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Old 09-11-2006, 05:23 PM   #106
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Bits of two related stories from today's Christian Science Monitor.
Quote:
US intel report: Iraq's Anbar province 'politically lost'

In a report that some have said is the most negative yet filed by a senior military officer in Iraq, the chief of intelligence for the US Marine Corps in Iraq concluded that the possibilities of the US and Iraqi governments securing the troubled western Iraqi province of Anbar are remote. The Washington Post reports that Col. Pete Devlin's assessment, written in mid-August, also says that "there is almost nothing the US military can do to improve the political and social situation there."

One Army officer summarized it as arguing that in Anbar province, "We haven't been defeated militarily but we have been defeated politically--and that's where wars are won and lost." The "very pessimistic" statement, as one Marine officer called it, was dated Aug. 16 and sent to Washington shortly after that, and has been discussed across the Pentagon and elsewhere in national security circles. "I don't know if it is a shock wave, but it's made people uncomfortable," said a Defense Department official who has read the report.

Devlin reports that there are no functioning Iraqi government institutions in Anbar, leaving a vacuum that has been filled by the insurgent group Al Qaeda in Iraq, which has become the province's most significant political force, said the Army officer, who has read the report...The Post reports that Colonel Devlin offers several reasons for this situation: a lack of US and Iraqi troops in the province, the collapse of local governments, and a weak central government with almost no presence in the region.
Quote:
As violence escalates, so does talk of a divided Iraq

In Iraq's Kurdish north, the Iraqi flag no longer flies alongside the Kurdish banner on public buildings--the president of the largely autonomous Kurdish region has banned it. And in Baghdad, Shiite politicians last week introduced legislation defining how the sectarian-riven country could eventually be divided into autonomous regions--including a powerful and oil-rich Shiite region in the south.

Following recent fighting between Iraqi government forces and the militia of Shiite powerhouse Moqtada al-Sadr, the steps suggest a further spiraling toward at least a semiautonomous confederacy, if not a complete dissolution of the country. A small but apparently growing number of Iraq experts believe dissolution of the country is inevitable. Others say a united and nominally democratic Iraq may still be possible, but suggest other solutions--including a redrawn Iraq--would eventually make the Middle East more stable. Still others say the US should face reality and help create the new Iraq that is already splintering along sectarian and ethnic lines.

But where many specialists agree is that the Bush administration is not planning ahead sufficiently for the curveballs that continuing sectarian and religious conflict might have in store for the US in terms of Iraq's final architecture. "Of course we should be planning, and not just for Plan B but Plans C, D, E, and F, and maybe G and H, but I see very little sign we're doing that," says Ralph Peters, a retired Army intelligence officer and Middle East specialist who consults on regional policy. "They've gone through the motions of war-gaming some alternative scenarios, but they're not serious about it, and that's because they are still convinced this [Iraq project] is going to work."

Even some Iraqis insist the recent suggestions of a gradual slide toward a divided country are being given too much weight...some Shiite politicians say the legislation on regions would merely define a provision that is already contained in the new Iraqi constitution approved by referendum last year. But Mr. Peters says that's the point: that steps being taken now are merely fulfilling the direction the Iraqi people chose with a series of votes over the past year. "The voters did what we didn't have the courage to do, their voting divided Iraq," he says, pointing to voting that was overwhelmingly along ethnic and sectarian lines. "The question now is whether [Iraq] can continue as a loose confederation--or will it officially break up? We need to be prepared for all of that."

"What we're seeing now may be signs of things to come, but that wasn't so much inevitable as it is a result of our actions," says Michael Hudson, a professor of Arab studies at Georgetown University in Washington. An Iraqi confederacy with a weak Sunni enclave sandwiched between oil-rich Kurdish regions to the north and Shiite regions to the south is a "recipe for endless trouble," he says. As far back as 2002, before the Iraq war, he says the late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri warned him in a conversation about the repercussions of such an outcome.

One worst-case scenario for the US--and perhaps the global economy--is that an autonomous Shiite region in the south could embolden the Shiite minority in Saudi Arabia's north, a significant petroleum region, to press for its own autonomy, or even to join with its Iraqi brethren to the north. Worries over this kind of scenario, Peters says, caused the US to dismiss the breakup of Iraq after the war--the very thing that may be happening now, he says, though more haphazardly. "At the time of Operation Iraqi Freedom the best solution was to break up Iraq," he says, "but the Bush administration didn't pursue it because the Saudis, among others, absolutely didn't want it."
............
Another proposal, from Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution in Washington, calls for the US to accept that its project for a "multiethnic democracy" in Iraq may no longer be viable. In its place the US should consider facilitating voluntary sectarian and ethnic relocation, he says, as a means of short-circuiting a long and potentially genocidal civil war.
...........
Short of that, [Hudson] adds, the US might be best off leaving the fight and letting the Iraqis decide what they really want. "Maybe we need to let things play out," he says. "If we're out of there, the Iraqis might be forced to start talking sense to each other--and to find out if they are irretrievably sectarian or not."
I find it hard to swallow Peters' assessment that "the best solution was to break up Iraq" from the beginning, and I can't imagine that the Saudis are alone in disliking the prospect of a Middle East strewn with small, weak and mutually embittered Arab states. On the other hand, as much as I would like to share Hudson's optimism, I'm not sure a power vacuum would be the best environment for encouraging "talking sense" in an armed-to-the-teeth environment. I don't know what to make of O'Hanlon's proposal either; how likely would "voluntary" mass relocation be to happen?

