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, October 10, 2010

News of the Day for Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Yazidi religious leader blesses a worshipper during the community's main festival of Eid al-Jamma, which lasts for a week, at Lalish temple in a small mountain valley situated northwest of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad October 7, 2010. Yazidis are members of a pre-Islamic Kurdish sect who live in northern Iraq and Syria. The community was a target for the deadliest militant attacks in Iraq since 2003 when suicide truck bombings killed more than 400 Yazidi people in August 2007. Picture taken October 7, 2010. REUTERS/Stringer See below for a bit more on the quite unusual Yazidi religion and people. - C

Reported Security Incidents

Note: For whatever reason, western news services are not bothering to report on security incidents in Iraq today. All of these are from Aswat al-Iraq.


Colonel in the Criminal Investigations Department is seriously injured by a bomb attached to his vehicle in al-Dawlai’e, northwestern Baghdad.

A policeman is injured by a bomb attached to his vehicle, and a bystander is also injured in al-Hurriya.

A police officer is killed in front of his house by an assailant using a silenced weapon in al-Amiriya.

A policeman is injured by a sticky bomb on al-Rab’ie street, al-Zayouneh area, western Baghdad.


One police officer is killed and two injured by an IED attack on a checkpoint.


Armed attack on a police foot patrol kills one police officer, and two other people, apparently bystanders.

Near al-Leheis, on the highway between Basra and Nassiriya

Three civilians killed, two injured, by an IED.

Other News of the Day

Iraqi court dismisses charges against two men accused in the mob killing of six British troops in Basra in 2003. According to The Guardian, "The judge said the evidence before him meant he could reach no other verdict. However, he acknowledged he treated more leniently acts of violence he deemed to be carried out in the name of resistance. 'If they are here for resistance against occupiers, I will try to lessen the sentence,' he said."

AP's Qassim Abdul-Zahra reports that the Iraqiya bloc is willing to consider joining a broad coalition government with Maliki as Prime Minster, "as long as it gets an equal share of power." On the one hand that would not seem to be on offer, on the other hand many are not interpreting it as good news even if it were. Excerpt:

The stunning turnabout is sure to inflame Iraq's minority Sunnis, whose crucial support helped the secular Iraqiya movement edge ahead of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's political coalition in the March 7 parliamentary election. U.S. diplomats worry that Sunnis who feel sidelined by backroom dealmaking over formation of a new government could spark unrest.

A key Iraqiya leader said Sunday the party is no longer insisting on receiving the top job as long as it gets an equal share of power in Iraq's government. It marks the strongest concession to date by Iraqiya, and could break the seven-month political impasse that has stymied Iraq from seating a new government. . . .

Al-Maliki also got a boost last month by forging an alliance with anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr that all but sealed the prime minister's hold on his job. That, too, prompted an outcry from Sunnis.

Al-Danbous said the negotiating was far from over, however, noting that it is still not clear what top role Iraqiya might get as part of the deal - especially since al-Maliki has all but promised Kurdish parties that they will keep the presidency post. It still could take months - until early 2011 - before a government is formed, al-Danbous said.

From Global Security, a bit of background on the Yazidi:

Yazidis [also Yezidi, Azidi, Zedi, or Izdi] are a syncretistic religious group (or a set of several groups), with ancient origins and comprising Gnostic core belief structure with other elements of Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Manicheism, and Islam. Yazidi do not intermarry with outsiders or accept converts. Many Yazidi now consider themselves to be Kurds, while others define themselves as both religiously and ethnically distinct from Muslim Kurds. Most of the 700,000 Yazidi reside in the North of the country.

The religion is little known to outsiders but contains elements of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, and also includes the veneration of the Peacock Angel. . . .
The Yazidi have hiden many aspects of their religion from the dominant Muslims around them. Indeed, only the fully initiated actually know the full theology, even among the Yazidi themselves. . . .

By early 2007 non-Muslims in Iraq, including Chaldo-Assyrian Christians, Yazidis, Sabean Mandaeans, and other minority religious communities faced grave conditions. These groups faced widespread violence from Sunni insurgents and foreign jihadis, and they also suffer pervasive discrimination and marginalization at the hands of the national government, regional governments, and para-state militias, including those in Kurdish areas. As a result, non-Muslims were fleeing the country in large numbers.

