Troops are staying….sorry Cindy.

A quick note to Cindy Sheehan, the code pinkos and others. Nancy Pelosi and her ilk sold you out for your vote in 2006.  They never intended to withdraw or ‘redeploy’ troops in Iraq.  Try to remember their dog and pony show antics  the next time you are at the polls.  And try to wrap your head around the idea that U.S. troops will not be leaving iraq for the foreseeable future.

  WASHINGTON, July 24 (Xinhua) — While Washington is mired in a political debate over the future of Iraq, the U.S. command in Iraq has prepared a detailed plan that foresees a significant U.S. role for the next two years, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

    The classified plan, which represents the coordinated strategy of the top U.S. commander and the U.S. ambassador, calls for restoring security in local areas, including Baghdad, by the summer of 2008, and “sustainable security” to be established on a nationwide basis by the summer of 2009, U.S. officials familiar with the document were quoted as saying.

    The detailed document, known as the Joint Campaign Plan, is an elaboration of the new strategy President George W. Bush signaled in January with the decision to send five additional combat brigades and other units to Iraq. That signaled a shift from the previous strategy, which emphasized transferring to Iraqis the responsibility for safeguarding their security.

    That new approach put a premium on protecting the Iraqi population in Baghdad, on the theory that improved security would provide Iraqi political leaders with the breathing space they needed to try political reconciliation.

    The latest plan, which covers a two-year period, does not explicitly address troop levels or withdrawal schedules. It anticipates a decline in American forces as the “surge” in troops runs its course later this year or in early 2008. But it nonetheless assumes continued American involvement to train soldiers, act as partners with Iraqi forces and fight terrorist groups in Iraq, American officials said.

    The plan, developed by General David Petraeus, the senior U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador, has been briefed to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral William Fallon, the head of Central Command.

    The plan envisions two phases. The “near-term” goal is to achieve “localized security” in Baghdad and other areas no later than June 2008. It envisions encouraging political accommodations at the local level, including with former insurgents, while pressing Iraq’s leaders to make headway on their program of national reconciliation.

    The “intermediate” goal is to stitch together such local arrangements to establish a broader sense of security on a nationwide basis no later than June 2009, the New York Times report said.

 
Advertisements

Iran-US getting all ‘chatty’.

It’s difficult not to be fascinated by these developments. Over the past several years, there have been two distinct camps.

First there are the “We must talk to our enemies” people. Then there are the “We don’t negotiate with terrorists” people.

Certainly, there are a few who have held the middle ground. But it’s a precious few.

I’d be interested to hear from representatives of the two camps, now that the actions that have been so hotly contested are coming to pass.

BAGHDAD: Iran, Iraq and the United States have agreed to set up a security subcommittee to carry forward their talks on restoring stability in Iraq, the American ambassador said Tuesday at the end of a second round of groundbreaking talks in the Iraqi capital with his Iranian counterpart.

“We discussed ways forward and one of the issues we discussed was the formation of a security subcommittee that would address at a expert or technical level some issues relating to security, be that support for violent militias, Al Qaeda or border security,” the U.S. ambassador, Ryan Crocker, said after the meeting. The Iraqi foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, said officials would meet as early as Wednesday to work out how the panel will operate.

“We hope that the next round of talks will be on a higher level if progress is made,” Zebari said.

But underscoring the tensions between the two foes, Crocker reiterated Washington’s accusations that Iran is fueling violence in Iraq by arming and training Shiite militias. He warned that no progress could be made until Tehran changed its ways.

“The fact is, as we made very clear in today’s talks, that over the roughly two months since our last meeting we’ve actually seen militia-related activity that could be attributed to Iranian support go up and not down,” Crocker said, citing testimony from prisoners and weapons and ammunition confiscated in Iraq as evidence.

The Iranian ambassador, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, countered that Tehran was helping Iraq deal with the security situation but that Iraqis were “victimized by terror and the presence of foreign forces” on their territory.

