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

New York

Iraq Sadr declare 3day mourning for Mughniye

From Alsumaria.

Spokesman for Cleric Moqtada Al Sadr Salah Al Ubaidi announced that Sayyed Al Sadr has issued a statement in which he declared three-day mourning in Sadrist bloc offices in Iraq for the martyrdom of Hezbollah military commander Imad Mughniye who was assassinated on Tuesday due to a car bomb explosion in the Syrian Capital, Damascus. Al Ubaidi added that Al Sadr Bloc condemns the assassination and reject it completely.

If this declaration does not express where Al Sadr's loyalties ride, nothing does. While Sadr has withdrawn from the government, put his militia into a cease fire, and is undergoing training to become an ayatollah, he is only biding his time awaiting for US forces to withdraw from Iraq. Afterwards, his organization is wanting to mirror Hezbollah in Lebanon.

However, unlike Hezbollah, the Badr Organization is a strong pro-government militia that is currently keeping and will keep his organization in check.

Labels: , , , ,

US: Broken Satellite Will Be Shot Down

From Breitbart via AP.

The Pentagon is planning to shoot down a broken spy satellite expected to hit the Earth in early March, The Associated Press has learned.

U.S. officials said Thursday that the option preferred by the Bush administration will be to fire a missile from a U.S. Navy cruiser, and shoot down the satellite before it enters Earth's atmosphere.

HT to In From the Cold. For a full read, click here.

Labels: ,

Mughniyah's Assasination

From the American Thinker.

When the news reported that Imad Mughniyah was assassinated I was stunned. This is equivalent to killing Bin Laden. Except that locating and successfully executing an attack on "Mughsy" was a much more difficult task.

To say he had a heightened security posture would be the understatement of the year. He is/was the mythological equivalent of the unicorn, something that has always been talked about but never actually seen. To illustrate this point, most of the pictures Mughniyah were taken very early in his life (his late teens/early 20s... he is now roughly 45). He was vital to Iranian interests in Lebanon because he was someone the Iranians could depend on to execute Tehran's will. He demonstrated that back in 1983 when he orchestrated the Marine Corps Barracks bombing. He was vital to Hezb'allah because of his trusted status with Tehran and the weapons, finance, and training they provided.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , , ,

Al-Qaeda fighters flee cities, head for desert or out of Iraq -- report

From KUNA. An update on the current situation of Al Qaeda in Iraq in the MND-N region.

A surge in military operations and a shift in local support in northern Iraq has driven many Al-Qaeda fighters out of cities that once provided them safe haven and into the desert, or even out of the country, said a report by the Multi-National Force (NMF), quoting a commander in the region.

Citizens in the four-province region of Multi-National Division - North have begun shifting their support to Coalition and Iraqi forces in "droves," and security gains are increasingly putting extremists on the run with no clear place to go to be safe, said Army Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, commander of Multi-National Division - North and the U.S. Armys 1st Armored Division.

Just how successful has Operation Iron Harvest been?

In Iron Harvest operations over the past 45 days, Coalition and Iraqi security forces there have conducted 74 missions. They have captured or killed more than 70 high-value individuals, and "hundreds" of enemy fighters, the general said.

They found more than 430 caches with tons of explosives and weapons, he added, and they have cleared 653 homemade bombs, 42 house bombs, 35 car bombs and three bomb factories.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , ,

Pakistan’s Taliban Battle Military for Frontier Arms Bazaar and Strategic Tunnel

From the Jamestown Foundation. An excellent piece on the significance of the Khyber Pass, the Kohat tunnel, and Peshawar.

Darra Adam Khel is a familiar name to all those who have any acquaintance with Pakistan's lawless tribal frontier region of seven tribal districts, or agencies. The town takes its name from the Adam Khel clan of the Pashtun Afridi tribe native to this region. Situated about 20 miles to the south of Peshawar, capital of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), and halfway to the garrison city of Kohat, Darra Adam Khel has long been considered a hub of criminals, car thefts, fake academic degrees and counterfeit foreign currencies. More importantly, this small town has a notorious reputation as South Asia’s largest illegal arms and ammunitions market (Dawn [Karachi], March 27, 2003). It is entirely run by local tribesmen without any state control or supervision. The extraordinarily skillful gunsmiths of Darra Adam Khel can make replicas of anything from small arms to AK-47 assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft guns.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , ,

US, Iraq begin operations against Al Qaeda

From Alsumaria.

