Our regular feature is on hiatus right now, and will resume on its usual Mondays & Thursdays in the New Year. This post isn't a full report, just a quick round-up from vacationland of some interesting things people are sending me. The weather here sucks... might as well blog. IRAQ * The Art of Peace writes: Could Lt. Col. Alan King help turn Iraq around and make Iraq a pillar of freedom for the middle east despite everything? I've noted the importance of tribes in Iraqi society before. King is an Army civil affairs commander who has made it his personal mission to understand Iraq's labyrinthine tribal system, and has some solid results to show for it. Great piece, and great work! * Phil Carter used to be part of 4th Infantry Division, 1st ("Raider") Brigade. He talks about some of the military analysts he worked with, and their role in tracking down Saddam Hussein. * UPDATE: P. has a mini-roundup of his own, including a very good Ralph Peters article tracing the successes to date as a result of Saddam's capture, and explaining why it is a big deal. I also enjoyed P's link to the report of Iraq's new U.N. representative upbraiding that fraud Kofi Annan and his ilk. Give 'em hell, Ambassador! * Trent Telenko notes that TIME Magazine has made the American G.I. its man of the year. See also "Portrait of a Platoon" about a dozen soldiers in one of Baghdad's nastiest districts. * Trent also points to a story that the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq is planning to transmit news footage from Iraq directly via satellite, for use by local media outlets in Western countries. Not a bad idea - but personally, I wish they'd do a better job of setting up media options inside Iraq. * David Kaspar notes that the Iraqi national soccer team is whining about not having a field to practice on. Given the importance of soccer in the Middle East, finding them a field and some facilities might be a good idea for the CPA - or an outstanding sponsorship opportunity for a sharp corporation. * Amygdala has more background on the coup that brought Saddam Hussein to power. Turns out the USA wasn't heavily involved. * Which "cards" have we captured so far? * The Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops. American, Australian, British, Canadian, Polish. [updated Dec. 1, 2003] * Don't forget to support Chief Wiggles' Iraqi toy drive, too! IRAN * Blog Iran! notes a Sunday Hedrald article that says the end of Libya's WMD efforts also means the end of secret development programs with Iran and North Korea. * Doesn't do much about the Pakistani connection, though. HOMELAND SECURITY * Armed Liberal discusses a different approach to Homeland Security, using the principle of "a pack, not a herd." * Former MP Captain and Law Student Phil Carter looks at the recent U.S. appeal court decisions re: enemy combatants, and what they mean to the War of Terror. * Dean Esmay discusses those annoying Homeland Security Alert level bulletins. Consider the alternative, he says. Good discussion in the comments section, too. THE WIDER WAR * There's a new commander in Afghanistan, with a new approach to take the conflict into its next phases. Welcome to Fort Apache, Afghanistan. Along the way, Trent delivers some sharp kicks to international NGOs. * Donald Sensing talks about a growing pressure for democratization in Arab countries, from Iraq to Saudi Arabia. * Armed Liberal also emails me this excerpt from Kuwait's Al-Siyassah, whose editorial urged Gulf leaders to embrace political reform: "The winds of change are sweeping the area at this time, and demands for political, cultural, democratic and economic change are bearing down on us strongly..." Hey, we get results! * I try to end on a lighter note. Presenting, the Saddam Hussein satirical photo gallery.