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Friday, October 26, 2007

Press releases from Iraq, October 26

Press Releases
International News

Rebuilding Northern Iraq Continues

Courtesy of Multi National Force Iraq

Multi-National Division - North continues to rebuild northern Iraq

Two women from Diyala province cut wire to assist in the assembly of transformers at a Diyala Electrical Industries factory which is located in Baqouba, Iraq, Oct. 22. Diyala Electric Industries, which has been operating at a limited capacity since 2003, now employs approximately 800 citizens from Baqouba and its surrounding villages. Photo by Sgt. Serena Hayden, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs.

BAGHDAD — North continues working with the Government of Iraq to rebuild the infrastructure and improve the quality of life for the people of Northern Iraq.

Since assuming responsibility of northern Iraq in September 2006, Task Force Lightning reconstruction has reported beginning 1,433 projects valued at $101.4 million and completed 1,119 projects valued at $37.4 million. The projects include supporting over 100 humanitarian assistance projects costing $4.1 million and reconstruction of major crimes courts.

In Diyala, completed projects included a water filtration system in Buhriz and a library in Muqdadiyah.

For the Nineveh province, the division renovated a business center, purchased water trucks in Ba'aj, and completed several other projects. In the works, Task Force Lightning is improving the consistency of fuel distribution throughout the province by assisting with the Ministry of Oils allocations.

For Mosul, MND-N is helping plan Mosul Dam contingencies, and continues to support reconstruction of the Mosul Major Crimes Court.

Salah ah Din projects include major crimes court construction, as well as rebuilding the provincial television station.

In addition to helping rebuild Northern Iraq, the projects also provided 197 grants to small businesses throughout the area.


Soldiers help celebrate Sadr City school renovation

Courtesy of Multi-National Force - Iraq

Soldiers help celebrate Sadr City school renovation

U.S. Soldiers and Iraqi National Police officers talk to students at the Yarmook Girl's School in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood during a visit to the school to see improvements made during a recent renovation effort sponsored by the Iraqi Government, the INP, and the U.S. military.  Photo taken by SGT Mike Pryor, 2nd BCT, 82nd Airborne Division Public Affairs.

U.S. Soldiers and Iraqi National Police officers talk to students at the Yarmook Girl's School in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood during a visit to the school to see improvements made during a recent renovation effort sponsored by the Iraqi Government, the INP, and the U.S. military. Photo taken by SGT Mike Pryor, 2nd BCT, 82nd Airborne Division Public Affairs.

BAGHDAD — When students at the Yarmook Girl's School in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood returned from summer vacation last month, they found that their school had received an extreme makeover thanks to the government of Iraq and the U.S. Army.

U.S. Soldiers and Iraqi National Police visited the recently renovated school Oct. 22, to see the improvements and hand out backpacks and soccer balls to the students.

The renovations to the school totaled $200,000 of improvements, including a new roof, a new lighting system, repairs to cracks in the pavement and stairs, and a paint job, said Glen Allen, Va., native Capt. Alex Carter, a U.S. Army Civil Affairs team chief who helped oversee the project.

Nine other schools in Sadr City also have been renovated over the past few months, as part of the same program that refurbished the Yarmook Girl's School, Carter said. The school improvement program was made possible by cooperation among the Ministry of Education, the local neighborhood councils, school officials, the Iraqi National Police, and the U.S. Army's 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, which operates in the Sadr City area, he said.

"What makes this special to me is that this really validates how effective we are working with the Iraqi Police in Sadr City," Carter said.

The top Iraqi Police official present at the school visit, Brig. Gen. Ali Ibrahim Daboun, commander of 8th Brigade, 2nd Iraqi National Police Division, said he also was pleased by cooperation between the Iraqi government, the Iraqi Security Forces, and the U.S. military.

He said he hopes that the school improvement program would show the 2.5 million residents of Sadr City that they are a priority of the Iraqi government.

"In the past, they were neglected, but the new government will serve them," he said. (Story by SGT Mike Pryor, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

In other recent developments around Iraq:

•           A concerned citizen led Coalition Forces to a large weapons cache yesterday in a home in Sa’ada Village, Iraq. This cache is one of the largest discoveries of explosively formed penetrators found in at one location in Iraq.

•           Coalition forces captured two wanted individuals and detained 19 suspected terrorists during operations Wednesday in central and northern parts of Iraq.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

LTC Dave Grossman: On Combat

Courtesy of Blackfive.Net

The following essay (an extract from the book, 'On Combat') was written by Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman, U.S. Army (Ret.) Director, Killology Research Group (  Colonel Grossman is a somewhat controversial figure - he authored the book - "On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society" - a very interesting topic that our politically correct society would rarely discuss. (Thanks to Tom and Mark for sending the article)

On Sheep, Sheepdogs, and Wolves
By Dave Grossman

One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me: "Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident." This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another.

Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.

Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.

I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin's egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful. For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.

"Then there are the wolves," the old war veteran said, "and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy." Do you believe there are wolves out there that will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

"Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf."...

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.

Let me expand on this old soldier's excellent model of the sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial, which is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids' schools.

But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid's school. Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their child is just too hard, and so they chose the path of denial.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.

Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa."

Until the wolf shows up! Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.

The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were big, tough high school students, and under ordinary circumstances they would not have had the time of day for a police officer. They were not bad kids; they just had nothing to say to a cop. When the school was under attack, however, and SWAT teams were clearing the rooms and hallways, the officers had to physically peel those clinging, sobbing kids off of them. This is how the little lambs feel about their sheepdog when the wolf is at the door.

Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever before, felt differently about their law enforcement officers and military personnel? Remember how many times you heard the word hero?

Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed right along with the young ones.

Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, "Thank God I wasn't on one of those planes." The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, "Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference." When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.

There is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, but he does have one real advantage. Only one. And that is that he is able to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population.

There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory crimes of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast majority said that they specifically targeted victims by body language: slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself.

Some people may be destined to be sheep and others might be genetically primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But I believe that most people can choose which one they want to be, and I'm proud to say that more and more Americans are choosing to become sheepdogs.

Seven months after the attack on September 11, 2001, Todd Beamer was honored in his hometown of Cranbury, New Jersey. Todd, as you recall, was the man on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania who called on his cell phone to alert an operator from United Airlines about the hijacking. When he learned of the other three passenger planes that had been used as weapons, Todd dropped his phone and uttered the words, "Let's roll," which authorities believe was a signal to the other passengers to confront the terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a transformation occurred among the passengers - athletes, business people and parents. -- From sheep to sheepdogs and together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving an unknown number of lives on the ground.

"Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself after that?"

"There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men." - Edmund Burke

Here is the point I like to emphasize; especially to the thousands of police officers and soldiers I speak to each year. In nature the sheep, real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way, and so are wolves. They didn't have a choice. But you are not a critter. As a human being, you can be whatever you want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision.

If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you. If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust, or love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior's path, then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.

For example, many officers carry their weapons in church. They are well concealed in ankle holsters, shoulder holsters or inside-the-belt holsters tucked into the small of their backs. Anytime you go to some form of religious service, there is a very good chance that a police officer in your congregation is carrying. You will never know if there is such an individual in your place of worship, until the wolf appears to massacre you and your loved ones.

I was training a group of police officers in Texas, and during the break, one officer asked his friend if he carried his weapon in church. The other cop replied, "I will never be caught without my gun in church." I asked why he felt so strongly about this, and he told me about a cop he knew who was at a church massacre in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1999. In that incident, a mentally deranged individual came into the church and opened fire, gunning down fourteen people. He said that officer believed he could have saved every life that day if he had been carrying his gun. His own son was shot, and all he could do was throw himself on the boy's body and wait to die. That cop looked me in the eye and said, "Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself after that?"

Some individuals would be horrified if they knew this police officer was carrying a weapon in church. They might call him paranoid and would probably scorn him. Yet these same individuals would be enraged and would call for "heads to roll" if they found out that the airbags in their cars were defective, or that the fire extinguisher and fire sprinklers in their kids' school did not work. They can accept the fact that fires and traffic accidents can happen and that there must be safeguards against them.

Their only response to the wolf, though, is denial, and all too often their response to the sheepdog is scorn and disdain. But the sheepdog quietly asks himself, "Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself if your loved ones were attacked and killed, and you had to stand there helplessly because you were unprepared for that day?"

It is denial that turns people into sheep. Sheep are psychologically destroyed by combat because their only defense is denial, which is counterproductive and destructive, resulting in fear, helplessness and horror when the wolf shows up.

Denial kills you twice. It kills you once, at your moment of truth when you are not physically prepared: you didn't bring your gun, you didn't train. Your only defense was wishful thinking. Hope is not a strategy. Denial kills you a second time because even if you do physically survive, you are psychologically shattered by your fear, helplessness, and horror at your moment of truth.

Gavin de Becker puts it like this in "Fear Less," his superb post-9/11 book, which should be required reading for anyone trying to come to terms with our current world situation: "...denial can be seductive, but it has an insidious side effect. For all the peace of mind deniers think they get by saying it isn't so, the fall they take when faced with new violence is all the more unsettling."

Denial is a save-now-pay-later scheme, a contract written entirely in small print, for in the long run, the denying person knows the truth on some level.

And so the warrior must strive to confront denial in all aspects of his life, and prepare himself for the day when evil comes.