He said his delegation also demanded the release of five Iranians detained by U.S. forces in Iraq. The United States has said the five were linked to the Quds Force, an elite arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. It has accused the force of arming and training Iraqi militants. Iran says the five are diplomats who were legally in Iraq.

The meeting was opened by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, who appealed for help to stabilize Iraq and warned that militants from Al Qaeda and other terror groups were now fleeing and finding refuge elsewhere.

An Iraqi official who was present at the meeting said Crocker and Qomi engaged in a heated exchange early in the talks. It began when Crocker confronted the Iranian with charges that Tehran was supporting Shiite militiamen who were killing U.S. troops, providing them with weapons and training. Qomi dismissed the allegations, saying the Americans had no proof, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Full Story

90 killed in Gaza: No outrage at all.

This is an outrage.  Where is Human Rights Watch?  Why has not the U.N. issued sanctions.  Why aren’t there all kinds of Reuters’ photos displaying the carnage for all the world to see?  I mean 90 people were killed.  Not injured, killed!  That’s 10 sets of 9 people.  Heck 90 deaths in a day rivals of month of US troops in Iraq.  Why is there no outrage?…

Oh yeah, the Jews weren’t involved.  It’s OK when Muslims kill Muslims or Muslims kill Jews and Christians.  It’s just not OK when ANYONE ELSE kills Muslims. 

Mah bad! Nothing to see here.  Please move along. 

Still, victorious Hamas supporters vented their rage at Fatah.

Hundreds of people swarmed through the unoccupied house of Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan after his neighborhood fell to Hamas, stripping everything, including windows, doors and flowerpots.

A resident of a Hamas-dominated neighborhood, identifying himself only as Yousef for fear of reprisal by his neighbors, said Gazans would always back the winner, regardless of ideology.

“Today everybody is with Hamas because Hamas won the battle. If Fatah had won the battle they’d be with Fatah. We are a hungry people, we are with whoever gives us a bag of flour and a food coupon,” said Yousef, 30. “Me, I’m with God and a bag of flour.”

Outside Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital, taxi driver Nader Susi, 31, sat on the curb, puffing on a cigarette. “I don’t know what’s coming,” he said. “I think I will make even less money now.”

Inside the hospital, the morgue was overflowing, with four bodies lying on the ground. More than 90 people were killed in the fighting, including four Fatah militiamen executed on the street late Thursday, after the Hamas victory. Some Fatah officials had fled by boat, according to Fatah sources.

Fatah forces collapsed under the onslaught by Hamas, which showed superior organization and motivation. One by one, Hamas seized Fatah’s security installations and marched once-feared Fatah fighters down the street shirtless and with hands raised.

The Palestinian territories are in effect split in two. Gaza is now controlled by Hamas, which has close ties to Syria and Iran . The more populous West Bank is dominated by the more moderate Fatah, which has ties to Israel and the West.

Full Story

A case for attacking Iran

Here is a nice piece from the Christian Science Monitor regarding Iran.  It has some great links to further information for those of you who like to keep abreast of these developments.
By Jesse Nunes | csmonitor.com

Statements by US and Israeli officials in recent days on the possibility of attacking Iran have been met with increased posturing on both sides, warnings of retaliation from Tehran, and worries by the head of the international nuclear watchdog of a “brewing confrontation.”

Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I) of Connecticut suggested that the US should consider attacking Iran to keep them from training and supplying insurgents and foreign fighters in Iraq, as well as to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

“I think we’ve got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq…. And to me, that would include a strike into… over the border into Iran, where we have good evidence that they have a base at which they are training these people coming back into Iraq to kill our soldiers.”

Senator Lieberman, a former Democrat who lost his party’s support before regaining his seat in Congress as an Independent, also said that if the US fails to take action against Iran, “they’ll take that as a sign of weakness on our part and we will pay for it in Iraq and throughout the region and ultimately right here at home.”