More than 1,000 US and Iraqi Forces have begun operations against Al Qaeda in Mosul paving the way for what Iraqi officials say will be a decisive strike, the US military said. Extra Iraqi troops, backed by helicopters and tanks, have been sent to Mosul in order to fight insurgents there. “As of right now there are 1,000 plus Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition Forces conducting the operation,” said Maj. Gary Dangerfield, a spokesman for US Forces. For his part, US Maj. Gen. Mark Hertling, commander of troops in northern Iraq, said Al Qaeda fighters were being rooted out of northern cities into more remote areas. Hertling noted in a video link from the US Defense Department headquarters in Iraq that some fighters were leaving with plans to return. Therefore, he added, borders are being monitored closely. “Some of them we have seen specifically leaving to Syria, some of them are going back to Saudi Arabia and Qatar,” he said.

The interesting part of this article notes that Al Qaeda insurgetns are fleeing Mosul and attempting to get into Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar with plans to return.

Labels: ,

US intel links Iran with nuke bomb bid

From Yahoo via AP.

The U.S. has recently shared sensitive information with the International Atomic Energy Agency on key aspects of Iran's nuclear program that Washington says shows Tehran was directly engaged in trying to make an atomic weapon, diplomats told The Associated Press on Thursday.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , ,

Hezbollah terrorist leader Imad Mugniyah killed in Syria

From Bill Roggio at the Long War Journal.

Imad Mugniyah, the leader of Hezbollah’s military wing and a senior officer in Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, was killed in yesterday’s car bombing in Damascus, Syria. Mugniyah was behind multiple terror attacks against US, Israel, and other nations, and most famously the 1983 Beirut suicide attacks which killed 241 US Marines and 58 French paratroopers. Hezbollah has confirmed Mugniyah’s death....

An excellent examination of this terrorist is provided by Mr. Roggio. It is a must read.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , ,

Lawmakers pass provincial election law

From Yahoo via AP.

Parliament cleared the way Wednesday for provincial elections this year that could give Sunnis a stronger voice and usher in vast changes to Iraq's power structure.

The new law — which set the vote for Oct. 1 — is one of the most sweeping reforms pushed by the Bush administration and signals that Iraq's politicians finally, if grudgingly, may be ready for small steps toward reconciliation.

Iraqis are set to vote once again.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , ,

Revolt in Pakistani Tribal Areas

From Syed Saleem Shahzad writing for the Asia Times Online in Part I and Part II.

The ceasefire deal between the Pakistani security forces and a leading member of the al-Qaeda-linked Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, brokered by two stalwart Afghan commanders who persuaded Mehsud to stay in Afghanistan, is just the lull before a big storm and the beginning of a new chapter of militancy in Pakistan.

Mr. Shahzad continues that the ceasefire is tenuous and is not expected to last.

Even before Thursday's ceasefire, the Taliban's preparations in the strategic backyard of Pakistan were well underway. This included the isolation of Mehsud and appointing a new team of commanders in the Pakistani tribal areas. Most of the new appointments are Afghans, to signify the importance of fighting a war in Afghanistan rather than in Pakistan. The two main commanders are Abdul Wali in Bajaur Agency and Ustad Yasir in Khyber Agency.

A key component of the Taliban's offensive this year will be to counter the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO's) plans against them and al-Qaeda. (emphasis added)

I find this Al Qaeda strategy interesting in that it is a defensive strategy rather than an offensive one. Their prime strategy is to counter NATO's plans against them. This fact shows that Al Qaeda is on the ropes in Afghanistan despite MSM reporting. Al Qaeda tells of its areas where it will focus.

"But since the Taliban want to chop off NATO supplies from Pakistan into Afghanistan, the Pakistani Taliban have warned these tribal elders to stay away from the conflict. However, the elders have received huge bribes [funds] from NATO, and so they are obsessed with providing protection to the supply convoys. Therefore, the Taliban will increase their activities in Khyber Agency, which means a war with the elders of the Shinwari and Afirdi tribes," the contact said.

The second sector of Taliban activity will be in Nooristan and Kunar provinces in Afghanistan, where US forces are conducting huge counter-insurgency operations.

