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Thread: U.S. intelligence warns Iraq war could explode again

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default U.S. intelligence warns Iraq war could explode again



    U.S. intelligence warns Iraq war could explode again - Yahoo! News

    WASHINGTON — A nearly completed high-level U.S. intelligence analysis warns that unresolved ethnic and sectarian tensions in Iraq could unleash a new wave of violence, potentially reversing the major security and political gains achieved over the last year.

    U.S. officials familiar with the new National Intelligence Estimate said they were unsure when the top-secret report would be completed and whether it would be published before the Nov. 4 presidential election.

    More than a half-dozen officials spoke to McClatchy on condition of anonymity because NIE's, the most authoritative analyses produced by the U.S. intelligence community, are restricted to the president, his senior aides and members of Congress except in rare instances when just the key findings are made public.

    The new NIE, which reflects the consensus of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, has significant implications for Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama , whose differences over the Iraq war are a major issue in the presidential campaign.

    The findings seem to cast doubts on McCain's frequent assertions that the United States is "on a path to victory" in Iraq by underscoring the deep uncertainties of the situation despite the 30,000-strong U.S. troop surge for which he was the leading congressional advocate.

    But McCain could also use the findings to try to strengthen his argument for keeping U.S. troops in Iraq until conditions stabilize.
    For Obama, the report raises questions about whether he could fulfill his pledge to withdraw most of the remaining 152,000 U.S. troops within 16 months of taking office so that more U.S. forces could be sent to battle the growing Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan .

    Word of the draft NIE comes at a time when Iraq is enjoying its lowest levels of violent incidents since early 2004 and a 77 percent drop in civilian deaths in June through August 2008 over the same period in 2007, according to the Defense Department .

    U.S. officials say last year's surge of 30,000 troops, all of whom have been withdrawn, was just one reason for the improvements. Other factors include the truce declared by anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al Sadr , the leader of an Iran -backed Shiite Muslim militia; and the enlistment of former Sunni insurgents in Awakening groups created by the U.S. military to fight al Qaida in Iraq and other extremists.
    The draft NIE, however, warns that the improvements in security and political progress, like the recent passage of a provincial election law, are threatened by lingering disputes between the majority Shiite Arabs, Sunni Arabs, Kurds and other minorities, the U.S. officials said.
    Sources of tension identified by the NIE, they said, include a struggle between Sunni Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen for control of the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk ; and the Shiite-led central government's unfulfilled vows to hire former Sunni insurgents who joined Awakening groups.

    A spokesman for Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell , whose office compiled the estimate, declined comment, saying the agency does not discuss NIE's.

    The findings of the intelligence estimate appear to be reflected in recent statements by Army Gen. David Petreaus , the former top U.S. commander in Iraq , who has called the situation "fragile" and "reversible" and said he will never declare victory there.

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice echoed that tone on Monday during a State Department awards ceremony for Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker.
    "Ladies and gentlemen, nothing is certain in this life. And success in Iraq is not a sure thing," Rice said in an uncharacteristically downbeat comment.

    The NIE findings parallel a Defense Department assessment last month that warned that despite "promising developments, security gains in Iraq remain fragile. A number of issues have the potential to upset progress."

    Trouble spots include whether the former Sunni insurgents, also known as the Sons of Iraq , find permanent employment; provincial elections scheduled for January; Kirkuk's status; the fate of internally displaced people and returning refugees; and "malign Iranian influence," the unclassified Pentagon report said.


    The intelligence agencies' estimate also raises worries about what would happen if Sadr, the anti-U.S. cleric, attempts to reassert himself, according to senior intelligence officials familiar with its contents.
    If Sadr abandons his cease-fire, it is unclear whether his former followers would rejoin his cause or whether his movement is permanently fractured, and thus harder to control.

