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June 21, 2008

Life returning to Ramadi

Filed under: bombs, CentCom, ME, security — Rosemary Welch @ 12:25 am

by Lance Cpl. Casey Jones
RCT-1 PAO

RAMADI, Iraq (June 17, 2008) – In a small, granite-floored room, a group of Marines eagerly wait alongside a squad of Iraqi police for their foot patrol to begin. Lt. Col. Brett A. Bourne, battalion commander of 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, enters the room full of confidence and asks, “Are we ready to go out?” Without delay, he receives a resounding “Yes” from both groups.

The Marines and Iraqi police, decked out in full gear, began the patrol in a dust storm towards the marketplace, or as the local Iraqis call it—the souk. Upon arriving at the vibrantly colored shopping area, the Marines and Iraqi police immediately received smiles, hand shakes and greetings of “Al salaam a’alaykum’s,” which is a term of endearment and greetings meaning “God be with you.” The two forces have made their presence known in the souk, they are here for one thing: the people. Their mission is to intermingle with the locals and hear their valued opinion of the rebuilding of their city.

“We went on the patrol to accompany the battalion commander, check out the souk, interact with the locals and view all of the progress in the area,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Giovanni Lozano, hospitalman with 1st Battalion, 9th Marines. This patrol would’ve been out of the question nearly two years ago when the souk and Ramadi was the tip of the spear for the insurgency. The city’s market area was widely considered by most as a “no go” zone. Within seconds of entering the area, Marines would often encounter small-arms and sniper fire, along with rocket propelled grenade attacks. But since then, the locals have rebelled against the insurgency and embraced the presence of coalition forces, in turn launching the rebuilding of the bullet-riddled city.

“The people got sick of having their wives and children blown up by people who just want to cause trouble,” said Cpl. Chris Sarlo, an anti-tank assaultman with 1st Battalion, 9th Marines. “They saw that the Marines were trying to get the terrorists out of the province, so they decided to help us out with the Awakening.” Nowadays, Ramadi is much safer and the vivacious souk is visited almost daily by Marines and Iraqi policemen.

In a 2006 New York Times article, when the region was in chaos, then-Governor Awad of al-Anbar province said, “The performance of the police and national guard is very weak in all of central Iraq.” In a startling contrast to those comments, the policemen have made an incredible improvement since the area was deemed secure. Now, the policemen are operating independently with coalition forces only serving in an overwatch role to mentor and assist the budding force. “The Iraqi police are doing well,” said Sgt. Nicholas V. Rojas, a forward observer with 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, currently on his second deployment to al-Anbar province. “Compared to my first deployment in 2005 at Camp Hit just northwest of Ramadi, I’ve noticed a considerable change in how the Iraqi police conduct themselves and with their tactics. The Iraqi police show more of a desire to take over, for instance, if they see an improvised explosive device, they know what to do, they no longer come to us with questions. They come to us with the finished product. They’re definitely doing a great job.”

The Marines and Iraqi police receive a positive response from the locals every time they patrol through the marketplace. “The souk is usually pretty busy, a lot of hustle and bustle,” Sarlo said. “For the most part the people are really friendly, if you say hello to them they’ll smile and say hello back. The area is 100 percent better than what it used to be.” The new found trust between the Marines and the locals has allowed both sides to realize, despite their differences, we are all looking for the same thing, for Iraq to be a success story. “Once I got here, I realized they’re pretty good. I’ve gained a lot more respect for the Iraqi people – they’re awesome,” said Lance Cpl. Cody A. Collins, rifleman with 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, currently on his second deployment to Iraq.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Giovanni Lozano, a corpsman with 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, patrols with an Iraqi police officer through the market area of Ramadi June 9. The Iraqi police are continuing to make tremendous progress since the area became stable.

Source: CENTCOM.

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Improved security situation spurs reconstruction

Filed under: ag, CentCom, econ, humanitarian, ME, MNF-I, recon, security — Rosemary Welch @ 12:20 am

by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD (June 15, 2008) — Improvements in overall security incidents and Iraqi forces continued to rise during the past week, enabling the central government and Coalition forces to begin progress in other areas vital to Iraq’s growth and sovereignty, a senior U.S. military official in Iraq said June 11. The country began to see a reduction in security incidents four weeks ago, marking the lowest levels since March 2004, Army Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner, a Multi-National Force – Iraq spokesman, told reporters at a Baghdad news conference. The Iraqi government is undertaking broader efforts to provide services that were not possible a year ago, such as reconstruction in Sadr City and the Shola neighborhoods as well as agricultural initiatives across the country, he said.

Electricity, water, cleaning, infrastructure restoration, and humanitarian aid projects are under way in Sadr City, said Tahseen al-Sheikhly, a civilian spokesman for Operation Fardh al-Qanoon, also known as the Baghdad Security Plan. These projects will help eliminate unemployment for Baghdad citizens, which is the cause of much of the violence in the city, Sheikhly said. [Possibly. Another cause may be that they HATE us? Hmm.] Now that security has been achieved, he added, the challenge is to provide the best services to the citizens, thereby raising the living and economic standards and infrastructure.

The Ministry of Electricity already has replaced light poles and restored power to the Sadr City hospital, he said. Officials also are establishing a solar power system in an effort to minimize future outages and continue growing employment opportunities. Agriculture also is benefiting from the low security-incident levels, Bergner said. The government’s date palm spraying campaign raised more than 33 percent from the previous year, covering more than 170,000 acres in Babil, Baghdad, Diyala, Karbala, Wasit provinces. Iraqi pilots flew 336 spraying sorties under difficult time constraints and challenging weather conditions using two government Mi-2 helicopters, Bergner continued. Baghdad and Diyala provinces were sprayed for the first time in six years, as security conditions since the war began hadn’t permitted spraying until now.

