Monday, May 09, 2005


I wonder why, and why not. This pictures shows much, yet not enough. We move on. We have no where else to go. Posted by Hello

Arlington National Cemetery, Nov. 4, 2003. Sen. Kennedy at met us there and we passed on to him what John, our son, said about the equipment: the body armor, the ammo, the humvees. Posted by Hello

Statement by Senator Edward M. Kennedy on Iraq Supplemental

[bth: this speech by Senator Kennedy was delivered this afternoon on the Senate Floor. I want to thank Sen. Kennedy for working to keep the only armored humvee plant in the country running through the Summer months. As incredible as it seems, 39 senators voted against this action in late April. That we would idle production while troops die in the field in outrageous. I watched the speech on C-Span this afternoon. On behalf of the Hart family and many other families with soldiers still in danger, I want to take this public opportunity to express my deepest thanks.]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Laura Capps/Melissa Wagoner May 9, 2005 (202) 224-2633



STATEMENT BY SENATOR EDWARD M. KENNEDY ON IRAQ SUPPLEMENTAL
(As Prepared for Delivery)

Mr. President, I intend to support the Iraq spending bill. Although I disagree strongly with some of the bill’s provisions, these funds are clearly needed for our troops. All of us support our troops. We obviously want to do all that we can to see that they have proper equipment, vehicles, and everything else they need to protect their lives as they carry out their missions.

It’s scandalous that the Administration has kept sending them into battle in Iraq without proper equipment. No soldier should be sent into battle unprotected. No parents should have to go in desperation to the local Wal-Mart to buy armored plates and mail them to their sons and daughters serving in Iraq.

Our military is performing brilliantly under enormously difficult circumstances and we need to give them our support‹not just from our words out our pockets too.

One aspect of this bill that I am particularly proud of is the increased funding for humvees for our troops on patrol in Iraq. The Bayh- Kennedy Amendment adds enough additional funds to keep production at increased levels. Some opponents claimed that the Army already had enough armored humvees, and objected to any further increase.

But a front-page article in the New York Times on April 25th told us the troops’ side of the real need for more armor, and the difference it can make. Company E, a Marine Corps unit based at Camp Pendleton, returned from six-months in Ramadi last year, and its members were so frustrated with this problem that they decided to tell their story.

They did not have enough armored vehicles. 13 of the 21 Marines from Company E who were killed in Iraq had been riding in humvees that failed to protect them from bullets or bombs.

They saw problems up close. A year ago, eight of them were killed when their humvee was ambushed on the way to aid another unit under fire. The cargo section of the humvee where the troops were riding didn’t even have “hillbilly armor” to protect them from the blast. They were totally unprotected. As one Marine described the attack, “All I saw was sandbags, blood and dead bodies. There was no protection in the back.”

Captain Kelly Royer, Company E’s unit commander asked his superiors when he would be getting more armored humvees. He was told that the additional armor hadn’t been requested, and that there were production constraints. Another Marine says they complained about the shortages “every day, to anybody we could. They told us they were listening, but we didn’t see it.”

These Marines on the frontline knew the armor meant the difference between life and death – the difference between an essential mission and a suicide mission. They were desperate to get more armor. Day after day, they saw the brutal consequences of the Pentagon’s incompetence and delay.

The “lessons learned” from the war in Iraq are said to help us in future conflicts, but for all forces facing death every day, the future was yesterday.

In fact, the Marines are requesting funds for the coming fiscal year to develop and produce new armored vehicles to avoid these deadly threats.

The need is so clear that the request was submitted under the Marine Corps’ Urgent Universal Need Statement, which was created to streamline the acquisition process and get equipment to the field faster. They have a plan to meet the future need – but what about the urgent need today?

We do not have the luxury of time to wait for these new vehicles to roll off a future assembly line. The need for armored humvees is now. The hillbilly armor they scavenge for and add to their unprotected humvees does not provide adequate protection.

The Army says that of the new requirement approved this month, none of it is
designated for the Marine Corps. The Pentagon refuses to make this a top priority. They continue to drag their feet.

In a report to Congress this month, the Government Accountability Office describes month after month after month of mismanagement by the Pentagon in supplying the armored humvees our troops urgently need to carry out their missions and stay alive.

The GAO report found that the Army still has no long term plan to increase the number of armored humvees. The war in Iraq has been going on for two full years. Our troops are under fire every day, and the Pentagon still doesn’t have a plan to protect them.

