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Crafty_Dog
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« on: February 02, 2007, 03:05:25 PM »

Woof All:

We highly recommend the work of courageous front line work of Michael Yon in Iraq.  If you search for Truth, he should be a regular source for you.   We give money to support his workt, and hope that you will too.   To learn about who he is we recommend a thorough surf through his website.   

This thread is to connect you with what he is doing.

Michael, green light to post whatever you want.

The Adventure continues,
Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny
============================================================

Greetings from Iraq:

 

When I arrived in Mosul a few weeks ago, they were getting about 1 car bomb per week.  Now it’s up to about 1 per day. The fighting is intensifying here, and that’s the bad news. There is some good news, however: Iraqi Security Forces, though taking losses, are thoroughly punishing the enemy here.  Just a few days ago, the enemy launched a large and well-planned attack on a police station.  In late 2004 or 2005, such an attack would have been devastating – and was.  But this time, when the enemy demanded the Iraq Police surrender, the police responded with gunfire. Lots of it. After several hours of fighting, the enemy fled in front of their blood trails. 

I'll be writing about that incident in an upcoming dispatch. Meanwhile, a new dispatch is available at: “The Hands of God.”
http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/the-hands-of-god.htm

 In addition to the audio file of a conversation between American soldiers and Iraqi villagers, after a homicide bomber attack, it also includes links to several previous dispatches. To get a better context for the new reports out of Mosul, readers might want to read Gates of Fire and Battle for Mosul IV.

 

Thank you for supporting this site. Many have asked for a mailing address to use as an alternative to the paypal system. It is included below my signature.

 

Respectfully,
Michael   

Michael Yon
P O Box 416
Westport Pt MA 02791
« Last Edit: May 06, 2008, 11:41:25 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2007, 11:42:28 PM »

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/

Greetings:

I was present today in Baghdad for the Transfer of Authority.  Godspeed to the Coalition and to the people of Iraq. General David Petraeus is now running the war in Iraq. Anyone who knows much about the General might agree that David Petraeus seems to have been born and raised to win this particular war.  

Frankly, the odds seem nearly impossible.  Iraq is broiling and it's getting worse.  Yet, there are glimmers of hope, and I see those glimmers with my own eyes here in Iraq. But make no mistake: America has asked David Petraeus to walk into a burning barn and perform brain surgery on a dying patient.  If it can be done, David Petraeus is our man.
 
Meanwhile, I'll continue to run combat missions with our troops, and to talk with as many Iraqis as possible, and keep the news flowing back. Due to the great number of missions I am running, there may be fewer dispatches in the coming days, but I am planing to do more radio interviews and you can link to these from the home page of my website.
 
A new dispatch, Roughnecks, is available now. It contains some combat video shot from above. The previous dispatch, Hands of God, has an audio clip that was heavily downloaded for many days, making it slow to access for some visitors. For those who haven't had the chance to listen to it yet, there is a link built into the dispatch name above.

No one can predict the outcome of events here, especially those who have never set foot on Iraqi soil. But, given how vital the outcome is to our national interest, it is imperative that someone be reporting from the ground. Because this site operates soley on reader donations and photograph sales,
I appreciate the support that insures at least this one man's independent perspective.
 
V/R,
 
Michael

Michael Yon
P O Box 416
Westport Pt MA 02791
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2007, 07:03:38 AM »

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/roughnecks.htm

Another report from MY on our brave troops in action.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2007, 10:52:28 PM »


http://billroggio.com/archives/2007/...with_the_s.php

http://billroggio.com/archives/2007/..._and_the_3.php
Habbaniyah and the 3/3-1 Snake Eaters

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2007, 12:23:57 PM »

On 2/23/07, robert.schoenenberger@us.army.mil <robert.schoenenberger@us.army.mil >
wrote:
Gentlemen, it is w/ great sorrow I report the passing of two of my good friends, SSG
Joshua Hagar, and PFC Rowan Walters.
SSG Hagar and I attended the April 06 CF Cert at Santa Cruz.  At the time, he was
the platoon sergeant for our CF testbed platoon.  He later was assigned as the
platoon sergeant for our battalion scouts.  Josh had a large personality, and a
great leader.  I don't know what the process or criteria there is for having a CF
workout named after a fallen comrade, but I would like to nominate SSG Hagar for
that honor.  Stories of Josh's exploits are numerous.  Most outstanding was his
daily push for excellence in himself and has Soldiers.  He was always quick w/ a
word of encouragement, and tirelessly made time to teach his subordinates.
PFC Walters was one of my medics that was killed enroute to help the group of
Soldiers injured when SSG Hagar was killed.  PFC Walters was the Soldier selected by
his commander to attend the train-the-trainer CrossFit course we implented while in
Kuwait.   PFC Walters fell in love w/ CF and began passing the kool-aid to the
Soldiers in his platoon.  PFC Walters was the complete package:  intelligent,
strong, motivated, and a great attitude.  One quick story about Walters:  an M1 tank
had been disabled by and IED, and Walters was the first medic on the scene.  He
single handedly pulled all four Soldiers from the tank, and had them bandaged up and
ready to go when the evacuation vehicle arrived.  Tanks are very large on the
outside, but cramped and confined on the inside.  What Walters accomplished was no
small task!  Imagine lifting a fully equipped soldier from beneath your feet,
through a hole, and then high enough to clear the hole, 4 rounds, for time, then
applying bandag
es, tourniquets, and starting IV's, 4 rounds, for time.
I attempted to attach pictures of Josh and Rowan, but I am having some IT issues w/
my email.  I will continue trying to send the pictures
This letter is not meant to incite sorry, but rather to firm our resolve.  I quote
my battalion commander:  "We will not let these losses cause us to hesitate.  We
will go back again, again, and again, and kick some motherfucking ass!"  Fairwinds,
Josh and Rowan.

Robert Schoenenberger
1LT, SP  PA-C
1/9 INF Physician Assistant
Some day you will thank me.  Today is not that day.
RLTW
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2007, 09:15:48 PM »

Just got this from Michael Yon but there is no URL included, some I'm guessing he has posted something new on his website (see post starting this thread for details)

=====================================================================

Greetings from Iraq:
 
It's been weeks since I have been able to publish anything substantial.  This is
partially due to running nearly constant missions with our troops; I've driven well
over a thousand miles on Iraqi roads since the last dispatch.  The remainder is due
to incessant internet problems.  Simply put, I am choking on information that will
never be published simply due to lack on reliable internet connections.  Sad but
true.
 
That said, I have been able to write a very short dispatch with photos.  Please
click here.
 
 
V/R,
 
Michael
Baghdad

US Mail Address:
Michael Yon
P O Box 416
Westport Pt MA 02791
 

To manage your preferences or unsubscribe, please click here.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2007, 06:12:23 PM »

My latest dispatch is published on the front page of Fox News.  I am both honored and that Fox has agreed to begin publishing my major dispatches on their front page.   I am also flattered that Fox has agreed to publish my work unedited.

 

Please click "Ernie is Dead" to read the latest.

 

This site remains independent and is 100% contingent on reader support.  Thank you for considering supporting my work in Iraq through the end of 2007.

 

Currently I am searching for a good unit in Baghdad to embed with. I need what Ernie needed: a secure place to live and reliable communications. If you are the commander of such a unit, please contact me.

 

Respectfully

Michael

Michael Yon
P O Box 416
Westport Pt MA 02791
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2007, 08:52:24 PM »

Greetings,

An American General threatens to kick me out of Iraq. To find out why, please click here to read a brief dispatch "RUBS."
http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/rubs.htm

I'll keep giving the good, bad and the ugly for as long as possible.

Respectfully,

Michael

Baghdad

This site is 100% reader supported. No advertisers, no bosses: Readers are the only Royalty here.
 
« Last Edit: March 22, 2007, 08:54:59 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2007, 10:51:09 AM »

Greetings,
 
General Petraeus and his people seem to be making progress here.  I can actually see hope in the areas I go. Please click for the latest RUBS dispatch.
 
General  Barry McCaffrey (Ret) has just released a report of his Iraq trip and it  is also published on the website.  All his trip reports are excellent resources for helping one understand the true situation here in Iraq.  The man is blunt, and knows his business.
 
I greatly appreciate the reader support that comes in.  Without it, my own mission of observing and reporting on the events unfolding in Iraq would fail.  I cannot  adequately express my gratitude, other than by sticking it out here.
 
Very Respectfully,
 
Michael
 
 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2007, 05:09:07 PM »

Greetings:

I am in Basra, with our British Coalition partners, who this week launched a clever operation that lured enemy fighters into combat, a decision that proved fatal for more than two dozen of militia members and terrorists. Please click the link to read about Operation Arezzo.

New readers will find the dispatch Tabula Rasa gives context to my work from Iraq.

Another dispatch, with more than 100 photos of the 1-4 Cav at work in Baghdad, is nearly ready. What an excellent bunch of soldiers! I'll send out an announcement when "Desires of the Human Heart" is published and folks at home can see and read about things rarely reported.

I am energized by this embed with British soldiers, which has me in the thick of things with their soldiers who are engaged with the enemy. I broke yet another lens in combat with the British on Tuesday.

