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FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, February 23, 2007


By Ed Morrissey

Syria has embarked on a program to bolster its military after the war last summer in Lebanon, Ha'aretz reported this morning and repeated by the AP. They have begun acquiring heavy weapons from the Russians and the Iranians, including medium-range missiles that threaten just about every possible target in Israel:

Damascus has large numbers of surface-based missiles and long-range rockets, including the Scud-D, capable of reaching nearly any target in Israel, the report said, and the Syrian navy has received new Iranian anti-ship missiles.

Haaretz also said Russia was about to sell Syria thousands of advanced anti-tank missiles, despite Israeli charges that in the past Syria has transferred those missiles to Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

Syrian officials did not immediately comment on the Israeli reports, but President Bashar Assad said in a television interview immediately after the fighting that Syria was preparing to defend itself. Israeli defense officials confirmed that Syria had ordered new stocks of the anti-tank weapons after noting Hezbollah's successful use of them against Israeli armor in last summer's fighting in south Lebanon.

Syria also ordered new supplies of surface-to-sea missiles after Hezbollah used one to hit an Israeli warship, killing four crewmen, off the Lebanese coast last July, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The two nations remain at war, although they have not fought it for decades. The Syrians want the Golan Heights back, and the Israelis want the Syrians to stop funding and supplying Hezbollah. The new weapons systems, in fact, seem ideal for that kind of arms transfer, the kind specifically prohibited by UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

It comes as no great shock that the Iranians have begun supplying Syria with more materiel. After all, the Iranians need the money, and they have a tight military alliance with Damascus. Both of them run Hezbollah as a joint project, and the eventual destination of these systems can hardly be doubted.

More surprising, or at least disappointing, is the Russian participation in Syria's distribution channel to Hassan Nasrallah. After all, they signed off on 1701, and they have to know who will benefit from these weapons sales. It appears that Putin once again has determined that the enemies of the West are his friends, despite the Islamist connections to the insurgencies in the Caucasus. It's really not much of a surprise to see Moscow taking the side of terrorists and totalitarians, although it should embarrass the Russians themselves.

Bashar Assad recently told Diane Sawyer that the US should engage with Syria to establish a peaceful Iraq. This is the same peace he has in mind for Lebanon and Israel. Until Syria stops being a mule for terrorists, they have no business at the table of a serious peace conference, and neither do Iran and Russia.  Thursday, February 22, 2007





From FOX News: Hillary Clinton, Obama in Hot Exchange Over Hollywood Heavyweight's Comments.

The war of words between leading 2008 Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama spread Wednesday night, after the campaigns had earlier exchanged heated words when Clinton suggested Obama return funds to Hollywood bigwig David Geffen, who insulted her in a newspaper article.

"We aren't going to get in the middle of a disagreement between the Clintons and someone who was once one of their biggest supporters. It is ironic that the Clintons had no problem with David Geffen when was raising them $18 million and sleeping at their invitation in the Lincoln bedroom," Obama campaign communications director Robert Gibbs said in a statement that was e-mailed to the news media. ...

Geffen, a former "Friend of Bill," co-hosted a star-studded, $1.3 million fundraiser for Obama on Tuesday night in Beverly Hills with Hollywood heavyweights Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Among the 300 contributors who forked over $2,300 each were George Clooney, Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Aniston, Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy and Morgan Freeman. Also in attendance were Dixie Chick Natalie Maines and director Ron Howard.

Geffen became a former FOB in 2001 after Bill Clinton refused to pardon Leonard Peltier, a Chippewa Indian convicted of killing two FBI agents in a 1977 shootout on South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. ...

Geffen is apparently still holding a grudge against the Clintons. In remarks to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd that appeared in Wednesday's edition, the music producer suggested that the Clintons have had their day and it's time for new blood in the White House. ...  Thursday, February 22, 2007




By Robert Spencer

Chemical Jihad Update. "U.S. troops find chemicals in Iraq raid," from AP:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. troops raided a car bomb factory west of Baghdad with five buildings full of propane tanks and ordinary chemicals the military believes were to be used in bombs, a spokesman said Thursday, a day after insurgents blew up a truck carrying chlorine gas canisters.
Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said the chlorine attack Wednesday — the second such "dirty" chemical attack in two days — signaled a change in insurgent tactics, and the military was fighting back with targeted raids.
"What we are seeing is a change in the tactics, but their strategy has not changed. And that's to create high-profile attacks to instill fear and division amongst the Iraqi people," he told CNN. "It's a real crude attempt to raise the terror level by taking and mixing ordinary chemicals with explosive devices, trying to instill that fear within the Iraqi people."
But he suggested the strategy was backfiring by turning public opinion against the insurgents, saying the number of tips provided by Iraqis had doubled in the last six months.
One of those tips led U.S. troops to a five separate buildings near Fallujah, where they found the munitions containing chemicals, three vehicle bombs being assembled, including a truck bomb, about 65 propane tanks and "all kinds of ordinary chemicals," Caldwell said. He added that he believed the insurgents were going to try to mix the chemicals with explosives.

