Monday, May 26, 2008

Lebanon, Failed State, Goes On Failing

Lebanon continued it's odd-ball trajectory, on the "brokered agreement" that made national politics captive to the freak-show Hizb'allah, who got "veto" authority.

Hizb'allah of course exercised military "veto" authority against the government, in the ill-timed final showdown that lead to the current surrender of the opposition parties.

Naturally, Nasrallah's propaganda team is out promising not to do exactly what they did, namely to use their "resistance army" against the government. Thugs know thuggery ...

Lebanon's new president got a red carpet welcome Monday, but was quickly thrust into the political thicket as Hezbollah's leader warned against any efforts to disarm his Iranian-backed guerrilla group. -AP

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Sec Def

One of the few good things about the job of SecDef. We forget he left his nice civilian job ... unwillingly, sometimes. Here shown at Virginia Military Institute graduation.

Separately, amphibious assualt ain't what it used to be:

Monty Python and the Royal Marines

IF you are in the right mood, there is this on how to chump your mates.

Life imitates art (NSFW - a small bit of nudity):

Sunday, May 11, 2008

U.S. Embassy Publishes Photo Of Schools We Aren't Building

At the last hearings, everyone announced (while I cringed) that the US was no longer involved in building schools and the like. The Iraqis are supposed to be paying. (As you know, the Pakistani government has been notoriously corrupt in funding hundreds, if not thousands, of 'paper schools').

It made this picture of our non-involvement involvement leap out. If there is some type of involvement, this ought to be it, I think. Lasting memorials to the US's presence are important 'physical memories', especially if they are good ones! Of course, Rumsfeld didn't want to pay for much construction on US dime at all... another failure in his GOP-ideology conception of the GWOT, I guess.

Anyway, whatever the case, they should get their story straight in Washington.


On April 21st members of the PRT traveled for the first time via military convoy ... deep into the province to perform two ribbon-cutting ceremonies marking the completion of local civic engagement projects. The 82nd Airborne will assume “strategic overwatch” or backing up of local Iraqi security forces for Muthanna province on May 23rd. The PRT hopes to create an atmosphere of trust and respect with the local Iraqis as the 82nd is introduced gradually to the province.

According to PRT Team Leader Paul O’Friel, “When local Iraqis see that the entirety of the American presence in Muthanna -- civilian and military alike -- is working to improve their lives through new roads and schools, medical care for the most rural communities, and innovative support in the agricultural sector, then the province will be a safer place

The Reluctant Warrior

"My War":

Many people believe that the draft ended the Vietnam War. I'm convinced that reinstating the draft would definitely end this war.
But now, thanks to not enough Americans volunteering for military service, I now have to worry about my picture appearing on the second or third page of my hometown paper with the words, "it was his second deployment" in my obituary.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Cell Phone "War" is Over

Hizb'allah won.

Lebanon's Cell Phone War

Communications have always been a key element of war, from maps and pidgeons to satellites.

For political violence groups like Lebanese Hizb'allah, the government has moved against their propaganda, intelligence, and command-and-control network in one stroke, by disabling their cell-phone network and ejecting a mole at an information hub (the airport).

Then came the telephone crisis: Last weekend, Walid Jumblatt, leader of Lebanon's Druze minority and an archenemy of Hizballah, accused the militant Shi'ite party of maintaining its own private telephone network, and of using security cameras to monitor Beirut airport with the possible aim of staging attacks or kidnappings. On Tuesday, the government followed up with an edict declaring Hizballah's telephone network "illegal and unconstitutional." It also launched an investigation into the alleged monitoring of the airport, and dismissed airport security chief General Wafiq Shuqeir, on suspicion of opposition sympathies.


More recently, Hizballah has dug trenches for fiber-optic cables in the mainly Christian and Druze Mount Lebanon district and in north Lebanon, according to Marwan Hamade, the Lebanese minister of telecommunications. "It was confined to one or two small areas before and we overlooked it as part of their internal communications. But now it's spread all over Lebanon," Hamade told TIME.

TIME, Nicolas Blanford

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Humanity and Grief In Time of War

Do the sum of small victories in the Long War weigh greater than the sum of all tragedies?

Rumsfeld famously asked the question about whether we were killing, capturing, or deterring more terrorists than were being "created". How does one weigh the positive interactions between the armed forces and the enormous tragedies that connected with them being required?

A soldier's quest to save Iraqi, Afghan interpreters

The results are small-scale, so far.

Over a year after they first sought to escape Iraq, Walid and two other interpreters who worked with Faler have arrived with their families. They all live near him in Oregon now. He brings their kids to doctor's appointments, takes them shopping, helps open bank accounts for them, and tries to find them jobs.

A married couple from Afghanistan, facing homelessness in San Francisco, contacted Faler last year. He convinced them to move to the cheaper environs of Oregon and helped them find odd jobs, pay the rent for a few months, and took them to Wal-Mart to buy household basics. Now the couple is on the East Coast and self-supporting.

