Monday, March 31, 2008

Iraq: Day Seven of Operation “Charge of the Knights”

Day Seven of Operation...
“Charge of the Knights”
, March 31, 2008

I’d have to say that things seem to be going fairly well today as the fighting tapers off in Basra and the rest of Iraq. Most noted news today is that Operations in Basra should come to an end by the latter part of this week and that the curfew in Baghdad has now been lifted.
Let see how the MSM is reporting the news out of Iraq today...

* had this report out earlier this morning...
Gun-toting fighters of hardline Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr melted away from Iraqi streets on Monday after week-long clashes with security forces that killed at least 461 people... Following six days of intense fighting with security forces, Sadr on Sunday reined in his fighters, signaling an end to the firefights which have also wounded more than 1,100 people across the country...
Read this report in full at the link below...

Sadr fighters vanish from Iraq's streets

* has this take on the news today...
An Iraqi parliamentarian hails Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's order to demilitarize its loyalists to bring a halt to the military clashes extended in southern Iraqi city of Basar... In an interview with Alalam, Legha Ale Yasin said that in case of no military or political interference by occupier forces, more agreements could be settled to bring an extensive peace and security in the region... "Yet Sadr movement has fulfilled its entire obligation in demilitarizing its fighters. So it expects the government to bring an end to its random raids targeting his loyalists," she said.
Read the rest at link below...
MP Hails Sadr Ceasefire Order

* reports...
The Iraqi government said Monday that military operations in Basra will end within days as the U.S.-controlled Green Zone in Baghdad came under fire again Monday... For days, Iraqi forces have clashed with Shia militias in the southern oil port city as part of a crackdown ordered by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. An estimated 400 people have been killed as fighting spread to Baghdad neighborhoods and other southern cities... But Sami al-Askari, a key adviser to al-Maliki, told the Associated Press that most of Basra was "under control.”...
Military operations in Basra to end soon: Iraqi government

* Pentagon Channel Report *

News Video Courtesy of DoD

Charges Sworn Against Guantanamo Bay Detainee Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani of Zanzibar, Tanzania

Charges Sworn Against Detainee Ghailani
, March 31, 2008

The Defense Department announced today that charges have been sworn against Guantanamo Bay detainee Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani of Zanzibar, Tanzania. He is the fifteenth detainee against whom charges have been sworn under the Military Commissions Act.

The charges allege that he participated in the planning and preparation of the attack on the U. S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Aug. 7, 1998. The attack killed 11 people and injured hundreds. It is alleged that Ghailani was involved in the following actions, among other things:

* Purchasing TNT, detonators and detonation cord on multiple occasions and transporting the bomb components to Dar es Salaam;

* Moving the bomb components to various safe houses in and around Dar es Salaam;

* Assisting in the purchase of the truck used in the attack;

* Facilitating the purchase of oxygen cylinder tanks which were used as bomb components;

* Escorting the bomb engineer between Dar es Salaam and Mombasa, Kenya after the bomb had been assembled;

* Scouting the American Embassy with the suicide bomb driver;

* Meeting with co-conspirators in Nairobi, Kenya, shortly before the bombing;

* Joining the co-conspirators on a flight from Nairobi to Karachi, Pakistan, one day prior to the bombing.

Based on these allegations and others outlined in the charge sheet, Ghailani is charged with the following substantive offenses: murder in violation of the Law of War, murder of protected persons, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, destruction of property in violation of the Law of War and terrorism. In addition, he is charged with conspiracy to commit all of the above offenses.

Ghailani is further charged with providing material support to terrorism. This charge alleges that after the bombing, Ghailani continued in his service to al Qaeda as a document forger, physical trainer at an al Qaeda training camp, and as a bodyguard for Usama bin Laden.

In accordance with the Military Commissions Act of 2006, these sworn charges will be forwarded to the convening authority, Susan J. Crawford. She will then make an independent determination as to whether to refer some, all, or none of the charges to trial by military commission. If the convening authority decides to refer the case to trial, she will designate commission panel members (jurors). The chief trial judge of the Military Commissions Trial Judiciary will detail a military judge to the case.

The chief prosecutor has recommended the charges against Ghailani be referred as capital. If the convening authority, in her sole discretion, decides to refer the case as capital, the accused may face the possibility of being sentenced to death.

The military commissions provide the following protections for the accused: to elect not to testify at trial and to have no adverse inference drawn from it; to be represented by detailed military counsel, as well as civilian counsel of his own selection and at no expense to the government; to examine all evidence presented to a jury by the prosecution; to obtain evidence and to call witnesses on his own behalf including expert witnesses; to confront and cross-examine every witness called by the prosecution; to be present during the presentation of evidence; to have no statements obtained by torture admitted; to have a military commission panel (jury) of at least five military members (12 in a capital case) determine guilt or innocence by a two-thirds majority, or in the case of a capital offense, 12 members must unanimously decide to impose a sentence of death; and the right to an appeal to the Court of Military Commission Review, then through the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to the U. S. Supreme Court.

The charges are only allegations that the accused has committed offenses under the Military Commissions Act, and the accused remains innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Taken from DoD Press Release #253-08

DoD Announces Change in Status of Army Soldier

No. 254-08 March 31, 2008
DoD Announces Change in Status of Army Soldier

The Department of Defense today announced the change in status of a soldier supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom from missing-captured to deceased.

The armed forces medical examiner confirmed on March 29th, human remains recovered in Iraq were those of Staff Sgt. Keith M. Maupin, 24, of Batavia, Ohio.

Maupin had been listed as missing-captured since April 16, 2004. His convoy came under attack by individuals using rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire on April 9, 2004.

He was assigned to the 724th Transportation Company, Bartonville, Ill.
The incident remains under investigation.

