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 6, 2011

News of the Day for Sunday, March 6, 2011

Reported Security Incidents


Eight killed, 12 injured by a sticky bomb attached to a minibus. (Other sources give the death toll as 6.) The bomb went off 100 meters from a U.S. military patrol. (Really? There are U.S. military patrols now in Basra? Hmm.) And indeed, Reuters reports that a U.S. convoy was the target and that the bomb was placed in the road, not attached to the bus.


Grenade attack on a police patrol injures 6 people, including 3 police.


Unknown people, clad in black, set fire to a camp of demonstrators. This particular camp held dozens of people, but thousands of demonstrators have been massing in front of the city gate for 15 days demanding political reforms in Kurdistan. Separately, the owner of an independent radio station reports that the facilities were vandalized.


An employee of the Sunni endowment is killed by a sticky bomb. Two of his companions are injured.

Separate mortar attacks injure a total of 9 civilians.

Other News of the Day

Washington Post editorial writers, for what it's worth, are concerned about the future of democracy in Iraq.

This story is a bit convoluted, but Scotland has hired CACI International, a firm that supplied interrogators at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison operated by the U.S. in Baghdad, to conduct is census. Activists are urging a boycott of the census unless the contract is canceled. "In August 2003, CACI International provided staff to the US army to conduct IT and intelligence work in Iraq, including interrogation services. The company denies allegations that any of its staff were involved in assaults and has defended itself in US courts against lawsuits brought by a number of former prisoners." It is interesting to me that this is all very much under the radar in the U.S. -- C

Afghanistan Update

Roadside bomb kills 12 civilians, including 5 children, in Paktika Province.

Public outrage continues over the deaths of nine boys in Kunar on Tuesday, slain by U.S. helicopters. Five hundred people demonstrated in Kabul today, condemning the U.S. and calling for an end to the occupation.

Yahya Kehl, for Reuters, describes the Taliban shadow government in Paktika. "In the border province of Paktika, U.S. and Afghan intelligence officials describe a "shadow" Taliban authority that levies taxes on the harvest of pine nuts, skims money from the salaries of teachers and runs a network of governors from over the border in Pakistan's lawless tribal belt. They mediate in disputes where the government cannot. In this province of at least 400,000 people, there are just three judges, and only one who actually lives here." The official Afghan government, meanwhile, is nowhere to be seen, although its officials are receiving salaries.

AP's Sebastian Abbot describes the stressful lives of U.S. marines in Helmand's Sangin Valley.


dancewater said...

some fool had this to say just a week ago:

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.

and here is an actual news report from the protests in Baghdad just last Friday:

Demonstrators this Friday took measures to protect themselves, showing the distrust many feel toward the security forces.

Kamil al-Assadi, a resident of Sadr City, formed a committee checking demonstrators entering the square because they were worried the security forces might plant people in the crowd to create problems.

"We do not trust the Iraqi security forces and formed a committee to check the demonstrators to make sure that no one is carrying a knife or any kind of weapon who aims at creating any problems during the demo," he said.


so, who to believe - a chicken hawk who has never even talked to an Iraqi but saw something on American TV and then made his own analysis - OR - real journalists who speak the language, were on the scene, and actually talked to people who were there?

I believe the real journalist, not the American war-cheer leading asshole.

Full article here

dancewater said...

More than 12 people were killed by security forces in a single day. Activists and journalists were harassed and arrested. A curfew was put in place and neither satellite television stations nor trucks carrying water and food were allowed near the protestors. One would think this occurred in Cairo or in Sana'a, but would be mistaken. This is Iraq.

After the U.S. overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, many approving pundits in the West portrayed Iraq as a country that had been freed and which was now a "fledgling" democracy. Eight years later, that proposition is being put to a real test. Protests against permeating political corruption and unbearable living conditions began on February 3 and reached their highest point so far on February 25, a "Day of Anger."

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government has so far fared miserably. The government's trembling response to demonstrators in Iraq's own Tahrir Square and across the country is increasingly similar to the responses to protests taken by leaders in other police states around the Arab world. The scenes of military trucks using water hoses to disperse crowds and the reports of several killed by security forces on the 25th of last month are an indication that Maliki's Iraq is slipping further from democracy, even as Egypt, Tunisia, and hopefully Libya gradually slide towards it. Though the protesters who reportedly pulled out from Tahrir Square in Baghdad facing tear gas, sound bombs, and live fire may suggest otherwise, Iraq today is not a dictatorship. However, after a month of protests, Maliki's response -- consisting of a short list of concessions followed by daily statements that have grown increasingly hostile to the protests -- has raised questions about his ability to lead Iraq through the critical months ahead as U.S. troops pull out of the country.

In places as varied as Basra, Wasit, Nineveh, Babil, Qadisiya, and Baghdad, Iraqis have taken to the streets in protest over paltry services and increasingly high levels of corruption. Surely encouraged by other Arab peoples' drives towards democratic accountability, the Iraqis have grown repulsed by their own politicians continuing to squabble over positions and living lavishly, even as they claimed to represent their people's downtrodden conditions. After the March 2010 elections, the Iraqi people waited close to ten months for their political representatives to agree on a framework and form a government (which is yet to be truly completed due to disputes concerning the naming of security ministers). Those were months in which the population continued to live in the shadow of an occupation, in face of high unemployment levels and in deteriorating conditions - from low levels of electricity and water to mismanaged sewage systems and ration card provisions.

Full article here