Before it got smashed, the lens was taking great photos, some of which you'll see in the latest dispatch, and others will be published in the coming days.

This site is wholly contingent on reader support, for which I'm truly grateful. In addition to keeping me in camera lenses, reader support is the best indication I have of how important it is for me to continue this work.

Respectfully,

Michael
==============

Also, read this!  http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/tabula-rasa.htm

« Last Edit: April 12, 2007, 06:12:23 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2007, 10:45:19 AM »

Greetings,

NBC anchor Brian Williams -- whose reports from Iraq earlier this year were spot-on -- has kindly introduced my latest dispatch about American soldiers at war on his blog on the MSNBC news website.  Please click here for Part I of "Desires of the Human Heart."

I will publish the second part soon.

I am still with our British friends in Basra.  These excellent soldiers have been fighting harder than I realized. Just some hours ago, I was present when British soldiers honored three of their fallen. We were briefly attacked during the memorial ceremony, when the coffins were carefully carried onto the airplane, but the Brits did not miss a step in bestowing honors on their brethren.  Please click here to read British Forces at War.

At least three more installments are coming about the Brits, possibly four, depending on communications.  I'm able to get more work done with the Brits due to the hefty support they offer. It’s made a tremendous difference and is another reason I will regret leaving the Brits later this week, although I have requested a return later this year.

The sad news about leaving the Brits is lightened by some very good news. I've asked our Marines fighting in Anbar province for permission to accompany them and I'll be embedding with our Marines in roughly one week.

On a final note, this site is funded by readers and your support is essential. The recent action in Basra and surrounding areas has left me with destroyed photo gear—including a lens I had just managed to replace--and a dying laptop. I appreciate the support more than I can ever adequately express.

V/R,
Michael
Basra, Iraq
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2007, 07:01:23 PM »

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/desires-of-the-human-heart-part-ii.htm

As always, MY is a must read.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2007, 11:15:45 AM »

http://www.blackfive.net/
 
Here is a SITREP from an NCO on the ground in Ramadi. He sees all the intelligence reports and incident reports in the country. Unit and a couple other items have been #$^^$# for security.  More evidence that things are working in Iraq. 
 
 
...Our morale for killing the enemy is high, but to a man everyone is thoroughly disgusted with the US and all of the stupid things that people are saying about the war.  Even watching commercials on TV here makes you upset when you see just how frivolous it all is.  You really have to come here to understand just how well things are going at least here in Anbar.  AQIZ is getting rolled up left and right and our attacks right now are averaging less than 2 per week in the entire AO! The ones that they do pull off are incredibly weak and all I see on FNC  is spot reps of a vbied someplace in the country.  I know there are hot areas, but I read all the intel reports and we are creaming these fools. 
 
[armor unit]  is an army unit here and they just got done f@#king up AQIZ in [redacted] big time.  They swept through the joint and just slayed fools.  We are having trouble figuring out where to go right now because everybody is getting rolled and the locals are ratting them out constantly.  I'm serious, it is dead out here.  That could change, but the people here are not having it anymore.  The biggest problem in Ramadi is no electricity.  It's getting hot out so that is going to suck for the people in a month or so.  Apparently the way the grid is setup makes it difficult to fix but hopefully someone is working on it.  Not my department...
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2007, 08:21:10 AM »

These are perhaps the most interesting days of all to be in Iraq.  I'll keep the dispatches coming.  Please click here for latest: Death or Glory III of IV
 
To understand why I have maintained independence, please click here for Chapter 1 of my book "Danger Close."  Purchases of "Danger Close" support this site and are greatly appreciated.  Several chapters in "Danger Close" (first published in 1999) detail my early experiences with the press both favorable and unfavorable.


Very Respectfully,
 
Michael Yon
Baghdad
 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2007, 09:13:11 AM »


As always, a must read from MY:

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/be-not-afraid.htm
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2007, 09:36:29 PM »

http://billroggio.com/archives/2007/..._of_baquba.php

Major offensive in al Qaeda's so-called capital of the Islamic State of Iraq
The Diyala Campaign is underway. As part of major offensive operations throughout the belts regions of Baghdad, Iraqi and U.S. forces have launched a large scale operation in the city of Baqubah, the provincial capital of Diyala. Dubbed Operation Arrowhead Ripper, the offensive is massive. This is a division sized operation of "approximately 10,000 Soldiers, with a full complement of attack helicopters, close air support, Strykers and Bradley Fighting Vehicles."

Over 30 al Qaeda operatives have been killed since the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division kicked off the operation with a "quick-strike nighttime air assault."

Elements of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, and the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, are operating in Baqubah, along with the 2nd Brigade of the 5th Iraqi Army Division. American forces are in the lead of the assault, with the Iraqi Army in support. The 2-5 Iraqi Army Brigade killed four al Qaeda after receiving sniper fire, and captured 2 others.

The New York Times, which incorrectly reported the operation as consisting of 2,000 U.S. troops, reported that the western portion of the city of Baqubah has been sealed off with ground and air units as troops pursue the 300 to 500 Qaeda believed to be operating in the area.

The 1920 Revolution Brigades, which turned on al Qaeda in Diyala and cleared the city of Buhriz with U.S. assistance, is actively working along side Iraqi Army units in Baqubah. "The Iraqi forces were joined by some members of the 1920s Revolutionary Brigade, a Sunni Arab group with units that have recently repudiated a longstanding alliance with Al Qaeda, and witnesses said the two groups were welcomed by the residents," note the Times.
 
Map of southern Diyala. Click map to view.

Back in May, we noted Diyala has become the main hub of al Qaeda's operations. Al Qaeda in Iraq made Baqubah the capital of its rump Islamic State of Iraq last year. Since the inception of the Baghdad Security Plan in mid-February, the security situation, which was deteriorating after U.S. forces pulled back last fall, has markedly worsened. Al Qaeda has prepared fighting positions, supply bases, IED traps, bomb rigged buildings, and training camps in the province.

Over 2,000 hardened al Qaeda fighters fled Baghdad and are operating in Diyala. An American intelligence official and a U.S. military officer informed us that al Qaeda is operating along the lines of Hezbollah's military structure in Lebanon. Al Qaeda attacks in the region proved this, as a series of assaults along the Iranian border and elsewhere in the province bore the hallmark of a well led, well trained fighting unit.

The fighting in Diyala will be hard. Al Qaeda is organized in small military units with infantry, mortars, anti-tank and anti-aircraft teams, as well as suicide and IED cells and the accompanying logistical nodes. Al Qaeda has been conducting a terror campaign to remove tribal leaders and others who oppose them, while waging a campaign of intimidation designed to cow the local population.

The Diyala Campaign has been a long time coming. The 10,000 U.S. troops and supporting Iraqi units won't sit pat in Baqubah, but will reach out to strike at other al Qaeda bases in the troubled province. These areas include Khalis, Muqdadiyah and a host of small towns up and down the Diyala River Valley and along the Iranian border where al Qaeda has established bases, training camps and logistical nodes.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2007, 09:59:47 AM »



MY's latest report:

http://michaelyon-online.com/wp/surrender-or-die.htm
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« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2007, 07:47:32 PM »

I just pay-pal'ed him 25.00. I wish Rogt and Milt read his work. They might might get it then.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2007, 07:57:19 AM »

The latest from MY.  As always, a must read.

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/bless-the-beasts-and-children.htm
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« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2007, 06:19:00 AM »

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Zawahiri Tape


Power Line thinks al-Qaeda is having a rough time of it, and Ayman al-Zawahiri's video, which describes their travails in Iraq and elsewhere is clear proof. The Zawahiri video with subtitles is shown. The video is worth watching in detail to get more than a superficial sense of Zawahiri's message. Here was how I heard it:
Zawahiri reminds his listeners of the establishment of the Caliphate-in-exile "which everybody applauded"; but bitterly notes that some of those who once clapped now opposed the Islamic State of Iraq "because it is not empowered", which I can only take to mean "in declining fortune". But never fear, he now claims, the "wind is blowing against Washington". Then he digresses and excoriates the Saudis, contrasting the way they sent the youth for Jihad into Afghanistan and but now have forbidden young men to go into Iraq; and who Zawahiri accuses of working tirelessly on behalf of the Americans to deliver Muslim lands into the hands of the Jew! He then switches to a audio clip from a commander who asks why he is getting no reinforcements, why Muslim scholars are hanging back from endorsing their struggle. At this point in watching the video, I realized that although the idea of the "moderate Muslim" may be laughed to scorn by conservatives, the concept was real to Zawahiri at least, as a bitter and galling reality. He seemed disappointed that the Ummah was not prepared to go as far as he.

The degree of despair can be gathered from the video's choice of metaphor. The Al-Qaeda tape compared the Muslim debates over whether or to follow it's lead in the Jihad to the idle discussions within Constantinople over how many devils could stand on the tip of a pin as the Muslims were battering the walls with catapaults -- except this time the roles were reversed. It was the hated Americans were doing the battering and the bickering Muslims who were counting the devils upon the pins. Even allowing for hyperbole, the choice of metaphor does little to convey confidence.

