Thursday, June 15, 2006

Major developments in Iraq (con't.)

Sorry for infrequent posting...

The Washington Post:
In a Rose Garden news conference just over six hours after his surprise whirlwind visit to Baghdad, Bush said that "I sense something different happening in Iraq" and predicted that "progress will be steady" toward achieving the U.S. mission there.
The Christian Science Monitor:
The bottom line: Iraqis are facing what US officials call a "reconstruction gap" as they assume responsibility for rebuilding. Meeting already-identified needs might require a further $18 billion to $28 billion, according to one estimate.

Domestic Iraqi resources, and aid from countries other than the US, might help close this gap. But some experts say that additional US funds - beyond what's currently planned - might be needed, or crucial goals could remain unmet.
The Washington Post:
BAGHDAD, June 14 -- Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Wednesday proposed a limited amnesty to help end the Sunni Arab insurgency as part of a national reconciliation plan that Maliki said would be released within days. The plan is likely to include pardons for those who had attacked only U.S. troops, a top adviser said.
Will Arkin:
So which is it? That we will leave when the security situation has stabilized, or that we will leave when the Iraqi government and Iraqi forces take responsibility for the security situation?

The answer is the latter, and that means that withdrawal is actually on the horizon.

But there might be one issue looming that could interrupt the feelings of goodwill and progress, and that is the proposed "amnesty" for Iraqi insurgents.

I don't mean to be inflammatory, but under an emerging Iraqi government "plan," if someone has not killed innocent Iraqis -- civilians I presume -- but fought against the U.S. military and even killed U.S. soldiers, they could be granted clemency.
The Los Angeles Times: "Baghdad Residents See Security Clampdown as Business as Usual"

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Clashes broke out between insurgents and Iraqi security forces and a car bomb killed at least two people in Baghdad on Wednesday as the government launched a security clampdown to root out al Qaeda militants.
Bin Laden tightend grip on AQI (my two cents). The NY Times:
General Caldwell said that Mr. Masri started out in 1982 in the Egyptian Islamic Jihad movement led by Ayman al-Zawahiri and then went in 1999 to Afghanistan, were he received training. He later became an explosives expert in car bombs and operated out of Falluja and Baghdad and Falluja, where he first started working with Mr. Zarqawi.

The announcement came on the same day that Iraq's national security adviser said that Iraqi forces have found materials that provide details of Al Qaeda's plans to strengthen their network in Iraq. The adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, described the find as "very important" and said the materials, which included a thumb drive and a laptop, were found in one of the "dens" of al Qaeda in Iraq.

"We believe that this is the beginning of the end of al Qaeda in Iraq," said Mr. Rubaie in televised remarks.A document released today by the Iraqi government said Iraqi forces that participated in the operation that killed Mr. Zarqawi found documents that reveal how the group planned their strategy to counter what they said was the ability of the Shiites and Iraqi National Guard to work with and shield American forces.
CAMP HABBANIYAH, Iraq(June 14, 2006) -- A stretch of highway once called “IED Alley” just might get a new nickname.

Maybe something along the lines of “Darkhorse Drive.”

Marines of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, are making steps to secure Main Supply Route Michigan, the highway connecting Fallujah and Ramadi. They built several new observation posts along the way, an area near the Euphrates River with no distinct city lines or local government.

The Marines are cutting into insurgents’ ability to move and plant improvised explosive devices.

“It’s to keep the major lines of communications open, prevent IEDs from getting in place, so as units transit back and forth it’s safer,” said Staff Sgt. William W. Heidelberger, a platoon sergeant for K Company.


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