2006-05-15

Morning Report: May 15, 2006

Debka: New weapons for new terrorists. A new article at Debka reports:
In the past two weeks, Iran has been pumping into Iraq two types of extra-lethal weapons in very large quantities. They have already taken their toll in the shooting down of two military helicopters - one American and one British – and an estimated 19 deaths of US military personnel. DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources estimate the delivery to Iraqi insurgents as consisting of around 1,000 SA-7 Strela ground-air missiles made in Iran, and a very large quantity of a newly-developed roadside bomb, loaded with compressed gas instead of ball bearings and cartridges, to magnify their blast and explosive power. The supplies have been distributed across Iraq - Basra and Amara in the south, Baghdad and its environs, Haditha in the west, and Mosul in the north. The new bombs, developed jointly by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the Lebanese Hizballah, have already gone into service with the Shiite terrorists on the Lebanese border with Israel. Israeli military sources say it is only a matter of time before the deadly roadside bombs, already used in Iraq, will also reach Palestinian areas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The report notes that the emergence of new Shiite militias in Iraq is a significant development, as previously the Americans faced only Ba'athist remnants and Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. Regarding the new groups:
One is located north of Baghdad and calls itself Brigades of the Imam Kazim. Another, called Brigades of Imam Ali, claimed the attack on April 27 in Nasiriya in which one of their new roadside bombs killed two Italian troops. In the Rostumiya region south of Baghdad, a Shiite group called Brigades of the Imam Hadi has begun operating. Our sources report that this group has been firing Katyusha rockets at American bases in the region, similar to the mortar attack directed at a British base in Amara Monday, May 15.

Full report at the link. (Debka)

US forces kill 16 suspected al-Qaeda terrorists in Iraq. AP via Jerusalem Post: 'US forces and helicopters killed 16 suspected al-Qaida insurgents in four weekend raids, including one man who allegedly led a militant attack that last month downed a US attack helicopter and killed its two crew, the military said Monday. Four Iraqi civilians and two suspected militants were wounded during the raids that took place on Saturday and Sunday around Latifiyah, 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Baghdad, the military said.' (AP via JPost)

Syria detains freedom activist. Also from the Post: 'yria has detained the prominent dissident and democracy campaigner Michel Kilo, a local rights organization said Monday. Kilo was detained Sunday, days after he signed a petition calling for steps to improve Lebanese-Syrian relations, said Ammar Qurabi, the head of the National Organization for Human Rights. Kilo has long been a harsh critic of the government in Syria, which often arrests its critics.' (JPost)

SMCCDI alleges US betrayed Iranian dissident. SMCCDI via Marze Por Gohar: 'Un-confirmed reports are stating about the role of the US Government in the forced return of an Iranian asylum seeker to the Islamic regime. Majid Kavoosi, was handed by the US Embassy, in UAE, to the Interpol which handed him, in its turn, to the Islamic republic regime.

According to the same sources, Kavoosi had handed several secret files to the US Embassy based on promises of granting him asylum.

The latter risks the death sentence for his allegued role in the murder of a notorious repressive Islamist judge who was known for having ordered the executions of tens of freedom fighters. In addition, Kavoosi seems to have been part of a guerilla group which was seeking the overthrow of the Islamic regime and which was involved in several attacks against the regime's symbols of political and financial power.' Read the whole article at the link - very disturbing. (SMCCDI via MPG)

Belmont Club on dialog. The Belmont Club talks about US-IRI negotiations:
The addition of a bilateral track means re-weighing the other tracks in relation to it. A negotiation strategy not only means adding more bandwidth but far importantly it means shaping the bandwidth. Certain channels are going to be assigned particular tasks; some routes are going to be emphasized while others are going to be comparatively denigrated. Not only will bilateral negotiations affect the EU-3 track it will also affect other forms of signaling because one of the first things negotiators typically demand are what are called "confidence building measures" which is a euphemism for "call off your dogs" while we talk. But by that time the bilateral negotiations may have become a desirable political quantity in themselves and the threat to call them off a sanction in itself.

Does any of this mean that 'under no circumstances should we hold bilateral talks' with the Iranians? No. But neither does it follow that under all circumstances should the US seek bilateral negotiations with Teheran. From the vantage of the US the correct move will depend entirely on the empirical effect of bilateral negotiations upon the total package of interaction with Teheran. Part of the problem facing outsiders looking in is that we don't know what the total package of interaction is. Some of it is open to public view but the covert and backchannel operations are shrouded in secrecy. To what extent these should be made subordinate or be complemented by bilateral negotiations is unclear. Without that knowledge, one can only guess whether it is propitious to open bilateral negotiations with Teheran or not.

Read the full analysis at the link. (Belmont Club)

Briefly noted. Internet Haganah shuts down more terrorist websites; more BS from Saddam; Sandmonkey declares London demo a success; Israel Matzav takes on ex-State appeasers; and Sistani unplugs that anti-gay fatwa while the First Lady offers some friendly advice to Republicans.

Commentary.
While today's first two items deal with physical weapons and flesh-and-blood conflict, many of the other pieces in this report touch on the information war. Or rather, the battle for reality. As Wretchard noted the other day, 'there's been a change in the tone of the blogosphere. Nothing definite, simply a change in atmosphere in proportion to the degree of abstract tendencies of the blogger. Authors who trafficked in ideas and concepts have altered the most. Some have paused to take stock, pleading disgust or confusion; still others have returned to writing as seemingly different persons; others seem to be suffering a kind of nervous breakdown ...'. I think this is because the shape of the ideological battlefield continues to shift. The old labels, alliances, and identities have changed beyond all recognition. The war of ideas is no longer being fought on a planar, chessboard-like "battlefield", but on a multi-dimensional surface that twists and warps back on itself. The warriors who emerge victorious will be those who best adapt to the shape of things that have come.

Cross-posted at Dreams Into Lightning - TypePad.