His commander exclaims "May Allah pluck your eyes out if you don't come an join the Jihad!". Quite a line that. It might be that al-Qaeda has been missing its recruitment targets lately and this video is the equivalent of the America's "Army Strong" pitch, except in this case it is more like Jihad On It's Last Legs.

Zawahiri urges the "youth" to hurry to Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Palestine and the Atlas Mountains. Support through propaganda (books and cassettes) are not enough. What he needs are sandals on the ground.

As to his boys in Iraq being too "unempowered" for recognition, Zawahiri ask bristlingly whether the Islamic State of Iraq could be any weaker than the Jihadis in Gaza, who only exists he says, at the sufferance of Israel and who commute to the West Bank only after consenting to a search? He asks if those semi-prisoners of Israel can be a government, why can't his boys in Iraq be given the same standing? (These passages were immensely revealing, because they frankly conveyed the fact that despite their bluster, and the media's amplification of it, the bald truth was that mighty Hamas and Fatah lived only because Israel let them. Whether the Israeli hand was stayed from decency or fear of Western political correctness is an open question, but clearly not out of a fear for Palestinian firepower, which Zawahiri can hardly conceal his contempt for.

Indeed, Zawahiri goes on so long and hard against Palestine and Hamas that I strongly suspect he dislikes the spotlight on Gaza and the West Bank because, were he frank enough to admit it, it is a competitor for resources for his own project, the Islamic State of Iraq. Shorn of his holy Joe attitude, and Koranic pretensions, what Zawahiri is actually talking about is money, just like a used car salesman. The message is gimme, gimme! This is a better model than that Gaza jalopy you've paid so much for. Gimme.

Zawahiri then goes and declares how pure the al-Qaeda in Iraq is compared to Hamas, how unstained by innocent blood. He says this with a straight face, but his whiskers have me at a disadvantage. Then having denied any misdeeds, he makes the extraordinary offer to submit the Caliphate's leaders and men to Muslim judicial proceedings -- some kind of Islamic International Criminal Court -- strange that the Brussel's ICC's writ runs so short that Zawahiri doesn't even consider it from across the Mediterranean Sea. And my guess on hearing these words is that Zawahiri is feeling the heat, despite his disclaimers of innocence and heading off the complaints about al-Qaeda's bloody tactics in Iraq. He is saying "I promise to cooperate fully with any investigation". That would be the way it would be phrased in Washington. Then he claims is being wronged by the Mainstream Media, which reserves favorable coverage for those bozos Hamas when they are thugs, while his pure warriors are depicted as baby-killers by ignorant correspondents.

Zawahiri's explains that al-Qaeda's counterattacked in Iraq was to save it from the defeat which overtook Afghanistan. He says so plainly. He saw it -- initially at least -- as fundamentally defensive in character; a blocking action to an imminent American threat. And in my opinion, his great fortune lay in that Iraq was so close, to the sources of his Arabian manpower pool that he was able generate a much greater force than has been possible in Afghanistan. And yet despite the advantage of fighting in the heart of the Arab World he was running out of recruits, which is the entire point of his whole video. Maybe the American strategy of turning the Sunnis against the al-Qaeda has had international repercussions on his recruiting. Word is filtering back to other Arab countries that al-Qaeda is the enemy; that it's not all it was cracked up to be when it could be viewed from the romantic distance of Afghanistan. Up close it was ugly. In an indirect way the battlefield has produced what diplomacy was supposed to and could not. It has alienated al-Qaeda from some of its Sunni base. If I am right, it's a thunderclap. And I suspect I am right because right aferward Zawahiri waxes poetic on the great "conquests" of Islam. The attacks on the embassies, on the USS Cole. September 11. Attacks in Europe. But he has no victories to offer after that. Except one. Political victories in America. He offers a clip from Thomas Kean saying that America is facing a tough challenge as if to underscore how the winds are now turning against Washington, though the winds blow from Washington itself. Zawahiri then plays clips asserting that al-Qaeda has grown to Pan-Islamic power, with cells everywhere, even in London. (Interestingly enough, one of the reasons his cited experts give for al-Qaeda's increasing strength "is not just American policy" but the repressive policies of Arab governments. The same people our "realists" want us to rely upon once we withdraw from Iraq.) His cited experts say that if al-Qaeda can drive America from Iraq then not only will al-Qaeda's stock rise but those of Arab governments will correspondingly decline. But he fears those governments still and in his last statements warns of cryptic dangers "outside of Iraq", to pefidies of all types and I wonder whether he meant Iran.

I think anyone who has the time should watch the video in its entirety. Especially Senators, though I doubt they have the time. Zawahiri is not a man who exudes the air of a winner. The entire 23 minute segment shows a man who seeking comfort from past glories, is agonizing over a quagmire, worried he is losing international support, and whose army is breaking down from overstretch.

http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/...hiri-tape.html
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« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2007, 02:34:43 PM »

Second post of the day:

Al Qaeda continues to commit suicide in Iraq.  More Iraqis are turning against al Qaeda for the crimes they commit. 
Real progess is showing in Baqubah on D +16 since the launch of operation Arrowhead Ripper: the Battle for Baqubah.
Please click here for photos and text: http://michaelyon-online.com/wp/baqubah-update-05-july-2007.htm

Sincerely,
Michael Yon
Baqubah, Iraq
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« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2007, 04:03:57 PM »


Greetings from Baqubah,
 
Another quiet day has unfolded here.  Tonight, Thursday 12 June, I will do a live radio interview with Hugh Hewitt at 7PM EST.
Also, a new dispatch is published: Al Qaeda on the Run
http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/al-qaeda-on-the-run-feasting-on-the-moveable-beast.htm
 
Very Respectfully,
Michael
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« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2007, 08:50:28 PM »

Second post of the day

http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblog..._in_the_no.asp

Iraq Report: Al Qaeda in the Northern Villages

As Operations Phantom Thunder pushes forward in Baghdad and the Belts, U.S. and Iraqi forces attacked and killed an al Qaeda team attempting to take control of a rural Kurdish village in Diyala. Meanwhile, with critics claiming the U.S. is too al Qaeda focused in its operations, Iraqi and U.S. forces put a significant dent in the Mahdi Army over the past several days.
Diyala
As Operations Arrowhead Ripper proceeds in the provincial capital of Baqubah and the surrounding areas, al Qaeda in Iraq has been pushed into the farmlands north of the city. Last weekend, al Qaeda struck with suicide attacks at Kurdish cities along the Iranian border, and in a Kurdish village in neighboring Salahadin province, with devastating effects. Almost 200 civilians were killed and hundreds more wounded.
Al Qaeda is pushing into villages where it did not have a presence in the recent past. Yesterday, reports of an al Qaeda assault on the small Shiite village of Sherween slashed across the wires. The AP reported that when al Qaeda in Iraq moved on Sherween, there were no security forces present to stop them. Residents of the town fought back; "25 militants and 18 residents were killed and 40 people wounded in the fighting," a resident of a neighboring town reported. He also stated that al Qaeda was winning.
While the AP report lamented the failure of the Iraqi and U.S. security forces to respond, a joint U.S. and Iraqi task force was quickly assembled and moved in on Sherween early today. "The operation began early Tuesday morning with close air support engaging three river crossings and one bridge with eight 2,000-pound bombs and 14 500-pound bombs. The locations are used by al-Qaida to conduct their attacks and were engaged to prevent their escape," Multinational Forces Iraq reported. "The people of Sherween played a vital role in this operation as they fought side-by-side [with] the ISF to help them capture and kill known terrorists." The attack resulted in "20 al-Qaida terrorists killed, 20 detained, and two weapons caches and 12 improvised explosive devices discovered."
Also north of Baqubah, U.S. and Iraqi security forces found an al Qaeda safe house, which contained a possible torture room. "Inside, the patrol found medical supplies, medical equipment and al-Qaida related propaganda," Multinational Forces Iraq reported. "Also inside the building was a room with indicators that it had been used as a place of torture, such as blood on the walls and blacked out windows."
As U.S. and Iraq forces move forward with securing Baqubah and the outlying regions, the attacks such at those in Sherween are expected to increase. Al Qaeda is working the seams in Diyala, and the rural farmlands and the Hamrin mountain chain are ideal locations for al Qaeda and allied insurgent groups to fall back upon.



