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, October 8, 2012

War News for Monday, October 08, 2012

Reported security incidents
#1: A volunteer of Peace Committee, an anti-Taliban militia, was killed and four others injured during a clash with militants here in Bara on Monday. According to security sources, the skirmish, took place in Tirah valley of Khyber Agency during which a peace committee member was killed while four others injured. The injured were shifted to Landi Kotal hospital

#2: Meanwhile unidentified miscreants blew up a NATO truck, carrying goods and food items to Afghanistan on Jamrud bypass but no causality or injury was reported. Officials said that militants had planted an explosive device along Jamrud bypass road to target the NATO convoy, adding that two trucks were targeted in the same area in just an hour.

#3: Up to 18 Taliban militant have been killed in one-day military operations in different Afghan provinces, the country's Interior Ministry said Monday. "Afghan National Police (ANP) supported by the army and the NATO-led coalition forces launched four cleanup operations in Kabul, Nangarhar, Paktika and Helmand provinces, killing 18 armed Taliban insurgents and detaining four others within the past 24 hours," the ministry said in a statement providing daily operational updates.

#4: Separately, four militant, who were emplacing Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) along a main road in Sayed Abad district, eastern Wardak province, were killed when their IEDs went off prematurely on Sunday, according to the statement.

#5: In another development, five militant were killed when they launched an attack against border police checkpoints in Lal Poor district in eastern Nangarhar province, bordering Pakistan overnight, a police spokesman in the region, Idris Momand, told Xinhua on Monday, adding no policeman was injured in the attack.

#6: A suicide car bomber targeting an Afghan police station in the southern city of Lashkar Gah killed at least two intelligence agents and wounded seven other people on Monday, police said. Three intelligence agents were among those hurt as the bomb detonated at the gate of the police station, while the rest were civilians, police spokesman Farid Ahmad Farhang told AFP.

#7: According to local authorities in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan, at least 36 artillery shells landed in Dangam and Sarkano districts from Pakistan on Sunday night. Provincial governor spokesman Wasifullah Wasifi confirming the report said the shelling did not cause any casualties to the local residents.

DoD: Warrant Officer Joseph L. Schiro

DoD: Staff Sgt. Justin C. Marquez


Dancewater said...

Doctor’s fate will give hint of Iraq’s future

When the presidential candidates finally get to their foreign-policy debate, they aren’t likely to dwell on Iraq.

No wonder. That subject, which most Americans want to forget, doesn’t reflect well on either political party.

Nothing more clearly reveals the sad state we’ve left behind than the case of Riyadh al-Adhadh, a Sunni doctor who thought democracy could change his country.

Elected deputy chairman of the Baghdad Provincial Council, Dr. Riyadh (as everyone calls him) has been jailed for the last eight months, wrongly accused of terrorism.

“I am innocent,” the doctor told me last week, with heavy emotion, in a phone call from prison. “ I am working through the constitution. I do not believe you have to use violence to get change.”& amp; amp; amp; lt; /p>

Americans who know Dr. Riyadh well think the charges against him are absurd.

So what’s going on?

The doctor’s case seems to be part of an effort by Iraq’s Shiite-led government to marginalize Sunnis, including elected officials, and to monopolize power. But excluding Sunnis from the political system could return Iraq to chaos and sectarian warfare.

That’s why the case of Dr. Riyadh symbolizes something much bigger.

I first met Dr. Riyadh in 2003 through Col. Joe Rice, an Army reservist from Denver who went on to serve five tours in Iraq. Rice was advising Iraqis on setting up new local-government institutions in Baghdad. He was working with Dr. Riyadh, who lived in Adhamiyah, a large neighborhood in Baghdad that became a hotbed of violent Sunni resistance to the American occupation.

After Saddam Hussein fell, most Sunnis boycotted elections, but Dr. Riyadh insisted that Sunnis participate in the new political process.

The doctor joined the local Adhamiyah Council, then ran successfully for Baghdad Provincial Council. His risky political efforts were portrayed in a poignant 2005 documentary by Laura Poitras, My Country, My Country, which was nominated for an Academy Award. He planned to run for re-election next year.

“Some people accuse me of working for the Americans,” Dr. Riyadh told me in 2004. “But I think I must take part in the political process because I want the people to have representation.” The doctor also was protected by his reputation for treating the needy without charge.

When Rice invited the doctor and other council members to Denver in 2005 to observe local government, the doctor spoke out about abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, which infuriated U.S. authorities in Baghdad. But he also used his time to soak up information on the American political system.

“He wanted to learn about the powers and authorities of local government,” Rice told me by phone this week, from Denver. I asked Rice if he could imagine Dr. Riyadh being involved in violence and he replied forcefully, “No!”

So why has the doctor been brought before judges seven times, and each time returned to jail without a verdict, and with the judge clearly under political pressure?

His plight reveals all too well the political mess the United States left behind in Iraq.

The U.S. invasion ended decades of control by the Sunni minority and propelled the Shiites into power. It also vastly increased the influence of Shiite Iran on Iraqi politics.

Dancewater said...

As U.S. troops drew down, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government feared a Sunni resurgence and began arresting Sunni parliamentarians, along with many Sunnis who had abandoned militancy and fought with American forces.

Maliki’s fears appear to have been intensified by the war next door in Syria, where rebels from a Sunni majority are threatening to unseat the Alawite (Shiite) regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Yet the Iraqi leader’s policies are extremely counterproductive. With Iraqi politics paralyzed, a few Sunnis extremists are once again trying to reignite a civil war by bombing Shiite civilians.

If Sunnis are falsely accused and election results disrespected, or if they are prevented from running, Sunnis will feel that Iraq’s system excludes them.

If democrats like Dr. Riyadh are left to languish in prison, it will signal that Iraq is heading down a dangerous road, with the United States unwilling or unable to prevent this. Human Rights Watch warned in February that Iraq was in danger of turning into “a budding police state.”

Perhaps I’m being unfair to Prime Minister Maliki, who insists he wants to unify his country. If so, the release of Dr. Riyadh and others like him would be a brave and farsighted move in that direction.

When the doctor is next brought before a judge, on Oct. 18, his fate will signal which way Iraq is headed.

Trudy Rubin writes for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

NOTE: about 40% of the "deck of cards" in Saddam's cabinet that Bush wanted arrested was Shia. American pundits like to ignore the fact that the Saddam government was pretty mixed, including a Christian in his cabinet. Today, most Christians have fled the country and Sunnis are clearly being excluded also.