Which proposal do you find yourself leaning towards? Or do we just settle for maintaining the status quo, perhaps with more troops strategically added in certain regions, and hope that the situation improves?
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Old 09-21-2006, 01:40 PM   #107
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Now they use kidnapp victims as suicide bombers.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/....ap/index.html
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Old 09-25-2006, 12:34 PM   #108
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Wow, really? Shocking. Mission accomplished?

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/24/wo...gewanted=print

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.

The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.

An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,” cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology.

The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official.
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Old 09-25-2006, 12:47 PM   #109
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Old 09-25-2006, 12:50 PM   #110
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Mission accomplished?
http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/....accomplished/

Quote:
the sign was put up by the Navy, not the White House.
Let's not be too guillible.
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Old 09-25-2006, 12:56 PM   #111
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Quote:
Originally posted by Macfistowannabe

Let's not be too guillible.
That's not the point (and I'd appreciate it if you didn't call me gullible), and who made the sign or who decided to put it there isn't the point either. The point is that if a mission of the war in Iraq is to make the world and the US safer and to decrease terrorism, clearly it's a dismal failure. If you ask me, it's "gullible" not to believe that just by virtue of common sense and by what we see in the news on a daily basis. You don't even need intelligence agencies to tell you that.
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Old 09-25-2006, 01:00 PM   #112
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
That's not the point and who made the sign or who decided to put it there isn't the point either.
It clears a lot of smoke in regards to the attacks on our president - that's the biggest misunderstanding about the sign - that the president had anything to do with it.


Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
The point is that if a mission of the war in Iraq is to make the world and the US safer and to decrease terrorism, clearly it's a dismal failure.
Since terrorism is inevitable, why wouldn't it make more sense to fight it in the Iraqi deserts than in your backyard?
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Old 09-25-2006, 03:13 PM   #113
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...and if this is true, it realy won`t help for a stabil middle east.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5364982.stm

he BBC has obtained evidence that Israelis have been giving military training to Kurds in northern Iraq.

A report on the BBC TV programme Newsnight showed Israeli experts in northern Iraq, drilling Kurdish militias in shooting techniques.

Kurdish officials have refused to comment on the report and Israel has denied it knows of any involvement.

The revelation is set to cause enormous problems for the Kurds, not only in Iraq but also in the wider region.
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Old 09-25-2006, 03:32 PM   #114
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Quote:
Originally posted by Macfistowannabe
Since terrorism is inevitable, why wouldn't it make more sense to fight it in the Iraqi deserts than in your backyard?
By making this case you are almost promising that there won't be a terrorist attack on your soil.
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Old 09-25-2006, 05:22 PM   #115
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6599

AP , UNITED NATIONS
Friday, Sep 22, 2006,Page 7

The number of Iraqi civilians killed in July and August hit 6,599, a record high number that is far greater than initial estimates had suggested and points to the grave sectarian crisis gripping the country, the UN said on Wednesday.

The report from the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq's Human Rights office offered a grim assessment across a range of indicators, reporting worrying evidence of torture, unlawful detentions, the growth of sectarian militias and death squads and a rise in "honor killings" of women.

That raises new questions about the ability of US and Iraqi forces to bring peace to Baghdad, where the bulk of the violent deaths occurred. Iraq's government is "currently facing a generalized breakdown of law and order which presents a serious challenge to the institutions of Iraq," the report said.

According to the UN, which releases the figures every two months, violent civilian deaths in July reached an unprecedented high of 3,590 people, an average of more than 100 a day. Last month's toll was 3,009 people, the report said.

The lower August number may have been the result of a security crackdown in Baghdad, though it was partly offset by a rise in attacks elsewhere, including in the northern city of Mosul.

For the previous period, the UN had reported just under 6,000 deaths -- 2,669 in May and 3,149 in June. That was up from 1,129 in April, and 710 in January.

Of the total for July and August, the report said that 5,106 of the dead were from Baghdad.

The report attributed many of the deaths to the rising sectarian tensions that have pushed Iraq toward the verge of civil war.

"These figures reflect the fact that indiscriminate killings of civilians have continued throughout the country, while hundreds of bodies appear bearing signs of severe torture and execution style killing," the report said. "Such murders are carried out by death squads or by armed groups, with sectarian or revenge connotations."

At the heart of the UN findings are casualty figures that combine two counts: from the Ministry of Health, which records deaths reported by hospitals; and the Medico-Legal Institute in Baghdad, which tallies the unidentified bodies it receives.

The UN investigators who compiled the report said it was likely that even those numbers were low. In July, for example, the Health Ministry reported no people killed in Anbar, the chaotic province that includes the extremely violent cities of Ramadi and Fallujah.