Northern Babil
Operations Marne Torch in the Arab Jabour region and Commando Eagle in the Mahmudiyah region continue largely under the radar. A tip from an Iraqi led to the capture of south Baghdad’s most wanted terrorist, along with seven of his associates. The captured man led an al Qaeda terror and intimidation network and was responsible "for shooting down an AH-64 helicopter in April 2006, the abductions of two Soldiers in June 2006, and complex attacks on patrol bases and terrorist acts against both Coalition Forces and Iraqi civilians."
In Arab Jabour, 13 insurgents were detained and several weapons caches were found. In Jisr Diyala, three insurgents were killed after attacking U.S. forces who were attempting to provide medical assistance to Iraqi citizens.
Baghdad
The Green Zone, or International Zone, came under a relatively heavy mortar attack on Tuesday. Upwards of 20 mortars hit inside the Green zone, killing three and wounding 18. Mortars have been launched from inside Sadr City by "rogue" elements of the Mahdi Army. While attacks on the Green Zone have been relatively ineffective militarily, they provide for breathless news reporting.
U.S. forces continue to establish a presence inside Baghdad's worst neighborhood. The Army built a combat outpost in the Ameriya neighborhood in western Baghdad. Ameriya has been the scene of a local uprising against al Qaeda in Iraq by residents and Sunni insurgent groups. Clearing operations in the Rashid district resulted in the discovery of two small caches containing mortars and rockets.
The North
Al Qaeda and allied insurgent groups are pressing hard in Salahadin and Ninewa province as operations are underway in Baghdad, the Belts and Diyala. The mayor of Samarra was reported to have been assassinated in his home on Tuesday, according to Voices of Iraq. He took office in May and was tasked with working to rebuild the al Askaria mosque, which was destroyed by al Qaeda in 2006 and attacked again this June. Iraqi police captured a cell leader of a mortar and sniper network in the city on July 9. In Mosul, the Iraqi Army found a roadside bomb factory that produced IEDs made to look like sections of curb.
Al Qaeda
Coalition and Iraqi commandos continue to strike at al Qaeda's command network and senior operatives nationwide. In Tuesday's raids, 17 operatives were captured in Mosul, Baghdad, Taji, and northern Babil province. Wednesday's raids resulted in two al Qaeda operatives killed and 20 captured in Mosul, Baghdad, Samarra, and Taji.
Mahdi Army and the Iranian Special Groups
While some commentators are claiming military leaders are only focused on the al Qaeda threat at the exclusion of all other insurgent groups, U.S. and Iraqi security forces continue to devote resources towards dismantling the Mahdi Army and the Iranian-backed "Special Groups."
On July 9, U.S. forces killed eight members of a "criminal militia" inside Sadr City. Iraqi Special Operations Forces captured "twelve insurgents linked to a rogue Jaysh al-Mahdi militia [Mahdi Army]" during two operations in Baghdad on July 8. One of the Mahdi cells was responsible for conducting explosively formed penetrator attacks on U.S. forces. Today, Coalition forces captured a "Secret Cell terrorist ... affiliated with the Jaysh al-Mahdi affiliated Special Groups." Multinational Forces Iraq has been increasingly linking the Mahdi Army and the Iranian Special Groups in its press releases.
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« Reply #23 on: July 17, 2007, 11:14:48 AM »

From MY:
===========Hello From Baqubah:

Superman is published at: http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/superman.htm

I made an appearance today (Tuesday) from Baqubah on Good Morning America to talk about events in Baqubah.  That video should be available on their site, and includes loud combat video I shot yesterday (Monday.)

I will be appearing on the Laura Ingraham radio show tomorrow (Wednesday.)

 We realize the site has become difficult to navigate after growing beyond all expectations, both in content and readership. The site will be overhauled during the coming months, but the work is very expensive so this will happen in stages.   

 

This site depends 100% on reader support.  Every bit helps and is critical.  We'll revamp the site as funding permits to allow for easier searches, and will continue to bring cutting edge stories from the war.

 

Very Respectfully,
Michael
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« Reply #24 on: July 23, 2007, 05:41:09 PM »

RIP General Downing

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/american-legacy-wayne-downing.htm
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« Reply #25 on: July 23, 2007, 06:10:57 PM »

Second post of the day:

July 19, 2007: While Saudi Arabia is not happy with how Shia Arabs have taken control of Iraq, and appear able to hold on to it, they are pleased with how the fighting in Iraq has greatly depleted the number of al Qaeda backers inside Saudi Arabia. Over 5,000 Saudi Islamic radicals are believed to have died in Iraq so far. For the last four years, up to half the suicide bombers have been Saudis, and about half the 135 foreigners currently held in U.S. military prisons over there, are Saudis. Currently, American intelligence believes about 45 percent of the foreign fighters (less than ten percent of all terrorists there) are Saudis. The next largest group is Syrians and Lebanese (15 percent), followed by North Africans (10 percent). The other 30 percent are from all over, including Europe.
The Saudis themselves are coy about how all those Saudi Islamic radicals got into Iraq. The Saudi border with Iraq is heavily patrolled, and not easy to get across, no matter which direction you are going. But the Saudis have refused calls to crack down on their young men going to Syria or Jordan, and crossing from there into Iraq.


http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #26 on: July 27, 2007, 11:46:28 AM »

http://www.youtube.com/michaelyon

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/birds-eye-view.htm
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« Reply #27 on: July 30, 2007, 10:51:18 PM »


http://www.fumento.com/military/ramadireturn.html

The tactics and learnings observed by Fumento last NOVEMBER where the product of many months of experience before THAT.

Belmont Club notes the same: http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/...e-on-iraq.html

"Of course these Iraqi units did not spring into existence over night. They are the cumulative result of years of sustained effort. Even the removal of Iraqi deadwood grew from a process of weeding out the failures. Without diminishing the achievements of the current group of commanders the situation in Iraq must reflect both the mistakes and the solid accomplishments of those who came before."
and
"
Interestingly, al-Qaeda chose to make Iraq its decisive arena of confrontation with the United States. The US came to Iraq primarily to topple Saddam Hussein and remove one "state sponsor of terrorism" but it was Al-Qaeda that rushed in to stake its reputation there. A networked insurgency with followers in many Muslim countries could have chosen to attack America elsewhere. But instead it decided to focus its efforts on driving the US from Iraq. For that purpose its leadership established al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and funneled recruits into it from all over the world. This force was tasked with the explicit political goal of creating a Islamic Caliphate that would provide a prototype for a future Islamic state after the hated Americans had been driven out. Therefore much of the post-Saddam violence was probably the consequence of al-Qaeda's decision to flood all the resources of world terrorism into Iraq. Clearly Zarqawi's clear intention from the Samarra mosque bombing onward was to incite as much violence as he could. Given that al-Qaeda made Iraq the center of its global efforts, O’Hanlon and Pollack's admiration of MNF-I's decision to focus against it seems perplexing. Surely Petraeus had no alternative? Surely he was simply picking up the gauntlet? But that would not quite be true. Through much of 2005 and 2006 a variety of lines were suggested. Some argued that the US should lash out against Syria or Iran for allowing "militants" to transit their borders. Some believed Shi'a militias should be the primary target operations. Until recently many argued -- and still argue -- that al-Qaeda didn't exist in Iraq at all; so how could MNF-I focus against what was not there? So while taking on al-Qaeda now seems the obvious choice, in retrospect there were many other candidates vying for the title of Center of Gravity. Those bad guys still remain, but MNF-I saw al-Qaeda in Iraq as the key to the position and that choice, according to O’Hanlon and Pollack, appears to be the right one.

Time will tell. But if focusing on al-Qaeda in Iraq is the right choice the most interesting question is why. My own guess is that by attacking al-Qaeda, the US took engaged not only the most fanatical force in Iraq but the one with the most powerful narrative. And by shrewdly matching kinetic warfare with political warfare, organizing the victims of al-Qaeda's depredations, it brought the myth down to earth. As long as al-Qaeda remained an "idea" it might be regarded as invincible, a mystical will o' the wisp. But once this mystical force was forced to materialize in Iraq, it became embodied in the likes of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his henchmen, who, viewed up close, turned out to be nothing more than brutal gangsters of the lowest and most sadistic type instead of latter day Companions of the Prophet. Even Zawahiri, despite his pretensions to refinement, could not avoid discrediting himself as he proved unable to resist threatening to gouge people's eyes out if they did not follow his bidding. It is said that no man is a hero to his own valet. Familiarity with the genuine article brought disillusionment, contempt and finally hatred for al-Qaeda.

And without the romantic mantle of apocalyptic Islamism to puff them up, both Syria and Iran would shrink to the third-rate powers that they truly are. In choosing al-Qaeda as its focus, MNF-I indirectly weakened both Teheran and Damascus in ways that both were powerless to counter. None of this has been completely achieved yet. But as O’Hanlon and Pollack state, Iraq while not yet won is getting better. And if the process continues much will be accomplished if al-Qaeda can be defeated in Iraq; their image tarnished beyond repair and their narrative shown to be a pack of lies. The New York Times article concludes "there is enough good happening on the battlefields of Iraq today that Congress should plan on sustaining the effort at least into 2008." Yes, but to some degree it misses the point. What is happening on the battlefield is changing perceptions in Iraq and perhaps throughout the region. Ironically, the US Armed Forces may now know much better than the press that operations go beyond body counts. But whenever US forces are withdrawn the information war must go on. Because the one great probability in the Middle East is that each failed creed gives rise to a new one. The same Six Day War which discredited Nasserism simultaneously launched its successor movement. Radical Islamism harnessed the tide of disillusionment and redirected it to its purposes. And as Al-Qaeda falls in esteem in the Muslim world from its post-September 11 halcyon days, other ideologues will probably attempt to fashion a new movement based on its carcass. That's why the information war should go on until politics in the Middle East is transformed from a sequence of messianic movements to practical endeavor. Until then the victories on Iraq's battlefields will be temporary.
__________________
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« Reply #28 on: August 01, 2007, 09:15:08 AM »

 
A new dispatch is posted:  "Bread and a Circus."
 
