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War Blog By: FrontPage Magazine
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, August 06, 2008


MADE IN CHINA

By Lisa Benson


www.townhall.com/funnies

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Map of Diyala province [PDF]. Click to view.

More than 375 insurgents and al Qaeda operatives have been captured during the first week of Operation Omens of Prosperity in Diyala province. Six senior al Qaeda in Iraqi leaders in the province have been captured during the province-wide operation.

The Iraqi military announced it captured 265 suspected al Qaeda fighters during operations from July 29 through Aug. 2. Five members of al Qaeda's provincial shura, or executive council, were captured during this timeframe.

Iraqi troops captured Qussai Ali Khalaf, the leader of al Qaeda's Islamic State in Iraq in Diyala province; Adnan Gumer Mohammed, the provincial "judge"; Ahmed Quasim Jabbar the provincial military commander; Abu Anas al Baghdadi, "a top al-Qaeda operative in Diyala"; Basem al Safaah, who led sectarian attacks against Shia; and Antisar Khudair, a woman who recruited female suicide bombers. Al Qaeda has stepped up female suicide attacks in an effort to bypass increased security.

The arrests over the past two days show the Iraqi security forces are operating throughout most of the province. On Aug. 3 Iraqi soldiers and police arrested 18 insurgents in the Adhim, Kanaan, and Tahrir regions, and captured 15 more in raids throughout the province. On Aug. 4, Iraqi security forces captured 34 "wanted men" during operations in Khalis and captured 15 insurgents in Miqdadiyah.

Operation Omens of Prosperity

Operation Omens of Prosperity began on July 29 after the Iraqi and US military and the government of Iraq signaled the operation well in advance. Diyala has been the most violent province in Iraq this year as al Qaeda has attempted to regroup in the rural farmlands in the eastern and northern regions of the province.

Iraqi and US military intelligence indicates al Qaeda has camps and safe havens in the desert regions, the foothills of the Hamrin mountains, and around Lake Hamrin. "We have seen al-Qaida continue to be pushed into what we call 'the support zones' or the areas of the desert," said Major General Mark Hertling, the commander Multi-National Division North during a press briefing on July 27. "And we will continue to pursue them into those areas, relentlessly pursuing them and showing them there is no sanctuary until they leave this country."

These bases are used to strike and Iraqi military and civilian targets in the urban areas in Diyala as well as in Baghdad.

Operation Omens of Prosperity is currently broken down into three smaller operations: Sabre Pursuit, Iron Pursuit, and Bastogne Pursuit. An estimated 30,000 to 50,000 Iraqi soldiers and police, backed by about 3,000 US troops, are participating in the operation.

Sabre Pursuit, which began on July 25, four days prior to Omens of Prosperity, has focused on the southeastern region of Balad Ruz. The region appears to have been cleared as local security has been fully transferred to Iraqi soldiers and police and an emphasis is being placed on reconstruction efforts.

Iron Pursuit is a US-led operation that is "directed against all the support zones of al Qaeda in Iraq," Hertling said. The operation is spanning Diyala and neighboring Salahadin province. Iraqi and US troops are conducting air assaults into known al Qaeda rear areas.

Iron Pursuit also serves as a blocking force to catch al Qaeda fighters fleeing Diyala westward into Salahadin. Iraqi troops are "pushing toward the Uzaym River Valley attempting to kill or capture AQI members fleeing from Diyala into Salahadin in order to escape advancing Iraqi Security and Coalition forces." Three al Qaeda fighters have been killed and nine captured so far.

There has been no reporting on Bastogne Pursuit, which was mentioned by Hertling during the July 27 briefing, but the operation is likely to focus on the foothills of the Hamrin Mountains in the Kifri and Khanaqin districts in the northern part of Diyala province. Iraqi troops captured a senior al Qaeda financier and facilitator in the Lake Hamrin region.  Tuesday, July 5, 2008

www.longwarjournal.org

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CONGRESS DRILLS FOR ENERGY

By Michael Ramirez


www.townhall.com/funnies

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THE EMERGING DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY

By Scott Johnson

Last week the Wall Street Journal carried a long page-one story by Elizabeth Williamson and Brody Mullins on the permanent funding of Democratic allies such as Acorn buried in the mortgage bailout bill signed by President Bush last week. They report:

Democrats on Capitol Hill have helped to steer millions of dollars in housing and other grants from the federal government toward Acorn and groups like it. The groups must qualify and compete for the money, which is typically doled out from the federal government to states and municipalities. The housing package includes a new, permanent source of affordable-housing money that congressional Democrats and grass-roots groups have sought for years. The Affordable Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund will be funded by a tax on mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage titans.

That tax eventually will channel upwards of $600 million annually in grants for developing and restoring housing, mostly as low-income rentals, available to Acorn and other groups. Democrats on Capitol Hill and housing groups say the housing-assistance money is vital to helping Americans hit hardest by what some call the largest drop in home values since the Great Depression. But they acknowledge the perception of political conflict in giving federal funds to an organization that does political work.

"We are guarding against it," said Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank in an interview. He secured the Affordable Housing Trust from his seat as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. "We have a lot of restrictions in the bill" banning using the housing money for lobbying or political purposes, he said.

He added that housing-advocacy groups aren't unique in having an affinity for government officials who can steer money their way. "People who build affordable housing tend to support the Democrats...who support affordable housing," he said. "I am a lot less worried about this relationship than I am about the Pentagon and Lockheed."

