Iraq: Call an air strike

“… the literature on counter-insurgency is so enormous that, had it been put aboard the Titanic, it would have sunk that ship without any help from the iceberg. However, the outstanding fact is that almost all of it has been written by the losers.”
– Martin van Creveld, in The Changing Face Of War, 2006

Amid the George W Bush administration’s relentless campaign to “change the subject” from Iraq to Iran, how to “win” the war against the Iraqi resistance, Sunni or Shi’ite, now means – according to counter-insurgency messiah General David Petraeus – calling an air strike.

On a parallel level, the Pentagon has practically finished a base in southern Iraq less than 10 kilometers from the border with Iran called Combat Outpost Shocker. The Pentagon maintains this is for the US to prevent Iranian weapons from being smuggled into Iraq. Rather, it’s to control a rash of US covert, sabotage operations across the border targeting Iran’s Khuzestan province.

With the looming Turkish threat of invading Iraqi Kurdistan and President General President Musharraf’s new “let’s jail all the lawyers” coup within a coup in Pakistan, the bloody war in the plains of Mesopotamia is lower down in the news cycle – not to mention the interminable 2008 US presidential soap opera. Rosy spinning, though, still rules unchecked.

The Pentagon – via Major General Joseph Fil, commander of US forces in Baghdad – is relentlessly spinning there’s now less violence in the capital, a “sustainable” trend. This is rubbish. [complete article]

Iraqi fighters ‘grilled for evidence on Iran’

US military officials are putting huge pressure on interrogators who question Iraqi insurgents to find incriminating evidence pointing to Iran, it was claimed last night.

Micah Brose, a privately contracted interrogator working for American forces in Iraq, near the Iranian border, told The Observer that information on Iran is ‘gold’. The claim comes after Washington imposed sanctions on Iran last month, citing both its nuclear ambitions and its Revolutionary Guards’ alleged support of Shia insurgents in Iraq. Last week the US military freed nine Iranians held in Iraq, including two it had accused of links to the Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force.

Brose, 30, who extracts information from detainees in Iraq, said: ‘They push a lot for us to establish a link with Iran. They have pre-categories for us to go through, and by the sheer volume of categories there’s clearly a lot more for Iran than there is for other stuff. Of all the recent requests I’ve had, I’d say 60 to 70 per cent are about Iran. [complete article]

Broken supply channel sent weapons for Iraq astray

As the insurgency in Iraq escalated in the spring of 2004, American officials entrusted an Iraqi businessman with issuing weapons to Iraqi police cadets training to help quell the violence.

By all accounts, the businessman, Kassim al-Saffar, a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war, did well at distributing the Pentagon-supplied weapons from the Baghdad Police Academy armory he managed for a military contractor. But, co-workers say, he also turned the armory into his own private arms bazaar with the seeming approval of some American officials and executives, selling AK-47 assault rifles, Glock pistols and heavy machine guns to anyone with cash in hand — Iraqi militias, South African security guards and even American contractors. [complete article]

Editor’s Comment — The path travelled by one of those Glocks is revealed in a report in The Guardian. The reporter describes interviewing a Sunni insurgent — one of America’s newly recruited fighters. “He pulled his pistol out and showed it to me. It was a Glock, supplied by the US to Iraqi security forces. ‘This belonged to the commander of al-Qaida here,’ he said. ‘They called him the White Lion. I killed him and got his gun.'”

Americans said to have proposed a six-month truce to the resistance groups

Al-Hayat says this morning that it has learned from “sources in the government and sources close to the armed groups” about a plan including a followup reconciliation meeting, to be arranged by the Iraqi Reconciliation Agency, but to be held under American and international auspices, along with a proposal for a six-month truce between the armed resistance groups and the American/Iraqi forces. [complete article]

Forced Iraq postings ‘may be necessary’

Four days before a deadline for Foreign Service officers to volunteer to go to Iraq or face the prospect of being ordered there, the State Department notified employees yesterday that “about half” of 48 open assignments there for next year have been filled.

“This reduces but does not eliminate the possibility that directed assignments may be necessary,” Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte wrote in an e-mailed update. Filling the remaining jobs is still “the Department’s priority,” he said, adding that he is optimistic that more will volunteer. [complete article]

Editor’s Comment — The email had to come from Negroponte and not the Sectretary of State herself because madame secretary declines to use email. That’s right! “Rice does not use e-mail.”

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