    The embattled Sons of Iraq program may prove to be the ultimate challenge to sustained stability in Iraq . The U.S. program to pay mostly Sunni former insurgents to protect their neighborhoods or in some cases to stop shooting at Americans is now moving into the hands of the Shiite-led government.
    Many of the roughly 100,000 men of the mostly Sunni paramilitary groups have fled to Syria , while others remain in Iraq , worried that the Shiite government will disband and detain the men. The U.S. military has promised not to abandon the men, of whom about 54,000 were transferred to Iraqi government control this month.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    but.. but mission accomplished!!! He said so!


    .......THERE WAS A BANNER!!!1!1!!1!1one!1!!1eleventy
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Countdown to reports that a "terrorist attack is imminent"...5....4....3....

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    Elite Member Belinda's Avatar
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    ^exactly. How pathetic.

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    Elite Member ana-mish-ana's Avatar
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    My friend who has family there told me that its only a matter of time before it will explode- The surge is a joke and thats not counting the rumblings in the north with Turkey and the Kurds.

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    Elite Member lurkur's Avatar
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    Are all of those truces over??

    If they know this, can they pull any of those poor soldiers out of there??

    UGH. Bloodier bloodbath.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotncmom View Post
    Countdown to reports that a "terrorist attack is imminent"...5....4....3....
    Yup. Bush will amp us up to an orange threat level, maybe even red.

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    Elite Member louiswinthorpe111's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ana-mish-ana View Post
    My friend who has family there told me that its only a matter of time before it will explode- The surge is a joke and thats not counting the rumblings in the north with Turkey and the Kurds.
    WHAAAT? But, but,the SURGE WORKED, and Obama just can't admit it!!

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    Elite Member Str8_uncut-jock's Avatar
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    Welcome to McCain's Cocktober Surprise!

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    Elite Member ana-mish-ana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by louiswinthorpe111 View Post
    WHAAAT? But, but,the SURGE WORKED, and Obama just can't admit it!!

    I was online with my friend the surge is not working and next year will tell a different story- The Western MSM isnt really reporting it either.

    ‘Sons of Iraq’ embrace government
    BAGHDAD, October 1, 2008 -- Gun-toting Sunni Arabs battling Al-Qaeda cautiously embraced Iraq's Shiite-led government on Wednesday as the US military transferred the responsibility of paying them to Baghdad without major hiccoughs.

    The transfer of responsibility for all 100,000 "Sons of Iraq" (SoI), as the US military calls them, and credited with helping to curb the violence in the country, got underway with 54,000 men in the province of Baghdad.

    On Wednesday, Omar Samir, 36, a leader of one such group known as Sahwas in Arabic, said the 63 members under his command in Baghdad's Sunni district of Adhamiyah were happy to be paid by Baghdad.

    "We're really happy; we feel that from today we'll be representing Iraqi law 100 percent. From now on we'll receive our orders from the Iraqi government," Samir said.

    He said his men filled out papers and underwent medical tests to join either the police or the army.

    The transfer was a long-standing demand of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, and the date for the handover was agreed with the US military in August.

    Iraqi National Security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie said the government will pay the first salary at the end of the month. The monthly bill of Baghdad's 54,000 Sahwas is around 15 million dollars.

    Control of the remaining Sahwas in central, western and north-central Iraq will be transferred gradually.

    The mostly former insurgents who fought US and Iraqi forces after Saddam Hussein fell in 2003, have helped curb the violence since late 2006 after they sided with the Americans to battle Al-Qaeda.

    Baghdad has said 20 percent of them would be absorbed into the country's security forces and that most of the rest would be considered for civilian jobs.

    Some Sahwas have also expressed caution about the transfer.

    "We are happy but also afraid," said Abu Safa'a, a Sahwa leader.

    "I am concerned about those who do not join the security forces. They are going to be targets of Al-Qaeda."

    Rubaie said Baghdad will continue to employ these men to expand the security gains.

    "All volunteers are being carefully screened" medically for absorbing them in security forces, he said, adding Baghdad would also be responsible for assuring the economic future of those Sahwas who do not join security forces.