“Iraqi planning for the 2009 spraying campaign is already under way,” he added, noting the Ministry of Agriculture has appropriated some $20 million for helicopters and spare parts. “Progress in the agriculture sector and other improvements are a direct result of the security gains around Iraq and the growing capacity of Iraqi forces,” Bergner said. “The increasing support of Iraq’s citizens for the rule of law has been a key factor in reducing the levels of violence.”

Since the beginning of Operation Sawlat al-Fursan on March 25 in Basra and Operation A`Salaam on May 20 in Sadr City, Iraqi security forces have uncovered more than 500 weapons caches and stockpiles378 in Basra and 124 in Sadr City, Bergner said. More than 3,500 mortars, 1,600 rocket-propelled grenades, 600 improvised explosive devices, and 75 armor-piercing explosively formed projectiles were confiscated. “As Iraqi forces and Iraqi citizens cooperate to remove weapons from the hands of extremists before they can be used, their government is increasingly capable of being able to provide the services that Dr. Sheikhly talked about to the Iraqi people,” he said.

The increased security will “allow businesses to reopen, allow children to go back to school, revitalize the agriculture sector as they are in the process of doing, and allow Iraqis to rebuild their lives,” he said. “There is still much tough work ahead, but the steady progress in Basra, in Baghdad, and in Mosul is now providing better opportunities for the citizens of Iraq,” the general said.

Lance Cpl. Israel H. Aguirre pounds fists with an Iraqi child near Hit, Iraq. (Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Seth Maggard).

Source: CENTCOM.

Public works substation opens in Yarmouk

Filed under: CentCom, equip, ME, MNF-I, recon, security — Rosemary Welch @ 12:15 am

by Sgt. Paul Monroe
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division

BAGHDAD (June 15, 2008) – Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, opened a public works substation in Yarmouk, a neighborhood in northwest Baghdad, June 14. The Yarmouk substation will serve the southeast Mansour District and provides workers a place to store equipment used for basic services, such as trash removal and sewage maintenance. “All of this was built from scratch” said 1st Lt. Nicholas Anderson, a civil military operations officer with the 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, operationally attached to the 2nd BCT, 101st Abn. Div.

Soldiers picked up where the Soldiers they replaced from 2nd “Patriot” Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st infantry Division, left off, who worked during their 15-month deployment to improve security and get essential services going. The unit went as far as hiring 50 workers to pickup trash in the Yarmouk area while funding for the substation was on hold. The Soldiers are working just as hard to take advantage of improved security and are striving to work on finishing the essential service projects the Patriot Battalion started. At the substation, they worked closely with local officials to build a permanent building with two offices. They also worked with contractors to install two trailers to provide workers with showers, a change room and a break room.

Iraqi army and MND-B Soldiers, along with members of the Yarmouk community and the assistant zone director who oversees the operation of the substation, attended the grand opening together, where a red ribbon was cut and attendees enjoyed Iraqi hamburgers afterward. The ceremony, however, did not mark the end of work for the substations, said Anderson, adding that the substation currently employs 53 Yarmouk residents with proposals to eventually increase that number to 100. “The equipment we have right now is under a rental agreement,” He added. “Coalition forces have rented those vehicles; we are expecting that (local officials) will take that over.”

The proposal stems from an agreement reached between coalition forces and local officials in September, he added. “We construct the site; we hire all the workers; we provide equipment for them” said Col. Louis Fazekas the Baghdad-6 governance team leader part of the embedded Provincial Reconciliation Team supporting the 2nd BCT, 101st Abn. Div., who explained it was part of the agreement. He said there is an expectation that local officials will hire the workers and purchase the equipment after one year.

Fazekas, a reservist from Mechanicsburg, Pa., deployed to Iraq in April 2007, has been in Iraq for 14 months. During that time, he has met with government officials to hash out the details of agreements such as this one. “I extended another year to try and see (the PWSS’) through,” said Fazekas. “It’s taking a little longer than we expected because the funding got delayed, but the funding is back on and things are moving ahead.” Originally, Strike brigade Soldiers planned to open four substations in Northwest Baghdad. The success of PWSS sites in the Adil and Ghazaliyah neighborhoods in northwest Baghdad has opened the possibility of opening additional substations.

No matter how long it takes to get the new substations built, Fazekas said he doesn’t plan to extend once he reaches the end of this tour. “Certainly, you fill some ownership and you want to stay involved,” he added, but also noted that he has full confidence in the ability of Soldiers – whether they are from the Strike Brigade or a follow-on unit – to continue progress. “The plan is there; it’s like a McDonalds franchise,” he said. “Now, it’s just a matter of picking sites and implementing what we’ve done at the others.”

Brig. Gen. Ghassan, commanding officer of the 5th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, talks with a local television network to get the word out to the local populace about the establishment of the public works substation, June 14, in Yarmouk, a neighborhood in northwest Baghdad.

Source: CENTCOM.

June 15, 2008

Outreach program aids Afghan villages

Filed under: CentCom, good works, security, SW Asia, weapons — Rosemary Welch @ 11:02 pm

by Sgt. Jessica Dahlberg
CJTF-101

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (June 11, 2008) – Task Force Gladiator soldiers of 101st Headquarters Support Company serve as the first line of defense here, manning entry-control points and ensuring base security. Their operations often result in supplementing their guard role with envoy-related responsibilities. “Maintaining security is not all just about the defensive posture,” said Army Capt. Stan Goligoski, 101st HSC commander. “We go out beyond the [gates] to interact and build relationships with the people in the local villages around us.”