"This year, the Taliban will focus their main attention on a new plan specifically aimed at Kunar and Nooristan. The details of the plan cannot be revealed at this point," said the contact. (emphasis added)

The Khyber Agency in Pakistan and the Nooristan province in Afghanistan both border the Khyber Pass from which US forces in Afghanistan receive supplies from Pakistan. On the Pakistani side of the border, Peshawar will be key to Al Qaeda attacks in the Khyber Pass. Tank and later Bannu would have also given Al Qaeda a tactical advantage. However, securing Tank was the key to securing Bannu. With Tank back in the hands of Pakistani forces and the Shinwari and Afirdi tribes in the Khyber Pass still supporting the flow of supplies, one is hard pressed to see how Al Qaeda can continue with this strategy which is why I find the strategy more of a defensive strategy than an offiensive one.

It appears that both the US and Pakistani forces are more apt to go on the offensive this year noted by the following.

Wana military airfield in South Waziristan and Miranshah airfield in North Waziristan have been upgraded from makeshift airstrips into proper runways with backup facilities, which indicate plans for a powerful air operation.

The deployment of US forces at Lowari Mandi and Ghulman Khan checkpoints (both on the Afghan side of the border near North Waziristan) and the construction of a new military camp near Shawal (North Waziristan), on the Afghan side, indicate that the US is not planning on peace for very long.

American and Pakistani forces are building capability to attack Al Qaeda in its unassailable base in Northern and Southern Waziristan. Precision air power has been used very effectively in Afghanistan to prevent any Taliban advancement. It appears the Pakistani military is planning to use precision air power in Pakistan also given the upgrades to the air fields noted above. Al Qaeda however believes that any large scale operation it launches would fracture Pakistan.

"We assess that any large-scale operation would break the army and Pakistan, and this would be a blessing for us. Of course, the Indians would take advantage of the situation and that's why we have a plan to immediately spread this war to the whole region, including India and Afghanistan," Abu Haris explains, basing his arguments on information from al-Qaeda's intelligence and review committee.

While this is certainly a possibility, Musharraf's multi-pronged strategy takes into account the current fragile nature in Pakistan. He and US forces will be able to contain Al Qaeda in North and South Waziristan, destroy training camps in the future using precision air power, and maintain the flow of supplies through the Khyber Pass.

Mr. Shahzad notes Al Qaeda is aware of future Pakistan and US forces intentions, but Al Qaeda has a plan to strike first. While valiant, this tactic from Al Qaeda will mark its death. While Pakitanis overwhelminingly do not want the US to interfere in their country, they also overwhelmingly do not want Al Qaeda to persist in Pakistan either. As Al Qaeda forces move into the cities, they are spreading fear and panic among the population. While Pakistanis have a certain mistrust for the Armed Forces in their country, they trust Al Qaeda much less.

If Musharraf can ensure the Army secures free and fair elections, support for the Army will be greatly enhanced. Al Qaeda will shortly attack after free and fair elections which will result in Pakistani's favoring an Army presence in their cites to secure them. In turn, Pakistani air power will strike with precision at the heart of Al Qaeda camps in North and South Waziristan. Al Qaeda will have nowhere to retreat as the main border crossings in these regions have been closed by US forces in Afghanistan. Bringing India into the battle will only seal another Al Qaeda avenue of retreat.

It is no wonder that Mullah Omar is paniced that Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban are choosing to do battle in Pakistan and has subsequently sacked Meshud. Continued battle in Afghanistan is at least hopeful as NATO countries are reconsidering their presence in this region. However, a 600,000 man Pakistani Army in their unassailable base supported by precision air power and US intelligence will spell the death of Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan.

However, at this point Al Qaeda can do nothing else but attack knowing well that a large-scale operation in Pakistan will spell its ultimate destruction. This very fact is why Al Qaeda's tactical focus in Pakistan is defensive (countering NATO actions) while it is pretending to be offensive (large-scale operation in Pakistan).

Labels: ,

Senior Taliban figure caught in Pakistan

From Yahoo via AP.

Pakistani security forces critically wounded a top figure in the Taliban militia fighting U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, among six militants captured after a firefight near the border Monday, the army said.

Mansoor Dadullah, brother of the Taliban's slain military commander Mullah Dadullah, and the five others were challenged by security forces as they crossed from Afghanistan into Pakistan's southwestern province of Baluchistan. They refused to stop and opened fire, said army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , ,

Becoming an Ayatollah: The New Iraqi Politics of Moqtada al-Sadr

From the Jamestown Foundation.

