Some Iraqi War News Not Reported


Ed Morrissey describes the remnants of Sadr’s army like so:

The remnants of the Mahdi Army have gone underground, forming an armed network on a much smaller scale. How small? Think of the Spartans at Thermopylae, and cut that in half while removing the courage and the military skill.

Couldn’t have put it better myself. He is talking about the report that Sadr’s army has been completely decimated and now number oh, about 150:

The military wing of the Sadrist Movement, the political party loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, is “turning itself into a secret armed organization,” an Iraqi intelligence official told the Gulf News on condition of anonymity.

Iraqi intelligence reports suggest the group’s numbers have dwindled from around 50,000 to as few as 150 in the past few years.

Intelligence officials credit decisions by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to launch military offensives against Shiite militants in the southern parts of the country as deterring the group. An Iraqi intelligence official reports as many as 2,000 Mehdi Army fighters were killed in recent operations in Basra, Sadr City and the provincial capital of Maysan, Amarah.

Meanwhile Bill Roggio reports that a released Gitmo detainee is back to the front and is responsible for attacks inside Iraq:

Al Qaeda in Iraq, through its puppet organization the Islamic State of Iraq, released its latest propaganda video on June 23. The video contains a montage of attacks throughout Iraq, and features two Kuwaiti al Qaeda operatives who conducted strikes in Mosul. One of the operatives was released from the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Islamic State of Iraq used footage taken at Combat Outpost Inman by this reporter in Mosul in March of this year.

The detainee, Abdullah Salih al Ajmi, drove a armored truck packed with explosives into a Iraqi army base and detonated it, killing 13 Iraqi army soldiers and wounding 42.

Just the tip of the iceberg I’m afraid after our courts release a large chunk of these guys.

The MSM is leading their Iraq reporting with the bombings in Anbar province while virtually ignoring the fact that the region is going to be handed over to Iraqi control on Saturday:

Once the most violent place in Iraq, Anbar province will come under Provincial Iraqi Control on Saturday, a senior military official said Monday.

So far, nine Iraqi provinces are under Provincial Iraqi Control, or PIC, in which Iraqi security forces perform day-to-day operations and U.S. troops provide assistance as needed, the military official told reporters.

“When you PIC a province, the coalition force goes into what we call an operational overwatch: They’re there, essentially as a security blanket,” the official said.

Christian at Defense Tech (who served in the Anbar province) wrote that the MSM reported on the handover on the web, but completely ignored it in their paper editions:

Though the Washington Post ran a story on its Web site today which lead with the heinous attempt by AQI to disrupt the handover by bombing a provincial council meeting and killing an estimated 20 (which hits pretty close to home for me because I met some of these tribal leaders in the very place where the bombing occurred — see the picture above), the paper edition did not have a story on the handover, nor did the New York Times.

Remember, these were the papers that jumped on the leak of a Marine Corps Intelligence report in September 2006 that Anbar was lost. Wrote the NYTimes:

As the situation has deteriorated, insurgent attacks have increased. The report describes Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia as an “integral part of the social fabric” of Anbar.

Aside from being flat out wrong on that assessment, the stories painted a grim picture of the situation in Anbar and help solidify impressions (with an election coming up just a month later) that Iraq was a lost cause.

But how times have changed. Anbar is flat out boring to go visit anymore.

While the bombings show al-Qaeda is still not completely defeated, the progress made against the enemy cannot be denied. Hell, even some in academia admit it:

This week’s spate of attacks on political gatherings is not a sign of a resurgent Al Qaeda in Iraq, said Bruce Hoffman, a counter-terrorism expert at Georgetown University.

The insurgency is settling in for a long campaign, Hoffman said. The attacks demonstrate that it can still terrorize even though its strategy of mobilizing the population and holding down territory has failed, he said.