If you are warrior who is legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that the bad man will not come today. No one can be "on" 24/7, for a lifetime. Everyone needs down time. But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself... "Baa."

This business of being a sheep or a sheep dog is not a yes-no dichotomy. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of degrees, a continuum. On one end is an abject, head-in-the-sand-sheep and on the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist completely on one end or the other. Most of us live somewhere in between. Since 9-11 almost everyone in America took a step up that continuum, away from denial. The sheep took a few steps toward accepting and appreciating their warriors, and the warriors started taking their job more seriously. The degree to which you move up that continuum, away from sheephood and denial, is the degree to which you and your loved ones will survive, physically and psychologically, at your moment of truth.

Portents of A Nuclear Al-Qaeda

Courtesy of Washington and by permission from the author, David Ignatius, Link to the article: Here

Rolf Mowatt-Larssen is paid to think about the unthinkable. As the Energy Department's director of intelligence, he's responsible for gathering information about the threat that a terrorist group will attack America with a nuclear weapon.

With his shock of white hair and piercing eyes, Mowatt-Larssen looks like a man who has seen a ghost. And when you listen to a version of the briefing he has been giving recently to President Bush and other top officials, you begin to understand why. He is convinced that al-Qaeda is trying to acquire a nuclear bomb that will leave the ultimate terrorist signature -- a mushroom cloud.

We've all had enough fear-mongering to last a lifetime. Indeed, we have become so frightened of terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001, that we have begun doing the terrorists' job for them by undermining the legal framework of our democracy. And truly, I wish I could dismiss Mowatt-Larssen's analysis as the work of an overwrought former CIA officer with too many years in the trenches.

But it's worth listening to his warnings -- not because they induce more numbing paralysis but because they might stir sensible people to take actions that could detect and stop an attack. That's why his boss, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, is encouraging him to speak out. Mowatt-Larssen doesn't want to anguish later that he didn't sound the alarm in time.

Mowatt-Larssen has been gathering this evidence since a few weeks after Sept. 11, when then-CIA Director George Tenet asked him to create a new branch on weapons of mass destruction in the agency's counterterrorism center. He helped Tenet prepare the chapter on al-Qaeda's nuclear efforts that appears in Tenet's memoir, " At the Center of the Storm." Now that the uproar over Tenet's mistaken "slam dunk" assessment of the Iraqi threat has died down, it's worth rereading this account. It provides a chilling, public record of al-Qaeda's nuclear ambitions.

Mowatt-Larssen argues that for nearly a decade before Sept. 11, al-Qaeda was seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction. As early as 1993, Osama bin Laden offered $1.5 million to buy uranium for a nuclear device, according to testimony presented in federal court in February 2001. When the al-Qaeda leader was asked in 1998 if he had nuclear or chemical weapons, he responded: "Acquiring weapons for the defense of Muslims is a religious duty. If I have indeed acquired these weapons, then I thank God for enabling me to do so."

Even as al-Qaeda was preparing to fly its airplane bombs into buildings, the group was also trying to acquire nuclear and biological capabilities. In August 2001, bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, met around a campfire with Pakistani scientists from a group called Umma Tameer-E-Nau to discuss how al-Qaeda could build a nuclear device. Al-Qaeda also had an aggressive anthrax program that was discovered in December 2001 after bin Laden was driven from his haven in Afghanistan.

Al-Qaeda proclaimed a religious rationale to justify the WMD attacks it was planning. In June 2002, a Kuwaiti-born cleric named Suleiman Abu Ghaith posted a statement on the Internet saying that "al-Qaeda has the right to kill 4 million Americans" in retaliation for U.S. attacks against Muslims. And in May 2003, at the same time Saudi operatives of al-Qaeda were trying to buy three Russian nuclear bombs, a cleric named Nasir al-Fahd issued a fatwa titled "A Treatise on the Legal Status of Using Weapons of Mass Destruction Against Infidels." Interrogations of al-Qaeda operatives confirmed that the planning was serious. Al-Qaeda didn't yet have the materials for a WMD attack, but it wanted them.

Most chilling of all was Zawahiri's decision in March 2003 to cancel a cyanide attack in the New York subway system. He told the plotters to stand down because "we have something better in mind." What did that mean? More than four years later, we still don't know.

After 2004, the WMD trail went cold, according to Mowatt-Larssen. Many intelligence analysts have concluded that al-Qaeda doesn't have nuclear capability today. Mowatt-Larssen argues that a more honest answer is: We don't know.

So what to do about this spectral danger? The first requirement, says Mowatt-Larssen, is to try to visualize it. What would it take for al-Qaeda to build a bomb? How would it assemble the pieces? How would the United States and its allies deploy their intelligence assets so that they could detect a plot before it was carried out? How would we reinvent intelligence itself to avert this ultimate catastrophe?

