Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics - from the MilBlogs and other sources around the world. If you're a blogger, you can join the conversation. If you link to any of these stories, add a link to the Dawn Patrol too and your trackback will be added to the list. Hat Tips to the Dawn Patrol are greatly appreciated.
Intercepted al-Qaida Letter Reveals Tactics, Strategy -- [Defense Link]
WASHINGTON, April 16, 2008 – Use silenced guns to kill coalition forces at Iraqi security checkpoints, smuggle weapons in gradual shipments to reduce the risk of detection, and poison Iraq’s water supply with nitric acid to spread disease and death.
Coalition forces found a chart showing senior al-Qaida leaders recently killed or captured and several pages of a letter found on the body of a terrorist. The items were released April 16, 2008, in Baghdad, Iraq, during a media briefing by U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman.
Such tactics were fleshed out in a terrorist letter intended for Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the foreign-born leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. But the document never reached Masri. Instead, coalition forces lifted it from the body of a terrorist they killed last month during an operation 30 miles northwest of Baghdad.
The slain terrorist and author of the 11-page missive was Abu Safyan, from Diyala, Iraq, according to military officials who made available all but two pages deemed “not releasable” on the Multinational Force Iraq Web site.
Providing a glimpse into the proposed inner workings of al-Qaida in Iraq, the author discusses the need to split jihadists into three groups: snipers, assassination experts and martyrs. Each well-trained group should have an emir, or unit commander, at the lead. Through a series of coordinated surprise attacks, groups should work in unison to “bring down the city or the area,” he wrote.
Now They Have Turned to the Tribes -- [Michael Totten - in Iraq]
Sheikh Sattar Abu Risha, leader of the Iraq’s Anbar Salvation Council before he was murdered by a car bomb in front of his house in late 2007, summed up the Anbar Awakening movement in a few concise sentences to Johns Hopkins University Professor Fouad Ajami. “Our American friends had not understood us when they came,” he said. “They were proud, stubborn people and so were we. They worked with the opportunists, now they have turned to the tribes, and this is as it should be. The tribes hate religious parties and religious fakers.” The tribal system in Anbar Province is ancient. Attempts to overthrow it are not wise. Both Americans and Al Qaeda learned that the hard way.
Targeting al Qaeda in Iraq’s network, March-April 2008 -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Coalition and Iraqi forces killed or captured 53 senior al Qaeda in Iraq operatives over the past month, including three senior leaders in Mosul and four leaders and facilitators in Baghdad.
New Blow To Brits As Maliki Fires Basra Commanders -- [Pat Dollard]
Point is simple. Maliki, who already blames the Brits for turning a blind eye to the Mahdi Army's control of Basra and has decided to use the iron fist of the Iraqi Army, with support from the Americans, to reclaim control of the city, has kicked the Brits' two favorite "do-nothing" Iraqi generals "upstairs", and replaced with two other Iraqi ...
Iraq News (17 April) -- [LT Nixon Rants - in Iraq]
The Good: Prime Minister Maliki is schmoozing with the EU to get their help building oil infrastructure so that Europe can get their gas somewhere other than Russia. Could be a huge windfall for the Iraqi government, and whether or not they will use the revenue to improve their country remains to be seen. A press conference was held yesterday detailing the recent kills/captures of bad dudes in AQI.
What A Dipshit -- [Iraq: The Purgatorium - in Iraq]
I perked up in the tower when I saw my platoon rolling back into the gate. I waved at the first truck, waved at the second one, waiting until I was out of their view, then proceeded to give the third truck both middle fingers. Then I turned around and stood in the doorway to the tower so I could flip the rear air guards off.