Official Report on Karzai Attack - Inside Job

Two government officials involved (low level) and a cell rolled-up. Taliban ... not implicated in the official report, so much.

They should hurry-up and give him a Nobel Prize. He may not live much longer ... so many of his close friends have been blown-up or machine-gunned already.

Why Christopher Hitchens Deserves to Be Read

Mosque attack in Yeman, forcing ... harding of lines. Sermons about ... how to fight...

The mosque attack came a day after the Yemeni military announced that seven of its soldiers had been killed and blamed Houthi supporters for it. Even before Friday’s attack, more government troops had been expected to be deployed to the area.

In the past few days, the war-ravaged governorate has experienced numerous blasts and ambushes against troops, leaving more than 10 security soldiers dead. According to political analysts, such incidents may mean an end to efforts by the Qatari mediation team, which is seeking reconciliation between the Yemeni government and Houthi supporters.

Having realized that a previously formed mediation committee failed to do its job in Sa’ada, the authority ordered forming a new presidential mediation committee a few days ago in an effort to contain the escalating turmoil.

Such repeated incidents offer strong indicators of a fifth Sa’ada war between government troops and Houthi loyalists, primarily since Bin Salem Mosque was bombed and the authorities launched a massive arrest campaign against Houthis.

“While the mosque belongs to the Zaidi sect, Salafi extremist Askar Bin Zueil, who leads thousands of Salafi volunteers coming from various Yemeni governorates to fight with Houthis, claims that the victims were Salafis. These Salafis operate according to orders given by Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar, commander of the northern military flank,” a source told the Yemen Times.

The source added, “In giving his Friday sermons, Zueil attempts to convince Zaidis to abandon their sect and stop supporting Abdulmalik Al-Houthi’s fight with the army.”

All of Iraq in One Story

A fascinating story.

Almost every line is an allegory for what is going on in Iraq right now, with some notable exceptions. Even the "imagery" of being a city-within-a-city, etc., "works".

"Troops mass as attack on Mosul looms"

It's going down:

Azzaman, May 3, 2008

The government is massing troops for an imminent attack on the northern city of Mosul, the interior minister said.

The minister Jawad al-Bolani said the government has deployed “elite units” in the city, home to nearly three million people and currently one of the most violent places in the country.

U.S. troops will assist with aerial bombardment, logistics and artillery. U.S. marines will intervene if necessary.

The battle to overtake Mosul is billed as the ‘last’ major offensive Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki intends to launch to bring the country under control.

Mosul is now a bastion of al-Qaeda whose fighters have been under extreme pressure from the so-called Sahwa (Awakening) Council, a newly formed militia of Sunni tribesmen financed by the U.S., in other Sunni-dominated areas.

Weekly Casualty Lists: Week 19, Yr OEF+7

Two infantrymen from the Georgian national army this week. Another journalist this week.

Within the violence, the assault on Sahwas ("awakening") members continues (again, we have no systematic information from the USG, so ...). Iranian Coastguard makes the list for the first time I can recall. Beheadings in ... Anbar. Sadly, U.S. airstrikes show up noticeably. Mass graves out of the new this week...

IBC reports for April:

April Total: 1,334, including 66 children; 136 civilians were killed by US Forces.

With some luck (and free time) an update of enemy casualty lists.


-------Rank, NationalitySrv BranchCountry

Rank, Unit

Location; Circumstance of Death

Name Not Released YetNot reported yetn.a.
Not reported yet, Multi-National Force - West
Anbar Province; 06-May-08; Hostile - hostile fire

Name Not Released YetU.S. Armyn.a.
Not reported yet, Multi-National Division - North
Ninewah Province; 06-May-08; Hostile - hostile fire

Giorgi MargievGeorgian Armyn.a.-Georgia
Lieutenant, 13 Battalion of 1st Infantry Brigade
Diyala Province; 02-May-08; Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack

Zura GvenetadzeGeorgian Armyn.a.-Georgia
Corporal, 13 Battalion of 1st Infantry Brigade.
Diyala Province; 02-May-08; Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack

Corey L. Hicks, 22U.S. ArmyGlendale, AZ
Private, 1st BN, 66th Armor Reg, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Baghdad (eastern part); 02-May-08; Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack

Name Not Released YetU.S. Marinen.a.
Not reported yet, Multi-National Force - West
Al Anbar Province; 01-May-08; Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack

Name Not Released YetU.S. Marinen.a.
Not reported yet, Multi-National Force - West
Al Anbar Province; 01-May-08; Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack

Name Not Released YetU.S. Marinen.a.
Not reported yet, Multi-National Force - West
Al Anbar Province; 01-May-08; Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack

Name Not Released YetU.S. Marinen.a.
Not reported yet, Multi-National Force - West
Al Anbar Province; 01-May-08; Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack

Jeffrey F. Nichols, 21U.S. ArmyGranite Shoals, TX
Specialist, 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry Reg, 4th Brigade Combat Team, (Light Infantry) 10th Mountain Division
Baghdad (central); 01-May-08; Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack (VBIED)

