Posted tagged ‘Iran’

General Warns About Failure in Afghanistan

September 21, 2009

According to documents obtained by the Washington Post, the United States top commander in Afghanistan warns that more troops are needed there within the next year or the nearly 8-year-old war “will likely result in failure”.

From CNN:

“Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) — while Afghan security capacity matures — risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible,” U.S. and NATO commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal said in the document, according to the Post.

Bob Woodward of the Post — who wrote the article — called it “a striking thing for a general to say to the secretary of defense and the commander-in-chief.”

McChrystal “really takes his finger and puts it in their eye, ‘Deliver or this won’t work,'” Woodward told CNN’s “American Morning” on Monday. “He says if they don’t endorse this full counterinsurgency strategy, don’t even give me the troops because it won’t work.”

The document was “leaked” to the newspaper, but parts were omitted after consultations between the newspaper and the Department of Defense, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said.

“While we would have much preferred none of this be made public at this time, we appreciate the paper’s willingness to edit out those passages, which would likely have endangered personnel and operations in Afghanistan,” Morrell said in a statement.

Al Qaeda Blamed for Recent Iraq Violence

August 10, 2009

Al Qaeda is being blamed for an increase in violence in Iraq by attacking and killing civilians.

From CNN:

Bombings across the country have killed 48 and wounded 231 others — most of them civilians in Shiite areas — according to Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf.

“Most of the terrorists attacks carried out by al Qaeda in Iraq were against civilians and not Iraqi security forces,” Khalaf said. “This is an indication that al Qaeda in Iraq cannot face the Iraqi security forces.”

The deadliest attack on Monday happened near the northern city of Mosul when two truck bombs destroyed 32 homes, killing 30 people and burying others in the rubble, officials said.

The bombs targeted al-Khazna village, which is inhabited by a Shiite Shabak ethnic group. The village is an area disputed between Kurds and Arabs.

Car bombings and a roadside bomb in Baghdad killed 18 others on Monday, most of them Shiites.

American Scholar Arrested in Iran

July 10, 2009

It appears that an Iranian-American, who was briefly imprisoned in Iran in 2007 on an accusation of endangering national security, was arrested last night in Tehran.

From CNN:

Security forces took Kian Tajbakhsh, a social scientist, from his home in Tehran, the sources said. In addition, the home where he lives with his wife and year-old child was ransacked, and his computer was taken.

The reason for his arrest was not immediately known, and there was no comment from the Iranian government by late Friday. The sources said his family doesn’t know where he is.

His arrest followed weeks of intense, sometimes violent, protests over what the government said was the landslide re-election of President Ahmoud Ahmadinejad — results demonstrators called fraudulent. Protests are continuing, but on a smaller scale.

“Flawed” Wiretaps Began Immediately Following 9/11

July 10, 2009

According to a report compiled by the inspectors general of the nation’s top intelligence agencies, the highly controversial no-warrant surveillance program initiated immediately after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States relied on a “factually flawed” legal analysis.

From CNN:

The report, mandated by Congress, provides fresh context to information previously leaked in press accounts and buttressed by both congressional testimony and books written by former officials involved in the surveillance effort.

The 38-page unclassified version of the document reaches a cautious conclusion, stating that any use of the information collected under the surveillance program “should be carefully monitored.”

The program, launched by President Bush in the weeks after the September 11 attacks, allowed for — without court approval — the interception of communications into and out of the United States if there was a “reasonable basis” that one of the parties was a terrorist.

The report, though not critical of the program’s objectives, sharply criticizes the legal advice provided to the White House by the Justice Department.

Michael Jackson: My Thoughts

June 25, 2009

Like him or not, Michael Jackson was a major force in the music industry and pop culture for nearly 50 years.

He was probably one of the main influencers of the musicians who have created their music to, and that we’ve listened to, over the past 30+ years.

Some people in my generation…well I’m already hearing that this is their JFK Assassination moment, or Pearl Harbor, or for those younger, their 9/11. Yes, these events were much larger in scale and importance, but it demonstrates the stature Michael Jackson had. At his peak, you could arguably say that he was the most famous person on the planet and many wouldn’t dispute this. He was “The King of Pop”.

Jackson has been accused of some terrible things and frankly, has been a “freak” for much of the past two decades. And I’ll admit, I didn’t personally care for him, his persona, the things he was accused of doing or his music (after Thriller) but this is a MAJOR news story worldwide.

We’ll see how the media covers this over the next week or two. Eventually, Kim Jong Il, Afghanistan and Iran will be back as the top stories. For now, RIP Michael Jackson.

Your thoughts?

North Korea Fires Short-Range Missile

May 29, 2009

North Korea test-fired a short-range missile Friday off the country’s east coast, a South Korean military source said.

From CNN:

U.S. satellite imagery has spotted “vehicle activity” at a North Korean ballistic missile site, two Defense Department officials said Friday.

This activity is similar to that before a long-range missile launch by North Korea earlier this year.

North Korea upbraided the U.N. Security Council for slamming its nuclear test, calling the members of the body “hypocrites” and warning of “stronger self-defense countermeasures” as the world body considers more sanctions against the country.

“There is a limit to our patience,” the Foreign Ministry said in a combative statement.

US Journalist Freed by Iran

May 11, 2009

Great news today! An American journalist jailed for four months in Iran was freed Monday and reunited with her parents after an appeals court suspended her eight-year prison sentence on charges of spying for the United States.

From the Associated Press:

The release of Roxana Saberi, a 32-year-old dual Iranian-American citizen, clears a major snag in President Barack Obama’s efforts to engage Iran in a dialogue after decades of shunning the country. Washington had called the charges against Saberi baseless and repeatedly demanded her release.

Saberi’s arrest in late January, followed by a secretive, one-day trial and a heavy prison sentence, prompted sharp U.S. criticism. Soon after, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other officials appeared to back off, suggesting the sentence could be reversed.

On Monday, an appeals court reduced her jail term to a two-year suspended sentence, Iran’s judiciary spokesman, Ali Reza Jamshidi, told reporters. Jamshidi said she was free to leave Iran.

“I’m very happy that she is free. Roxana is in good condition,” Saberi’s Iranian-born father Reza Saberi said after her release.

“We had expected her release but not so soon. She will be preparing to leave (Iran) tomorrow or the day after tomorrow,” he told reporters at his house in Tehran.

He said Saberi was staying at a friend’s house, where her parents would join her.