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Home » International Newsbrief: Finding the ‘Good’ Insurgents, Tamil Airforce Strikes, Iran Questioning Brit Sailors

International Newsbrief: Finding the ‘Good’ Insurgents, Tamil Airforce Strikes, Iran Questioning Brit Sailors

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Iraqis and US Talk Peace with 'Reconcilable Insurgents'

Departing US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said at a news conference in Iraq today that the Iraqi government and US military personnel have opened up negotiations with select groups of insurgents to combine efforts against al Qaeda and other foreign forces operating in Iraq. Previously troublesome tribal leaders and some Sunni militia groups have shown a willingness to cooperate with the government and direct their efforts against what is seen as a common enemy.

Khalilzad stressed that a line was being drawn between 'reconcilable' insurgents whose primary interest is local and political and the true terrorists whose target is regional chaos and the overthrow of the government. By offering the hand of friendship and a greater political role to the more reasonable insurgents, the government and US forces hope to use their contacts in the insurgent community to increase effectiveness in hunting down the most troublesome groups.

Negotiations and cooperation began in the middle of last year and have included some of the larger politically motivated insurgent groups like the Islamic Army of Iraq and the 1920 Revolution Brigades. Winning some insurgents over to the side of the government has been aided by the increasing hostility of al Qaeda towards all other groups in Iraq and their recent declaration of war on uncooperative Sunnis as well as Shiites.

In his remarks Khalilzad also made note of the successes of recent strategy changes by US Forces in Iraq and the increasing effectiveness of Iraqi police, including substantial reductions in terror attacks nationwide and especially in Baghdad.

For more see: USA Today, LA Times.

Tamil Tigers Bomb Government Air Base

On Sunday night a Zlin Z143 fighter/bomber attacked and bombed a government airbase in Sri Lanka, culminating a years-long effort by Tamil rebels to establish their own air force. Three people were killed in the raid and it caused the closure of Columbo's international airport.

The aircraft is one of several which have been built or are being built from parts smuggled in with aid shipments in the aftermath of the 2005 tsunami. While the planes are small and unlikely to be able to outfight government warplanes or do anywhere near as much damage, they are enough to threaten commercial aviation and raise the stakes in the 20-year long Sri Lankan civil war.

This attack sends a very clear message. When the rebels get their own air force, maybe it's time to start negotiating and give them the regional independence they've been fighting for.

For more see: Al Jazeera, Radio Australia.

Iran Questions British Sailors While UK and Iraq Demand Release

The impasse between Iran and Great Britain over the seizure of 15 British sailors and marines last week continues, as the Iranian military questions the prisoners and the government of Iraq joins the British government in demanding their immediate release.

Throughout this incident the British have claimed that the sailors were seized illegally in Iraqi waters while searching for smugglers. Iran has maintainted that they were arrested legitimately for trespassing in Iranian territorial waters. The conflict of these claims likely arises from the fact that the sailors were captured in the Shatt al-Arab, an inlet off of the Persian Gulf which both Iraq and Iran have historically claimed possession of.

The British sailors and marines have been sent to Tehran for further questioning, and likely for use as media propaganda props as was done with sailors seized back in 2004.

Meanwhile the UN Security Council agreed on Saturday to strengthen sanctions against Iran over their refusal to halt nuclear development and Iran announced that they would no longer cooperate with IAEA inspectors.

As tensions rise over issues involving Iran, it seems relevant to note that wars have been started over incidents far less outrageous than this seizure of 15 British sailors.

For more see: CNN, Times Online

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About Dave Nalle

Dave Nalle is Executive Director of the Texas Liberty Foundation, Chairman of the Center for Foreign and Defense Policy, South Central Regional Director for the Republican Liberty Caucus and an advisory board member at the Coalition to Reduce Spending. He was Texas State Director for the Gary Johnson Presidential campaign, an adviser to the Ted Cruz senatorial campaign, Communications Director for the Travis County Republican Party and National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus. He has also consulted on many political campaigns, specializing in messaging. Before focusing on political activism, he owned or was a partner in several businesses in the publishing industry and taught college-level history for 20 years.
  • MCH

    Honor the Fallen

    “Army Staff Sgt. Darrel D. Kasson
    43, of Florence, Ariz.; assigned to the 259th Engineer Company, Arizona National Guard; died March 4 in Tikrit, Iraq, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle at Bayji, Iraq.”