Media with queries regarding operations in Iraq should contact the Multi-National Division – Baghdad public affairs office, (914) 822-8174, or email ... Change-in-status questions should be directed to Shari Lawrence, deputy public affairs officer for U.S. Army Human Resources Command, Alexandria, Va., (703) 325-8856. Media may contact the public affairs officer assisting the Maupin family, Lt. Col. Willie Harris, U.S. Army Reserve Command, (404) 201-1770.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Iraq: Day Six of Operation “Charge of the Knights”

Day Six of Operation...
“Charge of the Knights”
, March 30, 2008

The best and newest news out of Iraq today is that the Iraqi Shi'ite Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has called on ALL of his followers to stop battling the Government Forces... In return the Iraqi Government welcomed this news as a positive sign. However... it is also being reported today that the Iraqi Troops will continue with Operation “Charge of the Knights” and they will not stop until all their goals are met...

Let see how the MSM is reporting the news out of Iraq today...

* BBC News...
Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr has ordered his fighters off the streets of Basra and other cities in an effort to end clashes with security forces... He said in a statement that his movement wanted the Iraqi people to stop the bloodshed and maintain the nation's independence and stability...
Read this report in full at link below...

Iraqi cleric calls off militias

Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr told his followers to stop fighting and to cooperate with Iraqi security forces Sunday, as U.S. and Iraqi forces targeted his Mehdi Army in Basra and Baghdad... Al-Maliki compared the outlaws, on whom the government is cracking down, to al Qaeda and said troops would not leave Basra "until security is restored.”... "We will continue to stand up to these gangs in every inch of Iraq," he said. "It is unfortunate that we used to use say these very words about al Qaeda, when all the while, there were people among us who are worse than al Qaeda."...
The full report is at link below...
Al-Sadr calls off fighting amid airstrikes, crackdown

The following is a small part of the transcript of the Sunday, March 30, 2008 edition of "FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace"...
(Wallace interviews Senators Graham and Reed in today’s show.)
GRAHAM: Well, I would argue we have stabilized events in Iraq dramatically by having better security.

There are really three fights going on. The fight against Al Qaeda in Anbar has turned our way dramatically because the Anbar province is now liberated from Al Qaeda because Sunni Arab Iraqis aligned with us to fight Al Qaeda, and that's been a great success story, the surge.

The Kurdish separatists in the north have been contained — military operations by Turkey but, more importantly, by Iraqi Kurdish politicians trying to control the separatist movement.

Now the fight's moved to the south. Iran is backing the Shia militias. I don't know how much power Al-Sadr has. If he said stop fighting tomorrow, I don't know if people would listen.

Part of the problem has been that the cease-fire was never fully embraced by the Shia militias — the Mahdi army in the south. So at the end of the day, Sadr is a minority within the parliament. Politically, he's a minority.

The other Shia parties have rallied around Maliki. So have the Sunnis. If he comes out of this thing stronger politically and militarily, and his desire is to align with Iran, it's a bad thing.

If he comes to the table and will become a more productive partner in uniting Iraq, it would be a good thing. I think the jury's still out...

Read the full transcript at

* has this report out and it goes in part like this...
...It's the latest episode in a strategy that has been under way for some time now to draw out the militia's hard-core elements, thus dividing it into "good" and "bad," according to the deputy chief of staff of Iraq's armed forces, a secular Shiite who has strong ties to US military commanders, including Gen. David Petraeus... "There is the good, bad, and ugly, but the heads are linked. Now we are rooting out the bad guys," says Gen. Naseer al-Abadi...
Read the rest below...
Sadr reins in Shiite militiamen, sends mixed signals.

Iraq Flag Image Courtesy of CIA

Al-Sadr Tells Followers to End Violence in Iraq

About News Video: The Iraqi prime minister says a decision by Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to pull his fighters off the streets is "a step in the right direction."
News Video posted on YouTube by

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Iraq: Day Five of Operation “Charge of the Knights”

Day Five of Operation...
“Charge of the Knights”
, March 29, 2008

The Herald Sun website gets us started with today’s Iraq updates... Iraqi Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has ordered his followers not to lay down their weapons, defying a five-day-old crackdown by Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki, who has ordered them to disarm... Sadr's remarks left even less room for negotiations to end a standoff that has seen violence spread from the southern city of Basra through towns in Iraq's southern Shi'ite heartland and neighborhoods of Baghdad... "Moqtada al-Sadr asks his followers not to deliver weapons to the government. Weapons should be turned over only to a government which can expel the (US) occupiers," Sadr aide Hassan Zargani said...
Read this report in full at link below...
Don't disarm, cleric tells followers

Iraqi soldiers uncovered a cache of Iranian-made rockets and armor-piercing roadside bombs Saturday in an apartment building occupied by Shiite militia members south of Baghdad, the U.S. military said...The cache was found in one apartment and contained 17 bombs known as explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, three Iranian-made 107 mm rockets and an assortment of rifles and Iraqi security force uniforms...
Read the rest at link below...

Iraqi troops find cache of Iranian-made rockets, other weapons south of Baghdad
More Blood Spilt in Iraq on...
Day 5 of Govt Crackdown
Video posted on LiveLeak by barnesy

Saddam Hussein Did Give Terrorist Support

Saturday, March 29, 2008
The Eureka Reporter website brings us this early Saturday morning Editorial and it starts off like this... A trove of newly-declassified documents, mostly from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq Intelligence Service, reveals he and his henchmen were up to their eyebrows in supporting terrorist organizations...
Read this article in full at link below...
Saddam’s terrorist support: More than we’d imagined

North Korea’s Missile Launch Friday Heightens Tensions on Korean Peninsula

Saturday, March 29, 2008
North Korea fired a volley of short-range missiles into the sea from its west coast at 10 a.m. on Mar. 28... ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff announced, “North Korea launched short-range missiles into the Yellow Sea. The test firing seems aimed at checking the performance and raising the operation capability of the missile.”...
Read this report in full at
The Dong-A

Geopolitical tension on the Korean Peninsula increased significantly when North Korea test-fired several short-range missiles into the waters off its west coast on March 28, hours after it issued a statement denying allegations about a uranium enrichment program and nuclear cooperation with Syria, key sticking points in the six-party negotiations aimed at finding a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear standoff...
Read the rest of this report at
The Hankyoreh has this report out today and it starts off like this... North Korea warned the South on Saturday their reconciliation process could be in jeopardy unless Seoul apologizes for a top military leader's comment about attacking the North... The North's military condemned the remark by the new head of the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said Seoul would strike a suspected North Korean nuclear weapons site if Pyongyang attempted to attack the South with atomic bombs...
Read the rest at link below...

