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 of Andrew Olmsted dot com. TOP TOPICS * Insurgents launched a series of attacks on police stations, a civil defense station, and the mayor's office in Fallujah, freeing about 20 prisoners and killing at least 17. The enemy's ability to stage near-simultaneous attacks of such magnitude is a bad sign, but Wretchard notes the real news of the day: "when dying and bleeding, beset by the flower of terrorism, with pistol to set against automatic rifle and grenade, the Iraqi police did not ask for help from 82nd Airborne. They asked for ammunition." Other Topics Today Include: is the U.S. looking to cut and run in Iraq?; the troops start to rotate home; Iran has a new business plan for her nuclear reactor; American soldiers play ambassador in Iraq; nuclear proliferation blues for the U.S.
IRAQ BRIEFING * Is the U.S. looking to cut and run from Iraq? One hopes not, but when the head of the CPA(Coalition Provisional Authority) starts talking about hoping to get the UN involved to find a method of turning power over to the Iraqis, you start to fear that maybe the administration isn't as serious about Iraq as they need to be. * Iraq's neighbors have agreed not to interfere with Iraq's internal affairs, as well as attempt to tighten up their border security to prevent foreign fighters from entering Iraq. I wouldn't bet a wooden nickel on the odds they'll live up to their pledge, but it does represent a solid propaganda victory for the Coalition nonetheless. * Iraq remains a hot topic in Spain, and it may affect the upcoming elections there. Several thousand turned out across the country to protest Spain's involvement in Iraq and to demand the return of Spain's 1,300 troops from Iraq. * The troops are coming home. That's great news for the men and women who have spent a year in Iraq, but it also means a period of significant vulnerability. People getting ready to come home are prone to making errors, while incoming personnel have yet to learn the tricks of the trade. Getting through the next few months will be a critical time for the Coalition; expect the enemy to throw everything they've got at the troops. * Which "cards" have we captured so far? The CENTCOM list (credit Mike Borreli for the fix). 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 Dec. 25, 2003] * Don't forget Chief Wiggles' Toys for Iraq drive! IRAN REPORTS * Some 550 ministers have resigned from the Iranian parliament, but the hard-liners are still holding the high cards. Ayatollah Ai Khamenei informed Iran's president that elections scheduled for February 20 must go on as scheduled. * Iran is planning to go into the nuclear reactor fuel business, a process that would require them to restart their nuclear enrichment program. Iran, naturally, insists the process would be strictly for peaceful uses...sure. * U.S. soldiers in Iraq are helping improve the U.S.'s image in Iran, as they have been making an excellent impression on Iranian pilgrims in Iraq. Hat tip: Useful Fools. THE WIDER WAR * Libya's decision to renounce its nuclear weapons program is uncovering a web of nuclear smuggling that appears to lead back to China. Glenn Reynolds has more, including an amusing assessment of a Chinese intelligence problem of their own. * U.S. authorities arrested a Washington state National Guardsman who attempted to provide military technology secrets to al Qaeda. Hat tip: Instapundit. * Three people, including a U.S. soldier, were killed in Afghanistan as violence spiked in southeastern Afghanistan. It's too early to tell if this marks a new enemy offensive or just a brief spike, but it serves as a fine reminder of the problems still remaining in that troubled part of the world. Hat tip: Rantburg. * While there are plenty of concerns about new sources of nuclear proliferation, it turns out that the United States did quite a bit of work in that cause back in the 1950s, giving away highly enriched uranium to countries in exchange for promises not to develop nuclear weapons. Something tells me Pakistan won't be returning the HEU we gave them now that they have the bomb. * In what will come as no great surprise to people who have been following Europe's relationship with Israel, it looks like some of the EU's money to the Palestinian Authority may have been misappropriated. Apparently some of it may have ended up in a special account controlled by Yasser Arafat. Take a minute to recover from your shock. * We try to close on a lighter note if possible. With all the excitement about Vietnam lately, it was probably inevitable that something like this would turn up sooner or later. We can all be grateful that we can get back to the issues now. 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.