Then... and now
1998 "The Commission on Human Rights noted...massive and extremely grave violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law by the Government of Iraq... hundreds of executions, some of which may have been extrajudicial executions... Torture and ill-treatment continued to be widespread."
2006 "The situation as far as torture is concerned is now completely out of hand... many people say that it is worse than in the times of Saddam Hussein. You find bodies with very heavy and serious torture marks. "
1998 In July a group of six people, including one woman, were sentenced to death by hanging on charges of organised prostitution, involvement in the white slave trade and smuggling alcohol to Saudi Arabia.
2006 On 7 September, the Iraqi authorities announced the execution by hanging at Abu Ghraib prison of 27 prisoners, including one woman, convicted of terror and criminal charges. It is the first mass execution since Saddam Hussein's rule
A confidential Pentagon assessment finds that an overwhelming majority of Iraq's Sunni Muslims support the insurgency that has been fighting against U.S. troops and the Iraqi government, ABC News has learned.
Officials won't say how the assessment was made but found that support for the insurgency has never been higher, with approximately 75 percent of the country's Sunni Muslims in agreement.
When the Pentagon started surveying Iraqi public opinion in 2003, Sunni support for the insurgents stood at approximately 14 percent.
A sweeping majority of the insurgents in Iraq are waging the guerrilla war against the United States and allied forces to serve their interests on the domestic Iraqi scene, according to a major United Arab Emirates (UAE) daily.
They have no interest in pursuing an anti-US armed offensive outside Iraq, said the Sharjah-based Gulf Today.
"Most of them are Iraqi Sunnis who fear that their interests would be totally undermined by the Shiite-dominated government. They are seeking to realise concrete, local political goals and are not running a terrorism campaign against the US", said the paper in its Wednesday's editorial comment.
The US and Iraqi governments have vastly overstated the number of foreign fighters in Iraq, and most of them don't come from Saudi Arabia, according to a new report from the Washington-based Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS). According to a piece in The Guardian, this means the US and Iraq " feed the myth" that foreign fighters are the backbone of the insurgency. While the foreign fighters may stoke the insurgency flames, they make up only about 4 to 10 percent of the estimated 30,000 insurgents.
The CSIS study also disputes media reports that Saudis are the largest group of foreign fighters. CSIS says "Algerians are the largest group (20 percent), followed by Syrians (18 percent), Yemenis (17 percent), Sudanese (15 percent), Egyptians (13 percent), Saudis (12 percent) and those from other states (5 percent)." CSIS gathered the information for its study from intelligence sources in the Gulf region.
On that scorching afternoon last month, Ahmed Kamel was playing soccer with his two children outside his home when three men drove up in a Chevy Caprice, pulled out their guns and dragged him away.
'You will see your father tomorrow behind the levee,' one advised Kamel's 13-year-old, Mustafa, as the boy clung desperately to the escaping car.
Four hours later, the family later learned, police found Kamel's body where the kidnappers said he would be: a notorious dumping ground for the dead in northeast Baghdad. His crime? He had served in the Iraqi army for more than a decade and lived in a neighborhood where, as part of Baghdad's ordeal of ethnic cleansing, Shiite Muslim militias are pushing out Sunnis like him.
Evidence enough in the cold calculation of life and death that presides in this capital of fear. A wrong turn, a detour, an untoward stare, a pointed finger, an anonymous denunciation, a nod of the head - these can, and, do, lead regularly, and increasingly, to death.
"I have come to believe that our presence is part of the problem and that we should begin to seriously devise an exit strategy. There’s a civil war in Iraq and our presence is contributing to the violence. We’ve become a lightning rod–we’re not restricting the violence, we’re contributing to it. Iraq has galvanized jihadists; our presence is what is attracting them. We need to get out of there."
[Harper's Magazine | September 20, 2006]
Gone are the days when the US military could be so cavalier about Muqtada's forces that it deliberately provoked a major confrontation with him in Najaf in April 2004. That was when he was believed to have 10,000 poorly trained troops.
