The Paradox and Absurdities of Carbon-Fretting and Rewilding

Herschel Smith · 28 Jan 2024 · 4 Comments

The Bureau of Land Management is planning a truly boneheaded move, angering some conservationists over the affects to herd populations and migration routes.  From Field & Stream. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently released a draft plan outlining potential solar energy development in the West. The proposal is an update of the BLM’s 2012 Western Solar Plan. It adds five new states—Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming—to a list of 11 western states already earmarked…… [read more]

Insurgent Lies and Propaganda

BY Herschel Smith
17 years, 2 months ago

In Enemy Operations in Baghdad and Fallujah, we pointed out that Fallujah was a current hot spot of enemy combat action, citing among other action recent chlorine attacks.  On Wednesday morning there was further action in Fallujah.

Iraqi Army soldiers and police repelled a complex attack at the Fallujah Government Center, including two suicide truck bombs containing chlorine, on the morning of March 28.

The attack began at 6:33 a.m. with mortar fire, followed by two truck bombs and small arms fire. Iraqi Police identified the first suicide attacker and fired on the truck, causing it to detonate before reaching the compound. Iraqi Army soldiers spotted the second suicide truck approaching the gate and engaged it with small arms fire, causing it to also detonate near the entrance of the compound.

Approximately 15 Iraqi Security and Coalition Force members sustained injuries from the bomb blast and were evacuated to the 2nd Iraqi Army Brigade’s aid station and a Coalition medical facility.

Numerous Iraqi Soldiers and Policemen are being treated for symptoms such as labored breathing, nausea, skin irritation and vomiting that are synonymous with chlorine inhalation.

We maintain the position we staked out in Intelligence Bulletin #4 concerning chlorine attacks.  As to the military value of gas versus conventional explosives, the insurgents have chosen the far less effective of the two tactics.  Furthermore, according to the Multi-National Force press release, while personnel from the Coalition force sustained injuries, there were no reported fatalities.

The usually biased but sometimes informative Azzaman has an article entitled Fallujah may slip out of U.S. control that, using primarily this incident, comes to unsubstantiated conclusions concerning the current state and future of Fallujah.

Iraqi insurgents have intensified their attacks on U.S. targets inside the restive city of Falluja and the outlying villages and towns.

Daring attacks have taken U.S. troops aback in a city where the majority of its nearly 300,000 people are not happy with the presence of U.S. invaders.

Falluja has become a symbol of anti-U.S. resistance not only in Iraq but across most of the Arab and Muslim worlds.

It took the mighty U.S. military more than a month to flush the rebels out in 2004. The battle to regain the city caused massive destruction and had turned most of it into heaps of ruins.

But the rebels, most of whom had retreated to the countryside to escape devastating U.S. firepower, have reorganized their ranks and are now using more sophisticated means to drive the Americans away.

Two trucks one loaded with explosives and the other with toxic gas penetrated the fortified U.S. military camp in the city. The first suicide bomber drove through the gate with his explosives-laden truck only to be followed by the second truck full of chlorine bombs.

The rebels see the massive 2004 falluja attack as a defeat for the U.S. and a turning point in the battled to force its troops out of the country.

In the attack on the U.S. base, the second truck with poisonous gas entered the camp. The U.S. has not yet released reports of casualties but Iraqi police sources say tens of people, mostly Iraqi police officers as well as U.S. servicemen, were killed or injured.

This hyperventilating account of what can only be seen as a failure by the insurgents shows Azzaman for what they are: a mouthpiece for the insurgency.  In this instance, the editors at Azzaman have allowed themselves to look similar to the jihadist propaganda web sites such as Jihad Unspun that had another hyperventilating account of this incident where they attempted to make it look like something other than a tactical failure.

The Strategy Page has an outstanding assessment of the history of suicide bombers and the track record of failure that marks their path.  It is most certainly the case that suicide jihadists can cause much damage and wreak much havoc, as well as be a catalyst for sectarian violence.  However, turning to this tactic is demonstration that they have lost the support of the population, at least to a large extent.