Sabean Mandaeans and Yazidis have suffered abuses similar to Christians. Foreign jihadis, Sunni insurgents, and Shi’a militias view members of these groups as infidels or outsiders. In addition, religious minority communities often lack the tribal base or militia structures that might otherwise provide security. As such, these groups are often targeted by both Sunni insurgents and Shi’a militias. The risks are particularly severe for isolated minority communities in areas where foreign jihadis and Sunni insurgents remain active. Some of this violence stems from the reported tendency of foreign jihadis and Sunni insurgents to associate Iraqi Christians and other non-Muslims with the United States and the U.S.-led military intervention. In other instances, however, religious minorities appear to be the victims of escalating intra-Muslim violence.

Afghanistan Update

Five civilians are killed by a roadside bomb in Paktia province.

An unstated number of Afghan soldiers are besieged in Takhar province, have been trapped for 3 days and have run out of food and supplies.

Pakistan reopens the Torkham crossing to NATO vehicles, four days after the U.S. apologized for a helicopter attack that killed two Pakistani soldiers. It will take some time to clear the hundreds of stranded trucks.

Hamid Karzai names former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani to be head of the "peace council" charged with negotiating with Taliban insurgents. This Reuters story gives a useful synopsis of Rabbani's history. The chances that the Taliban would actually agree to a negotiated settlement are considered fairly remote by many observers.

Afghanistan's (legitimate) exports are down sharply this year, which the Chamber of Commerce attributes largely to difficulties in shipping through Pakistan.

NATO says it has killed a top Taliban commander and two associates in Badghis province. "'Mullah Jamaluddin was a very important person who received support from much of the local community,' [provincial official Sharaf Uddin] Majidi told The Associated Press. 'His death will certainly lead to increased peace and stability.'" (That would not necessarily seem to follow. -- C) NATO also said that "Another Taliban leader, Ajmal Agha Jan, also died Saturday in southern Helmand province's Marjah district after he pulled a pistol on a joint force that raided his compound." "Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi last week accused NATO of engaging in a propaganda campaign to demoralize the insurgents' moral by inventing Taliban leaders and alleging they were killed or captured. 'Most of the commanders' names NATO are using don't even exist,' Ahmadi told The Associated Press. "This is just a game from the American side, nothing else."

Quote of the Day

Nine years ago today we invaded the nation of Afghanistan. I’d just turned 40. I had a Discman and an Oldsmobile and had gotten really into LiveJournal. That was a long time ago. It was so long ago, does anybody remember why we're even there? I think everyone wanted to capture Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. But he got away sometime in the first month or so. He left. We stayed. Looking back now, that makes no sense.

Needing to find a new reason for the mission, we decided to overthrow the religious extremists who were running Afghanistan. Which we did. Sorta. Unlike Osama, they never left. Why not? Well, they were Afghans, it was their country. And, strangely enough, a lot of other Afghans supported them. To this day, the Taliban only have 25,000 armed fighters. Do you really think an army that tiny could control and suppress a nation of 28 million against their will? What's wrong with this picture? WTF is really going on here?

Michael Moore


dancewater said...

TUZ KHURMATO - Clashes erupted between police and gunmen trying to plant bombs around a mosque on Saturday in the town of Tuz Khurmato, 170 km (105 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. One of the gunmen and a mosque guard were wounded in the clashes, police said.

Anonymous said...

Lets hope we don't get reruns of the same which caused 1/4 of all Iraqi Refugees.

Anonymous said...

Top marks to the judge who promotes a lesser sentence based on the occupation. Half the people in Iraq wouldn't have done what they did if they weren't in a war and actually encouraged to "bring it on".

Anonymous said...

Waiting for the End

whisker said...

I tend to agree that it's absolute absurdity for the British government to go to way and bomb the crap out of people some of which must be innocent civilians without any remorse what-so-ever, they to demand hearings and tribunals to punish someone every time on of there soldiers get killed. After all almost every one has been found unlawfully killed. But perhaps they need to justify it all to themselves.