Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics - from the MilBlogs and various 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.
Pentagon report: Economy could hamper training of Iraqis -- [Stars and Stripes]
While security improvements in Iraq are continuing, the training and equipping of Iraqi forces could be hampered by the global economic crisis and drop in oil prices. According to the Pentagon’s latest quarterly report on the Iraq war, the economic challenges could "curtail the rate at which Iraqi forces can become fully modernized, self sufficient, and ...
Transfer of Authority -- [The Stone Report - in Iraq]
Yesterday I covered the military area of operations transfer of authority Basra Provence. The British have had a presence in this area since the original coalition of the willing in 2003.
When Gordon Brown become the UK Prime Minister he pledged to withdraw from Iraq. Yesterday, as the BBC put it, was the beginning of the end for British forces in Iraq.
Basra Offensive Was ‘Turning Point’ for Iraq, General Says -- [Defense Link]
Last spring’s Iraqi-planned and Iraqi-led military campaign that successfully subdued insurgents in and around Iraq’s southern city of Basra was a turning point in the conflict, a senior U.S. officer posted in Iraq said today.
When Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki decided in March 2008 to attack insurgents and criminals lodged in Basra, Multinational Corps Iraq “had its first opportunity to gain the initiative in the south,” Army Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III told reporters at a Baghdad news conference.
“We didn’t hesitate in partnering with the Iraqi security forces,” Austin, commander of Multinational Corps Iraq, recalled. “And while it was an Iraqi-conceived and an Iraqi-planned operation, we took the opportunity to provide our combat enablers through our military transition teams with the Iraqi units.”
Wicked Problems, Creative Thinking, and the Transcendentalist -- [Major Michael Few, Small Wars Journal]
Eighteen months ago, I embarked on a journey to pursue an academic solution for Iraq. After redeploying from the Surge, I wanted to merge the gap between counter-insurgency and stabilization and reconstruction. I wanted to figure out how WE could fix Iraq’s problems. I wanted to find a way to win. In truth, it was never simply about Iraq. I was trying to reconcile the world I knew as a boy with the world that I know as a man.
Iraqi Army Reacts to Suicide -- [Notes From Iraq - in Iraq]
Recently, the Iraqi Army suffered a loss, and my team gained cultural insight. One of the Iraqi Soldiers in the brigade that my team advises suffered a fatal shot to the head. The investigating officer scrambled to determine what happened. The situation unfolded when investigators discovered that the Soldier had left a voice recording on his cell phone. The Soldier had taken his own life. An Iraqi officer played the recording for my team. Naturally, the tearful message was saddening to hear, even though it was in another language. With a basic knowledge of the language, key phrases painted a picture of what was on the Soldier's mind--no car, hard life, no money, no wife. After the recording, our interpreters loosely translated the message.
Experience of Influence -- [Notes from Iraq - in Iraq]
Today, my team was called to an Iraqi base, where the Iraqis stored a recently-captured suicide vest. Apparently, the Iraqi Army had declined to allow an US explosive ordinance team to dispose of the item. Our task was to uncover more information about the vest and to approach the topic of its disposal.
A Quick Synopsis -- [Far from Perfect - in Iraq]
So what is it like to do a MEDEVAC? You rush out to the helicopter after receiving a 9-line and get i the air within 15 minutes. Depending on the situation, you are either going to a hospital or out to the point of injury. The mission doesn’t really matter, you still have to be in the air in 15 minutes, and depending on weather, you might be flying through some less than ideal conditions.
Iraqi Special Ops Forces, Iraqi Air Force Conduct First Joint Medevac Mission -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
This is a huge step towards full operational independence
Iraqi Special Ops Forces, Air Force Conduct Joint Medevac Mission
Iraqi special operations forces and their air force partners teamed up recently to conduct their first joint medical evacuation from the Iraqi capital.
