Welcome! Our goal at Winds of Change.NET is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. This briefing is brought to you by Joel Gaines of No Pundit Intended and Andrew Olmsted of Andrew Olmsted dot com.
- The battle for Tal Afar, mentioned here last week, has expanded to include an attempt by the Iraq government to seal the Syrian border to prevent insurgents from slipping into the country to augment those already there. The fighting in Tal Afar itself seems to have slowed, however.
- JK: Michael Yon describes the operation in which Lt. Col. Kurilla was shot (he posts the photo of that exact moment) - an operation in which he picked up a gun in the middle of combat and charged in to help the wounded LTC and men of Deuce Four. The jihadi who did it had been released from Abu Ghraib in August. What a surprise. You'll be happy to hear that LTC Kurilla will make a full recovery, but he's annoyed at state-side media coverage that absolutely fails to reflect the reality he lived. What a surprise. Maybe it would be different if they were there, and had the guts to do what Michael does.
- Someone purported to be Abu Musab al-Zarqawi released an audio tape in which he claimed the U.S. was using chemical weapons in Tal Afar. Al-Zarqawi claimed the Coalition would be defeated in Tal Afar, and he cursed the Iraqis who were joining Iraq's army and security forces as traitors.
Other Topics Today Include: a hostage freed; Iraq takes the lead in Tal Afar; Iraq's stock exchange on the move; reconstruction highlights; working the constitution; Carnival of the Liberated; Dawn Patrol.
REPORTS FROM THE FIELD
- Roy Hallums and an Iraqi civilian were freed by US forces outside of Baghdad. Hallums was kidnapped last November and appeared to be in good health after his release. The information leading to his recovery was provided by a detainee currently in captivity.
- There is a significant operation occuring near the Syrian border. Tal-afar is being pounded by Coalition forces, as it has become one of the most important smuggling routes into Iraq. Wretchard points out, however, that there is something even more significant about this operation. The roles are reversed between the Iraqi Security Forces and US forces. The Iraqis are spearheading the effort with US forces in more supporting roles.
- JK: US troops have been using radio-controlled toy cars to help them check for IEDs. In response, a bunch more MTRS TALON IV robots are being ordered for use in Iraq & Afghanistan. Is this bad news for RadioShack? Good news for US troops? DID explains & analyzes.
RECONSTRUCTION & THE ECONOMY
- The Iraqi Stock Exchange (ISX) is doing a brisk amount of trade with foreign investment in banking assuming a large percentage of the market movement.
- Take a look at this week's reconstruction highlights: A seminar was recently held in Baghdad for 175 business people from 10 business associations on World Trade Organization (WTO) membership and what it would mean to Iraq and its business community. USAIDís Agriculture Reconstruction and Development for Iraq (ARDI) program is assisting the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) to restore hybrid maize, which provides increased yields and better performance. USAID partners have completed training 180 volunteers from 130 local NGOs to monitor all 540 voter registration centers throughout Iraq. The Ministry of Education (MoE) and UNICEF have registered approximately 8,500 out of the targeted 10,000 children to attend school in the upcoming school year under this yearís Accelerated Learning Program (ALP), sponsored by USAID. USAID partners have helped advance the Wheat Flour Fortification (WFF) program in Iraq through advanced training and distribution of nutrient supplements. Programs are on-track to rehabilitate water and sanitation facilities in 800 Iraqi schools by the end of December this year. A local Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) and OFDA partners recently completed rehabilitation work at a major university in northern Iraq, employing 160 displaced and impoverished women in the process. A 16-week public health campaign in an Arbil Governorate sub-district has been completed after benefiting roughly 1,100 internally displaced persons (IDPs) returning to 19 villages.
- Discussions regarding the proposed Iraqi constitution continue, as Iraqi politicans seek to minimize the chances the Sunni minority will veto the constitution in October's elections. While the negotiations may improve the chances of the document being approved, they also mean that the voters still don't know what they will vote on in five weeks.
- The latest Carnival of the Liberated is up at Dean's World.
THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE
- The Commanding General of the U.S. National Guard conceded that the deployment of the 256th Brigade to Iraq may have delayed the response to Katrina by at most a day.
- President Bush's sales job on Iraq appears to be falling short, as even many of his supporters are raising questions about the conduct of the war.
- Why did the UK go to war in Iraq? A Muslim lawyer in England has an interesting opinion.
- Iraqi President Talabani has stated that Saddam Hussein has made a confession related to giving orders for the destruction of Halabja and the killing of all that town's residents. However, a legal consultant to Saddam's family has stated he has heard nothing of such a confession.
- Mudville Gazette's latest Dawn Patrol is up.
- Do you have your GI Bracelet? Many military families fall into financial hardship when the breadwinner is injured or killed. The entire purchase price of the GI Bracelet is donated to support our troops and their families! Please join us to give back to these brave people in their time of need.
- The troops are still there. So is the Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops: American, Australian, British, Canadian & Polish. Anyone out there with more information, contact us!
- Don't forget Chief Wiggles' Toys for Iraq drive!
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