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

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Iraq War: Right Time, Right Place, Right War

From Douglas Stone writing for the American Thinker.

It needs to be said: It was smart to go to war in Iraq; it was courageous to go to war; but most of all -- even though there are few things as horrific as war -- it was necessary to go to war against Iraq. Had we not gone to war against Iraq in 2003, we almost certainly would have done so there or in another Arab country at another time, and all in less advantageous circumstances.
Iraq was the right time, right place, right war.

Mr. Stone writes a good peace about why we are in Iraq and why we need to stay.

For a full read, click here.

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The Success of Iraq Policy

From Jim Hall at the American Thinker.

Contrary to the dominant media narrative, the Iraq war is working out as a global strategic success, albeit not to a comfortable time schedule or cost. A Walter Chronkite-type surrender won't be necessary, this time. America had the strength to endure, analyze, correct and advance the mission. America will be the global can-do superpower once again. Europe and the Middle East have seen this light.

An interesting take on the Iraqi War.

For a full read, click here.

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Al Qaeda's 2008 Outlook - Iran's Future

From Yahoo/AP.

This Yahoo article has a good roll up of recent battlefield activities in Iraq and while at the end of the article, it sums up Operation Phantom Pheonix with the following.

He [Rear Adm. Gregory Smith] said 121 militants were killed, including 92 so-called "high-value targets" and 1,023 detained since the most recent operation against them began on Jan. 8.

Since 08 January 2008, when Operation Phantom Pheonix began, 121 militants were killed, 92 of which were high-value targets (HVTs - which means they were cell leaders, financiers, recruiters, organizers, and/or operators), and 1,023 were detained. The significance of these numbers must be viewed with another number. McClatchy Newspapers also reports today via Kansas City Star on the number of foreign fighters entering Iraq.

[Rear Adm. Gregory] Smith also said that most foreign insurgents in Iraq come from Saudi Arabia, which President Bush visited on his trip. Other foreign fighters have come from Libya, Yemen, Syria, and even a few from France, Smith said.

In the last year, improved border enforcement by Syria and increased profiling by Saudi officials of single men traveling to Iraq have helped cut the number of foreign fighters entering Iraq in half, Smith said. Between 40 and 50 a month are thought to be entering Iraq now, he said.

Between 50 and 60 percent of those become suicide bombers, and 90 percent of the suicide bombers are thought to be foreigners. (ephasis added)

So, in 13 days (since Operation Phantom Pheonix began), 1144 insurgents have been killed or detained. In this same time, insurgents have received approximately 22 replacements (given 50 enter Iraq monthly). These numbers are hardly a winning strategy and show how desparate the situation for Al Qaeda in Iraq has become. While this just shows what has happened during the last 13 days, The Surge has produced similar numbers for the seven months it has fully been in effect.

In addition and much more significant, 92 HVTs were killed in the past 13 days. Ninety-two leaders, with specific leadership knowledge, skills and abilities, will no longer be able to hand down their expertise to incoming recruits. This sobering fact is clearly demonstrated in the two recently failed suicide attacks in Anbar. Four suicide bombers were not able to kill corresponding Awakening leaders in Anbar. What we see is Coaliton and Awakening leadership exponentially developing while at the same time Al Qaeda leadership exponentially being eliminated, in some case permanently.

In addition, several other leaders who were detained (although precise numbers are not given in these articles) are now giving up Al Qaeda's secrets to Coalition forces which will lead to further reduction in Al Qaeda in Iraq's overall numbers and leaders in particular.

The Yahoo/AP article also notes the following.

[Rear Adm. Gregory] Smith, the U.S. military spokesman, said the military had al-Qaida on the run with recent operations. But he warned the group remains a force in eastern Anbar, northeast of Baghdad in Diyala province, in areas surrounding the northern city of Kirkuk, "in small numbers to the south of Baghdad" and in the northern city of Mosul.