In a Desolate Iraqi Village, War Is Far From Over -- [New York Times]
Around a mostly peaceful Iraq, Americans are withdrawing from the cities, doing less soldiering and more social welfare, like establishing factories and engaging in civics lessons.
But this corner of Diyala Province, north of Baghdad and near the Iranian border, is one of those pockets across northern and eastern Iraq where the war is still being fought much as it was two years ago, when the “surge” of American troops began.
Hate to say I told you so…really, in this case I do -- [S4 at War - in Iraq]
I’ve been saying for quite some time (most recently on this blog here) that while the Sons of Iraq program has gone a long way towards bringing peace to the country, it is a tenuous peace. As mentioned in the linked post, a few of us have taken to referring to it as “the big assumption.” Check out this article on recent violence in Baghdad, combine it with the key point in this post I linked to earlier from Kings of War, and you understand my conclusion that this will be a “big issue in the next year or so, if not sooner.” Sooner might be winning.
More Iraqi Vendor Shenanigans -- [S4 at War - in Iraq]
I’m renting some chemical toilets for 15 days (does it seem like I spend an overwhelming amount of time dealing with chemical toilets?). The Iraqi company I am using asked me for a contract. Easy enough, I typed up a quick one page contract clearly stating what I needed and sent it off. A few hours later I found out I actually needed two of the toilets located at a different place. I e-mailed the guy and let him know the problem. His response? “I’m sorry but I have to deliver all the latrines at XYZ as the contract says.”
Australian Special Forces Kill Taliban Commander in Afghanistan -- [Bloomberg]
Australian special forces killed a senior Taliban insurgent involved in organizing suicide attacks and training foreign fighters in Afghanistan, the Department of Defence said today.
Mullah Abdul Bari coordinated bomb attacks on international and Afghan forces in the southern province of Uruzgan, the department said in a statement. Bari was killed in a recent operation by Australian and Afghan National Army troops, it said, without elaborating.
“His weapons of choice were roadside bombs and suicide bombers, and his death means that Taliban insurgents operating in the region have lost one of their key facilitators,” Chief of Joint Operations Lieutenant General Mark Evans said.
More than 240 graduates of the first Afghan Public Protection Program were welcomed home by their community -- [DVIDS]
Tuesday during a ceremony at the Jalrez District Center in Wardak province. Hundreds of citizens waited eagerly to witness the historic event as the graduates sat sharply in their crisp, new uniforms.
Guest speaker Muhammad Halim Fidai, the Wardak provincial governor, began the ceremony by welcoming home the first class of graduates from the APPP Training Academy in Laghman province.
The graduates successfully completed five training courses over a three-week period covering checkpoint procedures, radio operations, improvised explosive device neutralization, driver’s training and first-aid, teaching them the five basic fundamentals of being security personnel.
Afghan Commandos Provide for the Needs of Kabul Villagers -- [DVIDS]
Afghan national army commandos from the 6th Kandak, assisted by coalition forces, delivered humanitarian assistance items to villagers in Kabul District, Kabul province...
ANA Commandos engage in firefight in Herat -- [Castle Argghhh]
...Afghan National Army Commandos of the 207th Corps accompanied by Coalition Forces advance on the enemy Monday after receiving small-arms and rocket propelled-grenade fire during a routine combat reconnaissance patrol in Herat Province.
Taking the Fight to the Taliban, Part 5
Final part of a five part series where journalist Josh Fortune travels along with Coalition Forces in Afghanistan in search of Taliban militants. Provided by NATO TV
Drone Attack Kills 12 After Taliban Threatens D.C -- [Danger Room]
An American drone once again struck a suspected militant camp in Pakistan. 12 people are dead, and 13 more are wounded, residents of Khadizai village tell Reuters.
It's the first known attack since President Obama announced his new war strategy for the region -- one that places heavy emphasis on destroying jihadist networks in Pakistan. The President pledged that no ground troops would be sent into Pakistan, to take out the terrorists. So the unmanned strikes are likely to increase, Pentagon officials tell Danger Room.
