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, November 7, 2010

News of the Day for Sunday, November 7, 2010

Iraqi civil society groups hold a protest in central Baghdad's Tahrir (Liberation) Square to call on MPs to pick a parliament speaker and form a government. Activists staged a satirical play in a Baghdad square on Saturday to protest against greedy politicians, as Iraq marked eight months without a new government since an inconclusive parliamentary election. (AFP/Sabah Arar)

Reported Security Incidents


Two Iraqi soldiers killed by attackers using silenced weapons at a checkpoint in the al-Karama district.


Two Sahwa members killed, 3 injured in a bomb attack on a checkpoint.

Also, three policemen injured by a bomb in nearby al-Hwaish.


Three mortar shells fired at the Green Zone, no reported casualties. This is the second consecutive day with such an attack.

Three police officers injured by IED attack in Tarimiya, northeastern Baghdad, on Saturday.

Saboniya, on the road between Tal Afar and Mosul

One police man killed, 3 injured by a roadside bomb.

Other News of the Day

A government spokesman announces a deal in which Maliki will continue as PM. At this time there are no details and this announcement appears inconsistent with talk from other parties. For example . . .

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has just arrived in Irbil for talks on formation of a new Iraqi government. He will first meet with Turkish leaders and then go on to Baghdad. He says that progress has been made but obviously does not think any deal is finalized.

Similarly, leaders of the al-Iraqiya alliance say that they are still discussing their participation in a new government, and deny that any deal has been made whereby Usama al-Nujeify has accepted a position in a future Maliki government.

More substantively, Jalal Talabani, in a joint news conference with Maliki, says Thursday will be the day for a decisive announcement. This follows talks with Ibrahim Al-Jaafari; Talabani also invokes the support of Kurdish leader Masoud Al-Barzani. I note, however, that Iyad Allawi and the Iraqiya bloc are not mentioned.

UK-based Iraqi Archbishop Athanasios Dawood is expected to call for Iraqi Christians to leave the country. (I wonder what GWB's evangelical fans are thinking now?)

A Navy SEAL is accused of smuggling 80 AK-47s, apparently belonging to the Iraqi army, into the United States and trying to sell them.

The military rules are clear: Everyone gets searched before heading home from deployment. Military screeners are trained by Customs and Border Protection officials and they screen the people, the luggage, the gear and the cargo. . . .

But the rules seem to bend a little for special operations forces. "The regular guys go through a more robust search, but it's only a cursory search for special forces guys," one person with insider knowledge of military procedures told Pentagon Correspondent Chris Lawrence.

British court proceedings reveal a UK parallel to the torture of Iraqis by U.S. forces in Abu Ghraib. Excerpt:

Evidence of systematic and brutal mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners at a secret British military interrogation centre that is being described as the UK's Abu Ghraib emerged today during high court proceedings brought by more than 200 former inmates.

The court was informed that there is evidence detainees were starved, deprived of sleep, subjected to sensory deprivation and threatened with execution at the shadowy facilities near Basra operated by the Joint Forces Interrogation Team (JFIT).

It also received allegations that JFIT's prisoners were beaten and forced to kneel in stressful positions for up to 30 hours at a time, and that some were subjected to electric shocks. Some of the prisoners say they were subjected to sexual humiliation by female soldiers, while others allege that they were held for days in cells as small as one metre square.

The evidence of abuse is emerging just weeks after defence officials admitted that British soldiers and airmen are suspected of being responsible for the murder and manslaughter of a number of Iraqi civilians in addition to the high-profile case of Baha Mousa, the hotel receptionist tortured to death by troops in September 2003. One man is alleged to have been kicked to death aboard an RAF helicopter, while two others died after being held for questioning.

Afghanistan Update

ISAF says two soldiers killed in separate attacks in eastern Afghanistan. Although we have no further details at this time, most forces in the region are from the U.S.

Bodies of five Afghan police are found in Wardak Province. They had been missing since Taliban fighters overran Khogyani in Ghazni province on Nov. 1. Four others had already been found dead in Ghazni city, and 7 are still missing.

NATO says it is investigating an incident on Friday in which an Afghan soldier apparently shot and killed 2 Americans. The Taliban have claimed he defected. NATO has not confirmed any facts about this incident. However, this story from AFP has more details. The slain troops were marines (although they are described as soldiers in other reports), apparently on guard duty at the time of the incident.

A roadside bomb kills 5 civilians, injures 6, in Helmand Province. Reuters also reports that ISAF forces killed several insurgents in Kunar, and shot a man dead in Ghazni who attacked them during an overnight operation.

The Independent Electoral Commission announces it has found tens of thousands of uncounted ballots from the September parliamentary elections. The commission has so far invalidated 1.3 million of the approximately 5 million ballots cast.

Parliamentary candidates and their supporters demonstrate in Kabul demanding new elections. "We condemn the Sept. 18 election and call it as illegal and ask the government to hold another election," read a banner as protesters marched past the palace of President Hamid Karzai and U.N. headquarters.

The Saudi foreign ministry says it has halted mediation efforts between the Taliban and the Afghan government, because the Taliban refuse to break relations with al Qaeda.

Quote of the Day

John Boehner came from a poor family of twelve children, and heroically worked three jobs (including as a janitor) to put himself through business school. But when he got to elected office, it turned out that there was alot more money to be reaped from serving the interests of rich people than serving the people he came from. He took money from the insurance companies, and voted to deny healthcare coverage to sick children and to the people who hurried to the World Trade Centre on 9/11 to try to dig people from the wreckage, exposing them to deadly toxins. He took money from defense contractors, and supported every war going. He tirelessly champions the overdog, while hoovering up their cash and flying on their private jets to some of the most luxury resorts in the world.

Johann Hari


dancewater said...

Quote of the day really has little to do with Iraq.

And our former president and vice-president have now publicly bragged about ordering torture, so we can expect torture to be rampant in the US military and CIA...... and will spread to the homeland, as torture always does.

Off-topic, but in the recent US election, about half the Blue Dogs lost their seats and less than 5% of the Progressive Caucus members did... and the three seats the Democrats did pick will likely join the Progressive Caucus. And, somehow, the lesson learned from that is that the Democrats should be more like the Blue Dogs, and my Representative (who is a Blue Dog) thinks he should be minority leader. Many of the Democrats are really stupid.

dancewater said...

Bush's fans (and Bush himself) have less Christianity in all of them than a small pile of warm dog shit.

They likely don't know what has happened in Iraq - they are quite stupid - and if they do know, they don't give a rip.

And I think all Iraqis should leave Iraq, if they want to have a future that does not include cancer or birth defects in their children and grandchildren. The US/UK have destroyed the place, so there is no reason to stay. However, many of them are likely too poor to leave or have no where to go.

The Wiz said...

I am very impressed with the people of Iraq. They have gone a long time with no government and very little progress, if any. Yet they have remained relatively peaceful and patient. They have resisted responding to the attacks by the insurgents and resorting to violence. I wonder how long the US would have gone in similar circumstances.

What is sad is that the current administration has done very little to get the Iraqi officials to resolve the problem. There needs to more done or force a new round of elections.

Cervantes said...

The relevance of the QOTD to Iraq, to me, is that conservatives in the U.S., including the self-styled tea partiers, never saw a war they didn't like -- even though they are ostensibly for small government and low taxes. It's just one of their many hypocrisies. Republican control of the house means no pressure on Obama to get out of either war.