Morning Report: September 16, 2007

Strikes and counter-strikes in the Middle East. The Israelis bombed something in Syria - but what it was, and whose it was, remain a puzzle. Other news items remind us that idiots remain in plentiful supply.

Israel, Syria, Iran, and the US. Rick Moran at American Thinker:
Originally, it was thought the Israeli planes that penetrated deep into Syrian territory didn't drop any ordinance at all. The Syrian response was mild, to say the least.

Then a story leaked that the IAF was targeting a shipment of arms and supplies destined for Hezb'allah. This was eminiently plausiable given Syria's long time support for the terrorist group.

Now the Sunday Times has a story that the real target were bunkers filled with recently acquired nuclear materials and hardware from North Korea:

Ten days after the jets reached home, their mission was the focus of intense speculation this weekend amid claims that Israel believed it had destroyed a cache of nuclear materials from North Korea.

The Israeli government was not saying. “The security sources and IDF [Israeli Defence Forces] soldiers are demonstrating unusual courage,” said Ehud Olmert, the prime minister. “We naturally cannot always show the public our cards.” A tale of two dictatorships: The links between North Korea and Syria The Syrians were also keeping mum. “I cannot reveal the details,” said Farouk al-Sharaa, the vice-president. “All I can say is the military and political echelon is looking into a series of responses as we speak. Results are forthcoming.&rdquo

The official story that the target comprised weapons destined for Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite group, appeared to be crumbling in the face of widespread scepticism.

So, was it a dry run for Iran? Here's Israel Matzav: 'The London Sunday Observer (al-Guardian's Sunday edition) claims today that the alleged Israeli raid on Syria ten days ago was a dry run for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. If that's true, it's good news, because, as I have already noted, the Syrians actually had better air defenses than the Iranians have.' Go to Carl's post for the whole thing. Also via Israel Matzav, John Bolton thinks Iran and North Korea outsourced nuclear development to Syria. Also Iran-related, a top US Government official is talking about Iran ... but it's not Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this time, it's Defense Secretary Robert Gates, which ought to tell you something right there.
The Bush administration is committed, for now, to using diplomatic and economic means to counter the potential nuclear threat from Iran, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday.

Speculation has persisted about preparations for a military strike against Iran for its alleged support for terrorism and its nuclear program.

Gates, in a broadcast interview, said he would not discuss "hypotheticals" about what President George W. Bush "may or may not do."

He's talking about those rumors that the US may have selected as many as 2000 (that's two thousand!) targets inside Iran:
Senior American intelligence and defence officials believe that President George W Bush and his inner circle are taking steps to place America on the path to war with Iran, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

Pentagon planners have developed a list of up to 2,000 bombing targets in Iran, amid growing fears among serving officers that diplomatic efforts to slow Iran's nuclear weapons programme are doomed to fail.

Pentagon and CIA officers say they believe that the White House has begun a carefully calibrated programme of escalation that could lead to a military showdown with Iran.

Now it has emerged that Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, who has been pushing for a diplomatic solution, is prepared to settle her differences with Vice-President Dick Cheney and sanction military action.

The Telegraph article states that 'A prime target would be the Fajr base run by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force in southern Iran, where Western intelligence agencies say armour-piercing projectiles used against British and US troops are manufactured.' Go to the link for the whole thing.

Iranian-American target of anti-Muslim crime. Fox News: 'MATINECOCK, New York — An Iranian-American nail salon owner was brutalized by robbers who called her a "terrorist" and scrawled anti-Muslim messages on a mirror in her shop, the victim and police said. "I'm in shock," victim Zoreh Assemi told WNBC-TV after the attack Saturday morning, a web of cuts and bruises visible on her face, arms and hands. She said she felt "terrorized ... not by American people, but by a very small group and prejudice. And it hurts." Nassau County police, who were treating the attack as a bias crime, had made no arrests early Sunday and were appealing to the public for tips.'