NKorea warns reconciliation with South in jeopardy after attack threat
North Korea Flag by website

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 252-08 March 29, 2008
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Spc. Joshua A. Molina, 20, of Houston, Texas, died March 27th in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany.
For more information media may contact the U.S. Army, Europe, public affairs office at 011-49-6221-57-5816 or 8694, or email:

Friday, March 28, 2008

Iraq: Day Four of Operation “Charge of the Knights”

Day Four of Operation...
“Charge of the Knights”
, March 28, 2008

Map courtesy of CENTCOM

I haven’t been by Mohammed Fadhil’s Blog, Iraq The Model, in a while but today I went by and as usual... found another very informative read by the man. Fadhil is a Baghdad Editor for Pajamas Media.
Click his latest post out at link below...
Behind the Bloodshed in Basra
Let’s see what else is being reported about Iraq today...

* has this take on the news out of Iraq today...
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki Friday extended the deadline to April 8 for Shia militiamen to hand over weapons or face severe penalties... In a statement he said that all those who would deliver heavy and intermediate weapons to security forces within these timeframe would be rewarded financially. Al-Maliki has already vowed to go all out in fight against the Shia militia...
Read the rest at link below...
Iraqi PM extends deadline of surrender to April 8, al-Sadr fights on

* reports the news out of Iraq this way...
U.S. forces stepped deeper Friday into the Iraqi government's fight to cripple Shiite militias, launching airstrikes in the southern city of Basra and firing a Hellfire missile in the main Shiite stronghold in Baghdad... The American support occurred as Iraqi troops struggled against strong resistance in Basra and retaliation elsewhere in Shiite areas — including more salvos of rockets or mortars into the U.S.-protected Green Zone in Baghdad... It was the first time American jets have been called to attack militia positions since Iraqi ground forces launched an operation Tuesday to clear Basra of the armed groups that have effectively ruled the streets of the country's second-largest city for nearly three years...
Read this report in full at link below...
US attacks Shiite targets

* has this report...
American aircraft hit targets in Basra late Thursday and Friday, joining for the first time an onslaught by Iraqi security forces intended to oust Shiite militias in the southern port city...
U.S. military joins Iraqi Army in Basra assault

News Video posted on LiveLeak by barnesy

Photo for the Day - March 28, 2008

* Photo for the Day * Children crowd into class during the first day of school at Jan Qadam elementary school, in Afghanistan's Parwan province, March 24, 2008. Village elders, Ministry of Education officials and coalition soldiers gathered to celebrate the first day of school and to dedicate the new school library and science lab.
Read the Story at link below...
Afghan School Gets New Library, Science Lab for Opening Day
Photo by Staff Sgt. Marie Schult, USA

Hizbullah Dramatically Increases New Long Range Rocket Reach

Hizbullah Dramatically Increases
New Long Range Rocket Reach...
Rockets Now Capable Of Hitting The Heart Of Israel
, March 28, 2008 brings us this troubling morning news that reports Iran/Syria are now arming Hizbullah with new rockets with ranges up to 300 km. The report goes in part like this...

With Iranian backing, Hizbullah militants have dramatically increased their rocket range and can now threaten most of Israel, anonymous Defense Ministry officials said Wednesday, explaining that the Lebanese organization has acquired new Iranian rockets with a range of about 300 kilometers. This means the guerrillas can hit anywhere in Israel's heavily populated center and reach as far south as Dimona...
Read the full report at link below...
Hizbullah increases rocket range; can now reach Dimona

* InfoLive.TV has this take on the story...
Since the Second Lebanon war, Hizbullah has stockpiled thousands of short and long range rockets that have a distance capability of up to 300 kilometers, capable of plunging the entire State of Israel into their range, and the ability of hitting major populated centers in Israel as well as strategic facilities, including the nuclear reactor at Dimona in the south...

Read the rest at link below...
Hizbullah Has Thousands of Long Range Rockets Capable Of Hitting The Heart Of Israel

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 250-08 March 28, 2008
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Spc. Gregory B. Rundell, 21, of Ramsey, Minn., died March 26th in Taji Iraq, of wounds suffered from small arms fire. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
For more information media may contact the 25th Infantry Division public affairs office at (808) 655-6341.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Iraq: Day Three of Operation “Charge of the Knights”

Day Three of Operation...
“Charge of the Knights”
Thursday, March 27, 2008

*We Will Fight To The End!
*Iraq's PM vows to stay course as clashes remain unabated
*Basra fight widens rift among Shiite factions
*Fighting continues unabated in Basra
*Terrorists Launch Indirect-Fire Attacks in Baghdad
*24 terrorists killed in Baghdad

Army File Photo by Spc George Welcome_2nd BCT PAO_ 101st Abn Div

President Bush gives Major Speech on Iraq today.

It went in part like this...

...The Iraqi forces are growing in capability. Recently, they planned and executed a highly effective operation to secure nearly nine million pilgrims celebrating the religious holiday of Arbaeen. And as we speak, Iraqi security forces are waging a tough battle against militia fighters and criminals in Basra -- many of whom have received arms and training and funding from Iran.

