Thomas R. Eddlem
Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass has penned a cover story for Newsweek magazine calling for a smaller U.S. presence in Afghanistan, but not complete withdrawal.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recommended Marine Corps General James Mattis July 8 to head the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), the joint military command for the Middle East that includes supervision of the Iraq and Afghan wars. The U.S. Central Command combines theater command of the four service branches as well as special operations for the Middle East and Central Asia.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch reported April 27 that a secret Iraqi prison maintained by the current lame-duck Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki engaged in “routine” torture against detainees.
The Iraqi government has run a secret prison where minority Sunni Muslims were kept outside of the ordinary Iraqi system of justice and tortured, according to various press reports.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki's party, the State of Law Coalition, lost the March 7 parliamentary elections in a fractured vote, but appears to have embarked upon a course of using political violence as a means of erasing the election results. “At least four Sunni Muslim candidates who appear to have won parliamentary seats in Iraq on the winning ticket of secular leader Ayad Allawi have become targets of investigation by security forces reporting to the narrowly defeated Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki,” McClatchy news service reported March 27.
Americans received yet another confirmation on February 16 that President Obama has taken on the mantle of his war-mongering predecessor with a statement by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs saying he “wouldn't rule out” war against Iran.
The deaths of three American soldiers in Pakistan February 3 has exposed “Obama’s secret war inside Pakistan," according to theLondon Times February 7. The American soldiers “were killed when their convoy was bombed as it traveled to the re-opening of [a girls] school” by a remote-controlled bomb in Waziristan in northwest Pakistan.
The CIA has forged an alliance with Ba'athist exiles from Saddam Hussein's Iraq for intelligence in Yemen, according to the London Daily Telegraph for January 6. In an article entitled "US forges alliance with Saddam Hussein officers to fight al-Qaeda," the Telegraph for January 6 also noted that this already-existing alliance with former enemies is on the upswing: "Co-operation with the former Baathist officers, who fled Iraq in the wake of the US-led invasion and the fall of Saddam, is expected to grow further in the wake of the failed terror attack in the skies above Detroit."
The Times of London reported December 29 that in the wake of the botched airplane Christmas day bombing Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi has claimed there may be hundreds of terrorist plots against the West planned by al-Qaeda from Yemen. Specifically, al-Qirbi said: “Of course there are a number of al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen and some of their leaders. We realize this danger. They may actually plan attacks like the one we have just had in Detroit. There are maybe hundreds of them — 200, 300.”
The London Times reported that official British documents have revealed that the new Anglo-American strategy in Afghanistan is to buy off insurgents with bribes of “bags of gold.”