A terrorist nuclear attack, as Tenet wrote in his book, would change history. If we can see how this story might end, perhaps we can deflect the arrow before it hits its target.

The writer is co-host of PostGlobal, an online discussion of international issues. His e-mail address is readers have posted over 187 comments about this item. View All Comments »


The Insurgency

Courtesy of Multi-National Force Iraq

The Iraqi Government's 41 'Most Wanted' (click here) 

The insurgency in Iraq consists of myriad anti-Iraqi Forces and their supporters who are engaged in guerilla warfare against Coalition and Iraqi security forces and use terrorism to strike fear in the Iraqi populace. Their tactics include, but are not limited to, suicide bombings, improvised explosive device attacks, kidnapping, rudimentary sniper techniques, mortar attack, rocket attacks, and murder.

Insurgent activity is centered in the Sunni-dominated parts of Iraq, primarily the areas to the northwest of Baghdad and between the cities of Tikrit, Ramadi, Samarra and Fallujah. Sunni Arabs, including Ba’athist and former elements of Saddam Hussein’s regime, Saddamists, sometimes collaborate with international Sunni Arab terrorist networks, providing funds and guidance across family, tribal, religious and peer group lines. The foreigners include jihadists led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s terrorist network, al-Qaida in Iraq, AQI. Together, these groups work to perpetuate a reign of terror designed to breed havoc in Iraq.

Some of these anti-government elements are clearly groups drawn from the former regime, the Ba’th Party, the paramilitary Fedayeen, and the Republican Guard. Some are anti-Saddam nationalist groups with no desire to see Saddam restored but resentful of U.S. and Western presence; others are Islamist groups, some members of which have been trained overseas or are foreign nationals, the latter including Syrians, Saudis, Yemenis, and Sudanese. Some activities have been the work of criminals or criminal organizations, large numbers of criminals being released at the end of the war and some certainly hiring themselves out for attacks on Coalition forces.

Other Iraqi jihadists groups are active, notably Ansar al-Sunnah, which operates primarily in Kurdish-dominated northern Iraq. The foreign jihadists enter Iraq from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, and Iran.

Most of the victims of jihadists suicide bombings have been civilians, innocent bystanders. This has been especially true since Coalition and Iraqi security forces developed tactics and deployed better equipment to protect themselves from the attacks. Among the Sunnis, a variety of groups have been identified. They are united only in the sense of having what have been called “negative” goals in opposition to U.S. presence; in seeking some return to the former status quo in which the Sunni minority have exercised power since the Ottoman period.

There are also armed militias attached to the two main Shiite political parties, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and al-Dawa, and there is clearly potential for Shiite participation in violence. The pattern of Iraqi activity thus far looks remarkably similar to that in Palestine with roadside bombs, which have also been used by Hezbollah in Lebanon, and other so-called improvised explosive devices; ambushes of soft-skinned vehicles; opportunistic rocket-propelled grenade and shooting attacks on military personnel; attacks on civilian members of the Coalition authorities and foreign personnel working in some way for the Coalition; attacks on Iraqi “collaborators,” most recently police and army recruits’ and attacks on economic targets such as power stations, oil installations, and pipelines. There has also been an increase in the number of attacks upon “soft” targets, principally civilian gatherings.

Terrorist Organizations

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Mother of Modern Terrorism

Courtesy of

WASHINGTON - Iran still nags the U.S. almost 30 years following the hostage crisis that helped bring down a presidency.

The faces have changed but the White House still faces off with Tehran.

This time it's over charges of supplying weapons used to kill Americans in Iraq, pursuing nuclear weapons calling for the end of Israel.

The Mother of Modern Terrorism

Iran declared war on the U.S. in 1979. They've been killing Americans non-stop ever since then, and no American president has ever responded.

Conservative Michael Ledeen, author of The Iranian Time Bomb, calls Iran the "mother of modern terrorism." He says three decades of failed American diplomacy have continued under President Bush.

"As far as I can tell he doesn't have an Iran policy," Leeden said. "Even after several years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, where it was quite clear we were drowning in information that the Iranians were supporting both sides of the terror war against us, where Iranian weapons, Iranian intel agents, even Iranian troops were on the ground killing Americans.

Even then for the longest time our soldiers were told take it easy on the Iranians. It's only in the last several months that we've been able finally to shoot Iranians, capture Iranians and so forth and look at the reaction. The Iranian regime is furious, screaming."

Ledeen, whose son is a Marine now serving in Iraq, says the U.S. would be justified to take out terror-training camps inside Iran.

