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November 30, 2005

National Strategy for Victory in Iraq

The full text of the National Security Council's plan: National Strategy for Victory in Iraq (PDF)

Don't rely on reporters, pundits, commentators or politicians...or us, for that matter. Read it for yourself. It's short enough if it's an issue important to you.

(Note: For those new to reading stuff like this, it is critically important that you read the Table of Contents first to understand the logical order of presentation before diving right in.)

Out-Landis Recon

True to form, Joshua Landis finds yet more reason to lend the benefit of the doubt again to the Syrian Assad regime. Referring to the story of a Syrian that there were supposedly bribes in the Mehlis investigation, Landis offers up:

"Many readers have asked whether I believe Hussam's testimony. The question is not whether I believe him; rather, it is that all his testimony is now highly suspect, which has done great damage to the Mehlis investigation and his preliminary findings."

What damage? In the eyes of those who wish to see it? Give me a break. Hariri's people categorically deny it (of course not mentioned by NYT until paragraph 8), so it is "he-said, she-said" at best...far from 'highly-suspect' at this point. Hussam spoke on Syrian state TV, no less...not exactly the home of reasoned discourse.

Couched in 'intellectual reason', Landis always seems to find a way to (cautiously but consistently) tell us that the Syrian Assad regime isn't all that bad. This instance is no different.

November 29, 2005

Bill with Sgt Snyder

Sgt. Trevor Snyder has posted a picture of Bill while he was in Baghdad. Thanks to the crog for the link. The larger image is available at Sgt Snyder's flickr account.

November 28, 2005

IranianNuclear Recon: “No Really. We downloaded it.”

NTI's Quote of the Day:

"This is not information Iran downloaded from the Internet. This is information they obtained …from a nuclear-trafficking network that has provided a nuclear-weapon design to at least one other country."

—U.S. Ambassador to the IAEA Gregory Schulte, responding to Tehran’s defense that nuclear-weapon design information it purchased from the Khan network was “nonsophisticated information” that could easily be obtained online.

If Only W's Words

James Q. Wilson is not speaking for the President. Unfortunately.

And we are winning. Soon Iraqi forces will be able to maintain order in the few hot spots that still exist in Iraq. We will stay the course until they are ready. We made no mistake ending Saddam's rule. We have brought not only freedom to Iraq, but progress to most of the Middle East. America should be proud of what it has accomplished. America will not cut and run until the Iraqis can manage their own security, and that will happen soon.

November 27, 2005

Disbelief Recon

In an extraordinary exercise in self-restraint, I will simply ask why?

[Former US Attorney General Ramsey] Clark, a controversial figure who was the top U.S. attorney in the late 1960s before becoming an anti-Vietnam war activist and a defender of figures including Slobodan Milosevic, said he hoped to strengthen Saddam's defense.

A former US Attorney General hopes to strengthen the defense of a sworn enemy of the United States?

In World War II, there was a word for this. Dare we speak it now?

Piracy Recon: Private US Firm in Somali Waters

I remember reading about a private US security firm that had been hired by Somalia to stamp out their piracy problem. I thought I had included it in the NewsBriefs, but apparently I had not. But, no worry...you just knew Eaglespeak would be all over it...

EagleSpeak: Private US firm to patrol Somali waters?

StateSponsor Recon

Jeff Kouba at Peace Like a River takes a look at the report of Iran training Chechen terrorists in Qom with a post called "Doing deals with the devil is risky business". (If you haven't yet, spend a few reading at Jeff's place. He does some good thinking.)

In this instance, he chooses to look at this particular issue from the perspective of Iranian motivations and offers several good possibilities of why Iran would do this.

He has left the true reason off the list, however: Because that's simply what the premiere State Sponsor of Terrorism does.

While he rightly reminds that Iran has been doing the dance and playing the game, it's really as simple as that.

November 26, 2005

IED Recon: Adapt, Improvise, Overcome

Has a US Navy SEAL, motivated by the deaths of his friends in Fallujah, willed a vehicle solution to reality? It appears so. Upon their deaths, he and three others founded Granite Global Services and designed and built the Granite APC -1 in Kuwait, near the theater of operations. This vehicle and its occupants just survived an IED blast. No injuries and the vehicle apparently drove away.

Outstanding initiative. Outstanding results.

Go check out the photgallery for the Granite APC-1, aka The Rock.

November 25, 2005

Iranian Nuclear Recon: "No big deal, fellas."

Regarding the documents Iran finally turned over to the IAEA, which were initially dismissed by Iran as merely a sales pitch by AQ Kahn, now Iran is now attempting to laugh their significance away by stating that the instructions for milling uranium into a hemispherical form is freely available on the Internet.