But there is one less al-Qaeda leader to help lead that insurgency. Overlooked by the MSM was the death of the leader of al-Qaeda in Mosul by American forces:

Coalition forces killed the al-Qaeda in Iraq “emir” of Mosul as they continued to disrupt terrorist operations there. When they reached the target building, the force was confronted by several terrorists committing hostile acts and exhibiting hostile intent, and they were forced to respond, killing one terrorist who reached for a pistol, one terrorist who attempted to detonate his suicide vest, and one female terrorist who tried to detonate the dead terrorist’s suicide vest.

Bill Roggio reports the leader was Abu Khalaf:

Khalaf “rose through the ranks to become the overall emir of Mosul,” the US military stated. He served as al Qaeda’s military commander in Mosul during the rule of former al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi.

He would meet with senior al Qaeda leaders in Mosul and the Jazeera desert “coordinating and ordering dozens of attacks against Iraqi citizens, Iraqi forces and Coalition forces.”

Khalaf had close ties to foreign al Qaeda terrorists, according to his associates in custody. “Khalaf traveled much of the time with foreigners,” the US military said. Abu Khalud, his aide wearing the suicide vest at the time of his death, was a Syrian national.

Further signs of progress in Iraq (and ignored by the MSM) include various small villages getting water treatment facilities:

Al Haboosh, Iraq – For the first time ever, a small village in Dhi Qar province will soon have access to clean drinking water.

Sheik Abdul Razak says his community is “very happy” about the ongoing work. The project includes awaterplant.jpg 50-cubic-meter per-hour water treatment plant with a reverse osmosis unit, 1000 meters of pipe connecting that plant to the community’s existing water network, and an above ground storage reservoir for the treated water.


The project is being overseen by Construction Representative Toni Graves with the Gulf Region South District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “They’re very excited seeing it being built and anxious to see it
finished.” The construction, which started last fall, is currently 40 percent complete and should be operational by September.

Graves, who is overseeing the construction of ten water treatment plants in Dhi Qar, says this project is her favorite because of the enthusiastic pride she sees every time she visits the project as town
leaders and children stop by. “I think it’s wonderful we’re able to help them get access to a fundamental necessity. They’re always kind and friendly, delighted to see it taking shape, and grateful for what we’re doing.”

And more electricity in Baghdad:


Baghdad, Iraq – “The impact of this project for the Iraqi people is that electricity means life, new life. This electricity brings more homes, more water, more laborers, more farming, more markets. It is life for Iraq,” says an Iraqi engineer at the Qudas electric power station.

The Gulf Region Division oversees the $160 million installation of two new gas turbines and their auxiliary modules that will generate 200 megawatts of electricity, sufficient to power approximately 180,000 Iraqi homes.

Work at Qudas is lively with 300 to 400 workers per day busy on the job site. A second evening shift was added to increase productivity. To increase turbine generator efficiency, an evaporative cooling
system was installed on the inlet side of each turbine. This modification, being used for the first time in Iraq, cools the turbines’ incoming air and adds water vapor by a series of water-soaked panels, much like “swamp coolers” cool hot, low humidity air in the Southwest United States. Ultimately, this evaporative cooling process gives the turbine more explosive power in the combustion chamber.

And lastly Iraq is starting a program to help eliminate unemployment among the youth in Iraq:

Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashimi revealed on Friday a “big national project” to eliminate unemployment of youths, particularly in university graduates’ circles, in association with academic economists.

“The current orientation by the government is to back citizens through providing services and jobs for all categories in different areas of the country,” Hashimi told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI).

He pointed out that the project, to be bolstered by the Multi-National Force (MNF) for a period of three months, will be waiting for government financial appropriations.

Some bad news out of Iraq, lots of good news. So what does the MSM do with the reduction of bad news out of Iraq? Do they report on all the progress and good stuff? Nope…instead they just reduce the reporting altogether.

No bias there huh?

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In a completely unexpected twist to the already strained unfoldings of a US-Iraq SOFA, McClatchy is reporting:

Senior Iraqi government officials said Saturday that a U.S. Special Forces counterterrorism unit conducted the raid that reportedly killed a relative of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, touching off a high-stakes diplomatic crisis between the United States and Iraq.