Afghan National Army, Coalition Forces Discover Improvised Explosive Device Facility in Helmand -- [DVIDS]
Afghan national army soldiers, assisted by coalition forces, discovered an improvised explosive device-manufacturing facility in the Kajaki District, Helmand province, Tuesday.
NATO Mentoring the Afghan Army
This story looks at the work and challenges of the 1 Rifles, a British Operational Mentor Liaison Team, known as an OMLT, operating out of Garmsir in South Helmand province.
Military Wants More Troops for Afghan War
Gen. David H. Petraeus disclosed yesterday that American commanders have requested the deployment of an additional 10,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan next year, but he said the request awaits a final decision by President Obama this fall.
General: Afghan-Pakistan Insurgents Get Stronger
Afghanistan Update -- [Wings Over Iraq]
...While I respect General Petreaus' policy guidance, and indeed, it would be the exemplary way to go about the war if we lived in a perfect world and America had unlimited resources and time, he falls into the trap that John Nagl has also been accused of falling into. ...Counter-terrorism against Al Qaeda and counter-insurgency against the Taliban, blended with heavy doses of counter-narcotic warfare, leads to "hybrid war".
Senior US, Iranian Officials Meet at Afghanistan Conference -- [Wall Street Journal]
The Obama administration held its first high-level contact with Iran's government here, marking what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said could become closer cooperation between Washington and Tehran on Afghanistan and other global hot spots.
Jingle Bombs, Jingle Bombs -- [Michael Yon - in Afghanistan]
Soldiers call these colorful beasts “jingo trucks” because of all the chains and bells that make them sound like road chimes. Jingle trucks ply the roads of places like Nepal, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, often dangerously overloaded with just about anything imaginable. Like explosives and blasting caps, for instance.
This fella was steaming into Afghanistan last night. Complete with hidden compartments.
Obama plan for Afghanistan, Pakistan short on bold -- [Michael Yon - Wa Times - in Afghanistan]
...The AfPak speech was Mr. Obama's first chance to demonstrate that from his new perch he can see and more clearly understand the challenges of Iraq and AfPak. In fact, immediately after the March 27 speech, some pundits inaugurated Mr. Obama's new strategy with plaudits such as "bold."
Where's the bold?
Taliban say U.S. reconciliation offer "lunatic idea" -- [Reuters]
Taliban insurgents rejected on Wednesday a U.S. offer of "honourable reconciliation" as a "lunatic idea" and said the withdrawal of foreign troops was the only way to end the war in Afghanistan.
...President Barack Obama is redoubling U.S. efforts with more troops, more diplomatic effort and more economic assistance, but he has also already spoken of the need for an "exit strategy."
If the U.S. plan fails to show results, analysts say, time is on the Taliban side.
An April Fool -- [Deployed Teacher - in Afghanistan]
Who says the Afghans don't have a sense of humor? When I went for my tea fix this afternoon in the translators' office, I scanned their board for the latest news, interpreted from various Afghan Dari/Pashto websites. As I was reading, one of the translators motioned me over to look at his computer screen.
A Dari language news site was displayed and as usual, he started interpreting, in a serious, somber tone, what the website was reporting. He said the news just came in that there was a coup in Pakistan, and that the Pakistani president was under house arrest!
War aims and misogyny -- [Globe and Mail]
...While the emancipation of women in Afghanistan was one happy byproduct of the war, it was not the reason for it. The Taliban's murderous, fundamentalist regime played host to al-Qaeda, which used Afghanistan as a safe haven to plot terrorist attacks against Western countries. It was not for the advancement of Afghan women that the war was launched. The effort to rid the world of the Taliban was a matter of self-interest.
