing day-to-day operations in support of Operation Phantom Phoenix," said Major Gary Dangerfield, spokesman for the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment in Mosul, referring to a nationwide offensive launched this month. "We are not in a position to validate the prime minister's future plans."

Maliki pledges to end the various ongoing boycotts of the government within a week. Reading between the lines, he's saying My way or the highway, although the spin is very positive. -- C Excerpt:

By Mohammad Al-Ghazzi BAGHDAD, Jan 27 (KUNA) -- While the Sunni Iraqi Accord Front (IAF) announced resumption of participation in government, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki pledged Sunday to end the government crisis triggered by the defections of major coalition partners. Talks between the United Iraqi Alliance, led by Al-Kalili who is also chairman of the Islamic Dawa Party, and the IAF, led by Adnan Al-Duleimi, will start later Sunday.

"The political process in Iraq saw most welcome positive developments in the last few days," Al-Maliki said in an interview with Al-Forat satellite channel owned by Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) -- a major coalition partner. "The Presidential Council gave me a two-week ultimatum to convince the other partners to rejoin the governing coalition or reshuffle the government (a week ago)," he disclosed. "There is one week remaining of the ultimatum," Al-Maliki noted, voicing confidence of the prospects to settle the crisis within this period.

Meanwhile, he said in case a new government was formed, new criterions other than quota system would be adopted.

Ministry of Defense is evicting 300 refugees from a former military base in Babil. No arrangements have been made for alternative housing. There are reported to be about 12,000 internally displaced persons in the province. Excerpt:

BAGHDAD, 27 January 2008 (IRIN) - The Iraqi Ministry of Defence has given about 300 internally displaced persons (IDPs) one week to evacuate a former military compound in Babil Province, about 100km south of the capital, Baghdad, officials said on 25 January. "Representatives of about 45 displaced families last week appealed to the Iraqi parliament for help to persuade the defence ministry to postpone its decision," Abdul-Khaleq Zankana, head of parliament’s displacement committee, told IRIN, adding that the Iraqi army intended to reuse the compound as a military base.

Zankana said his committee had been in discussions with US-led forces, the Iraqi defence ministry and the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) in an attempt to reverse the decision. "Nothing yet has been achieved to solve this problem but we are against displacing these families again and increasing their daily suffering," Zankana said.

Senator John McCain on Saturday stepped up attacks on his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, accusing him of once wanting to withdraw from Iraq and likening him to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in his approach to the conflict. In response, Romney lashed back, saying McCain was being "dishonest," and demanded that he apologize. Yes folks, that's actually an accusation. Romney vehemently denies that he wants U.S. to withdraw from Iraq. We'll see how that plays with the electorate -- C

An Awakening Council official claims that Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, the son of Muammar Gadhafi, is behind the Wednesday explosion in Mosul. This seems, on the face of it, ridiculous. But it's getting a lot of play and this guy seems very sure of himself. Seif Gadhafi is a high ranking official in his father's government, western educated and known as a moderate, although of course he calls for the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq. It is difficult to conceive of any motive the Gadhafis would have for this. We'll see, I guess. It may well be true, however, that there are North Africans committing attacks in Mosul. -- C

Quote of the Day

At the beginning of the occupation, the people of Iraq did not realise the U.S. strategy in the area. Their strategy is based on destruction and massacre. They do anything to have their agenda fulfilled. Now, Iraqis know that behind the U.S. smile is hatred and violence. They call others violent and terrorists, but what they are doing in Iraq and in other countries is the origin and essence of terror. America is the biggest producer of terror, and they spend huge funds for creating and training death squads all over the world.

Baquba resident Abu Taiseer. Yes, Wiz, he's a Communist, but as this article by Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail shows, his opinions are commonplace.