Morning Report: June 7, 2005

Bush pledges Africa aid. The BBC reports that President Bush has pledged $674 million to Ethiopia, Eritrea, and other African nations suffering from famine in a joint effort with the UK. 'US President George W Bush is set to pledge $674m (£350m) in aid for Africa as part of a joint initiative with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. Mr Blair is in Washington to press for the president's support for his plans to get Africa back on its feet.' The aid funds were previously budgeted, but had not been allocated to a country. (BBC)

Iraqi, US troops launch offensive. CNN reports: 'U.S. and Iraqi troops on Tuesday launched an offensive against insurgents in the northwestern city of Tal Afar -- not far from the Syrian border. "Dozens of tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles and Apache helicopters have moved in to a neighborhood in the town which is thought to be a stronghold of insurgents," said senior Baghdad correspondent Jane Arraf, who is embedded with U.S. troops. One American soldier and four insurgents have been killed in the operation, Arraf said. U.S. and Iraqi forces have detained 23 suspected insurgents. Some 4,000 U.S. troops moved into the Tal Afar area in recent weeks. Soldiers from the U.S. 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, along with hundreds of Iraqi Army soldiers, began the operation in a particularly violent neighborhood just before dawn. ...' (CNN)

Stratfor: Peres calls East Jerusalem capture a "mistake". Stratfor (subscription service) reports: 'Israeli Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres said June 7 that Israel's capture of East Jerusalem during the Six-Day war of 1967 was a mistake.' (Stratfor)

The Middle Ground: Bin Laden's failures. Exploring issues raised by The Belmont Club, Kat writes of al-Qaeda's miscalculation in this post at The Middle Ground:
I believe that Bin Laden and Company, lost this war before it even got underway. They did not prepare the political ground work; they greatly under estimated it. Something that should have been news above and beyond the attacks of the same on the US intelligence and administration. While there might have been anger on the "Arab Streets" it was not great enough for some not to question if the cost to benefit ratio as inordinately lopsided. Secondly, his main strike to cut off the command and control structure of the US failed miserably. With the US congress still whole and in session, the US could and would retaliate immediately. The time he was hoping to gain from the chaos and political infighting that would occur before action, did not happen. He lost this battle in the skies of Pennsylvania. Third, he failed to know his enemy and worked off of perceived ideas, some right and some wrong, but mostly relying on his past experience with a similar enemy. He falied to know their technology and he certainly did not know much about equipment or the men on the forces. Fourth, he failed to prepare the physical battle ground and hold it, losing much time to escaping, re-grouping and re-arming. Fifth, he chose Zarqawi to command in Iraq and opened up what is essentially a second front against the Shia.