As part of its Bagram Outreach Program, the unit works to provide local villages with water, power, security fences and anything else that may help. The soldiers went to the village of Gulam Ali on June 7, and brought fuel for service generators, which they acquired for the village six weeks ago. Later that day, on invitation from the village elder, they went to the opening of a new all-girls school. The soldiers attended the school’s opening to show respect for the culture and village elders, and even brought along the 101st Division Band to help celebrate the event. Still, their purpose in attending was two-fold, they said; they also went to check the school’s condition and resources.

Even though the school was new, it was in need of repairs as well as lacking standard items a school should have, Goligoski said. The HSC helped facilitate acquire missing items. For example, they provided wood so the school staff could build students’ desks. “We have established a good enough relationship with the village elders that we can go straight to them if we have a problem, and they can do the same for us,” Goligoski said.

Acting as sentries and “pseudo-ambassadors” are not the only tasks the HSC soldiers accomplish. They also sponsor a program that pays monetary rewards in exchange for information about weapons caches. “We get to know the people’s wants and needs, and in exchange, they provide us with information,” said Goligoski, who noted the program has been very successful. The Bagram Outreach Program and Small Rewards Program complement each other, he explained. For example, one village leader told HSC soldiers of two weapons caches. In return, he received a cash award. Later on, the same village leader witnessed HSC soldiers repairing his village’s windmills and generators. For their effort, he informed them of another weapons cache.

Similar mutually beneficial relationships are being forged in many villages around Bagram Air Base. Security is much more than manning a 24-hour entry-control point, the soldiers said. It is also about showing the Afghan people that coalition forces can provide a positive alternative to the violence enemy fighters offer.

Children from Gulam Ali village, Afghanistan, gather at the opening ceremony for their new all-girls school on June 7. Soldiers from 101st Headquarters Support Company and the 101st Division Band attended the school’s opening, and the HSC soldiers provided wood for the school staff to build desks. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jessica R. Dahlberg).

Source: CENTCOM.

June 9, 2008

‘America Under Attack’

Filed under: elections, jihad/ists, Liberty, life, milblogs, otb, security — Rosemary Welch @ 12:41 pm

This is a repost from Mike Meehan, ETCM(SS) USNR (Retired), Webmaster whose website is Mike’s Good Ones (music included). I find the time appropriate, and the message essential. Please get a cup of Joe, and take the time to read it. If Kerry’s name appears, please replace it with Sen. Obama and see if it does not still apply. Thank you, and have a great day.

America Under Attack

Our great country is under attack. This essay has the best explanation I have read for what we as a nation are going through right now. Please read this and pass this one on to all you know. Mike Meehan – Webmaster.

******************************************************
THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS AND
THE GREAT CALIPHATE
By
Larry Abraham

I urge all of my readers to make copies of this report and send them to your friends and relatives. The information is too critical to be overlooked in the madness of this election year.

Part I of this essay was written in January [2004] before the Democrat Party primaries settled anything and before the occupation of Iraq took a turn for the worse. However, it is now more obvious that what I wrote about the nature of the Third Great Jihad is all too true. The political picture has deteriorated in Europe and the U.S .to a great degree since then so Part II takes these developments into consideration. Again, I urge all of you to distribute this essay as far and wide as possible without any concern for copyright violation. Our fellow citizens need to know the true nature of what we all face. LHA.

As we watch and listen to all the Democrat Party candidates running for the nomination of their party, it is tantamount to enduring the Chinese water torture. The blah, blah, blah goes on and nothing of value comes out except the pain of listening to the same nothingness over and over again. I won’t take the time or space to repeat what you have heard so many, mind numbing times over the past months but what you have not heard is crucial.

I must also fault President Bush and the administration spokesmen for not telling the American people what they really need to know about this “war”. If they don’t do that sometime between now and November it may cost them the election.

It Did Not Start on 9/11.

The war we are now facing did not begin on September 11, 2001, nor will it end with the peaceful transition to civilian authorities in Iraq, whenever that may be. In fact, Iraq is but a footnote in the bigger context of this encounter, but an important one none the less.

This war is what the Jihadists themselves are calling the “ Third Great Jihad” and are doing so within the framework of a time line which reaches back to the very creation of Islam in the Seventh century and their attempts to recreate the dynamics which gave rise to the religion in the first two hundred years of its existence.

No religion in history grew as fast, in its infancy, than did Islam and the reasons for this growth are not hard to explain when you understand what the world was like at the time of Muhammad’s death in 632 AD. The Western Roman Empire was in ruins and the Eastern Empire was based in Constantinople and trying desperately to keep the power of its early grandeur while transitioning to Christianity as a de facto state religion. The costs to the average person were unbearable as he was being required to meet the constantly rising taxes levied from the state along with the tithes coerced by the Church. What Islam offered was the “carrot or the sword”.

If you became a convert, your taxes were immediately eliminated, as was your tithe. If you didn’t, you faced death. The choice was not hard for most to make, unless you were a very devoted martyr in the making. At the beginning, even the theology was not too hard for most to swallow, considering that both Jewry and Christianity were given their due by the Prophet. There is but one God-Allah, and Muhammad is His Prophet, as was Jesus, and the pre-Christian Jewish prophets of the Torah (old testament). Both were called “children of the book”, the book being the Koran, which replaced both the Old and New testaments for Christians and Jews.

With this practical approach to spreading the “word” Islam grew like wild fire, reaching out from the Saudi Arabian Peninsula in all directions. This early growth is what the Muslims call the “first” great Jihad and it met with little resistance until Charles Martel of France, the father of Charlemagne, stopped them in the battle of Tours in France, after they had firmly established the religion on the Iberian peninsula. This first onslaught against the West continued in various forms and at various times until Islam was finally driven out of Spain in 1492 at the battle of Granada.

