Archive for the ‘insurgents’ Category

Iraqi Insurgent Groups Vow to Derail U.S.-Iraqi Security Pact

November 12, 2008

Ten Iraqi insurgent groups have agreed to escalate attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces to derail the proposed U.S.-Iraqi security agreement, an Internet monitoring service said Tuesday.

A U.S. soldier inspects the scene of a bombing in central Baghdad, ...
A U.S. soldier inspects the scene of a bombing in central Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008. A parked car bomb exploded in a bustling section of downtown Baghdad early Wednesday, killing four people and wounding 15 others, police said, in the third consecutive day of morning rush hour blasts. The blast in Baghdad occurred around 9:30 a.m. (0630 GMT) off al-Nasir Square in the heart of the city — a busy neighborhood of shops, pharmacies and photography stores. Police said that three officers were among the wounded.(AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

The declaration against “the agreement of disgrace” was announced Nov. 4 in an audio speech by Sheik Abu Wael, a top leader of the Sunni militant Ansar al-Sunnah, who invited other insurgent groups to join, the SITE Intelligence Group said.

Associated Press

The security agreement would keep U.S. soldiers in Iraq until 2012.

“Such kinds of agreements are not negated by mere statements of condemnation and denunciation,” the sheik said. “Rather, there is necessity for work, jihad, fighting those forces the enemy and those who are loyal to them to recant this agreement”

In his speech, the sheik invited over 15 factions to join. Most of them posted statements accepting the invitation, SITE said.

Those groups also include the Jihad and Change Front, Islamic Army in Iraq, Hamas-Iraq, and the Mujahedeen Army in Iraq, SITE said.

Ansar al-Sunnah was established in September 2003 and is believed to have links to Al Qaeda in Iraq. It claimed responsibility for the Dec. 21, 2004 suicide bombing of a U.S. dining hall in Mosul which killed 24 people, including 14 U.S. soldiers.

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http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,450524,00.html

Culture, Politics Hinder U.S. Effort to Bolster Pakistani Border Forces

March 30, 2008

By Candice Rondeaux and Imtiaz Ali
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, March 30, 2008; Page A17

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A project to send U.S. military advisers to train Pakistani border forces could begin as early as this summer. But the advisers, according to Western and Pakistani military officials, face serious challenges if they are to transform an ill-equipped paramilitary group into a front-line bulwark against terrorism.
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A Pakistani Army soldier in training.

Twenty-two American advisers are being tasked with training a cadre of officers in Pakistan‘s Frontier Corps in counterinsurgency and intelligence-gathering tactics, according to U.S. officials in Pakistan familiar with the plan. The goal is to bolster the force’s operations along the country’s porous 1,500-mile-long border with Afghanistan, an area that has become a hotbed for the Taliban and al-Qaeda, as well as their sympathizers.

But military analysts say that cultural and political fault lines within the Frontier Corps and Pakistan itself could prove the undoing of the U.S. program. The bulk of the force’s rank-and-file troops are ethnic Pashtuns, many of whom are wary of going into battle against a Pashtun-dominated insurgency. Commanders, meanwhile, are regular army officers who often have little in common with their subordinates.

Maj. Gen. Mohammed Alam Khattak, the top commander of the Frontier Corps….

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/29/AR2008032902213.html

In Mosul, New Test of Rebuilt Iraqi Army

March 20, 2008
The New York Times
March 20, 2008
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MOSUL, Iraq — After the Iraqi Army increased patrols in this northern city earlier this year, Col. Haji al-Zibari found himself chasing two insurgents in a weapons-laden truck.The driver and his passenger veered off the road, jumped out, fired a few shots and disappeared into the city.

So Colonel Zibari, then the second in command of the Second Brigade of the Second Iraqi Army Division, drove their truck to a traffic circle in the middle of a known insurgent haven on the crowded west end of the city and doused it with gasoline.

Then he set a gas-soaked rag on fire, tossed it on the ground and fired a burst from his AK-47, blasting the flaming cloth into the truck. He let the whole thing burn.

An Iraqi soldier salutes on top of an armoured vehicle during ...
An Iraqi soldier salutes on top of an armoured vehicle during a graduation ceremony in Besmaya Range Complex March 18, 2008. The graduation ceremony was held for the 4th Brigade of the 5th Division of the Iraqi Army.
REUTERS/Mahmoud Raouf Mahmoud (IRAQ) 

“This is what we do to insurgents’ property!” he shouted to the rooftops.

When American military officials talk about “Iraqis in the lead,” Colonel Zibari is an example of what they mean: Iraqis operating their own checkpoints, doing their own patrols, using their own intelligence. American officials acknowledge that Iraqi methods often deviate from standard military doctrine but say that even rough-hewn tactics are more acceptable than the prospect of an indefinite, if more professional, occupying force.