Turning east towards Sadr City, Moqtada al Sadr issued a statement that whipped up his supporters by blaming the violence in Iraq on the presence of the U.S.  By all sensible accounts, the absence of the U.S. would allow the Shi’a to engage in the final stages of genocide of the Sunni population, which is now only about ten percent of the population after the exodus of the Sunnis over the last year.  What Sadr wants is unrestricted freedom to implement his policies rather than equity and peace for Iraq.  He and his hard line followers in the Mahdi army are as much terrorists as al Qaeda in Iraq and Ansar al Sunna.

IRAQSlogger is reporting that there was recently an attempt on Sadr’s life.

Amid reports of heavy fighting in a raid on a Sadrist official in the Kufa district, a member of the Iraqi Parliament has said that the Sadrist current foiled an attempt on Muqtada al-Sadr’s life, also in Kufa, and fingered US involvement in the plot.

Baha al-‘Araji, a member of the Iraqi parliament with the Sadrist current told the London-based daily al-Quds al-Arabi that aides to Muqtada al-Sadr had discovered a plan to assassinate the cleric during Friday prayers in Kufa, the newspaper reports in Arabic.

The attack was foiled when al-Sadr failed to appear in Kufa on the specified Friday. The al-Quds al-Arabi account does not refer to the date of the alleged foiled attack.

This account appears rather soft and unsubstantiated.  However, if true, this directly comports with the counsel we have given to effect the “strategic disapperance” of Moqtada al Sadr as a cornerstone of the security plan.  In Intelligence Bulletin #3, we argued:

… if Sadr returns to Iraq, his arrest or disappearance might incite such a firestorm of problems that the Baghdad security plan is brought to a halt.  The Mahdi army doesn’t like even the presence of combat operation posts or bases in Sadr City.  Sadr will never be convicted in a court in Iraq, and a show trial that exhonerates him would be the worst of all possible outcomes.  The U.S. is tracking the whereabouts of Sadr.  Major General William Caldwell said that Sadr was still inside Iran as of 24 hours ago.  This seems like a confident report, and assuming its accuracy, it gives lattitude for the appropriate action to remove Sadr from the political and spiritual scene, thus enabling the security plan to succeed.  We highly commend the notion of a strategic disappearance of Sadr as one key to the overall success of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

One casualty of war is truth.  The truth in these cases is that the chlorine attacks have been tactical failures, and cooperation with Sadr is the devil’s game.  We have no business believing the lies of the jihadists, any more than we have of promulgating their lies by seeking reconciliation between Sadr and the Sunnis.  Sadr is a criminal and a killer and wants nothing of reconciliation.

British and U.S. Rules of Engagement Versus Iran

BY Herschel Smith
17 years, 2 months ago

In Iran, Sadr and Iranian Forces Deployed Throughout the Middle East I discussed the British rules of engagement (ROE) and how they were a contributing cause to the abduction of the British sailors and marines.  The British rules of engagement virtually ensured their abductions without resistance.  Former First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Alan West, said British rules of engagement were “very much de-escalatory, because we don’t want wars starting … Rather than roaring into action and sinking everything in sight we try to step back and that, of course, is why our chaps were, in effect, able to be captured and taken away.

Iran, Sadr and Iranian Forces Deployed Throughout the Middle East

BY Herschel Smith
17 years, 3 months ago

US News & World Report recently reported on a skirmish between Iranian and U.S. forces in September of 2006, within Iraq but near the Iranian border.  This skirmish was merely a prelude to further action, and more recently fifteen British sailors and marines were abducted by Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces while patroling inside Iraqi territorial waters near the Shatt al-Arab waterway.  Of course, Iran immediately claimed that the Brits were in Iranian territory, but this is irrelevant since the abductions had nothing to do with territorial disputes.  The abductions were the next step in the escalating covert war with coalition forces.

