Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by Andrew Olmsted. TOP TOPICS * Good intelligence is key to winning an asymmetrical war, and the U.S.'s decision to recruit former Iraqi agents for the task may be a good step in the right direction. But the decision carries a major political risk, and it gives anti-U.S. forces a golden opportunity to slip some double agents into the mix. In the long run, this is probably a good decision, but it's going to carry a stiff cost for the Administration. Hat tip: Instapundit. * JK: Trent points to a devastating article by Ralph Peters that details the stunning level of U.N. incompetence and refusal to secure or prepare its HQ in Baghdad. Fortunately for the U.N., a couple of Americans fought and flim-flammed their way to preparations that may have saved hundreds of lives that day. Read all about it. * The 'cease-fire' is over, and the fighting is ramping up in Israel as an Israeli helicopter attack killed four members of Hamas in Gaza City. Although it is to Israel's best interests for the fiction of the cease-fire to end, look for Europe and others to complain bitterly about Israel's 'perpetuating the cycle of violence.' Other Topics Today Include: Another Iraqi blogger!; Bring 'Em On Watch; Troop strength in Iraq; Britain's arrest of a former Iranian ambassador; Corruption in Iran's economy; Is India helping Iran become nuclear?; Why cell phones matter; Bombay bombing; Afghanistan update; Possible good news in the North Korea talks; the Marines leave Liberia (for now); Colombia bombing; a possible Canadian 9/11; and a Khmer-Rouge theme park.
IRAQ BRIEFING * JK: Another Iraqi blogger! and a good one, too, judging by her post on unemployment and reconstruction in Iraq. (Hat Tip: M. Simon) * According to Time Magazine, the Baghdad bombing is a big loss for the United States. They don't seem to consider the possibility that the bombing, while tragic, may have driven home a painful truth about the Islamofascists: with them, you truly are with them or against them. * Indeed, the attacks on soft targets in Iraq may be backfiring on the Islamofascists. Popular support for those attacking coalition forces has dropped in the wake of recent attacks. It's too early to be definitive, but this is good news for the Coalition as they fight for hearts and minds. * Violence between Kurds and Turkmens led to unrest in the key city of Kirkuk this weekend. Disrupting Iraq's oil production is a key goal for the Islamofascists; whether this violence was instigated by them, or arose from natural disputes between the two ethnic groups, it represents a good opportunity for the Islamofascists to undermine occupation forces yet again. * Bring 'Em On Watch continues; L. Paul Bremer reports that Iraq may be becoming the place international terrorists plan to assemble and make a stand against the West. While many people continue to believe the United States has no hope of transforming Iraq, perhaps the Islamofascists are somewhat more convinced of our ability to do that? * The question of troop strength in Iraq remains a touchy subject. The Bush Administration insists there are sufficient troops in Iraq to do the job, but Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joseph Biden (D-DE) both say the Administration underestimated the number of troops needed to properly police Iraq. Even if there are enough, keeping that many in Iraq for an extended time may be a bridge too far for the Army. * When the New York Times publishes a piece acknowledging an Iraq success story, the odds are there are many more that aren't seeing the light of day. Yet it's these stories that America needs to publicize, both to bolster support for the occupation at home and to demoralize the Ba'athists and Islamofascists in Iraq. Hat tip: Instapundit. * At the risk of sounding like a cliche, the terrorists got at least a small victory with the International Red Cross's decision to reduce staff in Baghdad after last week's bombing. Making life harder for the average Iraqi is exactly what the Islamofascists want, and while the Red Cross's concern is certainly merited, their decision is likely to harm the very people they claim to care about. * According to a number of formerly secret documents, Prime Minister Tony Blair was heavily involved in the decision to force David Kelly to testify before Parliament. Although this doesn't make Blair responsible for Kelly's suicide, there's little doubt his political opponents will try to paint it that way. That's a bad thing, as the U.S. badly needs Britain's help in Iraq. * The U.S. is looking for more troop support from the U.N., but even our good ally Australia appears to be running low on troops for Iraq. Australia says the U.S. hasn't formally asked for any more Aussie troops, but the reluctance of one of our best allies to help out raises serious doubts over our chances of gaining support from the U.N. * JK: Michael J. Totten, thoroughly Fisks NY Times writer Jessica Stern's attempt to place the blame for terror in Iraq on the United States' shoulders. Bravo. (Hat Tip: Vodkapundit) * JK:" Mystery writer Roger Simon notes that "...we never did find out where all that money went. You know, those gazillions in oil-for-food cash Kofi & Co. was supposedly administering but ended up lining a lot of pockets..." * Which "cards" have we captured so far? The CENTCOM list. And the visual version of "Ba'ath Poker." * The troops are still there. So is the Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops. American, British