So, what did I do today -- [Miserable Donuts - in Iraq]
Lets see...I helped the Scots move a radio antenna, set up my own satellite antenna, worked with an Iraqi G-4 on some supply and transportation situations, had an Arabic lesson from our interpreter, ate three dinners (normal one at 5, accepted an invitation from the G-4 for another at 7 and finally one of the G-1 officers at 8 - Centurion, bring me a feather!) tried to help the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Air Force coordinate some moves
Heroes and Citizens -- [James Aalan Bernsen - in Iraq]
The stirrings of patriotism run deep in all who fight for their country. For many of us, it is a calling and a debt we owe to those who have gone before, as well as to those who are yet to come.
Serving our country is a part of our heritage. Among the many soldiers in Iraq are some who can trace ancestors who fought in the Revolution.
The Perfect Sandstorm -- [Zen Traveler - in Iraq]
I’m currently stuck in the Baghdad airport riding out what appears to the Perfect Sandstorm. All flights are cancelled and it looks like I’ll be spending the night at one of the security compounds near the airport. No hotels here. Airlines are hesitant to cancel flights until the very last moment because it means lost revenue for them, so passengers wait, hoping against all hope that the storm will clear.
Soldiers’ camaraderie spans cramped spaces, grinding mission -- [IN-iraq - in Iraq]
(left to right- Sgt. Ballman, Spc. Greener and Sgt. Dearing in their quarters at Camp Speicher)
Tikrit, Iraq- Sweating inside a dirty Humvee. The air-conditioning tepid. Left knee throbbing. Helmet, ear phones, eye protection, vest- an armor oven.
“One minute ‘til detonation,” comes the announcement through the static of our headsets.
Another convoy had found what they believed to be a buried improvised explosive along the road ahead of us. They’ve been waiting two hours for the bomb team to come to dispose of it.
The Thieving Politicians Of Iraq -- [Strategy Page]
April 17, 2008: Several dozen Iraqi government officials have been caught making a corrupt $833 million deal, with Serbia, for weapons and military equipment. The deal was done last Fall, about the time rumors started coming out of Serbia about sales to Iraq. But the Iraqi government denied it. Earlier this year, Iraqi complaints about the deal grew louder, as well as anger over the abolition of the Supreme Economic Committee, which was supposed to examine and approve any government contract for more than $50 million.
Afghan villagers save school, clinic from insurgents -- [Combined Joint Task Force - 101]
PIRCUTI, Afghanistan – A village elder and his sons saved a school and clinic after insurgents attempted to burn the infrastructure in the village of Pircuti, Paktika province, April 1. The school, which was constructed by the Swedish government in 1996, educates more than 1,100 children
Codes and Children -- [The Satirist at War - in Afghanistan]
Walking to chow from the gym this morning, I saw something peculiar. One of my interpreters was carrying a very young female child that couldn’t have been more than two years old, walking in the FOB. I immediately had three thoughts, one of which was that it was the first infant / toddler I’d seen in months, the next being: “what business could a two-year-old possibly have on our FOB?” and the last: “I guess the two-year-old can’t cause any harm.” In leaving that last thought alone, I was taking a calculated risk, because the children in this region are a pack of some of the most dangerous, desperate, fearless criminals the world has ever seen.
First Week In Country -- [Voices from the War - in Afghanistan]
What to say? I'm finally here! I have to admit I'm in awe at everything I look at. The army can train you how to shoot a rifle, start an IV, and live out of a bag but a lot of what I see is people learning to adjust. It isn't as easy as most people would think, getting used to a whole new culture, land and way of acting. I live in the suburbs of Buffalo where I had my SUV parked in my two-car garage with my green lawn where I would get up and go to work at a doctor's office. This morning I looked out of my tent and finally a break from our week of rain, I finally got my first look at the mountains surrounding our camp. Breathtaking. Later on in the day when I went on a convoy, we went outside the wire and all you can say is wow. Never at any moment in life could anybody be more grateful for what you have until you see how some of these people live.
Last meal -- [Yellowhammering Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
As we prepare to leave Ghazni, some of our friends are insisting we break bread with them one last time.