There is no doubt that this piece of family law, directed at the minority Shia population of Afghanistan, will diminish the perceived differences between the Taliban, with their grotesque misogyny and human-rights record, and the government of President Hamid Karzai. Canada and its allies must use their influence to discourage Mr. Karzai, who signed the legislation into law in February.
Helmand Parents Face Unenviable Dilemma -- [IWPR]
Kept at home their sons may join the Taleban, but if sent to study in Pakistan there’s a risk they’ll become suicide bombers. ...A high-ranking official in the education ministry told IWPR that Pakistani madrassas had been preparing radicals since at least the 1990s.
“It is true that jihadists are being recruited in Pakistan,” he said. “I was a madrassa student in Karachi in the mid-1990s, and there were foreign students – Arabs, Chechens – who were training in martial arts.”
The curriculum in Pakistan’s religious schools has remained unchanged for hundreds of years, added the official, which was a large part of the problem.
“There has been no renewal, no change,” he said. “This gives rise to radical Islam.”
Taliban fear the "Dragon" -- [Ministry of Defense]
This role was originally designed for destroying tanks, up to a distance of around 2km away, but the Gunners now manning it are accurately striking targets up to 3km away. They are able to acquire, engage and hit a target at 3km within five seconds.
More Canadians in Afghanistan -- [Castle Argghhh]
As we've discussed the Canadian use of tanks (in both positive and negative senses) in these pages, let's have a shot of some Canadian Leos, shall we? Combined with the kind of village construction that prompted the Canadians to use them.
“Winning in Afghanistan” [Belmont Club]
That’s why I think the crucial problem in the Afghanistan/Pakistan theater is to decide on the ends or goals of the mission. If we are out to defeat the Pashtuns, then the means are such and such. Actually I think it is worse than that:
British soldiers train new Afghan Army combat unit -- [Ministry of Defense]
Soldiers from the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers and 1st Battalion The Rifles (1 RIFLES) have been working in Helmand to develop and train a new unit of the Afghan National Army
Defense Department Designs 'Baby MRAP' for War in Afghanistan -- [FOX News]
Ask any soldier who's been to both countries: Afghanistan is not Iraq. It's a different war against a different enemy in a different country with an entirely different terrain and altitude.
Historic US-Russian agreement on nuclear weapons -- [New Scientist]
The US and Russia have today agreed to allow nuclear weapons inspections between the two top nuclear powers to continue. Without the breakthrough agreement,
G-20: Obama - Medvedev to renew US-Russia relationship
G-20 Protest Turns Violent -- [ABC News]
Some 4000 anarchists, anti-capitalists, environmentalists and others clogged the streets of London's financial district ahead of the G-20 leaders' summit in
Assessing Prospects for U.S.-China-Afghanistan Cooperation -- [SWJ]
The Cold War ended almost twenty years ago but American policymakers and national security strategists continue to apply a transatlantic centric model for complex global engagements. This is particularly true in regards to Afghanistan where combat operations and reconstruction assistance are primarily driven by Western actors. Clearly, it would be foolish to dismiss the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – after all, it is the most integrated and militarily capable organization in the world – or the European Union which represents the pinnacle of a successful liberal regional order.
Spy Agencies Believe North Korea Has Nuclear Warheads -- [VOA]
A well-known international research group says intelligence agencies believe North Korea has developed and deployed nuclear warheads theoretically capable of being placed on missiles. The assessment, to be explained in more detail in a report due out this week, is certain to fuel concerns about the North's planned long-range rocket launch this month.
North Korea Fuels Up for Launch -- [Danger Room]
North Korea's planned launch of a long-range missile may now be only hours away. CNN, quoting U.S. military sources, says North Korea has begun fueling the rocket on the launch pad; the missile be ready for blast-off as early as this weekend.