Also, the Medico-Legal Institute's number of 1,536 was the same as the number of violent deaths in Baghdad reported by the Iraqi Health Ministry earlier this month.

The US military had initially claimed a drastic drop in the death toll for August, but the estimate was revised upward after the US revealed it had not counted people killed by bombs, mortars, rockets or other mass attacks.

The report said torture was a major concern in Iraq and the bodies showed significant evidence of it.

"Bodies found at the Medico-legal Institute often bear signs of severe torture including acid-induced injuries and burns caused by chemical substances, missing skin, broken bones [back, hands and legs], missing eyes, missing teeth and wounds caused by power drills or nails," the report said.

The report also that said about 300,000 people had been displaced in Iraq since the bombing of a shrine in Samara in February.

The UN has also received several reports of Iraqi journalists facing prosecution for their reporting. In one case, three reporters working for a newspaper faced trial for articles criticizing a regional government.



Scary thing is, the Kurd separatist movement hasn't even been addressed yet. The complications with an autonomous Kurdish state involved with the Kurds, Sunnis, Shias and Turks will just escalate the chaos in that region. Good times, eh!
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Old 10-05-2006, 06:50 PM   #116
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file this one under:



Mission Accomplished





Quote:
Rice's Baghdad arrival delayed by 'indirect fire'

(Baghdad, Iraq-AP) October 5, 2006 - America's secretary of state is getting a first-hand idea of the kind of violence going on in Iraq.

Condoleezza Rice is in Baghdad Thursday, but the State Department says her military transport plane couldn't land for more than half-an-hour because of what a spokesman call "indirect fire" that came from either mortar rounds or rockets.

Once she landed, Rice met with Iraq's prime minister, who says he wanted to talk about a number of issues of importance to both countries. Rice told him it's a "time of challenge" for Iraqis.

She earlier told reporters on her plane that she planned to tell Iraqi leaders that while the US is supportive, there isn't an endless amount of time to settle the political differences causing so much violence.

That violence continues Thursday, with at least two deadly car bombings in Baghdad, and a string of attacks in a northern province. Thursday's death toll is at least eleven.

Rice is also meeting with Iraq's president and Sunni leaders.
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Old 10-05-2006, 07:46 PM   #117
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3 and a half years, $500bn, and the airport still isn't secure.
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Old 10-07-2006, 01:36 AM   #118
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Oct. 6, 2006, 9:58AM

Kurdish Parliament member shot to death in Iraq

By SAMEER N. YACOUB
Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Shiite militias were responsible for killing a Kurdish lawmaker who was kidnapped and shot to death, the lawmaker's party said today, blaming "a cowardly act of terrorism" for the first slaying of a parliament member in Iraq's sectarian violence.
ADVERTISEMENT

The lawmaker, Mohammed Ridha Mohammed, was a member of the Islamic Group, a conservative Sunni party in the Kurdish Alliance that is the second largest bloc in parliament.

He was abducted along with his driver Thursday after they left the Baghdad offices of a government agency that oversees Sunni mosques. Hours later, the two bodies were found with gunshots to the head and chest, said Firyad Rawndouzi, spokesman for the Kurdish bloc.

Mohammed was the first lawmaker slain from the current parliament, formed in February — although at least two members of the previous parliament were killed last year, before the wave of Shiite-Sunni slayings began.

While Kurds are often targeted by Sunni insurgents, Mohammed's religious credentials suggested he may have been the victim of Shiite militias. One official in his party, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, accused the Mahdi Army, one of the most powerful Shiite militias, in the killing.
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Old 10-07-2006, 02:09 PM   #119
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The origin of the 'mission accomplished' sign aside, those very words were removed from Bush's speech that day. Would it have made the hubris of that garish excercise in propaganda any worse had he actually pronounced the words? I doubt many people bought the 'the Navy did it' excuse.
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Old 10-09-2006, 04:02 PM   #120
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How many more Americans will die for Presidents Bush's lies?


We are fighting for Democracy????



Quote:

President Bush has described today’s Iraq as a “young democracy.” He even boasted at one point that the advance of democratic institutions in Iraq is “setting an example” that others in the area would be “wise to follow.” But when it comes to one of the most basic tenets of democracy — freedom of speech and the press — Iraq is not setting an example that even the youngest of democracies would be wise to follow.


New laws in Iraq criminalize speech that ridicules the government or its officials, and any journalist who “publicly insults” the government or public officials can be subject to up to seven years in prison. Some of the language is resurrected verbatim from Saddam Hussein’s own penal code.
It is hard enough for journalists to operate on the ever-expanding battlefields of Iraq. That is true for foreign journalists, who often have all the gear and protections of powerful outside media. But it is even harder for Iraqi journalists, who now face not only the dangers on the street but the threat of defamation laws as well.

More than 130 journalists or other employees of news outlets have been killed in this war, most of them Iraqis. Some died accidentally, of course. But too many working journalists have clearly been targeted, some even brutally tortured to death, precisely because of what they were publishing. On one day last August, a newspaper editor and a prominent columnist were both shot to death by gunmen in different sections of Baghdad.
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