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 29, 2010

News of the Day for Sunday, August 29, 2010

An Iraqi police officers uses a bomb detector at a checkpoint in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010 (AP Photo/Karim Kadim) Note: These "bomb detectors" are completely fraudulent. The Iraqi government was conned into spending millions of dollars on these worthless devices and refuses to admit it, so they keep using them. See this article from January -- it's the same device. C

Reported Security Incidents

Note: For whatever reason, news from yesterday seems to have come out late. Most of these incidents occurred on Saturday but were not reported until this morning. Also, they have generally not been reported at all by western media. -- C

al-Djawaana village, south of Mosul

Gunmen attack a police checkpoint late Saturday, killing 2 police and injuring 1. One attacker was also killed.


Gunmen attack a police checkpoint in Western Mosul, killing 2.

Tal Afar

A man trying to plant a roadside bomb is killed when it explodes accidentally.


A U.S. soldier is injured by sniper fire while touring reconstruction projects. At least we can be thankful it wasn't combat related. -- C


Security director discovers a bomb attached to his car, police defuse it safely.

Other News of the Day

Asharq Al-Awsat discusses the latest wheeling and dealing. It seems members of Maliki's State of Law Coalition are threatening to bolt in favor of a broad coalition government. However, it is possible these leaks are intended to undermine Maliki. Much of the current infighting concerns efforts to force Maliki out personally while still putting the Shiite bloc in power. According to a source, "'Several leaders in Al-Maliki's coalition aspire to be the second candidate or the alternative to the leader of the SLC in heading the next government. These include Haydar al-Abbadi, a leading member of the Al-Dawa Party, and outgoing Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahrastani.' The source went on to say that 'such aspirations are kept secret or debated in private gatherings.'" This is all quite byzantine, go ahead and read it if you are interested.

Meanwhile, In an interview with Der Spiegel, Ayad Allawi is very worried about overall stability in Iraq, and possible repercussions beyond. I definitely recommend reading this. Here's enough of a taste, I hope, to get you to do so:

SPIEGEL: So your best case prognosis would be …

Allawi: … an Iraq with a balanced and inclusive government, which transcends sectarianism, starts political reconciliation, builds full-blown state institutions and security forces and creates an independent foreign policy.

SPIEGEL: And the pessimistic one?

Allawi: Iraq continues on its downward slide and becomes a failed state. If that happens the Pandora's box will open again and all the violence will reappear.

SPIEGEL: A relapse, in clinical terms, to the bloodiness seen in 2006 and 2007?

Allawi: Yes. But a relapse now would be much more severe, because we do not have multinational forces anymore which could contain a civil war.


SPIEGEL: Are the Americans leaving too early?

Allawi: They have to leave eventually. They have been in Iraq for seven years and we have not achieved anything ourselves. Who can guarantee that this would be different another seven years from now?


SPIEGEL: Your rival, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, claims to have established a strong Iraq and to be a strong leader.

Allawi: He is not strong. How do you define strength? Commanding one square kilometer in the center of Baghdad?

SPIEGEL: You mean the Green Zone, the highly secure government and embassy compound by the Tigris.

Allawi: From Basra in the south to Mosul in the north, demonstrations are raging. Services (like electricity, water and trash collection) are almost on standstill. Even the Green Zone is being bombarded on a daily basis again. We have an army without airplanes and without tanks. What sort of strength is this?

Dr Brian Jones was head of the UK Defence Intelligence Staff's nuclear, biological and chemical branch in 2002, says Tony Blair ignored repeated warnings that there was no concrete evidence Iraq possessed so-called Weapons of Mass Destruction, in the debate over going to war.

Update: This isn't exactly news, but the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction finds the U.S. -- read the Bush "administration" -- squandered more than $5 billion of your money (I'll bet you didn't know you ever had that much) on screwed up "reconstruction" projects. But we already knew that.

Afghanistan Update

Five campaign workers for female parliamentary candidate Fawzia Gilani, abducted on Thursday, are found dead in Herat.

NATO announces that 2 U.S. service members were killed today in Southern Iraq, bringing to 7 the total of Americans killed this weekend.

Roadside bomb kills 7 mercenaries, injures 3, in Salar area of Maidan Wardak province.

Dexter Filkins and Alissa J. Rubin report that Hamid Karzai is blocking investigations of corruption in his government. Well duhhh. Excerpt:

One of the country’s most senior prosecutors said Saturday that President Hamid Karzai fired him last week after he repeatedly refused to block corruption investigations at the highest levels of Mr. Karzai’s government. Fazel Ahmed Faqiryar, the former deputy attorney general, said investigations of more than two dozen senior Afghan officials — including cabinet ministers, ambassadors and provincial governors — were being held up or blocked outright by Mr. Karzai, Attorney General Mohammed Ishaq Aloko and others.

Mr. Faqiryar’s account of the troubles plaguing the anticorruption investigations, which Mr. Karzai’s office disputed, has been largely corroborated in interviews with five Western officials familiar with the cases. They say Mr. Karzai and others in his government have repeatedly thwarted prosecutions against senior Afghan government figures.

Quote of the Day

The Obama administration’s reluctance to discipline senior generals for comments bordering on insubordination seems to have encouraged the generals to believe they can speak their mind with impunity about President Obama's management of the Afghan conflict.

Ray McGovern


dancewater said...

hey, the US wasted a lot more than $5 billion there in Iraq - and while it was the US taxpayers money, we actually did not have that much money.

The US government borrowed it.

Someday, we will all have to pay.