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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

War News for Wednesday, December 31, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a U.S. Soldier soldier from injuries sustained during combat operations in Balad, Iraq on Tuesday, December 30th.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier in a Mortar attack in Baghdad on Wednesday, December 31st.


Dec. 28 airpower summary:

Dec. 29 airpower summary:

Iraqi prisoners handover blocked:

U.S. officials withdrew on Wednesday from the vast Saddam Hussein-era palace they have occupied in Baghdad since 2003:

Winter adds more suffering to war-ravaged Afghan people:

Arrest details on mom of Bristol Palin boyfriend: (off topic but amusing--can you say Oxycontin.)


Reported Security incidents:

Diyala Prv:
KhaniQeen:
#1: Two Iraqi soldiers were killed and two others were wounded on Wednesday in a bomb explosion in Khaniqeen district, the commander of the 8th brigade of the Border Guards forces said“An explosive device was detonated targeting an Iraqi army vehicle patrol on the main street in Khaniqeen-Niftkhana, northeast of Baaquba, killing two soldiers, including a captain and injuring two others,” Nazem Asta Sharief told Aswat al-Iraq.

#2: A policeman and three Iraqi soldiers were wounded on Wednesday in a bomb explosion in northeast of Baaquba, a police source said. “An explosive charge went off targeting two Iraqi police and army patrols at a checkpoint in al-Saadiya district in Khaniqeen, northeast of Baaquba, injuring a policeman and three soldiers,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.


Mussayab:
#1: Two civilians were wounded on Wednesday in a bomb explosion in a market in northern Babel, a police source said. “A sticky improvised explosive device (IED), planted on a motorcycle went off in al-Musayab market, north of Hilla, injuring two civilians and destroying the motorcycle,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.


Mosul:
#1: Two civilians were killed and nine wounded Wednesday in a double roadside bombing in Iraq’s northern city of Mosul. The first attack took place mid-morning as an Iraqi police patrol cruised past, injuring several people, local policeman Ahmed Abdul Karim told a foreign news agency. As people rushed to help the wounded a second bomb detonated, killing two people, he added. No police were injured in the attacks.

#2: A candidate for the upcoming provincial council elections in Ninewa province on Wednesday was killed by unknown gunmen in downtown Mosul city, according to a local source. “On Wednesday, unknown gunmen assassinated a candidate for the local elections in downtown Mosul’s al-Najafi St.,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq. “A policeman was killed and another was wounded while they were chasing the attackers, who managed to flee into alleys and side streets after they had opened fire on the police,” the source added.


Sinjar:
#1: In the largest attack, a car bomb ripped through a crowded market area in the town of Sinjar, northwest of Mosul and near the Syrian border, killing four people and wounding 42, Sinjar police lieutenant colonel Fathi Jabburi told AFP.



Afghanistan:
#1: Pakistani army helicopters attacked militants along the Khyber Pass on Wednesday while tanks rumbled in to secure the vital supply link for Western forces in land-locked Afghanistan. "Two helicopter gunships pounded militant hideouts while troops moved with tanks to secure the area," said Jehangir Khan Afridi, an administration official in the Khyber region. Intelligence officials said on Tuesday troops had faced pockets of militant resistance and Afridi said two important militant hideouts had been destroyed. But officials and residents said on Wednesday most insurgents had apparently fled the Khyber region to neighbouring areas. "There has been no fire from the militants. They must have fled to remote areas or to Mohmand," said resident Irfan Afridi, referring to a neighbouring region where security forces have also been fighting Pakistani Taliban insurgents.

A Pakistani official says troops have killed three militants in Islamabad's effort to secure a major supply route for coalition forces in Afghanistan.

#2: Taliban militants executed a man in a restive Pakistani tribal region near the Afghan border after accusing him of spying for the United States, an official said Wednesday. The bullet-riddled body of 28-year-old Mohammad Nawaz was found dumped on a roadside on Wednesday in the town of Mir Ali in North Waziristan, a local police official said. Nawaz had been kidnapped in November after a US missile strike near Mir Ali town killed some local and foreign militants. A note found near his body said Nawaz had been "found guilty of spying for the US," the official said, requesting anonymity.

#3: AUSTRALIAN troops on patrol in Afghanistan have shot dead a man who approached them in a "suspicious manner". The incident happened yesterday afternoon Afghan time (8.10pm AEDT) as the soldiers from the Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force were on patrol while supporting an Afghan National Army operation. "A man approached a patrol in a manner that was suspicious, as a result of his behaviour and failure to comply with repeated directions by soldiers to stop, the man was fired upon and killed," a statement from Defence said.

#4: The US-led coalition force said it had carried out air and ground attacks, killing 11 militants in Sarobi, about 60km (40 miles) north-east of Kabul. In the Sarobi strike, the US military said it was targeting a commander wanted for trafficking weapons and fighters through the region.
A coalition statement that its soldiers killed two militants when they fired on approaching troops. "Still receiving fire, coalition forces engaged the militants with close-air precision munitions and killed the remaining nine militants," the statement added.

#5: Separately, the Nato-led force said it had killed six militants in an air strike in eastern Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the Nato force said its aircraft "identified eight insurgents with weapons moving into fighting positions" in an unspecified area of eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday. "The aircraft engaged the insurgents, killing six," it said in a statement.


Casualty Reports:

British Sergeant Scott Paterson, 30, was on patrol in Afghanistan when the Jackal 4x4 vehicle he was travelling in set off a landmine. He suffered two broken legs, a broken foot, a gash on his arm and a head wound. None of his colleagues was seriously injured. “He’s got steel rods down through his left leg with bolts and his right one is held together with plates and such. They need severe rebuilding. “The bones are not repairing and growing properly so it’s just a matter of adjusting those nuts and bolts.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

War News for Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dec. 25 airpower summary:

Dec. 26 airpower summary:

Dec. 27 airpower summary:

Boat crash on Christmas kills sailor in Bahrain:

Iraq’s oil exports from southern Basra port increased to 1.8 million barrel a day:

OPEC pumps below target in Dec: Output from OPEC members bound by supply targets fell by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in December, consultant Petrologistics said. Supply from 11 exporters was expected to average 27.1 million bpd in December, down from about 27.5 million bpd in November.

Oil falls below $40 on grim economic outlook:

Iran's 9-month non-oil exports reach 13.992 billion dollars: Also Iran's petrochemical exports hit 5.950 billion dollars during the nine months.

Iraq to offer 10 fields in 2nd oil licensing round:

Rare suicide bombing in Iran kills 4:

Heavy clashes as Sri Lanka troops extend defense lines:

Reporters Without Borders: Press Freedom Round-up 2008 Better figures despite a hostile climate and more Internet repression:


Reported Security incidents:

Baghdad:
#1: A civilian body was found by police forces behind a school in western Baghdad, according to a security source. “An unknown body belonging to a civilian in his thirties was discovered behind a school in Baghdad’s western neighborhood of al-Hurriya,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

#2: Police found two dead bodies in Baghdad today. One was found in Binok on the Rusafa bank, the east bank of the Tigris River, and one was found in Hurriyah in Karkh on the west side of the Tigris River.


Diyala Prv:
Jalawla:
#1: A sniper shot dead a tribal leader in Jalawla district of Diyala province, 115 km (70 miles) northeast of Baghdad on Monday, a police captain said.


Amarra:
#1: The U.S. base in a-Batiera airport in Amara on Tuesday cane under Katyusha rockets attack, an Iraqi military source said. “Five Katyusha rockets hit the U.S. military base in al-Batiera airport in northwestern Amara,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.


Halabja: (Sulaymaniyah)
#1: A Kurdish worker from the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) was killed on Tuesday, while another was wounded when a landmine exploded in northeastern Halabja district. “Today, a landmine detonated in Hani Dan village, northeastern Halabja, killing a Kurdish worker and wounding another,” Lt. Col. Anwar Hajji Omar told Aswat al-Iraq.