The Bush administration says that an Iraqi Army capable of fighting on its own is a crucial prerequisite for the eventual withdrawal of American troops. But since its disbandment in 2003 by Coalition Provisional Authority Order No. 2, the Iraqi Army has struggled to regain its footing. For years, Iraqi troops have been hampered by poor training, corruption, equipment shortages and a determined insurgency that has killed twice as many Iraqi soldiers and police officers as American troops.

Now, five years into the war, American commanders say that the reborn force is coming into its own. And Mosul, an ethnically mixed city that has been under stepped-up assault by insurgents and where Iraqi Army units far outnumber their American counterparts, offers a possible glimpse into the future. But the Iraqi Army’s performance in Mosul so far suggests that while the Iraqi forces are taking on more responsibility and have made strides, there are still troubling gaps.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/20/world/middleeast/20mosul.html?hp

After five years, the Iraq war is transforming the military

March 16, 2008

Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers 

WASHINGTON — When U.S. forces crossed the Kuwaiti border into Iraq in the pre-dawn hours of March 20, 2003 , the military set out to shock and awe the Middle East with the swiftest transformation the region had ever seen.

U.S. and South Korean Marines participate in a combined arms ...
(AP photo)

Five years and hundreds of billions of dollars later, it’s the U.S. military that’s been transformed. The efficient, tech-savvy Army , built, armed and trained to fight conventional wars against aggressor states, is now making deals with tribal sheiks and building its power on friendly conversations with civilians.

Instead of planning for quick, decisive battles against other nations, as it was five years ago, today’s American military is planning for protracted, nuanced conflicts with terrorist groups, insurgents, guerrillas, militias and other shadowy forces that seldom stand and fight.

The staples of American military doctrine that have developed since the Civil War — artillery, armor, air power, speed and overwhelming force— are of limited use against enemies who blend into civilian populations.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20080316/wl_
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Defense Trade Currents

March 16, 2008

By William Hawkins
The Washington Times
March 16, 2008

The legacy of the draconian cuts in military force levels and procurement during the 1990s continues to cast a pall over U.S. national security planning. That American soldiers and Marines have been overstretched by repeated deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan is well-known, and steps are being taken to expand their strength.
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It is not just the combat forces, however, but the defense industry upon which they depend for arms and equipment, that also needs to be reconstituted.
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The “procurement holiday” of the Clinton administration cost the defense industrial base a million jobs. The Pentagon promoted a consolidation of firms and elimination of “excess” capacity. This reform was supposed to improve efficiency but it also reduced domestic competition. Now, to stimulate competition, or even just access sufficient capacity, foreign firms are invited to supply U.S. forces with hardware.
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The most recent example is the awarding of a $35 billion U.S. Air Force contract for 179 new KC-45A aerial refueling tankers based on the Airbus A330 airliner built by European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS). Boeing has built every previous USAF tanker and has won contracts for its KC-767 tankers from Japan and Italy. But it lost the military competition at home to the foreign firm that is also its main global rival in the commercial airliner sector.
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The USAF contract comes at a critical time for EADS. Its A380 “superjumbo” airline project is well behind schedule, and there have been problems in the Airbus A350 midsized airliner project (crucial to its future battles with Boeing), and in its A400M military airlifter.
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EADS is Europe’s largest defense contractor yet is much smaller than Boeing because Europe went on an even deeper disarmament slide after the Cold War and has done little to reverse course.
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The once-mighty NATO armies deployed to stop a Soviet blitzkrieg across Germany have melted away to where they can hardly maintain a few brigades in Afghanistan to fight lightly armed insurgents. European firms are desperate for American taxpayers to bail them out with military contracts. .
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The question is: Can the United States depend on a steady supply of production, including decades of space parts and upgrades, from foreign industries in decline — and where military investment and research are funded at only a fraction of what America devotes to defense?

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U.S. urges NATO allies to back 5-year Afghan plan

March 13, 2008

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The United States is urging NATO allies at a summit next month to sign up to a five-year plan stepping up efforts to end the insurgency in Afghanistan, according to a document obtained by Reuters.

Under the plan, alliance members would commit to plug troop shortfalls and supply enough well-trained and flexible forces to combat insurgents, while providing the support, training and equipment needed by Afghanistan’s own security forces.

The U.S. proposals also set out benchmarks for measuring success, such as the ability of Afghanistan to hold elections undisrupted by violence, and to field a trained army of 70,000 troops and a professionalized 82,000-strong police force.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080313/ts_nm/afghan_nato_usa_dc;_ylt=Aijqy
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North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Organisation du Traité de l’Atlantique de Nord
Flag of NATO

NATO urged to do more in Afghanistan

February 7, 2008

From combined dispatches
(Peace and freedom thanks AP, Reuters, CNN, ABC)
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Senior U.S. officials yesterday turned up the heat on NATO allies to do more in the war against Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, warning that a planned influx of 3,000 Marines is unlikely to halt the deterioration of security there.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Organisation du traité de l’Atlantique Nord

