Welcome on this 61st anniversary of D-Day edition of the Iraq Report! 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.
- American troops have secured a complex of bunkers in western Iraq they claim insurgents were using to hide and resupply themselves. The complex was apparently empty when it was secured, indicating that the insurgents could have been tipped to the raid.
- The Iraqi government admits it is may have targeted innocent Sunnis in its latest bid to restore some measure of security to Iraq. While perhaps understandable given where the insurgency finds much of its support, this admission may heighten tensions between Iraq's ethnic groups and bring the country nearer to the dangers of full civil war.
- Meanwhile, Bill Roggio provides an update on Operation Thunder (aka. Operation Lightning) - and al-Qaeda's even more disastrrous Sunni "hearts and minds" policy. Anbar provinces's leading Albu Mahal tribe is not happy with the insurgents, and intends to do something about it.
Other Topics Today Include: another Al Qaeda leader captured; 38 dead in a day; shutting down infiltration routes; Operation Lighting; Zarqawi's health; helping Iraqi business; Hussein's trial approaches; Carnival of the Liberated; Syria, the U.S. and the EU.
REPORTS FROM THE FIELD
- Iraqi police arrested a senior leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Mutlaq Mahmoud Mutlaq Abdullah, alleged to be the financier for AQiI's Mosul leader.
- The insurgency killed 38 in a series of attacks on Thursday in counterpoint to government claims of success in its attacks on the insurgency in Baghdad.
- U.S. forces are working to shut down the infiltration routes along the Iraqi-Syrian border that allow foreign fighters to join the insurgency throughout Iraq. The NY Times also has an article on the subject, complete with a useful interactive graphic. Jack Kelly's link also links to analysis from Iraq vet Chester and Col. Austin Bay.
- Operation Lightning has been called a huge success by the Iraqi Interior Minister - netting "627 "suspected terrorists," eleven "suspected foreign fighters," and 82 others who are classified as "wanted by judicial authorities."
- Michael Yon has left Mosul for Dohuk - a city which shows us a completely different side of Iraq.
- Al Qaeda in Iraq has claimed that al Zarqawi has been wounded, but his health overall is fine. Blogenlust is skeptical - thinking the news is perhaps generated by the US government. Athena offers her own analysis, along with a great roundup of news and blogs on the matter.
RECONSTRUCTION & THE ECONOMY
- The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, will provide a $12 million loan to support lending operations to small business enterprises by the National Bank of Iraq.
- Saddam Hussein will face twelve charges of crimes against humanity when his trial begins. Although prosectors claim he could face more than 500, they are seeking to move quickly to get Hussein's trail underway as soon as possible.
- It appears Al Qaeda in Iraq has claimed responsibility for killing Shiite cleric Ali Abdel Hussein in Basra. It seems Al Qaeda is using a strategy of trying to create sectarian strife as a means to topple the democratic movement.
- The latest Carnival of the Liberated is up at Dean's World.
THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE
- President Bush's outlook on the Iraq War is being challenged (link requires registration) even by members of his own party who fear that the President's view of the war is overly rose-colored and may undermine the war effort by raising unrealistically high expectations.
- Concerns over Syria's role in the Iraq insurgency have the U.S. asking the EU to postpone a planned trade pact with Syria.
- The UK is hoping to be able to hand over security operations in Southern Iraq to the Iraqi government next year.
- Do you have your GI Bracelet? Many military families fall into financial hardship when the breadwinner is injured or killed. The entire $5 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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