"We know Iraqis are brought into Iran for training in bases in Iran, and then they're sent back into Iraq, armed, trained, funded by the Iranians," he said. "And they come into Iraq to kill our guys."

U.S. Options Regarding Iran

Contrary to his image as eager for war with Iran, Ledeen is opposed to a U.S. bombing or invasion of Iran.

"Iran is a big country - 70 million people. Great killers. Very fanatical. Hate us passionately. You want to take them on, you have to be really serious. It takes a lot of effort. Lot of risk. Lot of money will probably cost some lives, if not our theirs. And it's unpleasant and there's every chance that you'll fail," Leeden said.

What are U.S. options? A White House push for tougher U.N. sanctions has been blocked by Russia and China. Critics of continued diplomacy question how America can bargain with Iran's mullahs who believe America's destruction is sanctioned by god.

"We've offered every carrot and brandished every stick by now," Leeden said. "You know, Einstein's definition of a madman is somebody who keeps doing the same thing, hoping to get a different result some day."

Iranian Revolution?

Ledeen believes a more lethal weapon exists: revolution.

"If you did a little check list on conditions for revolution: economic misery, political opposition to the regime, suffering by the people, long traditions of self-government and awareness of modern democracy and how it works and so forth. Iran fulfils every condition," he said.

"So Iran, if you're looking for a country where the people hate the regime, we know from the regime itself, from it's own public opinion polls, that 70 plus percent of the Iranian people hate the regime," Ledeen said.

But he believes that would require unprecedented action from the United States.

"They're terribly embittered right now because this administration has given all kinds of speeches about how they stand behind the Iranians - 'We hope Iran will become free, and so forth' - but we've never done anything. They are waiting to see us do something to support them.

America's concerns for its soldiers in Iraq, Israeli security on the line and a potential nuclear threat, the Iranian time bomb is ticking.

It's a bomb that could set off a diplomatic breakthrough , or a countdown to war.



Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The War: According to the People Who Are Already There.

Email from Michael Yon:  Link to the online version.


Iraq is on the mend, al Qaeda is on the run, and the civil war has abated to a point where the term "civil war" no longer applies.

Accurate war coverage is increasingly important.  Even prominent seemingly well-informed persons can get it wrong, such as retired Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez who previously commanded the war in Iraq.  His recent public statements –selectively excerpted and then widely dispersed by the hot winds of media – made it clear that this former senior commander is far out of touch with the current situation. 
But there are commanders with a finger on the pulse. 

When earlier this year I wrote about the 1-4 CAV transforming an abandoned seminary in a Baghdad neighborhood that had been decimated by civil war, the "surge" had not even begun; but already pundits, politicians and editors had declared it a failure. Though I'd spent only a few days with LTC Crider and his 1-4 CAV soldiers at the new COP Amanche, I ended the dispatch on a note of hope based on observation. I recently received an email from LTC Crider with an update on that Baghdad neighborhood.  Please read "Achievements of the Human Heart" and see for yourself.

I was in al Basra province when I saw news reports claiming that Basra city had descended into chaos in the wake of an announcement about the draw down of British Soldiers.  I emailed the facts about Basra to several bloggers who hold the media accountable, and the resulting effort got the attention of Tom Foreman who anchors CNN's "This Week at War."  We were able to make a CNN interview, and the result is a segment that accurately reflects a complex and changing situation.  Bravo to CNN for setting the record straight, and to the tireless bloggers who are making a substantial difference in the way news about the war is delivered.

There are major developments to share with readers in upcoming dispatches. If things go at-least-mostly according to plan (which is all we can hope for in war), and if I can rely on the help of readers who share my frustration with the lack of accurate reporting, we can  significantly widen the stream of news flowing from Iraq so more people can obtain a truer picture.  This will require the will and generosity of readers.  But more on that, soon.

Michael Yon
Basra, Iraq

Thursday, October 11, 2007

October 12 - Final Response Forthcoming From Iran’s Ahmadinejad?

Courtesy of National Terror Alert Center:

October 12 - Final Response Forthcoming From Iran’s Ahmadinejad?

October 11, 2007

Tomorrow, October 12, 2007 is the last Friday of Ramadan and the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has issued a statement, vowing to liberate “all of Palestine” with some sort of “final response” to Iran’s enemies.

Iranian government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham said the message would be sent to coincide with Quds Day, held each year on the last Friday of Ramadan.

