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Monday Iraq Report: September 20/04

| 2 Comments | 2 TrackBacks

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. The Monday briefing is brought to you by Joel Gaines of No Pundit Intended and Andrew Olmsted of Andrew Olmsted dot com.

TOP TOPICS

  • The U.S. launched new strikes into Fallujah, killing roughly 60 foreign fighters in the contested town. With an airstrike going in on Qurush, the Coalition may be attempting to shut down the new outbreak of terrorism before it can undermine what progress that has been made. The war is entering a critical phase as the U.S. and Iraqi elections approach, meaning that we can expect violence to continue to surge unless and until the Coalition can start rolling the enemy back.
  • In an interesting switch from Germany's MO from 1944, the ABC reports that Coalition forces are planning a major offensive in December against terrorist strongholds across the country. If true, that is good news, but announcing the plans seems to smack of dire overconfidence. The Command Post looks at the big picture.
  • Wretchard takes a look at how the situation in Iraq has changed since the war shifted from open warfare to counterinsurgency. While it would be mistake to assume that things are certain to get easier, the Coalition does now have some important new assets available.

Other Topics Today Include: USMC Major reports from HQ; more kidnappings of foreigners and Iraqis alike; Carnival of the Liberated returns; Zeyad's conspiracy theory; Building new homes; The electrical grid; Kurds to Kirkuk; Allawi vows no delay of Iraq's elections; Kofi says the invasion was illegal; Iraq WMD report; Berger's Iraq connection; How to Support the Troops.

REPORTS FROM THE FIELD

  • Terrorists kidnapped two Americans and a Briton in the upscale Mansour neighborhood of Baghdad on Thursday. The victims are said to be contractors with Gulf Services Company, a construction firm based in the United Arab Emirates.
  • A relative of Alaa, at The Mesopotamian was kidnapped by "insurgents". In the case of her family member, the "insurgents" allowed him to keep his head in return for a large sum of money. Alaa makes it clear that the fight is not against "insurgents" or "freedom fighters", but against terrorists.
  • Healing Iraq is always a great source of on-the-ground news. Zeyad has discovered a pattern, which could be generated into a decent conspiracy theory of cooperation between cleric-thug al-Sadr and terror-thug al-Zarqawi.
  • Last week, winds offered 3 different views from the front lines of Iraq: [1] Christopher Albritton of Back to Iraq is unhappy; [2] Reports on the 1st Infantry's unconventional "Boss Tweed" stylre approach in Tikrit; and [3] Rick Sackett's unusual way of telling people about his Iraq experiences. Each sees a different picture. Read and decide.

RECONSTRUCTION & THE ECONOMY

  • The Iraqi Ministry of Countruction and Housing has announced milestones on several projects to build new housing complexes in Baghdad and Kirkuk. The Iraqi government, with coalition assistance, estimates it will build 2.5 million units by 2007.
  • Hamzan, a small hamlet in Northern Iraq, is experiencing certain amenities for the first time.The 133rd Engineer Battalion has replaced the mud schoolhouse with a concrete structure, brought in electricity and a 20K gallon water tank. These National Guard Soldiers from Belfast, Maine, are also teaching the local Peshmerga the construction techniques necessary to continue the work after the soldiers have left.

IRAQI POLITICS

  • Kirkuk is the recipient of nearly 500 Kurds each day, as they stream into the area and set up ever-growing "tent
    cities"in order to establish residency so they may vote in the upcoming elections - indicating a possible shift in power in the area. Kurds were forced into exile to the far North duing the Hussein regime.

THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE

  • UN Secretary General, Koffi Annan, has stirred the ire of several world leaders by calling the war in Iraq "Illegal". However, Mr. Annan's spokesman did say "Mr Annan was "quite reluctant" to use the word 'illegal' and did so only "after repeated pressure" from the BBC interviewer." Annan's claim drew umbrage from the U.S. and its allies.

WMD HUNT

  • A report by the Iraq Survey Group will state that Iraq did not have WMD stockpiles, but instead was importing banned materials and maintaining the capability to shift production to WMDs once sanctions are lifted. Expect to hear this report trumpeted to the rooftops over the next few weeks, although without much (if any) discussion of how the problem might be fixed.

ETCETERA

  • Sandy Berger (Docs-in-Socs-gate), former Clinton National Security Advisor, owns Stonebridge International. Stonebridge will be assisting Gulfsands Petroleum Ltd. Gulfsands has been invovled in "oil and gas exploration and development interests in Syria. And now Gulfsands is looking to Iraq." However, Gulfsands is not pursuing any government contracts, according to Stonebridge Vice Chairman H.P. Goldfield.
  • The troops are still there. So is the Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops: American, Australian, British, Canadian & Polish. Anyone out there with more information, contact us!

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.

2 TrackBacks

Tracked: September 20, 2004 6:24 AM
NEXT STEPS IN IRAQ from Peaktalk
Excerpt: The one thing I neglected to elaborate on last week, was the surging number of deaths caused by insurgents targeting those Iraqis enlisting in the security and police forces, hitting one of the centrepieces of the reconstruction and rebuilding effort.
Tracked: September 20, 2004 10:28 PM
Iraq Report 9/20 from Stryker Brigade News
Excerpt: Winds of Change has published its latest Iraq Report, with plenty of links to news and analysis of recent events....

2 Comments

Speaking of Iraq, has anyone checked out Robert Novak's article?

Mr. Novak is one of the most closely connected columnist/reporters to the Bush administration. Does his report have any credence?

Dunno, JC, but I'm a bad reference point because I've always disliked Novak. He's a paleocon who has hated neocoservatives since the 80s, and should have been sent to a retirement home years ago when he lost his edge. I'm less sure than you are about the quality of his sources, too, but let's leave that aside.

Since this is Washington, there are several possiblities here:

[1] This has been the Republican realists' line on Iraq all along, and may just be the usual Washington leaks trying to shape policy. It represents some opinions internally, but it's a minority view and won't go anywhere.

[2] It's meant for an Iraqi audience. The Bush administration will deny it and that will settle things in America - but Arab political culture pays much more attention to such things, for good and valid cultural and historical reasons. Note what this article says: the Kurds are strong enough to take care of themselves, and we'll give the Shi'ites a free hand to do whatever they like with the Sunnis. That's a BIG threat, one that would probably mean mass Sunni deaths in the 5-6 figure range.

[3] The report is true, and the GOP is moving toward the Codevillan view that all we have to do is make Arab/Islamic states and elites sufficiently afraid of the chaos and death we'll bring down on their heads if further violence or threats of violence come from their shores. Time to cut losses and take out Iran next whereupon America will destroy the nuke program and then leave immediately. Bush's consistent articulation of The Bush Doctrine makes this course unlikely, but it is not impossible.

Time will tell us which is true.

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