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.
- It was a bloody weekend in Iraq as attacks struck multiple sites in Baghdad, six Shiite shrines in Baqouba and sites in Basra and Mosul. At least 37 people are dead, including two British soldiers, and the toll will almost certainly climb before the final numbers are in.
- Iraq's Interior Ministry is taking steps to rein in what may be the nation's largest paramilitary force (link requires registration) that may be behind some of the death squad killings taking place within the country.
Other Topics Today Include: Iraqi army detains eight AIF; Iraq's developing independent forces; al Qaeda strategy memo; Army accused of sending mentally ill soldiers to Iraq; USAID prepares to turn over reconstruction to Iraqis; oil exports hit postwar high; power plant completed; Carnival of the Liberated; political negotiations contiue; Iraq war's popularity continues to fade.
REPORTS FROM THE FIELD
- Iraqi Army and US Army soldiers dealt the anti-Iraqi forces a blow when they detained an al-Qaeda in Iraq cell leader and seven other anti-Iraqi forces in two different raids in the Adhamiyah area.
- Winds of Change's Bill Roggio, preparing to head to Afghanistan, takes a look at the Iraqi Army's growing ability to conduct independent operations.
- The U.S. military has revealed parts of a memo attributed to Al Qaeda in Iraq outlining plans to ignite sectarian war by targeting Shiite Muslims and to shift the battle toward the capital and religiously mixed parts of the country.
- The U.S. Army is accused of sending mentally ill soldiers into combat and failing to care for them using its own regulatory standards. Last year there were 22 suicides of American soldiers in Iraq, the highest number since the war began, although that is not proof in itself of the accusation.
RECONSTRUCTION & THE ECONOMY
- USAid, one of the biggest development agencies operating in Iraq, plans to turn over the running of its reconstruction projects, funded to the tune of $5.1bn since 2003, to the Iraqi government by the end of 2007.
- Iraq's oil exports hit a postwar high of an average 1.619 million barrels per day (bpd) in April.
- A small-sized power plant has been completed in the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniya with 16-megawatt capacity.
- The hike in oil prices and the aforementioned surge in exports have pushed Iraqi oil revenues to $3 billion a month from $2.1 billion.
- Iraqi political leaders are still negotiating over who should head the oil and trade ministries in the new, full-term government being formed this week. Chalabi has been put forth to fill the positionof Interior Minister.
- Iraqi politics, complicated enough by sectarian lines, are being further exacerbated by ideological lines. These currents are adding to the new government's difficulty getting untracked.
- This week's Carnival of the Liberated is up.
THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE
- The Glittering Eye takes a look at reports that Iraq is less popular with the American public than Vietnam was three years into the war.
- The Danish government wants to reconfigure their military support in Iraq in the direction of enhanced focus on the United Nations. The Danish battalion is planned to be reduced by approximately 80 soldiers, but is offering the UN the use of a C-130 transport aircraft and support staff of 40-70 soldiers.
- 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!
- Many American troops have taken it upon themselves to reconstruct schools and gather learning tools for the children of Iraq. Their efforts have been met with immense gratitude from the local Iraqis and their children. You can help too! Visit Operation Iraqi Children and get involved.
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