"Mosul will continue to be a center of influence for, a center of gravity for al-Qaida because of its key network of facilitation — both financing and foreign fighters," he said.

A few things are significant about this statement. The first is the region which is not listed, namely Baghdad. In fact, a recent USA Today article cited that 75% of Baghdad is secured compared to 8% in the same month last year. The USA Today article also states,

The 310 neighborhoods in the "control" category are secure, but depend on U.S. and Iraqi military forces to maintain the peace. The 46 areas in the "retain" category have reached a level where Iraqi police and security forces can maintain order, a more permanent fix. The remaining areas have fewer security forces based there, though they are not necessarily violent. (emphasis added)

Therefore, in Baghdad, the center of gravity in this war, 75% of the neighborhoods have seen enemy activity mostly eliminated and normal economic activity resuming. The other 25% of the neighborhoods are "not necessarily violent", but neither are they secured by Coalition forces.

Despite a recent killing of a US Marine in Anbar (which has not occurred since 08 October 2007) and the two recent failed suicide attacks, Anbar is also secure, enemy activity has been mostly elminated and normal economic activity is resuming. Finally, the entire southern part of Iraq and the northern Kurdish part of Iraq continue to be secure.

The US Military now has two divisions (the 1st Armored Division and the 3rd Infantry Division respectively) along with several Iraqi Divisions focusing on securing north of Baghdad to Kirkuk and Mosul (focused in the Sunni Triangle region) and south immediately south of Baghdad (focused in the Triangle of Death region).

The success of The Surge overall and Operation Phantom Pheonix lately can be found thoughout this blog.

  • 1144 insurgents killed or detained in the past 13 days
  • Insurgent replacements of approximately 22 in the past 13 days
  • 92 leaders killed in the past 13 days
  • An unspecified number of leaders detained in the past 13 days
  • 50% reduction in foreign insurgents entering Iraq
  • 75% of Baghdad secured
  • 25% of rest of Baghdad not necessarily violent
  • 100% of Anbar secured
  • 100% of Kurdish north secured
  • 100% of Shiite south secured
Finally, the three most important items of all:

1. Al Qaeda is clearly losing wholesale in Iraq, which Bin Laden himself called the central front in his war against the west. Like Hitler losing Paris or failing to defeat Great Britain, Bin Laden has lost Iraq. Even though Al Qaeda, like Nazi Germany, may be able to surge, the facts speak for themselves. It is now just a matter of time until the complete destruction of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

2. Al Qaeda has been unable to defeat the democratic government in Afghanistan. In fact, approximately 4500 Taliban have been killed in 2007 alone. The number of wounded is probably twice this number. Again, like Nazi Germany against Russia, this endeavor has just wasted precious resources for absolutely no gain militarily.

3. Due to his significant losses in Iraq and no appreciable gain in Afghanistan, Bin Laden has been forced to turn inward to Pakistan, once a safe haven for Al Qaeda. To wage the fight in Pakistan, Musharraf has repositioned 100,000 Regular Army troop from Kashmir to the FATA and NWFP regions in addition to the tens of thousand Frontier Corps already in the region. While shaping operations are already underway, decisive operations will begin shortly after the 18 February parlimentary elections.

Just like Hitler, holed up in an underground bunker in Berlin in the final days of the war, knowing that the 1000 year reign of the Third Reich had come to an abrupt, permature end, Bin Laden also sees his grand plan to establish a caliphate from Spain to China crumble as Coalition forces ever so slowly close in on him.

For all its outrageous and boisterous rhetoric, Iran is not unlike Japan in WWII. Coalition forces have island hopped to surround the theocratic leader of Iran in the Persian Gulf, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and shortly in Pakistan. While not part of the coalition in this war, Turkey is a member of NATO and is pressuring Iran from the north, similar to China's and Russia's pressure on Japan in WWII.

For Iran's sake, it may want to surrender or it may see some of its major cities completely obliterated.