Prime Minister Maliki's bold decision -- and it was a bold decision -- to go after the illegal groups in Basra shows his leadership, and his commitment to enforce the law in an even-handed manner. It also shows the progress the Iraqi security forces have made during the surge. Iraqi forces planned this operation and they deployed substantial extra forces for it. They're leading the operation. Prime Minister Maliki has traveled to Basra to oversee it firsthand.

This offensive builds on the security gains of the surge, and demonstrates to the Iraqi people that their government is committed to protecting them. There's a strong commitment by the central government of Iraq to say that no one is above the law. This operation is going to take some time to complete, and the enemy will try to fill the TV screens with violence. But the ultimate result will be this: Terrorists and extremists in Iraq will know they have no place in a free and democratic society...

Read/View the full Transcript/Video HERE
(Good Speech Mr. President...)
Gulf Daily News has this take on the news coming out of Iraq today and it started off like this... Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki yesterday vowed to crush Shi'ite militants in Basra. "We entered this battle with determination and we will fight to the end. No retreat. No talks. No negotiations," he told tribal leaders in the southern city...
Read the report at Gulf Daily News...

* China View...
Iraq's PM vows to stay course as clashes remain unabated
Special report: Tension escalates in Iraq

Moqtada al-Sadr's powerful Shiite movement upped the ante Thursday in its battle with Iraqi government forces. Militiamen loyal to the young cleric refused to back down in their fight in the southern oil-rich city of Basra and his foot soldiers in Baghdad took to the streets in a show of force, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki... The clock continues to tick away on Mr. Maliki's 72-hour ultimatum for Mr. Sadr's Mahdi Army militia to lay down its weapons in Basra or face all-out assault. At the moment, witnesses in Basra say there appears to be no sign of any letup in fighting between government forces and the Shiite gunmen, who are said to still control 75 percent of the city...
Basra fight widens rift among Shiite factions

* Radio New Zealand News...
Fighting continues unabated in Basra

Terrorists Launch Indirect-Fire Attacks in Baghdad

Terrorists launched 11 indirect-fire attacks against civilians, Iraqi security forces and coalition forces in Baghdad today.

Five indirect-fire attacks struck in the vicinity of the International Zone, killing one civilian and wounding 14. Three indirect-fire attacks struck two U.S. forward operating bases and one joint security station east of the Tigris River, injuring four U.S. soldiers.

Five mortar rounds struck two joint security stations and a "Sons of Iraq" citizen security group checkpoint in West Rashid, wounding three Iraqi security volunteers.

"These rogue elements are haphazardly firing rockets and mortars, killing and injuring innocent Iraqi and governmental civilians," said Army Col. Allen Batschelet, chief of staff of Multinational Division Baghdad. "(Iraqi security forces) and coalition forces are taking steps to reduce these attacks and pursue those responsible."

Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers engaged and killed two terrorists spotting for the indirect-fire attacks.

Terrorists also staged several attacks around Iraq yesterday, firing 16 rockets into the International Zone in Baghdad and targeting members of the Sons of Iraq in Tikrit and Salahuddin.

The 16 rockets were fired into the International Zone from surrounding Baghdad districts in four separate attacks during the morning and early afternoon.

At about 5:30 a.m., five 107 mm rockets hit the International Zone; four more 107 mm rockets struck at about 9:15 a.m.; three 107 mm rockets were in the third attack; and four 107 mm rockets struck at about 2:50 p.m. One coalition force soldier, two U.S. civilians, and one Iraqi army soldier were wounded in the attack. Several structures and one vehicle also were damaged.

In Salahuddin, two Sons of Iraq were murdered, and a woman and child were injured in an attack by al Qaeda in Iraq. The two men killed were father and son and confirmed members of the Sons of Iraq in Samarra. The woman and child were transported to a coalition forces hospital for treatment.

In Tikrit, a car bomb detonated, injuring seven Sons of Iraq and two Iraqi citizens. The injured were evacuated to a local Iraqi medical facility for treatment.

"This incident is just another example of the desperation (al Qaeda in Iraq) is showing," said Army Maj. Dan Meyers, a spokesman for Multinational Division North. "Acts of intimidation and cowardice such as these demonstrate the lack of regard for innocent civilian life."

In separate operations March 25 and yesterday, Iraqi special operations forces advised by U.S. Special Forces soldiers detained eight suspects.

In Baghdad, Iraqi Special Forces detained one suspected al Qaeda member who helped create a suicide network associated with attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces in the Baghdad area. The suspect also recently formed a criminal group to conduct attacks against coalition forces in Tahrir, southeast of Baghdad. Two additional suspects were detained in the operation and are being held for further questioning.

In Basra, Iraqi special forces troops detained a suspected criminal who is reported to be an illegal weapons dealer in the area. The suspect is believed to be smuggling and selling massive amounts of weapons to Iranian-backed "special groups" and criminal elements that attack Iraqi and coalition forces. Four other suspects were detained and are being held for questioning.

In other developments, coalition forces conducted operations throughout Iraq on March 25 and yesterday, targeting suspected terrorists who are believed to be associated with al Qaeda in Iraq senior leadership and others suspected of organizing suicide bombings.

In Tikrit, intelligence sources led coalition forces to a building, where they called for the occupants to come out. When the occupants did not comply, the ground force approached the building and came under a heavy small-arms attack. Coalition forces called in supporting aircraft to suppress the fire. Numerous large secondary explosions came from the building, indicating stored weapons or explosives.

During the engagement, multiple terrorists exited the building and ran into adjacent buildings. Coalition forces called for civilians to exit the buildings, and women and children who complied were moved to a safe area. It was later determined other civilians remained in the building.