    ————————————-

    By TriValley Central:

    “Staff Sgt. E6 Darrel Kasson, 43, was driving back to base from a mission when his Humvee was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED), according his wife, Lori. A memorial service were scheduled at 1 p.m. today in the Florence High School gym.

    Darrel Kasson was born and raised in Tucson, and he and his family had lived in Florence for almost 14 years. He worked for the Arizona Department of Corrections in Florence for 17 years. The Kassons have three children – ages 22, 19 and 15 – and two grandchildren.

    Two weeks ago, Darrel achieved 20 years with the Arizona Army National Guard, where he worked in field artillery and drove tanks. HE HAD ASKED TO RETIRE LAST FALL, BUT THE NATIONAL GUARD DECLINED AND SENT HIM TO IRAQ IN OCTOBER TO WORK AS AN MP.

    Kasson served at Camp Anaconda in Balad, which is some 50 miles north of Baghdad in an area known as the Sunni Triangle. His weekend mission was to transport contractors to a work site.

    Lori said she spoke with her husband by phone for about 20 minutes Friday, and he expressed worry about the mission. “He just felt funny about this one,” she said, and the couple prayed together over the phone.

    “Darrel enjoyed helping other people,” said his church pastor, Dale Storm. “And he enjoyed working with kids.” Darrel led all of the church’s youth programs for four years. He was
    also an active leader in a softball league for state prison employees.

    In a written statement, the family thanked all those who’ve been praying for Darrel during his months in Iraq. “Darrel passed on doing one of his greatest passions, and that was serving his country,” the statement said.”

    Pigstye.net

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Good newsbriefs, Dave. Here’s my take:

    1 – In his remarks Khalilzad also made note of the successes of recent strategy changes by US Forces in Iraq and the increasing effectiveness of Iraqi police, including substantial reductions in terror attacks nationwide and especially in Baghdad.

    Yes, the “surge” does seem to be working, which I would not have predicted. But, hey, my Iraq predictions haven’t exactly proven prescient in the past, so that’s not entirely surprising… :-/

    2 – This attack sends a very clear message. When the rebels get their own air force, maybe it’s time to start negotiating and give them the regional independence they’ve been fighting for.

    That, or bomb the fuckers back to the Stone Age, so you no longer have to worry about dealing with an “air force” from your arch-enemy…

    3 – As tensions rise over issues involving Iran, it seems relevant to note that wars have been started over incidents far less outrageous than this seizure of 15 British sailors.

    If the sailors are returned sometime soon, this “crisis” will become a faint memory soon enough. But if any of them are tortured and/or executed, it would seem to be a pretty clear casus belli to me. But Blair is almost out of office, and his replacement is a lot less hawkish than he is, so it’s unlikely that the UK would respond militarily to whatever Iran does to these 15 sailors, including public executions…

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Nice to see that someone actually noticed the Newsbriefs, RJ.

    Yes, the “surge” does seem to be working, which I would not have predicted. But, hey, my Iraq predictions haven’t exactly proven prescient in the past, so that’s not entirely surprising… :-/

    I’m not convinced the ‘surge’ is what’s making a difference. I think it’s the change in strategy which came with the surge. The small number of additional troops is probably secondary to the focus on going house to house in Baghdad and increaseing the checkpoints and patrols.

    That, or bomb the fuckers back to the Stone Age, so you no longer have to worry about dealing with an “air force” from your arch-enemy…

    After 20 years of trying to suppress them, when they come up with airplanes I’d say that’s a sign that you ought to go a different direction.

    If the sailors are returned sometime soon, this “crisis” will become a faint memory soon enough. But if any of them are tortured and/or executed, it would seem to be a pretty clear casus belli to me. But Blair is almost out of office, and his replacement is a lot less hawkish than he is, so it’s unlikely that the UK would respond militarily to whatever Iran does to these 15 sailors, including public executions…

    I don’t see how any Brit government could survive ignoring the execution of these sailors. If it happens before Major leaves office then Parliament could very well vote to keep him in power longer and he’d be hard put to refuse. Reminds me a bit of what the Iranians did at the end of the Carter admin.