U.S. military officials in Baghdad had no comment for the second day in a row, an unusual position for a command that typically releases information on combat operations within 24 hours.

The raid occurred at dawn Friday in the town of Janaja near Maliki’s birthplace in the southern, mostly Shiite Muslim province of Karbala. Ali Abdulhussein Razak al Maliki, who was killed in the raid, was related to the prime minister and had close ties to his personal security detail, according to authorities in Karbala.

Doug: What does that have to do with anything?

Now, here’s the thing:

Iraqi intelligence reports suggest the group’s numbers [Sadr’s Mahdi Army] have dwindled from around 50,000 to as few as 150 in the past few years.

It is an indisputable lesson of history that a strong and united force will defeat an insurgency. Especially when that insurgency has lost it’s popular support.

Simplify the lesson and just remember “Peace Through Strength.” It works every time it is tried.

Despite the best efforts by Democrats to undermine our resolve, President Bush along with our Iraqi partners, were able to overcome the defeatism that would have caused our premature withdrawal and Iraq’s collapse. In so doing, the enemy saw that we were not going to cut and run as their propaganda and the wishes of Democrats predicted.

Common sense, coupled with strong and unwavering leadership have made the gains documented above possible.

And we should all hold those who would have thrown it all away accountable at the ballot box.


As of now the story you posted is only single-sourced through McClatchy.

If I remember correctly they have a tendency to get things screwed up a bit don’t they?

I may be wrong. Not sure.

Hopefully they don’t have the facts correct on this one.

We’ll see.

Here’s another article with a bit of a different version as to how the person killed was related to Maliki.,com_contentwire/task,view/id,62431/Itemid,53/

Another interesting thing that I noted because I googled Hussein Nima, is that he was involved in a prison break in 2005.

This week’s spike in the deaths of both Iraqis and U.S. troops comes after the socalled security gains in Malikis’ recent push towards routing militias. Next week the media will report that U.S. deaths in June out-paced May’s 19 deaths in one death a day for June. Iraqi deaths will also be reported as on the rise.

Iraq certainly is not ‘quiet’, as McCain has stated. Anbar, Mosul, Baghdad (which I will now refer to here at FA as the ‘walled city'(more later on that)), Kirkuk, Basra, and Falluja are now having an increase in violence; bombings, attacks, assassinations for June have risen putting the civilian deaths in concerning new contexts.

All this after Maliki’s sweep to stabilize these cities.

Next week Iraq-wonks will ponder the meaning of this asking:

1. Are the attacks simply a way for AQI to demonstrate their continued relevance?

2. Is there a struggle starting to emerge between Awakening groups and the Iraqi government and among the Sunnis themselves (as the planned US hand-over of Anbar province for next week was abruptly delayed!)?

3. Are we beginning to see an intra-Sunni (and intra-Shia competition in Sadr’s JAM) in the lead up to provincial elections?

4. Are we seeing Awakening members return to AQI, or splinter away to form their own insurgency groups, because they are frustrated at the lack of accommodation by the Iraqi government (they still have not returned to Parliament when they walked out last May when Maliki would not accept their names for elective office in the coming elections)?

5. Has Maliki’s military operations in Mosul failed as the insurgents have reestablish themselves?

6. Is ethnic violence going to run its course in Kirkuk?

To these and other questions, I don’t know. But the Pentagon is not taking any chances and ordered 30,000 troops to Iraq:

Certainly something worrisome is going on in light of the elections dawning; and all that in light of Afghanistan, that forgotten war:

(WP) Violence in Afghanistan will continue to rise this year, as Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters have proved resilient and aggressive foes against coalition forces, according to a new Pentagon report issued to Congress yesterday.

Citing a weak Afghan government, struggling economy, massive increases in illegal narcotics production, corruption, growing attacks by insurgents and an increase in civilian casualties, U.S. defense officials said incremental progress in Afghanistan contrasts with significant challenges ahead. The report, which reviews the war from 2001 through 2008, offers a bleak assessment of a conflict that commanders think requires more resources and attention. Sadly, much has been put in the continuing conflict in Iraq.