On September 19th the following article appeared in the Islamic Republic News Agency

Supporters of the Zionist regime will receive their response during the world Quds Day’s rallies, government spokesman, Gholam-Hossein Elham, said Wednesday.
The spokesman made the remarks during his weekly press conference while commenting on the current visit to the occupied Palestine of the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Quds Day is held each year on the last Friday of Muslims fasting month of Ramadan after it was nominated by the late Founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, as a day to voice the protest of the Islamic Ummah against the Zionists.
The day falls on October 12 this year.
“The US loses all opportunities to cooperate with regional and other world states by trying to support a regime (the Zionist regime) which is now at its weakest political and social position,” Elham said.
He warned that Washington’s insistence on its wrong policies and arrogant approaches would have no result “but further political disgrace” for itself. Referring to the approaching World Quds Day, the spokesman stressed, “Supporters of the Zionist regime will definitely receive the final response for their support on that day.”

So what does this mean?

No one really knows. Ahmadinejad has made these types of threats before, most recently leading up to an August 22nd date, in which he indicated by several references that he would be giving his final answer to the U.S. about nuclear development by Aug. 22. This threat was surrounded with a great deal of talk of the return of the 12th Imam.

The 12th Imam
See Pamela’s article at Atlas Shrugs for more on this.

Is Ahmadinejad once again “crying wolf”, or in this case “nukes”. No one really knows for sure, but much has changed in the middle east since August. Tensions have increased along with and Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric and many are beginning to believe some type of confrontation is inevitable.

All of this needs to be viewed within the same context as the Iranian radicals. Ahmadinejad and those in Iran who are aligned with him in his beliefs, believe they are leading Iran into a new “Persian Empire” and that a religious war against Israel and the U.S. will herald the arrival of the Muslim “messiah” known as the “Mahdi”.

Because of their prophetic perspective and their belief that they must prepare the way for the “Mahdi,” many would not be surprised if the Iranians attempt to begin this effort to bring on the Mahdi by launching a military action against the United States and/or Israel in the very near future. Is October 12th, the date they have selected? We will apparently know the answer soon.

A few interesting points about this date in history.
October 12th, 539 BC - The army of Cyrus the Great of Persia (modern day Iran) conquers Babylon (modern day Iraq). Very significant date in history for Iran.

October 12th, 1492 - Christopher Columbus discovers America.

October 12th, 2000 - The USS Cole is badly damaged in Aden, Yemen, by two suicide bombers, killing 17 crew members.

October 12th, 2002 - Terrorists detonate bombs in Kuta, Bali, killing 202 and wounding over 300.

October 12th, 2007 - Al Quds day — also known as “Jerusalem Day”, or the “International Day of Al-Quds”. This day is celebrated in an annual event opposing Israel’s control of Jerusalem, or Al-Quds in Arab

Other items to consider…
The Rhetoric
Ahmadinejad has continued to call for for “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” along with his mantra to “wipe Israel off the map”. Many countries including Israel and the U.S. have made it clear that Iran will not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

Mysterious Strike Inside Syria
Israel is still maintaining silence several weeks after Syria complained that Israeli aircraft invaded its airspace in a mysterious incident that raised tensions and triggered a welter of US media speculation about possible targets for the operation. Explanations for what anonymous US officials have said was a strike inside Syria range from suggesting it was aimed at the shipment of weapons to Hizbollah from Iran, to saying Syria may be building a nuclear facility with North Korean help.

A World Without Israel
Ahmadinejad recently used his speech to the United Nations General Assembly to againa unveil a vision of a world without Israel, in which America and Europe would be freed of what he said was Zionist oppression.

600 Missiles Pointed At Israel
Six hundred Iranian Shihab-3 missiles are pointed at targets throughout Israel, and will be launched if either Iran or Syria are attacked, an Iranian website affiliated with the regime reported. “Iran will shoot at Israel 600 missiles if it is attacked,” the Iranian news website, Assar Iran, reported. “600 missiles will only be the first reaction.”

Russians Evacuated?
there are numerous unconfirmed reports that Russian nuclear technicians have evacuated from their assignment at the Bushehr nuclear reactor facility and returned to Russia without explanation, this according the Khorramshar News Agency.

This action, if true, would suggest the possibility that the Russians were tipped off that some sort of military action was imminent, perhaps October 12, the end of Ramadan.

The New Moon
October 11th is the start of the new moon, which is when the US military, particularly the US Air Force likes to begin any aerial bombing attacks because it is easier to avoid aircraft detection when there is no moon to illuminate attacking planes or ground forces.

We’re not good at making predictions and we won’t attempt one here. We will all have to wait and see if anything happens.

(Our guess…massive protests in Iran and several speeches…but we could be wrong)

Feel free to kick in your 2 cents in the comments.

"Watch your six"

Be ever Vigilant,

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Israeli Initiative

Courtesy of CNS.Com

Next month, the U.S. administration plans to sponsor a peace summit between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Whether it will truly bring peace is an open question.
Today, Benny Elon, a member of Israel's Knesset, unveiled his own peace proposal called "The Israeli Initiative."

Elon, who also serves as the head of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, believes this proposal will address some of the underlying, systemic problems of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He mentions the three main pillars of his proposal in this video clip from today's press conference.

For decades Israel has sought the proper road to peace, only to be disappointed time and again from the bloody results of the paths that were chosen.  They were not mistaken in striving for peace, but only in the way they set out to achieve it.  If you would like to know more, you can log onto their website at

Please read, learn and share the insights of this site!

The Israeli Initiative

The rehabilitation of the refugees and the dismantling of the camps

The rehabilitation of the refugees and the dismantling of the camps

Immediate effort to end the refugee problem in a humanitarian and generous manner, and to defuse the ticking time-bomb


Strategic cooperation with the Kingdom of Jordan

Strategic cooperation with the Kingdom of Jordan

An exchange for the Palestinian 'Partner' who is unable to bring peace, with a reliable partner interested in stability


Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria

An end to the 'Occupation' and a move to sovereignty, which will prevent Hamas taking control and grant security to Israel and to the countries of the region


Report: Al-Qaeda Big Threat to Homeland

Courtesy of CBN News

Al Qaeda Threat - A new White House report says that al-Qaeda poses the number one terrorist threat to the American homeland.

The report comes as Congress is considering expanding the government's powers to spy on suspected terrorist at home.

While America hasn't been hit by a terrorist attack since 9/11, it hasn't been for lack of effort by al-Qaeda.

Bin Laden Not Hiding in Tribal Areas?

The White House says the group is stepping up its efforts to place agents within the United States -- and calls it the "most serious and dangerous" terrorism threat.

The report comes on the heels of a recent warning by U.S. intelligence that attacks by al-Qaeda against European cities may be imminent.

A common problem facing both the U.S. and Europe is al-Qaeda's establishment of a safe haven in Pakistan's tribal areas.

It's in that lawless region, the White House says, that al-Qaeda is able to plan and train freely for attacks against the West.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Russians comment on U.S. Senate resolution to divide Iraq

Courtesy of RIA Novosti Opinion & analysis

How to divide Iraq


MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Pyotr Goncharov) - The U.S. idea of settling the Iraqi problem may follow the Bosnian scenario.

In late September, the U.S. Senate approved a resolution supporting the idea of dividing Iraq into three administrative and territorial entities by religion and ethnic origin. This resolution may not lead to the final partition, but may easily explode the situation in Iraq again.

The resolution suggests that Iraq should be divided into three enclaves - with Shiites in the south, Sunnis in the center and Kurds in the north. They will have one federal center in Baghdad. The capital will only be responsible for the security of the federation's borders and control of oil profits. It will delegate the majority of administrative and government functions to the territorial entities.

At first sight, this idea looks attractive, all the more so since the federal principle is sealed by the draft new Iraqi Constitution, on which a national referendum will be held on October 15. The Iraqi newspaper as-Sabah reported recently the results of the public opinion poll conducted by the Iraqi Center for the Development of International Dialogue - the majority of Iraqis are going to vote for the draft.

But for all that, the U.S. Senators seem to be divorced from the Iraqi reality. There are several obvious "but's," which they might have considered in the resolution.

The fact that the latter was recently backed by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, an ethnic Kurd, will only further escalate tensions in the country, if only because it was categorically opposed by the more influential Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, an Iraqi Shiite.

The Iraqi parliament and a number of prominent Sunni and Shiite parties also objected to the federation idea. In effect, it was only supported by the Kurds who live in the north where the main reserves of Iraqi oil are located.

The plan to separate the Shiite south from the Sunni center looks dubious as well. The White House should have learnt a lesson from the Balkan problem about religious compatibility or lack of it. In any country, the balance between different religions has been taking shape for centuries and is extremely fragile. Any imprudent decision may upset it, and one side may take it as an attempt to encroach on its interests to the benefit of the other. The Sunnis, the former rulers of the country, will no longer have sea ports in the south or oil in the north. They are not likely to be happy about the U.S. resolution even though it provides for a twenty percent deduction from oil sales to the Iraqi federal budget.

As for the Iraqi Shiite south, Washington and its Gulf allies - Riyadh, Amman, the Kuwait City and Baghdad - are afraid that under certain circumstances it may easily turn into Iran's protectorate. There are many debates on this subject, as well as on the U.S. plan for Iraq's partition.

Not a single Iraqi neighbor, including the Gulf nations, has backed the idea of a federation because it is as dangerous as it is attractive, at least for now. Any decision on the Kurdish autonomy problem in Iraq is bound to have repercussions in traditional Kurdish-populated areas of Turkey, Syria and Iran.

Luckily, the U.S. Senate resolution is not binding for Iraq or the U.S. administration. It was passed as an amendment to a bill on U.S. military policy and Washington may not even accept it. If it does, Gen. David Petraeus's plan to withdraw 30,000 U.S. soldiers from Iraq by the summer of 2008 will never be carried out.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

Military News Links 10/07 - 09/2007

Courtesy of Multi-National Force Iraq

Tuesday, 09 October 2007
Georgia becomes an unlikely U.S. ally in Iraq (IHT)
Iraq Journal: The best police force in Iraq (Fox)
Family recalls Soldier killed in Iraq (Ch. 3000)
Hearing their side (ABC)
Blinded in Iraq, Soldier running toward new goal (Stars&Stripes)
Army needs three to four years to recover from Iraq strains: chief (AFP)

Monday, 08 October 2007
U.S. must keep pressure on al Qaeda in Iraq – Petraeus (Reuters)
Combat aviation brigade created in Iraq (Stars&Stripes)
U.S., Iraq to probe firefight involving Blackwater (CNN)
Knowing the enemy is difficult in Iraq (AP)
U.S. accuses Iran of inciting violence in Iraq (Sify)
U.S. forces detain 3 Iran-linked suspects in British kidnappings (VoA)

Sunday, 07 October 2007
A band of survivors returns from Iraq (LA Times)
Two Siite leaders in Iraq reach a peace agreement (New York Times)
Reports: Iraq interpreters to get asylum (AP)
U.S. military says 6 terrorists killed in Iraq (VoA)
Kurds tackle ‘honor killings’ of women (AP)
U.S. acts on Iraq shootings in a clamp on securityby Condoleeza Rice (Herald Sun)

300 sheikhs gather to plan security transition

Courtesy of Multi-National Force Iraq

300 sheikhs gather to plan security transition

Brig. Gen. James Huggins from Augusta, Ga., deputy commanding general for maneuver of the Multi-National DivisionCenter, talks with an Iraqi governmental official as they move into a sheik meeting in Baghdad, Oct. 4. The meeting between 300 sheikhs, Iraqi security force leaders, Iraqi governmental leaders and Coalition forces focused on reconciliation. Photo taken by Maj. Joseph Sowers, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs.

BAGHDAD — Iraqi governmental officials met with more than 300 sheikhs from the Mada’in Qada in Baghdad to discuss the way ahead for reconciliation in their area, Oct. 4.  (A qada is roughly equivalent to a county in the U.S.).

Leaders from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division and Multi-National Division Center attended as observers.

“When this many sheiks attend a meeting such as this, it is an indicator that the people are tired of the violence and have a desire to return to normalcy,” said Maj. Dave Fivecoat from Delaware, Ohio, 3rd BCT operations officer.

The sheikhs agreed security in the qada had improved since the arrival of the 3rd BCT in March 2007, and pledged to continue cooperation with U.S. and Iraqi security forces (ISF) to fight terrorism. To that end, they discussed a plan that would lead to the eventual acceptance of concerned local citizens into the Iraqi security forces.

The sheikhs also proposed a plan to increase coordination between tribal leaders and the government.

U.S. commanders hold out the concerned citizens programs as Iraq’s best hope for reconciliation and stabilization from the ground up, but stress that the concerned citizens must, in a timely manner, be folded into the official Iraqi security forces.

According to Maj. Jeremy Moore, 3rd BCT Iraqi security force liaison, the meeting was a positive step toward that transition.



Additional Press Releases

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Wooden Bowl

The Wooden Bowl

I guarantee you will remember the tale of the Wooden Bowl tomorrow, a  week from now, a month from now, a year from now. 

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in- law, and four-year old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table.

But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth. 

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. "We must do something about father," said the son. "I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor." 

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl! 

When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometime he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. 

The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?"

Just as sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up." The four-year-old smiled and went back to work . 

The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done. 

That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled. 

On a positive note, I've learned that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. 

I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she 

handles four things: a rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. 

I've learned that, regardless of your relationship with your parents,

you'll miss them when they're gone from your life. 

I've learned that making a "living" is not the e same thing as making a  "life.."

I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. 

I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.

I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if  you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you. 

I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.

I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. 

I've learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone. 

People love that human touch -- holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. 

I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.! 

I've learned that you should pass this on to everyone you care about.

I just did.




I am not going to be the one who lets it die. I found it believable -- angels have walked beside me all my life--and they still do.


This is to all of you who mean something to me, I pray for your happiness. The Candle Of Love, Hope & Friendship


This candle was lit on the 15th of September, 1998. 

Someone who loves you has helped keep it alive by sending it to you.

Don't let The Candle of Love, Hope and Friendship die! Pass It On To All Of Your Friends and Everyone You Love! 

May God richly bless you!

Please keep this candle alive

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk  behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.