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, June 15, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, June 15, 2014

Roadside bomb hits a minibus in Samangan province killing 11 civilians, including 4 election workers. However, TOLO says 10 of the dead were election observers, specifically for Abdullah Adbullah.

A clash in Kandahar city results in the deaths of 7 would-be suicide bombers and one police officer. According to this account, six of the attackers entered a police headquarters after one detonated his explosives outside. The authorities responded cautiously so as not to disrupt the ongoing voting or risk civilian casualties, but they eventually retook the building.

AP, in a roundup of the day's events, says Taliban cut off the fingers of 11 people in Herat to punish them for voting. The Independent Electoral Commission estimated a turnout of about 60%, similar to the preliminary round. So far they have received 275 complaints of localized fraud.

The Defense Ministry says 18 soldiers were killed and 74 injured in election day violence, along with 39 civilians killed and 176 militants, with 88 civilians and 95 militants injured. The Defense Ministry, unlike the Interior Ministry, lives in a universe in which the insurgents fight back, and government forces and civilians, as well as militants, are killed and injured. Note also that this very high level of violence reflects innumerable incidents which were not specifically reported. Given the obviously incomplete information released regularly by the Interior Ministry, we undoubtedly have an impression which grossly underestimated the ongoing level of violence in the country.

A note on Iraq: It seem that other than McClatchy news service, I am approximately the only person to notice that just north of Mosul is a hydroelectric dam that supplies electricity to three provinces. The dam is protected by peshmerga, who unlike the Iraqi army are disciplined and effective fighters. Reports are conflicting about the current situation at the dam, but if it is cut off from outside support the peshmerga guards and workers might not be able to withstand a siege for long. A similar situation pertains with the Baiji oil refinery. Oil facilities have a separate security service, but again, how long the refinery could withstand a siege is questionable. 

Another problem with the dam is that it is built on gypsum, and requires continual infusions of concrete to plug leaks under its base. If this process were to be interrupted, the dam could collapse, destroying Mosul and Tikrit and flooding Baghdad to a depth of 15 feet. Seriously. Not a joke. Since the Iraqi army is useless, it seems that Kurdistan and the peshmerga will need to deal with both of these situations. At least I haven't heard of another plan.

And one more thing . . .  I meant to mention that by securing Kirkuk, the Kurds have attained nearly all of their territorial ambitions with the exception of Khanaqin. So guess what? As the peshmerga battle ISIS for control of that city, the Iraqi government hit a Kurdish convoy in the area with an airstrike, killing six soldiers. That about says it all; Maliki would rather leave Khanaqin to ISIL than see the Kurds take it. Iraq no longer exists. It's too late.  And if Maliki was hoping the Kurds would save his sorry ass in Nineveh, that no longer appears to be an option.


Anonymous said...

obama and the zionist masters talked five years ago about breaking iraq into three countries.

this is just a continuation of that plan

Dancewater said...

Don't know if it is the "plan" but they are the ones responsible for the horror that is in Iraq since 1991.

May they all rot in hell, along with each and every American who supported the illegal war of aggression on Iraq in 2003.

Dancewater said...

well, Obama has not been responsible since 1991.... only lately.

I am waiting for Kerry to announce that he is now - AGAIN - in favor of war on Iraq.

Cervantes said...

I don't think Obama had anything to do with this frankly. If you want to blame somebody, blame Nuri al-Maliki and his cronies. And BTW, I doubt that Ayatollah Sistani or Muqtada al-Sadr encouraged him to take the course he did. Where Khameini and the Iranians fit into this picture is unclear. Anyway, it's certainly not anything that was under the control of the U.S. or Israel. However, the U.S. under President Cheney and his foolish tool GW Bush is responsible for setting these events in motion.