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, April 3, 2011

News of the Day for Sunday, April 3, 2011

Reported Security Incidents

The U.S. military announces that two U.S. soldiers have been killed by indirect fire, giving no information as to location or the soldiers' unit at this time. Mortar and rocket fire against U.S. bases, which is what is meant by "indirect fire," have continued steadily, but it usually doesn't hit anything important. The most likely explanation for this is such an attack. We'll see. -- C

Marivan, Iran

An Iranian news agency reports that four police officers were killed in an attack near the Kurdistan border. Iranian Kurdish separatists operate out of Iraqi Kurdistan, similar to the movement confronting Turkey.

On a highway in Anbar Province

Armed assault on the convoy of Iraqi Minister of Industry and Minerals Ahmed Nassir Al Karbuli results in the death of one security guard and injuries to four. Karbuli survives.


Sticky bomb attack injures Dhiab Tareq, an employee in the Iraqi Council of Ministers, in Mansour.


Two civilians injured in a rocket attack on their house. This was an area where "displaced people" are returned, suggesting in the context of Kirkuk that this was an incident of inter-ethnic violence in the Arab-Kurdish border war. The same VoI dispatch reports that gunmen set fire to a middle school in Altun-Kupri, a town northeast of Kirkuk. The same motivation would likely apply, although details are lacking. -- C


Unknown gunmen assassinate a successful merchant who had ordered that his mansion be converted to an orphanage. A strange tale indeed. C

Other News of the Day

PM Nuri al-Maliki calls the NATO-led action in Libya "selective, his point being to criticize the western powers' lack of response to the crackdown on Shiite protesters in Bahrain. Meanwhile, at least according to Syrian official media, he offers a message of support for Bashar al-Assad. [One might be led to conclude that Dick Cheney and the Project for the New American Century failed to install a faithful ally in Baghdad. -- C]

And as the Kuwait Times reports, support for the Bahraini Shiite uprising among Iraq's Shia is intense. [Hoo boy] Excerpt:

The sewing machines have been furiously churning out red and white Bahraini flags at a basement workshop in downtown Baghdad, and Iraqi customers are snapping them up to wave at protests, unfurl from buildings and fly from car antennas. The fervor is testimony to the solidarity Iraqi Shiites feel with their religious brethren in Bahrain battling for more rights.

It is also a sign of how the crushing of the Bahraini Shiite protests by the island nation's Sunni monarchy, with the help of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies, hikes up sectarian tensions around the region. Hundreds of Iraqis have taken to the streets in demonstrations against Bahrain's ruling elite and Saudi Arabia. Politicians railed against Bahrain in parliament. Iraq's Shiite prime minister, who's been largely silent on most of the turmoil in the Middle East, said Bahrain's actions were threatening to inflame sectarian violence.

The Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani - revered by many Shiites both inside and outside of Iraq - has called on the Bahrain government to cease the crackdown.

Afghanistan Update

Two policemen are killed and 20 people injured in a second day of protests in Kandahar against the burning of a Koran by a fundamentalist preacher in the U.S. Additional injuries and at least one more death occur when a propane bottle explodes after protesters set fire to a traffic police booth.

Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters block the main highway in Eastern Afghanistan. Violent protests and 20 deaths also reported in Jalalabad.

It's incredible that an ignorant clown in Florida, with a congregation of maybe 20 fools, can cause so much mischief just because the corporate media are willing to shower obscure idiots with attention. Note, however, that "Many Afghans did not know about the Koran-burning until Mr Karzai condemned it four days later. Karzai is now demanding that the U.S. bring the perpetrator [whose name I will not repeat because he does not deserve any publicity or fame. -- C] to justice. The truth is that Karzai is fanning these flames for purposes of his own.

And, right on cue, the Taliban also call for an uprising.

Let's just hope this doesn't get any uglier, but I'm not betting on it.


The Wiz said...

Been doing some research on the number of foreign fighters killed in Iraq fighting the US, Coalition, and ISF forces. Seems that al Queda admitted in Sept of 2006 that 4000 foreign fighters were killed since the start of the war which would have been about three and half years at that time. And since the fighting peaked in '07 and '08 we can assume that the number continued to grow, especially since the Iraqi Awakening turned against the foreign fighters in '07 and killed a lot of them themselves. If they died at the same rate until the end of '09 and tapered off as indicated, then roughly 8000 died over the eight years of fighting.

And that would only cover those fighters that joined al Queda in Iraq and not ones that joined one of the many other militias fighting across Iraq. There were undoubtedly lots of fighters that joined the Shia based militias in southern Iraq. Plus, fighters could have joined various tribal based militias or fought as independent groups.

The Sinjar Documents detail some 600 fighters entering the country in less than one year and they document only one stream of fighters. Experts agree that there were several avenues for foreign fighters to join the fray and that the Sinjar documents would cover just one stream of volunteers.

While I could not find enough data to determine a definitive number, it would not be surprising that the actual number to be between 15,000 and 20,000.

dancewater said...

"Two American soldiers were killed in a rocket attack that struck their unit in southern Iraq, the U.S. military said Sunday."

Since a rocket was directly fired at them, how can this be indirect fire?

They were not necessarily at their base. Caption from photo:

U.S. Army soldiers and Iraqi security forces stand guard at the scene of a roadside bomb attack that exploded in Najaf, 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq Sunday, April 3, 2011.

dancewater said...


Ex-Mujahedeen Help Lead Libyan Rebels

whisker said...

Indirect fire is a term which refers to a weapon which is fired at an opponent without having a direct line of sight. With a rifle you aim through a sight directly at a target. With mortars, artillery and rockets you aim indirectly using azimuth. While the target may be in plane view you still calculate the aiming by mathematically calculated formula.

dancewater said...

thanks, whisker, I did not know that!

dancewater said...

Iraqis still burning US flags:

Iraqis burn the US flag and chant slogans during a demonstration against the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and US intervention in Iraq in central Baghdad on March 25, 2011.

Date created: 25 Mar 2011

Above is a caption for a photo that I am putting on my Faces of Grief blog.