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, March 13, 2011

News of the Day for Sunday, March 13, 2011

Reported Security Incidents


Bomb attack on a U.S. military convoy kills 7 civilian bystanders. A second attack produced no casualties.


Employee of a health center is murdered by unknown persons.

Other News of the Day

A lawmaker from the Iraqiya bloc calls for a commission to investigate alleged human rights abuses by security forces in Abu Ghraib district.

Lawmakers reach a preliminary agreement to cut their own pay in an attempt to appease protesters. "The 325 legislators still would collect an additional $12,500 each month in housing and security allowances, as well as a $90,000 annual stipend. Iraq has a 15 percent unemployment rate, and the average wage of a midlevel Iraqi government employee is about $600 per month." The 15% unemployment is a serious underestimate. -- C

NYT's Michael Schmidt and Yasir Ghazi report that Iraq's women continue to be excluded from political power:

No women took part in the protracted negotiations to reach a compromise government. And despite holding a quarter of the seats in Parliament, only one woman runs a ministry: women’s affairs, a largely ceremonial department with a tiny budget and few employees.

In the previous government from 2006 to 2010, four women led ministries, and in the government from 2005 to 2006, six did, including the influential ones governing public works, refugees and communications.

“I consider it a disaster,” said Ashwaq Abbas, a female member of Parliament from the Kurdish Alliance bloc. “Democracy should also include women, and the rights of women should be developed as the democracy here develops. But what’s actually happened is that the rights of women have gotten worse over time.”

President Talabani is quoted as referring to Kirkuk as "Kurdistan's Jerusalem", angering Arab lawmakers. "Talabani, speaking in the northern Iraq Kurdish city of Sulaimaniya last week on the occasion marking the 10th anniversary of the 1991 uprising against the former regime of Saddam Hussein, termed Kirkuk as “Kurdistan’s Jerusalem,” calling on the Kurds in the province to form a “strategic Kurdish-Turkmen alliance to liberate it from terrorists and neo-occupiers.”" This is indeed a highly provocative remark, especially coming from the ostensible president of Iraq, who suggests that Iraq is not one country. -- C

Afghanistan Update

One NATO soldier killed, 3 injured by a roadside bomb in Daykundi Province. No further information is given at this time.

Four civilians killed by a roadside bomb in Kandahar Province.

Well okay then: The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, calls upon NATO to cease military operations in Afghanistan. Really. (In the last paragraph, he is referring to Pakistan. Astonishingly, I have not seen this reported in U.S. corporate media, although Voice of America did report it.)

ASADABAD: An emotional Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday urged international troops to "stop their operations in our land", his strongest criticism yet of mistaken killings of civilians.

Karzai's comments came after a week in which a relative of his was killed in a raid by foreign forces and he rejected an apology by the US commander of troops General David Petraeus for the deaths of nine children in a Nato strike. "I would like to ask Nato and the US with honour and humbleness and not with arrogance to stop their operations in our land," Karzai said in Pashto as he visited the dead children's relatives in Kunar province, eastern Afghanistan.

We are very tolerant people but now our tolerance has run out. He said international forces should go and fight this war where we have showed them (it is) over the last nine years. Isaf spokeswoman could not immediately comment.

Subel Bhandari tells the story of the town of Mazar-e Sharif, where a Tajik warlord rules. His autocratic government keeps order, and stability has led to economic growth. However, corruption, and tensions between Tajiks and the minority Pashto, are threatening stability. The Afghan government, by the way, is irrelevant here.


dancewater said...

Video of what life is like in Baghdad in March 2011

Nation of Tears

From March 19, 2003 until today, what the US government has done to Iraq is massively, hideously and monstrously EVIL.

It is like we are a nation of blood-sucking sadists.