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in London that Western countries must prepare their citizens for a long fight, while in Washington, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said a failure in Afghanistan would put “a cloud over the future” of NATO.
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The remarks came amid a drumbeat of discouraging news on several fronts, including a new U.N. report predicting another bumper opium crop that will help to fund the insurgency.
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Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak said during a visit to Tallinn, Estonia, that more foreign troops are needed. The threat from the Taliban “is much higher than anticipated in 2001,” he told reporters.
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Germany agreed yesterday to boost its force in the country by 200 troops but refused to let them serve in the south where they might face combat. In Canada, which has 2,500 troops fighting in the south, it became clear that an effort to extend the mission could bring down the Conservative-led government.
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A British think tank said that country’s relief efforts in Afghanistan were failing, undermining military gains.
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Britain’s Department for International Development in embattled Helmand province “is dysfunctional, totally dysfunctional. Basically it should be removed and its budget should go to the army, which might be better able to deliver assistance,” said the president of the Senlis Council, which has long experience in Afghanistan.
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The Taliban staged more than 140 suicide missions last year, the most since it was ousted from power in late 2001 by the U.S.-led invasion that followed the September 11 attacks. “I do think the alliance is facing a real test here,” Miss Rice said at a press conference with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband in London. “Our populations need to understand this is not a peacekeeping mission” but rather a long-term fight against extremists, she said. 

Mr. Gates said he was not optimistic that the addition of 3,000 Marines to Afghanistan this spring will be enough to put the NATO-led war effort back on track. He has sent letters to every alliance defense minister asking for more troops and equipment but has not received any replies, he said during a Senate hearing. 

All 26 NATO nations have soldiers in Afghanistan and all agree the mission is their top priority, but only the Canadians, British, Australians, Dutch and Danes “are really out there on the line and fighting,” Mr. Gates said.

He said he would be “a nag on this issue” when he meets NATO defense ministers today and tomorrow in Europe.

But there was little evidence yesterday that the allies are prepared to increase their contributions.

In Berlin, Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung told reporters Germany will send around 200 combat soldiers to northern Afghanistan this summer to replace a Norwegian unit, but would not move them to the nation’s endangered south. 

“If we neglected the north,” where conditions are relatively peaceful, “we would commit a decisive mistake,” Mr. Jung said. 

In Ottawa, a spokeswoman for Opposition Leader Stephane Dion said Mr. Dion had been told by Prime Minister Stephen Harper that a parliamentary vote to extend Canada’s mission would be treated as a matter of confidence, meaning the minority government will fall if it fails. 

Canada has already said it will not extend the mission if other NATO countries do not increase their contributions.

In Tokyo, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime predicted that this year’s production of opium poppies would be close or equal to last year’s record of 477,000 acres. Taliban rebels receive up to $100 million from the drug trade, the agency estimated. 

The Taliban “are deriving an enormous funding for their war by imposing … a 10 percent tax on production,” said Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the U.N. agency.

Mr. Gates told the Senate hearing that he worries “a great deal” about NATO evolving into “a two-tiered alliance, in which you have some allies willing to fight and die to protect peoples’ security, and others who are not.”

Overall, there are about 43,000 troops in the NATO-led coalition, including 16,000 U.S. troops. An additional 13,000 U.S. troops are outside NATO command, training Afghan forces and hunting al Qaeda terrorists.

Related:
SecDef Gates, Admiral Mullen Testify Before SASC

Pakistan’s al Qaeda alarms Pentagon

January 12, 2008

By Sara A. Carter
The Washington Times 
January 12, 2008

The Pentagon is “extremely concerned” about the emergence of al Qaeda in Pakistan, Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said yesterday.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen (Associated Press)

“There are concerns now about how much [al Qaeda] turned inward, literally, inside Pakistan, as well as the kind of planning, training, financing and support that the worldwide effort is,” Adm. Mullen said.

“So, [the Pentagon is] extremely, extremely concerned about that, and I think continued pressure there will have to be brought,” he said.

Adm. Mullen added, however, that “Pakistan is a sovereign country and certainly it’s really up to … President Musharraf and certainly his advisers and his military to address that problem directly.”

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080112/NATION/77666783/1001

Pakistan warns against unilateral action on rebels

January 11, 2008
By Sanjeev Miglani 

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said any unilateral action by U.S.-led coalition forces against militants in the border region with Afghanistan will be regarded as an invasion, a newspaper reported on Friday.

Musharraf told Singapore‘s The Straits Times that Islamabad will resist any entry by coalition forces in the tribal areas to hunt down Islamic militants, regarding that as a breach of Pakistan‘s sovereignty.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080111/wl_nm/
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Pakistan: Militants kill 8 tribal elders

January 7, 2008
By SADAQAT JAN, Associated Press Writer 

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Suspected Islamic militants fatally shot eight tribal leaders involved in efforts to broker a cease-fire between security forces and insurgents in Pakistan‘s volatile northwest, authorities said Monday.

The men were killed in separate attacks late Sunday and early Monday in South Waziristan, a mountainous region close to Afghanistan where al-Qaida and Taliban militants are known to operate, a security official and the military said in a statement.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080107/ap_on_re_as/
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