Timing means everything in war. The Iraq insurgents are well aware of our military strains and may be using it to our concern now. At this point, who knows?

So, is the insurgency ‘crumbling’ as Curt stated here?

The Crumbling Insurgency

It doesn’t appear to be. It may be making a rebound. Certainly, it’s too early to tell.

We may now be witnessing a new chapter of guerrilla war. Perhaps not; hopefully not, but the elements are there for such a bad recipe. They are all revolving around 3 highly contested key components (or Bush benchmarks) that everyone knew could be flash-points for conflict:

1. No provincial elections are unlikely this year (as no required ‘election law’ looks likely);

2. thus, no oil law (as Sunni’s and Sadrists in Parliament will hold it hostage due to no election, among other grievances);

3. thus, no US-Iraq security deal (as this also will be held hostage).

No doubt, patience is running very thin now on all sides of the matters at hand.

After a three day silence over the killing of PM Maliki’s cousin the US military releases a statement:

(McClatchy) Maliki is Janaja’s most famous son, but he’s been conspicuously silent in the aftermath of an apparent covert coalition raid Friday morning — finally acknowledged Sunday by the U.S. military — that killed one of his relatives and terrified the villagers, many of whom share the premier’s tribal last name and belong to his Dawa Party. Other senior Iraqi officials have not kept mum: They’ve demanded an investigation and say the incident could affect negotiations for a long-term U.S.-Iraqi security pact.

Janaja residents said the prime minister’s office privately has reassured them that Maliki is furious with his American allies but that he wanted to keep the ensuing diplomatic crisis out of the media spotlight. On Sunday, tribal leaders from throughout the south gathered under funeral tents to offer condolences and whisper about what went wrong.

The U.S. military broke its silence on the incident Sunday, releasing a vague statement confirming that coalition forces had shot and killed “a local security guard” during operations early Friday that targeted special groups, a reference to suspected Iranian-backed militant cells.

The statement, which did not mention the military branch or even the nationality of the force that conducted the raid, said the guard “exited a building in close proximity to coalition forces while brandishing an AK-47 held against his shoulder as if to fire. Perceiving hostile intent and acting in self defense, coalition forces shot and killed the armed man.” Only later did the forces realize he was a local security guard.

“Coalition forces deeply regret the loss of life and are conducting an investigation,” the statement read. There was no other information about the target of the raid or whether the troops had made any arrests.

A high-ranking member of the Iraqi government told McClatchy on Saturday that the raid was conducted by a U.S. Special Forces “antiterrorism unit that operates almost independently.” Other U.S. and Iraqi officials speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed the involvement of Special Forces. The U.S. military command in Baghdad declined to offer further comment.

(NYT) Iraqi government officials on Sunday criticized the American military for two recent attacks in which soldiers killed people who the government said were civilians.

One death occurred during a raid by American soldiers on Friday near Karbala; two days earlier, three people described by the Interior Ministry as bank employees on their way to work were shot and killed near the Baghdad airport when they tried to pass an American convoy.

An Iraqi government statement demanded that the soldiers be held accountable in Iraq. The issue is particularly delicate now because the two countries are negotiating a long-term security agreement and among the chief points of disagreement are whether the American military will be free to conduct operations and detain suspects and whether, if its soldiers kill civilians, they will have immunity from Iraqi law.

This is just one of the recent incidents where US forces have killed civilians. The truth is this happens many times and while someone must be called to blame and held responsible on a personal level (actually that hardly ever really happens), the circumstances are arranged for such events to happen– it’s simply the attribution of an occupation that is acting the role of a police force. Ultimately, a young, scared kid with a gun is going to make a mistake and someone is going to get shot when they shouldn’t. But that’s the kindest interpretation.