In a briefing prepared by the Marines for Congress, they specifically state in their Vehicle Hardening Strategy that “funding assistance is required to achieve optimum levels of armor protection.”

The GAO report clearly points out that the Pentagon’s bureaucratic mentality infected its decisions. They tried to solve the problem in a slow and gradual manner, instead of solving it quickly. As the GAO report states, here were two primary causes for the shortages of armored vehicles. “First, a decision was made to pace production, rather than use the maximum available capacity. Second, funding allocations did not keep up with rapidly increasing requirements.”

It is equally obvious that in addition to the bureaucratic mentality at the Pentagon, their cakewalk mentality is also a major part of the problem. Week after week, month after month, they refuse to believe that the insurgency would continue. They want to believe it will soon be over. They don’t feel they need to waste dollars on armored humvees that soon won’t be needed in Iraq. So month after month, our troops keep paying with their lives. The light the Pentagon sees at the end of the tunnel turns out to be the blinding flash of another roadside bomb exploding under another unprotected humvee in Iraq.

They can’t even get their story right. Armor Holdings – the company that makes the armored Humvee – told my office recently that its current contract with the Army will actually mean sharp cutbacks in production. Right now, they produce 550 armored Humvees a month. Their contract reduces that number to 239 in June, zero in July, then back to 40 in August, and 71 in September. The company is now negotiating for slightly higher levels of production in June, July, and August, but it still expects to decrease production to 71 by September. What possible justification can there be for the Pentagon to slow down current production so drastically in the months ahead, when armored humvees are so urgently needed?
The Pentagon keeps saying, “We’ll work it out.” On nine different occasions, we have asked the Pentagon for their requirements for humvees, and nine times they have been wrong.

This bill tells the Department of Defense we won’t let them get it wrong a tenth time. For the sake of our troops, Congress acted, and the Pentagon should not ignore it. The contract should be amended immediately to obtain maximum possible production of armored humvees for the months ahead. Our troops are waiting for our answer, and their lives depend on it.

Another important part of this bill will be the periodic report it requires on the progress our forces are making in Iraq. Our military is performing brilliantly under enormously difficult circumstances. But they don’t want – and the American people don’t want –an open-ended commitment. After all the blunders that took us into war, we need to be certain that the President has a strategy for success.

The $5.7 billion in this bill for training Iraqi Security Forces is a key element of a successful strategy to stabilize Iraq and withdraw American forces.

The report will provide the straight answer that we have not had before about how many Iraqi security forces are adequately trained and equipped. We’re obviously making progress, but it’s far from clear how much. The American people deserve an honest assessment that provides the basic facts.

But that’s not what we’ve been given so far. According to a GAO report in March, “U.S. government agencies do not report reliable data on the extent to which Iraqi security forces are trained and equipped.”

The report goes on to say, “The Departments of State and Defense no longer Report on the extent to which Iraqi security forces are equipped with their required weapons, vehicles, communications, equipment, and body armor.”

It’s clear from the Administration’s own statements that they’re using the notorious “fuzzy math” tactic to avoid an honest appraisal.

On February 4, 2004, Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said, “We have accelerated the training of Iraqi security forces, now more than 200,000 strong.”

A year later, on January 19, 2005, Secretary Condoleezza Rice said that ”We think the number right now is somewhere over 120,000.”

On February 3, 2005, in response to questions from Senator Levin at a Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, conceded that only 40,000 Iraqi security forces are actually capable. He said, “48 deployable (battalions) around the country, equals about 40,000, which is the number that can go anywhere and do
anything.”

Obviously, we need a better accounting of how much progress is being made to train and equip effective Iraqi Security forces.

The President’s commitment to keeping American troops in Iraq as long as it takes and not a day longer is not enough for our soldiers and their loved ones. They deserve a clearer indication of what lies ahead, and so do the American people.

I’m encouraged that the Administration is finally being required by this bill to tell Congress how many U.S. troops will be necessary in Iraq through the end of 2006. The American people‹and especially our men and women in uniform and their families‹ deserve to know how much real progress is being made in training Iraqi troops and how long our forces will be in Iraq. Hopefully, the Administration will submit these reports in good faith, and not attempt to classify this vital information.

..... [bth: the bold highlights are mine.]

VE-Day Margraten Posted by Hello

Margraten Posted by Hello

U.S. doubts Iraq rebels can keep it up

"Insurgents in Iraq are drawing on dozens of stockpiled, bomb-rigged cars and groups of foreign fighters smuggled into the country in recent weeks to carry out most of the suicide attacks that have killed about 300 people in the past 10 days, senior American officers and intelligence officials say.