Mosul:
#1: Four police personnel on Tuesday were wounded in a car bomb blast that occurred in western Mosul city, according to a local police source. “A car rigged with explosives detonated near a police patrol vehicle in al-Iyadiya district, western Mosul, wounding four patrolmen and causing damage to the vehicle,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

#2: A civilian was killed by random gunfire in western Mosul, police said.

#3: Gunmen killed a policeman in front of his house in Rashidiyah in Mosul city on Tuesday.

#4: Unknown gunmen on Tuesday killed a former policeman in central Mosul, a police source said. “Unidentified gunmen assassinated a former policeman in al-Shaariyeen marketplace in central Mosul, when they showered him with bullets,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.



Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: An Australian soldier serving with the Australian Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force (MRTF) in Oruzgan Province was wounded in an attack by Taliban insurgents on Monday 29 December. The soldier was part of a MRTF patrol that was providing support to Afghan National Army operations when it was attacked on Monday morning local time (approximately 4.50 pm AEST). The soldier received immediate first aid for a gunshot wound while his fellow patrol members continued to engage the insurgents. He was assessed as being in a serious condition and was evacuated by helicopter to hospital facilities at Tarin Kowt.

#2: Afghan police backed by Nato troops killed nine Taliban militants in a fight in southern Afghanistan, police said Tuesday. The militants were killed in Nawa district of the Hemland province after they attacked an Afghan police checkpoint in the area Monday, Assadullah Shirzad, provincial police chief, said. Nato-led British troops stationed in the province rushed to the scene of the battle and engaged the militants, Shirzad said, adding that there were no casualties among the Afghan police or Nato forces.

#3: Pakistan has suspended supplies going to foreign forces in Afghanistan as security forces launched an offensive against militants in the Khyber Pass region, a government official said. "Supplies to NATO forces will remain suspended until we clear the area of militants and outlaws who have gone out of control," he said.Hayat said security forces, backed by helicopter gunships, artillery, and tanks, began an offensive early on December 30."Our targets are very clear and specific. We're after them and will try our best to avoid civilian losses," he told reporters in the town of Jamrud.

#4: The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan says the number of roadside bombs and kidnappings in Afghanistan roughly doubled in 2008. William Wood says the number of roadside bombs has risen from roughly 1,000 in 2007 to about 2,000 in 2008. The number of kidnappings rose from around 150 to around 300.

#5: A civilian motorist was injured in an escalation of force incident today in Parwan after he ignored warning measures and continued to approach an ISAF convoy.


Casualty Reports:

Army Pfc. Derek Derose 20, of Stafford County, was injured by an improvised explosive device while on patrol with his unit near Beni Zaid, Iraq on Oct. 17. Derose’s right hand took the brunt of the blast, which knocked him to the ground, sent his weapon flying, and blew his Kevlar helmet off. The blast severely damaged the nerves in his right hand. “They are estimating it’s going to be a full year before I get full use of my hand,” he said.


Canadian master corporal Travis Snyder, 32, is home in Wyoming, recovering from a bomb blast Nov. 21 near Kandahar. a roadside bomb exploded beneath a LAV 3 he was riding in. The improvised explosive device, packed by the Taliban and buried beneath a paved road, was so powerful it flipped the 22-tonne vehicle. Snyder, a master corporal, and eight other Canadian soldiers were wounded in the attack in Afghanistan on Nov. 21. Snyder was in command of the vehicle he was in on a reconnaissance patrol near Kandahar. He was knocked unconscious. Flying debris had ripped most of his right ear off and shredded his lips. They were cut into seven pieces doctors later told him. A small curved scar sits above his chin, a reminder of those dark moments. "I looked down at my arm and saw the bone sticking out through my shirt," he said. "I spit my lips out. I just knew I was in bad shape."

Monday, December 29, 2008

War News for Monday, December 29, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier in a roadside bombing in a northern neighborhood of Baghdad on Sunday, December 28th.

The DoD is reporting a new death previously unreported by the military. Master-at-Arms Seaman Apprentice Joshua D. Seitz died from an unreleased cause in Manama, Bahrain, on Sunday, December 25th. The cause of death is under investigation.



TV News Winds Down Operations on Iraq War:

Deputy Iraqi PM Warns Of Possible Arab-Kurd Conflict:

Israel calls up reserve soldiers, widens scope of Gaza airstrikes:

Israel Closes Area Around Gaza as Strikes on Hamas Continue:

Whbee slams int'l media for playing down Israel's version: (Here'a a crock....)

Get out of Afghanistan to save taxpayers money:

Number of wounded soldiers on the rise: As Canada enters its fourth full year of fighting in southern Afghanistan, new figures prepared for the Defence Department show the number of wounded soldiers has climbed to more than 360.


Reported Security incidents:

Baghdad:
#1: A group of gunmen killed a civilian on Monday in a public marketplace in western Baghdad, a police source said. “Three gunmen opened fire on a seller in a public market in al-Hurrieya neighborhood in western Baghdad, killing him instantly,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq, noting that they fled to unknown place.

#2: Unknown gunmen killed a displaced person who had just returned to his house in western Baghdad, in a second incident of its kind in the city in less than 24 hours, a police source said. “Unidentified gunmen killed Mohamed al-Mashhadani, a displaced person who just returned to his house in al-Hurriya neighborhood in western Baghdad, while he was sitting in front of his house,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.


Diyala Prv:
Baquba:
#1: A bomb on Monday ripped through a market in the restive city of Baquba, killing a civilian and injuring five, witnesses told Deutsche Presse-Agentur, dpa.

Jalawlaa:
#1: A municipal council member in Jalawlaa on Monday was shot by one of his colleagues in the central part of the district, according to a local source. “Today, a municipal council member opened fire on another member in downtown Jalawlaa district (30 km southwest of Khanaqin district),” Ahmed Khalifa al-Qassab told Aswat al-Iraq. “The member was seriously wounded in the shooting,” Qassab noted, adding that investigations are currently underway.

#2: Unidentified gunmen shot and killed an official from the social office of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in Jalawlaa district in Diala, the chief of local police said. “Unknown gunmen opened fire on Ali Sirwan Kobkha Mahmoud, the official of the social office of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), in Jalawlaa, southwest of Khaneqeen, killing him on the spot,” Ahmed Khaliefa al-Qassab told Aswat al-Iraq.


Mahaweel:
#1: A captain in Karbala police on Monday morning was killed when a sticky explosive charge targeted his vehicle in front of his house in northern Babel province, according to an official source from Karbala police. “A sticky improvised explosive device (IED) went off inside the car of a Karbala police officer in al-Mahaweel area (30 km north of Hilla city), killing him on the spot,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.


Basra:
#1: Around 10 a.m. an adhesive bomb that was stuck to a police vehicle detonated while the vehicle was inside a police fuel station in downtown Basra city causing serious injuries to the driver.


Sulaimaniya:
#1: A female announcer in the Kurdish satellite channel Kurdsat shot herself inside her house in the city of Sulaimaniya on Monday, a source from the channel said. “Laila Ali worked today as usual and in the afternoon returned home in Zarkata neighborhood, northern Sualimaniya, where she shot herself with a gun,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq. “The reasons behind the suicide are not yet clear, but investigations are ongoing,” he added.


Mosul:
#1: “A civilian was killed when gunmen opened fore at him near his house in al-Rashidiya region in northern Mosul,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

#2: “Another civilian was killed in a random shootout in al-Mosul al-Jadida region in western Mosul,” he added.


Tal Afar:
#1: A suicide bomber, wearing an explosive belt, blew himself up near a joint checkpoint of police and army forces in northern Talafar, injuring one person, a police source said. “The explosion occurred in Hassan Kowi region in northern Talafar, injuring a man who is working with the bomber,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq. He gave no more details.