However, when you invade a province that is fully controlled by Iraqis, break into the PM’s cousin’s home, scare the crap out of his extended family, and then kill his cousin, the standard attribution of accidental civilian death simply no longer applies. In this case you are dealing with war crimes. The same war crimes have occurred in Iraq here and there, but they simply are buried in statistical data and never make a real dent in political relations at the highest levels as all know that’s just the collateral damage that is expected.

The fact that the townspeople were members of the PM’s own tribe should’ve given someone in the US chain of command a hint that they should discuss this raid with the Iraqi government first. Now, it seems very likely that Maliki and others will must hold those who killed his relative to account –it’s a matter of national honor and respect …and, of course, the US answer is going to be that US troops aren’t accountable to the Iraqi government or anyone else accept their own chain of command.

And that’s why this incident is so important. It now requires us to pay particular attention to the public’s reaction of how it is handled, from both sides, as there will be much political display and foot work here; the US-Iraq security agreement may be now bound conditionally on how this plays out— as the symbolism of this event is in reality high drama — it marked with personal political tragedy and, of course, irony.


So what are you saying then, the Karbala invasion, house storming and Maliki slaying is “typical bullshit” and has no affinity to war crimes? I never said they were guilty. I said “you are dealing with war crimes”. …and that’s what everyone is looking at there.

The U.S. military handed-over Iraqi forces control of Karbala’s security last year. Yet there was a raid on the Maliki village, with no coordination of US-Iraqi military activity, no sharing of knowledge of the event and a man was shot and killed.

On the face of it, it appears laws were broken here. A special forces team invades a fully sovereign province, run completely by Iraqis, without any governmental permission or even provincial forewarning, storms a house, the wrong house, ties everyone up, and then shoots and kills a man– you can’t get better conditions for it not being fitted as a war crime.

How would you feel if this happened to your family? Would you think it might be a war crime then?

My nephew said our troops and their leaders have to file reports every single time they fire at anyone, every incident is investigated. He spent the first half of that tour in the field, he then went to Abu Gharibe and brought prisoners in to be interrogated, part of his responsibility was to make sure the interrogators did not touch a prisoner. The rules of engagement have been tightened so much that they have become a hinderance. The silly ideas that our troops are just firing at will are rediculous. He said he had a couple of guys that vowed they wouldn’t fire at anyone because they were afraid they would be brought up on charges.

Perhaps, Malikis anger is not directed at our forces, I had read a couple of different versions of this story, one mentioned that this person may have been involved with the special groups that are being sought. Maliki finding that out might be what angered him and that might be why our forces did this mission instead of the Iraqis.

Also, why was Hussein Nima, the one involved in a prison break present?

BTW, “(as the planned US hand-over of Anbar province for next week was abruptly delayed!)?”

It was delayed because of weather conditions.

Sorry, after second thoughts I thought it best to edit this post, but it won’t let me.

Nooooooooo, it was delayed so the US could control the oil and keep our gasoline prices cheap

[/sarcasm off]


Haditha was in Anbar, a Sunni province; it was not under Iraq’s control, it was a war zone.

Karbala is completely different. The raid was a violation of an agreement signed with the U.S. military last year when it transferred Karbala to the control of Iraqi security forces.

In both your posts have omitted to engage this crucial fact.


Missy, Scott, this is the second time the handover has been postponed. Perhaps it was weather related, but I tend to doubt it. The postponement came the day _after_ the suicide bomber attack. Further, this attack was a significant ‘strike’, it killed VIPs, a mayor, major tribal leaders, a Marine commander, and their members. It’s difficult to imagine that the ceremony could have been permitted under such a dark cloud.

“The terror movement also lost its major base in the western province of Anbar after Sunni tribes turned against al-Qaeda and joined with U.S. forces to provide security there.

Nevertheless, al-Qaeda remains active in scattered areas of Anbar. On Thursday, a suicide bomber dressed in a police uniform attacked a meeting of U.S.-backed tribal sheiks in Karmah, killing more than 20, including three U.S. Marines and the mayor.

One of the Americans killed was Lt. Col. Max A. Galeai of Pago Pago, American Samoa, the commander of Marines in the Karmah area.