As a political and military force, Iraq’s Shiite Sadrist movement has undergone a number of radical transformations since 2003, when its leader, Moqtada al-Sadr, surprisingly emerged as a leading political figure. Al-Sadr’s recent decision to continue with his seminary studies and graduate as an ayatollah at the conservative seminary school of Najaf underpins a major change in the movement’s structure that could have serious repercussions for the future of Iraq. Against the backdrop of changing political alliances between Kurds and Sunnis, al-Sadr is transforming his movement into a new political phenomenon with implications for the country’s political structure and security dynamics. The consequences are also immense for Shiite Iraq, posing serious challenges to the conservative clerical establishment in Najaf.

Once an ayatollah, Sadr would be able to wield a large amount of power in Iraq and also receive a lot of money in the future. While in the short term, Sadr realizes he cannot regain power due to his inability to directly confront the American military, he is now looking longterm in Iraq. The article notes,

With Hezbollah of Lebanon serving as a model for the new JaM, the result could be an impressive, newly equipped and armed military force, unlike its origin as a populist militia with limited abilities

For now, Sadr will contain his militia as he continues his studies in the effort to fill in the void left by Sistani who will not live forever. It is notable that many Shiites in Lebanon also follow the teachings of Sistani much to Nasrallah's dismay. Both he and Sadr are looking to fill his void in their respective countries.

Once can only hope that democracy will become pre-eminent in Iraq with Sadr able to influence, but not control, the forward progression of the democracy as it grows.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , ,

The Impact of Pashtun Tribal Differences on the Pakistani Taliban

From the Jamestown Foundation.

Though members of militant Islamic groups such as the Pakistani Taliban and other jihadis have almost the same anti-United States and pro-al-Qaeda worldview, they are not especially disciplined when it comes to organizational matters. Difficulty in this area explains the existence of so many extremist factions operating under different leaders and commanders who sometimes express conflicting opinions on domestic and international issues.

President Musharraf is using these tribal loyalties to his government's advantage. As noted in a previous blog, the Pakistani government is establishing below the Governor, Regional Coordinating Officers (RCOs), District Coordinating Officers (DCOs), and making the offices of the political agents in the NWFP and FATA regions active and functional to accomplish three strategic objectives:

To strengthen the NWFP’s own financial resource base, improve its trade potential by improving its infrastructure and create necessary incentives to attract investment for industrialisation.

What was not mentioned in this Dawn article is the fact that this RCOs, DCOs, and political agents would most likely fall along tribal lines and historical leadership lineages. Bringing tribal leaders into the government may very well allow Musharraf to win over tribal alliances in the FATA and NWFP regions. As noted in the Jamestown Foundation article,

These groups also have regional and local political agendas and are, therefore, under pressure from their tribes and communities not to become involved in wider conflicts that could transform their areas into battlegrounds and contribute to their suffering.

It is precisely this split which Musharraf is trying to harnass to bring the tribal regions under control. Through the establishment of RCOs, DCOs and political agents, Musharraf is attempting to give the tribes a voice within the government and to use the governmental structure to resolve disputes. If two political agents (of say different tribes) have a dispute, then the DCO or RCO could mitigate the issue and provide a win-win situation for both tribes.

In this region tribal differences were solved by warfare which has resulted in this region never prospering, thus becoming ripe for Al Qaeda recruitment. By establishing RCOs, DCOs, and Political Agents, Musharraf is attempting to resolve differences within the governmental structure, lessen disputes, and bring economic investment to this region.

As we see the Musharraf government pursuing peace accords with tribes in the FATA and NWFP region, one must understand Musharraf is doing no different than US forces have done with Sunni tribes in Iraq.

One cannot win an insurgency by killing it. One can only win an insurgency by bringing less violent elements of the insurgency back into the government. Musharraf's plan supplies the structure to do this very thing. Musharraf is hoping the differing regional and local political agendas of the tribes will provide the impetus for them to join vice fight the government.

Once the tribes stop supporting Al Qaeda, it will be easier for Musharraf to deal with this extremist group.

For a full read of the Jamestown Foundation article, click here.

Labels: , , ,

Accordance:Iraq heads towards new government

From Alsumaria.