Afghanistan:
#1: A suicide car bomb in northern Afghanistan on Monday killed two Afghan civilians and wounded about 20 other people including two US soldiers, Afghan and US military officials said. The bomb exploded as a convoy of US military vehicles passed in front of the provincial government offices in the town of Charikar, 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of the capital Kabul, an AFP reporter said. "We have two people who are killed and 17 people are wounded," health ministry spokesman Abdullah Fahim told AFP. "Two of the wounded are in critical condition." The interior ministry gave a similar toll and said the blast was carried out by a suicide attacker. The US military confirmed its troops had been hit by a "vehicle-borne IED (improvised explosive device)" -- military jargon that usually means a car bomb. "We have two US soldiers and an Afghan contractor wounded," Sergeant First Class Joel Peavy told AFP from the main US military base at Bagram, north of Kabul.

#2: Two other bombings in the southern province of Kandahar killed three civilians and wounded 21. It began when a suicide bomber riding a motorbike blew himself up. A moment later another bomb in a handcart went off nearby.

A remote-controlled roadside bomb went off in Taliban former stronghold Kandahar of southern Afghanistan Monday morning, killing one child and wounding 21 others, an official said. "The bloody incident occurred in the Spinboldak border town at11:00 a.m. local time (0630 GMT), leaving a two-year old child dead and 21 others injured, including mother of the child and one police," a police officer in the town Saifullah told Xinhua.

#3: In neighboring Helmand province, Taliban militants attacked a police post late Sunday. Soldiers and police fought back, killing seven insurgents, said Helmand provincial police chief Asadullah Sherzad. One policeman was wounded, he said.


Casualty Reports:

Marine Lance Corporal Marc E. Olson returned from Bethesda Naval Hospital in Baltimore, Md. on Dec. 10 after spending a month there. He was one of 14 individuals who were wounded on Nov. 8 after suicide bombers attacked the post he was working at in Ramadi, Iraq. He suffered major head, neck and eye injuries.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

News of the Day for Sunday, December 28, 2008

Demonstrators burn an Israeli flag during a protest in eastern Baghdad's Baladiyat district December 28, 2008. Protestors burned Israeli flags and fired AK-47s into the air in protests across Iraq on Sunday, demanding a stronger response from Arab nations to Israeli air strikes that killed more than 270 people in Gaza. REUTERS/Atef Hassan (IRAQ)

Note: The situation in Gaza has considerable bearing on both Iraq and Afghanistan. Most directly, the response the United States makes to the crisis strongly affects the credibility and reputation of the U.S. in both countries, and in the region, as in all of the Islamic world -- perhaps most strongly in Iraq and the other Arab countries, but nevertheless in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well. Tolerance of the populations for the twin occupations will be even more tenuous if the U.S. reaction is perceived as demonstrating contempt for the lives and human rights of Muslims and Arabs. Furthermore, the credibility and legitimacy of the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan will be even further undermined if they are perceived as creatures of the United States and unable to forcefully distance themselves from its policy toward Palestine. And of course, the willingness of the regional powers and the UN to further or at least refrain from hindering U.S. objectives is affected by the way the U.S. spends what little political capital it has left in this crisis.

The corporate media in the U.S. are providing substantial coverage of current events in Gaza and Israel, so I won't take up space here with a lot of detail. However, most coverage in the U.S. is strongly biased. It largely ignores the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, and defines the comparatively minor damage and small number of casualties produced by Hamas rockets as terrorism, while casting the vastly more deadly effects of Israeli airstrikes as entirely legitimate military action. People may argue over who, if anybody, holds the moral high ground in this endless catastrophe, but I do not believe that just because a bomber is wearing a military uniform his actions are somehow morally sanitized.

Some resources you may be interested in to gain a more balanced perspective include, of course, Juan Cole, whose latest comment on Gaza is here. Also, I have been receiving e-mails from the Gaza blogger Sameh Akram Habeeb, whose site is well constructed and whose voice I find credible and worth noting. As always, Information Clearinghouse provides both an international news perspective, and strongly opinionated analysis. -- C


Reported Security Incidents

Baghdad

A roadside bomb wounded two people in Abu Dsheer district of southern Baghdad, police said.

Falluja

Two police officers killed, 4 injured by a car bomb near al-Falluja Bridge in the northern part of the city.

One officer killed, six injured by a suicide car bomber in eastern Falluja. The injured from today's incidents are now said to include 3 civilians who are in critical condition. The city is on lockdown, with entrances closed.

Mosul

Suicide bomber on a bicycle kills 1 civilian, injures 16. It appears this attack specifically targeted members of the Iraqi Islamic Party, a key component of the main Shiite bloc in parliament. The IIP members were demonstrating against Israeli actions in Gaza, but obviously that is not the reason they were targeted. Xinhua reports that the attack specifically targeted the convoy of Muhammad Shakir al-Ghannam, regional head of the IIP, who escaped uninjured.

Basra

"Sticky bomb" attack on Provincial Council member Bacim al-Mousawi fails to cause injury.

Second sticky bomb attack injures four "vital facilities" guards, including the brother of Bacim al-Mousawi. Note: I assume these are members of the Facilities Protection Service, a quasi-military force under control of the Ministry of the Interior. Dahr Jamail has accused the FPS of being heavily infiltrate by Shiite militias responsible for atrocities.

Hakurke region, Kurdistan

Turkish jets bomb PKK targets, no information on casualties, if any.

Other News of the Day

Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi cancels a scheduled diplomatic tour of the Gulf countries, in light of the Gaza crisis.

McClatchy's Mohammed al Dulaimy provides context for the upcoming provincial elections. Public cynicism about politics and an unwieldy number of candidates complicate the picture.

Note: I do not support the work of Iraq Body Count, which I believe is counterproductive. By creating the impression that the incidents of violence which are reported by multiple news services constitute a credible accounting of the total, they generate a misrepresentation of the human cost of the Iraq conflict which has even been seized upon by George W. Bush himself to understate and minimize the consequences of the U.S. war in Iraq. However, because the report they issued today is getting widespread coverage, I would no doubt be accused of selective editing if I didn't mention it. - C IBC finds that "The number of civilian deaths from violence in Iraq fell sharply this year to an estimated 25 per day. . . . Meanwhile, the number of civilians killed by car bombs and suicide attacks declined to 10 a day this year compared to 21 per day in 2007 and 16 a day two years ago. Among those killed by bullets or executed, an average of 14 civilians died per day, compared to 40 a day last year and 56 per day in 2006." The way this has been reported in the U.S. corporate media, 25 civilian deaths per day means that the war is over and we won. -- C

Afghanistan update

Suicide bomb attack on the district headquarters of Ismail Kheil, Khost province, kills 8 people, injures 51 people. The attacker was prevented from reaching the building, where a meeting of tribal elders was taking place, and the blast apparently occurred near a school, causing many school children to be among the casualties. U.S. troops were in the building at the time but none were injured.

Rocket attack on a police training center in Kabul misses its target, kills 3 teenage sisters.

Canadian military announces the deaths of two Canadian soldiers, an Afghan policeman and an interpreter in a bomb attack in Panjwayi district, Kandahar province. Four Canadian soldiers were injured.

Also, according to AFP, a member of the Kandahar Provincial Council, Sra Jumat, was assassinated in a mosque.

Bomb attack on a polling station in Northwest Frontier Province, Pakistan, kills 10 people, including 4 children. I note this here because it is essentially part of the same conflict that is occurring in Afghanistan.

Afghan Foreign Ministry condemns the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

AP reports that the Taliban is expanding its control over territory near Kabul.

Quote of the Day

The rationalization for Israel's massacres, already being faithfully transmitted by the English-language media, is that Israel is acting in "retaliation" for Palestinian rockets fired with increasing intensity ever since the six-month truce expired on 19 December (until today, no Israeli had been killed or injured by these recent rocket attacks).

But today's horrific attacks mark only a change in Israel's method of killing Palestinians recently. In recent months they died mostly silent deaths, the elderly and sick especially, deprived of food and necessary medicine by the two year-old Israeli blockade calculated and intended to cause suffering and deprivation to 1.5 million Palestinians, the vast majority refugees and children, caged into the Gaza Strip. In Gaza, Palestinians died silently, for want of basic medications: insulin, cancer treatment, products for dialysis prohibited from reaching them by Israel.