I'll be on the Dennis Miller show live in few hours.  The time for the show is 1015 EST.  Please click here to visit Dennis' site.  The man is hilarious.
 
I'm taking a quick break from the war and am in Singapore.  They sincerely like Americans here, and so I love Singapore. 
 
V/r,
 
Michael
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« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2007, 12:22:21 AM »

A particularly fine post from Michael Yon:

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/bread-and-a-circus-part-ii-of-ii.htm
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« Reply #30 on: August 14, 2007, 02:26:20 AM »



http://michaelyon-online.com/wp/three-marks-on-the-horizon.htm
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« Reply #31 on: August 16, 2007, 07:48:04 AM »

http://michaelyon-online.com/wp/into-the-sea.htm
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« Reply #32 on: August 23, 2007, 10:52:01 AM »


http://michaelyon-online.com/wp/the-ghosts-of-anbar-part-1-of-4.htm
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« Reply #33 on: August 28, 2007, 01:23:47 PM »

http://michaelyon-online.com/wp/the-ghosts-of-anbar-part-ii-of-iv.htm
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« Reply #34 on: August 28, 2007, 08:05:43 PM »

http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/001506.html
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« Reply #35 on: September 04, 2007, 11:58:10 AM »

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/ghosts-of-anbar-part-iii-of-iv.htm
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« Reply #36 on: September 07, 2007, 08:33:51 AM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msihSBaq8UM  by Michael Yon

http://michaelyon-online.com/wp/ghosts-of-anbar-part-iv-of-iv.htm  Note MY's closing words.
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« Reply #37 on: October 23, 2007, 02:37:26 PM »

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/resistance-is-futile.htm

As always, a fine piece of work from MY. 

Here is his accompanying email:

It is clear that Iraq is turning a corner.  Not only are Sunni and Shia talking here in Baghdad, but the fighting definitely is abating.  I'll be out in Sunni and Shia neighborhoods all day Tuesday and Wednesday.  Petraeus' ideas are starting to work.

 I've been watching for days as LTC Patrick Frank pulls neighborhoods together here in the Rashid district of Baghdad.  We've been swamped going to reconciliation meetings. ( Spent hours in meetings today. )  LTC Frank is one of many battalion commanders I have seen who are winning in their zones.  A Washington Post writer was here for several days  and his observations were similar.
Again, I suggest to media to get in touch with Infantry battalion commanders around Iraq.  They are the sweet-spot on the ups and downs in Iraq.   

 I am working with the National Newspaper Association to get the increasingly good news about Iraq to a wider audience. This is described in the latest dispatch, Resistance is Futile. With reader support, this effort can get current news from the ground in Iraq in to 2700 daily and weekly newspapers in the US. 
 
Michael
Baghdad
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« Reply #38 on: October 24, 2007, 07:47:49 PM »

Note that Bill Roggio's The Fourth Rail is now found at this site. And it's always chuck full of news from multiple theaters of the Long War.

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archiv...ss_has_bec.php

The Long War Journal: "The darkness has become pitch black" - Osama bin Laden on Iraq situation

Written by Bill Roggio on October 24, 2007 6:19 PM to The Long War Journal
Available online at: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archiv...ss_has_bec.php


Recent report from US commanders in Iraq have stated al Qaeda in Iraq has been set back by a combination of the latest offensive and the willingness of local Iraqis to turn on the terror group. Based Osama bin Laden's latest audiotape, al Qaeda central command agrees that the fight against the US and the Iraqi government is not going well.
A clearer picture of Osama bin Laden's view on the state of jihad in Iraq emerges after the release of the full transcript of Osama bin Laden's latest audiotape, Not only does bin Laden admit errors in the Iraqi leader's ability to unite the tribes and Sunni insurgent groups, he views the situation in Iraq as dire for al Qaeda. Bin Laden accuses his foot soldier of "negligence" for failing to properly employ IEDs, laments the unwillingness of Iraqis who do not wish to attack their brothers in the police and army, and closes his statement by saying "the darkness [in Iraq] has become pitch black."
Al Qaeda, IEDs, and "negligence"

Bin Laden addresses a tactical failure of al Qaeda in Iraq's IED cells. He clearly is unhappy with their performance, and indicated the failure to employ IEDs efficiently against U.S. forces is due to "negligence." He is also concerned about the infiltration of Iraqi and American spies.
I tell my brothers: beware of your enemies, especially the hypocrites who infiltrate your ranks to stir up strife among the Mujahid groups, and refer such people to the judiciary. And you must check and verify, and avert the Hudood through doubts. You must protect your secrets and excel in your actions, for among the things which sadden the Muslims and the delight the unbelievers is the hindering of some combat operations against the enemy because of negligence in any of the stages of preparation for the operation, whether it be reconnaissance of the target, training, integrity, and suitability of weapons and ammunition, quality of the explosive device or other such arrangements. And when you lay a mine, do it right, and don't leave so much as one wounded American soldier or spy.
US and Iraqi Security Forces have specifically focused on targeting IED and suicide bomb cells over the course of the summer. In some cases, IED cells have been captured wholesale by conventional and special forces and in other cases IED emplacers have been killed in groups of five to 15 while attempting to plant their weapons by Coalition aircraft. In Anbar province, al Qaeda in Iraq has failed to kill a single US serviceman by IED since September 10. It seems bin Laden is acutely aware of this.
Osama bin Laden is often portrayed as a spiritual leader and figurehead detached from day-to-day operations, but this recent speech merely reinforces what we already know about him. An engineer by training, bin Laden is very interested in the planning and execution of attacks and operations. The 9/11 Commission Report stated bin Laden was personally involved in reviewing the operational attack plans for the embassy bombings, the Cole, and 9/11. He immerses himself in the technical details and the tactics used by his operators, and keeps apprised of the situation on the battlefields.
A split with the insurgency over attacking the Iraqi Security Forces
While bin Laden repeatedly admonishes his leaders for failing to build the relationships with Sunni tribal groups and allied insurgent groups, he continues to push attacks on Iraqi police and soldiers. This attitude has pitted some of the more nationalist Sunni groups away from al Qaeda, as they loath to attack their own countrymen, instead viewing the US and Coalition forces as the enemy.
Bin Laden tells the Iraqi people to "beware of ... those in the land of the Two Sanctuaries in particular, who forbid the Mujahideen from fighting the army and police of the traitors – like al-Alawi, al-Jafari and al-Maliki - although they know that they are tools of the American occupation helping it to kill the people of Islam which is obvious apostasy on the part of the soldiers."
The violent attacks against the Iraqi Security Forces, particularly in Anbar province during the winter and spring of 2007, were accompanied by strikes against the families and tribes which supported the establishment police and army units. Mishan al-Jabouri, a leader in the Islamic Army in Iraq and the proprietor of Al Zawraa, an insurgent TV channel, attacked al Qaeda in Iraq for intentionally targeting members of the Iraqi Army and police forces. Al-Jabouri and other Sunni insurgents believed those joining the security forces were acting in the best interest of Iraqis.
Contempt for the Saudi king

In the next paragraph, bin Laden shows his contempt for Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, who he describes as "the idol-king of Riyadh" and "the biggest promoter of the American-Zionist project in the region."
And worst of all is that these men of knowledge consider the idol-king of Riyadh to be guardian of the Muslims' affair, and call on the Muslims to rally around him, although they know that he is the biggest promoter of the American-Zionist project in the region, and is one of those who called on it to invade Iraq. These, "they are the enemies, so beware of them. Allah curse them, how they lie!" (63:4)
Earlier in the speech, bin Laden chastises Abdullah for backing the deployment of African peacekeepers to Darfur in Sudan. He refer to Abdullah as "the governor of Riyadh" who "again sought to convince the Sudanese president, this time to implement the demands of the United Atheist Nations to allow the entrance of Crusader forces to Darfur." Bin Laden described the Darfur peacekeeping mission as "a brazen occupation" and stated "only an infidel apostate seeks it or agrees to it."
Darkness. Where are the mujahideen?

While bin Laden clearly sees the situation in Iraq as dire -- he said "the darkness has become pitch black" -- he holds out hope that the vanguard fighters of al Qaeda can hold the line until reinforcements arrive.
In closing, I tell our people in Iraq, the patient ones garrisoned on the first line of the religion and sanctities of the Muslims: the malice has increased and the darkness has become pitch black, and with the likes of you, nations reinforce themselves and climb summits.
He calls on Muslims of the Middle East to rejoin the fight, challenging their honor and willingness to fight when they are needed.
So where are those who prefer the religion to the lives of themselves and their children? Where are the people of Tawheed and those who topple the banner of unbelief and polytheism? Where are those who find torture to be pleasant and don't fear the blows? Where are those who find difficulty to be easy and bitterness to be sweet, because they are certain that the fire of Hell is much hotter? Where are those who go out to fight the Romans, as on the day of Tabuk? Where are those who pledge to fight to the death, as on the day of Yarmuk? Where are the soldiers of the Levant and the reinforcements of Yemen? Where are the knights of the Quiver (Egypt) and the lions of the Hijaz (western Saudi Arabia) and al-Yamamah (central Saudi Arabia)? Come and aid your brothers in Mesopotamia and relieve them by coordinating with them by way of dependable guides.