Accordance Front spokesman MP Salim Abdullah revealed that there is a quasi agreement between the government, Accordance Front and Iraqi List as well as Kurdistan Alliance and Iraq’s Islamic Supreme Council on the resignation of the existing government presided by Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki and the announcement of a new government headed by Al Maliki at a time when ministries are being redistributed among political blocs. Abdullah told Al Sharq Al Awsat newspaper that the new government will be based upon guarantees of the participation of political blocs in political decision making noting that the Accordance Front is working on two parallel directions either to return its ministers to government or form a new government including Accordance Front, Iraqi List, and Al Fadhila.

The new national unity government in Iraq gets closer to forming.


Poll: Pakistanis turn against bin Laden

From Yahoo via the AP.

Sympathy for al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden and the Taliban has dropped sharply in Pakistan amid a wave of deadly violence, according to the results of a recent opinion poll.

The survey, conducted last month for the U.S.-based Terror Free Tomorrow organization, also identified the party of assassinated opposition leader Benazir Bhutto as the country's most popular ahead of Feb. 18 elections, and said most Pakistanis want President Pervez Musharraf to quit.

Later, the article notes,

According to the poll results only 24 percent of Pakistanis approved of bin Laden when the survey was conducted last month, compared with 46 percent during a similar survey in August.

Backing for al-Qaida, whose senior leaders are believed to be hiding along the Pakistani-Afghan border, fell to 18 percent from 33 percent.

Support for the Taliban, whose Pakistani offshoots have seized control of much of the lawless border area and have been engaged in a growing war against security forces, dropped by half to 19 percent from 38 percent, the results said.

Just like in Iraq, when Al Qaeda (and the Taliban) begins its indiscriminate killings, popularity falls. In the case of Pakistan, it is falling sharply and rapidly. Al Qaeda (and the Taliban) are losing popular support in their last unassailable base, Pakistan. Unlike Iraq, where Al Qaeda had an infidel enemy (the US) to focus its insurgent military and propaganda efforts on, Al Qaeda can only focus its efforts in Pakistan on Pakistanis. As such, Al Qaeda (and the Taliban) are losing popular support rapidly.

The elections will show just how sharply popular support for Al Qaeda has dropped. The MMA, the political arm of insurgents, is expected to lose significantly in the election. While Musharraf's support is also suffering, a coalition between the PPP and his PML-Q party may very well happen to form a majority in the government leaving Musharraf to fight Al Qaeda (and the Taliban) while the PPP focuses on the economic front.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , ,

The General’s New Mission

From Newsweek.

Pakistan's latest Army chief holds the key to next week's vote, and to the future of his unstable nation....

He's been tasked with one of the toughest, most urgent military assignments in the world: reforming Pakistan's armed forces and rescuing the country itself from possible collapse.

Later, the article states,

At this point they want basically the same thing: a stable, democratic Pakistan that can defend itself against the jihadists. That goal remains elusive. Kayani has warned publicly that no counterinsurgency campaign can succeed without the public's full support. And yet less than half of Pakistan's people favor using Army forces against Al Qaeda and its allies. The last thing Kayani needs now is a bunch of camouflage-painted American Rambos running around Waziristan. Still, it won't be easy watching him go it alone.

This article gives a rough insight into Pakistani politics, its military, and the upcoming elections, but misses the main point. Namely, Musharraf has set up a multi-pronged strategy to deal with the insurgents in his country that not only involves a military solution, but also an economic and political aspect.

On the political front, Musharraf is ensuring free and fair elections which will undoubtedly result in his party losing the majority to the PPP and the PML-N. In addition, he appointed an Army Chief who is non-partisan, has instructed his military to stay out of politics, and will ensure the fairness of the elections. Finally, he has instituted restructuring of the government in the FATA and NWFP regions.

On the economic front, Musharraf has implemented capital markets and engaged in international trade and treaties which will move his country, and its people, out of poverty reducing enticement to join such extremist groups as Al Qaeda.

It is not about General Kayani and the military as this article implies. He is definitely one of the major players in Pakistan's future and will undoubtedly ensure Pakistan remains unified should the situation worsen. However, Musharraf has laid the ground work on the other instruments of national power to bring his country into the future as a democratic muslim nation, whether or not he personally survives the upcoming elections or its aftermath.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , ,

Diary of an Insurgent In Retreat

From the Washington Post.