What the media never question is Israel's idea of a truce. It is very simple. Under an Israeli-style truce, Palestinians have the right to remain silent while Israel starves them, kills them and continues to violently colonize their land. Israel has not only banned food and medicine to sustain Palestinian bodies in Gaza but it is also intent on starving minds: due to the blockade, there is not even ink, paper and glue to print textbooks for schoolchildren.


Ali Abunimah

Saturday, December 27, 2008

War News for Saturday, December 27, 2008

Focus One news is reporting the death of a contractor from an non-hostile accident in FOB camp Summerall, near Baiji Iraq on Wednesday, December 24th. Mersim Ademi from Tetovo Macedonia was working for Ecolog when he died.


USA Today: Israel launches air strikes on Gaza, 120 dead:

NY Times: Scores Killed Across Gaza as Israel Strikes at Hamas:

Egypt to open Rafah crossing after Israeli raids across Gaza:

Veterans of Iraq unit linked to violent crimes: Army plays down connection, but defense lawyers suggest a pattern...

Iraq Basra oil exports plunge 68pc:



Baghdad:
#1: A car bomb killed at least 22 people and wounded 54 more when it exploded at a Baghdad bus station on Saturday, a security official said. The bomb occurred in the Shi'ite district of Kadhimiya in northwestern Baghdad, where people typically gather at a major Shi'ite mosque on Saturdays, said Major-General Qassim Moussawi, spokesman for security operations in Baghdad. The U.S. military said the blast took place just after noon. Women and children were among those killed, police said.

#2: A civilian man was killed on Saturday in a blast from an improvised explosive device (IED) inside his family house in al-Dora neighborhood, southern Iraq, police said. “A 30-year-old civilian was killed in a blast from an IED planted inside his house,” a security source told Aswat al-Iraq, adding the explosion caused severe damage to the house. “The police are investigating whether the IED was planted by unidentified gunmen,” the source said, not giving more details.


Diyala Prv:
Baquba:
#1: Around 1 p.m. a bomb exploded in a market in central Baquba city injuring three civilians.

Khalis:
#1: A civilian on Saturday was killed by a group of gunmen in the north of Baaquba city, according to a security source. “Today, an armed group killed a civilian near a parking lot in downtown al-Khalis district (15 km north of Baaquba),” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.


Hilla:
#1: Three persons were killed and 10 others were wounded when an explosive charge detonated on a main road near Babel’s Hilla city, a local security source said on Saturday. “An Iraqi army major and two Sahwa members were killed, and 10 others, including five soldiers, were wounded while they were trying to defuse an improvised explosive device (IEDs) in al-Bahbahani area (60 km northwest of Hilla city),” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.


Kirkuk:
#1: Security personnel in Kirkuk have managed to defuse two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in two different parts of the province without causing casualties or damage. “Today, joint personnel from Kirkuk police and the Multi-National Force (MNF) defused an explosive charge planted near al-Maarid checkpoint in al-Khadraa neighborhood in southwestern Kirkuk,” a source from Kirkuk’s operation room told Aswat al-Iraq.


Mosul:
#1: “An explosive charge targeted an Iraqi army patrol vehicle in al-Intisar neighborhood, eastern Mosul, wounding a patrolman,” an Iraqi army source told Aswat al-Iraq.

#2: “Another IED detonated near an army patrol vehicle in Missan neighborhood, eastern Mosul, wounding two soldiers and causing damage to the vehicle,” the source added.


Al Anbar Prv:
Ramadi:
#1: A MEMBER of al-Qaeda in Iraq who broke out of jail has been killed in a firefight while two other prisoners on the run have been surrounded by police. The man killed by Iraqi forces, Imad Ahmed Farhan, was nicknamed "Imad the killer" because police say he has admitted to murdering at least 100 people. The men escaped from Forsan police station in Ramadi, capital of Anbar province, yesterday in a brazen breakout.



Afghanistan:
#1: A suicide bomber killed three Afghan police officers and two civilians and wounded four in the southern province of Kandahar on Saturday, a senior police official said. The suicide bomber was on foot when he detonated the device next to a police checkpoint on the outskirts of Kandahar city, about 400 km (250 miles) southwest of the capital Kabul, near a highway connecting Kandahar to western Afghanistan. The policemen were in a military vehicle near the checkpoint and the civilians were also inside a car on the highway when the suicide bomber struck, the police official said.

#2: Two rockets hit west of Afghan capital Kabul Saturday night, killing at least three people in a family, a witness told Xinhua on the spot. One victim family member, who did not give his name, told Xinhua that it occurred at around 8:30 p.m. local time (GMT1630) when one rocket arrived suddenly and hit their house killing three female family members. He added that one child was also injured. Moreover, police officer Abdul Qudoos told newsmen at the site that there were two rockets landing in Afshar area, west of Kabul city. "One rocket hit the civilian house while the other fell into an open market injuring a woman there," Qudoos said.

Friday, December 26, 2008

War News for Friday, December 26, 2008

The Toronto Star is reporting the death of a Canadian ISAF soldier from a roadside bombing in Zhari district, west of Kandahar city, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan on Friday, December 26th. Three additional soldiers were wounded in the blast.


Dec. 24 airpower summary:

Spain PM says no more troops for Afghanistan:

Pakistan moves troops toward Indian border: Pakistan began moving thousands of troops away from the Afghan border toward India on Friday amid tensions following the Mumbai attacks, intelligence officials said. Two intelligence officials said the army's 14th Division was being redeployed to Kasur and Sialkot, close to the Indian border. They said some 20,000 troops were on the move. Earlier Friday, a security official said that all troop leave had been canceled.

Overlapping Russian and Syrian messages… to Washington:


Reported Security incidents:

Baghdad:
#1: Thursday Gunmen injured two employees of the Iraqi news agency (INA) at Beirut intersection (east Baghdad) around 9:30 p.m.

#2: A bomb blast on an Iraqi home killed a man and wounded his two sons in Baghdad's southern Dora district, police said.

#3: A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol wounded four policemen and two civilians in Zaafaraniya district, southeastern Baghdad, police said


Diyala Prv:
Baquba:
#1: A civilian man was wounded when an improvised explosive device (IED) blast targeted the house of a displaced local resident in central Baaquba city on Friday, an official security source in Diala said. “An IED planted by unidentified gunmen went off on Friday evening near a house that belongs to a displaced local resident in the area of al-Anafsa, central Baaquba, leaving one civilian wounded and the building totally devastated,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

Balad Ruz:
#1: Three Iraqi soldiers were killed and three others were wounded on Friday when an improvised explosive device went off in Baladruz district, east of Baaquba, a security source said.


Mosul:
#1: Thursday A suicide car bomber targeted Sheikh Mohammad al-Ramah house in al-Aghar village (south of Mosul) on Wednesday. Seven people were injured including five members of the Sheikh's family.

#2: Thursday Gunmen opened fire on a policeman in the 17th of July neighborhood in Mosul city on Thursday. The policeman was injured.

#3: Thursday A roadside bomb targeted an army patrol in Intisar neighborhood in Mosul on Thursday. Four soldiers were wounded and one civilian.

#4: Security forces defused a car bomb in northern Mosul city on Friday, according to a source from the Ninewa Operations Command (NOC). “The bomb squad in Ninewa province managed on Friday to defuse a car bomb parked on a street in al-Mohandessin neighborhood, northern Mosul, without incident,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.


Al Anbar Prv:
Ramadi:
#1: A group of al-Qaeda in Iraq prisoners overpowered a police officer before killing him and other officers in a jailbreak in Ramadi early Friday, Interior Ministry officials said. Seven of the militants were killed in a gunbattle with police outside the al-Fursan police station shortly after their escape, but three others managed to get away, the officials said. The jailbreak began when a prisoner asked a police officer to escort him to the toilet at about 1 a.m., the officials said. The other 10 prisoners in the cell pretended to be asleep when the officer entered, but they attacked him and took his gun, officials said. After shooting the first police officer, the prisoners used his gun to kill five other police officers on their way out of the police station. The dead included two high-ranking officers, according to officials.