Iran is interrogating the British, and at the present it appears that Iran intends to charge the British.  Khedmat, a website close to President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, said the government had “firm determination

Intelligence Bulletin #4

BY Herschel Smith
17 years, 3 months ago

The Intelligence Bulletin is an aggregation and commentary series, and this is the fourth entry in that series.

Intelligence Bulletin #4 covers the following subjects: [1] Petraeus addresses rules of engagement, [2] Iranian nuclear program, [3] Chlorine gas attacks in Iraq, [4] Continued insurgent activity inside Mosques, [5] Iranian and Syrian threats in the covert war, [6] Ongoing coverage of the covert war against the CIA, [7] Continuing coverage of Anbar tribesmen in their battles against AQI, [8] Insurgents use women and children as shields, [9] Sadr’s Long Game, and [10] Thoughts on Walter Reed scandal.

Petraeus Addresses Rules of Engagement

Glenn Reynolds informs us of a communication by General Petraeus to his reports concerning rules of engagement.

Rules of engagement (ROE), highly criticized as being too restrictive and sometimes endangering our troops, have been “clarified.” “There were unintended consequences with ROE for too long,” Petraeus acknowledged. Because of what junior leaders perceived as too harsh punishment meted out to troops acting in the heat of battle, the ROE issued from the top commanders were second-guessed and made more restrictive by some on the ground. The end result was unnecessary – even harmful – restrictions placed on the troops in contact with the enemy.

“I’ve made two things clear,” Petraeus emphasized: “My ROE may not be modified with supplemental guidance lower down. And I’ve written a letter to all Coalition forces saying ‘your chain-of-command will stay with you.’ I think that solved the issue.”

In our rules of engagement coverage, we have argued for seeing the problems with ROE under four rubrics: The written ROE, the communication of the ROE, the application of the ROE in a counterinsurgency where fighters hide behind the population, and the main stream media feeding frenzy every time another story hits the wires, true or not.

The communication by General Petraeus addresses only one of the four categories above.  In our coverage we have cited:

[a] instances where NCOs have given us stories of lack of engagement that ultimately led to U.S. casualties:

… the ROE is vague and limiting.  And every time “violations

Enemy Operations in Baghdad and Fallujah

BY Herschel Smith
17 years, 3 months ago

There have been additional deployments to the Diyala Province due to the flight of AQI and other insurgents from Baghdad just prior to the increase in U.S. force size.  But there currently appears to be two foci – two points of importance in the counterinsurgency campaign – that are shaping up.  The first is Baghdad, where radical Shi’a are running out of patience even at the beginning of the security plan.  The second is Fallujah where radical Sunni, being squeezed in Ramadi and other parts of the Anbar Province, are wreaking violence and causing intimidation.

Al Sadr, believed to be in Iran, recently issued a statement explaining exactly where he and his leadership stood regarding the security plan for Baghdad.

“The occupiers want to harm this beloved (Sadr City) and tarnish its name by spreading false rumors and allegations that negotiations and cooperation are ongoing between you and them,” the statement said. “I am confident that you will not make concessions to them and will remain above them. Raise your voices in love and brotherhood and unity against your enemy and shout ‘No, No America!”

In tempo, a Sadr City official who has cooperated with the U.S. security plan was attacked, the attack wounding him and killing his two body guards.

An attack against the top Sadr City official has created tension in the ranks of Shiite militiamen with some blaming a faction unhappy about cooperation with Americans, a local commander said Friday.

Gunmen opened fire on the convoy carrying Rahim al-Darraji Thursday in eastern Baghdad, seriously wounding him and killing two of his bodyguards on Thursday, police and a local official said.

Al-Darraji was the principal negotiator in talks with U.S. officials that led to an agreement to pull fighters off the streets in Sadr City, a stronghold of the feared Mahdi Army, and a local commander said suspicion fell on a group of disaffected militiamen who are angry about the deal.