"Ordinary," perhaps, but there are many such chemicals that weren't meant to be burnt or inhaled, not to mention the myriad unsafe combinations of otherwise generally harmless substances that could increase the body count, as well as the level of panic, that a car bomb can cause.  Thursday, February 22, 2007




Ed Morrissey

Critics of the Iraq war have painted Tony Blair's decision to draw down the British troop levels as a repudiation of the war and an end to the Coalition in Iraq. Democrats wasted no time in pointing out the supposed incongruity of a British withdrawal in the south and an American surge in the west and center of Iraq. However, the man who made the decision to draw down the British contingent said today that he would send them back if the situation warranted higher troop levels:

The UK is to withdraw 1,600 troops from Iraq but Mr Blair said numbers could increase again "if we're needed".

He told MPs on Wednesday that the remaining 5,500 troops would stay until 2008.

However, when he was asked about reversing that decision on the Today programme, he said: "I don't want to get into speculating about that because we have the full combat capability that's there. So, if we're needed to go back in any special set of circumstances we can, but that's not the same as then increasing back the number."

That's a far cry from giving up on Iraq. The White House pointed out yesterday a fact that should be obvious to anyone with a map and a clue: Basra is not Baghdad. The British sector is and has always been almost homogenously Shi'ite, and the level of violence in that area has remained much lower throughout the post-invasion period. The Iraqi government has readied itself to take over the security of that area, and the British have followed the set plans to transfer responsibility to the Maliki government. The British have been doing this all along, reducing their troop levels from a high of 40,000 to the 7,000 they have in Iraq now.

Blair also made another important point. When challenged about the difficult security situation, he emphasized that the violence should be blamed on the violent. Blair absolutely rejected the notion that the Coalition created the conditions for the insurgencies by disbanding the army and police. He told the BBC that both organizations had served as Saddam's instruments of terror, and that the Coalition could not have left them in place after the invasion, even if they hadn't mostly melted away by themselves.

This flies in the face of all the analysts yesterday who stumbled over themselves to characterize the drawdown as a rejection of George Bush and a repudiation of the Coalition plans for peace. Blair has followed those plans to the letter. Once Iraq has the ability to take responsibility for a province, the Coalition needs to allow them to do it, remaining behind in enough strength to support them during the transition. This is no secret -- Bush and Blair have made this clear over and over again. In fact, under those conditions, a high troop level would be destabilizing. That isn't the case in Baghdad or Anbar, where Iraq isn't ready to handle the security by themselves for very obvious reasons.

In the end, this is how the United States will exit Iraq, too. Once Iraq is ready to handle security in Baghdad, Anbar, and Diyala with decreasing support from the US, we will draw down troops and pull back to bases to remove ourselves from everyday security tasks, remaining nearby for occasions where we are needed. That is, we will follow that plan unless Jack Murtha and Nancy Pelosi manage to screw up the straightforward plan that Tony Blair has managed to follow with no difficulty at all.  Thursday, February 22, 2007


The UN has approved the deployment of 8,000 troops from the African Union to Somalia, replacing the Ethiopian contingent for peacekeeing now that the Union of Islamic Courts has been driven from the country. The Security Council also will consider a contribution of peacekeepers under their own flag:

The United Nations Security Council has approved the deployment of an African Union peacekeeping force to Somalia.

Somalia has been beset by the heaviest fighting between insurgents and government troops since the withdrawal of Islamist militias last year.

The 8,000 strong force has a mandate to help stabilise the situation, but only 4,000 troops have been pledged so far.

A resolution has urged all AU member states to contribute troops. Moreover, a UN force may arrive in six months.

The fighting erupted again yesterday, as the Washington Post reports:

Mortar rounds and rockets hit Somalia's capital early Tuesday in a series of attacks that killed 15 people and wounded more than 40, doctors and witnesses said.

The violence was among the worst since a two-week war in December, in which Ethiopian troops helped government forces drive out an Islamic militia that had taken over much of the country. Somalia's weak interim government then moved into the capital.