The insurgents exploded 135 car bombs in April, up from 69 in March, and more than in any other month in the two-year American occupation. For the first time last month, more than 50 percent of the car-bombings were suicide attacks, some remotely detonated, suggesting that Iraqis, who typically do not use that tactic, are being forced or duped into driving those missions, one top American general said.

Senior American officers predict that the insurgents, including Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant whose network has claimed responsibility for the deadliest suicide bombings, will not be able to sustain the level of attacks much longer."...

Attacks against allied forces had dropped to about 40 a day in March and early April, and now they stand at 55 a day, well below the 130 a day in the days before the Jan. 30 elections, but roughly the same as last fall.

Attacks against power stations, pipelines and other infrastructure have declined sharply in the past three weeks as insurgents shifted their attacks to Iraqi security forces, U.S. officers said..

"Abu Ghraib is a huge symbol for the insurgents," he said.

Military intelligence officials say that insurgents are pumping out CDs and other information on extremist Web sites that use Abu Ghraib as a recruiting tool and call to arms against the American-led military campaign....

But some intelligence analysts believe that Iraqi Sunni extremists are now joining the ranks of suicide bombers in what would be a troubling new trend....



Big staff turnover plagues U.S. rebuilding in Iraq

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Rapid turnover and a shortage of experienced U.S. staff in Iraq managing billions of dollars of contracts is wreaking havoc on a rebuilding plan already slowed down by violence.

Companies working in Iraq, auditors and the U.S. government office running the $18.4 billion U.S. rebuilding program all say contracting staff shortages in Baghdad are a problem as overworked employees struggle to oversee and award contracts in a stressful, hostile environment.

'The big elephant in the room is we don't have enough procurement staff (in Iraq),' said Professor Steven Schooner, a procurement specialist at George Washington University.

U.S. government audits released on Wednesday by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction pointed repeatedly to the high turnover rate and quick rotations of contracting staff as a contributing factor to stalling the U.S. rebuilding plan."...

"There was no transition process or procedure in place to ensure that departing personnel transitioned workload to successor personnel. As a result, this prevented the effective continuity of contract administration when each tour of duty expired," said the audit. ...

Several companies working on U.S.-funded projects in Iraq, who spoke on condition of anonymity, complained of a lack of continuity and confusion from staff turnover.

"Just as you are getting used to one contracting officer, he leaves and another comes in with different ideas and you have to change gears again," said one contractor who has worked in Iraq for two years doing hundreds of millions of dollars of work for the U.S. government.

"This lack of institutional memory has slowed us down," said another.


FOXNews.com - U.S. Kills 75 Insurgents in Iraqi Offensive

"BAGHDAD, Iraq -U.S. forces have launched an offensive against insurgents in western Iraq near the Syrian border, and about 75 militants were killed in the first 24 hours, the military said Monday.

It said the offensive, being conducted with U.S. air support in a desert area of Anbar province north of the Euphrates River (search), was targeting a sanctuary for foreign insurgents and a smuggling route.

The brief U.S. statement didn't say when the offensive by Marines, sailors and soldiers had begun, how many were included, or whether there had been any American casualties.

The Chicago Tribune reported Monday that more than 1,000 U.S. troops supported by fighter jets and helicopter gunships had attacked villages in and around Obeidi (search), a city near the Euphrates in western Iraq not far from the Syrian border, on Sunday."...

U.S. view of Iraq insurgency shifting - MSNBC

"BAGHDAD, May 8 - Senior U.S. commanders say their view of the Iraqi insurgency has begun to shift, with higher priority being given to combating foreign fighters and Iraqi jihadists."

This shift comes in response to the recent upsurge in suicide attacks and other developments that indicate a more prominent role in the insurgency by these radical groups, the commanders say....

But the officers said the impression that a harder-core insurgent element has become more important is supported by the increase in suicide missions and the greater ruthlessness of the attacks, many of which have been positioned and timed to kill civilians as well as Iraqi security forces. U.S. and Iraqi authorities say suicide drivers are invariably foreign fighters. Officers here said they knew of no documented case in which a suicide attacker turned out to have been an Iraqi.

A recent U.S. intelligence estimate also shows an increase last month in the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq, according to several officers familiar with it....

Like Zarqawi, a number of foreign fighters are said to be forming tactical partnerships with Iraqi extremist groups to carry out attacks. Though foreigners may drive the suicide cars, Iraqis are frequently behind the scenes operating the networks that provide safe houses, assemble the explosives and arrange other support.