If that's the case, why has it taken Iran three years to 'chuckle-up' the information?

Could we have the link, please? I'm sure we'll all just have a good laugh.

November 24, 2005

Consistency Recon: What about the Middle East?

A New York Times editorial on President Bush's China visit caught me by surprise this morning.

Despite the lack of results, we applaud Mr. Bush for raising these sensitive but crucially important issues. Democracy and human rights are universal, not merely American, values.

Why is this thinking not applied to the Middle East and Iraq, where the Times and others have consistently suggested in the past that the region is simply 'not ready' for democracy or that stability (through existing/past dictatorships) is more important?

'Charity' Recon

From heart-strings to det-cord...this caught my eye. Notable is that, even in their own 'comfortable surroundings', they do not identify themselves for what they are and that their 'popular support' may not be as popular nor as supportive as perceived and projected.

November 23, 2005

Dar Al Hayat Recon

It's about tripods...and I just kept reading...

Missile Interceptor Recon

With concerns over Iranian missile and nuclear weapons development rising daily, there are discussions ongoing regarding the defensive measure of ballistic missile interceptor bases in Poland and other European countries. And if you were wondering What Else Can Be Done about Iran’s Nuclear Program...pay special attention to Clawson's NSG observation.

This (NSG action) we may be hearing much more of soon if the coming “talks about (resuming) talks” are true to historical form and fall through...or it may be the stick that causes those very talks to find a verifiable agreement.

Roggio Profiled

The Philadelphia Inquirer offers a profile of Bill Roggio today. [Registration required.]

WaPo Recon: More on Foreign Fighters in Iraq

Evan Kohlmann at the Counterterrorism Blog follows up his previous with yet another example of journalists who lack undertanding yet feel no compulsion to restrain themselves from reaching and publishing flawed conclusions based on distorted information beneath the blanket of credibility their publication provides.

Times Recon

In Fortitude and Caution, Marvin states: "Media and political leaders have become caricatures of the foolish who know no discretion and state truth and falsehood as one. The impact on distant shores being difficult to immediately know – it can be safely assured not to be to our advantage."

Illustrating to that end, Marc Schulman has taken it upon himself to research and chronicle the New York Times' Jekyll & Hyde routine on Iraq over the past dozen years and two administrations in
The New York Times on Iraq, 1993-2005 (Part I). His opening two NYT quotes bookend the miraculous transformation that belies intellectual honesty.

Simply outstanding research. Look for Parts II & III to follow.

November 22, 2005

al Castro Recon

Birds of a Feather...

Some things just make you laugh out loud. Who says NatSec and Foreign Policy are dry subjects?

Want Context and Perspective on Iraq? Ask a Marine In-Theater

Finally, what had circulated largely in e-mail form in relatively small (military) circles (to my knowledge) has now been published by The Washington Times as an OpEd. For the record, this 'OpEd' is the most efficiently informative article on the War in Iraq to date, bar none.

A Marine reports from Iraq - WashTimes OpEd

That this factual overview is relegated to and deemed at all an Editorial is nothing short of a shameful commentary in itself on rather large swaths of the dominant US media. There is more fact and less editorialization (subtle or otherwise) in this Marine's entire report than can be found in any 5-paragraph selection from, say, Edward Wong and his fellow travelers at the New York Times. Be sure to read it all (two pages).

Here's a taste of an un-filtered, un-edited Marine telling us like it is...and seemingly too difficult for the likes of most fo the US media to find and/or report:

When engaged, the enemy has a tendency to flee to the same building, probably for what they think will be a glorious last stand. Instead, we call in air and that's the end of that, more often than not.

These hole-ups are referred to as "Alpha Whiskey Romeos" ("Allah's Waiting Room"). We have the laser-guided ground-air thing down to a science. The fast movers, mostly Marine F-18s, are taking an ever-increasing toll on the enemy. When caught out in the open, the helicopter gunships and AC-130 Spectre gunships cut them to ribbons with cannon and rocket fire, especially at night. Interestingly, artillery is hardly used at all. Fun fact: The enemy death toll is supposedly between 45,000 and 50,000. That is why we're seeing fewer and fewer infantry attacks and more improvised-explosive devices, suicide bomber s***. The new strategy is simple: attrition.

The insurgent tactic most frustrating is their use of civilian non-combatants as cover. They know we do all we can to avoid civilian casualties, so therefore schools, hospitals and especially mosques are locations where they meet, stage for attacks, cache weapons and ammo and flee to when engaged. They have absolutely no regard whatsoever for civilian casualties.