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Senior Saudi Cleric: Suicide Bombers Doomed To Eternal Torment In Hell


Sheikh Dr. Salah bin Fawzan Al-Fawzan, member of the Senior Ulamaa Council and of the Saudi Fatwa Committee, said that anyone who carries out a suicide attack and calls it jihad in the path of Allah while hoping to die as a martyr is judged as someone who kills himself, and his punishment is eternal torment in hell, because jihad is innocent of such operations.

Several senior Saudi clerics are beginning to come out more and more against suicide bombings. This change is one which will benefit the Global War on Terror.

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Why Al-Qaeda Is Losing

From Gary Anderson at the Washington Post.

The conventional wisdom is that al-Qaeda is making a comeback from its rout in Afghanistan. Many point to its success in killing Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan and to its support of Islamic insurgents there as evidence. Not so. Al-Qaeda is waning. Its decline has less to do with our success than with the institutional limitations of the al-Qaeda organization. Simply stated, to know al-Qaeda closely is not to love it.

Everyplace where al-Qaeda has gained some measure of control over a civilian population, it has quickly worn out its welcome. This happened in Kabul and in Anbar province in western Iraq. It may well happen in Pakistan as a reaction to the killing of Bhutto.

No one likes to be brutalized and dominated by foreigners. The weakness of al-Qaeda is that everywhere it goes its people are strangers. This is no way to build a worldwide caliphate.

While I agree with Mr. Anderson's tenets regarding Al Qaeda up to this point, I do not agree with his premise that individual groups can overcome Al Qaeda. Mr. Anderson states the civilian population kicked Al Qaeda out of Kabul and the Anbar province. I believe this is a completely inaccurate statement.

While Al Qaeda definitely came to be despised in Kabul and Anbar, it was only with assistance of the US Military that these people were able to defeat Al Qaeda. It will only be with Pakistani Military assistance that tribemen in Pakistan will be able to defeat Al Qaeda. It is only with US Military assistance that Shiiites, who for three decades were under tyrannical rule, were able to defeat Saddam.

While I concur that Al Qaeda is winning the global information war, US Military presence in Afghanistan and Kabul wins the local information war precisely because we follow the rule of law. Over time, citizens in these countries have come to know the United States, through its military, not as the "decadent at best and downright threatening at worst" that is seen on the MSM, but as decent, just, fair, god fearing people, not unlike themselves.

It is this new perception of Americans, through our military forces, that gave Anbaris the strength to rise up against Al Qaeda. It was George Bush's strength and courage to stand up to Congress and the vast majority of the American people (if you can believe the polls) when they were calling for withdraw, which was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's (Al Qaeda's) back in Anbar.

It will not be money spent on advertisements showing how evil Al Qaeda is. These newly freed people know exactly how bad Al Qaeda is, their husbands, wives, sons, and daugthers have been killed by Al Qaeda. They have witnessed its evils ways firsthand. The reason they did not rise up the first time Al Qaeda brutally murdered one of their family is precisely because they did not have the strength and courage to do so.

Our presence gives them this strength and courage. It is not only the presence of our overwhelming firepower represented by our military that gives them strength and courage, but more so the presence of a decent, just, fair, and god fearing Soldier that is at the tip of that spear.

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Iraq General: Six Villages Taken From Al-Qaida


Iraqi and U.S. forces engaged in a major assault on al-Qaida have wrested control of six villages in central Iraq from the Islamist militant group, an Iraqi army general said Friday.

At least 10 members of al-Qaida were killed and 20 suspected militants were arrested in the sweep, Major General Abdul Karim al-Rubaie, director of operations in central Diyala province, told AFP.

The villages named by the general fall within the "breadbasket" farmlands surrounding the town of Muqdadiyah, which is the main focus of Operation Iron Harvest launched Tuesday by Iraqi and U.S. forces, assisted by members of anti- al-Qaida "Awakening" groups.

"The villages have been under the control of al-Qaida for a long time," said Rubaie. "We have taken them back and al-Qaida has been chased out."

