Morning Report: July 25, 2004

Allied forces kill 13 insurgents in Iraq, take no casualties. Iraqi and American forces killed thirteeen insurgents in Buhriz, a former Ba'athist stronghold north of Baghdad, taking no casualties, in fighting on Sunday. However, an emergency worker at Baqouba General Hospital stated that an IP officer and a civilian had been killed. Iraqi and US forces destroyed an apparent staging ground for insurgent attacks in the operation. (Fox News)

IDF intel: Syria testing chemical missiles. According to recent reports on Debka, 'IDF intelligence chief Col. Zeevi warns Israeli cabinet Syria is testing chemical warheads for dozens of Hizballah 115-215 km range surface missiles.' The report also notes Arafat's optimism regarding a Kerry victory in November. (Debka)

Philippines, Indonesia: Allies or burden? The Belmont Club reflects on the South Pacific front, citing the difficulties of dealing with impotent states such as Indonesia and RP. In the wake of an Indonesian ruling that weakens the case against the Bali bombers (whose victims were largely Australian), 'the European branch of Al Qaeda threatened to turn Australia into a "pool of blood"'. This is not going down well in Canberra, where even leftist MPs are calling for decisive action against al-Qaeda. Comparing today's Philippines with Taliban-era Afghanistan, Wretchard questions the wisdom of 'working with the Indonesian and the Philippine governments which seem unwilling or unable to face the forces that are slowly tearing them apart'; but he also rejects the notion of waiting for 'the final collapse or breakup of these two countries before acting'. Rather, he recommends bypassing the official channels to forge alliances with useful elements within the power structures. The example for this has already been provided by Islamist rebels in the Philippines, who have co-opted elements of the Indonesian army as "facilitators" for their campaign against Manila.