Archive for June, 2011

Sgt. Shane Warren and Papa-Dog make their way back to Forward Operating Base Lane, Afghanistan

Sgt. Shane Warren, escorted by Papa-Dog, checks on his soldiers as members of Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul, Arghandab detachment, make their way back to Forward Operating Base Lane, Afghanistan, May 27. Warren is assigned to the PRT's security force. Photo by Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson

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Support the Freedom Alliance “Support Our Troops” Program

“I recently arrived here in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, to be with the best and most experienced military in the history of the world. These young men and women are doing extraordinary work for our country and I’m honored to share their stories with you.

Our brave men and women in uniform are enduring 100 degree heat in the deserts of Afghanistan, protecting our freedom and ensuring that terrorists won’t be allowed to establish a safe haven in this country. They are working hard on our behalf, and we should do all we can to help them.

Please help Freedom Alliance with a generous gift as they support our men and women in uniform.”

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Shiite militias step up Iraq attacks on US troops


Qais al-Khazali, then the top aide of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and leader of a militant group called Asaib Ahl al-Haq, or League of the Righteous, inspects the damage after overnight fighting in Najaf, Iraq.

BAGHDAD (AP) — Shiite militias backed by Iran have ramped up attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq, making June the deadliest month in two years for American forces. The militiamen’s goal is to prevent the U.S. military from extending its presence in the country past the end of this year.

Three separate militias have been involved in the attacks, particularly a small but deadly group known as the Hezbollah Brigades, believed to be funded and trained by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard and its special operations wing, the Quds Force.

The militia attacks — mainly in the Shiite heartland in southern Iraq — raise the prospect of increased violence against Americans if a residual U.S. force remains in the country past 2011, a possibility being considered by the Baghdad government to help maintain a still fragile security.

They also point to the persistent efforts by Shiite-majority Iran, the United States’ top regional rival, to influence Iraq after the Americans’ exit.

In the latest American deaths, a senior U.S. official in Baghdad said Thursday that three U.S. troops were killed a day earlier when a huge rocket known as an IRAM struck a remote desert base just a few miles (kilometers) from the Iranian border in Iraq’s southern Wasit province.

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The Seattle Plot: Jihadists Shifting Away From Civilian Targets?

The Seattle Plot: Jihadists Shifting Away From Civilian Targets? is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

By Scott Stewart

On June 22 in a Seattle warehouse, Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif pulled an unloaded M16 rifle to his shoulder, aimed it, and pulled the trigger repeatedly as he imagined himself gunning down young U.S. military recruits. His longtime friend Walli Mujahidh did likewise with an identical rifle, assuming a kneeling position as he engaged his notional targets. The two men had come to the warehouse with another man to inspect the firearms the latter had purchased with money Abdul-Latif had provided him. The rifles and a small number of hand grenades were to be used in an upcoming mission: an attack on a U.S. Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) in an industrial area south of downtown Seattle.

After confirming that the rifles were capable of automatic fire and discussing the capacity of the magazines they had purchased, the men placed the rifles back into a storage bag intending to transport them to a temporary cache location. As they prepared to leave the warehouse, they were suddenly swarmed by a large number of FBI agents and other law enforcement officers and quickly arrested. Their plan to conduct a terrorist attack inside the United States had been discovered when the man they had invited to join their plot (the man who had allegedly purchased the weapons for them) reported the plot to the Seattle Police Department, which in turn reported it to the FBI. According to the federal criminal complaint filed in the case, the third unidentified man had an extensive criminal record and had known Abdul-Latif for several years, but he had not been willing to undertake such a terrorist attack. Read the rest of this entry »

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Marines Begin To Field M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle

From Military Times:

Commandant Gen. Jim Amos has approved the full fielding of the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle, a sleek, 5.56mm weapon that will become the new standard for automatic riflemen. There will be one IAR in virtually every four-man fire team, with three per squad, 28 per company and almost 4,476 across the Corps.

The IAR is a variant of Heckler and Koch’s HK416 assault rifle, which is popular with special operators and frequently used with suppressors. It weighs 9.2 pounds loaded, less than half the weight of SAW, made by FN Herstal. It has an adjustable butt stock and runs on standard 30-round magazines, although the Corps also is exploring the possibility of a high-capacity magazine that would carry between 50 and 100 rounds.


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Chief of Police in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, is Executed Inside his Office

“A heavily armed commando executed the police chief of Santa Catarina, Germain Perez Quiroz. He was gunned down inside his own office at the police headquarters of the agency located in community of Infonavit La Huasteca.

At 1530 hours about 15 masked men on board at least three late model trucks and two cars entered the front door of the police station and threatened employees inside until they located the police chief.

Witnesses mentioned that the attackers were wearing badges similar to those used by police.

Following the murder the gunmen took three municipal police officers hostage and were ultimately abducted at gunpoint, their whereabouts are presently unknown.”

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Pakistan tells US to leave ‘drone’ air base

RAWALPINDI: Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar said on Wednesday that Pakistan has told the United States to leave “drone” airbase.

“We have told them (the US officials) to leave the Shamsi airbase,” said the minister while talking to journalists at his office. He said the trust between the US and Pakistan had reduced to a great extent after the May 2 incident. “This mistrust could be reduced by sitting together and taking joint actions.”\06\30\story_30-6-2011_pg1_2

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A Pakistani Perspective on Obama’s Afghanistan strategy

“… Where does this leave us, or more importantly, lead us? As much as Obama has a visceral dislike for war and, unlike George W Bush, is not trigger-happy, he has made up his mind that he will not be gun shy when it comes to enforcing the key elements of his plan to end the war in Afghanistan, which means tossing away the counterinsurgency (COIN) in Afghanistan, in favour of a counter-terrorism effort along the Durand Line.

Buoyed by the results of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, Obama will not reinvent the wheel and intends to apply the same model for both the Haqqani network and the ‘irreconcilable’ Afghan Taliban. The primary US focus will now be on the Pakistan-supported insurgents.

Contrarily, Pakistan is tempted to wait out the US and may overplay its hand while trying to hedge its bets in Afghanistan. The inaction against the militant safe havens in North Waziristan (NW) and the talk about military action in the Kurram Agency suggest no course correction on the part of Pakistan.

Reports from Upper Kurram state that the locals are being asked by Pakistani security agencies to disarm, effectively leaving them at the mercy of the Haqqani network and its affiliates. It is unlikely that the Turi and Bangash tribes will disarm and become sitting ducks for the jihadists.

The chaos that can ensue, including massive internal displacement of people, provides an opportunity for the Pakistani establishment to retract and hide its proxies in the affected areas, as they become more vulnerable in NW and along the Durand Line.”\06\30\story_30-6-2011_pg3_2

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Six people arrested in Moldova over bomb-grade uranium

A uranium disc intended for use in the manufacture of nuclear weapons, worth approximately $200,000 Photo: CORBIS

“Six people have been detained for smuggling an unspecified amount of the form of uranium that can be used to make a nuclear weapon, an official said on Wednesday.

Interior Ministry official Vitalie Briceag said the uranium-235 was brought in from Russia. He said the smugglers were trying to sell it to a North African country for €20 million (£18 million).

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U.S. Army Soldiers patrol near Camp Phoenix, Kabul, Afghanistan

U.S. Army Soldiers with the 48th IBCT, Georgia Army National Guard, patrol near Camp Phoenix, Kabul, Afghanistan

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Petty Officer 3rd Class Emmanuel Gedeon directs an F/A-18E Super Hornet catapult 2 on flight deck of USS Ronald Reagan

Petty Officer 3rd Class Emmanuel Gedeon directs an F/A-18E Super Hornet from the Argonauts of Strike Fighter Squadron 147 onto catapult 2 on the flight deck of the aircraft USS Ronald Reagan. The Super Hornet is used for fleet air defense, force protection, interdiction and close and deep air support. VFA-147 is currently embarked aboard Ronald Reagan conducting carrier qualifications as part of a Composite Training Unit Exercise in preparation for an upcoming deployment. U.S. Navy photo/Petty Officer 3rd Class Dylan McCord

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Veterans Die Facing Mountains of Red Tape

By Lena Groeger

“When Clay Hunt returned home to Texas after two combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, the struggle didn’t end. Tormented by flashbacks and post-traumatic stress, he sought medical help from the Department of Veteran Affairs – but faced a pile of paperwork. While waiting for help, he turned his energy towards helping his fellow veterans, raising money for the wounded and appearing in public service announcements for veterans struggling, like him, with the psychological trauma of war.

Hunt took his own life on March 31, 2011. His disability checks arrived five weeks later.

Tragically, Clay’s story is not unique.”

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Iran ‘carrying out secret nuclear missile tests’

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent

Earlier this month, William Hague announced new sanctions against Iran Photo: PA

“Iran has carried out secret tests of nuclear missiles, Britain has claimed, drawing an angry denial from Tehran.

The claim comes as the Iranian regime mounts a visible show of its military technology with 10 days of missile tests. One tested this week was capable of reaching Israel or the Gulf states.

Mr Hague told the Commons that Iran “has been carrying out covert ballistic missile tests and rocket launches, including testing missiles capable of delivering a nuclear payload”.

Those tests were in clear contravention of United Nations Security Council resolutions forbidding Iran from developing a military nuclear programme, he said.”

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Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute Plans to Step Down

From: National Journal

With the Obama administration’s new Afghan drawdown timetable in place, two of the most senior officials charged with managing the long war there are moving on.

Officials familiar with the matter say the White House’s top adviser on Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, plans to step down this summer. Maj. Gen. Frederick “Ben” Hodges, the director of the Pentagon’s Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell, will step aside next week to assume a new post at the helm of the Army’s legislative affairs office, according to officials familiar with the matter. Neither move has been formally announced.

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Senior Leader of Al Qaeda Group Captured in Afghanistan — Dressed as Woman

KABUL, Afghanistan — A senior leader of an Al Qaeda-linked terror group has been captured in northern Afghanistan dressed up like a woman — the latest in a recent series of cases involving male militants disguised as females, the U.S.-led military coalition said Tuesday.

A joint Afghan and coalition force apprehended a senior figure from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and two of his associates during a nighttime operation Monday in Kunduz city, NATO said.

It said the militant, who also supported the Taliban network, had planned attacks against the Afghan National Police, as well as various suicide bombings and assaults against other Afghan security forces.

The coalition said there also have been a handful of recent reports of female combatants in burqas.

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