The number of car bombings jumped from 64 in February to 135 in April, according to U.S. military statistics. The proportion of such attacks involving a suicide driver also soared, from about 25 percent to just over 50 percent.
‘Their precision weapon’
"The car bomb has become the weapon of choice for these guys, it's their precision weapon," another general here said.

Overall, the rate of attacks has climbed from about 30 to 40 a day in February and March to an average of about 70 a day now, by the U.S. military's count.

The main infiltration route into Iraq for foreign fighters continues to be through Syria, the officers here said. Citing terrorist Web sites that advertise for recruits in such countries as Sudan, Libya and Saudi Arabia, the officers said the fighters tended to be flown to Damascus, the Syrian capital, where they were met by facilitators and moved across the border into Iraq.

The spate of car bombings has prompted U.S. commanders to put renewed emphasis on interdicting infiltrators near the border and uncovering bomb-making networks inside Iraq....


U.S. intelligence peels 'onion' to get most-wanted

"The United States is using the same types of tactics to catch Abu Musab Zarqawi and Osama bin Laden as those that netted Saddam Hussein in a 'spider hole' in Iraq. " ...

Although the military receives more tips on Zarqawi, challenges remain. He has few close ties in Iraq and meets with only a few of his operatives, said a senior U.S. official who served in Baghdad.

A source in the special operations community said U.S. manhunters are relying on the full spectrum of intelligence -- humans, eavesdropping equipment, satellites and drones -- to find the Jordanian-born Zarqawi.

"Name something, they're using it," the source said.

The Pentagon, after ousting Saddam, set up a secretive task force whose only objective is to catch the most-wanted, including Zarqawi.

It is made up of warriors from the secretive Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., as well as CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency officers, special aircraft units, and a military spy unit that goes by a code name and specializes in intercepting communications.

"In terms of the effort [in] the search for Zarqawi, I think it's not a surprise that some of our best and most capable forces in Iraq are dedicated to the mission," Gen. Conway said. "They respond anytime that there is a tip or an indicator that he might be present."

With a $25 million bounty on his head, Zarqawi is spurring tips.

"Tips are starting to come in more frequently on all manner of things that help us fight the insurgency," Gen. Conway said.

The most promising landed in the lap of U.S. Marines in February near Ramadi in western Iraq. But by the time Marines and special operations forces arrived at the targeted house, Zarqawi had slipped away in a convoy. ...

NY Post: STALIN'S GHOST

"May 9, 2005 -- PRESIDENT Bush's Moscow visit today, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Allies' WW II Victory in Europe, must be as carefully choreographed as a Bolshoi ballet if it's going to be chalked up as a diplomatic success.

While paying tribute to the sacrifices of Americans -and others - who defeated Hitler's Germany, the president will also use his 14th meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to address a host of Russian policies hostile to U.S. interests.

Along the way, Bush must avoid looking supportive of Putin's rising authoritarianism, of the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe/Baltic states or of current Russian attempts to regain hegemony over former Soviet republics. " ...

What's incomprehensible is how some (most notably Putin) are burnishing wartime leader Josef Stalin's image, and shamelessly promoting nostalgia for the Soviet Union's "good old days" for the occasion. ... in his annual address to parliament last month, Putin (a former KGB colonel) said: "The demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century." ...

Former ministers flee as Iraq begins corruption inquiry

"Former Iraqi ministers are fleeing the country because of reports that the new administration may prevent them going abroad while accusations of corruption are being investigated.

The incoming government of Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who completed his cabinet yesterday, has pledged to fight pervasive corruption among officials. The outgoing administration of Iyad Allawi was regarded as highly corrupt by Iraqis.

Officials say that some former ministers have left Iraq in the past few days because they fear they will be detained if they try to leave later.... "

Sunday, May 08, 2005


Iraq Posted by Hello

April 7 2005 site of helicopter crash near Kabul Posted by Hello

Afghanistan barricks Posted by Hello

To the Dismay of Local Sunnis, Shiites Arrive to Police Ramadi

"RAMADI, Iraq -- At a checkpoint on a bridge into this volatile Sunni Muslim city, an Iraqi platoon frisked a row of men and rummaged through their cars and trucks for explosives. The men scowled silently, making the soldiers uneasy.

'Of course they don't like us,' said one of the soldiers, Anwar Abas, whose unit is overwhelmingly Shiite Muslim. 'They don't like people from the south, so when we search them, they make faces at us.' Abas and his fellow soldiers were recruited from tribes in the cities of Najaf and Diwaniyah, both more than 100 miles to the south."

