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Iraq Report, 12 Feb/07

| 18 Comments

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. This briefing is brought to you by Joel Gaines of No Pundit Intended and Andrew Olmsted of Andrew Olmsted dot com.

TOP TOPICS

  • The insurgency celebrated the first anniversary of the bombing of the Golden Dome in Samarra with two car bomb attacks that left at least 80 dead.

Other Topics Today Include: suicide bombing in Tikrit; Iranian diplomat kidnapped; VCSA says no changes to enemy tactics; new hospital approved; UN claims Iraq blocking Oil-for-Food; health minister detained; Carnival of the Liberated; U.S. accuses Iran; new trials for Marine and officer; rebuilding the Army's gear.

REPORTS FROM THE FIELD

  • A suicide bomber rammed a group of police in Tikrit on Sunday, killing at least 50 and injuring 70 more. 21 of the 30 dead were police.
  • Gunmen in Iraqi army uniforms and apparently connected" to the Iraqi government kidnapped an Iranian diplomat Sunday, the foreign minister of Iraq said.
  • General Richard Cody, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, says there is no reason to believe the insurgents have uncovered helicopter vulnerabilities or have changed their tactics despite the recent surge in helicopter losses in Iraq.

RECONSTRUCTION & THE ECONOMY

  • The government has approved <a href="http://www.iraqdirectory.com/DisplayNews.aspx?id=3114"the construction of a new hospital in Basra specializing in heart diseases.
  • The United Nations claims Iraq is obstructing the closing of the Oil-for-Food program.
  • El Paso Corp. will shell out $7.7 million to settle charges filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over illegal surcharges paid to Iraq related to the United Nations Oil for Food Program.
  • The Iraqi government revealed it will begin collecting money owed to Iraq by Yemen other countries neighboring countries.

IRAQI POLITICS

THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE

ETCETERA

  • The Army continues to struggle with rebuilding damaged military equipment, a process they expect will require three years of work after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are over.
  • One of the current Iraq Report compilers, Andrew Olmsted, is heading to Iraq himself. That means we could use a volunteer willing to take on the mission of compiling the Report with Joel Gaines beginning with the 19 February report. Please send applications to MondayIraqReport (at) windsofchange (dot) net.
  • 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!
  • 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.

Thanks for reading! If you found something here you want to blog about yourself (and we hope you do), all we ask is that you do as we do and offer a Hat Tip hyperlink to today's "Winds of War". If you think we missed something important, use the Comments section to let us know. And if you have a tip for a future Iraq Report, email us at MondayIraqReport(at)windsofchange.net.

18 Comments

Does anyone really believe that a change of command is going to stem the tide ?

Bill Roggio links The Telegraph documenting hundreds of $20,000 armor-penetrating Austrian sniper rifles purchased by the Iranian police in 2005 now turning up in caches in Baghdad.

Surprise.

The Qods Force and IRGC and Pasdaran sowing maximum carnage among Shi'ia and Sunnia Arabs and facilitating insurgents killing Americans? Why yes, that would be the same Iran that the Iraq Study Group wants to humbly request to help attain stability.

I don't know that I'd wish that particular stability on friends, though.

AMac,

I agree that from an emotional stand-point, it seems difficult to negotiate with an enemy like Iran. But when looked at more dispassionately, it might seem to be more in our interest than a first glance might suggest. You are absolutely correct to be skeptical about Iran's potential motive for helping us to gain stability in Iraq when they are clearly working against it.

However, I would offer the following for consideration.

1) Diplomacy involves give-and-take. Under present conditions, yes, it is in Iran's self-interest to promote instability. But what if those conditions were to change?

2) Iran is not going away. They are going to be sitting next door to their smaller neighbor long after we are gone.

3) so long as it is in Iran's interest to create instability rather than stability--and since they are not going away--the status quo represents a very serious problem for us.

4) might it not be worth consideration to at least look into what set of conditions might be brought about so that stability rather than instability is in Iran's self-interest?

This is what I have never understood about the Bush administrations version of negotiations: they always insist that the hoped for results be the pre-conditions for talks.

The worst that can happen is that talks go nowhere and the status quo remains. The best that can happen is that US and Iran might find a set of conditions acceptible to both.

And more from the 'this was a no-brainer 4 years ago' department:

"Iraq says to close borders with Syria, Iran"

Source

for 72 hours. That will surely stem the tide once and for all. Come on folks, what in gods name is going on over there? The borders between Syria and Iran should have been closed, sealed, landmined, and barbed wire as soon as it became stunningly obvious that munitions and terrorists were pooring across the borders. We wouldnt be having to have the conversation about Australian sniper rifles and Iranian IEDs if there was somebody running this war that didnt have their head up their rear. Not allowing foriegn interference is on like page 1 of every how to fight an insurgency handbook.

