Thursday, October 26, 2006

Global war on terror news recap

The president's "substantial" statement

Thomas Ricks of the Washington Post:
The text of President Bush's news conference yesterday ran to nearly 10,000 words, but what may have been more significant were the things he did not say.

The president talked repeatedly about "benchmarks" for progress in Iraq, using that word 13 times. But he did not discuss the consequences of the Iraqi government missing those targets. Such a question, he said, was "hypothetical."


President Bush also spoke several times yesterday about his flexibility, apparently as a way of countering critics calling for a major change in his approach to Iraq. But he made it clear that he was talking about tactical adjustments, rather than the kind of sweeping strategic revision being mulled by the Iraq Study Group led by former secretary of state James A. Baker III and former representative Lee H. Hamilton, and also being urged by a host of members of Congress and political pundits.


At the same time, the president's tone has changed markedly. Gone was the talk of past Bush administration news conferences about "steady progress" in Iraq and all the good news that the media was said to be ignoring there. Instead he began yesterday's session with a straightforward and even grim account of the events of the past month in Iraq. He noted the deaths of 93 U.S. soldiers over the past 25 days. "I know many Americans are not satisfied with the situation in Iraq," he said. "I'm not satisfied either." So, he said, the American effort in Iraq is "constantly adjusting our tactics."

Yet under his sober mien and a newfound insistence on adaptability, he appeared to be quietly digging in his heels. "Our goals are unchanging," he emphasized in his opening remarks. "We are flexible in our methods to achieving those goals."

MILITARY chiefs today said that the number of British troops in Iraq could be halved early next year.

They claim that operations in Basra, in the south of the country, have proved to be a great success and the Army is close to reaching the "tipping point".

They hope that by February the number of UK service personnel serving in Iraq could be cut from 7200 to 3500 if the current campaign continues.
BAGHDAD, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Iraq's most notorious death squad leader escaped a major U.S.-led raid on a Shi'ite Muslim militia stronghold in Baghdad, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Thursday.

In an interview with Reuters, Maliki said Wednesday's ground and air assault on the sprawling Sadr City slum targeted Abu Deraa, a feared warlord held responsible for a rash of brutal sectarian killings and kidnappings of Iraqi Sunnis.

The operation, carried out by Iraqi special forces with U.S. advisers and air support, killed 10 "enemy fighters", according to a U.S. military statement.

Maliki said he backed the raid but complained that it was conducted in a heavy handed way that could wreck a political deal he had worked on with Moqtada al-Sadr, a radical anti- American cleric who controls the Mehdi Army Shi'ite militia.

"I said we agree on arresting wanted criminals and we do not care whether they are Sunnis or Shi'ites, but that was not an arrest operation," said Maliki, who is himself a Shi'ite.

An uncertain peace/truce according to the BBC News.

BBC News:
Scores of civilians have been killed during Nato operations against Taleban fighters in southern Afghanistan, local officials and civilians say.

Nato says it will help Afghan officials investigate what happened after raids in two districts of Kandahar province.

The alliance had "credible reports" of some civilian casualties, but could not confirm reports of 60 dead civilians. It said 48 militants had been killed.


Blogger Publia said...

Good post. I hope we can see Iraq through, and that country will soon be able to begin enjoying the blessings of Liberty.

10:14 PM  

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