Three senior Islamist militants escaped from their cells in clashes overnight at a police station in Iraq's western city of Ramadi, which killed at least seven police and seven militants, officials said. Prisoners being held at the al-Fursan facility overpowered a policeman who entered a cell early on Friday, stealing the man's weapon and killing him, said Major-General Tareq Yusuf, police commander for Anbar province. Six other police officers, including a lieutenant colonel and a captain, were killed in subsequent clashes and six were wounded, Yusuf said. Seven of the militants inside the police prison were killed in the fighting, he said. An Interior Ministry official, who requested anonymity, put the death toll among police at 10 and said that Lieutenant Colonel Abdul Ghaini al-Dulaimi, who heads the station, died.

Fallujah:
#1: An Iraqi police officer was also killed Friday in Anbar province when a truck driver opened fire on an Iraqi police checkpoint in Falluja, an Interior Ministry official said. The truck driver was killed in an exchange of gunfire, the official said. Police later learned the truck was rigged with explosives.



Afghanistan:
#1: A suicide car bomber targeted a convoy of foreign troops on Friday in Afghanistan's western Herat province, wounding one U.S. soldier and two Afghan civilians, a provincial official said. The attack hit the convoy as it was coming out of Herat's airport, said security officer Qadir Agha, adding two vehicles in the convoy were damaged.

"Two civilian contractors were wounded this morning in western Afghanistan when their convoy was struck by a suicide vehicle bomber," the US military said in a statement that did not identify the civilians. An international soldier was also slightly hurt, a US military official told AFP separately. The civilians worked for the US-based security company DynCorp and were involved in training Afghan police, a US government official said, without releasing their nationalities.

#2: Separately, U.S.-led coalition forces killed 11 Taliban insurgents and detained two more in an operation aimed in the southern province of Kandahar on Thursday, the U.S. military said in a statement. One Afghan woman was also wounded in the leg during the operation, it added. The Taliban could not be reached for comment.

#3: In other incidents, three Afghan policemen were killed when a bomb struck their vehicle in southern Helmand province on Thursday, provincial police chief Asadullah Sherzad said.

#4: Elsewhere, three Afghans working for a road construction company were kidnapped by suspected Taliban in the northwestern province of Badghis, provincial police chief Mohammad Ayub Niaz Yar said.

#5: Unidentified gunmen on Friday shot dead a government official and three others in northern Pakistan, police said. Abdul Wahid, director of Agriculture Department, was killed when his car came under attack near Gilgit, capital city of the Northern Areas, News Network International (NNI) news agency quoted police as saying.

#6: A bomb blast destroyed at least five shops in northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar on Friday, and no casualties were reported. The explosion occurred outside an Internet cafe in a market in Peshawar, capital city of North West Frontier Province, and destroyed five shops, the official Associated Press of Pakistan said.

#7: Rockets fired by Taliban militants Friday killed one girl and injured nine people including two paramilitary soldiers in a restive northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan, an official said. The rockets fired in Bajaur district hit a paramilitary post. One blew up on a road nearby, killing the girl and injuring seven civilians, local official Israr Khan told AFP.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

War News for Thursday, December 25, 2008

The British MoD is reporting the death of a British ISAF Marine from "enemy fire" in the Nad-e-Ali district near Lashkar Gah, Helmand province, Afghanistan on Wednesday, December 24th.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a U.S. soldier from an indirect fire attack near Mosul on Thursday, December 25th.


Dec. 23 airpower summary:

U.S. troops spend 6th Christmas in Iraq:

Blix to testify against Iraq war makers? Hans Blix, in a Sunday interview with Al Jazeera television said he and the Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, were subjected to implicit threats from US Vice President Dick Cheney in the run-up to the Iraq war. ....

Marines consider moving forces to southern Afghanistan:

Taliban choking a vital NATO supply line:

Three Turkish soldiers killed in Kurdish rebel attack:


Reported Security incidents:

Baghdad:
#1: A car bomb near a popular restaurant killed four people and wounded 25 in northwestern Baghdad on Christmas Day on Thursday, police said. The explosion in the Shi'ite district of Shula occurred while policemen and laborers were eating breakfast. The casualties included both policemen and civilians, police said.


Diyala Prv:
Muqdadiya:
#1: A few hours later, a suicide car bomber targeting a U.S. military patrol killed three people and wounded 14 in Muqdadiya, 80 km (50 miles) northeast of Baghdad, police said. The U.S. military said it was checking if there were any U.S. casualties.


Basra:
#1: A Fadhila Party candidate for the upcoming provincial council elections has escaped an attempt on his life that killed his brother-in-law in southern Basra city, according to a local security source. “During a late hour on Wednesday evening, unknown gunmen driving a modern car opened fire on Dr. Abdelamir al-Moussawi, a Fadhila Party candidate, and his brother-in-law while they were distributing electoral material in al-Sankar area,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.Moussawi survived the attack, while his brother-in-law, Haydar, was killed, the source noted.


Dalouiya:
#1: A girl was killed and a child was wounded when unknown gunmen broke into their house in eastern Dalouiya district, a local police source said on Thursday. “During an early hour this morning, gunmen raided the house of a policeman in Bishkan village, eastern Dalouiya, and engaged in clashes that killed a 13-year-old girl and wounded a one-and-a-half-year-old girl,” Maj. Ali Abdullah from the local police told Aswat al-Iraq.


Kirkuk:
#1: A crude oil pipeline carrying oil from a town in northern Iraq to the city of Kirkuk erupted in flames due to a bomb, Iraqi and US military officials said on Thursday. The explosion at around midnight set fire to one pipeline and damaged a second, said the joint US-Iraqi military coordination centre in Kirkuk. Exports were not affected. The fire occurred in the town of By Hassan, near the disputed city of Kirkuk, 250 km north of Baghdad, police said.


Mosul:
#1: Two civilians were wounded when a car bomb went off near the Iraqi army’s 5th Brigade HQ in eastern Mosul city on Thursday, according to a military source. “A car rigged with explosives went off near the 5th Brigade HQ in Kouk al-Khaleel area, eastern Mosul, wounding two civilians who happened to be close to the explosion scene,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.



Afghanistan:
#1: Elsewhere, four road construction workers were killed and two others were wounded in a rocket attack in Souki district of eastern Kunar province on Wednesday, Engineer Haseeb Karimzai, director of the Afghan Road Construction Company said. 'They were working on the road when a rocket fired from an unknown place hit the road close to the work site, killing and wounding our workers' he said.

Foreign troops mistakenly shot dead at least two employees of a construction firm in eastern Kunar province on Wednesday, residents said.

#2: In another incident, US-led coalition forces killed two militants and detained two others in an operation in Taqab district of the north-eastern province of Kapisa on Wednesday, the US military said in a statement.

#3: A local national man was injured by ISAF forces in Nad-e-Ali yesterday in an escalation of force incident. The man was driving fast and erratically towards a joint ANSF and ISAF patrol and failed to react to verbal instructions or two sets of warning shots. ISAF troops, perceiving the individual to pose an imminent threat to their lives, shot the individual, wounding him in the shoulder.


Casualty Reports:

Corporal Shane Parsons was fighting in Iraq In September 2006. Shane was hit by a roadside bomb. He lost both of his legs and suffered severe head trauma.

Lt. Col. Greg Gadson lost both legs to an improvised explosive device on a battlefield in Iraq in May.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

War News for Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We seem to have a very slow news day with the media's focus on issues other then the wars so let me send a very warm happy holidays to everyone from Iraq today and myself. -- Whisker


The Jerusalem Post is reporting the deaths of three soldiers in a vehicle accident at some undisclosed location in central Iraq on Wednesday, December 24th. No other details were released.

The Washington Post is reporting the death of an ISAF soldier during "enemy-fire" in an undisclosed province in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, December 24th. No other details were released. We assume this to be an American soldier. Here's the ISAF release.