An outside view
Al Qaeda, via As Sahab Media, its propaganda arm, resists the interpretation of bin Laden's speech. As Sahab attacked Al Jazeera for "counterfeiting" the facts of his speech. As Sahab posted the video online at the Ekhlaas forum, along with the following note in English: "Note: We are publishing the whole speech of Shiekh Osama Bin Laden After the tremendous amount of Counterfeiting of the facts and altering the purposes and objectives of the Speech by AL-Jazeerah Satellite channel which ignored all the pillars of honor professional media."
Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor of al-Quds al-Arabi who interviewed bin Laden in 1996, disagrees. Atwan stated in a published editorial that this is the first time al Qaeda admitted errors and was seeking to rectify the situation in Iraq. He noted al Qaeda's zeal in enforcing its radical ideology on Sunni Iraqis turned the majority of Sunnis against the terror group.
"Launching diatribes against others and imposing a particular theological school of thought on everyone, has allowed al-Qaeda's enemies to gain an advantage," Atwan said. "In particular, it's helped the Americans to win the trust of certain tribal leaders. In this way, for the Iraqis the enemy has become al-Qaeda and not the occupying forces."
In Ramadi, "the city that al Qaeda leaders once declared the seat of a new Islamic caliphate and capital of the Iraqi insurgency," the Anbar Awakening held a march honoring Sheik Sattar Abu Risha, the leader of the movement who was slain by al Qaeda 40 days ago. The parade lasted four two hours and Iraqi government officials were in attendance. There were no attacks on the procession.
"Al-Qaeda never wanted to see the sons of Anbar to unite and form security forces. Now I think we have broken their back by building the police and security force," said Sheik Ahmed Abu Risha, the brother of Sattar who succeeded him as the leader of the Anbar Awakening. "Let them come forward and show their faces.... Let them come out, we will fight them."
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« Reply #39 on: October 29, 2007, 06:53:30 PM »

MY's latest email:

Greetings,
 
Many interesting developments in Iraq:  I am working hard to produce dispatches to convey the situation in the various locations where I've been traveling. I have numerous dispatches on the British and the situation down in Basra that will start going up as early as next week, but timing depends in part on the ground conditions here in south Baghdad.

 
 A new dispatch is published here.

I wrote an editorial piece for the New York Post that was published on Sunday. You can read it here.

I will publish the first foreign language translation soon.  Your support made that happen, and is very much appreciated. I am having difficulty sending thank you acknowledgements due to an ongoing glitch with PayPal that makes it impossible to download the logs. We're working to resolve this, because we want people to know their help is making a very real difference.
 
V/r,
 
Michael
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« Reply #40 on: November 01, 2007, 11:14:19 AM »

Iraqi Islamic Party says, “Al Qaeda is Defeated.”
O1 November 2007
Iraqi Islamic Party: “Al Qaeda is Defeated”

“Al Qaeda in Iraq is defeated,” according to Sheik Omar Jabouri, spokesman for the Iraqi Islamic Party and a member of the widespread and influential Jabouri Tribe. Speaking through an interpreter at a 31 October meeting at the Iraqi Islamic Party headquarters in downtown Baghdad, Sheik Omar said that al Qaeda had been “defeated mentally, and therefore is defeated physically,” referring to how clear it has become that the terrorist group’s tactics have backfired. Operatives who could once disappear back into the crowd after committing an increasingly atrocious attack no longer find safe haven among the Iraqis who live in the southern part of Baghdad.  They are being hunted down and killed.  Or, if they are lucky, captured by Americans.

Colonel Ricky Gibbs, the American brigade commander with responsibility for the Rashid District in south Baghdad today told me, “So goes South Baghdad goes Baghdad.”  General Petraeus had told me similar things about the importance of South Baghdad. In fact, Rashid is quickly developing into what might be one of the final serious battlegrounds of the war.


During the meeting, another member of the Iraqi Islamic Party said that al Qaeda has changed its strategy now that fomenting civil war between Sunni and Shia has backfired. Al Qaeda has shifted targets, now trying to generate friction between tribes. This time, however, the tribes are onto the game early, and they are not playing.


Sheik Omar, who has gained the respect of American combat leaders for his intelligence and organizational skills, said the tough line against al Qaeda is also enforced at the tribal level. According to Sheik Omar, the Jabouri tribe, too, is actively committed to destroying al Qaeda. So much so, that Jabouri tribal leaders have decided they would “kill their own sons” if any aided al Qaeda. To underscore the point, he went on to say that about 70 Jabouri “sons” had been killed by the Jabouri tribe so far.

In addition to brigade commander Colonel Ricky Gibbs, four of his battalion commanders were also present: Lieutenant Colonels James Crider, Patrick Frank, Stephen Michael and Myron Reineke.  Sheik Omar expressed deep gratitude for their assistance.

Omar’s influence extends beyond tribal and party levels, to include important channels within the Iraqi government and the US military in Baghdad, as evidenced by the agenda of the hours-long meeting. But for the talk about al Qaeda, the focus was mostly on other topics, such as returning displaced persons to their homes, efficiently delivering basic services and jumpstarting the economy. In fact, more and more meetings in Iraq are turning to day-to-day business, and less time is required on military and security topics like targeting and addressing intelligence-type matters, which until recently monopolized most meetings across Iraq.

Michael Yon
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« Reply #41 on: November 16, 2007, 10:41:45 AM »

A church re-opens in Baghdad

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/come-home.htm
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« Reply #42 on: November 30, 2007, 04:43:29 AM »

http://www.theindychannel.com/news/14732117/detail.html

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jenni Crowley says she can't understand why her son, a Marine reservist, is charged with murder in the death of an Iraqi soldier. Next week, she'll be in California to watch his lawyers try to clear him.The court-martial of Lance Cpl. Delano Holmes, 22, a graduate of Indianapolis' Ben Davis High School, is scheduled to begin Monday at Camp Pendleton, Calif., where he has been held in a brig since February.Holmes (pictured) is accused of fatally stabbing Munther Jasem Muhammed Hassin as the two men stood watch at a security post in Fallujah, Iraq, on Dec. 31, according to one of Holmes' attorneys.

Holmes is charged with unpremeditated murder. Crowley and Holmes' defense team say he was acting in self-defense."I can't believe this," Crowley told 6News' Rafael Sanchez of the charge. "This is a nightmare."Steve Cook, one of Holmes' attorneys, said earlier this year that Holmes and Hassin struggled in darkness after Hassin allegedly opened his cell phone and then lit a cigarette. The men were not supposed to display any illuminated objects because of the threat of sniper fire, and Holmes made repeated attempts to make Hassin extinguish the cigarette, Cook said.

Holmes knocked the cigarette out of Hassin's hands, and they started wrestling, according to Cook. Holmes thought Hassin was reaching for his loaded AK-47, so the Marine killed him with his bayonet and then radioed for help, Cook said.Crowley said her son "has never wavered from the fact that he did not intend to kill this Iraqi soldier.""He facing the possibility of life in prison, based on the charges, simply for defending himself when he felt he had no other option," Crowley said.Crowley started a Web site to inform people about the case and raise money for Holmes' legal defense fund.Crowley will go to California for the court-martial, which is expected to last about two weeks."It won't be easy," she said. "It will be a very hard time again for our family and for Del, but I have to believe that the God I know and love and trust will see us through somehow."
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« Reply #43 on: December 08, 2007, 12:52:00 PM »

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-snipers8dec08,1,4472879.story?coll=la-headlines-world

Sniper accused of murder disputes statement

Sgt. Vela says officers changed his account of shooting an Iraqi. He says he thinks the Army 'should have had my back.'
By Ned Parker, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 8, 2007

BAGHDAD — As a military court prepares to try the last of three U.S. snipers on murder charges, the soldiers have accused their commanding officers of pushing to expand rules of engagement to produce more "kills" and then abandoning them when they were accused of murder.

Two soldiers already have been acquitted of murder, but found guilty on lesser charges.

The third, Army Sgt. Evan Vela, faces a pretrial hearing Tuesday, seven months to the day after he shot at close range a man who had wandered into a sniper camp. The area, 30 miles south of Baghdad, was rife with Sunni militants.

Vela alleges that investigators changed the statement he made to them, and that a military lawyer urged him to waive his right to a hearing -- which he only won back on appeal. Vela has acknowledged that he shot the man, but said he was only doing his job and criticized his commanders for not looking out for him.

"It seems like when they should have had my back, they let me down," Vela said in an interview.

At Tuesday's hearing, Vela's lawyers hope to have the statement thrown out. They say they will ask that he be released from confinement in Kuwait, and that the trial, scheduled to start Jan. 28, be moved to Ft. Richardson, Alaska, where Vela's battalion is based.

According to court testimony and interviews, Vela's sniper unit was revamped in spring after the 1st Battalion of the 25th Infantry Division's 501st Regiment suffered a number of casualties in the Jurf Sakhar region. By June, as many as 20 soldiers had been killed.