The attack occurred two days before U.S. officials planned to formally hand over security responsibility for Anbar to the Iraqis, marking a major milestone in the transformation of a province that had been the most violent in Iraq.

U.S. authorities announced Friday they were postponing the handover ceremony because of weather forecasts calling for high winds and sandstorms, which would ground aircraft and make it impossible for dignitaries to attend.”


there are still two perspectives here:

Ahmed Abu Risha, the head of Iraq’s U.S.-backed Awakening
Council, an alliance of Sunni Arab tribes fighting al Qaeda
militants, said Iraqi security forces took the decision to
postpone the handover because of the weather.

But he added that it would most likely have been delayed
anyway out of respect for the victims of Thursday’s bombing in
Garma, 30 km (20 miles) west of Baghdad.

“This also is a reason for delaying: There will be all these
funerals in Anbar … It is respectful not to hold ceremonies
while the funerals are still on,” he said.

Actually, the ceremony was postponed before the attack.,2933,372965,00.html


that’s not what the piece you linked to states. If the attack occurred on Thurs.

U.S. spokesmen said it was unclear if the suspect, who was not identified, was directly involved in planning the attack, which happened Thursday in the town of Karmah in Anbar province about 30 miles west of Baghdad.

…and the ceremony was postponed on Friday

U.S. authorities announced Friday they were postponing the handover ceremony because of weather forecasts calling for high winds and sandstorms, which would ground aircraft and make it impossible for dignitaries to attend.

…then the event was canceled after the bombing.

Now if you are referring to this section in the piece:

Lt. Col. Chris Hughes, spokesman for U.S. forces in Anbar, said the U.S. had been planning to delay the ceremony based on weather forecasts before Thursday’s attack.

…then still, “the ceremony was [not] postponed before the attack.” It was ‘planned’ to be postponed; there was no public announcement, no media communicae to this effect …there was simply ‘planning’, where no action was taken.

Doug, there are indeed two perspectives here. McClatchey’s, and the as of yet fully untold story.

Yes, Karbala was under control of Iraq forces. Therefore I think there must be a very strong reason US special forces were sent into that area, without the usual *courtesy* coordination with local forces. (yes, not mandated, but they still cooperate with communication unless the situation doesn’t warrant it).

Our troops aren’t bored and sans important missions. This wasn’t something a commander on the ground planned because he woke up one day and discovered they had nothing else to do.

Scenario that crosses my mind is perhaps a cell working there under the protection of those local forces, and that alerting them to a special forces raid would render neutralizing that cell’s activities impossible. We have no ideal what intel was in possession, and how many corrupt Iraq officials (and we do know the Iraq forces have been infiltrated often by militants) may have demanded this op be implemented in this fashion.

But one thing I am dead certain of… it had to be important enough to do this. I’m also dead certain they had to know of the political repercussions of even a successful mission accomplished on territory under Iraq control. And that alone makes me patient to wait and see the full story.

I’m not completely discounting some of your theories as being true. They may very well pan out as a serious mistake. EMPHASIS on the word “mistake”. Our soldiers aren’t sport killers.

I am, however, pointing out that you always seize on news prematurely, then pronounce some doom n gloom finality. And mostly McClatchey reports, notorious for twisting reports and govt studies. Are you aware that you portray yourself far too often as eager to accept our forces are brutal, bloodthirsty killers, out for a day’s entertainment at innocent Iraqis’ expense? Is this your intent?

You also tend to accept the first reports (from blatantly biased news outlets) as absolute, and close your mind to other events and evidence that may arise later. You think no further than the words on paper/screen before you.

This is one more incident of western media cries of foul against US soldiers who… yes, can make mistakes… but do not set out each day to commit cold blooded murder like suicide and car bombers. Odd how they never rate the wrath of either the media, or the anti-free-Iraq American citizens. Instead they are willing – no, make that *eager* – to hang our soldiers and commanders out to dry on second hand witnesses’ testimony.

Be patient and wait for the story to unfold, instead of joining McClatchey in driving a story to make a political point.