Some 10,000 Iraqi refugees resettled in 2008: UNHCR:

Iraq's main Sunni Arab bloc splinters:


Reported Security incidents:

Baghdad:
#1: A roadside bomb detonated in Jisr Diyala (southeast Baghdad) targeting a police patrol around 1 p.m. Six policemen were injured with their vehicle was damaged.

#2: A roadside bomb detonated in Yarmouk neighborhood (west Baghdad) near a house belongs to a displaced family around 9 p.m. Two people were injured ( the house’s guard and his daughter).


Mosul:
#1: An Iraqi sergeant on Wednesday was wounded when his patrol vehicle was attacked by gunmen in western Mosul city. “On Wednesday, an Iraqi army patrol vehicle was attacked by unknown gunmen in 17 Tammuz neighborhood, western Mosul,” an Iraqi army source told Aswat al-Iraq.


Al Anbar Prv:
Fallujah:
#1: Three children were killed and four persons were wounded in an explosive charge attack that ripped through Falluja city on Wednesday. “An improvised explosive device (IED) planted by unknown men in front of the house of Sheikh Ahmed Rashed, a leader in Falluja’s Albo Issa tribes, killed three children and wounded four persons, including a woman,” a security source told Aswat al-Iraq.




Afghanistan:
#1: Elsewhere, coalition forces killed four militants during an operation targeting a Taliban commander who controlled 30 fighters, the U.S. coalition said in a statement. The operation in the Shankai district of Zabul province uncovered blast caps and wiring used to make roadside bombs, the statement said.

#2: A Chinese engineer was wounded in an attack by unidentified gunmen in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday morning, said a company representative. The Chinese engineer, surnamed Yang, came under attack in Malakand area of North West Frontier Province (NWFP), said Hu Yimin, chief representative of China's Harbin Power Engineering Company. Several unidentified gunmen opened fire on Yang when he was on his way back from a bazaar together with a driver and a guard, Hu said. Hu said Yang, working on a hydro-electric project in Malakand area, is now in hospital for treatment.


Casualty Reports:

U.S. Army Sgt. Charlie Pannell came home Tuesday After scores of surgeries on his legs and body to repair wounds suffered in Iraq. Pannell, a combat engineer, had been deployed in Iraq since Dec. 3, 2007, and was on his third Iraqi tour when two teenagers stepped into the road, each hurling two armor-piercing grenades. All four soldiers in the Humvee were wounded -- Pannell, a medic, a gunner and a driver. "When the first one penetrated, it amputated the driver's leg. We applied first aid to each other and waited for other vehicles to help us out," Pannell said.

Army veteran Chris "Joe" Joseph was injured in Iraq in 2003. Joseph had a back injury, carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands and a torn rotator cuff.

British contractor Stuart Ridley, 37, has been recuperating at home since his three-year stint working in Iraq for the British private defence company, Aegis, came to an abrupt end one day a year ago. “It happened when we were on our way from our base in Mosul to Baghdad to pick up some new vehicles. It was just Sod’s Law. “Next thing I knew there was a big bang, with a lot of dust and the inside of the vehicle went dark due to the amount of debris thrown up by the explosion. “It was like being punched by Mike Tyson. The blast wave from a roadside device had hit the side of our armoured Toyota vehicle. Suffering severe headaches as a result, Stuart was later checked by medics and found to have sustained bad whiplash and had a back injury.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Shilo Harris, 33, was injured Feb. 19, 2007, during his second tour in Iraq. He was the third in a four-vehicle convoy that was removing improvised explosive devices in southern Baghdad. Harris’ Humvee hit an IED after the convoy received incorrect information from Iraqis about the location of explosives. Harris was transported to Germany, where he was put into a coma for 48 days so that he wouldn’t be aware of the pain from his burns. He wasn’t told until after he woke up that the blast killed the other three men in his vehicle. He then was taken to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio where he has had numerous surgeries to reconstruct his face, and he soon will get prosthetic ears.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

War News for Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dec. 20 airpower summary:

Dec. 21 airpower summary:

Iraq lawmaker says speaker offers to resign:

Sting operation recovers looted ancient treasures in Iraq:

4 recruiter suicides lead to Army inquiry:

Report: US asks SKorea to go Afghanistan:

Coalition forces slammed for 'abusive' raids, air strikes in Afghanistan:

Taliban leader says peace talk 'just enemies' propaganda':

Spying on Taliban, al-Qaeda is world's riskiest job - Feature:

Afghan Farmer Helps Convict Taliban Member In U.S. Court:

Civilian casualties in conflicts on the rise in Afghanistan: ... the figure has risen by 41 percent


Reported Security incidents:

Baghdad:
#1: Two policemen on Tuesday were wounded by gunfire from unknown gunmen in eastern Baghdad, a local media source said. “Today, unidentified gunmen opened fire on a police patrol vehicle near al-Rashid mosque in Bob al-Sham area, eastern Baghdad, wounding two patrolmen,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.


Mussayab:
#1: Police found the body of a man, who appeared to have been strangled, in the town of Mussayab, 60 km (40 miles) south of Baghdad.


Kifl:
#1: Police found a dead man, whose hands and feet were bound and who appeared to have been tortured, on Monday in the town of Kifl, 150 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.


Tarmiyah:
#1: A roadside bomb struck a police chief's convoy in an Iraqi town north of Baghdad on Tuesday morning, killing him and four policemen, an Interior Ministry source said. The incident took place in the town of Tarmiyah, 40 km north of Baghdad, when a roadside bomb hit the convoy of a Colonel who is the police chief of the nearby town of Mashaahda, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.


Kirkuk:
#1: Police found the body of a man who had been stabbed to death in a residential area of eastern Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad.

#2: Gunmen kidnapped an owner of a liquor store from al Khadhraa neighborhood in downtown Kirkuk city on Monday evening.



Afghanistan:
#1: US-led forces have killed six people and captured three others during an operation in an area outside the Afghan capital of Kabul. The operation in Sarobi district, about 60 kilometers (35 miles) east of Kabul targeted a Taliban network believed to conduct terrorist activities in and around the capital, a statement by the coalition forces said Tuesday. According to the statement, there were several women and children in the compound when the troops attacked; they escaped unharmed. "As coalition forces approached the militant's compound they were engaged by small-arms fire. The force returned fire, killing two armed militants," the statement said. "Four other rebels were killed in a subsequent gunfight", it added.

#2: Fifteen pro-Taliban rebels were killed and several injured when troops backed by helicopter gunships launched an assault in Swat district on Monday, the English-language daily The News reported. The operation was centred on the Shakardara area of Matta sub-district, a hotbed of militants loyal to the local radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah. The gunfights also killed two soldiers and wounded six others, the newspaper said, quoting from a statement released by the military-run Swat media centre.

#3: The News said six local residents died in militant violence in the restive mountain valley (Swat district ). Among the casualties were two women whose house was hit by a mortar. It was not clear who fired the stray round.

#4: Meanwhile, Pakistan Air Force jets and army helicopter gunships pounded militants' positions in the Mohmand tribal region near the Afghan border on Monday, killing at least 12 insurgents. Artillery cover was also provided for ground troops patrolling militant-infested areas in Lakarao and Pandyalai sub-districts.

#5: Pakistani Taliban militants, trying to impose strict Islamic laws in the northwestern region of Khyber, shot dead two men accused of murder in a public execution, residents and officials said.

#6: Paramilitary troops killed one militant and arrested two in an exchange of fire after militants attacked a security heckpost in the South Waziristan region on the Afghan border, an intelligence official and a resident said.

#7: Three mortar bombs fired from across the border in Afghanistan fell on the Pakistani side of the border but there were no reports of any casualties, intelligence and government officials said.
#8: Militants fired at least 10 rockets into the northwestern city of Dera Ismail Khan overnight but caused no casualties or damage, police said.

#9: Two suspected Taliban militants were reported dead on Dec. 18 after being detained by Afghan police and U.S.-led coalition forces in Shinkay district about 325 km (200 miles) southwest of Kabul, U.S. military said.