Five terrorists, one Iraqi man, three Iraqi women and three Iraqi children were killed. Six Iraqi women, five Iraqi children and one Iraqi man were injured. The injured were treated on scene by coalition medical professionals, and all but one man were transported to a coalition medical facility for further treatment. It is uncertain whether the casualties came from coalition or terrorist fire.

"These terrorists have a complete disregard for humanity and constantly place innocent Iraqis in harm's way, as they did here by invading civilian homes and continuing to engage coalition forces, using the homes for cover and concealment," said Navy Capt. Vic Beck, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman.

In the northern part of the country, intelligence reports led coalition forces to Mosul, where they captured an alleged terrorist suspected to be a suicide bomb cell leader with strong ties to terrorists in that area. He is believed to have a role in recent suicide attacks in Mosul. Coalition forces also detained two other suspected terrorists in that operation.

West of Samarra yesterday, coalition forces detained three suspected terrorists during an operation targeting associates of al Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders.

"Al Qaeda in Iraq is an adaptive, barbaric enemy that will use any means possible to create violence," Beck said. "Despite their calls for violence, Iraqis continue to reject the terrorists' Taliban-like ideology and are working with Iraqi and coalition forces for a safe and secure Iraq."

In Iraq operations March 25:

-- Multinational Division Baghdad attack helicopter crews destroyed two enemy positions in separate attacks in Baghdad. No coalition forces or Iraqi citizens were injured as a result of the two attacks.

-- Iraqi security forces responded to enemy gun fire in the city of Kut, where fighting broke out in areas known as criminal strongholds several hours after a curfew was imposed by Iraqi forces.

-- A combined Iraqi police and Iraqi army force stopped an organized attack in Hillah. A military-style force, armed with AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, attacked coalition and Iraqi forces with RPGs. Iraqi army and police forces counterattacked, secured major intersections, and engaged the militants over the course of several hours, forcing them to retreat to a mosque.

-- Coalition soldiers found and destroyed four suspected car bombs in the southern Diyala river valley during Operation Viking Expedition. As part of the operation, air weapon team helicopters engaged three suspicious vehicles, destroying them with Hellfire missiles. After a search of the area, a bunker was found containing another vehicle, as well as a small cache nearby. The bunker and cache were destroyed by two bombs dropped by close-air support planes.

In operations March 24 and 25, Iraqi security forces detained 15 suspects and coalition forces found two weapons caches.

In Baghdad, Iraqi special operations forces detained a suspected criminal cell leader reported to be responsible for improvised explosive device cell members who have attacked Iraqi and coalition forces in the Baghdad area. Three additional suspected cell members were also detained.

In Samarra, Iraqi National Police detained a suspected al Qaeda in Iraq military commander, who is reported to lead 25 fighters in the greater Samarra area. He also is believed to have been involved in organizing small-arms fire, IED and car-bomb attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces. Ten additional suspects are being held for further questioning.

Sons of Iraq members and an informant provided information to coalition force soldiers that led to two weapons caches in the Shaka 3 region of Iraq. The first cache, discovered March 24, consisted of 38 rifle grenades, 64 OG-15P grenades, 27 OG-9 rockets, 21 PG-9 rockets, two OG-7 rockets and an anti-tank mine. The second cache was discovered the following day based on a tip from an informant and contained 400 heavy machine gun rounds.

From a DoD’s American Forces Press Service news article that was compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases

Read more MNF-I updates below:
24 terrorists killed in Baghdad


Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki...
Send them to HELL!!!

News Video Update

News Video posted on LiveLeak by bellava

Statement by Ambassador Gillerman to the UN Security Council

Statement to the UN Security Council by
Ambassador Dan Gillerman
Permanent Representative of Israel
to the United Nations
March 25, 2008

"Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question"

Mr. President...
Allow me to congratulate you on your very able stewardship of the Council this month, and thank you for your principled leadership. We are grateful to the Secretary-General for honoring us with his presence and for his commitment. I also wish to thank Under-Secretary-General Pascoe for his briefing. On this note, I wish to make clear that Israel does not act against "alleged" militants but against declared and recognized terrorists. I hope "alleged militants" is not the UN's new definition of terrorism.

Mr. President, Distinguished Excellencies...
The struggle of the moderates against the extremists which is raging around the world is the defining challenge of our day. Across the globe, forces of extremism seek to transform resolvable political conflicts into endless religious wars, using all means of violence at their disposal. They fight not for their own rights, but to deprive the rights of others. In our region, Iran, a notorious state sponsor of terrorism, uses proxies like Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas among the Palestinians to draw the moderates into a cosmic battle, where victory is not about achievement but about total annihilation.

The very ideology of the extremists makes a dialogue with them impossible. Which is why Israel - along with other like-minded states - understands that dealing with extremists is a zero-sum equation. In contrast, negotiations with the moderates, as Israel is doing with a moderate Palestinian Authority leadership that renounces terrorism and violence, can yield great benefit for both parties.

I want to believe that my Palestinian colleague represents the moderates in spite of the distorted picture he felt compelled to draw today.

As we have seen, the extremists will stop at nothing to break the coalition of moderates and destroy all prospects for peace. During the last month, Hamas fired more than 300 rockets at Israel, at least 23 of them Iranian-made Grad missiles that hit the city of Ashkelon, a quaint coastal city with a population of 120,000.

The rocket attacks marked an escalation of violence not just in number, but also in weaponry. Grad rockets - smuggled into the Gaza Strip from Iran during the breach of the Gaza border this January - have greater range, larger warheads, and fragment on impact. Hamas' new weapon of choice means that a quarter of a million Israeli civilians now live in constant danger of rocket fire. We can all thank Iran for adding another weapon to the Hamas arsenal, in addition to its already heinous suicide attacks and deadly Qassam rockets.