and Australian. Anyone out there with more information, incl. the Poles and Czechs? [updated April 1, 2003] IRAN REPORTS * Iran is threatening Great Britain over the arrest of a former ambassador for the bombing of a Jewish community center in 1994. It seems unlikely Iran would be willing to draw additional heat down on itself right now, but it's unwise to underestimate the foolishness of a government that is under as much pressure as the mullahs are. Though this is a minor incident in itself, it holds the potential to spur other, more significant problems. * Iran may sign a protocol that would return spent nuclear fuel to Russia, reducing the fears Iran could use the fuel to develop nuclear weapons. If this agreement is for real, perhaps Iran is less serious about nuclear weapons than the West fears; or perhaps they have other sources, and will use this agreement to distract Western intelligence long enough to complete their real program. * JK: Pejman has a link to an interesting CS Monitor article on corruption in the Iranian economy. * JK: Mehdi at FreeThoughts wondered what words an avid North American news reader would associate with Iran - so he wrote some scripts to find out (hey, we like this guy already!). The results are in... * Iranian officials are expected to release an official report on the death of Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi within 48 hours. Given the clear evidence she was beaten to death in Iranian custody, Iran's best chance of getting past this is to cut loose the officals directly linked to the beating. * Pakistan's Daily Times claims India is helping Iran join the nuclear club. Given Pakistan's history with India, this could well be simple paranoia; if not, it could mark a new flashpoint between the two nuclear nations. U.S.A. HOMELAND SECURITY BRIEFING * JK: Hawken Blog has an update on the Bombay Bombing, and Oxblog follows up with more. Big shout-out to Indus Watcher & Nitin in our comments section! * The cell phone networks may seem like an issue for telephone companies alone, but the experiences of 9/11 and the blackout indicate maintaining a robust cell phone system will play a major role in homeland security as well. I hate to think of the government getting involved in private industry, but perhaps a review and relaxation of regulations restraining cell companies might be in order. Hat tip: Instapundit. * Homeland security, or new pork program? The odds favor the latter, as the complaints continue that one place or another is being 'slighted' by the allocation of homeland defense funds. THE WIDER WAR * JK: Was Canada facing a 9/11 of its own? Tim Blair notes the arrest of 19 men who, among other things, were training to fly aircraft over an Ontario nuclear power plant. It will be months, if ever, before the facts on this one come out, but it's a chilling reminder that our enemies continue to seek ways to strike back at us. * Has Germany made Europeans the new cash cow for Islamofascists? The German government is refusing to comment on reports it paid in excess of $5 million to secure the release of 14 Europeans being held hostage in the Sahara. The Germans say a multinational force is being organized to hunt down the kidnappers, but if the force is only now being organized, any money that changed hands will be long gone even if the kidnappers are captured or killed. * The fighting in Afghanistan continues, as a Taliban ambush kills five Afghan soldiers and three Taliban guerillas. Until the training of the Afghan National Army is further along, the United States may need to spend more time helping to mop up the remnants of the Taliban before they can achieve a return to full-scale fighting there. * The Liberians are unhappy, as the small U.S. Marine detachment in Monrovia returned to their ships offshore. While the Marines are still easily able to respond to problems in Liberia, this pullout may be unwise, as the impression of abandonment could spark new violence. * One of North Korea's aces in the hole in its game of chicken is the many South Koreans who support reunification. That ace may be looking a little weak after South Korean demonstrations against the North's government. A small point in the United States's favor prior to Wednesday's talks. * As the talks over North Korea approach, Russia reports they are 'discretely optimistic' about them. Does this indicate Russia knows something about how much pressure China will bring to bear on North Korea? Or is Russia assuming the United States will cave in? Hu Jintao's warning to North Korea to halt their war preparations and nuclear program look like promising signs of the former. * A painful reminder that terrorism is hardly the sole province of Islamofascists: a bomb, possibly planted by FARC, exploded on a riverboat in Colombia, killing at least six. This may seem like no big deal, but the strong American support for the Colombian government means this attack could draw greater than expected attention from the U.S. government. * We try to close on a lighter note if possible. Cambodia has unveiled plans for a Khmer Rouge-ville theme park, giving tourists the opportunity to look at genocide from the inside. Tokyo Disneyland, watch out! Thanks for reading! If you found something here you want to blog about yourself (and we hope you do), all we ask is that you do as we do and offer a Hat Tip hyperlink to today's "Winds of War". If you think we missed something important, use the Comments section to let us know.