“We can tell them we want them to stop that, but if there’s any hope of the Iranians living according to the international rule of law and stopping, for instance, their nuclear weapons development, we can’t just talk to them…. If they don’t play by the rules, we’ve got to use our force, and to me that would include taking military action to stop them from doing what they’re doing.”

The Financial Times notes that Lieberman appears to be the first high-ranking US politician to openly suggest attacking Iran. A White House statement addressing Lieberman’s remarks said that the US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker gave Iran a “strong message” to play a constructive role in the region during meetings last month on Iraq, and that President Bush “has made it clear we want to do everything to protect our troops,” according to the Financial Times.

In an interview with the Center For American Progress, a progressive think tank, Senator Harry Reid (D) of Nevada said of Lieberman’s comments, “I know Joe means well, but I don’t agree with him.” Reid suggested the US should listen to the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group and pursue diplomacy with Iraq, adding that “the invasion of [Iran] is only going to destabilize that part of the world more.”

Reuters writes that Lieberman’s comments are seen by analysts as an “escalation of official US rhetoric.”

“This takes it across the border,” said Ray Takeyh, an Iran expert at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“But it would not be a surgical limited strike. It could potentially escalate into a much more serious confrontation between the two countries, and if that’s the direction Lieberman wants to go, he has to be very honest about the potential pitfalls.”

Over the weekend, Israel officials indicated that a strike against Iran was an option being considered if diplomacy fails. The Associated Press reports that Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz said the US and Israel would review the effectiveness of sanctions against Iran at the end of the year, and that the two allies share a strategy on dealing with Tehran.

“The strategy shared by the U.S. and Israel has three elements,” Mofaz told Israel Radio. “One is a united international front against the Iranian nuclear program. Secondly, at this time, sanctions are the best way to act against the aspirations of Iran.”

He said the third element is “a very, very clear signal and a clear statement that all options are on the table.” Mofaz added: “I never said there is no military option, and the military option is included in all the options that are on the table, but at this time it’s right to use the path of sanctions, and to intensify them.”

Ynetnews reports that Iran filed a complaint to the UN Security Council of Mofaz’s remarks, as well as similar remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in which he said “it would take 10 days and 1,000 Tomahawk cruise missiles” to critically damage Iran’s nuclear program.

According to the Jerusalem Post, unnamed “senior American military officers” told the paper that they support military action against Iran to prevent the country from becoming a nuclear power, and that the US Navy and Air Force “would play the primary roles in any military action.”

A high-ranking American military officer told the Post that senior officers in the US armed forces had thrown their support behind Bush and believed that additional steps needed to be taken to stop Iran.

Predictions within the US military are that Bush will do what is needed to stop Teheran before he leaves office in 2009, including possibly launching a military strike against its nuclear facilities.

Meanwhile, Iran has not let the increasingly hostile posturing by Israel and the US go unnoticed. Agence France-Presse reports that Gholam Ali Hadad Adel, a member of Iran’s parliament, told reporters during a visit to Kuwait on Sunday that Iran would attack US military bases in the Gulf if they were used to stage an attack on the country. Mr. Haddad Adel added that Iran’s neighbors in the Gulf had “learned many lessons from the US invasion of Iraq,” and that “officials in the region are not likely to link their fate with US mistakes” by allowing them to stage attacks in their countries. In a report on Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency, Haddad Adel, after returning to Iran, added that “it is unlikely that US will try its chance in the region for the third time after its defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

AFP also reports that Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah, the interior and defense minister of Kuwait, a US ally, said his country would not allow the US to launch an attack on Iran from Kuwaiti territory..

The US journal Defense News reported that former Iranian defense minister Adm. Ali Shamkhani indicated that Iran would target any Gulf states that help US in such a way.

“Allegations by some Arab gulf states that the Iranian nuclear program poses an environmental threat to the area and that it would spark a nuclear arms race are aimed at helping the U.S. establish legitimacy for its anticipated aggression against Iran,” Shamkhani said.

