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 26, 2010

News of the day for Sunday, September 26, 2010

In this May 7, 2004 file photo, then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld rubs his eyes while testifying about Abu Ghraib prison before the House Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Fending off demands that he resign over the ensuing scandal, Rumsfeld told Congress he had found a legal way to compensate Iraqi detainees who suffered 'grievous and brutal abuse and cruelty at the hands of a few members of the United States armed forces.' (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File) Cry me a river: as of today, zero compensation has been paid to any of the Abu Ghraib victims. See below.

Reported Security Incidents


An employee of the Committee on Anti-Corruption is flagged down on the airport road and shot dead. You may remember this highway as the site of constant attacks during the height of the insurgency in 2006.

An employee of the culture ministry is shot dead in Jami’a by assailants using silenced weapons.

A bomb near a gas station on al-Sadoun Street destroys several cars. Reports so far are unclear on casualties but the latest from Aswat al-Iraq says at least person injured. Update: Xinhua clears up the confusion: Six people are injured as an explosion apparently targets the car of Sa'id Ne'mah Jaiyash, head of the office of the Shiite politician Mowafaq al-Rubaie.

In what is evidently a separate incident, a bomb in Karradah targeting a police patrol kills one passerby and injures 7. There does not appear to be any Sadoun Street in Karradah but honestly, I can't find it anywhere. -- C

A member of Parliament from the Iraqiya bloc escapes an assassination attempt by car bomb in Mansour.

Roadside bomb injures 3 people near Beirut Square. Beirut Square is the intersection of Palestine and Thawra Streets. This clearly does not correspond to any other reported incident, but it is only mentioned by Reuters.

Two Katyushas strike the Green Zone, no information at this time on damage or casualties.


Two brothers are shot dead in separate attacks. It is not clear whether this was politically motivated.


Suicide car bomb attack on a checkpoint kills 3 police, injures 3 more police and one civilian. Fox News reports 4 police officers killed by I won't link to them. -- C

Abu Skheir, north of Basra

Police find and deactivate 3 rockets set to be launched. This report also mentions numerous arrests in Basra, but only 4 appear to have been of possible insurgents.

Other News of the Day

Iraq inaugurates a new fleet of patrol boats to police the Umm Qasr oil terminal. However, if you read down a bit you will learn that "Crews for the high-speed patrol boats are currently being trained in the United States, where they were manufactured, with 15 ultimately set to be delivered to Iraq." So in other words, they had a ceremony but they don't actually have the boats yet. Oh well.

The total compensation paid by the U.S. to victims of prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib is, err, zero. Excerpt:

Fending off demands that he resign over the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, Defense Secretary Donald H Rumsfeld told Congress he had found a legal way to compensate Iraqi detainees who suffered "grievous and brutal abuse and cruelty at the hands of a few members of the United States armed forces." "It's the right thing to do," Rumsfeld declared in 2004. "And it is my intention to see that we do."

Six years later, the US Army is unable to document a single payment for prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. Nor can the more than 250 Iraqis or their lawyers now seeking redress in US courts.

Iraqi government to eliminate all visa fees for Iranians.

The Arab League is reportedly considering sending forces to Iraq to fill security role being abandoned by the U.S.

Afghanistan Update

Two NATO troops killed by an IED in southern Afghanistan, no further details at this time.

According to this Pakistani newspaper, a U.S. "tank" was destroyed by a bomb in Zarghoon village. No telling if this refers to the same incident, or even if it's true -- only a Taliban web site is offered as a source.

Four Afghan security police and two cars disappear in Ghazni. Taliban claim to have captured them.

The Independent Electoral Commission says 97% of ballots have been counted. The IEC has so far received 3,460 complaints of voting irregularities.

Quote of the Day

My brother-in-law had friends he was visiting in Waziristan. As he was a guest there - and as is the custom of the people - many of the locals gathered to welcome him into the area. He was sat with a group of these people from the community when everybody gathered to pray the evening prayer (‘Isha) together. The drone attack happened in the middle of the prayers and the entire congregation was martyred. . . . People who had witnessed the attack had come to tell us and described what they saw of the remnants and damage in the aftermath. They said the attack was so severe that they could not even distinguish the bodies from one another- even the bones of the people were completely blown apart. The dead were completely unrecognisable.

Haider. I cannot vouch for the source but this scenario is certainly plausible. -- C