Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and the GWoT Posted by: McQ
on Monday, October 01, 2007
Some interesting news or opinion about each area.
Basra, as I mentioned some time ago, seems to be going in the toilet, thanks to the British. Remember how they mocked the US effort early on and claimed their "soft cap" approach was much more effective? Well if Basra is an indicator of the success of that approach, they need to rethink it. Ralph Peters addresses that and much more about Iraq in a very interesting interview last night on "Pundit Review Radio".
America is prepared to "reciprocate" if Iran halts shipments of arms to Iraq's Shia Muslim militias, General David Petraeus, the US commander in Baghdad has said.
Gen Petreaus revealed attacks by Iranian-backed groups may have declined following a meeting between Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in August.
"Honestly, and I really mean this, all of us would really welcome the opportunity to see this, confirm it and even - in whatever way we could - to reciprocate," Gen Petraeus told the Los Angeles Times. "But it really is wait-and-see time right now."
American diplomats participated in ground-breaking negotiations with Iranian officials in Baghdad this summer but Gen Petraeus gave credit to Iraq's prime minister for sealing an apparent deal.
"The president of Iran pledged to Prime Minister Maliki during a recent meeting that he would stop the flow of weapons, the training, the funding and the directing of these militia extremists that have been such a huge problem really for Iraq," Gen Petraeus said.
The question, of course, is how would the US reciprocate if, in fact, this pledge is actually carried out?
The most obvious goodwill gesture open to Gen Petraeus is to release Iranian officials held by US forces and accused of being senior figures in Iran's Revolutionary Guards Qods Force, a secretive unit that directs support for overseas terrorists.
That is at a local level. There are also other incentives which could be offered at a higher level (State) if positive proof of the pledge is forthcoming.
Iran's parliament on Saturday approved a nonbinding resolution labeling the CIA and the U.S. Army "terrorist organizations," in apparent response to a Senate resolution seeking to give a similar designation to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Gains which have been made by the British in one of the more contentious southern provinces in Afghanistan are in jeopardy. The problem is much the same as that in parts of Iraq - the Afghan army isn't quite ready to take over and hold the gains:
British soldiers have been fighting the Taliban at close quarters, especially in the fertile river valleys of northern Helmand. So far this year, 35 British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan. The number of British troops in the area is due to increase next month to 7,700, more than double the initial deployment.
British military tactics are to drive the Taliban out, leaving Afghan national army troops to hold the ground to enable civil construction work to start. But it has taken much longer to train Afghan army and police forces than Nato countries hoped. The Taliban, meanwhile, are changing tactics by resorting to roadside bombs.
Note that last line and recall the question I asked last week about when the Taliban would begin to change its tactics to those more like an insurgency vs. a force on force confrontation? Seems they're doing that now.
General Dan McNeill, an American, said British soldiers had made "significant progress" in Helmand province but were facing difficulties securing gains and it was "likely" some of the ground would have to be taken again if the Taliban regrouped over the winter.
Gen McNeill told the BBC: "We are pleased with the success we have had in Helmand province. That's not to say we are declaring victory and moving on, we have just had significant progress."
He added: "We are likely to have to do some of this work again simply because we haven't had a good holding force. But it would be nice if the Afghan security forces could hold it, then there's less of a chance we will have to do it again."
The choice, it seems, is limited. Limited to either accepting that the Taliban will regain some ground and it will necessitate its retaking, or moving more NATO troops into the province to prevent that.
Taliban militants hanged a teenager in southern Afghanistan because he had U.S. money in his pocket, and they stuffed five $1 bills in his mouth as a warning to others not to use dollars, police said Monday. Taliban militants elsewhere killed eight police.
The 15-year-old boy was hanged from a tree on Sunday in Helmand, the most violent province in the country and the world's No. 1 poppy-growing region.
"The Taliban warned villagers that they would face the same punishment if they were caught with dollars," said Wali Mohammad, the district police chief in Sangin.
Dollars are commonly used in Afghanistan alongside the afghani, the local currency, although the U.S. currency is more commonly seen in larger cities where international organizations are found.