Hamas and its terrorist state backers bear sole responsibility for the escalation of violence. The Secretary-General rightfully told the Council at the meeting held earlier this month (quote) "I condemn Palestinian rocket attacks and call for the immediate cessation of such acts of terrorism, which serve no purpose, endanger Israeli civilians and bring misery to the Palestinian people" (end quote). Indeed, it is terrorism - plain and simple.

As Hamas unleashed its terrorism on the civilians of Ashkelon, it continued to wreak havoc and daily terror on the people of Sderot - a small but resilient city of 23,000, where children no longer run around on playgrounds; they now run to bomb shelters. Such is the reality in Sderot, where 15 seconds is all you have to find safety before a Qassam rocket comes crashing down.

Mr. President...
Though some wish to refer to the apparent lull in Hamas' rocket attacks, I must warn that the perceived quiet is only on the surface. The bombs keep ticking, albeit quietly.

The rockets out of Gaza have not stopped. Hamas is using this time to smuggle in and produce more rockets. Building rockets is not quiet. It is a silent promise - a promise of what is to come next: more terror and more violence, more extremism and more bloodshed.

In fact, we have seen the great lengths that the extremists are willing to go to in order to kill and maim Israelis. Just over two weeks ago, a Palestinian terrorist infiltrated the Mercaz Harav rabbinical seminary in Jerusalem and ruthlessly gunned down eight young men, who were studying the Bible in the upstairs library. Eleven others were injured, many of whom remain in serious condition. The terrorist chose his target carefully; Mercaz Harav is one of Israel's most revered institutions of Zionism and Jewish learning, and it is situated in the heart of Jerusalem, footsteps away from the seat of the Israeli Government and our most cherished democratic institutions.

As medical and rescue teams rushed to the scene, as the Israeli public heard the news of this appalling massacre, as mothers and fathers were called to retrieve the remains of their slaughtered sons, the extremists in Gaza rejoiced at the spilling of Israeli blood. I am sure that many in this Council watched with horror and disgust as Hamas terrorists joyfully fired their rifles into the air and passed out candy to children in celebration. If anyone doubted what the extremists stand for, the reaction in Gaza to the murder of eight Israeli boys sets the record straight. It was also a stark reminder that these were the same people who danced on the rooftops after 9/11.

Which is why, Mr. President, it was so sad and disturbing that the Council could not condemn the terrorist attack - particularly in spite of your valiant efforts and those of many other distinguished ambassadors on the Council. The Security Council has a longstanding practice of condemning terrorism, no matter the victims, no matter the location, no matter the perpetrator, no matter the motivation. Yet the Council could not unanimously condemn this terrorist attack and intentional killing of civilians, for the Council was blocked by a politicized opposition, of one Member State in particular.

The hypocrisy and cynicism displayed by this state, with its long history of terror does not bode well for this Council, and draws sad and alarming conclusions as to the screening process states undergo before attaining a seat on this august body. It was indeed a sad moment for this Council, but also one that should be a wake up call to us all.

Mr. President...
Lately, a particularly worrisome trend has been apparent when it comes to the discourse concerning our region. Some have a penchant for equating the lawful actions of states in defense of their citizens with the violence of terrorists whose goal is to endanger those very civilians. The misguided tendency to accept the "status quo" of terrorism - as expressed even by some UN officials in their statements and reports - is simply unacceptable. Such parity, which is often in the name of an ill-conceived balance, undermines the strength and credibility of moderate states to bolster one another and isolate the extremists.

Mr. President...
Israel goes to great lengths to ensure the safety and well-being of all civilian populations - Palestinian and Israeli alike. Whereas Israel makes all efforts to protect civilians in accordance with international law, Hamas indiscriminately fires rockets into Israeli civilian areas. Whereas Israel ensures that medicines and fuel enter the Gaza Strip to reach hospitals and needy civilians, Hamas hijacks those trucks and diverts them to its bomb making factories and terrorist camps. Whereas Israel allows humanitarian convoys into Gaza - more than 1600 trucks and over 20,000 tons of aid in recent weeks alone - Hamas cynically fires on those same crossing points, so it can fabricate a pretext for inciting the Palestinian public against Israel.

Moreover, the cruelty of Hamas continues to be seen in its holding of Gilad Shalit, who was abducted by that terrorist organization in June 2006 and begins today his twenty-second month in captivity. All the while, Hamas has refused to provide details of his condition or well-being. We continue to hope and pray for his safe return home.

Surely, no similarities can be drawn between Israel and Hamas. The immeasurable difference between the moderates and the extremists can be seen both in their rhetoric in this Hall and their actions on the ground.

In this context, I can only hope that my Palestinian colleague's poignant outcry against the deliberate killing of children, describing it as a sinking to the abyss, was really directed at the Hamas terrorists he again failed to mention by name.

Let us be very clear: while for Israel every dead Palestinian child is a horrible mistake and tragedy, for the terrorists every dead Israeli child is a victory and a cause for celebration.

Mr. President...
Allow me to briefly turn to the situation along our northern border. As you know, Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) changed the reality on the ground following the 2006 Second Lebanon War, and constituted an important achievement for this Council. Hence, the international community must ensure that the implementation of resolution 1701 remains a priority issue, and my delegation supports the Council taking the appropriate action to show its resolve.

In this context, I wish to draw attention to three main areas: (1) stemming the illegal flow of weapons through the porous Syrian-Lebanese border, (2) preventing the rearming of Hizbullah - which has already adapted its weaponry and tactics so as to take into account the UNIFIL presence south of the Litani River, as its spokesmen openly declare - and (3) the unconditional release of our boys, the Israeli soldiers Udi Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, kidnapped on 12 July 2006 by Hizbullah. The Council, in adopting resolution 1701, committed itself to seeing their release, and I call on the membership to keep its word.

To be sure, the new and improved UNIFIL on the ground is doing important work, and - among the positives on the ground - Israel welcomes the trilateral meetings between the IDF, the Lebanese Army, and UNIFIL, as well as efforts to demarcate the Blue Line.