The “second great jihad” came with the Ottoman Turks. This empire succeeded in bringing about the downfall of Constantinople as a Christian stronghold and an end to Roman hegemony in all of its forms. The Ottoman Empire was Islam’s most successful expansion of territory even though the religion itself had fractured into warring sects and bitter rivalries with each claiming the ultimate truths in “the ways of the Prophet”. By 1683 the Ottomans had suffered a series of defeats on both land and sea and the final and failed attempt to capture Vienna set the stage for the collapse of any further territorial ambitions and Islam shrunk into various sheikhdoms, emir dominated principalities, and roving tribes of nomads. However, by this time a growing anti-western sentiment, blaming its internal failures on anyone but themselves, was taking hold and setting the stage for a new revival know has Wahhabism which came into full bloom under the House of Saud on the Arabian peninsula shortly before the onset of WWI. It is this Wahhabi version of Islam which has infected the religion itself, now finding adherents in almost all branches and sects, especially the Shiites. What this sect calls for is the complete and total rejection of anything and everything which is not based in the original teachings of The Prophet and it finds its most glaring practice in the policies of the Afgani Taliban or the Shiite practices of the late Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran. Its Ali Pasha (Field Marshall) is now known as Osama bin Laden, the leader of the “third Jihad”.

Jimmy Carter sets the stage. (Still…)

The strategy for this “holy war” did not begin with the planning of the destruction of the World Trade Center. It began with the plans for toppling the Shah of Iran back in the early 1970’s and culminated with his exile in 1979. With his plans and programs to “westernize” his country, along with his close ties to the U.S. and subdued acceptance of the State of Israel, the Shah was the soft target.

Thanks, in large part to the hypocritical and disastrous policies of the Jimmy Carter State Department the revolution was set into motion, the Shah was deposed, his armed forces scattered or murdered and stage one was complete. The Third Jihad now had a base of operations and the oil wealth to support its grand design or what they call the “Great Caliphate”.

The Great Caliphate.

What this design calls for is the replacement of all secular leadership in any country with Muslim majorities. This would include, Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, all the Emirates, Sudan, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and finally what they call the “occupied territory” Israel.

As a part of this strategy, forces of the jihad will infiltrate governments and the military as a prelude to taking control, once the secular leadership is ousted or assassinated. Such was the case in Lebanon leading to the Syrian occupation and what was attempted in Egypt with the murder of Anwar Sadat, along with the multiple attempts on the lives of Hussein in Jordan, Mubarak of Egypt and Musharraf in Pakistan. Pakistan is a particular prize because of its nuclear weapons.

The long-range strategy of the Third Jihad counts on three strategic goals. 1. The U.S. withdrawing from the region just as it did in Southeast Asia, following Vietnam. 2. Taking control of the oil wealth in the Muslim countries, which would be upwards to 75% of known reserves, and 3. Using nuclear weapons or other WMDs to annihilate Israel. A further outcome of successfully achieving these objectives would be to place the United Nations as the sole arbiter in East/West negotiations.

Evidence of the Bush Administration awareness of this plan is found in the facts that immediately following the 9/11 attack, their first move was to shore up Pakistan and Egypt, believing that these two would be the next targets for al Qaeda while Americans focused on the disaster in New York. The administration also knew that the most important objective was to send a loud and clear message that the U.S. was in the region to stay, not only to shore up our allies but to send a message to the Jihadists. The attack on Afghanistan was necessary to break-up a secure al Qaeda base of operations and put their leadership on the run or in prison.

Why Iraq?

The war on Iraq also met a very strategic necessity in that no one knew how much collaboration existed between Saddam Hussein and the master planners of the Third Jihad or his willingness to hand off WMDs to terrorist groups including the PLO in Israel. What was known, were serious indications of on-going collaboration, as Saddam funneled money to families of suicide bombers attacking the Israelis and others in Kuwait.

What the U.S. needed to establish was a significant base of operations smack dab in the middle of the Islamic world, in a location which effectively cut it in half. Iraq was the ideal target for this and a host of other strategic reasons.

Leadership of various anti-American groups both here and abroad understood the vital nature of the Bush initiative and thus launched their demonstrations, world-wide, to “Stop The War”. Failing this, they also laid plans to build a political campaign inside the country, with the War in Iraq as a plebiscite, using a little know politician as the thrust point; Howard Dean. This helps to explain how quickly the Radical Left moved into the Dean campaign with both people and money, creating what the clueless media called the “Dean Phenomenon”.

By building on the left-wing base in the Democrat party and the “Hate Bush” liberals, the campaign has already resulted in a consensus among the aspirants, minus Joe Lieberman, to withdraw the U.S. from Iraq and turn the operation over to the U.N. And, if past is prologue, i.e. Vietnam, once the U.S. leaves it will not go back under any circumstances, possibly even the destruction of Israel.

Should George W. Bush be defeated in November and a new administration come to power we could expect to see the dominoes start to fall in the secular Islamic countries and The Clash of Civilizations would then become a life changing event in all of our lives.

What surprised the Jihadists following the 9/11 attack was how American sentiment mobilized around the president and a profound sense of patriotism spread across the country They were not expecting this reaction, based on what had happened in the past, nor were they expecting the determined resolve of the President himself. I believe that this is one of the reasons we have not had any further attacks within our borders. They are content to wait, just as one of their tactical mentors, V.I. Lenin admonished…”two steps forward, one step back”.