    Takssin Saadi, 36, who works as an electrician by night and a Sahwa by day, says he wants to exchange his day job for a position in the police.

    "I want to be a policeman, but I think we are going to be integrated into the army, because there is an army base in the neighbourhood," he said.

    If the Sahwas are not accommodated in security forces or state jobs, Iraq risks erasing security gains achieved since late last year, according to lawmakers and analysts.

    Kurdish MP Mahmud Othman said "the Shiite government looks at them as a political enemy. It sees them as Arab Sunni fighters who were former Al-Qaeda or insurgents fighting the government and they have to be punished."

    US commanders have also warned that those fighters who do not find employment could return to insurgent activities.

    "The Sons of Iraq have paid a heavy price fighting Al-Qaeda with us," the US commander for Baghdad, Major General Jeffery Hammond, said last week.

    "The whole world is watching what the government does with SOI transition, above all in Baghdad where it starts," he said.

    "Guys who are not successful, they could be back on streets, angry, Al-Qaeda will be recruiting them, and we take a step in the wrong direction."

    Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group said the real problem was not the transfer, but the absorption of the militiamen.

    He said if these Sahwas are not absorbed efficiently it "is very likely... the SOI will revert to insurgency as a way, probably unsuccessful, of achieving their objectives of rolling back Iranian influence and regaining power."

    Iraq has seen a downward trend in violence since the middle of last year.

    As it stands, the number of Iraqis killed in September was 440, little changed from August, officials announced on Wednesday.
    Middle East Online

    Awakening ends in Iraq

    by Robert Dreyfuss

    October 2, 2008 -- In an exclusive interview with The Nation, the commander of the Sunni-led Awakening movement in Baghdad says that attacks by the Iraqi government and government-allied militiamen against Awakening leaders and rank-and-file members are likely to spark a new Sunni resistance movement. That resistance force will conduct attacks against American troops and Iraqi army and police forces, he says. "Look around," he says. "It has already come back. It is getting stronger. Look at what is happening in Baghdad."

    The commander, Abu Azzam, spoke to The Nation by telephone from Amman, Jordan, last week, before returning to Baghdad.

    He laid out a scenario for a new explosion in Iraq, one that would shatter the complacent American notion that the 2007-08 "surge" of American troops in Iraq has stabilized that war-torn country. Although the greater US force succeeded in putting down some of the most violent sectarian clashes, it was the emergence of the Awakening movement in 2006 that crushed Al Qaeda in Iraq and brought order to Anbar and Baghdad.

    Beginning October 1, the Iraqi government is responsible for the Awakening movement, which includes about 100,000 mostly Sunni fighters in the provinces of Anbar, Salahuddin and Diyala and in the mostly Sunni western suburbs of Baghdad. Made up of many former Baathists, ex-military officers from the Saddam Hussein era and other assorted secular nationalists, the Awakening (in Arabic, sahwa, also referred to by the US military as the Sons of Iraq) involves thousands of former guerrillas from the 2003-07 Iraqi resistance.

    The sectarian Shiite government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki views the Awakening movement with extreme suspicion, and the feeling is mutual. According to several Iraqi sources interviewed for this article, there is a grave possibility that the relative calm that has prevailed in Iraq over the past year will be shattered if the Shiite-led government and its allied militia, the Badr Brigade of the pro-Iranian Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), engage in an armed power struggle with the Awakening forces for control of western Baghdad.

    So far, the United States is trying to cajole Maliki into supporting the Awakening, offering $300 to $500 per month for each member of the Sunni militia. At the same time, US military officers in Iraq have promised to guarantee the payments to the Sunni forces and to shield the Awakening from attacks or reprisals by the regime. But among Sunnis, including those interviewed for this story, there is widespread concern that they are on their own and that the United States will not abandon the government in Baghdad despite its sectarian, pro-Iran leanings.