The remnants of Al Qaeda in Iraq are being killed, detained, or fled from this latest assault as part of Operation Iron Harvest. U.S. Forces are moving into the Muqdadiyah region to close a line of communication into Baghdad along the Diyala River Valley.

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Afghanistan: Army discovers Iranian mines on road from Kabul

From Adnkronos International.

Mines produced in Iran have been discovered and seized by Afghani armed forces along the road between the capital, Kabul, and the eastern city of Jalalabad."

These mines are the latest technology and considered very dangerous," said a spokesman from the organisation for Afghani national security.

It is not the first time that Iran has been accused of sending arms to Taliban guerillas who are fighting the government of Hamed Karzai.

Recently the head of the Canadian troops stationed in Afghanistan accused Tehran of collaborating with militants linked to the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar.

Before him, the US defence secretary, Robert Gates, spoke of Tehran's involvement in Afghanistan.

Now, direct proof they are meddling in Afghanistan. Many problems in the Middle East eventually come back to Iran. It is time to deal with this issue directly.

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The Wane of the Insurgency in Iraq and the Growth of Feedom.

In an interesting report, Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), reports:

Armed groups have sought the government's support to chase Al-Qaeda members in some areas in Iraq, the Iraqi official Al-Sabah newspaper has revealed on Monday.

"Negotiations have taken place between the government and armed groups as part of the reconciliation process. Positive outcome is near," the paper, issued by the official Iraqi Media Network, added.

The paper quoted sources close to the government as saying that the negotiations had involved the Islamic Army in Iraq, the 1920s Revolution Brigades, Al-Fatah Brigades, the Armed Forces General Command, and Al-Rashedeen Army. Other groups revealed desire to join in but the report did not disclose if they were included already.

According to the paper, the Islamic Army in Iraq has sought the government's support to hunt members of Al-Qaeda in Al-Tarmiya, Al-Taji, and other areas where they are headed by the terrorist Abu-Ghazwan. The Revolution Brigades would meanwhile chase terrorist Abu Sufian Al-Afghani in Abu Ghraib, Al-Dora, and Fallujah, the paper said citing sources.

Iraqi president Jalal Talabani earlier said five armed groups wanted to lay arms down and get involved in the political process. A presidential source revealed that Wafiq Al-Samarae, security adviser to Talabani, played a significant role in the negotiations.

This article makes one wonder why are anti-Iraqi insurgent forces looking for government support to battle Al Qaeda in Iraq? There exists only one possible scenario.

  • Al Qaeda in Iraq has targeted these organizations.
  • These groups are no longer supporting (actively or passively) the insurgency.
  • These groups must be afraid of being killed or captured by Iraqi Government and Coalition forces should they mass as armed groups.
  • These groups will request the Iraqi government get American airpower to assist them should they need it to battle Al Qaeda in Iraq.
  • These groups must being seeing firsthand the growth in power of the democratically elected Iraqi government.
These are remarkable changes from this time last year when these five armed insurgent groups were actively engaged in battles against the Maliki government. It also shows that the government in Iraq, for all its failings, is the recognized, legitimate government in Iraq.

These facts taken together with the Anbar Salvation Council's recent growth in Anbar shows not only does the insurgency not have passive support from the populace (which it needs to persist), it has actually garnered active resistance against it, especially in the once closely aligned Anbar Province.

There are currently two surges going on in Iraq.

The first surge is happening in and around Baghdad where Iraqi and Coalition forces have greatly increased security in the city and caused the insurgency to either move their bases of operations out of Baghdad or eventually be hunted down by Iraqi and Coalition forces.

The second surge is that at least five anti-Iraqi insurgent groups have now switch sides and are actively working with the Maliki government and pursuing Al Qaeda in Iraq. Furthermore, ranks in the Anbar Salvation Council are swelling everyday. To say the least, Iraqis are taking control of their own destiny. It will be interesting to see the size of this organization in mid-summer as many recruits return from basic training.