A couple of additional events serve as valuable footnotes to the current circumstances we face: the destruction of the human assets factor of the CIA during the Carter presidency, presided over by the late Senator Frank Church and Carter’s CIA Director, Admiral Stansfield Turner. This fact has plagued our intelligence agencies right up to this very day with consequences which are now obvious. Jimmy Carter is the one man who must bear the bulk of the responsibility for setting the stage of the Third Jihad. Americans should find little comfort in how the Democrat contenders constantly seek the “advice and counsel” of this despicable little hypocrite who now prances around with his Nobel Prize, while attacking President Bush with almost as much venom as his fellow Nobel Laureate, Yassir Arafat.

Lastly, we should not expect to see any meaningful cooperation from Western Europe, especially the French.

Since failing to protect their own interests in Algeria by turning the country over to the first of the Arab terrorists, Amid Ben Bella, the country itself is now occupied by Islamic immigrants totally twenty percent of the population.

We are in the battle of our lives which will go on for many years possibly even generations. If we fail to understand what we are facing or falter in the challenge of “knowing our enemy” the results will be catastrophic.

PART II (May 1, 2004).

Since writing the above, we have witnessed some frightening evidence in support of our hypothesis both internally and in other parts of the world.

The al Qaeda bombing in Madrid has emboldened our enemy into believing it can use terror as an instrument for democratic regime change. Based on what happened there, they may be right.

Kerry and bin Laden on the same page (Remember who was the keynote speaker? That’s right. Obama.).

John Kerry and other leaders of his party constantly refer to the United States as “acting unilaterally.” They give no credit whatsoever to countries like Great Britain, Poland, Italy, Australia or even tiny Honduras for putting their limited armed forces in harm’s way to support the U.S. led coalition in Iraq. It is little wonder that some are considering doing what Spain has done—pulling out. The leaders in these countries have spent considerable political capital in this effort, and have little to show for it as it relates to fostering good will with the American public. Couple that fact with Osama bin Ladin’s latest offer of withholding attacks on those who “quit” the coalition and you have all the elements for a Democrat party fostered “self-fulfilling prophecy” where the U.S. will be totally alone in the pacification of Iraq. John Kerry and the Bush critics persist in the “lie” of the U.S. going it “alone” in Iraq but Osama bin Laden knows differently and will use the Kerry rhetoric to help isolate the U.S. The terrorists now see themselves as political “king-makers”. They may be right.

Another aspect of the “anti-Bush” political axis is how both his political enemies and the main stream media take ghoulish delight in “the body count,” just as they did in the later days of Vietnam. Oh sure, they pay incidental homage to the memory of the young Americans who gave their lives in the greatest threat this country has ever faced, but they do so with all the sincerity of Madonna making a vow of chastity. As the body bags grow in number, they believe, so grows their political prospects. They may be right.

If the Bush administration is further weakened in the months leading up to the November elections, we will witness a heightened al Qaeda offensive in all parts of the world, including our own country, and especially in Iraq and nations surrounding it ,i.e., Pakistan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Events within the past few days in Jordan not only make this argument but also point to the possibility of “what happened to the WMDs.”
Iran and Syria are daily growing more overt and bold in their support of insurgents within Iraq, believing that Bush has been so hurt by internal politics that he is powerless to act against them in any meaningful way. They may be right.

The Leftwing initiative, Political Correctness and Our Will to Win.

Within our own country we are witnessing and almost insane application of “political correctness.” As the barbarism of radical Islam grows more apparent in the streets of the Middle East from Gaza to Basra, we see a cultural suicide taking place within our own schools and communities.

Our children are being taught from the Koran, our professors are preaching intifadah in their class rooms, and Muslim “call to prayer” loud speakers are blaring out from city halls. The more precarious our very existence becomes, the more our liberal brethren embrace their enemies. It is a Stockholm Syndrome which can only lead to the recruitment of young Muslims who will be willing to duplicate in the West what their co-religionists are doing in the streets of Israel and the market places of Baghdad. The liberal P.C. crowd say nothing about the silence of the Muslim religious leadership as it relates to the carnage of innocents but couldn’t speak out fast enough against the inspiration supplied to tens of millions of Christians by Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. They were put off by the movie’s “violence” and its alleged “fostering of anti-Semitism”. Movies must represent their “reality” as the real thing moves them not at all. Among liberal Jews in America, hatred of George W. Bush is only surpassed by their contempt for Ariel Sharon…Let them explain it, I am at a total loss to do so. Maybe they just miss seeing Bill Clinton smooching Yassir Arafat in the White House Rose Garden.

The “Reverend” Jesse Jackson is now calling the U.S. “guilty of crimes against humanity” as he sets out to mobilize the non-Islamic Left. None of the Democrat leadership says a word in opposition to Jackson’s treason or Hillary’s attacks on the President and U.S. policy in an Arabic newspaper, while in London. You can bet that al Jezeera didn’t miss a beat in their reporting of both events.

The campaign takes its toll.

The campaign is seriously hurting Mr. Bush’s leadership role in the War on Terror. While ducking every new book critical of his initiative or trying to counter the partisan nitpicking of the 9/11 Commission, he has persisted in the misbegotten insistence of “installing democracy” in Iraq. Our purpose for being in that beleaguered country should be restricted to one purpose and one purpose only, to stop the expansion of The Third Jihad and provide a base for doing same in the neighboring areas. This can be done by sealing the borders, attacking anything that moves in violation of same and by making it clear to Syria and Iran that any participation on their part will be considered an “act of war”. Let the country be governed by the local tribes, Shiite in the south, Sunni in the central and Kurds in the north with a U.S. pro consul overseeing the military. Oil revenues could be spilt by population allocation. How about installing a Republic…it worked pretty well here with diverse populations.