‘This is a faction that enjoys some weight,’ the Mahdi Army commander said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

He said the attack has created tension within the ranks of the militia and renewed a debate on the merits of allowing the Americans to operate in Sadr City without resistance during a security sweep aimed at ending the sectarian violence that has raged since a Feb. 22, 2006, bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra.

Some Mahdi army members have splintered off from al Sadr, and notwithstanding this splintering the Mahdi army is a loose knit organization anyway.  But it is clear now that al Sadr has given marching orders to his loyal followers, and his orders do not include participating with any security plan for Baghdad.  Not missing an opportunity to spin the events in a positive light, the Multi-National Force said:

“We’re very encouraged by what we’re seeing on the ground right now in Sadr City,” said Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, the U.S. military’s chief spokesman in Baghdad. “There is a tremendous amount of cooperation and dialogue ongoing. It’s proven to be very beneficial to both sides.”

Some reports have even gone so far as to suggest that Sadr is losing his grip on the Mahdi army.  We do not believe that this is so, any more than we believe that there is a “tremendous amount of cooperation” between the hard line Sadrists and the Multi-National Force.  What we believe concerning Sadr is summed up previously in Intelligence Bulletin #3.

General David Petraeus said that discussions are ongoing with Sadr’s organization, adding that “over time the Mahdi Army, as with all the militias, has to be disarmed, demobilized and reintegrated into society in some fashion.  The militia will not be allowed to join the Iraqi security forces as an organization.

Thoughts on Abizaid’s Retirement

BY Herschel Smith
17 years, 3 months ago

I am in receipt of information not available in the public domain that convinces me that the information in the article was substantially incorrect.  Rather than explain it, I have simply deleted the content.  I am not too big to admit mistakes.  In 427 articles, this is only the second time (of which I am aware) that false information was proferred.

Thoughts on Abizaid’s Retirement

BY Herschel Smith
17 years, 3 months ago

I am in receipt of information not available in the public domain that convinces me that the information in the article was substantially incorrect.  Rather than explain it, I have simply deleted the content.  I am not too big to admit mistakes.  In 427 articles, this is only the second time (of which I am aware) that false information was proferred.

Multi-National Force You Tube Channel

BY Herschel Smith
17 years, 3 months ago

In what we feel will prove to be an absolutely magnificent idea, the Multi-National Force now has a You Tube channel where you can witness video of combat operations, among other interesting things.  Here is their description of what they intend to do with this channel:

What you will see on this channel in the coming months:
– Combat action
– Interesting, eye-catching footage
– Interaction between Coalition troops and the Iraqi populace.
– Teamwork between Coalition and Iraqi troops in the fight against terror.

What we will NOT post on this channel:
– Profanity
– Sexual content
– Overly graphic, disturbing or offensive material
– Footage that mocks Coalition Forces, Iraqi Security Forces or the citizens of Iraq.

Bravo to what they DO and DON’T intend to include.  Here is the link, but a link will also be permanently included on this site.

Multi-National Force You Tube Channel


Intelligence Bulletin #3

BY Herschel Smith
17 years, 3 months ago

The Intelligence Bulletin is an aggregation and commentary series, and this is the third entry in that series.

Intelligence Bulletin #3 covers the following subjects: [1] More forces deploy to Diyala province, [2] Disappearance of Jilal Sharafi yields intelligence bonanza, [3] More on international war against the CIA, [4] U.S. tracking whereabouts of al Sadr (and why his ‘strategic disappearance’ is necessary for the success of the security plan), [5] Balancing act by Saudi Arabia, [6] Martyrdom operations by Ansar al Sunna, and [7] Gates rolls back defense intelligence.

More Forces Deploy to Diyala Province

In The Surge and Coming Operations in Iraq we discussed the redeployment of insurgents from Baghdad to surrounding areas just prior to the implementation of the security plan, most particularly to the Diyala Province.  True to form, the insurgents are beginning to cause problems wherever they are, and more U.S. forces are being deployed to Diyala.