But Ramadi has no functioning local security force. Fearful of or complicit with insurgents, it disbanded before January's national elections and now consists of a handful of traffic officers. As a result, hundreds of predominantly Shiite forces -- including ad hoc militia groups such as the Defenders of Baghdad -- are flowing into Ramadi as part of the latest strategy by Iraq's central government and the U.S. military to stem insurgent violence here....

The city of 400,000 has lacked a functioning local security force since last winter, when the police and Iraqi National Guard disbanded wholesale as insurgents blew up all but one of Ramadi's police stations, the mayor's office and other government buildings....

Ramadi's violent reputation has led some Iraqi commanders to call the city hell. Last month, a Public Order battalion from Baghdad saw 200 men -- a third of its force -- desert when it was ordered to go to Ramadi, U.S. military officers say. The battalion's arrival was delayed while it recruited replacements.

A month ago, the 1st Special Police Commando Battalion "refused to function" after a suicide bomber exploded a vehicle at a checkpoint in eastern Ramadi, killing 11 of its members, said Maj. Steven Alexander, operations officer for the U.S. Army brigade that oversees Ramadi. "The commandos were an experienced and proven unit, and they were defeated," he said. A second commando battalion recently arrived to replace that unit, but with only 350 of its 700 members....

The campaign indicates the continuing influence of insurgents who have held sway in Ramadi in recent months, infiltrating hospitals, robbing banks of millions of dollars in government funds and using threats to suppress voter turnout. Only about 600 to 700 residents here voted in January.

In February, U.S. troops launched a major sweep in the region and installed checkpoints on the main bridges and roads leading into Ramadi. While the number of attacks has fallen sharply since then, some Ramadi residents complain that an 8 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew and delays at checkpoints are hurting them financially by making them late to work and curtailing business. Fifty percent of Ramadi residents are unemployed, Gaood said....





Armed Services chair eyes Pentagon acquisition process (5/5/05)

"Reforming the Pentagon's acquisition process will be central to defense budget negotiations in the House as authorizers gear up for subcommittee markups next week, Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., said Wednesday.

In particular, Hunter and other committee members are concerned about the skyrocketing costs of weapons systems, a byproduct of defense officials tacking on expensive -- and sometimes unneeded -- requirements to its priciest platforms. ..."

Al Qaeda in Yemen army behind USS Cole bombing’

"LONDON - Yemen's former ambassador to Syria, Ahmed Abdullah al-Hassani, alleged Wednesday that Al Qaeda cells within the Yemeni military and security forces planned the 2000 bombing of the US warship Cole." ...

CITY BRIDGE-PHOTO TERROR SUSPECT NABBED

"May 5, 2005 -- A New York ringleader of a Pakistani-based terrorist group - who was seen taking pictures last year of the Brooklyn and Williamsburg bridges - was arrested yesterday for allegedly lying on his immigration papers about his terror links, officials said.

Tariq Javid is a member of Sipah-e- Sahaba, which is aligned with al Qaeda and the International Islamic Front and has declared jihad against Americans, according to the complaint issued by Manhattan U.S. Attorney David Kelley.

Group members were also implicated in the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Afghanistan in 2003. The Patakistani government has banned the group as a destabilizing force.

Anti-terror investigators had been tracking Javid's movements around the city for several years after getting tipped off that a suspected terrorist cell located on Newkirk Avenue in Brooklyn was planning to bomb a subway station.

Meanwhile, a man on the terror watch list was busted last night by New Jersey police in Bergen County. CBS reported that Sami Ibrahim Isa Ardel Hadi had a valid ID to work as a painter on the George Washington Bridge. Carl Campanile "

Three out of four Iraqis say Islam should be source of law - Yahoo! News

"BAGHDAD (AFP) - Three out of four Iraqis believe Islam should be the main or only source of law and legislation in their country, according to a poll of 2,700 Iraqis."

While just over 74 percent thought Islam should be the sole or main source of legislation, just 2 percent said religion should play no role in law-making, a poll showed Friday. ...

However, power cuts were a more pressing worry than security for the man on the street at the time of the survey. ...

Inadequate electricity was "the most important issue requiring a government solution," for some 55 percent of respondents, the poll showed, followed closely by unemployment and national security.

And 67 percent of Iraqis now think the country is going in the right direction, the most optimistic response in the last year, the poll showed. Some 22 percent said Iraq was going in the wrong direction.