The Ethiopians still remain in Mogadishu, hoping to wait for their AU replacements. Unfortunately, the AU has taken its time pulling together the necessary troops, which is why the UN Security Council pushed them yesterday with its resolution. The exchange between the Ethiopians and the UIC remnants was serious enough to prompt Ethiopians to use artillery on their positions, a significant engagement.

It won't take much more for the Somalians to lose confidence in the transitional government. With Ethiopia's help, it broke out of a small pocket of control in Baidoa last December to capture Mogadishu and take control of most of Somalia. The transitional government holds the best prospect for establishing some sort of representative government, but it needs troops to hold its gains and to gather enough strength to fend off the UIC and the warlords in the Somalian free-for-all.

AU deployments will help in that regard. UN peacekeepers will likely do more harm than good. They will not engage as the Ethiopians have done. Their history shows that they will either sit and do nothing, or run and do worse, Even when they do nothing militarily, they tend to molest young women under their protection thanks to a systemic lack of discipline. Perhaps the UN's consideration of a deployment is meant to send a signal to all sides of the conflict that further fighting will result in terrible consequences.  Wednesday, February 21, 2007




By Charles Johnson

The Muslim Council of Britain, probably the most influential and well-connected UK Islamic front group, has laid out their demands for Britain’s schools to follow shari’a law—and not just for Muslim students: Muslims: ‘Ban’ Un-Islamic Schools. (Hat tip: LGF readers.)

DEMANDS for a ban on “un-Islamic” activities in schools will be set out by the Muslim Council of Britain today.

Targets include playground games, swimming lessons, school plays, parents’ evenings and even vaccinations.

And the calls for all children to be taught in Taliban-style conditions will be launched with the help of a senior Government education adviser. Professor Tim Brighouse, chief adviser to London schools, was due to attend the event at the capital’s biggest mosque. His presence there was seen as “deeply worrying”, and a sign that the report was backed by the Government.

Tory MP Greg Hands said: “The MCB needs to realise it has to move closer to the rest of the community, not away from it. The presence of Tim Brighouse implies Government backing of this report. This is very worrying.”

Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society said the report was a “recipe for disaster”. He added: “Schools with even just a handful of Muslim kids will find they have to follow these guidelines because there aren’t the staff to have one set of classes for Muslims and another for the rest. The MCB shouldn’t try to force its religious agenda on children who may not want it. The Government needs to send the MCB packing. Schools should be about teaching, not preaching.”

The report, Towards Greater Understanding – Meeting The Needs of Muslim Pupils In State Schools, says all schools should bring in effective bans for all pupils on “un-Islamic activities” like dance classes.

It also wants to limit certain activities during Ramadan. They include science lessons dealing with sex, parents’ evenings, exams and immunisation programmes.

The holy month – when eating and drinking is not allowed in daylight hours – should also see a ban on swimming lessons in case pupils swallow water in the pool. When swimming is allowed, boys should wear clothing covering their bodies “from the navel to the neck”, even during single-sex pool sessions, while girls must be covered up completely at all times, apart from the face and hands.

The MCB adds that schools should ensure contact sports, including football and basketball, “are always in single-gender groups”.

Even school trips are targeted in the report, which wants them all to be made single-sex “to encourage greater participation from Muslim pupils”.

It wants Arabic language classes for Muslim pupils, and says the Koran should be recited in music classes. And all schools should ensure they have prayer rooms with washing facilities attached, it says.

In art classes, Muslim children should not be allowed to draw people, as this is forbidden under some interpretations of Islamic law.

And while the MCB insists that all British children should learn about Islam, it wants Muslims to have the right to withdraw their children from RE lessons dealing with Christianity and other faiths.  Thursday, February 22, 2007


By Charles Johnson

Two Chicago-area non-Buddhists have been arrested for conspiring to wage jihad against Americans overseas. (Hat tip: Ethel.)

Two cousins were arrested Wednesday on federal charges of conspiring to wage holy war against Americans overseas, including U.S. military forces in Iraq.

Zubair A. Ahmed, 27, of suburban North Chicago, and Khaleel Ahmed, 26, of Chicago, were accused along with three other men who already had been under indictment on charges of plotting acts of terrorism against Americans overseas.

The fresh indictment returned by a grand jury in Cleveland added the two Chicago-area men to the roster of defendants and brought additional charges against the three other men.