In an interview, the unit's leader, Sgt. Michael S. Hensley, who was acquitted of murder charges, said that Sgt. Maj. Bernie Knight brought him in to get more kills.

"The reason I am doing this is I want to start killing some bad guys, I want to increase our kill ratio," Hensley said Knight told him.

Hensley said he agreed on the condition that he would run the section by himself and report directly to the battalion commander. The unit expanded from seven to 13 men. Knight and Lt. Col. Robert Balcavage pushed the soldiers to become more aggressive, Hensley said.

"Balcavage and Knight, they would throw out their things like, 'You guys don't need to worry if you feel threatened for a second, don't hesitate to engage.' "

Knight and Balcavage refused to comment for this article. Their commander, Col. Michael Garrett, said they had done nothing wrong. "We were all under pressure fighting an elusive enemy," he said.

Until January, the sniper unit had killed no more than two people. But under Hensley's command, by June it had killed at least 15 people.

The platoon's senior noncommissioned officer, Sgt. 1st Class Steve Kipling, testified that Knight marginalized him. Scout platoon leader Lt. Matthew Didier, under whose command the sniper section fell, said Balcavage and Knight took a strong interest in what the sniper units did, and that Hensley sometimes would meet alone with the battalion's operation officer.

The unit also had sought clearance for a baiting program, in which snipers would plant weapons and parts and shoot Iraqis who picked them up, according to testimony by Kipling and Didier. Vela and other soldiers said they were briefed on the plan, but it is unclear whether it was implemented.

The subsequent demise of the sniper unit destroyed Didier's career. He plans to leave the Army after receiving a letter of reprimand for his platoon's conduct.

Murder charges were filed against the snipers in three incidents. But it is the final shooting, of an unarmed man who wandered into the sniper camp on May 11, that has drawn the most attention.

The five-man team was positioned along the Euphrates River to look for anyone fleeing a late-night raid on a house suspected to have a cache of rockets packed with chemicals. According to sworn statements and testimony in three hearings, Vela fired two bullets into the man's head at close range.

At the time, Hensley hid the incident from his battalion. Asked about it, Hensley provided a sworn statement in which he said his soldiers had tried to restrain the Iraqi but the man pointed a rifle at them.

In the interview, Hensley defended his actions. But he refused to say what happened because he might be called to testify in Vela's case.
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"Anything that was done to that insurgent was done to refrain him from making noise," Hensley said. "We were in an area where we could not get resupplied. There was only five of us out there with sniper weapons. We couldn't rapidly shoot at anything. . . . For all those reasons, this guy was killed out of self-defense."

Three weeks after that shooting, Knight and Balcavage promoted Hensley to platoon sergeant. His appointment lasted less than a month, however. With Balcavage on vacation, a captain invited the Army's criminal investigators to look into allegations by two lower-ranking soldiers, who had been punished by the unit for falling asleep, that the snipers had murdered civilians.
 
Before his November trial, the last time he saw his superiors, Hensley said, was in late June when he was brought to Balcavage's office and had charge sheets read against him. He was escorted to a helicopter to fly to prison in Kuwait.

He accused his superiors of only taking issue with his actions after criminal investigators became involved. "When they had issue with it, was when Criminal Investigation Department came on station and suddenly everybody was in the spotlight," said Hensley, who was found guilty of planting a weapon and disrespecting an officer. He also was demoted from staff sergeant.

The battalion rounded up the entire sniper unit as well and placed its members in solitary confinement. When he was summoned for questioning, Vela said he was held for nearly seven hours and threatened.

"To get me to make a statement, they threatened me that I would never see my family again. After I made the statement, CID actually sat down at the computer and changed my statement without me knowing it," Vela said in an unsworn statement at a hearing last month to determine whether his case would go to trial.

Vela was held for 30 days in Kuwait without seeing a court-appointed lawyer, who then recommended by phone that Vela waive his right to an Article 32 hearing, the equivalent of a grand jury, to determine whether the case should go to court-martial.

He agreed to waive it, but a civilian defense team hired by his father appealed the decision and won. Vela's defense team accused senior commanders, including Army Gen. Rick Lynch of the Multi-National Division Center, of obstructing his access to a fair trial.

Vela also was asked to testify with immunity at the trials of the two other snipers charged with murder -- Hensley and then-Spc. Jorge G. Sandoval Jr., who was convicted of poor conduct for planting of a detonation wire on a body and demoted. At Sandoval's trial, Vela broke down on the witness stand; at Hensley's, he said he remembered nothing of the events.

In August, a forensic psychiatrist, Carol Malone Carr, the assistant director at the National Naval Medical Center's Mental Health directorate, had diagnosed Vela with signs of post traumatic stress disorder, including battle flashbacks, and suicidal thoughts.

The experience has left a bitter taste for most soldiers. Sgt. Richard Hand, who had been on the May 11 mission, said he believed his association with the unit had ruined his career, and that he planned to leave the Army. "They were very lax in their care of anybody except themselves," he said.

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« Reply #44 on: December 12, 2007, 09:16:17 AM »

U.S. refuses `Any Wounded Soldier' mail By JAY REEVES, Associated Press Writer


Hundreds of thousands of holiday cards and letters thanking wounded American troops for their sacrifice and wishing them well never reach their destination. They are returned to sender or thrown away unopened.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks and the anthrax scare, the Pentagon and the Postal Service have refused to deliver mail addressed simply to "Any Wounded Soldier" for fear terrorists or opponents of the war might send toxic substances or demoralizing messages.

Mail must be addressed to a specific member of the armed forces — a rule that pains some well-meaning Americans this Christmas season.

"Are we going to forget our soldiers because we are running in fear?" Fena D'Ottavio asked. The suburban Chicago woman was using her blog to encourage friends to send mail to unspecified soldiers until she learned of the ban, which she called a sad commentary on society.

Last season, despite the rule, officials say as many as 450,000 pieces of mail not addressed to anyone in particular managed to reach Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. But they were returned or, if they had no return address, were thrown out altogether, because the hospital lacked the manpower to open and screen all the mail, spokesman Terry Goodman said.

"A lot of this is because of security concerns because it's unsolicited mail that someone is going to have to go through," Goodman said. "Also, being a democratic society, there could be inappropriate mail from someone who, say, doesn't support the war, and then you've got a wounded soldier getting it."

Lt. Col. Kevin Arata, a spokesman with the Army Human Resources Command, said no one tracks the amount of unnamed-soldier mail being returned, so it is impossible to judge the size of the problem.

The busiest part of the holiday season has yet to arrive, but officials said they are receiving far less mail this year addressed simply to "A Recovering American Soldier" or "Any Wounded Soldier."

Candy Roquemore of Austin, Texas, was also promoting the idea of sending cards to wounded soldiers until she found out about the rule. She suggested the ban is an overreaction.

"I think there are some wackos who might do something, so I can understand that. But I think with a Christmas postcard it would be pretty easy to see it doesn't have anthrax in it," Roquemore said.

She added: "I just wanted to say, `Thank you, sorry you're hurt, and happy holidays.'"

USO spokesman John Hanson said that like the military, the nonprofit service organization does not deliver unopened mail to unspecified recipients. He said the USO worries about security as well as hateful messages from war critics.

"We just want to make sure it's not, `Die, baby killer,'" he said. "There are people out there who act irrationally, and we don't want anyone to get a message that would be discouraging."

The USO is one of the organizations the military is encouraging people to support with donations as an alternative to sending cards to unspecified soldiers. The military is also referring people to the American Red Cross and a Defense Department Web site where supporters have posted thousands of messages to troops.

Some groups are offering to forward mail to the troops. Aides to Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., are offering to accept letters, screen them through the U.S. Capitol mail operation, and get them to members of the armed forces.

"We've had about a dozen complaints from constituents about returned mail that they sent to troops," said Steven Boyd, a Sessions spokesman.

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« Reply #45 on: January 21, 2008, 09:17:34 AM »

MY makes the NY Times!  Plus his most recent email letter:
=======================

Michael Yon covers the Iraq war intimately by staying with soldiers under fire.
By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA
Published: January 21, 2008
Michael Yon was not a journalist, and he wasn’t sure what a blogger was. He had been in uniform but not in combat, and he wanted to keep it that way. He went to Iraq thinking he would stay for a month, and maybe find a way to write about the war after he got home.

Enlarge This Image
 
© Michael P. Yon
Michael Yon, a former Special Forces fighter, writes dispatches and posts photographs from the front lines in Iraq.

Instead, he has spent most of the last three years in Iraq, writing prolifically and graphically, and racking up more time embedded with combat units than any other journalist, according to the United States military. He has been shot at, buffeted by explosions and seen more people maimed — fighters and civilians, adults and children — than he can count.

“The easiest thing in the world to write about is combat, because all the drama is there,” said Mr. Yon, a fit, ruddy-faced 43-year-old who was a Special Forces soldier more than two decades ago. He insists that he still does not really know the rules of journalism, but says he has recently, grudgingly, accepted that he has become a journalist.

His detailed, mostly admiring accounts of front-line soldiers’ daily work have won him a loyal following, especially among service members and journalists and bloggers who follow the war. One of his photographs showing an American soldier cradling an Iraqi girl injured in a car bombing (the girl later died) appeared on Time magazine’s Web site and was later voted one of top images of the year by visitors.