Sentiment hit an all-time low in early October 2004, as US forces started pounding Fallujah from the air ahead of a November ground assault on the town, 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Baghdad, the poll showed.

Some 45 percent of of Iraqis said the country was going in the wrong direction at the time, edging past the 42 percent who felt more positive...



What Do the Insurgents Want?

"The 60-wheel trailer was carrying a giant power generator on the highway to Musayyib, 30-odd miles south of Baghdad, last week. Guarded by six cars carrying police and the Iraqi National Guard, the convoy was passing along the notorious Baghdad road near Lutifiyah, a hotbed of insurgent activity where many kidnappings and attacks on military and civilian cars take place."

A banner hung from the generator, like an amulet to ward off evil. Sprayed across it in big bold letters were the words: "To the Musayyib power plant. God is great. Long live the Mujaheddin."

The sign was an appeal to Iraq's insurgents, urging them not to attack the convoy and deprive the people of Musayyib of electricity. Whether it was thanks to the banner, to luck, or to the absence of insurgents on the road that day, the generator and the 28 security personnel made it safely to their destination.

Like the people in that convoy, Iraqis are wondering why the diverse people known by the shorthand phrase "insurgents" continue to attack and what they hope to achieve. ...

The backbone of the insurgency appears to be an alliance between the die-hard Baathists and the network of terrorists mostly under the command of Abu Musab Zarqawi. It is a partnership of convenience; both groups are fighting the same battle, but for different reasons and with different goals....

The Islamist militants have their own foot soldiers in this unholy alliance: supporters who have poured across the mostly open borders from neighboring countries. I believe it is these people who are particularly useful to the Baathists, because they provide a supply of willing suicide bombers.

Suicide attacks are not, in all likelihood, Iraqi operations. "Thirty-five years of Saddam's brutal repression did not produce a single suicide bomber," says a former military officer who is now working as a driver.

Syria has been an important base and way station for these foreign fighters. Interviews with arrested "jihadis" and transcripts of interrogations obtained from Iraqi security and intelligence show that a typical jihadi's journey from his city in Syria, Jordan, Sudan, Yemen or any other Arab country until the moment he blows himself up goes something like this: After deciding that he wants to fight the Americans in Iraq, he contacts mosques in Damascus known for recruiting mujaheddin for the holy war in Iraq. Often these recruitment campaigns are funded by senior Syrian officials.

After deciding that a person is fit to conduct a "martyrdom operation," Syrian intelligence trains him on how to disguise his identity and how to handle explosives and ammunitions. Radical mullahs supplement this with heavy doses of hard-line religious teaching. The volunteer is then taken across the desert in eastern Syria, through the porous borders, into the Sunni triangle in Iraq, where he is housed by members of the former Baathist intelligence and security network. The second leg of the journey is to a safe house in Baghdad, where he is assigned a target to blow up or sent to certain areas to fight the Americans or the new Iraqi army and police forces. ...

Although the disparate insurgent allies are fighting different wars for different reasons, for now they are fighting the same battle -- destroying the current Iraqi government and driving out the Americans. One wants a return to rule by Saddam or some other Baathist; another wants a Taliban-style Iraq. But they're all waiting for the United States to leave....




FOXNews.com - U.S. & World - Raid on Zarqawi Compound Nabs 54, Kills Six

"BAGHDAD, Iraq - Coalition forces killed six terrorists in raids targeting the terror network of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search) near the Syrian border on Sunday, the U.S. military said.
Weapons caches were found during the operations in Qaim city, and 54 terrorists were detained, the military said in a statement" ...

Captured Al-Qaeda kingpin is case of �mistaken identity� - Sunday Times - Times Online

"THE capture of a supposed Al-Qaeda kingpin by Pakistani agents last week was hailed by President George W Bush as 'a critical victory in the war on terror'. According to European intelligence experts, however, Abu Faraj al-Libbi was not the terrorists' third in command, as claimed, but a middle-ranker derided by one source as 'among the flotsam and jetsam' of the organisation.
Al-Libbi's arrest in Pakistan, announced last Wednesday, was described in the United States as 'a major breakthrough' in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. "

... the Libyan was neither on the FBI’s most wanted list, nor on that of the State Department “rewards for justice” programme.

Another Libyan is on the FBI list — Anas al-Liby, who is wanted over the 1998 East African embassy bombings — and some believe the Americans may have initially confused the two. When The Sunday Times contacted a senior FBI counter-terrorism official for information about the importance of the detained man, he sent material on al-Liby, the wrong man.