The cousins, both American citizens, appeared briefly in Chicago before U.S. Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown, who ordered them sent to Ohio for arraignment. Prosecutors asked her to order them held in custody and sent to Ohio as federal prisoners. Defense attorneys asked for bond. A hearing on whether to permit bond was set for 2:30 p.m. Monday. Defense attorneys Gerald Collins and Brian Sieve said they had just met the two defendants, knew little about them and had no comment on the case.

The indictment claims that, between June 2004 and February 2006, the cousins and the other three men — Mohammad Zaki Amawi, 27, and Marwan Othman El-Hindi, 42, both formerly of Toledo, and Wassim I. Mazloum, 22, formerly of Sylvania, Ohio — conspired to “kill or maim persons in locations outside of the United States, to including U.S. armed forces personnel serving in Iraq.”

The conspiracy allegedly included finding fresh recruits to commit terrorist acts and seeking out sites for training in firearms, hand-to-hand combat and the use of explosives. The men also allegedly agreed to raise funds for “jihad training” and download Internet information on improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

A shadowy figure was described in the indictment only as the Trainer, a U.S. citizen with a military background. The indictment said the two cousins met with the trainer in July 2004 and discussed sniper tactics, counter-surveillance techniques and the use of heavy machine guns.  


By Charles Johnson

A horrible atrocity in Britain: Father killed family for being too western.

A father killed his wife and four daughters in their sleep because he could not bear them adopting a more westernised lifestyle, an inquest heard yesterday.

Mohammed Riaz, 49, found it abhorrent that his eldest daughter wanted to be a fashion designer, and that she and her sisters were likely to reject the Muslim tradition of arranged marriages. On Hallowe’en last year he sprayed petrol throughout their terraced home in Accrington, Lancs, and set it alight.

Caneze Riaz, 39, woke and tried to protect her three-year-old child, Hannah, who was sleeping with her, but was overcome by fumes. Her other daughters, Sayrah, 16, Sophia, 13, and Alisha, 10, died elsewhere in the house. Riaz, who had spent the evening drinking, set himself on fire and died two days later. ...

Riaz, who had spent all but the last 17 years of his life in the North West Frontier region of Pakistan, met his Anglo-Pakistani wife when her father sent her to the sub-continent to find a husband.

After an arranged marriage, she developed a career as a community leader in Accrington while he, handicapped by a lack of English, took on a series of low-paid jobs.

After Mrs Riaz’s father died she “suddenly felt less beholden to Mohammed”, a friend said. “She started to develop her own circle of friends and allowed the girls to express themselves in a more western way.”

She began to work with women who felt suppressed by Asian culture and many saw her as a role model for young Asian women.  Wednesday, February 21, 2007




By Bill Roggio

As the Baghdad pieces of the puzzle are being put in place, operations are underway in the provinces

Iraq. Click map to view.

While the major focus of the Iraq security plan is the capital of Baghdad, Iraqi and Coalition forces have stepped up operations in the provinces. The intent is obvious: while Baghdad is in the process of being secured and troops continue to deploy into the city, the weapons, suicide bombers and foreign fighters must be interdicted before they reach the city limits. The Iraqi government and Coalition are pressing the insurgency both inside Baghdad, and on the peripheries. Three provinces have seen significant operations to press the insurgents and al-Qaeda in the past few days: Anbar (west of Baghdad), Diyala (northeast) and Babil (south). Operations are also being conducted south of Baghdad as well. These regions serve as the ratlines and staging areas for the terrorists, and the Iraqi and Coalition must degrade the enemy's capabilities in these regions to take the pressure off of Baghdad.

The operations over the past five days have netted significant numbers of al-Qaeda fighters – both native Iraqis and foreigners, Sunni insurgents and weapons caches.

Anbar Province

Anbar has long served as an al-Qaeda base of operations. Portions of the provincial capital of Ramadi are al-Qaeda havens. Iraqi and U.S. Army and Marine battalions, along with the tribal levies of the Thuwra Al-Anbar, led by Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, are battling al-Qaeda inside the city and in the suburbs. The Euphrates River Valley has long served as an al-Qaeda ratline from Syria into the heart of Iraq.

On February 20, the 7th Iraqi Army Division, along with Coalition forces, captured 4 members of an insurgent cell “believed responsible for facilitating the movement of foreign fighters and weapons into Iraq ” in Ramana, which is just miles from the Syrian border. Further east, in the city of Hit, Iraqi police, Army and U.S. Marines conducted a multi-battalion sweep. The operation resulted in the capture of “13 known terrorists” and uncovered a significant weapons cache. The Iraqi police also “began construction of two new police stations to meet the demands of the growing department.” Operations also netted 13 members of IED cells in Fallujah and Ramadi on February 21.