Some Healthy Developments in Mexico's "Narco-Insurgency" -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
While the military is playing a lead role in Mexico, it is a role that is dangerous to the state. The necessity of replacing the corrupted police force is akin to what Colombia faced in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the Medellin and then the Cali cartels systematically bought the political protection and police cooperation that was needed. Colombia cleaned up the police because, at that time, the military was an even worse bet. The Mexican government is betting that the military is less corruptible than the police. A dicey proposition, and we won't know if that is the correct decision for some time.
Jihadist Assaults America... With Raps -- [Danger Room]
They tried suicide bombers. They tried hijacked planes. They even tried to get a hold of biological weapons. But now, an al-Qaeda-affiliate has unleashed the most diabolical plot of all: A rapping jihadist, busting rhymes in English. No, this is not an April Fool's Day joke.
Shabaab: New HQ Video Shows American Leading al Qaeda in Somalia Attacks [Who is Abu Mansoor al-Amriki?] -- [Jawa Report]
A new high quality video released by the media wing (GIMF) of the al-Shabaab Youth Mujahideen Movement shows an American leading al Qaeda aligned troops in Somalia. Previous videos and statements from al-Shabaab have shown Abu Mansoor al-Amriki, but only with his face covered.
Here is a close up.
My Written Statement for Congress on Credit Card Use by Terrorists -- [Counterterrorism Blog - Andrew Cochran]
Yesterday, the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security held a hearing titled, "Do the Payment Card Industry Data Standards Reduce Cybercrime?" The subject of the hearing was to examine whether data security requirements for businesses that store, process, or transmit personal information during Internet payments provide sufficient protection against data breaches, fraud, and terrorism. The subcommittee invited me to submit a written statement on the use of credit cards by terrorists.
2-503 Chosen Few Remember & Honored for Their Actions on 13 July 2009 at the Battle at Wanat -- [Tankerbabe]
This past weekend was about all of the above and so much more. It will be impossible for me to find words to fully describe the events. It will be equally as impossible for me to be able to describe the privilege of being able to sit back and watch the men of 2-503 and, more specifically of Chosen Company, interact with each other. I was privileged to sit for hours and listen to them remember all of their Fallen Brothers and to talk about the memories they have of them and about how much they miss them. When it came to the Awards of Valor for those who survived the Battle at Wanat EVERY SINGLE SOLDIER could have cared less about receiving an award.
Gates Signs Policy Change for Dignified Transfer Operations at Dover -- [Defense Link]
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has approved a policy change that, under strictly delineated conditions, allows media filming of dignified transfer operations of fallen service members' remains at Dover Air Force Base, Del.
The new policy is slated to be implemented, April 6, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters today. If immediate family members consent to media coverage, Whitman said, reporters would be provided the basic information on the servicemember and the expected time of arrival of the flight bearing the remains.
"The core of the policy," Whitman said, "is built around the desires of the family members, and it will be the families that decide whether or not media have access to any of these dignified transfers."
Recruited to Serve and Sniff -- Again -- [Washington Post]
Ace Bomb and Weapons Detectives, More Military Dogs Being Sent Overseas
...Timi has always been the oddball of the kennel in Southwest Washington, "the quirky one," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Timothy Evans, his trainer. The dog is also an Iraq war veteran, and according to his medical file, he has nightmares "characterized by violent kicking." His veterinarian says he has had "readjustment issues" since coming home -- although not severe enough to prevent him from returning to the field.
Inside the New Military Working Dog Hospital -- [Military Times]
Extra! Hebrew Hollywood Hottie Risks Life for U.S. Troops -- [Big Hollywood]
In 1918, Theda Bara was one of three great stars in Hollywood. Leading in popularity and box office appeal was Mary Pickford. Charlie Chaplin came second. And not far behind these two giants of the silver screen, Theda Bara.
