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, August 21, 2011

News of the Day for Sunday, August 21, 2011

Reported Security Incidents


Roadside bomb attack on a U.S. army patrol damages a vehicle. No report of casualties as of now.


A joint U.S.-Iraqi force, with U.S. air support, arrests the director of the Ninevah Province Traffic Police, Lt-Brigadier, Nashwan al-Khazraji, at his office. This is a rather odd story which suggests they were afraid of major armed resistance. It would be very helpful to get more background, but that's the bare scrap of information I could find. -- C


Reuters reports several incidents:

* Body of a peshmerga guard, showing signs of torture, is found in Sadr City. (I'm not sure what this means. It suggests that the Peshmerga -- the Kurdistan army -- are continuing to provide security services in Baghdad in some circumstances.)
* Sticky bomb injures a security guard of the oil minister.
* Roadside bomb injures two Iraqi soldiers in Hurriya; a second bomb explodes when police arrive, injuring two police.
* Roadside bomb injures two people in Zaafaraniya.

Other News of the Day

With reduced civil conflict and the lifting of curfews, Iraqi men return to playing the game of Mheibes, which from what I can tell seems to be a macho version of button, button.

The Iranian prosecutor has confirmed the 8 year prison sentence for two American hikers who strayed into Iran from Iraqi Kurdistan. Unfortunately, this development has completely dominated all coverage of the region by western corporate media so there is little other news from Iraq today. To be fair, there is a great deal of other news coming out of the Middle East right now. The massive Turkish assault on the PKK over the past three days has gotten almost no attention as diplomats and journalists focus on developments in nearby Syria and in Libya.

By the way, it hasn't been much mentioned, perhaps because of fears it would jeopardize his chances at trial, but one of the hikers, Shane Bauer, is in fact an investigative reporter who has written about the Middle East for several prominent publications. The Iranians have a history of not distinguishing between journalists and foreign intelligence agents, viz. Roxana Saberi. Bauer is not just an American slacker on an unwise adventure after all, and perhaps the sentence is less of a surprise than it might seem.

Afghanistan Update

DPA reports on several assassinations. Prosecutor Mohammed Azeem is shot to death in Helmand province by two gunmen on a motorcycle. In Paktika province, the education director of Omany district is murdered along with two tribal leaders; while in Kandahar city, Mohammad Shah Kahn, an agricultural official, is killed.

The Afghan Election Commission votes to expel 9 members of parliament due to purported electoral fraud. It is not clear whether this will end the controversies over the Sept. 2010 election.

Reuters provides a roundup of numerous attacks, including three policemen killed by a roadside bomb in Bahgdis, and "A 10-year old Pakistani boy who wanted to commit a suicide attack was arrested by police in Kandahar city, the Ministry of Interior said in a statement. Three months ago, the boy was kidnapped from Quetta, Pakistan, and taken to an insurgent centre to be groomed to carry out the suicide attack, the statement said." Also, an ISAF drone crashes in Jalalabad. The Taliban claim to have shot it down but ISAF blames mechanical failure.

In other news, Juan Cole provides a breaking news review of the situation in Libya. According to his sources, an uprising is now occurring in Tripoli, and the loyalists forces are low on ammunition. He expects the regime to fall at any time and a government of national unity to emerge. We shall see.


dancewater said...

Since Gaddafi has a lot of support in Libya, I expect what we will see is civil war in Libya.

Then war-mongerer Juan Cole will issue a long winded directive on all the things the NATO/US forces did wrong in Libya. He never seems to wise up to the fact that what these military forces do wrong is not a bug, but a major FEATURE of their military aggressiveness.

God help the people of Libya, because the US government is just trying to kill them and control the oil, same as Iraq.

Cervantes said...

We'll see about the outcome, but I don't think Qadafi/Gaddafi/Kadhafy has any significant remaining support in Libya. The civil war will end with his reign -- there will be no further resistance on behalf of the former regime. He has depended mostly on foreign mercenaries for his protection all along.

That said, I'm certainly not sanguine about the future of Libya.