The sub-governor of Deh Yak recently took us out to eat in a restaurant in downtown Ghazni. We feasted on goat kabobs, rice, naan and other good food.
I walked out on the balcony and surveyed the city that has been my home for nearly a year now. There were women in burqas walking children home from school.
There were school girls heading home.
Canadian tanks go 5-hole -- [War, the military, COIN and stuff]
So you think that heavy tanks—entire squadrons of heavy tanks—have no place in a counterinsurgency fight? You better take it up with Major Trevor Cadieu of Lord Strathcona’s Horse, the storied Canadian armored regiment.
Recently returned from his second tour in Afghanistan, Maj. Cadieu has taken to the pages (PDF!) of The Canadian Army Journal to argue that tanks are an integral part of the fight in Afghanistan. In December 2006, the Canadians deployed a squadron of Leopard C2 tanks armed with 105-mm L7A3 guns, which come with computerized fire control systems, thermal imaging, and a laser range-finder.
Experts Discuss Outlook and Options for U.S. Policy Towards Iran -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
...To engage or confront Iran: That is the question on one of the most critical issues of the day — the Middle East nation’s nuclear program. But Matthew Levitt, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute on Near East Policy, told a Capitol Hill audience Tuesday that the question is being framed the wrong way. The two options, engagement or confrontation, are poles of a spectrum whose middle ground offers a number of alternatives, with sanctions one possibility, said Levitt, who was participating in a panel discussion of the outlook for U.S.-Iranian relations over the next decade. The discussion was part of a forum sponsored by the Counterterrorism Foundation, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies and the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.
Chinese Ship Sending Arms to Zimbabwe Docks in South Africa ...Update: SA OK's the Shipment of Arms -- [Gateway Pundit]
A Chinese ship carrying arms for the Mugabe regime docked in South Africa this week.
The Times reported:
Al Qaeda Officially Hates The Counterterrorism Blog -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
When I started this website in January 2005, I never envisioned that that Al Qaeda would target us for a hit piece over the Internet. Well, voila, the blessed day has arrived. The wonderful folks at the SITE Intelligence Group found the item below on Al-Ekhlaas, one of Al-Qaida's central messaging forums on the Internet, which has begun a new series in English titled, "Watching and Monitoring the Jihad Media Watchers." They passed along the item below to Evan Kohlmann, who sent it to me, and I want to share it with our readers and contributors. They also passed out a "Badge of Honor" to SITE, Evan Kohlmann, IntelCenter, the NEFA Foundation, and Internet Haganah (my congrats to them). Here is our Badge below - I am especially amused at their twist on our logo (if you can't see it, download it here into a separate window):
Al-Shabaab Welcomes U.S. Terror Designation, Threatens New Campaign of "Praiseworthy Terrorism" -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The NEFA Foundation has obtained and translated a new communiqué released on April 5, 2008 by the Shabaab al-Mujahideen Movement in Somalia. The statement welcomed the recognition of Shabaab as an international terrorist organization by the U.S. government: "As we are a part of the Salafi-Jihadi Islamic trend which opposes the dominance of the crusaders and the aggression led by America, we do not find it unlikely that America would add us to the names of these other honorable men, for whom we are honored to join, at the bottom of their list.”
You Shook Me All Night Long -- [Badger Forward - in Iraq]
Last night we were visited by Tour de Force, the Australian Defence Forces equivalent of our USO. It was a great show, probably the best I have seen in Iraq.
Need to lock up my daughter -- [From my position... On the way!]
Turns out the former POTUS (the great adulterer) is visiting campus today at 0915. It was really nice of him (or whichever intern scheduled the visit) to not so much as inviter the ROTC department. As a matter of fact, the University was alerted to the visit Monday, and we weren't aware of the visit until we cam to work this morning for PT.
Just for kicks, I think I'll use the indoor range this morning at about 0920. it's in the building RIGHT NEXT TO where he'll be speaking, and you can hear the shot outside.