The very idea that we should spend our sons and daughters blood or our tax dollars on trying to building a “democracy” in the region which has neither a history nor a desire for such, is sheer nonsense. The very essence of Islamic teaching speaks directly against this principle. Continuing on the current path can only result in fostering greater hatred for the “Great Satan”. Force is the only thing which is respected in that part of the world and this force need not be tied to “reform”. I suggest Mr. Rumsfled acquaint himself with a copy of Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars and Sun Tsu’s Art of War. All the tactics and strategies necessary to subdue the Iraqi insurgents can be found in those two military gems.

Please not the UN.

Bringing the U.N. to the party will only compound the problem without adding any accountability. The U.N. has been accused of many things over the years, but being a “democratic” institution has never been one of them. Just the latest scandal of the “Oil for Food” program should provide any thinking person with all the evidence they need to keep the U.N. at bay. But this doesn’t seem to bother the likes of the John Kerry’s of the world who prattle on as if the scam doesn’t even exist.

Just one example will make my case; the UN mandate in Israel, which has been in place since 1948. One more salient point needs to be made on this subject. There is no such thing as “The International Community.” There are only individual countries, each with its own agenda which is always self serving. The myth of a higher level of “moral authority” coming out of the UN as been one of the greater lies of the past half century, but it is a lie which persists in spite of a bloody record of hypocrisy, graft, genocide and “perpetual war for perpetual peace.” I have a suggestion for the 9/11 Commission:.Why don’t they look into what the UN was doing before the attack on the World Trade Center? If they do, they will find that exactly one week before, the UN was holding a Conference on Racism in Durbin, South Africa where the delegates voted overwhelmingly to condemn Israel, as “racist and terrorist.” The U.S., Canadian and Israeli delegates walked out in disgust. Nary a word was uttered about Saddam Hussein, al Qaeda, or the Taliban, to say nothing of what was happening in Rwanda while they crunched caviar on toast and washed it down with vintage Champagne. Genocide does not qualify as “racism” according to the UN “morality.” Neither we nor the world needs the UN to muck up what is already a very delicate situation. If given proper leadership every Middle Eastern country named above will throw in with the Coalition, for if they don’t they will be the next targets of the Third Great Jihad and the Great Caliphate. Pakistan is already showing the leadership which others will follow. What do you think moved Kadahaffi to cozy up to the U.S. and Great Britain? He fears the Jihadist more than he hates us.

Evil Does Exist.

Our current crises, in meeting the threat of the Third Jihad, is one more example of how most Americans simply refuse to believe there is evil in this world and are willing to grant moral equivalence on any human action. Unless the crime is personalized such as in the case of Lacy Peterson, we lose interest quickly and become bored or at least not involved.

To try and understand what we are facing, look into the eyes of your son or grandson and try to fathom a mind which would take pride in strapping a bomb to his body and sending him out to kill himself and countless innocent people. Or in the case of your daughter or grand daughter, try to imagine a religion which commands you to mutilate her vagina to destroy her sex drive or demands you to stone her to death if she has sexual relations with a man other than of your choosing.

If you can comprehend these facts both intellectually and emotionally, then you will start to understand what we are facing in the months and years ahead, both at home and abroad.

The radicals of Islam will stop at nothing to destroy us and all we stand for. They see this war as their “entry to paradise” and a release from the miserable existence they have built for themselves within the confines of an evil and perverse religion. The Jihadist are NOT like us, nor most of their fellow Muslims. But, like terrorists everywhere they have silenced any criticisms from fellow Muslims through threat and intimidation and have, with the help of the ‘useful idiots” in the West, “created the appearance of popular support”.

If we are incapable of understanding these realities and acting accordingly, within the life time of everyone who reads these words, we will see our cherished way of life cease to exist and chaos become our lot. The Clash of Civilizations is now reaching out and touching all of us. May God grant us the wisdom and the courage to meet the challenge.

I respectfully dedicate the above to the memory of Pat Tillman and his 872 comrades who by their courage and willing sacrifice set an example for every American. May we be worthy of their “greatest love…”

Larry Abraham……..Larry Abraham’s Insider Report.

Use this link to email this page to your friends.

If there was ever a Web page that needs to be circulated as far as possible this is the one. I have reproduced Larry Abraham’s work here per his wishes. These words and their meaning to all Americans are to be published freely. I am happy to be able to help spread this message.

Mike Meehan
ETCM(SS) USNR (Retired)
Webmaster – Good Ones from Mike
June 15, 2004

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May 14, 2008

Government officials meet with Qarghuli sheikhs

Filed under: CentCom, Gov't, local, ME, security, stability, Violence — Rosemary Welch @ 12:00 pm

by U.S. Army Christopher McKenna
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division

CAMP STRIKER (May 5, 2008) — Local government officials visited tribal leaders of Qarghuli to discuss a number of issues May 3. “The government representatives approached us to speak of our concerns,” said Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, who held the meeting in his home. “This is out of the ordinary. We are usually the ones going to them about our concerns and issues.” Leaders of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), attended the meeting but only to observe.

“It’s rare for me to come to a meeting and not have to mediate, but I didn’t have to do that today,” said Col. Dominic Caraccilo, commander of 3rd BCT, 101st Abn. Div. (AASLT). “That just goes to show that the government cares about its people and is taking the steps to move forward in the right direction.”

Many concerns were raised during the meeting, such as the farmers market, which recently reopened in Yusifiyah. “As a leader for the Yusifiyah Nahia, it is my job to make sure that my people’s concerns are known, and that steps are being taken to help those concerns,” said Sheikh Somar Abd’al’amer Kother Hamdi al-Anbari, Yusifiyah Nahia director. The town of Qarghuli falls under the government jurisdiction of Yusifiyah.

