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 27, 2011

News of the Day for Sunday, February 27, 2011

Reported Security Incidents


Further information is available on the attack yesterday on Iraq's largest oil refinery. The death toll is now reported as 1 worker. "Dr. Abdul Jabbar al-Halfi, a professor at Basra University's oil engineering department and frequent visitor to the Beiji refinery, pointed out that visitors to Beiji need a special badge to even get within a mile (2 kilometers) of the facility and suggested it might have been an inside job." Technicians say they can get the facility back on line in one week. [We shall see.] Meanwhile, the refinery accounts for 1/4 of Iraq's fuel production and the incident could exacerbate the electricity shortage which contributes to current unrest.


Twenty seven demonstrators are injured in clashes with security forces.


Five armed men are killed by security forces. One of the men blows himself up; others are shot dead.

Other News of the Day

Baghdad is placed under a curfew to curb further demonstrations.

Meanwhile, PM Nuri al-Maliki takes decisive action in response to the demonstrations, (not). He gives his cabinet ministers 100 days to shape up or he'll give them a negative evaluation. [That should put an end to any further unrest. -- C] Protest organizers are calling for a national "Day of Regret" on Friday, March 4 to mark the anniversary of the parliamentary elections,which have so far failed to produce effective government.

New UK draft budget ends all aid to Iraq, among 16 other countries.

NYT's Duraid Adnan gives an eyewitness account of the protest in Baghdad on Friday, including clashes with security forces.

Afghanistan Update

Two bombs planted at a picnic hosted by a former police chief kill 10 and injure 17 in Arghandab district of Kandahar Province. Two police officers are among the dead. Al Jazeera, however, characterizes the event quite differently, as a dog fight. According to Al Jazeera, although dog fighting is technically illegal in Afghanistan, it is widely tolerated. Police were arriving to break it up when the bombs exploded. "It was unclear who the target of the attack was, though a witness said it was unlikely that it was the police. "The Taliban also don't allow dogfighting," Ismail Alokozai, a local resident, who was in the area during the first blast and helped some of the wounded, told the Associated Press." [Quite interesting how differently various media describe this incident. -- C]

A child is killed and a civilian injured in a bomb attack on a police car in Herat.

Quote of the Day

Like the European revolutions of 1848 and the uprising against Stalinism in 1989, the Arab revolt has rejected fear. An insurrection of suppressed ideas, hope and solidarity has begun. In the United States, where 45 per cent of young African-Americans have no jobs and the top hedge fund managers are paid, on average, a billion dollars a year, mass protests against cuts in services and jobs have spread to heartland states like Wisconsin. In Britain, the fastest-growing modern protest movement, UK Uncut, is about to take direct action against tax avoiders and rapacious banks. Something has changed that cannot be unchanged. The enemy has a name now.

John Pilger


The Wiz said...

I was watching the news and an interesting story about Iraq came up (Sorry, I don't remember which network as I was scanning between CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews and al Jazeera)

They showed a protest in Iraq even though the government leaders warned against it as they feared suicide bombers would attack any large gatherings. What I found most interesting was that the security forces had set up a perimeter around the protest site. As people approached the ISF, they(the protesters) raised their arms willingly and allowed themselves to be frisked for weapons or bombs. Then they joined the protest.

This is amazing on several accounts. First, it showed the government is willing to allow peaceful protests against their very own policies and services (or lack thereof). It showed that the people, even thought they were angry with the government, trusted the ISF enough to peacefully submit to security searches. And throughout, the ISF were very polite and respectful of the people.

This never would have happened under SoDamn Insane...or any other ME tyrant prior to this year. It was an amazing thing to forces in the ME working hard to protect protesters against the government!

Iraq has made great strides. They still have a rough road ahead. They have much distrust and anger from the old regime to heal. They have too much corruption, nepotism, and cronyism to cleanse from the system. Bu they are light years ahead of where they were a decade ago.

dancewater said...

I don't know what TV channel you are watching, but they are full of shit.

dancewater said...

A real account of the aftermath of the protests in Iraq:

After Iraq's Day of Rage, a Crackdown on Intellectuals

Iraqi security forces detained about 300 people, including prominent journalists, artists and lawyers who took part in nationwide demonstrations Friday, in what some of them described as an operation to intimidate Baghdad intellectuals who hold sway over popular opinion.

On Saturday, four journalists who had been released described being rounded up well after they had left a protest of thousands at Baghdad's Tahrir Square. They said they were handcuffed, blindfolded, beaten and threatened with execution by soldiers from an army intelligence unit.

"It was like they were dealing with a bunch of al-Qaeda operatives, not a group of journalists," said Hussan al-Ssairi, a journalist and poet who described seeing hundreds of protesters in black hoods at the detention facility. "Yesterday was like a test, like a picture of the new democracy in Iraq."

dancewater said...

Pictures of the protests are on my Faces of Grief blog.

dancewater said...

The death toll rose to at least 29 Saturday, as officials reported that six more protesters, including a 14-year-old boy, died from bullet wounds. The deaths were recorded in at least eight places, including Fallujah, Mosul and Tikrit.

dancewater said...

Sixty-five civilians, including 40 children, were killed in a NATO assault on insurgents in eastern Afghanistan earlier this month, according to findings of an Afghan government investigation released Sunday.


NATO has said that video of Kunar operations on Feb. 17 — the main event of more than three days of fighting — showed troops targeting and killing dozens of insurgents, not civilians.

However, the Afghan team investigating the incident found that 65 civilians had been killed, including 40 children age 13 and under, said Shahzada Masoud, one of the investigators. The group presented its findings Sunday to President Hamid Karzai.

Investigators said they had compiled a list of names and ages of the victims and planned to release them but were not prepared to do so Sunday.

65 dead Afghans who found the freedom of the grave