Diyala province has seen a spike in activity over the past few months. Al-Qaeda in Iraq has based out of Diyala, and is operating out of the town of Diyala, according to a U.S. military intelligence source. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in an airstrike in Baqubah, the provincial capital, last year. Al-Qaeda in Iraq is receiving support, weapons and sanctuary from across the border in Iran, the same military intelligence source indicated. Just last fall, a major operation in Diyala netted hundreds of al-Qaeda fighters.

Baqubah has become “one of the most lethal [cities] in Iraq for U.S. troops,” according to the Washington Post, as nine soldiers have been killed in the city just over the past month. On the 20th, The 2nd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army, and the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division conducted operations in the Buhriz section of Baqubah, and captured 8 insurgents “responsible for the emplacement of improvised explosive devices, murders and kidnappings,” and uncovered a weapons cache. Also, a senior police chief in Baqubah was arrested for "involvement in the murder, torture, kidnapping and sectarian violence of Iraqi citizens in Diyala Province."

Also, just north of Baghdad, in the the village of Ibrahim Bin Ali, U.S. forces conduct a two day sweep of the largely Sunni region where al-Qaeda is attempting to establish a foothold to attack Baghdad.

Al-Qaeda struck back with a multiple suicide carbomb attack on a U.S. Army outpost in Tarmyia, killing 2 and wounding 17.


Coalition forces are also maintaining pressure on an al-Qaeda and insurgent hotbed near the city of Yusufiyah. Babil, which hosts the “Triangle of Death”, a region where Sunni terrorists have staged numerous attacks on Coalition forces, has been the seen of multiple Coalition operations. During the hunt for Zarqawi last year, he was almost captured in Yusufiyah. Several U.S. helicopters were downed in the area, and hundreds of al-Qaeda were killed and captured in intense fightinng with Task Force 145 and U.S. and Iraqi Army forces in the region.

During a two day operation in Yusufiyah on February 16 and 17, Coalition forces captured over 49 insurgents during sweeps in Quarghuli Village. Three IEDs were also found during the operation.  Thursday, February 22, 2007





The cartoon was originally posted on January 6, 2006, and is one of over 400 illustrations you'll find in our latest book Black & White World III, which can be ordered via Cox & Forkum, The Steyn Store, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.

From The Boston Globe: Israel warns Abbas that a Hamas tie would end talks.

Israel warned yesterday it would stop dealing with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas if he goes ahead with plans to join Hamas in a new government, as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Arab allies sought a way to break the Hamas logjam and push forward the stalled peace process.

Jordan's King Abdullah II, after separate meetings with Rice and Abbas, urged the United States to continue seeking to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. But Israel said it would stop dealing with Abbas on larger peace issues if he went ahead and formed the coalition government with Hamas.

After the meetings Abbas acknowledged for the first time that sessions on Monday in Jerusalem with Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Rice had been "tense and difficult" but said "it was not a failure and it will be followed by other meetings."

Abbas said Israel may have "misunderstood" the agreement reached in Mecca between his moderate Fatah faction [See comment below. -- AF] and the militant Hamas group, according to Jordan's official Petra news agency. ...

The planned Palestinian coalition government fell far short of what the United States and Israel wanted, and also disappointed Sunni Arab states -- many of them US allies -- that had hoped Hamas would soften anti-Israeli policies enough to satisfy the West and restart the flow of vital international aid.

No only are Abbas and his Fatah not "moderate," one year later and Abbas still has not disarmed Hamas.  Wednesday, February 21, 2007




By Bill Roggio

An interview with Colonel John A. Koenig on the prospects of petrolium development in Anbar

Iraq's oil fields in 1992. Click map to view.

On February 18, The New York Times broke the news on the potential for major petroleum development in Anbar province. While the oilfields in Anbar aren't thought to as large as the fields in the Kurdish north and Shia south, the discovery of significant oil and gas reserves will influence the contentious debate occurring in the Iraqi parliament and cabinet over the future petroleum law. The Sunnis, who have access to few oil resources, have fought for central control over oil revenues and contract, but the discovery of reserves in the Sunni regions may soften this stance. The The New York Times also noted the Iraqi cabinet may be close to a compromise on the petroleum law, all but ensuring passage in the parliament.