Abdullah said government officials came during a time of stability in Yusifiyah, which can be attributed to the combined security presence of Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police and Coalition forces. “Yusifiyah has become a symbol for Iraq as to how multiple tribes can coexist with one another without having to worry about violence,” Somar said. He added that months ago things were much different, with violence in the area at a peak. The nahia is coming together, Somar said, in ways many could have never expected. “Now that good is being shown on a regular basis, it has become a convenience to work hand in hand with the government,” Abdullah said.

Colonel Dominic Caraccilo, commander of the 3rd BCT, 101st Abn. Div. (AASLT), greets Qarghuli sheikhs prior to a meeting between the tribal leaders and government officials May 3 at Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah’s home. (U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Christopher McKenna).

Source: CENTCOM.

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Security in Abu Shemsi offers new opportunities

Filed under: CentCom, CF, econ, jihad/ists, ME, recon, security — Rosemary Welch @ 11:47 am

by 1st Lt. David Psiaki
3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs

FOB ISKAN, Iraq (May 2, 2008) – Residents in Abu Shemsi in the North Babil province of Iraq continue to see improvements in security and economic development. The former al-Qaida stronghold is quickly becoming a rural community with soccer games, flourishing farm fields and locally-run stores. “I see the community rebuilding itself,” said Sgt. Donald Callis, a Gerrardstown, W.V., native. “Our major role in that is providing security, and the (government of Iraq) is helping out with grants.”

In recent weeks, coalition forces have worked with local businesses to find out what equipment they need to improve serving their communities. With this knowledge, coalition forces are able to request additional funds and help stimulate economic capacity in the region, said Callis, who is with Company B, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.

Callis said his mission during his last deployment focused more on raids. “This is my sixth deployment,” he said. “This is my first time actually interacting with the locals. You are able to see subtle changes in the civilians and you can tell if they are benefiting or if something is wrong.” Additionally, over the past few months, coalition forces have seen new canals dug, water pumps installed, and farming equipment used to plow fields. These improvements have resulted from funding by the U.S. and Iraqi governments.

A new brick factory in Abu Shemsi supplies locally-produced building materials to families for home or business renovations. With locally-operated businesses, the area of Abu Shemsi is slowly moving toward a self-sustaining economy based on agriculture and fish farming. “The recent progress is due to a combination of the people of Iraq wanting to help themselves and coalition forces being able to help the communities by providing a safe environment,” said Sgt. Christopher Waliser from Bismark, N.D.

During the al-Qaida stronghold, many Abu Shemsi residents were displaced. Others fled because of the lack of security and protection. The support that Iraqi security forces and coalition forces provide, has given local citizens more opportunities to come back and rebuild, said Waliser. Families can reopen businesses and return to farming for income.

“They need some type of council to serve as their voice and they need to work together more than ever now to see the results they want,” said Staff Sgt. Cale Terrill from Wapakoneta, Ohio. There has also been talk of building an Iraqi police station in the area, Terrill said. Bringing in the IP will further legitimize the area and show residents that the government of Iraq cares about them.

Source: CENTCOM.

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Iraqi women’s committee reps meet in Mahmudiyah

Filed under: CentCom, econ, education, ME, money, security, terrorists/ism, Women — Rosemary Welch @ 11:33 am

by Sgt. David Turner
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs Office

FOB KALSU (May 7, 2008) — Representatives from four local women’s committees in the Rasheed Nahia met in Mahmudiyah, 20 miles south of Baghdad, May 5. Among those attending the gathering were Soldiers of Multi-National Division – Center and the U.S. State Department’s embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team Baghdad-7, who helped organize the committees. Women’s issues are nothing new to the Government of Iraq, and now, after years of turmoil and the rebuilding of the nation’s institutions, the committees have provided many women a support channel, said Capt. Trista Mustaine, ePRT women’s assistance group leader. “It’s trying to build connectivity that’s been severed,” she said.

A key goal for the meeting was to introduce committee members to one another, as well as link them to their representatives in the nahia and other organizations. Representatives of the Iraqi Ministy of Labor and Social Affairs and the Red [Cross] Crescent attended the meeting. Mustaine, from Bradenton, Fla., said getting women involved in government and giving them better economic opportunities fosters stabilization and a return to normalcy.

One of the ways ePRT achieves this is with microgrants, up to $2,500 per person, to help women start businesses. Those businesses include anything from internet cafes to agriculture, but sewing cooperatives have been the most popular. These co-ops provide major employment opportunities in their neighborhoods, giving women the means to buy materials and sell their goods collectively. Sewing co-ops, in turn, provide revenue for the women’s committees, Mustaine said.

Chairwomen from the four committees addressed several issues at the meeting, but the foremost topics included the need for grass-roots level assistance from Coalition forces and the needs of widows and orphans. Zaytoon Hussain Mraad, from Adwaniyah, showed a placard with pictures of more than 30 children in her village orphaned by recent violence. Fifteen of the children, all from Shiite families in Sunni majority region, lost both parents to criminal activity and sectarian violence.

Not the Americans? Hmm. How interesting. Why doesn’t our news media tell us this when they report how many Iraqis have died? You know why, but I shall remain quiet…here.

Aieda Hassan Aziz, chairman of the Busayefi women’s committee, said her husband was kidnapped months ago and she doesn’t know where he is. Insurgents also stole her livestock, depriving her of an income. There are 62 widows in her town and even more orphans, she said. Education, she said, was what citizens in her village need most.

The chairwoman from the Hawr Rajab women’s committee, Manal Najeeb Mahmood, offered some words of strength and hope. “Al-Qaeda in Iraq killed, kidnapped and destroyed. We stood strong with the help of Coalition forces, Iraqi Army and the local councils. We’re here to stay,” she said. Mahmood said that profits from her women’s committee’s sewing co-op would go to help the 215 widows and numerous orphans of her town.