On Nov. 3, U.S. soldiers raided a safe house of the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq near the northern city of Balad. Not a single combatant was captured, but inside the house they found something valuable: a diary and will written in neat Arabic script.

"I am Abu Tariq, Emir of al-Layin and al-Mashadah Sector," it began.
Over 16 pages, the al-Qaeda in Iraq leader detailed the organization's demise in his sector. He once had 600 men, but now his force was down to 20 or fewer, he wrote. They had lost weapons and allies. Abu Tariq focused his anger in particular on the Sunni fighters and tribesmen who have turned against al-Qaeda in Iraq and joined the U.S.-backed Sunni Sahwa, or "Awakening," forces.

Abu Tariq went from 600 to 20 Al Qaeda fighters in the October 2007 timeframe. According to the article, he was the religious emir of an area stretching from Taji to south of Balad. The area marks the center of the famous "Sunni Triangle" along the Tigris River Valley. More importantly,

He provided details of what appears to be one of the ways his group financed its activities -- buying and selling trucks and cars, which he called "spoils." He recorded incomplete transactions, including details of money still owed to his group.

Al Qaeda in Iraq, in the heart of the Sunni Triangle, has been decimated according to a diary from one of their own leaders who has now fled to Mosul. The diary speaks of desertions, dismantled battalions, and money woes of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Al Qaeda in Iraq is on its last leg due to The Surge of US forces in Iraq. They have consolidated their forces in Mosul in the hopes of regrouping; however, they are encircled by Iraqi Security and US Forces. January 2007 was a time in which many members of the US Government and MSM were saying all hope for victory in Iraq was lost. Just one year later, the cards have completely turned and it now seems all hope is lost for Al Qaeda in Iraq and Al Qaeda in general.

One wonders what Iraq and Al Qaeda would be like today if we had listened to defeatist forces in the US Government and the MSM and began the withdraw of forces last year instead of surging them.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , ,

Muslim Backing Of Al-Qaeda Wanes

From the Washington Post.

The violent attacks by al-Qaeda and by the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq have led people and religious groups in the Muslim world to reduce their financial support for Osama bin Laden's terrorist network and to question its leadership, senior U.S. intelligence officials told Congress yesterday.

The article continues with the major issue Al Qaeda has within the Sunni community.

Al-Qaeda's leaders are "being forced to enter into a frankly open dialogue . . . with the body of believers."

This fact alone is what is proving difficult for Al Qaeda in maintaining populuar support where-ever it plants itself and begins an insurgency. It is difficult at best to explain how it is proper to use innocent down syndrome females as "suicide" bombers to kill innocent Iraqis shopping at a pet bazaar in Baghdad. These techniques are indefensible, not only for Christians, but also for Muslims.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: ,

Iraq’s Sadr tells militia to keep observing freeze

From the Khaleej Times.

Anti-U.S. cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has ordered his Mehdi Army militia to maintain its six-month ceasefire, Sadr’s spokesman said on Thursday, while his militiamen clashed with Iraqi and U.S. soldiers.

Salah al-Ubaidi said the ceasefire, which expires later this month, should continue to be observed until militia members are told it is over or has been renewed.

Some members of Shia cleric Sadr’s bloc are pressuring him not to extend Aug. 29’s freeze on the feared Mehdi Army’s activities, which has been vital to cutting violence in Iraq.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , ,

Shift in Tactics Aims to Revive Struggling Insurgency

From the Washington Post.

The Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq is telling its followers to soften their tactics in order to regain popular support in the western province of Anbar, where Sunni tribes have turned against the organization and begun working with U.S. forces, according to group leaders and American intelligence officials.

The article continues with how disenchanted Al Qaeda in Iraq fighters have become.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq's change in tactics comes in response to the turmoil and self-doubt that arose among its members as they lost the support of Sunni tribesmen, a process vividly described in a letter by an unnamed al-Qaeda in Iraq emir that the U.S. military said it seized last November.

What caused this disenchantment? In a captured Al Qaeda in Iraq document,

the emir said the difficulty in assigning tasks to potential suicide bombers was caused by increases in U.S. military operations and the formation of U.S.-backed Sunni tribal groups, known as Awakening councils, to fight against al-Qaeda in Iraq.

"We found ourselves in a circle not being able to move, organize or conduct our operations," he wrote. "There was a total collapse in the security structure of the organization."

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , ,