Welcome! Our goal at Winds of Change.NET is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Auditions are in progress, and today's Iraq Report is brought to you by Scott Talkington of Demosophia.
Our "Winds of War" coverage of the global War on Terror is also up for perusal.
- It almost goes without saying that the biggest news is the ahead-of-schedule dissolution of the Governing Council and the creation of the Iraqi Interim Government, with the appointment of a PM: Iyad Allawi, and President: Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer. The Kurds, however, feel a little left out. (See item under Iraqi Politics subheading.) Also take a look at The Khalifa and JFK from Omar, for a "buck-up" local perspective, and this WSJ article by Paul Wolfowitz for administration perspective on where and how it will be going.
- Major militias agree to join Civil Defense Force raising the number of anti-"insurgent" troops by 100,000. So far the militias being folded into the pack don't include Muqtada al-Sadr's gang. The Christian Science Monitor is one of the few mainstream media sources presenting a balanced account of events in Iraq, and it has a nice story on the militia agreement. Their take is that Allawi is proving his worth, but there's an outstanding question about the allegiances of these co-opted fighters.
- In a major victory for the White House the UN unanimously approved a US-British resolution formally ending the occupation and authorizing a US-led peacekeeping force. The mandate is set to expire in January 2006, but unless the Iraqis ask the US-led coalition force to leave early the US only pledges to "coordinate" with the Iraqi government, which will not have the veto over military actions that France and Germany prefer. However, because ultimate authority for the presence of outside troops (if not their actions) rests with the Iraqis the measure unambiguously constitutes full sovereignty for Iraq.
Other Topics Today Include: Coalition rescue of Italian and Polish hostages; Car bombings in northern Iraq; Oil sector reclaimed from UN babysitter; Thoughts from Iraq the Model on leadership; Kurds make a tactical threat of independence; Lessons Learned Report from Operation Iraqi Freedom released; John Keegan publishes new book on Iraq War; Hugh Hewitt writes about the milblogs; and a concise good news roundup from Chrenkoff.
REPORTS FROM THE FIELD
- Coalition forces freed (rescued) Italian and Polish hostages on tuesday, in bloodless operation near Baghdad. Armed Forces Information Service has the full story. (Hat tip: Strykernews)
- Car bombings in northern Iraq kill 15: 1 American and 14 Iraqis. The toll on Iraqis is far greater than on Americans, yet they don't seem inclined to throw in the towel.
- Digital Warfighter posts that the Lessons Learned Report from Operation Iraqi Freedom has been released, with pictures.
RECONSTRUCTION & THE ECONOMY
- In another step demonstrating that "full soverveignty" is more than an empty term Iraq assumes full control of it's own oil resources. LGF has a few serving suggestions for the "it's all about you-know-what" crowd.
- Chrenkoff has compiled more good news, including a new film school, stirrings of a Reformation (Enlightenment?), an open door to Kurdish Jews living in Israel, a pro-American militia, and a mixed-but-generally-upbeat report on trade and development.
- In a letter to President Bush that implies precisely the opposite of the militia agreement above Masoud Barzani and Jalal Talibani "hint" that due to the diminished role they've been given in the new Iraq they may consider Kurdish independence. The fact that the Peshmerga fighters account for 75% of the newly annexed forces in the Civil Defense Force raises the incentive for the Interim Government to find some way to placate the Kurds. This is the sort of alchemy that either breathes life into a new nation, or leaves it a corpse. Stay tuned.
- Here's an odd little anecdote from Iraq at a Glance about an entrepreneurial law and order venture undertaken by Sadr's militia. The story is reminiscent of some of the stuff one used to hear about the IRA's vigilante "crime fighting."
THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE
- The UN Resolution was covered under Top Topics. However, the upcoming G-8 Conference is expected to provide more opportunities for unity on Iraq.
- The Congressional Hearings drag on, with intense posturing from Democrats during examination of John Ashcroft. Meanwhile The Army investigates broader offenses occuring outside the prisons. But, as a number of us predicted, there was bound to be a reflective silver lining to this grim cloud.
- John Keegan has a new book, with a catchy title: The Iraq War. It covers the period from ancient Mesopotamia to the capture of Saddam (though not with evenly distributed intensity). Focusing primarily on the events since March, 2003, his main thesis is that the "Iraq War" wasn't really a war at all. And furthermore the military theory holding that defenders will aggressively resist invasion only applies, without modification, to the western developed nations that originally shaped the theory. Think about the implications of this. There are reviews here, and here. Keegan expresses his views on the war candidly here.
- Michael J. Totten has a few thoughtful remarks and vital references on US "Imperialism."
- Hugh Hewitt writes a Weekly Standard article about the milblog phenomenon. His point, and it's a good one, is that there's now a more direct link between the military and civilian world and this is bound to not only clear up a lot of misunderstanding, but will tend to correct outright disinformation and press bias.
- The troops are still there. So is the Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops: not just Americans, but other nations with soldiers on the front lines. Anyone out there with more information, contact us!
- Another way to support the troops is to help them to help the locals. That's exactly what Spirit of America does. Winds of Change.NET supports them 100% - and not just because "Armed Liberal" is their COO. Get involved! Spirit of America wants YOU!
- And on a lighter note.... Allah made me do it.
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