Doctor Maha al-Hadithy, a Red [Cross] Crescent representative, said assistance from Coalition forces was welcomed, but much more could be done on the local level. In the beginning, money spent on programs at the national level failed to reach them, she said. Another big issue, al-Hadithy said, was the rise in divorces among religiously-mixed couples in her country. Sectarian strife has torn families apart, and legal assistance may help put them back together again. Al-Hadithy struck a positive tone in her remarks, however, saying that women’s committees have nothing to do with religion or tribal loyalties. Only the improved lives of Iraq’s women matter, she said.

Mustaine was pleased to see representatives come together, belonging to committees she and others helped form. “I think it’s definitely been a success,” she said. “The most productive stuff has nothing to do with the money we’ve spent. It’s primarily relationship building. That’s key, because that’s the only thing that’s going to be sustaining after we leave.”

Source: CENTCOM.

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Maliki unifies Iraqi gov’t in stand against insurgents

Filed under: CentCom, Gov't, jihad/ists, Peace, security — Rosemary Welch @ 11:12 am

by Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

MEXICO CITY, April 30, 2008 – As Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stands up to insurgents threatening Iraq, it’s serving to unify his once-splintered government, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told reporters here Tuesday. Gates pointed to Maliki’s Iraqi-led crackdown against Shiite militias, primarily Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s militia, known as the Mahdi Army, or Jaysh al-Mahdi. While conceding that operations in and around the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City have seen more U.S. and Iraqi casualties, Gates said part of it is because coalition and Iraqi forces are operating in new areas. Another part is because of mixed messages Sadr is sending to his militia.

“For the last number of months, Sadr has had a ceasefire on his followers. And while he has not ended that ceasefire, he has made statements that certainly some Jaysh al-Mahdi and special groups have interpreted as the go-ahead to attack coalition forces,” he said. U.S. and coalition officials use the term “special groups” to describe enemy fighters who are trained, bankrolled and supplied by Iran. “And so, as we work our way around Sadr City, which we have basically stayed out of,” Gates said, “we are encountering…heavy combat.” Gates said the situation represents a conflict between the Iraqi government and “lawless elements that do not want to be part of the political process…I think everyone has made clear that if the Sadrists are willing to participate in the political process, that they would be welcome in that process,” Gates said.

Meanwhile, Maliki’s actions are supported within the Iraqi government, the secretary said. “What is intriguing is that, because of the way the prime minister has taken on the Jaysh al-Mahdi and special groups in Basra and some of these other gangs, the rest of the Iraqi government that has not exactly been known for its unity has, in fact, unified behind Prime Minister Maliki,” Gates said. “He has gotten the vocal support of virtually all elements of the government, and partly because they see him acting against a sectarian group that they were concerned he wouldn’t act against.” Among Iraq’s neighbors, “at least all but one have taken positive notice,” as well, Gates said, in a reference to Iran.

Source: CENTCOM.

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Market opening spurs return of prosperity in Basra

Filed under: CentCom, CF, econ, ME, MNF-I, money, Peace, recon, school, security — Rosemary Welch @ 12:06 am

American Forces Press Service

BASRA, Iraq (May 7, 2008) – Citizens of Basra, the third-largest city in Iraq, celebrated the opening yesterday of a central market that demonstrated a return of peace and prosperity to an area that until recently was a stronghold of Shia militias. Schools closed early as families from the Jameat district gathered with local dignitaries, investors and media to watch the ceremonial opening of the Jameat Market, Multinational Corps Iraq officials reported.

“I am pleased to open the Jameat Market, which is an excellent example of the many projects contributing to the rebuilding of Iraq,” said Nigel Haywood, the British consular general in southern Iraq. “This project will help establish prosperity in Basra.” The market was built on the site where the Jameat police station was destroyed Dec. 25, 2006. The construction of the market was paid for by coalition reconstruction funds, in conjunction with the provincial council. Local Iraqis built the market which was completed on March 23 at a total cost of about $1 million, officials said.

Operation Charge of the Knights, a citizens group that works to restore peace and security to Basra, was credited with opening the market. The market is expected to open for business within 30 days, and vendors already have rented many stalls, officials said. Traditionally, markets are a community focal point in Iraqi culture, and officials are considering proposals for similar markets in other areas of Basra.

In other signs of progress in the area, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tuesday completed renovations on a vocational technical center in the Zubair district of Basra province, coalition officials said. The $1.5 million project restored two facilities that included at least 24 workshops for vocational training. “Providing better educational opportunities will lead to better job opportunities,” said Army Lt. Col. Maura Gillen, a Multi-National Force – Iraq spokeswoman. “Vocational training is an investment in the economy, an investment in the development of a secure and prosperous Iraq.”

Also Tuesday, economic progress was seen in Baghdad when coalition forces awarded a small-business grant to boost fish farms in the area. Sheikh Jaffar of Khidr accepted the grant on behalf of a local fish farm association to buy two aerators for facilities in the Iskandariyah area, about 30 miles south of Baghdad. The aerators will be used in a holding pond, where 3 million young fish, or fingerlings, are scheduled for delivery later this month, officials said. Aerators provide oxygen to the pond to increase the survivability rate of the fingerlings, they explained.

Provincial reconstruction team representatives say it’s important for economic stimulus projects to be driven by Iraqis. “It’s important to help the Iraqis stimulate their own economy so they can have financial resources available to develop their own ideas and what they view as their own economic needs in their region,” said Army Maj. William Kerr of the 415th Civil Affairs unit attached to the 3rd Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team

Iraqi children watch the grand opening ceremonies of the Jameat Market in Basra. The children were released from school early to attend the community-building event. (Royal Navy photo by Leading Airman Jannine B. Hartmann).

Source: CENTCOM.

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