    In that case, said a former top Iraqi official, many Sunnis may turn to an unlikely source for support: Russia. "The Russians are very active," he said. "They are talking with many Iraqis, including resistance leaders and Awakening members, in Damascus, Syria. They are in discussions with big Baathists." According to this official, former Baathists, army officers and Awakening members in Damascus, Amman and inside Iraq are looking to Russia for support, especially since Russia seems intent on reasserting itself in the Middle East. "The Russians intend to come out strongly to play with the Sunnis," he said. "I heard this from sahwa members in Damascus and Amman. 'If the Americans abandon us, we will go to the Russians.'"

    Abu Azzam, who helped found the Awakening in the Baghdad area, is based in the Abu Ghraib suburb of the capital, and he is the commander for the region. Over the past several months, he said, "hundreds" of his fighters have been assassinated by the Badr militia or killed in battles with Iraqi police forces controlled by ISCI's Badr Brigade. Last month, the police issued a warrant for Abu Azzam's arrest, but Maliki quashed it after a brief period of confusion. "The Ministry of Justice and the police in Iraq are controlled by the religious parties," Abu Azzam said. "It wasn't a real arrest warrant." Still, it was unsettling to the movement, and it was widely taken as a sign of things to come.

    According to the New York Times, Maliki's government has ordered the arrest of 650 Awakening leaders in the Baghdad area and hundreds more north of the capital, in Diyala province. The Times quoted Jalaladeen al-Saghir, a top official of ISCI's Badr Brigade, saying, "The state cannot accept the Awakening. Their days are numbered."

    The Iraqi government has pledged to enroll 20 percent of the Awakening force in the army and police. But that pledge is seen by most Sunnis as an action by Maliki to keep the Americans happy - even though Maliki has no intention of keeping his promise.

    "Maliki tells the Americans what he thinks they want to hear," an Awakening leader tells The Nation. "I tell the Americans all the time that it is a trick, but they don't understand. The Americans are so naïve. They assume good will on the part of Maliki. We don't understand. The Americans know that Maliki is working closely with the Iranians, so why do they believe him? Why do they listen to him?"

    According to Abu Azzam, the fact that 80 percent of the Awakening forces will be kept out of the security services means that they won't have work, and they will be angry. "The government's plan is to take the 20 percent, bring them into the security forces, but move them out of the neighborhoods where they are based," he says. That's foolish, he adds, because those militia forces know the neighborhoods, and they know a lot about pro-Al Qaeda and pro-Sunni Islamist radicals, house by house. "If you move them, you lose all that knowledge," he says. "And then they replace them with Iraqi army units that are mostly made up of sectarian Shiite forces." It is a formula for disaster, and a new civil war.....
    Middle East Online

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    The funny thing is the pro war crowd will just as easily turn around and play games by saying that all those "anti war liberal commies" are "happy" things are going bad in Iraq.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. I honestly wish things were going well so the troops can get the heck out of there. Yet if things can go so bad so easily soon, then what, keep the troops there and do yet ANOTHER surge? It is like a broken record, insanity.

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    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
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    Either way to me it signals "come home." If it erupts again it proves (like Viet Nam) we can't win over there, we never will. That culture is the oldest in history. What makes us think we can change it. If it is calming down, then let's get out of there before it erupts again. It is a win-win or in the case of the poor Iraquis a no-win situation.
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

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    Gold Member ymeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ana-mish-ana View Post
    My friend who has family there told me that its only a matter of time before it will explode- The surge is a joke and thats not counting the rumblings in the north with Turkey and the Kurds.

    wow...please keep us posted. I don't know what they expect, truly.

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nana55 View Post
    Either way to me it signals "come home." If it erupts again it proves (like Viet Nam) we can't win over there, we never will. That culture is the oldest in history. What makes us think we can change it. If it is calming down, then let's get out of there before it erupts again. It is a win-win or in the case of the poor Iraquis a no-win situation.
    I agree. We can't be over there forever. It's a sovereign nation. They have to step up to the plate and solve their fractious relationship with each ethnic group themselves.

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