Since then, US officials have avoided giving any estimate of the Mehdi Army's strength. But according to a report published last month by London's Chatham House, which undoubtedly reflected the views of British intelligence in Iraq, the Mehdi Army may now be "several hundred thousand strong". Even if that estimate vastly overstates his troop strength, it reflects the sense that Muqtada has the strongest political-military force in the country - because of the loyalty that so many Shi'ites have to him.
The Mehdi Army controls Sadr City, the massive Shi'ite slum in eastern Baghdad that holds half the capital's population. But even more important, perhaps, it holds sway in the heavily Shi'ite southern provinces, and as Muqtada knows well, that gives him a strategic position from which to bring the US military to a standstill.
Patrick Lang, former head of human-intelligence collection and Middle East intelligence at the Defense Intelligence Agency, explained why in an important analysis in the Christian Science Monitor of July 21: US troops must be supplied by convoys of trucks that go across hundreds of kilometers of roads through this Shi'ite heartland, and the Mehdi Army and its allies in the south could turn those supply routes into a "shooting gallery".
Lang noted that the supply trucks are driven by South Asian or Turkish civilians who would immediately quit. And even if the US military used its own troops to protect the routes, they would be vulnerable to ambushes. "A long, linear target such as a convoy of trucks is very hard to defend against irregulars operating in and around their own towns," Lang wrote.
It would not require a complete cutoff of supplies to make the US position untenable. A significant reduction in those supplies would begin a "downward spiral", according to Lang.
You still think you CAN get out?
Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.
Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.
Waist deep! Neck deep! Soon even a
Tall man'll be over his head, we're
Waist deep in the Big Muddy!
And the big fool says to push on!
U.S. Fatalities in War Equal Those from Sept. 11.
...Donald Rumsfeld's original intention was to reconfigure the US military towards a much smaller army, strenuously avoiding large numbers of "boots on the ground", and placing much greater reliance on long-range strike forces and special forces.
Instead, more boots on larger ground is exactly what the Pentagon has got, and the army - worn down by years of war in two theatres, Iraq and Afghanistan - is bearing most of the burden. To meet the cost of replacing lost equipment, repairing worn-out kit and buying huge quantities of ordnance while modernising its systems, the army is reported to be seeking a massive 26% increase in its budget from $111.8 billion....
The second indicator is even more revealing. This is a reported assessment of the main technology requirements being faced by the US military. The driving force here has long been the fundamental requirement for the United States to retain a pronounced lead in military technology over every other country, as this is seen is the one sure way to maintain superpower military dominance.
This has been a feature of long-term US military planning for more than sixty years. It started with the Manhattan Project that resulted in the atom bomb, and continued through to the production of intercontinental ballistic missiles and more recently stealthy aircraft such as the B-2 strategic bomber and the new F-22 and F-35 fighters...
These have all been multi-billion dollar programmes, some lasting thirty or more years. Yet the biggest problem facing the US military is a device that costs a few dollars to produce and is causing huge problems in Iraq and now Afghanistan. ...the roadside bomb or "improvised explosive device" (IED).
...In short, the world's most powerful and best-equipped military is facing basic homemade devices that can destroy main battle-tanks and armoured trucks costing millions of dollars to produce. Moreover, the knowledge and techniques to manufacture these devices are proliferating rapidly, aided by the huge amount of experience that insurgent forces and transnational paramilitaries have gained in the past three years of war in Iraq.
This is perhaps one of the most subtle indications of the way George W Bush's "long war" is evolving. For all its power and hundred-billion dollar defence budgets, the United States is facing the ultimate in asymmetric warfare as its opponents exploit vulnerabilities that would have seemed ridiculous barely five years ago.
Men who embrace the ideal, while rejecting the real, will only accomplish their ruin.
We are having mixed results with Al Qaida, although we have put considerable pressure on them — nonetheless, a great many remain at large.
USG has made reasonable progress in capturing or killing the top 55 Iraqis.
USG has made somewhat slower progress tracking down the Taliban — Omar, Hekmatyar, etc.
With respect to the Ansar Al-Islam, we are just getting started.
Do we need a new organization?
How do we stop those who are financing the radical madrassa schools?
Is our current situation such that "the harder we work, the behinder we get"?
« Older T-SHIRTS T-SHIRTS T-SHIRTS!... | Help wanted:... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt