"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" - Ronald Reagan

New York

News Round Up - 12 Sep 06

At Home. President Bush addresses Americans from Oval Office in memory of 9/11 victims which started America's Global War on Terror. The president should do more of these, possibly every week. This would help people understand that their Soldiers are at war currently fighting for their freedoms.

Syria. US Embassy in Syria is apparently attacked by four assailants with grenades. News is sketchy at this time. More to follow once available.

Palestine. Fatah and Hamas move closer to forming unity government. Abbas agrees to share power with Hamas. Abbas' aide stated the Hamas led government would be dissolved within 48 hours. Hamas appears to have buckled under increasing internal pressure and lack of aid monies to the Palestinians from the international community. Now all they have to do is release Cpl Shalit and the Gaza can begin to rebuild.

Al Qaeda. Al-Zawahiri released a video calling for jihadists to attack UNIFIL forces in Lebanon, to continue attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, and finally to destroy Israel. In an apparent slip, he stated the US was turning "Iraq into a stable US base". For all those who think Iraq is a quagmire, we only need to look to Al Zawahiri's statement to see that Al Qaeda too believes Iraq is enroute to stabilization.

Lebanon. Thousands of Hezbollah activitist demonstrated in Beruit calling for the government to resign for letting Tony Blair come to Beruit. China agrees to send up to 1000 peacekeepers to reinforce UNIFIL. Russia and Pakistan may also send troops to Lebanon as 200 additional French troops arrived. The coalition for peace in Lebanon (therefore, against Hezbollah) continues to build.

Iraq and Iran. Maliki met President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today and talked about forming relationships with other countries without interferring in Iraq's internal affairs. Khatami, speaking in Harvard, condemned Al Qaeda, but praised groups like Hezbollah citing the former as a terrorist, but the later as a resistance group. Given the demonstration in Beruit today, one questions what Hezbollah is resisting, as it would seem it is resisting a free-democratic Lebanon.

Afghanistan. NATO forces state an additional 92 Taliban have been killed in Operation Medusa bringing the number to around 540 Taliban killed since the operation was launched on 02 Sep 06. Of the 7oo Taliban orignally surrounded in this operation, this does not put many left to continue the fight in Southern Afghanistan. Operation Medusa has been a resounding success from this standpoint. Meanwhile a suicide bomber attacked the funeral procession of the recently slained governor.

News Round Up - 11 Sep 06

At Home. Today marks the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. President Bush is in New York to commemorate this anniversary to ensure American's resolve is renewed in its fight against Jihadism. The nations overall crime rate reached a 32-year low since records have been kept; however, violent crime increase slightly. National gasoline retail averages fell 21 cents in last two weeks to $2.66/gal even though the picture accompanying this article shows $2.89/gal. As noted yesterday, I paid $2.26/gal at the pump.

Iraq. Iraqi Parliament delayed debate on federalism Sunday amid Sunni boycotts that their amendments to the Iraqi constitution were also debated. Al-Maliki's visit to Iran, which was supposed to take place today, was delayed for a day or two due to technical issues.

Iran. EU and US negotiators are mulling over Iran's possible suspension of nuclear enrichment for up to two months.

Afghanistan. A suicide bomber assasinated a provincial governor yesterday as NATO troops continue Operation Medusa which has resulted in the death of over 400 Taliban since last Saturday. I disagree that Afghanistan is seeing the worst violence since the Taliban's ouster. NATO troops pushing into and securing southern Afghanistan is resulting in the death of many Taliban, but the country is much safer as a result.

Palestine. Abbas and Haniya have reached a breakthrew deal that could result in a national unity government being formed within the next few days according to Al Jazeera as cripling strike by 170,000 unpaid government workers have all but shut down services to Palestinians. Meanwhile, Egypt proposed to create a Palestinian state as a way to jumpstart the Middle East peace process. According to a recent poll, only 19% would vote for Hamas while 35% would vote for Fatah. Remember, Hamas' kidnapping of Cpl Shalit was an attempt by Hamas to bolster sinking poll numbers which at that time split the vote by 33% for Fatah and 31% for Hamas, a 11% reduction for Hamas since Feb 06. This tactic has appeared an utter failure if these latest numbers are to be believed. Even more striking, but unsaid in this current poll, is that apparently is 46% of Palestinians would not vote for either Fatah or Hamas.