Iraqi, US forces detain two suspected terrorist leaders. Going after the real terrorists, Iraqi Special Operations forces, aided by US Special Forces, captured two enemy commanders. MNF-Iraq:
Iraqi Special Operations Forces, with U.S. Special Forces as advisers, detained a extremist militant company commander and a cell member Sept. 15 during an operation in Ad Diwaniyah.

During the operation, enemy fighters initiated an attack on Iraqi and U.S. Forces with an improvised explosive device, small arms and machine gun fire. The forces returned well-aimed and proportional fire to eliminate the threat, killing three enemy fighters and wounding several others.

Intelligence indicates the extremist commander leads more than 20 enemy forces, who are responsible for launching improvised explosive device, explosively formed penetrator and indirect fire attacks against Iraqi and Coalition Forces in the area.

On July 5, the group attacked the Coalition base in Ad Diwaniyah with indirect fires. Further intelligence reports that the group has launched more than 450 rocket and mortar attacks on the base during the past four months.

Iraqi surge against Al-Qaeda. Gateway Pundit, as always, is on top of things:
Thousands of Sunni Arabs in Iraq's Anbar province vowed on Friday to avenge the death of Reesha, a key US ally who was killed in a suspected Al-Qaeda bomb attack.(AFP)

The New York Sun wrote that the actions of Abu Risha taught Al Qaeda that its barbarity would only earn greater enmity from their new Sunni foes. That looks to be correct even more so after Abu Risha's murder by Al Qaeda.

In response, Al-Qaeda of Iraq declared war on the Sunnis on Saturday. ...

Commentary. Here's The Long War Journal on the Iraqi surge:
Camp Victory, Baghdad Province: With the surge in full swing in southern Baghdad province, the increase in US forces has been matched with an unexpected surge in Iraqi forces – local Iraqi residents who have organized to defend their communities from al Qaeda in Iraq and Shia extremist groups such as the Mahdi Army and the Special Groups.

In southern Baghdad province, the establishment of the Concerned Citizens, also referred to as Iraqi Police Volunteers, began to take hold in late spring. Initiated by tribal connections from Anbar province, the movement mimicked the rise of the Anbar Salvation Council in some respects, but differed in many ways. This bottom up process of local reconciliation consists of both Sunni and Shia tribes wishing to restore a measure of peace to the war torn regions south of Baghdad.

To adjust to the growing, grass roots movement spurred by the Anbar Awakening, Multinational Division Baghdad, under the command of Major General Rick Lynch, established a Reconciliation and Engagement Cell in early May. The cell is tasked with devising strategies to get the local communities to provide for their security and become part of the reconciliation process, then to see these strategies through at the tactical level.

The cell, which is comprised of three officers, Lieutenant Colonel Gloria Rincon, Major David Waldron, and Major Scott Matey, work long hours putting together the pieces of a complex puzzle, which includes learning the tribal relationships and influential sheikhs, demarking the geographic and sectarian boundaries. The region is crisscrossed with “sectarian fault lines,” where often a road or canal literally divides communities. To do its job, the reconciliation cell works closely with the intelligence, plans, operations, and economic development sections of Multinational Forces Central, as well as the line companies in the field. ...

This is great news for everybody except the terrorists and their sympathizers. Big Pharaoh reports that the Daily Kos has hit a new low, even for them:
Stupidity gets on my nerves but my blood really boils when this stupidity is mired by ugliness. This is what Daily Kos does to me. These guys simply make me want to vomit.

The last things I expected is them gleeing over the death of Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, the Anbar tribal leader who was killed by Al-Qaeda for leading the region’s oppositon to these mass murderers. These people at Daily Kos just make me sick. Isn’t so hard to differentiate between their hatred to George Bush and a man who lost his life simply because he doesn’t want Al-Qaeda to rule his area. What did you want Risha to do? Join Al-Qaeda and kill American soldiers?

Well, yes, obviously.