Mark B. quick & small point: I think the riffles are Austrian not Australian. I could be wrong, but if I'm not, it's a slightly more important point now than it ordinaridly would be because of this silly Obama-Howard non-controversy floating around. Otherwise, I wouldn't bother.

Yes, Steyr is an Austrian firm, not Australian.

The confusion may arise b/c Australia's military uses Steyr AUG variant as its standard service rifle. But it is also in use by numerous other military and civilian police agencies (e.g., the US Customs service).

Having just looked at the comments section of an Austrian report on this news item here (unfortunately in German), I half-wish the captured weapons could be sold to a insurgent group in Austria -- at a discount. Only one or two of the 22 comments had any sympathy for the Iraqi/US/UK/Coalition folks, including EU members, that are the targets. I frankly don't see why the UK (and other Coalition allies that are part of it) stay(s) in the EU. One government approves the sale of weapons that another asks it not to for precisely the reason that has come to pass -- danger to its soldiers, and those of its allies. And they say Americans are materialistic.

I say upgrade the boycott on the Austrian manufacturer -- Steyr-Mannlicher -- to trade sanctions against Austria and any other supplier of weapons to Iran and seek to tighten international sanctions against Iran. If that doesn't work, upgrade the trade sanctions to a naval blockade, or maybe quarantine is a better word. The Army maybe committed, but the Navy isn't.

There is a report that the Austrian rifles have a far more interesting pedigree than is recognized here.

The Iranian Smoking Gun. Made by General Dynamics.

H/T Elephant Bar

I don't think General Dynamics is involved. It owns Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug, which manufactures vehicles, but not Steyr Mannlicher AG, the small arms manufacturer, unless it acquired it recently. See this link

mark #4 --

By all means, we should talk away. The problem isn't in the fact of discussion. As long as our diplomats ape their diplomats in being absolutely realistic and cynical and suspicious--no harm done.

Of course, the chance for progress is also very low, until such time as changed strategic and tactical realities make a meaningful deal possible.

The premise behind "let's talk" is usually based on the preconception by one side that a worthwhile deal is indeed possible; thus it's up to those skilled practitioners to discern its terms and make it happen.

These visits to Herr Metternich's bazaar become troublesome when the other side intelligently holds to realpolitik while our experts drift into "Let's Make A Deal."

If you read an American left-wing regional newspaper, you will see this dopey philosophy dressed up and trotted out regularly in the editorial pages. See also Couric, Katie.

Me, I'm not so partial to deals signed in railroad cars. Even well-appointed ones.

Deuce,

This General Dynamics connection is becoming blurred. I have spent an hour or more trying to find a direct connection between GD's European Systems and Steyr-Mannlicher, the rifle manufacturer. Whether the Steyr conglomorate breakup in 1990 severed all ties with Steyr-Mannlicher is not entirely clear.

Posted at Elephant Bar

"If you read an American left-wing regional newspaper, you will see this dopey philosophy dressed up and trotted out regularly in the editorial pages. See also Couric, Katie"

Like this one:

Iran and the Nameless Briefers

"If Mr. Bush is truly worried about Iran fanning Iraq’s ever more bloody civil war — and he should be — he needs to stop fantasizing about regime change and start trying to find a way to persuade Iran’s leaders to help rein in the chaos in Iraq."

Its soooo obvious! Just find a way to persuade the Iranians to do what is not remotely in their interest or temperment to do! Bush may be a clown, but he's our clown at the moment and BDS notwithstanding, everthing he say and stands for isnt automatically wrong. Remember, at the end of the Boy Who Cried Wolf, the Wolf comes. As much as Bush's inexplicable handling of Iran amazes me, it amazes me even more that the Left seem more than happy to wallow in the disaster. Note to contenders- the way past Bush is as a hawk, not a dove. Unless the Dems really want to trot out another Jimmy Carter and cost themselves the WH for another generation, they better figure out what they intend to say when they dont have Bush to kick around anymore.

The post tying General Dynamics to Steyr-Mannlicher has been taken down.

The Iranian Smoking Gun. This Post is in Error. General Dynamics Did Not Manufacture this gun and does not own Steyr Mannlicher.

Please, accept my apology for having posted in error.

Thank you Allen for posting the update. I don't think any apology is needed.

While we're posting apologies let me apologize for posting that bit of agitprop in #1. After going deeper I discovered the "journalist" who has been promoting that story is a long-time anti-American propagandist.

I've updated the story on my blog.

ricg

I frankly don't see why the UK (and other Coalition allies that are part of it) stay(s) in the EU. One government approves the sale of weapons that another asks it not to for precisely the reason that has come to pass -- danger to its soldiers, and those of its allies. And they say Americans are materialistic.

Since foreign policy is not in EU hands, two members can have different, even opposite ones. In fact, some members are used as a base by terrorist groups to attack others. You are right, we Europeans blame America for everything, though we are far worse.

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