U.S. military action threatens Iran’s existence, he said, “but most of those who speak about the war option are well aware that Iran has the capability to face this choice.”

However, in a report by the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA), Mr. Shamkhani said that he never gave an interview with Defense News, and that “the news is fake and unreal .”

Finally, Bloomberg reports that IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said on Monday that he is “increasingly disturbed by the current stalemate and the brewing confrontation” between Iran and the West over its nuclear program, adding the situation “urgently needs to be broken” and “must be diffused.”

Much needed assistance to arrive in Darfur

Sudan has agreed to allow more troops into the Darfur region. Hopefully, a larger force can help to some peace. 

The plan will more than double to between 17,000 and 19,000 the number of AU troops struggling to protect civilians from the pro-government Janjaweed militia.

A joint statement by the AU, UN and Sudanese regime, released in Addis Ababa last night, said Khartoum had “accepted the joint proposals of the hybrid operation” after obtaining explanations and clarifications from the two bodies.

The two-day talks in the Ethiopian capital had reached an impasse because of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s insistence that he wanted all the peacekeepers to come from Africa.

The UN and the AU had pledged to seek African troops first, but say they will use non-African troops if necessary.

The UN and AU recently asked Sudan to approve troops from two African countries and two non-African countries to strengthen the beleaguered 7000-strong AU force already in Darfur. This deployment is part of a heavy support package that will pave the way for the much larger UN-AU hybrid force.

Scope of JFK plot broadens to included overseas players.

It will be interesting to see who turns up in this investigation.  Hopefully, the case will shed more ligh on the dangers of our current border policy.

NEW YORK (June 9)- The investigation into the thwarted plot to bomb
Kennedy International Airport is widening beyond the four men in
custody, with more suspects sought outside the U.S. for their
suspected roles, a law enforcement official said Friday.

The defendants identified last weekend were “just a piece of
it,” the official told The Associated Press on the condition of
anonymity because of not being authorized to speak publicly. “We
are definitely seeking more players. We are targeting others
overseas.”

The official declined to provide details about the possible
suspects, or in what countries they are being sought.

Law enforcement officials, through the use of an informant, were
able to undermine the airport plot in its early stages.

The four suspects made trips to the airport, took video and
photographs, drew diagrams and collected information. They then
hoped to shop their information to individuals with the capacity to
pull off their stated plan of causing “greater destruction than
the Sept. 11 attacks,” the official said.

According to court documents, the men sought the help of Jamaat
al Muslimeen, or JAM, a group based in Trinidad that is known to be
violent and involved in killings, kidnappings and weapons
trafficking over the past two decades. The group staged a coup
attempt in 1990, storming the Trinidad Parliament building and
taking the prime minister hostage.

Full Story.

Powered by ScribeFire.

‘Let’s talk’ with militant Muslims.

Certainly grown men who spout hatred and violence, then send their women and children to do the dirty work must be reasonable and sane people.  Wake Up and get your head out of the sand folks! When it becomes OK to strap bombs to your wives and daughters, we don’t really have a whole lot to talk about.  And don’t feed me any bull about how ‘she may have acted alone’.  This is militant Islam, women don’t go to the store alone.  So they certainly don’t decide to commit martyrdom, acquire the explosives to do so, then walk across town to the police station, ALONE! 

BAGHDAD – Alert guards gunned down a black-clad woman at a police recruiting station Tuesday, a would-be suicide bomber who then exploded before their eyes. But another bomber succeeded, detonating an explosives-laden car at a checkpoint in Ramadi and killing six policemen.

The U.S. commander here acknowledged sectarian violence was on the rise.

Meanwhile, the U.S. command insisted it would continue the search for two abducted U.S. soldiers despite the release of a video Monday by insurgents linked to al-Qaida claiming they had killed the two, along with a third missing soldier whose body was found previously.

Full Story.