"Global War on Terror":
An interesting article at American Thinker which addresses some of the reports I've posted about the splintering of al Qaeda. In fact, the AT article looks at the jihadi movement as a whole, especially that in Afghanistan and Pakistan and sees some real indicators that "the global Islamic jihad movement is splitting apart"
I still don’t buy the idea of a "global war on terror." The metaphor of war seems misplaced here. Terrorism has been a constant threat for quite awhile (long before 9-11), but a limited threat. Compared to the prospect of nuclear holocaust like the Cold War, the danger from terrorism is extremely limited. Moreover, the groups are diffuse, infighting is common (it’s nothing new — betrayal and internal rifts have been common for decades in most of these extremist groups), and what’s really needed is a good international counter-terrorism policy.
Wow, talk about pushing the Big Orange Restart switch on his talking points.
Paradigm shift that happened while I looked at the Star Wars post McQ, that applies to the GWOT.
Note that nowadays we’re pretty sensitive about having a city suitcase nuke bombed, when our entire civilian defensive strategy for the better part of my life time was to allow the Soviets to hold American cities hostage in exchange for our holding their cities hostage as a way to prevent someone pushing the button.
So, we were all prepared ’defensively’ to be blown up (rather than escalate by building ABM’s), but we’re not happy now that only some of us might get blown up. Go figure!
Good on you McQ. Did you vote at all? Pardon my confusion but, your relentless Kerry bashing must have done it.
The question remains: if the GWOT is so vital, and Bush is fighting it so poorly, why do you just keep cheering him on?
The Basra problems are distressing because that’s not a sectarian insurgency, that’s intra-sect gang warfare to control the spoils. That’s our best-case Iraq without the Sunni insurgency issues. Unfortunate.
The metaphor of war is immensely misleading, almost Orwellian. The permanent war! Anyone concerned about big government abuse of power has to be a little worried about that kind of language.
As to star wars: the real reason SDI couldn’t work is that the Soviets could overwhelm the system, even the most optimistic scenarios had 90% success rates (or perhaps over time 95%). Build more weapons, and the amount that could get through would be enough to do immense damage. Of course, most Republicans at the time were skeptical, but Reagan really made it a priority.
Global War on Terror. Let’s see now, how ’bout we break that down.
the waging of armed conflict against an enemy
a legal state created by a declaration of war and ended by official declaration during which the international rules of war apply
an active struggle between competing entities
Yep, I’d say that fits.
a concerted campaign to end something that is injurious
Again, one more on the plus side.
Now lets look at Global: Israel Iraq Iran Syria Indonesia Thailand Sudan Yemen Somalia United States - 9/11 Spain - Subway Bombings United Kingdom - 7/7
That pretty well spans the globe.
Terror. Let’s break that down. Airplanes crashing into buildings. Pretty terrible and I would definitely call that terror. Subway bombings. Spain and the UK - Check. One more in the terror block. Beheadings. Whoa, now that’s what I would call terror. Just ask Daniel Pearl or innumerable folks who have been killed via that methodology around the world in the above mentioned countries - around the world, yep, I would call that global also.
I hear a lot about this kind of crap from a lot of people. "How can we be at war with a verb?" or some such crap. Well, ask the 3,000 corpses from 9/11. Ask the four dead contractors from the Fallujah Bridge. Ask the dead from the Madrid Subway bombings. The London 7/7 bombings. The Christians of Darfur. The Christians of Thailand. Well, that is sanctimonious crap. I don’t care what the jingoists want to call it - it’s frigging war. And you can be just as friggin dead fighting about a fracking verb as any other word.
I want to walk from my car into a restaurant without looking over my shoulder - anywhere in the frigging world. And until I can do that, I am at odds with the people who want to prevent me from doing that or causing me not to want to do it. You want to get obtuse? Do it on your own time and don’t look at me with those wide eyes of wonder when your head ends up seperated from the rest of your body as you ask yourself "Uhhhnnnnggggghhhh?"