My brain is working overtime.... -- [SGT Wormy - Two Brothers, Two Countries, One Army]
Ok, so to the brain....what I really am referring to is the mental adjustment that I'm trying to make from a war zone mind frame to a civilian mind frame. It's not been as easy as I thought it would be or as easy as I wanted it to be. There have been times that have been pretty hard. It's weird. I understand how the mind gets trained and associates certain things with certain other things....I'll give you an example. In Iraq when something blew up close to the base or in maybe in the city it would shake our building. Imagine this with me: BOOM! Building shakes. Look at watch for time check. Go outside to see where explosion was. Go back inside and wait for call. Get call. Run to hospital front area. Unload casualties - not pretty most of the time. Treat injuries. Go back to office....and wait to do it again. Follow me here for a second....I'm in Ohio, at a "picking and grinning" dinner with my grandparents. The building shakes....someone slammed an outer door....my mind kind of jitters...check watch....tell self, "I'm in Ohio, not Iraq".....
Oldest U.S. Army vet is WWII WAC -- [UPI]
MILFORD, Conn., April 1 (UPI) -- The oldest surviving veteran of the U.S. Army is believed to be a Connecticut woman who was 45 when she joined the Woman's Army Corps in World War II.
Army Secretary Pete Geren visited Gertrude Noone at the Carriage Green nursing home Tuesday, The Hartford Courant reported. Seven new recruits were sworn in at a ceremony honoring the 110-year-old vet.
Contest: Best Milblog You've Never Heard Of -- [Laughing Wolf - BlackFive]
This year's Blog World and New Media Expo is doing something different. What we want to do is try to get some of the best milblogs most people have never heard of to take part. To do that, we need your help.
So, we're having a contest. In the comments to this post, list one or more milblogs -- downrange, home, retired -- that you feel are good and that people should know about.
SA helps welcome Florida Army Reserve Soldiers home (Video)-- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Well done and welcome home to the Soldiers of the 576th Army Reserve Transportation Detachment!
Wanted to mention that this month month we celebrate the 101st anniversary of the United States Army Reserve. It was established by Congress April 23, 1908 as the Medical Reserve Corps and comprised a group of 360 doctors formed to provide the nation with a reservoir of trained medical officers in a time of war.
Airmen given a hero's welcome home -- [KVBC]
A hero's welcome was given to over 100 airmen at Nellis Air Force Base after they returned from a tour of duty in Iraq Wednesday
400 soldiers return Thursday to Campbell -- [Army Times]
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — More Fort Campbell soldiers are expected to return Thursday to the Army post on the Kentucky-Tennessee border.
Hot News- CNN is not your friend -- [Bouhammer]
Here is some hot news from the ground in Afghanistan….Apparently CNN now has setup a bureau in Kabul. This is probably the first time since 2002 I am sure.
Anyway, the word on the (dirt) street is that CNN does not care to cover any Humanitarian Assistance stories. All they want is direct action (kinetic) operation stories.
Run Away, Run Away -- [Armchair Generalist]
Everyone but Bill Maher is running away from this "white powder" hoax in Palm Springs, CA.
An average day in Los Angeles, and Bill Maher is dealing with yet another death threat. A personally addressed hate package, containing sinister powder, potentially anthrax, has been discovered at the Palm Springs auditorium where the 53-year-old comedian, chat show host and scourge of America's Right and Left was to perform his stand-up routine. The venue has, naturally, been shut down, the gigs before and after have been cancelled while the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force is investigating.
Military strained by Obama trip -- [Wa Times]
President Obama's European visit this week has strained Air Force heavy-airlift capabilities and obliged the military to hire more foreign contractors to help resupply U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, according to military sources.
Forget the Queen... Obama Bows to Saudi Leader? --- [Gateway Pundit]
Proper protocol is to bow before the Queen of England.
Barack didn't do that... And, he shook her hand with 2 hands- another gaffe.
But, did he just bow to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah?
The President's Date with the Queen -- [Greyhawk]
Barack Obama met the Queen at Buckingham Palace today and gave her a gift of an iPod loaded with video footage and photographs of her 2007 United States visit to Richmond, Jamestown and Williamsburg in Virginia. In return,
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