    Dave

  • STM

    There is not much chance the Iranians will execute the members of the captured British naval party. To do so would cause great strife, indeed. If they did, hypothetically, there would doubtless be a swift military response. I have no doubt the British would react in force as they have a history of doing so.

    They are dopey, sometimes, the Iranians, but not that dopey. Also Dave, I think old wishy-washy Johnny Major left office probably around the time you were breaking car mirrors in Great Yarmouth in that bloody Austin of yours. I know you meant Blair, though …

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    LOL, I did cross-up Major and Blair, didn’t I. Shows what a fogey I am. Lucky I didn’t say it was Edward Heath.

    IMO the Brits could use a good, justifiable war to get the people off their asses and focused on something. Never has a country had so much wasted potential.

    Dave

  • STM

    Dave wrote: “IMO the Brits could use a good, justifiable war to get the people off their asses and focused on something. Never has a country had so much wasted potential.”

    Lol ….

  • STM

    Because as we all know, the British have always been a peace-loving people … Napoleon was right, of course: nothing but a nation of shopkeepers.

  • David Scrue

    Good insurgents? Bad insurgents?

    When we send soldiers to Iraq who do we tell them to shoot at this week? Sunnis? Shiia?

    Or do we tell them to wait until someone shoots at them and then return fire? Seems like a stupid strategy.

  • MCH

    “Yes, the “surge” does seem to be working, which I would not have predicted. But, hey, my Iraq predictions haven’t exactly proven prescient in the past, so that’s not entirely surprising…”
    – RJ Elliott

    At least one of your predictions has proven true, Bobby, that being when you told us “You won’t being seeing me over in Iraq”

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    We’re not seeing you over there either, MCH. And don’t tell me you’re too old, because I have a friend who just got back from Iraq and he’s almost 60.

    Dave

  • Lumpy

    Hey. Let’s take some random Iranians hostge. We could start with some of their operatives in Iraq.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Lumpy,

    Check out comment #44 in the comment section of my latest article on the Middle East.

  • moonraven

    Actually, Dave, since Edward Heath is DEAD I am a bit surprised that you did NOT mention him.

  • MCH

    “We’re not seeing you over there either, MCH.”
    – Dave (Vox Populi) Nalle

    Uh, yeah, and the fact that I’ve been opposed to the invasion/occupation since the get-go might have something to do with that.

    ————————————

    “And don’t tell me you’re too old, because I have a friend who just got back from Iraq and he’s almost 60.”
    – Dave (Vox Populi) Nalle

    Actually the “too old” line has been YOUR continual excuse, Nalle/Populi.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    But MCH, surely if you went over there that might save at least one young life. Isn’t that worth it?

    Dave

  • MCH

    More double-speak from THE DAVE NALLE HANDBOOK OF HYPOCRISY:

    “Even if I had been old enough for Vietnam, I wouldn’t have risked my life for a war I didn’t believe in.”
    – Populi/Nalle, comment on BC, 2005

    “But MCH, surely if you went over there that might save at least one young life. Isn’t that worth it?”
    – Populi/Nalle, #15

  • Clavos

    emmy,

    Would you please quit shouting?

    What you have to say isn’t important or intelligent enough to warrant it, and it’s rude to the rest of us.

  • ScooterMarconi

    “When the rebels get their own air force, maybe it’s time to start negotiating …”

    Actually, soon every tinpot dictator and bloody eyed rebel WILL have his own air force. No pilots required! One pilot, expertly trained by US corps at US military installations with US equipment, will be able to apply his knowledge to successive waves of Predator and Global Hawk flights by remote control. The airplanes themselves will probably be booty from the usual alliance deals made between the US and those same tinpot dictators, faithless though they are.

    Even lacking drones from the US arsenal, it’s a rather simple matter to build one’s own unpiloted aircraft. Any decent engineer with good training and solid experience in flight, engines, GPSS, imaging, spread spectrum communications, manufacturing and computers could put it together. Hey, that sounds like me!

    Maybe I should build that automated remote control air force for foreign sovereigns. Isn’t it my duty, my obligation, to my family and myself to realize the greatest money yield? Isn’t it demanded of me as Economic Man? Wouldn’t I be failing my family if I didn’t? Wouldn’t I be shirking my duty under the Free Enterprise Capitalist principles this country is founded on?

    Wanta make a deal? Anyone?