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, December 4, 2011

News of the Day for Sunday, December 4, 2011

Reported Security Incidents

Note: Aswat al-Iraq in English is currently off-line. Ordinarily they report security incidents which are not reported elsewhere, so we may be missing something.

Baghdad

Roadside bomb attack on a military convoy in Abu Ghraib kills 4 Iraqi soldiers.

Kirkuk

A man and his son are killed when a bomb they are assembling in their home explodes. The man's wife and daughter, and another child, are injured.

Other News of the Day

PM Al-Maliki says that he was the intended target of the car bombing in the Green Zone last week. (I just note that it's interesting, is it not, that even with the U.S. occupation ending and Iraq supposedly entering a normal regime of independence and security, the government offices, and the vast U.S. embassy, are still in The Green Zone, an isolated territory which ordinary citizens cannot enter. -- C)

And speaking of security, The U.S. is paying tribal militias for protection along the road south to Kuwait as its forces withdraw. That would seem to indicate that the Iraqi army and police do not control the countryside, unless I'm missing something -- C

PM Al-Maliki gives an extended interview with AP reporters. Among the highlights, he agrees with the need for reform in Syria, but insists that Assad's regime must remain in power in the interest of stability. He insists that Iraq will chart an independent course in foreign policy but does emphasize friendly relations with Iran. The AP reporters want to spin this as reflecting Shiite dominance of the Iraqi government and its attraction to that side of the sectarian divide in the region. Maliki also says that the departure of U.S. forces will remove a major motivation for violence in Iraq, and he does not fear a return to high levels of sectarian conflict. (We shall see.)

Afghanistan Update

International conference on the future of Afghanistan convenes in Bonn, Germany, but without one essential participant, Pakistan. The boycott by Pakistan is ostensibly because of the recent NATO air attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. One hoped-for outcome is the establishment of a Taliban diplomatic office through which peace negotiations can be implemented.

Hami Karzai arrives in Bonn early and gives an interview to Der Spiegel. He says Afghanistan will need international security assistance until 2024.

Afghan Interior Ministry says its forces have killed 42 insurgents and captured 37 others in the past 24 hours in various operations. No corroboration is offered.

Three NATO soldiers are killed by a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday. No further information is available now.

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