#10: Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces killed two Taliban militants in Zer-e-Koh Valley, Shindand district (Herat), about 670 km (420 miles) from Kabul, on Monday, U.S. military said.


Casualty Reports:

National Guard Staff Sgt. Jose Pequeno, 35, has been discharged from a Florida hospital after nearly three years after he was seriously injured while serving in Iraq. In March 2006, Pequeno was seriously injured following a car bomb attack about three miles northwest of Ar Ramadi, near an Iraqi police station. Also injured in the attack was Pfc. Richard Ghent of Rochester, and Spc. Christopher Merchant of Hardwick, Vt., was killed. Since he was injured, Pequeno, who suffered serious brain injury and is New Hampshire's most critically wounded soldier from both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, has endured 17 surgeries in four medical centers.

Army Spc. Jake Altman five months into the deployment, on the morning of May 14, 2007, Altman's life changed. "I was the lead vehicle scouting for IEDs and letting the guys behind me know what's up ahead,” he recalled. “About three hours into it, I came across one. I saw it for about a split second. I called it, and then all of a sudden, it blew up," Altman said, trailing off.
A piercing bang, the harsh smell of explosives, and an overwhelming cloud of dust proved the unfortunate success of yet another insurgent attack. Altman suffered severe shrapnel wounds to his legs and the loss of his right arm at the elbow. After a year and a half of recovery and physical therapy at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Altman returned to the 9th Engineer Battalion here, continuing his service and eager to take on future challenges.

Canadian Corporal Chris Klodt, was shot in the spine in the Pashmul region of Afghanistan on July 7, 2006, and paralyzed from the chest down.

Canadian Master Corporal Jody Mitic A member of the Royal Canadian Regiment sniper unit, he stepped on a land mine in Afghanistan, losing both legs below the knee

Canadian Sergeant Mike Loewen on March 3, 2006, when he put his arm out the window of his armoured vehicle as a suicide bomber detonated his device nearby, mangling his exposed limb.

Canadian Sergeant Greg White convoy was also hit by a suicide bomber. His upper arm shattered, Sgt. White suffered extensive nerve damage

Monday, December 22, 2008

War News for Monday, December 22, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Force – West Marine of non-combat related causes in an undisclosed location in Iraq (Camp Baharia,Fallujah), on Saturday, December 20th. No other details were released.

The British MoD is reporting the death of a British ISAF soldier from an explosion in an area to the north west of Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Sunday, December 21st. No other details were released.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Force – West Marine of wounds received in action in an undisclosed location in Al Anbar Province on Sunday, December 21st. No other details were released.

The DoD is reporting a new death previously unreported by the military. Pfc. Coleman W. Hinkefent died from a non-combat related illness in Hamburg, Germany on Saturday, December 20th. No other details were released.


Dec. 18 airpower summary:

Dec. 19 airpower summary:

Brother of shoe-throwing Iraqi journalist says apology letter was forced and he'd do it again:

CNN: Commentary: What the Iraq mission cost Bush:

Cheney interview shows comtempt for facts on Iraq:

Iraqi parliament delays vote over fate of non-U.S. foreign troops:

NATO to engage Afghan tribes in Taliban fight:

Bosnia to send 100 peacekeepers to Afghanistan:

Battle for Sri Lanka rebel HQ rages, at least 66 die:


Reported Security incidents:

Kut:
#1: Two civilians on Monday were wounded when two explosive charges went off in northern Kut city, according to a security source. “Two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) detonated today on a road leading to al-Gohayshat village, al-Suweira district, wounding two civilians and causing damage to their vehicle,” Lt. Aysar al-Akeedy told Aswat al-Iraq.


Hilla:
#1: An unknown body was found in the south of Hilla. “The corpse was found in al-Kifil River, 40 km south of Hilla, with torture signs on it,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.


Iskandariya:
#1: a child was wounded by gunshot in the north of the city, a source from Babel province’s police said on Monday. He did not mention further details, but pointed out that “a child was wounded by gunshot while she was on the roof of her house in al-Iskandariya, 50 km north of Hilla.”


Babil Prv:
#1: Hashim Rashid, an attorney general for the court of Hindiyah in Babil province, suffered fatal injuries early Sunday when he was shot while driving his car on a highway. Iraqi police said coalition forces opened fire on the attorney's car. U.S. forces have not confirmed the incident.


Kirkuk:
#1: A missile hit Hamzali neighborhood in downtown Kirkuk on Sunday night. No casualties reported.

#2: Gunmen opened fire on a policeman in Wasiti neighborhood in Kirkuk city. The policeman was injured and he is in hospital for recovery.


Mosul:
#1: Sunday A car bomb detonated in Rifaai neighborhood (west Mosul) targeting an army patrol around 4 p.m. One officer was killed and four soldiers were wounded.



Afghanistan:
#1: US drones fired at least two missiles into Pakistan's South Waziristan region on the Afghan border today, killing at least seven people. One missile hit a vehicle in a village near Wana, the main town in the region, killing four people, while three were killed in another strike in a nearby village. Bakht Janan, a security official at a local checkpoint, said the unmanned drone aircraft began circling over the village of Kari Khel in the early hours and then fired missiles at two vehicles several hours later. The vehicle targeted in one attack was fitted with an anti-aircraft gun and the militants fired shots at the drone before the missile hit it. A third missile was also said to have been fired but caused no casualties or damage.

#2: A joint U.S.-Afghan operation along the border with Pakistan has killed about 20 insurgent fighters over the last month, an Afghan governor said Monday. The Afghan and U.S. forces taking part in Operation Lion Heart are trying pressure militants along the border between Afghanistan's Kunar province and the Bajur region in Pakistan. The Ministry of Defense said Monday that dozens of militants have been killed and wounded over the last month. A spokesman said he couldn't give more precise numbers. However, Kunar Gov. Sayed Fazeullah Wahidi said around 20 fighters have been killed over the last month, including two Arabs and two Pakistanis.

#3: Elsewhere in Afghanistan, a car bomb with two attackers exploded Monday near an Afghan governor's compound, killing one Afghan civilian and wounding seven. The two attackers also died, said Sayed Ismail Jahangir, the spokesman for the governor of Ghazni province in central Afghanistan.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

News of the Day for Sunday, December 21, 2008

Iraqi students chant slogans during a demonstration at the Technology University in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2008. The student were protesting against a US. military overnight raid on the University, they said. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed) Yet another of those incidents which is only reported in a photo caption.


Reported Security Incidents

Unspecified Location

A Coalition force Soldier died of non-combat related causes Dec. 20. No further information is available. Note: This announcement is unusual. Usually they give the name of the unit and at least a general location, but in this case they give no information.


Near Hilla

Public prosecutor killed by U.S. forces, while driving on a highway north of the city. No further explanation given for this incident.

Khanaqin

An Iranian national is arrested for entering the country illegally. No further information is available. Note: This is a formerly disputed city now under Kurdish control.

Mosul

Two Iraqi soldiers killed by roadside bomb.

One Iraqi soldier killed, 2 injured by car bomb. This appears to be a separate incident from the one reported above by Reuters, as details differ.

U.S. forces claim to have killed an al Qaeda member. They also claim to have arrested 25 others in various Iraqi cities. Note: Obviously, none of these individuals has been tried and the U.S. presents no evidence. In a normal context, these people would be described as suspects.

Gunmen kill a police officer.

Other News of the Day

The killers of a Communist Party’s women league official in Kirkuk city were arrested on Sunday, a local media source said. The suspects confessed to stealing her valuables, which suggests this may have been a common crime rather than a political assassination.

U.S. releases 35 prisoners from Camp Cropper, which won't make much of a dent since the U.S. currently holds 15,000 prisoners, who are slated to be turned over to Iraqi control next year.

Gen. Odierno says U.S. troops will move into southern Iraq to replace departing British troops. I'm confused. I thought U.S. forces were going to withdraw from Iraqi cities, but Gen. Odierno says they're going to move into Basra.