However, as I began my statement referring to the dangers of extremism, here too it must be emphasized that Hizbullah poses an extremist threat to the region. Indeed, Hizbullah and Hamas share the same strategies and tactics and are funded and supported by the same ominous backers, Syria and Iran. The relationship between Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hizbullah are continually reinforced for us, as we recently saw in the expressions of sympathy and support made by those leaders, again just yesterday, regarding the arch terrorist Imad Mughnieh.

Listen to the words of the terrorist leaders themselves, like the Hamas commander in Gaza, who recently told the Sunday Times that Hamas (quote) "has sent seven 'courses' of our fighters to Iran" (end quote). According to the commander, a further 650 Hamas fighters have trained in Syria under instructors who learned their trade, techniques, and ways in Iran. Sixty-two are in Syria right now. He said, Hamas was modeling itself on Hizbullah.

Clearly, Syria and Iran both play host to and support global and local terrorist organizations. The international community must press to end that support.

Mr. President...
Israel understands it must work with the moderate, legitimate Palestinian Authority leadership to show the people of the region that the path of moderation will bring tangible benefit to all. This is why suspending the ongoing dialogue and talks between Israel and the Palestinians would be a grave mistake. The extremists have no real solutions to anybody's problems. All they want is to see our failure. Moderation must be seen as the only answer and legitimate alternative to extremism.

Israel knows it cannot accomplish this alone. It needs the support of like-minded moderate leaders in the region that understand the threat posed by the extremists - not just to us but to them and the world - and are willing to do what it takes. This is a goal all the moderates share. If we begin to show divisions and weaknesses, the extremists will take advantage of the indecision and hesitation.

The international community needs to strengthen the bilateral process between the two parties, and to show a collective resolve to support the negotiations that will bring lasting security, stability, and peace to all people of our region. This is the mandate of the international community. This is its calling; this is its duty.

The collective resolve must be shown, first and foremost, by this Council. We in Israel are committed to showing it each and every day, in partnership with the moderates around us, until moderation, modernity, and common sense prevails.

Thank you.

From a MFA Newsletter

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 248-08 March 28, 2008
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Staff Sgt. Joseph D. Gamboa, 34, of Yigo, Guam, died March 25th of wounds suffered when he came under indirect fire in Baghdad, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany.
For more information media may contact the U.S. Army, Europe, public affairs office at 011-49-6221-57-5816 or 8694, or email:

DoD Identifies Army Casualties

No. 243-08 March 26, 2008
DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of four soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died March 24th in Baghdad, Iraq, from wounds suffered when their vehicle encountered an improvised explosive on March 23rd. They were assigned to the 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.

Killed were:
Pvt. George Delgado, 21, of Palmdale, Calif.
Staff Sgt. Christopher M. Hake, 26, of Enid, Okla.
Pfc. Andrew J. Habsieger, 22, of Festus, Mo.
Spc. Jose A. Rubio Hernandez, 24, of Mission, Texas.

For more information media may contact the Fort Stewart public affairs
office at (912) 767-2479.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Iraq: Day Two of Operation “Charge of the Knights”

Day Two of Operation “Charge of the Knights”
Map by DoD
Iraqi Forces...
Loyal Shi’ite Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr Militants
Clash in Basra
, March 26, 2008


Iran is Shi’ite - al Qaeda is Sunni

With the success of the U.S. Surge... one can safely say al Qaeda in Iraq has been given a massive blow and is now on the run and almost out. With that said... one can also say that it is now Iran’s turn to be forced out of Iraq and out of its fragile government.

So let it be said today... that this new major operation, by the Iraqi Army mind you, in the southern oil-export city of Basra... could very well be the defining battle against the Shi'ite militias in Iraq.

Let’s see how the MSM
is reporting Day Two of this ongoing battle...

* International Herald Tribune...
Militants loyal to Shi’ite Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr clashed with Iraqi security forces in Basra and Baghdad for a second day on Wednesday in fighting that has killed more than 50 people and wounded hundreds... The fighting between government forces and Sadr's followers has spread to other towns in the south where Sadr wields wide influence, as a ceasefire he imposed on his Mehdi Army militia last August unraveled...
Read this report in full at

... Police said 218 militiamen had been detained since the launch early Tuesday of the security sweep, which has been codenamed Saulat al-Fursan (Charge of the Knights) and is being overseen personally by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki...

Fighting Rages for Control of Oil-Hub Basra

... The operation in Al-Basrah looks like a bold display of force by the Iraqi government. It could signal the government's increasing assertiveness as it takes over greater security responsibilities from the British, who handed much of the governorate over last year. The operation was planned and carried out entirely by the Iraqi military -- aside from some air cover by multinational forces -- and it could provide a crucial test of the government's ability to stand on its own... Success could hand Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki and his beleaguered government a major political victory. Critics have maligned Al-Maliki as a weak and ineffectual leader, and a decisive victory in Al-Basrah could strengthen his position in the eyes of Iraqis and the broader Arab world...
Iraq: Al-Basrah Clashes Could Prove Ominous

Shi'ite radical leader Moqtada Al Sadr yesterday [Wednesday] called for talks to end the crisis in Basra as his militiamen fought new deadly battles with Iraqi forces in the southern port city and other Shi'ite areas... More than 80 people died and hundreds wounded in the fighting, including 20 killed in Sadr City, centered on the southern oil hub of Basra and parts of Baghdad where Sadr's followers hold sway, and spreading to the towns of Hilla, Kut and Diwaniya in the south...
Sadr calls for talks as 80 die

* Fighting Erupts in Critical Iraqi Oil City *

About this News Video: Fighting in Basra and around Iraq is on the rise as followers of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr take to the streets. (March 26)
News Video posted on YouTube by AssociatedPress