November 21, 2005

Administrative Note on Commenting

I would kindly like to bring to the attention of our new readers our Commenting Policy, specifically the following:

Commenters will be required to leave an email address and are encouraged to submit their website or URL also. Email addresses will not be published to the site. However, if it is determined that it is a false address, the comment will be removed. Commenters are encouraged to sign up for a Typekey or other name verification service.

Comments so far have been outstanding. We are, however, recieving a fair amount of comments submitted that do not appear for no other reason than the lack of an e-mail address. We don't send spam and we don't share e-mail addresses with anyone.

What providing an e-mail address does is simply ensure responsible commenting by attaching some measure of ownership to comments submitted. We hope you find this a reasonable policy.

If you have commented here and do not see it, then either by omission or oversight, you did not provide this. Feel free to resubmit any comment with a valid email address if this applies.

For what it's worth on Zalmay Khalilzad...

I have always had the highest opinion of Zalmay Khalilzad. I first learned of him while I spent months practically living at the RAND site: downloading, printing and reading everything I could get my hands on (which, if you have ever visited RAND, is a lot) beginning around late 1999.

My first 'run-in' with him was when I read Congage China, which was/is brief and brilliant.

When he was appointed to be U.S. ambassador in Afghanistan in 2003, I literally cheered out loud (that got a few looks). Pound for pound, in any diplomatic position, Zalmay Khalilzad is the right man for just about any job. I, for one, am glad he is now in Iraq.

Practical, intelligent, wise and alert in every setting.

No Insurgents = No Value?

Reuters would have us believe that because the insurgent groups from Iraq weren't represented at the summit on Sunday in Cairo - no value can be found in the agreement reached by those present.

"The value of the accord, however, was uncertain with the absence of anyone representing insurgent groups."

Khalilzad on Zarqawi

"I do not believe that we got him," said Zelmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. "But his days are numbered. We're closer to that goal but unfortunately we didn't get him in Mosul."

There is something refreshing about such direct words from the Ambassador.

Drop in attacks on US forces.

Sixty percent drop in attacks on US forces - per CentCom's press release on Operation Bruin.

November 20, 2005

2 Leave Gitmo, Rejoin al Qaeda in Morocco

Moroccan authorities arrested 17 suspected al Qaeda members on Sunday. Two of them had already seen the inside walls of Gitmo. Can you see how wrong it is to hold them?

Troubling Developments in Egypt

Kirk H. Sowell has an excellent look at the troubling impact of The Muslim Brotherhood's success in the recent Egyptian elections and the prospects of a lasting democracy there. Sowell notes:

This process has indeed begun in Iraq and Lebanon, and it may elsewhere, but events so far bode a dark omen for the future of Egypt.

Asia Close to Home

While the President visits Asia, Bill Rice gives us another good look into China's western hemisphere influence.

November 19, 2005

Roggio Outbound

Bill's journey has begun. We'll keep everyone updated as we hear from him.

Evan Kohlmann also takes on Finer

Early Friday morning, I wrote in our PrincipalAnalysis section The Importance of Foreign Terrorists to Iraq's Insurgency, and challenged The Washington Post's Jonathan Finer's underestimation of the importance and impact of foreign terrorists on the insurgency in Iraq.

Evan Kohlmann at The Counterterrorism Blog also weighed in (authoritatively) Friday afternoon with:

Washington Post Misses the Mark on Foreign Fighters in Iraq - Counterterrorism Blog

Evan takes a longer view, using far more detail and post-Soviet Afghanistan and the emergence of al Qaeda as the backdrop. He is right on the money. His argument should be considered today's Must Read.

Strange Bedfellows

al-Zarqawi has been busy apologizing for bombing a Muslim wedding in Amman, saying al Qaeda in Iraq did not intend to bomb Jordanian Muslims, who "are more beloved to us than ourselves". This apparently applies only to Sunnis.

After two Shiite mosques were bombed Friday, killing 74, Security Watchtower asks:

Did AQI forget that Muslims worship at Muslim mosques?

It is interesting how the Shiite Iranian regime supports Sunni al Qaeda by housing more than a few of their leaders and supplying arms and explosives to Sunni al Qaeda in Iraq, who in turn expends its largest munitions murdering and maiming Shiites in Iraq.

Try squaring that one at home.

November 18, 2005

There's nothing like that 'New Home Smell'

For those who don't know Marvin and Bill, they are outstanding teammates. Thanks to both of you.

Now....Let's get it on.

Welcome to ThreatsWatch

ThreatsWatch goes live. Bill and Steve - Thank you both and let's get to it.

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