Taliban getting hammered in Southern Afghanistan

Operation Medusa in Afghanistan has netted 80 captured and 420 killed Taliban to date. This operation begin last Saturday and today resulted in the death of 94 Taliban. Canadian forces leading this assault are doing the Lord's work.

Iran to suspend nuclear enrichment????

Just prior to ending last ditch talks between the EU and Iran, Iran has stated they may consider suspension of uranium "voluntarily, for one or two months, if presented ... in such a way that it does it without pressure."

And I got some swamp land in Florida.

Progress in Iraq - The death of the insurgency.

MNF-I has an interesting pregress report about Iraq. Last year, only one battalion was in the lead. This year, 35 battalions, 8 brigades, and 2 divisions are in the lead and have assumed control of their battlespace allowing coalition forces to focus on enabling Iraqi Logistics.

This fact taken together with the fact that the Shi'ite pilgrimage to Karbala took place without incident should show the progress made this year in Iraq.

As of Thursday, 07 Sep 06, Iraqis are now in charge of their security forces making Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq's Commander in Chief.

To date, Operation Together Forward in Baghdad, which is the military focus of Maliki's reconciliation initiative, has cleared more than 45,868 buildings, discovered 26 weapons caches, seized more than 1,066 weapons and detained 75 persons in connection with terrorism or sectarian violence.

On 26 Aug 06, several hundred tribal leaders from across Iraq met for the first of four planned reconciliation conferences in Baghdad and endorsed the government’s national reconciliation initiatives.

According to MNF-I, In the Rashid district of Baghdad, Sunni and Shiite political leaders, tribal leaders and imams met and signed an agreement forswearing violence. Tribal leaders went a step further by renouncing protection for tribal members who engage in sectarian violence. In nearby Babil province, a reconciliation conference concluded with tribal sheiks signing an oath that pledges them to work hand-in-hand with other leaders from the province.

While we cannot control the enemy insurgent, but we can make it harder for the insurgency to cause violence and terrorize. All of these above facts taken together show that real, substantial progress is being made in Iraq.

Peace in Iraq has always been up to Iraqis.

It is up to Iraqis to prevent their neighbors from making and emplacing IEDs to kill innocent civilians. Iraqis, tired of three years of violence, are beginning to unite. Not only are individual civilians providing tips, but tribal leadership is finding its place in a democratic Iraq. It is uniting against the insurgency.

Iraqi security forces are getting better at doing their job of providing security, as noted in the recent pilgrimage to Karbala. Not only are they better, there are more off them that are better.

The central government is starting to exert it control over Iraq. Provincial governments are exerting their control over municipalities. Iraqis are taking control.

This marks the insurgency's death.

News Round Up - 10 Sep 06

At Home. NASA launches Shuttle Atlantis on Sunday with its primary mission to install a solar panel on the International Space Station. Star Trek marks its 40th anniversary. Meanwhile on a personal note, Unleaded gasoline dropped to $2.28/gal here.

Iran. Last ditch nuclear talks continue in Vienna. Iran still states that it will not suspend nuclear enrichment. So what are they talking about?

Afghanistan. NATO defense chiefs meeting in Warsaw agreed they needed an additional 2000-2500 Troops to be able to rid the south of Taliban. In addition, NATO chiefs wanted troop restrictions lifted from certain member nations. The Taliban have lost well over 300 troops in the last week since Operation Medusa kicked off.

Iraq. Iraq Shiite pilgrims celebrate festival without casualties in Karbala. While attacks occurred on some processions enroute to Karbala, the event itself with millions of pilgrims in Karbala went off without a hitch. Again this is significant because only Iraqi forces secured Karbala. This milestone shows the strength of Iraqi forces over the last year and lend to their credibility.

Lebanon. IDF continues to find and destroy Hezbollah bunkers in Southern Lebanon as this video at Vital Perspective shows.