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Bush's Troop Initiative Doomed, Biden SaysInvade Darfur:
Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) said yesterday that the Bush administration's "surge" strategy in Iraq is doomed to fail and criticized Gen. David H. Petraeus for offering what he called an overly optimistic assessment of the situation on the ground.
Biden, in an attempt to separate himself from the crowded Democratic presidential field, also asserted that none of his principal rivals for the nomination has offered a viable plan for success in Iraq.
WASHINGTON - Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a presidential candidate, called yesterday for the use of military force to end the suffering in Darfur.From reading Biden's own words on his declaration of American defeat in Iraq, his main problem with "the surge" is that it hasn't accomplished it's goals yet - violence is only down where the surge troops have deployed. Apparently the other half of the troops shouldn't even bother deploying.
"I would use American force now," the Delaware Democrat said at a hearing before his committee. "I think it's not only time not to take force off the table. I think it's time to put force on the table and use it."
In advocating the use of military force, Biden said senior U.S. military officials in Europe told him that 2,500 U.S. troops could "radically change the situation on the ground now."
Biden's key point - that the media is telling all the "good news" possible from Iraq - is an absurdity. But it could seem plausible to the casual observer for the simple reason that they aren't. While he himself may or may not know the "rest of the story", his best hope is that Americans remain woefully uninformed.
He claims that the media accurately reports that Sadr has gone "to ground -- for now", (while Sadr is indeed in hiding, his call for his troops to attack American soldiers and our ongoing battles with them must be ignored to fully embrace this point), dismisses the Coalition work with the Anbar Salvation Council as "purported", and uses the recent suicide bombing in Tall Afar as al Qaeda intended it to be used. There's a "rest of the story" there too, but it didn't make the papers.
By the way, I should add that this:
After four years of war, 3,200 American deaths, 23,000 U.S. troops wounded and possibly in excess of 100,000 Iraqis killed, U.S. policymakers are now making what may prove to be their worst mistake yet: They may be on a new collision course with Moqtada al-Sadr....was Sunday's news.
U.S. forces backed by Iraqi troops were reported Saturday in fierce clashes with Sadr's Shiite Mahdi Army militia in a bid to wrest control from it of the southern Iraqi town of Diwaniyah.
DIWANIYAH, Iraq – As the fighting in Diwaniyah slowed, the government and military leaders of Operation Black Eagle met to discuss ways to begin rebuilding the city and provide humanitarian aid to the people most affected by the recent militia violence.But you won't read about that in your local paper.
Maj. Gen. Oothman Farhood, commander of the 8th Iraqi Army Division, which is leading the operation, gathered his fellow coalition commanders together with the local government to decide how to best help the residents of Diwaniyah.
“We are planning to ease restrictions on movement and allow the people to return to their normal lives,” said Oothman.
In order to reduce the militia’s opportunity to regroup, a curfew which has been in effect since the operation began, will continue. The curfew lasts from 8 p.m. through 6 a.m.
During the day, Oothman said residents are free to go about their daily activities.
According to transcripts from the meeting, the cordon around the city will be opened to allow more freedom of movement. This will allow humanitarian aid, food and other needed supplies to reach the people affected by the recent militia violence.
“The cordon was necessary in order to prevent terrorists from escaping the city or allowing them to receive re-enforcements or supplies from other parts of Iraq,” said Oothman said. “With this plan, we have been able to clean up terrorist activities which have been harming and intimidating the citizens.”
According to Maj. Gen. Pawell Lamla, commander of Multi National Division-Center South, some militia members were coming to Diwaniyah from as far away as Baghdad to conduct kidnappings, assassinations and assist in the militia’s intimidation campaign.
The cordon and check points located around the city will remain in place in order to ensure safety and security, but four bridges will be opened to help ease the restrictions on movement into and out of the city. The Aorzidi Bridge, the Provincial Joint Coordination Center Bridge, the Hanging Bridge and the Al Dababa Bridge will be opened.
Some areas of the city will remain closed to the public due to on-going operations. In these areas, the Iraqi Army will provide security and transportation to students wishing to return to school.
“Our main goal was to provide safety and security to the people,” Lamla said. “In the last few days, we have achieved more success and I expect that major combat operations will finish up in the next few days.”
With the majority of combat operations drawing to a close and the next phase of Operation Black Eagle starting, the local government and their military counterparts were pleased with the results.
“A month ago, there were murders and assassinations causing instability,” said Al Qadasiyah province governor Khaleel Jaleel Hamza. “Thanks to the skill and brave efforts of the 8th Iraqi Army Division, security has returned.”
Iraqi security forces conducted a cordon and search against suspected insurgents in Diwaniyah April 11.All done!
This search was an intelligence-driven, precision operation searching for a known terrorist believed to be in an office belonging to the Organization of the Martyr Sadr.
Coalition force soldiers provided security outside the office as Iraqi troops entered the office and began their search for the terrorist suspect and weapons.
Once inside, the Iraqi troops found hand grenades, multiple identification cards, improvised explosive device-making materials, anti-government propaganda, photos of wounded soldiers and battle-damaged vehicles, and a low-power transmitting station.
In accordance with the Iraqi Prime Minister’s directive given in a recent speech, any buildings, including those used by political parties, that are being used for criminal or illegal purposes may be entered and searched.
In addition, when these sites are used for criminal or terrorist activities, they lose any protective they may have under international law.
Scourge, a military member blogging from Iraq, on Sadr's recent "peaceful protest":
My forward operating base was both rocketed and mortared the night before protests, as were several other bases in my area. All on orders of Jaysh Al Mahdi.(Via the DP.)
Their daily campaign of torture and murder is unabated.
I'm not sure how one could define this as peaceful.
Scourge offers another bit of insight:
He's also ordered less posters of himself and more Iraqi flags to be displayed. This fools no one, at least over here.That's supported by this observation from Iraq the Model:
Flying Iraqi flags in large numbers is another exposed cheap trick combining methods from both Hezbollah and Saddam.All done!
Replacing partisan sectarian banners with the national flag was likely inspired from Hezbollah's rallies in Lebanon. Both movements desperately try to show themselves as patriotic movements because they realize the others see them as Iran's tools.
On the other hand the way the flags were gathered is a trademark of the Ba'ath work; the flags that were carried during the demonstration as well as the flags that were seen hanging on walls in Baghdad were not donated by NGO's, nor bought with Sadr's money.
Elements of the Mehdi army paid visits to hundreds of shops and stores in several neighborhoods in Baghdad and "asked" the owners for money to buy flags; 6,000 dinars ($5) from stores on main streets and 2,000 dinars from stores in the alleys. This is exactly what the Ba'ath thugs used to do; using intimidation to steal hard-earned money from hardworking Iraqis to decorate their false demonstrations with posters and portraits.
I suggest the search include clerks in leather goods stores with a reputation for tippling.
You know, like this guy.