Chad A. Caldwell, 24U.S. ArmySpokane, WA
Staff Sergeant, 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment
Mosul; 30-Apr-08; Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack

Andrew. R. Pearson, 32U.S. ArmyBillings, MT
Captain, 1st BN, 22nd Infantry Reg, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Baghdad (southern part); 30-Apr-08; Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack

Ronald J. Tucker, 21U.S. ArmyFountain, CO
Specialist, 1st BN, 22nd Infantry Reg, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Baghdad (southern part); 30-Apr-08; Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack

Lawrence D. Ezell, 30U.S. ArmyPortland, TX
Sergeant 1st Class, 71st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group
Baghdad (northern part); 30-Apr-08; Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack


------Name, AgeSrv BranchCountry

Rank, Unit

Location; Circumstance of Death
Michael Starker, 26Canadian Armyn.a.-Canada
Corporal, 15 Field Ambulance Regiment
Pashmul region, Zhari district (25 kg west of Kandahar); 06-May-08; Hostile - hostile fire
Ratu Babakobau, 29British Armyn.a.-UK
Trooper, Household Cavalry Regiment
Naw Zad district - Helmand Province; 02-May-08; Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
Radim Vaculik, 29Czech ArmyHluk-Czech
Praporc√É­k (Chief Warrant Officer), 102. pruzkumn prapor, 102 Reconnaissance Battalion
Logar province; 30-Apr-08; Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack



Counted Civilian Casualties: 171 this week.

Tuesday 6 May: 18 dead
Baghdad: 3 die in clashes, Abu Dshir; mortars kill 3 at Khulani intersection; gunmen assassinate academic; 3 bodies.
Wajihiya: roadside bomb kills Sahwa member.
Tikrit: suicide car bomber kills 4 at restaurant.
Mosul: gunmen kill 2 policemen; roadside bomb kills policeman.
Monday 5 May: 24 dead
Baghdad: US air strike kills 6, Sadr City; US air strike kills 5 (inc. child with parents), Amil; rocket kills 2, Rasheed; 4 bodies.
Kirkuk: roadside bomb kills policeman.
Mosul: gunmen storm building, kill 3 women; gunmen kill 1 civilian in the street; body found.
Hilla: gunmen kill former Baath commander.
Sunday 4 May: 25 dead
Baghdad: roadside bomb kills traffic policeman, Yarmouk; roadside bomb kills another civilian; gunmen kill academic, Al Adel; US bombing kills 5, including 3 children, Sadr City; 3 bodies.
Wajihiya: roadside bomb kills 1 Sahwa member.
Khanaqin: raodside bomb kills child.
Balad: bomb kills 2 women.
Mosul: gunmen kill journalist; gunmen kill 2 civilians in separate incidents; roadside bomb kills 1; 3 bodies.
Al Fau: 3 fishermen killed by Iranian coastguard.
Saturday 3 May: 27 dead
Baghdad: roadside bomb kills 1, Al-Shurta; US air strike kills 3 boys; 4 bodies.
Mosul: gunmen kill 2 policemen; roadside bomb kills 1; 1 body found.
Shirqat: child is killed by mortar.
Khanaqin: child is killed by bomb; communist party member is shot dead.
Rumana: 12 beheaded bodies are found (believed to be policemen and Sahwa members abducted earlier).
Friday 2 May: 9 dead
Baghdad: mortar kills 1, Salhiya; 3 bodies.
Muqdadiya: gunmen kill 2 Sahwa members.
Aqur Quf: car bomb kills 3 relatives (son, brother and nephew) of Sahwa member.
Thursday 1 May: 65 dead
Baghdad: US air strikes kill 2 women and 2 children, Sadr City; car bomb kills 9 civilians, including a child, Camp Sara; 5 bodies.
Balad Ruz: suicide bombers kill 45 at wedding, including the bride and groom.
Hawija: bicycle bomb kills 2.
Wednesday 30 April: 12 dead
Baghdad: 2 die by US fire, Abu Dsheer; 1 killed by mortars, Rahmaniya; 4 bodies.
Al-Abbasi: roadside bomb kills 2 Sahwa members.
Kut: gunmen kill woman at home.
Tikrit: 2 bodies found.
Sarwa Abdul-Wahab04-May-08
Gunmen killed a woman journalist during a botched kidnapping attempt Sunday in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, police, and family said. Sarwa Abdul-Wahab, 36, worked as a lawyer defending journalists' rights and freelanced Kurdistan Reporters News Agency.

src: MNF-I, MNF-A, journalists from; Iraqi Civiilan:; Afghan events from Bill Roggio, other sources

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Arafat Used to Steal Gas, Now Hammas Does it


The head of the Palestinian Authority's gas agency confirmed Tuesday that Hamas gunmen had raided the Palestinian side of the Nahal Oz fuel terminal, stealing at least 60,000 liters of fuel meant for the Gaza power station in order to fill their own vehicles.

- JPost