PM al-Maliki alleges that an unnamed individual who "is involved in slaying many Iraqis" was behind the actions of show-thrower Muntadhar al-Zaidi. He offers no evidence or specifics about this. He also threatens Baghdadiya television with unspecified consequences if it continues to champion the act, and denies that Zaidi was tortured.


Mudhafer al-Husaini and Erica Goode report that Iraqi soldiers are abusing prescription drugs to cope with stress, and that drug abuse is a widespread problem in the country. Excerpt:

For an Iraqi Army soldier patrolling Baghdad's unpredictable streets, each 12-hour shift is an exercise in terror and uncertainty.

So Ahmed Qasim takes a small, white tablet called Artane to help him through his duties. "For me, it helps me to get the job done," he said. "I can't bear working without taking Artane. It makes me happy and high, but I still can control myself."

The abuse of prescription drugs, widely available in Iraq on the black market and through private pharmacies, has significantly increased since 2003, doctors and other health specialists say, nourished by the stresses of the war and the lack of strict government regulation.

Dealers do a brisk business in tranquilizers, painkillers and other drugs, specialists say, and drug abuse is a problem in the prisons and among Iraqis who live in poor neighborhoods or who are unemployed.


After announcement yesterday that Interior Ministry officers arrested in the past week would be released, their actual status remains unclear. Campbell Robertson and Timothy Williams report:

A senior adviser to the minister, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that some of the ministry detainees had been released Saturday and that others would be released Sunday. The Interior Ministry spokesman, Major General Abdul-Karim Khalaf, told news agencies including Reuters that all the ministry detainees, reported earlier to be 24 people, were freed Saturday morning. But other Iraqi officials, including senior Interior Ministry officials, said all of them were still in custody as of Saturday afternoon, an account confirmed by a police officer who knows several of those held. . . .

Officials have delivered conflicting accounts on what possible crimes are being investigated, but some have said that the detainees are suspected of supporting terrorist operations and having affiliations with Al Awda, a party related to Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, which was banned after the U.S. invasion.


Display of religious images banned in Karbala throughout the holy month of Muharram, for fear of inciting sectarian conflict. One million pilgrims are expected during the month. Note: Ironically, Muharram, the first month of the lunar calendar, is one of four months during which Islam forbids fighting. Ashurah, the 10th day of Muharram, is a day of fasting. The first 10 days of Muharram are of particular importance to Shiite Muslims, as 10th Muharram is said to have been the date of the martyrdom of Hussein, the son of Ali. During this period, Karbala is the scene of passion plays and rituals of grief.

Afghanistan Update

Two tons of cannabis found in an abandoned school in Kandahar. "[A]s the U.S. and other Western nations have tried to help Afghanistan stamp out its poppy fields, an increasing number of farmers have turned to marijuana, which is receiving less attention from authorities."

Taliban said to kill two Afghan citizens accused of spying for the U.S., in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal district.

Meanwhile, in the in the Bajaur tribal agency of Pakistan, Pakistani air strikes are said to have killed 4 militants.

Grenade attack near the home of the Mayor of Herat causes damage but no casualties. Mayor Mohammad Rafiq Mojadadi denies that his home was the target.

Afghan foreign minister says the government welcomes the announcement by Adm. Mike Mullen that the U.S. will send up to 30,000 additional troops by mid-year. However, a Taliban spokesman "dismissed the US troop pledge, saying it would be as useless as a similar 'surge' by the Soviets in the 1980s, and would only provide the insurgents with more targets."

Afghan foreign ministry accuses Pakistan of not doing enough to rescue a kidnapped Afghan diplomat. Abdul Khaliq Farahi, the consul general in Peshawar, disappeared 3 months ago.

Quote of the Day

Why is Cheney so sanguine about admitting he is a war criminal? Because he's confident that either President Bush will preemptively pardon him or President-elect Obama won't prosecute him.

Both of those courses of action would be illegal


Marjorie Cohn

Saturday, December 20, 2008

War News for Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Netherlands MoD is reporting the death of a Dutch ISAF soldier during an IED attack somewhere in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan on Friday, December 19th. One additional soldier was wounded during the engagement.

The Washington Post is reporting the deaths of three Danish ISAF soldiers from an IED attack in Helmand province, Afghanistan on Friday, December 19th. One additional soldier was wounded during the attack. Here's the Danish MoD statement.


Dec. 18 airpower summary:

Iraq lawmakers reject law on British troops: Iraq's parliament rejected on Saturday a draft law that allows troops from Britain, Australia and a few other countries to remain beyond the end of this year, Iraqi parliamentarians said.

Officers in alleged Iraqi plot released from jail:

Conflicting reports over Iraqi officials' release:

Czechs To Withdraw: On December 19, the Czech parliament rejected a plan to extend and expand the country’s military presence in Afghanistan. Prague will now have to withdraw its 500 troops under U.S. and NATO commands in Afghanistan within 60 days of the start of the year, unless another decision is taken to extend their mandate.

Sri Lanka says navy destroys rebel ship; 20 killed:


Reported Security incidents:

Baghdad:
#1: Police forces on Saturday found three rotten corpses in addition to human bones eastern Baghdad, said a security source from the capital. “The corpses and bones were found at Ur neighborhood,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

#2: Around 7 a.m. a roadside targeted Iraqi police vehicle in Allawi area in central Baghdad. No casualties were reported.


Diyala Prv:
Mandlee:
#1: Three Iraqi soldiers were wounded when a roadside bomb went off at Mandlee district, a security source from Diala province said on Saturday. “The bomb detonated targeting an Iraqi army vehicle at Neda area, 10 km to the south of the district,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.


Kut:
#1: Four civilians of the same family, including a woman, were wounded on Saturday when a locally-made roadside bomb went off near their house in Kut city, said a security source from Wassit province. “The bomb was planted in an empty yard near the house at al-Mashroa neighborhood, central Kut,” the source told Aswta al-Iraq. “Two of the injuries are serious,” he said.“The explosion also caused damages to the house,” he added.


Tikrit:
#1: Iraqi soldiers killed on Saturday a local al-Qaida leader in an ambush in Salahudin province north of Baghdad, a local police source said. Based on intelligence reports taken from local citizens, the troops early in the morning ambushed and killed Salih Jad Allah al-Ajeeli on the main road between the provincial city of Tikrit and the town of Tuz-Khurmato to the east, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.



Afghanistan:
#1: Pakistani Taliban militants killed three truckers returning after taking fuel to Western forces in Afghanistan, officials said on Saturday, the latest in a growing spate of attacks on NATO supplies. The latest attack occurred on Friday night when militants fired rocket-propelled grenades at oil-tankers in the Landi Kotal area of the Khyber region, when they were coming back from the Afghan border.

#2: Eight Taliban-linked militants were killed in a joint operation by Afghan and US-led forces in volatile southern Afghanistan, the interior ministry said Saturday. The rebels were killed on Friday in Helmand province, which sees some of the worst violence of the insurgency waged by Taliban fighters since the hardline movement was ousted from power in a US-led invasion in late 2001. Five other militants were wounded in the battle in Nad Ali district, it added.

#3: Elsewhere in the province (Helmand), one rebel was killed when a bomb he was planting alongside a road exploded prematurely, the ministry said.

#4: An Afghan civilian was killed when his car collided with an ISAF military vehicle near the Shekhabad district on Sunday, about 100 km (62 miles) west of Kabul, an ISAF spokesman said.


Casualty Reports:

Jose Pequeno was critically injured in Iraq during an explosion and lost half of his brain. He was discharged from the James A Haley Veterans Hospital on Friday.

Specialist Trampus Miller has been at Walter Reed in Washington D.C. for the last six months, recovering from injuries received after his tank ran over a land mine. He is now home for the holidays, the first time in a year and a half, after serving in Iraq. Specialist Miller isn't home because his tour in Iraq was over though; his company was escorting equipment when they hit a bomb. "I didn't even know I was injured," says Miller. The bones in his foot and leg were shattered. Now doing even the simple things are difficult.