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, February 20, 2011

News of the Day for Sunday, February 20, 2011

Reported Security Incidents

Near Sulaimaniyah

About 30 armed men attack the offices of a Kurdish television channel, NRT, and burn it to the ground. The station had just recently gone on the air and has been covering the demonstrations in the region, including violence against protesters. It's editorial leadership has been critical of the Kurdish regional government. AFP has additional details.

Shaqlawa, near Arbil

The Kurdish opposition Goran movement accuses the Kurdish Democratic Party of setting a fire that destroyed it's headquarters in Shaqlawa on Saturday. The local authorities deny this and say the fire was accidental.

Yahya Barzanji of the AP discusses the unrest in Kurdistan. It is important to understand that the dispute in Kurdistan is not with the government in Baghdad, which has no sway in Kurdistan, but with the monopoly on power of the two parties which have long controlled the region. The Goran movement, which has arisen to challenge them, is the focus of both protests and retaliation.

Other News of the Day

CNN, in a non-bylined story, discusses the recent protests in Iraq. In addition to the unrest in Kurdistan, efforts are underway to organize a large protest in Baghdad for next Friday, following a relatively small demonstration on the 18th. PM al-Maliki has said a permit will likely be issued, but also refers to unnamed foreign influences on the demonstrators.

Iran will increase its exports of electricity to Iraq.

Here's an example of why lots of Kurds are upset:

ERBIL, Iraqi Kurdistan: Nearly eight months after the Independent Human Rights Commission Law was passed by the Iraqi Kurdistan parliament, the commission is yet to be formed. The Ministry of Human Rights (MHR) has been defunct for 16 months, but yet the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) continues to pay the salaries of its 370 former employees. The KRG also pays rent for the former MHR building in Erbil, although the ministry is no longer in existence. So far, the total amount of the ministry’s salaries and rent since its disbandment is 2.5 billion Iraqi dinars (approximately US$2.1 million).

Tavga Omar, former director general of the MHR, continues to occupy her position in the non-existent ministry. She told Rudaw that Kurdistan’s Human Rights Commission (HRC), which was endorsed by the parliament, had not yet been set up and the former ministry’s departments had not actually been disbanded in practice.

Ms Omar said the spending of the 2.5 billion dinars was remiss of both the government and parliament, and was a “waste.”

Afghanistan Update

The governor of Kunar Province says that NATO attacks, mostly air strikes, have killed 63 civilians in recent days. Note: Other accounts give the number as 64. Governor Fazlullah Wahidi says many women and children are among the dead. NATO claims to have killed "insurgents," but is investigating.

Death toll in the attack on Saturday on the Kabul Bank branch in Jalalabad now stands at 38. Five armed men entered the bank as soldiers were collecting their pay and started shooting. Four of them detonated suicide vests, and one was captured. "Among those killed in Saturday's attack in Jalalabad were 21 members of the Afghan national security forces, including 13 policemen and seven soldiers. The other 17 killed were civilians. A total of 71 people, mostly civilians, were wounded."

France announces one of its soldiers was killed and two injured on Saturday by an anti-tank weapon, near Kabul.

5 comments:

dancewater said...

this report gives 65 dead:


Afghan officials allege 65 civilians killed in U.S. military operation

dancewater said...

Gaddafi and his supporters are promising to bring "Iraq-style liberation" to Libya.

The Wiz said...

In yesterday's thread Dancewater quoted an article contrasting Iraq with Egypt which showed a either lack of knowledge or a intentional twisting of history of both countries. And it left out the most important differences between the two.

Saddam was a sadistic ruthless tyrant that had a long history of mass murder against his own people. He used chemical weapons against the Kurds in the 80s. He used massive military hardware against the people's uprising after the 91 Gulf War. Estimates of the death tool there range from 200,000 to half a million.

Then he coldly corrupted the UN Oil for Food program and diverted food, medicine, and other funds from the people that rose up against him. Some say that 10,000/month died from that corrupt scheme.

In both cases, the military demonstrated its willingness to kill hundreds of thousands of people in a blind allegiance to Saddam. They knew that if Saddam would ever fall, they would face serious retribution for having carried out Saddam' orders. And Saddam had his two sons ready to take over and continue his reign of terror.

There was no way a peaceful revolution would ever have occurred in Iraq.

Contrast that with Egypt. Mubarak had been a high ranking military officer as had been Nasser and Sadat before him. But he angered the military officers by trying to set up his son Gamal, who had no military experience, as his successor. Plus the military received huge amounts of aid in money and equipment from the US. Most of the officers had spent considerable time training in the US and had regular, ongoing contact with US officials for decades. Perhaps most importantly, the military is held in high regard by the people in Egypt and any act against the people would destroy that trust.

The military wanted Mubarak out, didn't want Gamal to succeed him, and didn't want to lose its aid from the US. They knew their equipment would quickly fall into disrepair without US aid. Thus Mubarak was pushed out without massive bloodshed.

Any attempt to equate the two situations is a massive misunderstanding of both situations.

escalante blogger said...

That's horrible. And you know what? The day will cry if there's no people will die.

dancewater said...

"He used chemical weapons against the Kurds in the 80s. He used massive military hardware against the people's uprising after the 91 Gulf War."

And you left out that he could not have done it without the USA's help in both cases.

"Estimates of the death tool there range from 200,000 to half a million."

Those estimates are overblown. Less than 30,000 were found in mass graves after the US invasion, and way more than that went into mass graves AFTER the US invasion....there were 40,000 buried in Najaf alone by July 2007.

"Then he coldly corrupted the UN Oil for Food program and diverted food, medicine, and other funds from the people that rose up against him."

And oddly enough, people working for the UN program quit in protest NOT because of Saddam, but because the sanctions were brutally killing innocents. They did not see it as Saddam's fault.

"Any attempt to equate the two situations is a massive misunderstanding of both situations."

And who is equating the two situations?

I was comparing violent overthrow to non-violent revolution.