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, August 10, 2008

News of the Day for Sunday, August 10, 2008

Relatives of Mahmoud Jassim remove his body from a hospital after he was killed in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Aug. 10, 2008. Jassim died when a bomb exploded as an Iraqi army patrol passed by in Baghdad's central Khillani square, killing a soldier and a civilian and wounding nine other people, a police officer said. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim) Mot clear which, if any of the attacks reported elsewhere this corresponds to, as there are no other report of civilians killed in attacks on the Iraqi army. As usual, considerable confusion on a day of massive violence. -- C

Reported Security Incidents

Update: U.S. soldier killed and four Iraqi civilians killed, two U.S. soldiers and 21 Iraqis injured including 3 police officers and 3 Sahwa members, when a suicide bomber attacks as troops are responding to a roadside bomb incident in Tarmiyah, north of Baghdad.


The U.S. announces combat casualties which occurred on Friday: One U.S. Soldier was killed and two others wounded after an improvised explosive device struck their patrol in Baghdad at approximately 9:30 p.m. Aug. 8.

The capital was rocked today by a series of bomb attacks.

VoI lists several incidents. Note: The various services list differing but overlapping numbers of incidents. It is often difficult to sort out whether references are to the same incident. This appears to be the most complete listing. However, reported casualty totals are sometimes higher, so I have inserted links to other reports where there are differences.

  1. Civilian killed in an IED attack on an Iraq central bank armored car in al-Bab al-Sharqi. KUNA says 3 killed, 5 injured.
  2. Iraqi police say 2 civilians wounded in IED attack in central Baghdad, while hospital sources say they received 7 wounded.
  3. Car bomb near gas station in al-Madaen kills 1, injures 3, according to police. KUNA says 3 killed, 7 wounded.
  4. Bomb in al-Kamaliya kills 3, injures 10. AP says 4 people killed, 11 injured.
  5. IED attack on army patrol in Zayouna injures 2 soldiers and 2 civilians. DPA says 4 soldiers injured.
  6. Hand grenade attack on the Hammurabi Company in the area of Kemp Sara, eastern Baghdad, injures 3. Dispatch doesn't say what business they are in.
  7. IED went off near an Iraqi army patrol in the area of Jakkouk, al-Kadhemiya, injures 3 soldiers.

CNN reports two mortar strikes on the Green Zone. No further information at this time.


Iraqi security officials said Sunday three people were killed and nearly 25 wounded in a suicide car bombing near a Kurdish police station. DPA goes on to say ""A suicide terrorist blew up a car Sunday morning ... near the al- Asayesh police department in the al-Khaneqeen district killing and wounding dozens of people including head of the police department," a security official said. The al-Asayesh police department is a Kurdish organization, created in September 1993. According to the independent Voices of Iraq (VOI) news agency, the al-Asayesh police department is also regarded as an "intelligence agency" with links to the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iraq. It is also funded by the CIA and acts under the command of the Kurdish National Assembly and the Kurdish regional government, VOI said."

al-Saadiya, Diyala Province

Police man killed by gun fire on way to work.

al-Mulla Abboud, Diyala

Iraqi security forces seize a "booby trapped chicken coop.

Salman Beg (south of Kirkuk)

IED injures Sahwa member.

Other News of the Day

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari, in an interview with Reuters, says "Iraq insists the United States provide a 'very clear timeline' for withdrawing its troops as part of an agreement allowing them to stay on beyond this year." He says such an agreement is close and will probably be presented to Parliament in September. Note: Interesting how U.S. news services have spun this. They all headline that U.S. is close to an agreement with Iraq on forces, don't emphasize the demand for a timetable. Zebari wouldn't be pinned down on a date but it's clearly in 2010. -- C

McClatchy's Leila Fadel reports on Iraqi government moves to evict squatters from public property. Excerpt:

BAGHDAD - Ghania Jassim moved out of her Baghdad apartment in 2003 when her husband had to choose between paying the soaring rent after the U.S. led-invasion or feeding their five children and her.

The family set up a makeshift home in the former Iraqi air force headquarters. There were no government services, sewage ran through the streets, and the children's toys were scraps of metal, rubble and garbage. Times seemed grim, but now Jassim looks back on those days as carefree.

About four years ago, bandits stopped her husband and demanded his car, his most valuable possession. He refused, and he paid with his life. Alone, Jassim supports her children by selling fuel that she buys on the black market. For just over a gallon, she makes a $1.50 profit.

Three months ago, Iraqi Security Forces ordered her to leave her makeshift home. She begged for money to pay rent and time to find another place to live, but they refused. Now she floats among the homes of friends and family. She and her five children sleep in a different place almost every night.

Jassim is among the tens of thousands of Iraqis who found shelter in government and public properties after the U.S.-led invasion but were ordered out of their temporary homes by the Iraqi government earlier this year. In some cases, it was to take back buildings for government use; in others, to build apartment complexes for government employees.

Georgian contingent in Iraq prepares to head home to fight Russians. Georgia has asked the U.S. for transport, but arrangements have not been finalized. Georgia has the 3rd largest contingent in the so-called Multinational Force, after the U.S. and U.K. Since last year, Georgian troops have been actively participating in security operations, and the U.S. military predicts some near-term impact from their departure.


Canadian soldier killed in Southern Afghanistan on Saturday, no details available.

Roadside bomb in Kandahar kills 5 civilians, injures 3.

Airstrikes north of Kabul kill 11, provincial deputy governor Rahimullah Safi says all were civilians.

President Hamid Karzai said Sunday that airstrikes carried out in Afghan villages by U.S. and NATO troops are only killing civilians and that the international community should instead go after terror centers in Pakistan.


Jerome a Paris provides a useful backgrounder on the conflict over South Ossetia in this Kos diary. The issue for the United States is not the oil pipeline per se, which passes far from the site of conflict; rather it's a broader struggle with Russia for influence in the region. Nevertheless it comes down to oil and gas in the end.

A good summary of military developments is here. Georgia has lost control of Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, and withdrawn most of its troops from the region, although Russian sources say many remain. Georgian officials also claim that Russia is now bombing targets in Abkhazia, another breakaway region.

Quote of the Day

Rob: No, no, no. What I remember is George saying, 'we got this from'--basically, from what George said was 'downtown.'

Ron: Which is the White House?

Rob: Yes. But he did not--in my memory--never said president, vice president, or NSC. Okay? But now--he may have hinted--just by the way he said it, it would have--cause almost all that stuff came from one place only: Scooter Libby and the shop around the vice president.

Ron: Yeah, right.

Rob: But he didn't say that specifically. I would naturally--I would probably stand on my, basically, my reputation and say it came from the vice president.

CIA Agent Rob Richer, interviewed by Ron Suskind, on the order to forge a letter linking the Saddam Hussein regime to the 9/11 attack.