> Jason at the Blog, PoliGazette, put up a good post today and it starts off like this... Heavy fighting has broken out in the southern Iraqi city of Basra and naturally many among the anti-war left are joyfully claiming vindication at what they see as the impending failure of the “surge”, linking it yet again to their own domestic partisan obsessions. What these thoroughly predictable ideologues overlook, however, is who is really doing the fighting—Iraqis...
Silver Lining

> Amy Proctor at the Blog, Bottom Line Up Front, put together this great post Monday... Click it out at link below...
Was McCain Right About Iran Training al-Qaeda?
Has translated video interview

Space Shuttle Endeavour Landing

Watch Space Shuttle Endeavour Landing
* LIVE this evening *
Wednesday evening,
March 26, 2008

Image above: Space shuttle Endeavour's second landing opportunity at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., occurs on orbit 249.
Image Credit: NASA

1st Landing Attempt at 6:05pm CDT Delayed
Next Opportunity at 7:39pm CDT

Unstable weather in the Kennedy Space Center area forced flight controllers to pass on STS-123’s first landing opportunity.

The Spaceflight Meteorology Group continues to monitor weather conditions at and around the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Florida spaceport.

If flight controllers give STS-123 the go-ahead to land on the second opportunity, Orbit 249, Commander Dominic Gorie and Pilot Gregory H. Johnson will fire Endeavour’s thrusters at 6:33pm CDT to begin the descent to Florida for a landing at 7:39pm CDT.
UPDATE: 6:40pm CDT
Space Shuttle Endeavour Coming Home!!!
Space shuttle Endeavour has fired its engines, slowing it enough to drop out of orbit. Commander Dominic Gorie and Pilot Gregory H. Johnson are guiding the shuttle on its descent to Kennedy Space Center, Fla., where it is scheduled to land at 7:39pm CDT...
Info taken from the website

Read Latest News and Updates

Watch Landing Live

UPDATE: 7:45pm CDT
Space Shuttle Endeavour Lands Safely
Welcome Home!


Soldier Missing in Action from the Korean War is Identified

No. 240-08 March 26, 2008
Soldier Missing in Action from the Korean War is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is:
U.S. Army Sgt. Harry J. Laurence of Cleveland, Ohio. He will be buried April 9 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.

Representatives from the Army met with Laurence's next-of-kin to explain the recovery and identification process, and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the secretary of the Army.

Laurence was a member of L Company, 31st Infantry Regiment, then making up the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), 7th Infantry Division. The team was engaged against the Chinese People's Volunteer Forces near the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, from Nov. 27-Dec. 11, 1950. The unit was forced to retreat to the south due to intense enemy fire. Laurence was among many soldiers reported missing in action.

In 2001, joint U.S. and Democratic People's Republic of Korea teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted two excavations of a mass grave near the Chosin Reservoir. The site correlates closely with defensive positions held by the 31st RCT at the time of the Chinese attacks. The teams recovered remains believed to be those of 11 U.S. servicemen. Analysis of the remains subsequently led to the identifications of three individuals, including Laurence.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC also used dental comparisons in Laurence's identification.
For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at or call (703) 699-1169.

DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

No. 239-08 March 26, 2008
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Lance Cpl. Dustin L. Canham, 21
, of Lake Stevens, Wash., died March 23rd from a non-hostile incident in Djibouti. He was assigned to Marine Forces Reserve's 6th Engineer Support Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, Portland, Ore. The incident is under investigation.
Media with questions about this Marine can contact the Marine Forces Reserve public affairs office at (504) 678-6539.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Fighting Rages Across Iraq as Battles Erupt with Mahdi Army

Fighting Rages Across Iraq as
Battles Erupt with Mahdi Army
, March 25, 2008
Fighting erupted today in the southern oil-export city of Basra where Iraqi forces have launched a major crackdown on the Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army...
* has this troubling report out on the story and it starts off like this... Iraqi police and soldiers battled Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi fighters Tuesday for control of key neighborhoods in Basra, the country's second-largest city, as the radical Shiite cleric threatened a countrywide campaign of civil revolt...
Read this report in full HERE

* has this text/video report...
Iraqi Shi'ite cleric threatens widespread "civil revolt"
* reports it this way...
Across Iraq, battles erupt with Mahdi Army
More on this story Wednesday as new info comes in...
epa file photo

Hilary Clinton on her Bosnia Claim that she came under Sniper Fire as First Lady

Hilary Clinton now says she misspoke...
about having to dodge sniper fire
on her Bosnia trip as First Lady...
Hell You THINK!!!
“I Misspoke”
News video courtesy of
* As CBS News' Sharyl Attkisson reports, Hillary Clinton's 1996 visit to war-torn Bosnia wasn't quite the harrowing experience that she recounted in a campaign speech last week. While campaign "embellishments" aren’t exactly a novel part of politics, their unveiling can be especially damaging when it involves the underlying argument a candidate is selling...
Read this news article in full at

* reports it this way... Senator Hillary Clinton said she "misspoke" last week when she gave a dramatic description of her arrival in Bosnia 12 years ago, recounting a landing under sniper fire...
Clinton says she 'misspoke' about sniper fire

* has this take...
Clinton: I 'Misspoke' on Bosnia Trip Recollection

* Yahoo News has this ABC News video report...
Clinton vs. Sinbad on Bosnia Trip
CBS Exposes Hillary Clinton Bosnia Trip

News video posted on YouTube by kitchenfloorconflict
My take is this...
President Bush did NOT lie about the Iraq War like you Dems have preached, with passion I might add, over and over again.

Now... if you want to KNOW what a flat-out lie is... well... this is a perfect example!


Another thought... We KNOW what the comedian Sinbad had to say about all of this, (being he and Cheryl Crow were both with Hillary during this trip,) but we have not heard a word out of Cheryl Crow as of yet...