I had the opportunity to interview Colonel John A. Koenig, USMC. Col Koenig is the II MEF (Marine Expeditionary Force) G-5 (Governance and Economics) concerning this development. The G-5 is in charge of all of the civil-military operations in II MEF's area of operation in Anbar province. The interview is published in full.

Bill Roggio: What are the main sources of economic income in Anbar province?

Col Koenig: The main sources are agriculture, minerals, factories (phosphate, cement, ceramics, etc.), government employment, transportation, and small businesses/markets.

Bill Roggio: How would petroleum development change the economic landscape in Anbar?

Col Koenig: It could have a profound impact if the income generated is equitably distributed. It would also create a significant influx of jobs and revenue would provide additional support for the economy.

Bill Roggio: How does the prospect of developing petroleum resources affect the insurgency in Anbar province? Al-Qaeda? Do you believe it will increase, decrease or have no change on the level of violence in Anbar?

Col Koenig: That is hard to say. It could have a positive impact if the people of Al Anbar feel invested in the project. A better view is what effect will the passage or non-passage of the Hydrocarbon law have? How will the local populace that is used to state owned industries adjust to private enterprise (no guaranteed job). Additionally, a number of tribes will claim ownership of the field.

Bill Roggio: Have the Anbar tribes and local politicians been apprised of the potential benefits of developing oil resources? If so, how was this information communicated, and what was the reaction to the news?

Col Koenig: All are aware of the oil field. The concerns now revolve around ownership, who can invest, and who is in charge of the revenues.

Bill Roggio: What employment opportunities will the development of oil infrastructure provide? Does the Anbar workforce possess the skills to operate pumping stations, refineries and other technologies?

Col Koenig: As I understand it, once oil infrastructure is built, it really doesn’t require a large workforce. The significant job creation would come as a result of the second and third order effect resulting from the refineries being built there. The people of Al Anbar operate phosphate plants, cement plants, refineries, water treatment plants, and asphalt plants. They have mechanics, engineers, doctors, etc.

Bill Roggio: Do you think the tribes can provide the needed security to begin development in the next few years? Is there any discussion about deploying addition Iraqi Army units or Strategic Infrastructure Battalions to the region?

Col Koenig: This issue is not a tribal one. [The Iraqi Security Forces] are more than capable of providing required security, given the threat in that part of Al Anbar. The ISF should be in a position to provide security, in addition to the GOI authorizing private security if an investment law is passed.

Bill Roggio: What role has the central Iraqi government played in surveying the sites? Have any U.S. agencies assisted with assessing Anbar's petroleum potential?

Col Koenig: USGS [U.S. Geological Survey] conducted a survey. But to our knowledge, the detailed surveys required to assess the extent of the fields have not been done.

Bill Roggio: Are there discussions about profit sharing with the citizens of Anbar, or selling the gas and fuel at a reduced rate?

Col Koenig: These are excellent questions which are currently tied up in the hydrocarbon law which has not been passed yet.

Bill Roggio: What are the locations of the potential drilling sites?

Col Koenig: We know where some of the test wells are and that is it. Potential drilling sites will be determined by the company/industry that actually develops the field.

Bill Roggio: Is there a discussion on building a pipeline to Jordan to export fuel if the capacity is available? Is there any consideration to developing additional refineries?

Col Koenig: Both good ideas; but GOI would be the one to answer after an investement/hydrocarbon law is passed. There is a need for refining capacity – but these are major capital expenses exceeding a billion dollars and are on hold until the hydro-carbon law is passed.

Bill Roggio: When I was in Anbar in December of 2005, the Haditha Dam was estimated to be generating about 30% of its potential power output. What is the status of power generation at the Haditha Dam? Has the dam been upgraded to provide power to Anbar and beyond?

Col Koenig: The primary purpose of the dam is irrigation, the secondary purpose is electrical generation. When the dam was built in the 50’s it was built on the then current water flow of the Euphrates river. Since then, Turkey and Syria have drawn more water off the Euphrates and reduced the water flow. For the dam to operate at full electrical output, more water would have to be allowed to flow through. This would cause flooding downstream. The current electrical generation is based on what can be produced from water let out of the reservoir at an equal pace with water coming into the reservoir, and taking into account the needs of the farmers for irrigation. It is a complicated formula that the Iraqis have worked out over time. Additionally, electricity from the dam goes into the national grid which is controlled by MOE in Baghdad. Al Anbar could have more power now if GOI decided to give it to them. As with most things, Baghdad is the priority.  Wednesday, February 21, 2007



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