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 18, 2011

News of the Day for Sunday, January 18, 2011

Reported Security Incidents


Three civilians injured by an explosion in Talibiya, east of the city.

Judge Mohammed Shaya'a is critically injured in an attack using silenced weapons in West Baghdad late Saturday. Police have made an arrest.

Other News of the Day

ABC's Martha Raddatz is with the last convoy of U.S. troops to leave Iraq. Members of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division based in Fort Hood, Texas, crossed the border into Kuwait in the pre-dawn hours of December 18, 2011, ending the U.S. military presence in the country.

Rania El Gamal, for Reuters, describes the Baghdad the Americans are leaving behind. Excerpt:

Many Iraqis say they believed the U.S. invasion would bring them democracy and prosperity after years of war, economic sanctions and oppression by Saddam's security apparatus. Many say they now feel betrayed.

The U.S. convoys, and the black-masked militiamen who five years ago controlled whole neighborhoods, have left the city's streets. But bombings and killings remain part of everyday life. The city is often blanketed with dust and smoke, its buildings are crumbling and streets are littered with garbage. Blast walls and razor wire erected to protect buildings from bombings still cover the capital.

Iraqis worried about joblessness and insecurity must also contend with an acute water shortage and get only a few hours of electricity a day unless they have their own generators. "They (Americans) brought us a corrupted government that does not reflect what the people want. They are leaving but they left chaos behind ... and the Iraqi people are the ones who suffer," said Abbas Jaber, a government employee.

Just as the U.S. completes its withdrawal, the political crisis between the Shiite-led government and the Sunni bloc deepens. PM al-Maliki calls for the ouster of Sunni deputy PM Saleh al-Mutlak, who called Maliki "worse than Saddam," as the Sunni Iraqiya bloc declares it is boycotting parliament in protest over Maliki's centralization of power, and 10 bodyguards of Vice President Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi have been arrested, accused of terrorism. There are rumors that a warrant has been issued for Hashemi himself. (Excuse me for noticing, but it kind of looks like Iraq's "democracy" is falling apart before our eyes -- but these events are almost entirely ignored in the U.S. This account is from Salam Faraj of AFP. I checked the front pages of the web sites of CNN, MSNBC, ABC and CBS and these events were entirely unmentioned. It was all about the U.S. troops leaving. -- C)

Juan Cole gives an extended overview of the above developments. He says the arrest warrant for Hashemi is confirmed.

Al Jazeera reports on the fears of Iraqis who worked for the U.S. Many have applied for visas to immigrate to the U.S., but few have received them as yet.

Afghanistan News

Grenade attack on a police vehicle in Khost injures 2 police and 18 civilians.

Abdul Baqi Raghbat, a former government official, is assassinated in Kandahar.

Hamid Karzai says he is negotiating with the U.S. for a "long-term" presence. Hoo boy.

NATO forces raid the house of the director of counter-narcotics in Paktia province, Dr Hafizullah. They arrest him and manage to kill one woman and injure two others in the process. No reason for the action is given.

Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rasoul discusses the prospect for peace talks with the Taliban. This will likely occur through a Taliban consular office in a third country (i.e., not Pakistan or Afghanistan).


dancewater said...

a lot of the pictures coming from Iraq today are of the US troops leaving... and they seem to be leaving at night??

I don't get it.

NeoLotus said...

Hey guys. I'm very glad we've finally left Iraq. However, and I'm sorry to ask this at this time, but this came in ICH today and want to know what you think of it and how bona fide it is. I can't see or watch any of it and don't expect anyone else to. Just want to get a sense of what you think of what was posted. If true, we'll have some really messed up guys to deal with. In peace, NeoLotus

NeoLotus said...

sorry, forgot the link:

Cervantes said...

Sorry, I didn't see your comment right away. Yes, this is legitimate, it got some coverage in the corporate media -- not much. But it's not exactly news. We've long known that U.S. troops committed countless atrocities against Iraqis -- although after that era, post 2007 or so, the military did develop more of a commitment to good discipline. The testimony from this particular soldier is just one more addition to a very large pile.