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

Monday, December 12, 2011

War News for Monday, December 12, 2011

Blackwater Gets An Even Bigger Makeover

UK troops take on 'Afghan Valley of death'

Local Marine Shot in Head in Afghanistan Dies

Detainee in Iraq Poses a Dilemma as U.S. Exit Nears

Reported security incidents

#1: Two roadside bombs went off in succession and wounded six people in Ghazaliya District, western Baghdad, police said.

#2: A sticky bomb attached to a car carrying an official working at the Ministry of Education killed him in Baghdad's northern Shaab district, police said.

#3: Two Iraqi civilians have been seriously injured in an explosive charge blast planted under a taxi in northeastBaghdadon Sunday, a security source reported. "An explosive charge, planted under a taxi, blew up early on Sunday, seriously wounding 2 civilians," the security source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

Diyala Prv:
#1: A sticky bomb attached to a car carrying a school teacher wounded him in the town of Muqdadiya, 80 km (50 miles) northeast of Baghdad, police said.

Tuz Khurmmato:
#1: Gunmen shot at a car of a private Iraqi security company, killing one security guard and wounding one on Saturday in the town of Tuz Khurmato, 170 km (105 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#1: Two bombs exploded in quick succession and wounded three policemen and four Kurdish Asaish security officers as they gathered after the first explosion in central Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

At least 9 persons have been injured in 2 explosions in central Kirkuk early on Sunday, a Kirkuk police source reported. "An explosive charge blew off against a police patrol in central Kirkuk, wounding 2 of its elements, whilst another explosive charge blew up when the security forces arrived to the venue of the first blast, wounding an emergency police officer and 4 Kurdish security men, along with 2 civilians, who were all driven to a hospital for treatment," the police source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency

#1: The Director of Justice Medication in Mosul, the center ofnorthern Iraq's Ninewa Province, has been shot dead by a group of unknowngunmen in front of his house in al-Nour district, east of the city, a Mosulsecurity source reported on Monday. "A groupof unknown gunmen have shot dead the Director of Mosul's Justice Medication,Dr. Samir a-Hamdani, while on his way home after the end of his working hourson Sunday evening," the statement stressed.

#2: Police found the body of a civil servant at a state-run medicine factory shot in the head and chest two hours after he was kidnapped in Mosul, police said.

#3: Gunmen in a speeding car shot dead an off duty traffic policeman in front of his house late on Sunday in eastern Mosul, 390km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: Afghan security forces have killed four militants in an operation in Afghanistan's eastern province of Nangarhar, a local official says. Mohammad Hassan, the provincial official, said on Monday that Afghan forces targeted the militants late on Sunday when they “were planting improvised explosive devices (IEDs)” along a road in Khogyani district to hit security forces, Xinhua reported.

#2: Gunmen attacked NATO oil tankers stranded in southwest Pakistan for the second time in less than a week as Islamabad warned it could enforce its blockade of the U.S. lifeline into Afghanistan for several more weeks. The attackers shot dead a driver and destroyed seven tankers in a blaze of fire late on Dec. 11‚ the second attack in four days in Pakistan’s volatile region of Balochistan‚ rife with separatist and Taliban insurgency.

#3: A total of 14 insurgents were killed and 11 others captured in three different military operations launched by Afghan and NATO-led Coalition forces over the past 24 hours, Afghan Interior Ministry said on Monday. "Afghan National Police (ANP), Afghan National Army, NDS or intelligence agency and Coalition Forces launched three joint operations in areas surrounding Kunar and Zabul provinces. Therefore 14 armed insurgents were killed and 11 other suspects were detained by joint forces," the ministry said in a press release.


dancewater said...

Wars without victories

The last American troops will withdraw from Iraq in the next three weeks. President Obama and Iraq's Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, will meet tomorrow in Washington so they can claim that the US emerges from the conflict unweakened and leaves behind an increasingly stable, democratic and prosperous Iraq.

This is misleading spin, carefully orchestrated to allow Mr Obama to move into the presidential election year boasting that he has ended an unpopular war without suffering a defeat. We already had a foretaste of this a couple of weeks ago, when Vice President Joe Biden visited Baghdad to laud US achievements.

Over the years, Iraqis have become used to heavily guarded foreign dignitaries arriving secretly in Baghdad to claim great progress on all fronts before scurrying home again. But even by these lowly standards, Mr Biden's performance sounded comically inept. "It was the usual Biden menu of gaffe, humour and pomposity delivered with unmistakable self-confidence and no particular regard for the facts on the ground," writes the Iraq expert Reidar Visser. Mr Biden even tried to win the hearts of Iraqis by referring to the US achievement in building hospitals in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea, a city he apparently believes is located somewhere in Iraq.

Republican candidates in the presidential election have been denigrated and discredited by gaffes like this. It is a measure of Mr Biden's reputation for overlong, tedious speeches that the US media did not notice his ignorance of Middle East geography. Dr Visser points out that "when Biden says 'we were able to turn lemons into lemonade', refers to 'a political culture based on free elections and the rule of law', and even highlights 'Iraq's emerging, inclusive political culture ... as the ultimate guarantor of stability', he is simply making things up." Sadly, Iraq is a much divided wreck of a country.


The great success of General David Petraeus as US commander in Iraq was to persuade many Americans that they had won when they had not. He also convinced them that the war had ended, when it had not, because many fewer Americans were being killed. In practice, the verdict of Iraq is likely to hang over US foreign policy for a long time to come. The war may not have had a clear winner, but it showed that superior military force no longer easily translates into political victory.