(LAT) Infuriated by the recent shooting deaths of four civilians by U.S. soldiers, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has decided to appoint a judge to hear evidence in the cases, a close aide said Sunday.

“There must be a hearing of some sort by an Iraqi judge,” said Haidar al-Abadi, a member of parliament from al-Maliki’s Dawa party and a member of the prime minister’s inner circle.

The appointment of a judge to hear evidence against U.S. soldiers would represent a significant encroachment on the rules laid down during the U.S. occupation, which provide foreigners working in the country, both military and civilian contractors, immunity from Iraqi judicial process.

Al-Abadi acknowledged that the judge would have no authority to convict or sentence Americans, but he said a forum is needed to provide Iraqis a sense of justice.

Considering the above, I’m reminded of the tit for tat in ‘The Godfather’ between the Hollywood director and the Godfather when the director finally wakes up and finds his prize horse’s head in his bloodied bed. Thus, it appears Hollywood-Maliki is upping the ante!

(Dark sarcasm below:)

But he better be careful or Bush will whack another one of his kin! I can see it now: Bush: “Badges??? …We don’t need …no stinking badges!”– Your province is MINE! “…Now it puts the lotion on its skin …or else it gets the hose again.”

It could happen! …he is from Texas.

Bush still has a good shot killing, er, I mean, getting Maliki to understand a SOFA under his terms is not a bad thing, really. …just think of all the job opportunities for haircuts, whoring and shoe-shining with 30-50 long term Military bases.

But wow, these hardball “negotiations” for the “status of forces agreement” (which even the corporate media recognizes as a transparent sham to avoid a Congressional vote) sure are getting nasty, aren’t they. But given that, there’s hardly been any REAL Democratic opposition, certainly not from Obama.
With that in mind, it’s hard to see why Bush hasn’t simply just taken out Maliki himself!– it’d be much faster and easier that way –and the hawks would love it, they’d think of it just like him flying landing on “mission accomplished’ day all over again!

I mean, why not? He likes guns, oil, has no moral center. Perhaps the raid really was Bush saying, “I’m going to make him an offer he simply cannot refuse”! Perhaps shooting his cousin in the chest was intended to send a double message:

Boss Paul: “That ditch is Boss Kean’s [Bush’s] ditch. And I told him that dirt in it’s your dirt. What’s your dirt doin’ in his ditch?
Luke [Maliki]: I don’t know, Boss.
Boss Paul: You better get in there and get it out, boy.”

Owing this event happened on fully Iraqi governed soil dispenses away any notion of real Iraqi sovereignty; consequently it has to; it is now and forever is and always will be a joke …whatever pious verbiage gets spouted for us rubes back home and for the Iraqis; it is a joke.

No doubt there will be a passing “political crisis” in Iraq over this “hit-job” — but it won’t matter in the end. The cobbled-together conglomeration of collaborators in the “government” know they cannot even cook their own dinner without American support. The most they can hope for is to kick the negotiations down the road a bit, and see if they can get a slightly better deal from Obama. Which is probably how it will end.

But who knows.

It’s amazing how hard Doug works at finding irrelevant and tangential information that merely acts to obfuscate the issue under discussion.

I guess he’s like Dems in Congress: all but given up on defeat so he’s out to diminish VICTORY.

Is Doug one of those guys that “smoked but didn’t inhale”? Lay off the mary jane. It’s making you paranoid.

Caught off guard by recent Iraqi military operations, the United States is using spy satellites that ordinarily are trained on adversaries to monitor the movements of the American-backed Iraqi army, current and former U.S. officials say.

The stepped-up surveillance reflects breakdowns in trust and coordination between the two forces. Officials said it was part of an expanded intelligence effort launched after American commanders were surprised by the timing of the Iraqi army’s violent push into Basra three months ago.

The use of the satellites puts the United States in the unusual position of employing some of its most sophisticated espionage technology to track an allied army that American forces helped create, continue to advise, and often fight alongside.

