Morning Report: April 15, 2008

Our friends in the Middle East lend a hand; Tehran top cop's friends get him jail time.

Iraqi army rescues British journalist in Basra. Talisman Gate:
Richard Butler, a British journalist working for CBS News, was auspiciously rescued today by an Iraqi Army unit that had been conducting a security sweep through a once-volatile Basra neighborhood—one that was until recently dominated by militants—in which he had been held captive since February 10.

I mean if any event could be seen as a send-up to how western reporters have covered Operation Cavalry Charge in Basra, then this would be it!

Instead of praying for Butler’s safety, instead of taking a stand on right and wrong, the foreign press threw their sympathies behind the outlaws; those western reporters did not hold candle-lit vigils for their kidnapped comrade, since professional solidarity can’t hold a candle to the venality of Bush hatred. It was far more important for these journalists to root for the Sadrist-related criminal cartels that are being targeted by the continuing military operations in Basra and elsewhere than to admit that Iraq may be fixing itself, and may not, after all, turn into the ‘fiasco’ they’ve been heralding with certainty for so long.

Tehran police chief jailed in sex scandal. That Iranian cop who was busted a couple of weeks ago with six naked women is heading to jail. Fox: 'Local media have reported that the police chief, Gen. Reza Zarei, was taken to jail after he was caught last month with six nude women by a police raid on an underground local brothel. He was also forced to resign. Local Web sites have also extensively reported the case in recent weeks.'

IraqPundit on Chalabi. IraqPundit: 'One of McClatchy's reporter wonders what Chalabi is doing at a funeral in Moktada's turf. Chalabi is welcome there for many reasons. He is welcome because he has been the liaison between the Sadrists and the government pretty much all along. And, he is welcome because the Middle East values a member of a prominent family paying respects at a funeral.' Read the full post at the link.

US, Israel link missile defense systems. Debka:
Israel requested the hook-up to the BMEWS for early warning to defend itself against Iranian missile attack. Tuesday, April 15, Iran’s deputy C-in-C Mohammad Reza Ashtiani threatened to eliminate Israel from “the scene of the universe” if it launches a military attack on the Islamic state.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report the system operates from three global centers – the US Thule Air Base in Greenland, where the 12th Space Warning Squadron is located; the Clear Air Force Station in Alaska and the British RAF long-range radar station at Fylingdales, Yorkshire, in England.

This is the third time Israel has been connected to the BMEWS. The first was in 1991 before the first Gulf War and the second in 2003 before the US invasion of Iraq. Then, Israel feared Iraqi missile attack, which indeed materialized in 1991. Now, US military sources interpret the request as signifying Israel’s sense of the need to prepare for an Iranian missile attack in the not-too-distant future.

Such an attack could develop from a US or Israeli strike against Iran, or any war situation involving Israel, Syria or Hizballah. Tehran might also stage a pre-emptive strike if early intelligence was received of an impending US or Israeli attack on Iran, Syria or Hizballah.

Commentary. The Belmont Club links Michael Totten's article on Fallujah, "Iraq's meanest city".
The results of the Anbar Awakening and the surge are plain to see. Since the Fifth Marine Regiment’s Third Battalion rotated into Fallujah in September 2007, not a single American has been wounded there, let alone killed. Hardly anyone even tries to start a fight now. A handful of people have taken potshots at Marines; one man threw a hand grenade in the neighborhood of Dubat; some fool blew himself up when the Iraqi police caught him planting an IED outside their station. Every attack has been ineffective. Of all Iraq’s cities, only nearby Ramadi has experienced so many dramatic changes in so short a time.

Go read it all.