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, July 4, 2010

News of the Day for Sunday, July 4, 2010

Airman Devon Finley closes the door of the transfer vehicle containing the remains of Army Private First Class Morganne McBeth of Fredricksburg, Va. upon her arrival at Dover Air Force Base, Del. on Sunday, July 4, 2010. The Department of Defense announced the death of Army Private First Class Morganne McBeth who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) Note: I corrected the caption which had PFC McBeth's gender wrong. More information about her is available here.



Reported Security Incidents

Ramadi

Female suicide bomber kills 4, injures 23 at the entrance to government offices. DPA reports that the explosion took place inside the building, and gives the death toll as 3, as do some other sources. (The count of 4 dead may include the attacker.)

Mosul

Suicide bomb attack on government offices is thwarted when police shoot the bomber, but he still detonates his bomb injuring 2 police officers. Note: The account of this incident is buried near the end of this AP report of Joe Biden's visit. I have not found it mentioned anywhere else. - C Update KUNA now reports that two police officers were in fact killed, and four injured, in what appears to have been this incident.

Armed robbers identified as militia members steal 77 million dinars from a government run gas station. Update: UPI now reports that seven people were killed in a shootout following the robbery. It is not clear whether they include perpetrators, security forces, and/or bystanders. This is likely the shootout that KUNA earlier reported as a separate incident.

Midyat, Mardin Province, Turkey

PKK is blamed for sabotage of a pipeline carrying oil from Kirkuk to to the port of Ceyhan. An explosion caused a fire, which has now been extinguished.

Other News of the Day

As the political stalemate continues, garbage piles up in the streets of Baghdad. Excerpt from The Institute for War and Peace Reporting:

As the capital has swelled to nearly seven million residents, an influx of poor migrants and a housing shortage have forced an increasing number of Iraqis to live in slums and squatter settlements in abandoned building and parks. The distance between these ad hoc living spaces and garbage dumps is shrinking, said Dawood.

The problem of what the government refers to as “solid waste management” also affects more affluent residential neighbourhoods and commercial districts. In some areas, trash heaps have blocked off entire roads and residents throughout the city complain of foul odours, insects and rodents. Local media has reported a rise in packs of scavenging dogs, putting the number in Baghdad at over one million.

“Unchecked garbage is destroying the quality of life in Baghdad. Dumps are everywhere and sometimes near water pipes and rivers. This creates all kinds of bad fungi that lead to food poisoning and diarrhoea, and can bring on diseases such as typhoid and cholera,” said [Member of Parliament Qasim] Dawood.


U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is in Baghdad trying to broker a political deal. This DPA report quotes an MP from Iraqiya as supporting Biden's effort.

Afghanistan Update

The Afghan government claims to have killed 63 "drug smugglers and terrorists" and to have destroyed 16 tons of "drugs and drug making chemicals" in an operation in Helmand Province, assisted by coalition forces. No independent reporting on this incident is available.

Elsewhere, air strikes in Wardak are said to have killed 16 "suspected militants."

NATO admits killing two civilians in an operation near Kandahar on Friday. "Yes two civilians were killed by mistake. We are sorry for that," said Maj.-Gen. Nick Carter, the commander of RC South at a news conference in Kandahar city.

Gen. David Petraeus takes formal command of NATO forces in Afghanistan. He seems in no hurry to leave:

“My assumption of command represents a change in personnel, not a change in policy or strategy,” he said. And not, General Petraeus said, an end to the American commitment here any time soon. With senior Afghan leaders looking on, General Petraeus reaffirmed his conviction that success here would likely take much longer than the July 2011 date set by President Obama to begin to withdrawal of American forces.

“We are committed to a sustained effort to help the people of this country over the long term,” the general said. “Neither you nor the insurgents nor our partners in the region should doubt that.”

With that, General Petraeus stepped off the podium and walked across the grass to greet Afghanistan’s leaders.


Quote of the Day

We applaud the efforts of those who have succeeded in obtaining an inquiry into alleged British complicity in torture by various overseas regimes. But the public and the government also need to face up to our history of actual torture. The evidence from the Mousa inquiry and the allegations in these other cases may allow a chilling comparison to be made with the worst excesses of the US at Guantánamo Bay or Abu Ghraib, with the Stasi in the cold war, or the British in post-colonial wars.


Phil Shiner and Tessa Gregory, on growing evidence that British forces committed mass atrocities in Iraq

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

“To be credible is a very big issue,” says Dolatyar. “One of the problems with Western countries is that they are not credible, they are not trustworthy. And this is why they cannot solve many of the problems that they themselves have created. Look at the situation in Afghanistan. Look at the situation in Iraq. Look at the case of genocide in Palestine. They have always created problems, but they have not been able to solve those problems. Why? Because they have no credibility. No one can trust them. So, as a trustworthy and credible country, Turkey made a very wise move. It's a valuable asset for Turkey. And we'll do our best to maintain our friendship in the future as well.”

Anonymous said...

In another issue related to Iran, the plan to send aid ships to Gaza has been cancelled. As contradictory information came out on whether the ships had departed or not, the public awaited a statement from the Iranian parliament. A member of the Iranian parliament, Mahmud Bigash, declared that Iran has cancelled the planned aid flotilla to Gaza, preferring to send the aid by other means.

“Last year we sent a ship to Gaza, but it was unable to reach Gaza,” says Dolatyar, “The point is that we have to support this move. The Gazan people need help, and we have to support them. But, we're definitely not looking into making any rash moves. Our intention is to help Palestinians in Gaza. So we will be in touch with Egypt as we were last year, we'll be in touch with other neighboring countries in the region to see how we can do this and find the best possible way to help the Palestinians.”

It seems that the Iranian authorities are reluctant to calculate risk in public, as to why they decided to cancel plans to send ships to Gaza. “It's not necessary to answer such questions,” says Dolatyar, about what Iran would do if the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) attacked the Iranian ships, “But last year we managed to help Palestinians without engaging in this kind of interaction, so we have to be careful; the other side also has to be careful not to make a wrong move, [or the] wrong decision.”

As for the rumors that US warships were on their way to the region, Dolatyar notes that such methods of disinformation are one way of disseminating propaganda through the media. “US warships have been in this area for a very long time, maybe for 10 years,” says Dolatyar, adding: “So it is not something new, they have always been there, so this is just propaganda. This is how the corporate media works, and they have always been there to make problems, not to solve problems.”

Cervantes said...

I presume these comments are legit but please give attribution, and preferably a link, if you are going to quote people.

dancewater said...

Tony Blair wins a peace prize.

I guess he did bring some eternal peace to hundreds of thousands (or a million) of Iraqis who are now dead.

War crime continues to pay

Anonymous said...

Agree.. Die Blair target anti-social behaviour and encourage mass hate. He is one of those people who kills 5 Iraqi children to win a medal when he saves 1 in Africa from the blood money.

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