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, September 27, 2009

News of the Day for Sunday, September 27, 2009

An Iraqi detainee sits in his cell. Iraqi security forces have recaptured three Al-Qaeda members, police said, two days after a daring breakout which officials believe was an inside job.
(AFP/Pool/File/Damir Sagolj)

Reported Security Incidents

Near Ramadi

Suicide bomb attack on a police station kills 4 police, injures 4 others. Note: Other sources give differing casualty tolls -- Xinhua says 3 killed, 7 injured, Reuters 3 killed, 8 injured. Pick the one you like.


One injured by IED in al-Risala neighborhood, southwestern Mosul.

U.S. surveillance drone crashes into the headquarters of the Iraqi Islamic Party, causing severe damage to the building. U.S. troops recover the wreckage.

NYT's Timothy Williams reports additional incidents in Mosul:

  • Two sisters waiting at a bus station were killed by a gunman in a passing car, a police official said

  • Gunmen fire on a police car in the Bab-Tub district of central Mosul, killing one officer, the authorities said

  • second officer killed as he was walking to a market in the Karama neighborhood in east Mosul, the police said.

Bomb attack on a police patrol injures 2 officer.

Bartalah, near Mosul

Unidentified gunmen storm the house of a gynecologist in and abduct her. The doctor is Christian and the town is predominantly Christian. However, the motive is not clear at this time.

Other News of the Day

High ranking diplomats from the Gulf Cooperation Council, Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq meet in New York, and are joined by Hillary Clinton. Excerpt from the KUNA report:

According to joint communique issued at the end of the meeting, the foreign ministers expressed support for Iraq as it prepares for 2010 national elections, and underlined the importance of regional support to the Iraqi government and people in their efforts to achieve a prosperous, united, and democratic Iraq that lives in peace with itself and with its neighbors and "respects its international obligations." It is worth mentioning that Iraq wants to come out from under Chapter VII, but the international community keeps reminding it that it has to comply with the remaining Security Council resolutions first before it is allowed to join the international fold.


They welcomed Obama's "important" statement before the UN General Assembly last Wednesday when he called for the re-launching of negotiations - without preconditions - that address the permanent status issues: security for Israelis and Palestinians, borders, refugees, and Jerusalem. The ministers reiterated their call for a freeze on settlement activities and expressed their continued support for an independent, viable, and democratic Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel, with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967, in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the Road Map, and the Arab Peace Initiative. They reiterated their full support for the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian government led by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and their efforts to build the institutions of a future state. They also reiterated their support for achieving a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

Time Magazine's Andrew Lee Butters discusses the situation of the 400,000 (yep, that's the number) former Baathists who are now refugees in Syria. (If you don't think this constitutes a big problem with potential for big trouble, think again. - C) The Syrian government and some Baathists have shown signs of looking for a path toward reconciliation and repatriation, but the Maliki government has not been reciprocating, according to Butters.

Jalal Talabani steps in to defend Iran against the threat of sanctions or military action. (Is what GW Bush had in mind when he took out Saddam Hussein?) Excerpt:

Iraq's president said new sanctions against Iran won't work and warned Saturday that Iraq will never allow Israel or any other country to use its airspace to carry out an attack against Iranian nuclear facilities. President Jalal Talabani said the six major powers dealing with the Iran nuclear issue — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — should conduct "a real negotiation" with Iran and guarantee Tehran's right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. "Perhaps it will work — perhaps," he told a news conference.

Iran and Iraq fought a war from 1980-88, but relations between the two Shiite majority countries have improved following the ouster of Saddam Hussein and the election of a Shiite-led government in Iraq.

Talibani was asked whether Iraq believes the Iranian government when it says it is not trying to develop nuclear weapons, especially in light of this week's revelation of a new and still unfinished Iranian uranium enrichment facility.

"I think the Iranian leadership explained that the bomb is against Islam because it's killing innocent people," he said. "So they said openly that they are not for having the bomb but only the use of technology."

Afghanistan Update

A soldier from 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh has died following an explosion in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said.

Three French soldiers killed in a storm in Kapisa Province during night-time operations. One is struck by lightning, two are swept away in a flash flood.

Roadside bomb kills 3 civilians, injures 4 in Bala Boluk, Farah.

Car bomb attack on the passing convoy of Afghan Energy Minister Mohammad Ismail Khan in Herat kills 4 civilians, injures 17 people including 3 of his bodyguards. Khan escapes unhurt.

Quote of the Day

Kurdistan’s example as a corrupt nation is unprecedented in the history of the Kurds. For example, almost all of Kurdistan’s budget is going towards 60-70% of the salaries and wages for civil servants in the government; which as a result has made most of them loyal to the ruling parties. We might find more pensioners in Kurdistan taking early retirement with a salary of $5000 per month. Anyone connected with the Talabani rule and loyalty will have a good salary, first class house, top posts given to their son, daughter etc. The two ruling parties have taken 30 million dollars per month from the Kurdistani budget to feed their fellows like drug addicts; the more they give them the more demanding they become to prove their loyalty to their leadership.

Mufid Abdullah