Should be fun to watch.
Homecoming Purgatory -- [Iraq Partii - home from Iraq]
I’m happy to write that I’m now back in New Jersey—not home exactly, but close enough. I have to stay at Fort Dix, NJ for about 10 days to arrange all the logistics for the guys in my unit who will arrive here shortly. They’ll need things like barracks space, their demobilization schedule, a place to store their weapons, flights home, etc
Flying out of Taji was, to put it lightly, an ordeal. I had about 250 pounds of equipment to lug around from helicopter to helicopter, helicopter to plane, tent-to-tent, and so on.
Finally -- [TheAngryAmerican - home from Iraq]
I sit here posting this one from the comfort and safety of my own home. Hanging out with my wife and she finishes up some homework she has due on Monday. It felt like forever from Rusty, to BIAP, to Kuwait and then to here. I stay in Kuwait was nice and short and they have the Customs portion down to an exact science it seems. With customs knocked out we were herded into the waiting area until our plane was ready for us. The weight of 15 months slowly started to drift away as the pilots roared away from Kuwait.
Home, and Reintegrating. -- [Richard's 15 Month Deployment - home from Afghanistan]
Well, I've been home for over a week and I still don't know how to answer the question, "So, are you glad to be home?"
Of course I'm glad to be home. But, I also miss the sense of mission and the friends I had in Afghanistan. And even though I spent 15 months in Afghanistan, I sometimes feel guilty being home and safe while others are still serving overseas. I don't ever want to forget that I have friends and colleagues away from home and in harms way, and I'm ready to go back when necessary to do my part again.
A Suspension of Contempt -- [Villainous Company - military wife]
"Duty is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more; you should never wish to do less."
...During Petraeus' September testimony, Hillary Clinton loftily informed him it would require a "willing suspension of disbelief" before Congress would credit his testimony on Iraq. To these ears, the Senator from NY had called the good General a presumptive liar. Well, this Marine wife is an ordinary American; college educated, hard working, with an above average IQ. She pays her bills and her taxes on time.
When politicians and public figures like Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Dick Cavett sneer at and treat military officers with contempt, she sees her husband in their place. And she remembers. She remembers everything she has given up for nearly thirty years to support his military career, and as she watches her husband's service being spit on by the very people he has served so loyally and so well, she can't help but wonder what any of these men could possibly have done to invite such treatment, or when doing ones' duty became grounds for contempt and derision?
Instead of a suspension of disbelief, how about a suspension of contempt for a change from the snooty elitists in Washington and the leftist punditocracy?
Ex-Marine Murtha At It Again -- [BlackFive - Laughing_Wolf]
Yep, there are indeed a few ex-Marines around, and John Murtha is one of the few I have seen formally repudiated in writing by his former brothers. Today, Soldier's Mom let me know that the venal (Abscam, pork) and possibly senile Blue Falcon opened his mouth on age. That is, he spewed forth that John McCain was too old to be the President; and, that he was younger and things were too much for him.
The Bigger Picture in Sadr City -- [The Weekly Standard]
The Iraqi government’s willingness to take on the Mahdi Army in its strongholds in Baghdad, Basra, and elsewhere in the South is perhaps the most significant news story from Iraq this year. In 2006 and 2007, analysts, pundits, military officers, and politicians said the Shia militias--particularly the Mahdi Army, pose the greatest long term threat in Iraq. Now that the Iraqi government has decided to take on the Mahdi Army, the press is fixated on distinct incidences of failure of the Iraqi security forces in their efforts to dislodge the Mahdi Army from their strongholds.
In today's New York Times, Michael Gordon focuses on the desertion of a company of Iraqi soldiers from their outpost in Sadr City. The story is factually accurate. A company of about 80 Iraqi soldiers abandoned their post. They deserted while engaged with the enemy, which is a serious crime during war. This is the main focus of the article.
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