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, July 31, 2011

News of the Day for Sunday, July 31, 2011

Reported Security Incidents

Rufayat, near Balad, Salah el-Din Province

Details emerge of the U.S. raid first reported yesterday, in which it now appears U.S. forces killed 3 members of an innocent family and wounded 7 other people. The dead are Sheik Hamid Hassan and two of his relatives. The victims fired on their assailants thinking they were terrorists. The U.S. has not said whether the intended target of the raid, named Firas Yasin Ahmad, was captured or was even determined to have been nearby. "Adel al-Sumaidaie, who heads the security committee of the provincial council of Salaheddin where Rufayat is located, described the raid as a "massacre against civilians. We will not let them (US troops) go free after this action -- We will chase them in all the international courts because of the criminal action they have carried out today." See below for further repercussions.


Gunmen using silenced weapons kill an official of the Ministry of Higher Education and his son in Ghazaliya district. VoI identifies the victim as the Director General of Administration, Dawood Salman Rahim.


Roadside bomb attack on the convoy of the head of the Ninevah provincial council injures 3 of his guards.

Other News of the Day

Parliament will form an investigative committee to probe the incident in Rufayat. (Note that according to sources quoted in the linked story, the death toll was four.) Aswat al-Iraq reports:

“What has happened in al-Rufeiat village of Balad township, 95 km to the south of Tikrit, the center of Salahal-Din Province, represents a violation against the Iraqi sovereignty, which the Americans claims to have handed over the security dossier to the Iraqi sovereignty, ending the presence of its troops in the country,” Shaalan Abul-Karim told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

Abdul-Karim said that “we can’t keep silent towards the said incident and similar incidents, carried out by the American forces.” “The Parliament session on Monday shall witness the formation of an investigation committee to demand the Iraqi government and the Foreign Ministry to present a protest against such horrible acts, compensate the families of the victims and banning such operations in the future,” he said.

Abdul-Karim said that “the attacked family had been among the forces that opposed the armed groups and stood against terrorism, when the security situation had been deteriorated, hence one can’t explain the reason for what the American troops have done to this family, unless if Washington supports terrorism.”

The report of the Chilcot Inquiry into Britain's participation in the attack on Iraq is expected shortly and contents are starting to leak. It appears Tony Blair will come in for heavy criticism. The Daily Mail gets the scoop. (We however are looking forward, not back.)

The Mail on Sunday has been told that the former Prime Minister will be held to account on four main failings:

* Bogus claims that were made about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.
* Not telling the British public about his secret pledge with George Bush to go to war.
* Keeping the Cabinet in the dark by his ‘sofa government’ style.
*Failing to plan to avoid the post-war chaos in Iraq.

Parliament cuts the number of cabinet posts from 46 to 32, in what is generally perceived to be a "good government" initiative eliminating patronage positions with no real function.

Iraq doubles its order of F-16 fighter jets from 18 to 36. "Baghdad had postponed plans to purchase 18 of the multimillion-dollar jets, diverting almost $1 billion of the money to buying food for impoverished regions in a response to rising antigovernment protests. [But now. . .] "We have to provide Iraq with aircraft to safeguard its sovereignty," al-Maliki said in announcing that Iraq would revive the F-16 contract. "We will make it 36 instead of 18."

Afghanistan Update

A suicide attacker killed 12 Afghan policemen and a child in the southern city of Lashkar Gah on Sunday when he detonated a car bomb, the country's Ministry of Interior said. (This city is one of the locations where security responsibility was recently transferred to Afghan forces.) (The reported death toll in this incident varies widely, from 5 to 13 and just about every number in between. I'm taking the Reuters report as presumptively reliable. -- C)

Oh, by the way Tea Party Patriots, American soldiers in Afghanistan have been warned they may not be paid after President Obama failed in an 11th-hour attempt to reach a settlement over the U.S. deficit. "Troops fighting in Afghanistan have been told that the Obama administration is expected to make their salaries a lower priority than interest payments to foreign bond-holders."

NYT's Jack Healy recounts the tragic story of an Afghan Romeo and Juliet, young lovers who crossed ethnic lines in Herat. "The teenagers, embarrassed to talk about love, said plainly that they were ready for death. But they were baffled by why they should have to be killed." [Just read it.]

In a kind of bizarre story, a female Member of Parliament claims that Mullah Omar is staying at her house. Really. Whatever.

Homa Sultani, an Afghan MP representing Ghazni province, criticised the government over being reckless about her remarks saying the Afghan government hasn't paid any attention to what she said of receiving the Taliban Leader Mullah Mohammad Omar in her house. Some lawmakers suggested that a delegation should be formed to visit the leader of the Taliban at Homa Sultani's home.

"At the moment Mullah Omar is in Afghanistan away from ISI and Pakistan. He is our guest and with us. His message is that he is ready for reconciliation and peace talks," Mrs Homa Sultani claimed. Insisting on accuracy of her remarks, Mrs Sultani said if she is proved wrong she is ready to be punished. "If my words are proved wrong, then I am ready to be punished for making a big lie on a big issue," she said.

Finally some of the legislators suggested formation of a delegation to verify Mrs Sultani's claim. Shir Wali Wardak, an Afghan MP representing Wardak, said: "If the leader of the Taliban has come over to someone's house for a party, we should set up a delegation and as soon as possible we begin our negotiation with him."


Anonymous said...

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