The satellites are “imaging military installations that the Iraqi army occupies,” said a former U.S. military official, who said slides from the images had been used in recent closed briefings at U.S. facilities in the Middle East. “They’re imaging training areas that the Iraqi army utilizes. They’re imaging roads that Iraqi armored vehicles and large convoys transit.”

Military officials and experts said the move showed concern by U.S. commanders about whether their Iraqi counterparts would follow U.S. guidance or keep their coalition partners fully informed.,0,86483,full.story

This story spills out all kinds of inferred information from this revelation. Of course, the first is we were taken by surprise by Maliki’s Barsa move; the second, it raises new questions about how successful the Basra mission really was; third, our coordination of military information with Iraq now requires verification, as it is built on suspicion; and fourth, especially, after the Karbala incident, where we killed Maliki’s cousin, the terms of any security agreement between the US and Iraq, if there will be one, will be fraught with mistrust and held in an atmosphere of concern and doubt.

With the regrowth of the Taliban last month saw an increase in deaths of Coalition forces, including US troops, in Afghanistan more than in any other month of the war, plus death totals have topped those in Iraq over the past two months.

As a probably consequence, yesterday during a Pentagon Press briefing , Adm. Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, was explicit about the risks the US was and is taking in Afghanistan by keeping such a large presence in Iraq:

“I am deeply troubled. …I don’t have troops I can reach for, brigades I can reach, to send into Afghanistan until I have a reduced requirement in Iraq.”

Placed next to his past April’s comment…

“There are force requirements there [in Afghanistan] that we can’t currently meet,” he said. “Having forces in Iraq at the level they’re at doesn’t allow us to fill the need that we have in Afghanistan.”

…one is forced, therefore, to wonder if the trade-off is endangering US troops in Afghanistan and winning in Afghanistan.

As a matter of causality, this is the danger of assuming a military solution to the problems in Iraq as we have now maxed-out troop capability in Iraq in order to “win” a war where the problems there are primarily political, not military.

Not even thinking about how a gradual, conditional redeployment from Iraq could have and still might be able to leverage further success in Iraq —that frees up military resources for Afghanistan— is simply unforgivable.

Bush and McCain who are “all in” on a “stay the course” strategy in Iraq until “victory” kicks-in are negotiating a “win” in Iraq through a loss in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, the ‘Forgotten War’, is now more than ever, tied to Iraq; they are now in balance working off each other, they pivot off the the same fulcrum; one’s actions effects the other’s imbalance: it’s a consequence of running two fronts at the same time– it’s a consequence of mismanagment in resources and a stubborness in not listening to one’s generals.

How much risk –imbalance– should we accept in Afghanistan while we keep the maximum sustainable number of forces in Iraq?

Bush says he can envision more forces in Afghanistan by 2009. Even if he’s telling the truth, is that soon enough?

Declaring that there will not be “another colonization of Iraq,” Iraq’s foreign minister raised the possibility on Wednesday that a full security agreement with the United States might not be reached this year, and that if one was, it would be a short-term pact.

American officials, speaking anonymously because of the delicate state of negotiations, said they were no longer optimistic that a complete security agreement could be reached by the year’s end.

At a news conference in Baghdad, the foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, told reporters that some headway had been made, but that negotiators were deadlocked over issues like the extent of Iraqi control over American military operations and the right of American soldiers to detain suspects without the approval of Iraqi authorities.

Negotiations are complicated by political currents in both countries. Iraqi officials facing elections in the fall do not want to be seen as capitulating to the United States. At the same time, they are eager for some form of agreement to prevent any rapid departure of American forces.

If the Bush Admin. had applied more leverage by gradually removing troops, they’d have “killed” two birds with one stone: they would have leveraged political progress in Iraq and helped the troop shortage in Afghanistan (not to mention scored brownie points back home).

But they don’t want that. The Iraqi FM is right: BushCo wants a colony; they want a longterm military arrangement so they can dictate terms on oil, and ME policy. That’s hardly the proposed democracy for Iraq they invaded for.