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.
- President Bush is sticking to his guns with his new plan for Iraqi security despite significant opposition both at home and abroad.
- The Iraq War has a new front trying to prevent Iran from assisting insurgents and terrorists within Iraq. While the administration says that this front is only intended to prevent Iranian interference in Iraq, there are concerns that it may expand the war into Iran if the U.S. cannot keep Iran out otherwise.
Other Topics Today Include: the insurgency reacts to U.S. plans; conflict over Iranians; increasing reconstruction personnel; Carnival of the Liberated; Gates on the road; Talabani speaks to Syria; Jordanian Sunni says U.S. pouring gas on the fire; UK could be out by year's end; Turkey frustrated over Kurds; Pentagon changes the rules; where is Matt Maupin?
REPORTS FROM THE FIELD
- The insurgency is already reacting to new U.S. plans by getting out of Baghdad ahead of the promised troop surge, according to Omar at Iraq the Model. Mohammed's report from Friday indicates that Baghdad's troubles are far from over, however.
- The U.S. claims that five Iranians captured in Iraq last week are connected to an Iranian Revolutionary Guard faction that has supplied money and weapons to Iraqi insurgents. The Iraqi government wants the Iranians freed, however.
RECONSTRUCTION & THE ECONOMY
- The U.S. plans to quintuple the number of reconstruction specialists working in Iraq as part of the new plan for Iraq's security. (Hat tip: Outside the Beltway.)
- Saddam Hussein's co-defendants were hanged before dawn Monday morning. Both were found guilty for their roles in killed 148 Shiites in retribution for an assassination attempt on Saddam Hussein in 1982. The EU objected to the proceedings, arguing that the hangings have made national reconciliation more difficult by inflaming partisan feeling.
- This week's Carnival of the Liberated is up.
THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE
- New Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is touring Europe to try to drum up international support for the new U.S. direction in Iraq.
- President Jalal Talabani visited Syria and extracted a promised from Bashar Assad to help ease tensions in Iraq.
- A Jordanian cleric claims the U.S. surge will only add fuel to the Iraqi insurgency. Mohammed Bashar Faidi, the spokesman for Jordan's most hard-line Sunni group, also claimed that Iraqi Sunnis would rout Iraq's Shiites once U.S. troops leave Iraq.
- UK troops could leave Iraq by the end of 2007 if Iraq's military forces meet certain prerequisites.
- The Turkish government is growing frustrated over the U.S.'s failure to clamp down on Kurdish separatist groups striking across the Iraq-Turkey border.
- The Pentagon is changing the rules for the reserve component. Where previously a reservist could serve no more than two years involuntarily on active duty, they may now be called up for additional two-year tours after they have completed their first tour.
- It has been close to three years since SGT Matt Maupin was captured in Iraq, and his family and the Department of Defense still do not know his fate.
- 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 in late February. 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!
- 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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