Sunday, July 15, 2007

News Round-Up

Senior generals in Britain have issued a dire warning to Downing Street that the military campaign in Afghanistan is facing a catastrophic failure, which would lead to a rise in terrorism and possibly a an Islamist government seizing power in neighbouring Pakistan. We clearly took our eye of the ball here, since as Lord Ashdown remarks in the article, the consequences of failure in Afghanistan are far greater than in Iraq. Perhaps we should do as Sen. Obama and other Democrats suggest and redeploy some troops from Iraq to Afghanistan to finish the job?

Meanwhile, militants disavowed a 10-month old truce with the government and struck a police headquarters and a military convoy on Sunday in Pakistan's northwest region long known as a haven for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to launch attacks on Afghanistan, killing 38. Pakistan's government has deployed thousands of troops to the region to thwart calls by extremists for a holy war to revenge the bloody storming of Islamabad's Red Mosque last week, and Islamic militants are increasingly training their attacks on the soldiers and government targets.

Though Syria and Iran are frequently criticized by the Bush administration officials of helping insurgents and militias in Iraq, the largest number of foreign fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq come from staunch U.S. ally Saudi Arabia which the White House keeps close relations with. About 45% of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are from Saudi Arabia and nearly half of the 135 foreigners in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq are Saudis. Only 15% are from Syria and Lebanon. Also, 50% of all Saudi fighters in Iraq are suicide bombers and are thought to have carried out more suicide bombings than those of any other nationality. Many believe Saudi Arabia isn't doing as much as they could about these fighters because it keeps them from creating havoc there (the Saudi royal family are seen as apostates by Al Qaeda) and, as a Sunni fundamentalist regime, they disfavor a Shiite-ruled Iraq that could be heavily influenced by the Iranians.

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