Acorn undertakes voter registration through the legally separate offshoot Project Vote. Targeting its efforts on areas likely to yield potential Democratic voters in the Denver area, Project Vote "trawl[ed] parks, public-assistance agencies and liquor stores." Checking in with one worker in Aurora, the Journal finds Project Vote's targeting to be effective:
Tina Sepulveda, a 23-year-old single mom canvassing in Aurora for the Project Vote effort, says she checks her forms to see how people will vote. "In a week, I get maybe six to nine Republicans. And I'm getting 20 people a day."
At the least, this is a story that deserves more attention than has been devoted to it to date. John Fund has been on Acorn's case for some time. Fund wrote about the indictment of seven Acorn voter registration workers for fraud in Seattle last year. Michelle Malkin devoted a good column to Acorn in June.  Tuesday, July 5, 2008

www.powerlineblog.com

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THE PLAN


By Glenn McCoy


www.townhall.com/funnies

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IPT: GRAVEL ADVOCATES STALKING AL-ARIAN PROSECUTOR AND FAMILY

By Charles Johnson

Well, we already knew that former Democratic Presidential candidate Mike Gravel is weird, but apparently we didn’t know how weird: Ex-Presidential Candidate Advocates Stalking Prosecutor.

Mike Gravel, a former two-term senator from Alaska and fringe Democratic and Libertarian presidential candidate, urged people to stalk a federal prosecutor and his family in order to get criminal contempt charges dropped against Sami Al-Arian, an exclusive audio tape obtained by the Investigative Project on Terrorism shows.

Gravel, 78, spoke at a forum with Al-Arian’s wife and two of their children Friday evening in Washington, D.C. During his remarks, he focused attention at the prosecutor driving the case (Click the play button to the left to hear the clip):

Gravel: “And so what I would say, if there is somebody within the sound of my voice who has the time to do it, find out where - is it Gordon? Who’s the, what’s his name?”

Audience member: “Gordon Kromberg.”

Gravel: “Find out where he lives. Find out where his office is. If you’ve got some chutzpah - which is a word that you don’t hear often - if you’ve really got it, find out where he lives, find out where his kids go to school, find out where his office is; picket him all the time. Call him a racist in signs if you see him. Call him an injustice. Call him whatever you want to call him, but in his face all the time. They can’t take the heat; deliver it to them. We have to stop laying down to these injustices.”

No one in the crowd of about 70 people challenged Gravel’s remarks; to the contrary, Gravel received an enthusiastic ovation when he finished. The forum was held at Busboys and Poets, a D.C. restaurant that describes itself as a “gathering place where people can discuss issues of social justice and peace.” The owner donated use of his shop for the event.

GAZA'S ANOMALIES

By Charles Johnson

Richard Landes has an interesting piece on the honor-shame culture of Gaza, and the politically correct paradigm (PCP) of Western “human rights” groups: Augean Stables » Gaza Anomalies Blow PCP’s Circuits: Result - The Sounds of Silence.

A few friends of mine went to a party in Jerusalem that was primarily made up Anglophone reporters, people who work for NGOs and UN agencies. What amazed them was the pervasive sense of the people they met and spoke with that Israel was the greatest human rights violator in the world and that the dismantling of Israel would be a great step forward for global human rights.

Now the idiocy of this position, the suicidal nature of this strategy to advance human rights is nothing short of breathtaking. Take Israel out of the Middle East and the region becomes nothing but Hama rules ... especially when the nastiest people — those who want to destroy Israel — would feel empowered by such a victory. But try and tell that to people who are smart enough to believe they can’t be wrong, and credulous enough to believe the demopaths who pull their chains on a daily basis. And as a result, they are prime targets for a hate campaign against Israel.

The latest news from Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank illustrates all the anomalies involved in this fundamental failure of the “human rights” community to understand what’s going on: black hearts and red spades galore. Melanie Phillips has a superb column which analyzes the current, mind-boggling situation in the Arab-Israeli conflict...  Tuesday, July 5, 2008

http://littlegreenfootballs.com

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THE BATTLE FOR VIRGINIA

By Paul Mirengoff

The Washington Post takes another look at the battle for Virginia's 13 electoral votes. The article generally supports my sense that the state's fundamentals favor McCain, while the "ground game" favors Obama.

Looking at the last three statewide races -- Bush plus 8 points in 2004, Kaine plus 6 percentage points in 2005, and Webb plus half of a point in 2006 -- I conclude that a race in 2008 between a generic Democrat and a generic Republican would be a toss-up. However, Obama is not a generic Democrat for purposes of Virginia. Substantively, he much more closely resembles John Kerry than he does Tim Kaine or Jim Webb. And it's far from clear that his charismatic, egocentric style will play well with Virginia's swing voters.

Meanwhile, there's a good case that McCain is stronger in Virginia than a generic Republican would be. On the minus side, he is probably less appealing than average to the conservative base, excluding members of the military and their famiiies. However, the military represents an important bloc of voters in Virginia. Moreover, McCain should have more cross-over appeal than the unsuccessful Jerry Kilgore, George Allen (post-macaca), and even the George Bush of 2004.

But this doesn't take into account Obama's ground game. The Post suggests that it's formidable, and I have no reason to doubt it. For example, the Obama campaign has apparently been quite successful in its voter registration efforts. So far Virginia has 150,000 new registered voters and the campaign hopes to double that number. The campaign's idea is that if 80 percent of these folks favor Obama and 75 percent of them vote, the pick-up will be 60,000 or an extra 1.75 percent (assuming a turnout of 3.5 million).

Both candidates reportedly are considering selecting a Virginian for vice president. It's difficult to see Eric Cantor, a congressman, helping McCain much in the state. Gov. Kaine might help bring Obama closer to "generic Democrat" status, but only slightly so I suspect.

For what it's worth, my view is that fundamentals usually trump ground game. So if the race is close (say within four percentage points) nationally, I'd expect McCain to squeak by in Virginia, at least if Kaine isn't on the ticket. And if it's not as close as that nationally, Virginia may not matter very much.  Monday, August 4, 2008

www.powerlineblog.com




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