More than 700 U.S. troops rolled into Diyala on Tuesday in armored vehicles to help quell escalating violence in the Iraqi province that has become a haven for insurgents targeted by the Baghdad security crackdown.

The Army battalion was transferred from Taji to Baqubah, capital of the religiously mixed province that extends from Baghdad to the Iranian border, the military said. It joined about 3,500 U.S. troops already stationed there.

Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, the U.S. commander for northern Iraq, had requested the reinforcements to confront a rise in sectarian and insurgent attacks in outlying regions since U.S. and Iraqi troops began a crackdown in Baghdad last month.

U.S. commanders believe insurgent fighters have moved into the province from Baghdad and Al Anbar, the western Iraqi province that is the center of the Sunni Arab insurgency.

“We see the Sunni insurgency trying to desperately gain control of Diyala, because it helps in their effort to control Baghdad and to prevent the government of Iraq from succeeding,” Mixon told Pentagon reporters via video link from Iraq last week.

U.S. officials did not specify how long the new battalion would be based in Diyala. But Mixon said he was “cautiously optimistic that in the next 30 to 60 days that we’re going to see some significant differences in the security situation in Diyala.”

Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, the chief U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said Monday that U.S. commanders had anticipated that the Baghdad crackdown could drive some insurgent and militia leaders into areas such as Diyala. He said troops would spread out into communities on Baghdad’s fringes, where insurgents are believed to be operating car-bomb factories (italics mine).

The talk of anticipating the influx of insurgents to Diyala seems forced.  If this had been properly anticipated as claimed, troops deployments should have been done to Diyala prior to implementation of the security plan.  Failure to do so doesn’t point to the need to avoid a heavy footprint in Iraq, since the tribal leaders in Diyala had requested that they be included within the security plan.  This appears to be a numbers problem.  Larger force size would have given U.S. command the ability to avoid the chase.

Disappearance of Jalal Sharafi Yields Intelligence Bonanza

The disappearance of Jalal Sharafi and five other Iranians has apparently yielded an intelligence bonanza for the U.S.

The Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security has revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that it had no updates regarding its investigation into Jalal Sharafi’s disappearance early last month. Kidnapped in front of the Iranian state-owned Bank Melli in Baghdad, it is alleged that Sharafi was abducted by US-supported Iraqi Defense Ministry elements. Likewise, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the al Quds Brigade’s investigations have failed to yield any leads pertaining to their members who have disappeared in Iraq over the past few weeks.

According to statements made by an official from the Iranian armed forces, the possibility of the detention of eight members from the IRGC and five elements from the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence by US forces was “likely

Insurgency in the Shadows

BY Herschel Smith
17 years, 3 months ago

There are shadowy operations going on in the Anbar Province conducted by AQI and other militant groups, these operations being directed against each other and spilling over into the broader population in an attempt to gain support.  As we have pointed out in Hope and Brutality in Anbar (and prior), although AQI has used persuasion in the form of money for some support (such as paying children to spy on U.S. snipers), their primary tactic has been intimidation, torment, torture and houses of horror to keep the population in submission and thus ensure safe haven for their terrorist activities.  However, the intimidation has taken a turn for the secretive, as we saw in Samarra.

The letter from Al Qaeda in Iraq to the members of the local police was clear.

Come to the mosque and swear allegiance on the Koran to Al Qaeda, the letter warned, or you will die and your family will be slaughtered. Also, bring $1,200.

It had the desired effect on American efforts to build an Iraqi security force here.

Nearly a third of the local police force went to the mosque, paid the money and pledged their allegiance. Another third was killed. By late October, only 34 local police officers were left to try to maintain order in this city of 100,000.

Secrecy is being used as a force multiplier, and this tactic is being repeated in Fallujah in a slightly different form but with the same general theme and intent.

A shadowy new militia apparently emerged in Falluja over the weekend, Slogger sources report.

Residents awoke to discover flyers and banners around the city bearing the name of a new militia, the “Chosen Soldiers of God.

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