Washington, June 16, 2004
The commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks reported Wednesday that Osama bin Laden met with a top Iraqi official in 1994 but found no credible evidence of a link between Iraq and al-Qaida in attacks against the United States. The report said that bin Laden .............. had previously provided support for anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan.
But where is Osama?
War News for Sunday, September 11, 2005
Bring 'em on: Three Iraqi policemen injured in an attack in Kirkuk
Bring 'em on: Major General in Iraqi policeforce survives assassination in Baghdad
Bring 'em on: The battle rages in Tal Afar
Bring 'em on: British soldier killed and three injured in bomb attack in Basra
Bring 'em on: Iraq closes its' border with Syria
Bring 'em on: US soldier killed and two injured after an attack on their patrol in Baghdad
: The Pentagon has drafted a revised doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons that envisions commanders requesting presidential approval to use them to preempt an attack by a nation or a terrorist group using weapons of mass destruction. The draft also includes the option of using nuclear arms to destroy known enemy stockpiles of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.
Samarra and Ramadi Next
: US and Iraqi troops swept into the insurgent stronghold of Tal Afar early yesterday in the biggest assault since the retaking of Falluja. Amid warnings from senior Iraqi government officials that assaults were also planned for the cities of Samarra and Ramadi, troops in Tal Afar battered down walls with armoured vehicles as they conducted house-to-house searches.
A week after the London bombings of July 7, two Iraqi bishops met Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor over dinner at a Roman Catholic church in Chelsea.
Archbishop Louis Sako, of Kirkuk, and Auxiliary Bishop Andreas Abouna, of Baghdad, were in the capital on business: they specifically wanted the cardinal to approach the British Government on behalf of Iraq's Christians, who, they said, were fleeing their country at the rate of 30,000 people a month.
The two Chaldean Catholic leaders wanted Britain to intervene to try to stop Sharia being incorporated into the draft Iraqi constitution, fearing that they would become second-class citizens if Islamic religious law were imposed. Instead they wanted the constitution to be secular, guaranteeing equality under the law for all Iraqis.
Arab League Support
: Assistant secretary general for political affairs at the Arab League, Ahmad bin Hilli declared Sunday that an Arab ministerial committee will be formed to prepare a strategic vision for supporting Iraq in the upcoming stage and enhance the Arab interconnection with Iraq.
Soldiers Speak Out
Doug Heller volunteered to deploy to Iraq two months after returning from a tour in Bosnia. He said he loves the Army, and he loves his unit. But he is ready to call it quits after eight years with the National Guard.
"I guarantee that after they let us off stop-loss half my unit will be done" with the National Guard, Doug Heller said.
Members of the 216th should start packing their gear in December and be home in February "if the timelines don't change that much," Hervas said. Donna Flaherty of Deer River, whose son, Ryan, is with the 216th E-battery in Iraq, said she believes her son also will leave the Guard.
Ryan Flaherty's tour was supposed to be up as of December 2004 but has been extended through the military's stop-loss policy, through which the U.S. Defense Department has forced some members of the volunteer armed forces to stay in the service beyond their contracted dates.
"Probably for most of us (in Iraq), this will be the end of our military career because of this experience," Silda said.
It might be anyway, Marshall said. The military doesn't look very charitably on soldiers who complain publicly about operation conditions, he said, and can stall or halt their career advancement.
Speaking out "compromises everything," he said. "The military will make their lives hell. My guess is that they are trying to inform the public that they need more governmental support over there."
Opinion and Commentary
Call it viral Al Qaeda, carried by strongly motivated next-generation followers who download from the Internet's virtual training camp a perfectly adequate trade-craft in terror. Nearly two years ago, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, in a confidential memorandum, posed the central question about the war on terror: "Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?" The answer is clearly no. "We have taken a ball of quicksilver," says the counterinsurgency specialist John Arquilla, "and hit it with a hammer."
Lost in Tora Bora
Defending its decision not to commit forces to the Tora Bora campaign, members of the Bush administration - including the president, the vice president and Gen. Tommy Franks - have continued to insist, as recently as the last presidential campaign, that there was no definitive information that bin Laden was even in Tora Bora in December 2001. "We don't know to this day whether Mr. bin Laden was at Tora Bora," Franks wrote in an Oct. 19, 2004, Op-Ed article in The New York Times. Intelligence assessments on the Qaeda leader's location varied, Franks continued, and bin Laden was "never within our grasp." It was not until this spring that the Pentagon, after a Freedom of Information Act request, released a document to The Associated Press that says Pentagon investigators believed that bin Laden was at Tora Bora and that he escaped.
The document's release came at a particularly delicate time for the United States. A newly resurgent Taliban was on the rise. Its attacks on American forces - launched from Pakistan, according to Afghan officials - were more lethal, better organized and more widespread than at any time since the war against terror began. And President Pervez Musharraf, the military ruler of Pakistan who is ostensibly our key ally in that war, had, to a growing extent, become an ally on his own terms. It was only in the last days of July that he once again committed himself to embark on a campaign against his country's Islamic militants. And this was only as a result of suggestions that there were Pakistani links to the bombings that month in London and the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.