While a surge of over 20,000 American troops may not be enough to bring peace, security, and stability to Iraq in and of itself, the addition of these five armed groups and the Anbar Salvation Council will provide the forces necessary to not only secure Baghdad, but defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq and promise their eventual destruction militarily.

Additionally, these groups, once focused on resistance to a democratically elected Iraqi government, are becoming part of the governmental and political process. As support from the Maliki government to these once insurgent groups expand, so shall their loyalty to this democratically elected government.

While many of these groups may never be pro-American, they understand they need America's intelligence and airpower and the Iraqi government to effectively fight a much greater evil, namely, Al Qaeda in Iraq.

2007 is proving to be a monumental year in Iraq.

1. The American troop surge is resulting in and will result in Baghdad, the center of gravity for the battle in Iraq, to be more secure. Even though not fully implemented, security has already greatly improved and will continue to improve.

2. At the beginning of the American surge in Iraq, Sadr went into hiding in Iran causing his militia to fracture and wonder about their future. While some members may become more active against the government, many members will seek to join the government. Recently, Sadr pulled his six cabinet members from the government. Many of these ministers were quite possibly going to be fired by Maliki anyhow. Three of these ministers controlled the important Health, Education, and Transportion ministries and were not doing banner jobs in these ministries.

3. Economic growth is surging forward in Iraq which like all other democracies will cause the populous to actively seek law, order, and stability in order for it to continue. Actively seeking law and order results in normal citizens not sitting on the fence but instead actively providing intelligence to Iraqi and Coalition as to insurgent activities.

4. Many reconstruction processes are in the final phase of completion. Along with improvements in security, improvements in water, electicity, academics, transportation, medical and sanitation (SWEAT-MS) are very recognizable to Iraqis. This especially true in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq and in the Shi'ite Southern Region. It is becoming more and more recognizable to Baghdadis, the center of gravity in Iraq. It will start to become more and more recognizable to Iraqis in the Anbar Province as they are now actively working with Coalition forces against Al Qaeda in Iraq.

While mistakes have been made by Iraqi and Coalition forces in Iraq, Coalition forces have maintained their objectives in Iraq. Namely, they have captured and killed the once bloody dictator, Saddam. They allowed Iraqis to vote for and install a democratically elected government. They have provided for the security of this infant government. They begin building back the Iraqi Army. They are starting to provide for security of the populous. They have engaged in and completed many reconstruction initiatives.

The fruits of this labor has produced economic prosperity despite a deadly insurgency. Once hardened insurgent groups are changing sides and now actively pursuing Al Qaeda in Iraq. Once hardened insurgent groups are now asking for the support of the ever stronger democratically elected Iraqi government.

The death of all insurgency in Iraq, to include Al Qaeda in Iraq, is nearing ever closer. Since Al Qaeda decided to make Iraq the center of its global war, its global reach will shrink accordingly as Al Qaeda in Iraq shrinks. As democracy becomes stronger and bolder in Iraq, it will naturally flow to the rest of the Middle East. It will be interesting to see what Iraq looks like in 2008 and the rest of the Middle East by the end of the decade.

In my time in the military, I have seen the fall of the Iron Curtain, changes in the free flow of information brought about by the computer age, but the dictatorships in the Middle East persisted. Now all that is changing. As my career comes to a close at the end of this decade, it will be exilarating to see what my country and my military has accomplished. It inspires me and I know inspires the newest generation of American Soldiers how this great country has freed over 300 million people from tyranny.

It will be interesting to see if this next generation of Americans and their Soldiers can embolden and free the rest of the world. Or will the defeatist democrats rise to power and clutch defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq. If they do, I fear not only for the 30 million freed Iraqis and Afghanistanis, but also for the 300 million people freed from tyranny during my military career. Finally, I fear for the freedom of the 300 million people in America. This is the land of the free, because it is the home of the brave. For the six billion people in the world, I hope the people of my country never forget this fact.

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