Mr. Yon, however, does not work for any organization; no news outlet pays him for the hundreds of dispatches and photos he has produced. He publishes his work on his own Web site, michaelyon-online.com (some will appear again in a book set for release in April), and he also posts submissions from military people serving in Iraq. He says contributions from his readers have paid most of his costs, though he declines to say how much they have given.

Like most bloggers, Mr. Yon has an agenda, writing often that the United States’ mission to build a stable, democratic Iraq is succeeding and must continue. He rarely disparages those who disagree, though, and he does not shy away from describing the disturbing things he sees.

He sometimes criticizes United States forces, their Iraqi allies, and even decision makers in Washington; lately, he has warned that while the American focus is on Iraq, Afghanistan is being lost.

His upbeat outlook on the war has made Mr. Yon a favorite of the war’s supporters. But others in that camp have attacked him for insisting that Iraq is in a civil war, and for condemning American treatment of some detainees.

“His work has a remarkable, chin-out, unvarnished intimacy,” said Jackie Lyden, a National Public Radio reporter who has worked in Iraq. “He isn’t a guarded, diplomatically toned reporter; he can be very frank, and he questions his own assumptions.”

The Internet has fostered such citizen journalism, shaking up ideas about where news comes from, but few have taken on the expense and danger of working in a war zone. Mr. Yon’s daily expenses are small, but he has paid tens of thousands of dollars for computers, cameras, phones and body armor.

He went to Iraq believing that the mainstream news media were bungling the story, and he still often criticizes the media’s pessimism. But he has also praised particular reporters from major outlets, or defended the media in general, explaining how difficult and dangerous it is to cover the war.

Along the way, he created a niche outlet that is better reported than most blogs, and more opinionated than most news reporting, with enough first-hand observation, clarity and skepticism to put many professional journalists to shame.

“We saw the man lying face down, barefoot, in filthy, oily mud, human excrement all around him,” he wrote in 2005, describing the aftermath of a gun battle he had witnessed. “He had fallen in an open air toilet, where he lay, belly-shot,” Mr. Yon continued. “The man brought his hand to his head, and touched his forehead with his index finger, pointing right between his eyes. ‘Shoot me, shoot me,’ he said. ‘I want to die.’ ”

Col. Stephen Twitty, a brigade commander with whom Mr. Yon has spent time in Iraq, had high praise for his work, saying that he often takes the same risks as the soldiers he accompanies.

-----------------------



Frontline Blogger Covers War in Iraq With a Soldier’s Eyes
Published: January 21, 2008
(Page 2 of 2)

In his first year and a half of online writing, Mr. Yon carefully avoided a position on whether he thought the war should have been waged in the first place. He eventually said that he had supported it reluctantly because of claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. Yon aims some barbs at the military brass, but talking with him and reading his work, it becomes clear that he has also pulled punches, not wanting to undermine the war effort.

In an interview, he said that when he first went to Iraq, in December 2004, “I knew we were losing the war,” and that “it was worse than the news was portraying.”

He said that in the early going, the military mishandled both the fighting and the press, and that among field commanders, “I started finding quite a few that seemed to be dialed in and knew what they were doing, and I found quite a lot that were quite clueless.”

Little of that dark view made its way into his dispatches, especially in his first year.

Mr. Yon has spent much of his life traveling and immersing himself in new places. Along the way, he wrote and self-published a book about his childhood. He decided to see the Iraq war for himself after three of his friends were killed there in 2004, and the military decided that his book was credential enough to let him accompany a combat unit.

Since then, bloggers and independent journalists have grown in numbers in Iraq, while the mainstream media there has shrunk. Overall, the number of embedded reporters at a given time dropped from several hundred in the early going to a few dozen in recent months.

In 2005 and 2006, Mr. Yon went through a period of rocky relations with the military hierarchy, which at times tried to bar him from accompanying units. But since then, things have improved, and the military has generally become more conscious — and solicitous — of Internet journalists. To Mr. Yon, ever-hopeful about the war, that change is healthy for Iraq, as well as for him.

“If you have bad media relations, you don’t know how to run a counterinsurgency,” he said. “Now they’re very good at it.”

=====================================
----- Original Message -----
From: Michael Yon
To: craftydog@dogbrothers.com
Sent: Monday, January 21, 2008 3:13 AM
Subject: Preparing for a return to Iraq


If you have trouble reading this email, go to the online version.
Greetings:

I am preparing to head back to Iraq at the end of this week.

We've added a lot of new material to the site in the past week, including updates on units I've embedded with and stories published during 2007, and links to news items, like a profile in the New York Times.

If you haven't been to the website recently, we have added new archive pages that can be accessed here.

News that my book, Moment of Truth in Iraq (which will be published in April 2008) is now available for special advance purchase has prompted renewed interest in my first book Danger Close, and we've republished the first chapter of that book here.

Also, at the suggestion of readers, my Dragon Skin body armor is up for auction on E-Bay. You can read why here, and follow the bidding here.

As always, reader support is greatly appreciated, especially as I organize and assemble the gear needed for this next embed. Without the generosity of readers, this mission could not go forward. And during this election year when important decisions will be made on Iraq, front line news will be critical for identifying political truth-tellers.

Thank you,

V/r

Michael



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« Reply #46 on: February 10, 2008, 10:19:10 AM »

Greetings,

 

South Baghdad has truly quieted down.  There is still some violence reminding us this is not over, but I walked down the street of one neighborhood the other day wearing no body armor or helmet.

I mentioned back in December that I expected US casualties likely would rise in January and February, and unfortunately this is occurring.  The same is likely to happen in March.  This masks the reality that much progress is being made and Iraq as a whole appears to be settling down, because it is easy to cherry pick facts that make it appear worse than it is.  I believe that JAM is cooperating more than is being reported in the news.

The increased US causalities are to be expected due to the rapidly diminishing habitat for al Qaeda.  Al Qaeda continues to get hammered south of Baghdad, out in Diyala, up in Salah ad Dinh, Nineveh, and other places, but of course some of them always squirt and escape.

Many al Qaeda have "escaped" to  (or are being trapped in? ) Mosul.  There are reports that al Qaeda has learned from their mistakes and are treating the people in Mosul better than they have treated people elsewhere; this could make it tougher to root them out of Mosul.  But these reports are ambiguous: AQI typically treats people mostly well when they first move in, but the pattern is clear: eventually they go Helter Skelter and start cutting off kids' heads and so forth.

 I expect fierce fighting to unfold in Mosul, and I should be there in a few days.

 On Monday, I'll talk on the Dennis Miller show, and Tuesday on NPR. Please click here for more information, and to see three "Photos of the Year" (almost), that I shot in Iraq.

 
Michael Yon
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« Reply #47 on: February 14, 2008, 07:26:26 AM »


http://michaelyon-online.com/wp/rubs-dinner-with-general-dubik.htm
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« Reply #48 on: March 24, 2008, 02:35:29 PM »

From Western Nineveh Province, Northern Iraq

Despite recent news reports, progress in Iraq continues.  The 5th year, the 4,000th death... these are sad truths.  Also true is that violence is down and al Qaeda loses ground day by day.  The biggest challenge now is national reconciliation.
 
Nevertheless, I've planted myself up here in Nineveh where al Qaeda is making a last stand.  They are putting up a good fight, but my gut instinct is that AQI will essentially be finished in Iraq by the end of this summer.  This does not imply that they will be completely exterminated or that attacks will cease, but, for all intents and purposes, al Qaeda will have suffered a devastating defeat in Iraq.
 
Al Qaeda Central seems to have finally realized that the United States and Great Britain are the wrong animals to kick.   They might prefer easier targets in Europe.  Whatever happens, it's clear that al Qaeda is devastated here.  What is left of al Qaeda here is being mulched, mostly up here in Nineveh, where I think there will be more fighting in the coming months.
 
Please read "Stake through their Hearts" to learn more about the fighting in Nineveh.
 
And please buy an advance copy of Moment of Truth in Iraq to help keep me on the battlefield.  Looks like I've got Nineveh mostly to myself, again.
 
V/r,
 
Michael
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« Reply #49 on: April 14, 2008, 09:16:14 AM »

Dear friends,

Our soldiers are turning defeat and disaster into victory and hope. But we could still fumble—if the American people don’t hear the truth now.  There remain serious perils in Iraq and this is a time for action.

To get the message out, please help me get Moment of Truth in Iraq stocked in bookstores, and especially in free libraries and military exchanges.

Here’s how: Please click on “Handout for Bookstores and Libraries” below. This will open a printable one-page handout that can be given to any local bookstore manager, librarian, or military exchange.  (Or all three if you can.)

The handout will tell bookstores and libraries everything they need to order Moment of Truth in Iraq. But what will really motivate retailers and librarians is you, the reader, a member of their community, requesting the book.

So please click here and ask your bookstore, library, or military exchange to please stock Moment of Truth in Iraq today.

Moment of Truth in Iraq is available on Amazon.com.  We have hit the Amazon top 50 before the book even hit stores or libraries.

 

Thank you for your help,

Michael
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