2006-01-19

Afternoon Roundup

New Bin Laden tape? The Counterterrorism Blog notes: 'Insight into why bin Laden's tapes have tried to divide the American people from the government can be found in his first encounter with the U.S. on a battlefield. This first encounter occurred on October 3, 1993, when eighteen Americans were killed in the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia. This incident was popularized in the bestselling book and movie called Black Hawk Down. Even though the incident was an overwhelming tactical victory for the U.S., with hundreds of dead Somali militiamen far outstripping the U.S. casualties, President Clinton withdrew shortly thereafter because he thought there was no public support for continuing military action.' More from CTB here.

The case for invading Iran. Thomas Holsinger at Winds of Change lays it out: 'All the reasons for invading Iraq apply doubly to Iran, and with far greater urgency. Iran right now poses the imminent threat to America which Iraq did not in 2003. Iran may already have some nuclear weapons, purchased from North Korea or made with materials acquired from North Korea, which would increase its threat to us from imminent to direct and immediate.' The author cites a panel of military experts assembled in a war game conducted by The Atlantic, largely agreeing with the Atlantic's assessment of the military prospects but disagreeing with the magazine's conclusion that the post-victory occupation would be prohibitively costly.

ITM on election results. Now with a new look, Iraq the Model examines the latest developments around the recent elections and allegations of fraud in Iraq:
Although the international team’s report played down allegations of massive fraud voiced by Sunni parties and former PM Allawi’s list, I expect those parties to be relatively satisfied with what the report has shown since their main goal recently was to prove that fraud has taken place regardless of the extent and then they can use this fact to support their rejection for the idea of the UIA of forming a national unity government that takes election results into consideration. What the Sunni and Allawi want is to form a national unity government based on population percentages.

On yesterday, Jalal Talabani said that negotiations among political parties have stopped and won’t be resumed until the election commission uncovers the final results. The final results are expected to be revealed tomorrow and then there will be a two-day period to receive objections. Those objections will be reviewed by a transitional electoral committee and if the objections found invalid, results shall be approved within two days but if objections found valid, this committee will have ten days to study those objections and announced the approved results.

So, we are expecting to see the results tomorrow and mosques will bring the first reaction of corresponding blocs to today’s report while reactions from politicians will start coming later tomorrow or the day after and I hope they react in a reasonable way and avoid overreactions.