The Talk Show American

THE TALK SHOW AMERICAN: 05/20/2007 - 05/27/2007

Friday, May 25, 2007

Iraqi, Coalition Forces Detain 15, Destroy Cache, Thwart Attack

Iraqi and coalition forces seized 15 suspected terrorists, destroyed a weapons cache and thwarted an attack on a State Department convoy in Iraq over the past two days.

During an operation in Karmah today, coalition forces detained four suspected terrorists hiding outside the first of three targeted buildings. Troops nabbed six more suspected terrorists in the other buildings.

All suspects were detained for their alleged association with a suspected al Qaeda emir and participation in anti-aircraft attacks, military officials said.

Coalition forces raided a building east of Ameriyah this morning and captured four individuals with alleged ties to a roadside bomb cell in the area, military officials said.

In Mosul, coalition forces seized a suspected terrorist who allegedly leads an al Qaeda group in the area.

While raiding a house near Salman Pak today, coalition forces discovered and later destroyed a cache containing mortars, dynamite and jihadist media.

"We continue to target al Qaeda in Iraq's leaders and its manpower resources," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "Each operation contributes to eventual security for the people of Iraq."

Insurgents using small-arms fire attacked a convoy of U.S. State Department members and their coalition force security escort in Baghdad's Rusafa District yesterday.

The security unit returned fire and requested assistance.

Apache helicopters from the 1st Cavalry Division's 1st Air Cavalry Brigade arrived before ground reinforcements from soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Division's 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, who were patrolling nearby during the attack.

Apache helicopter crews located several armed insurgents as they attacked the convoy. Apache operators then fired the aircraft's 30 mm main gun, causing the insurgents to cease their attack.

"We responded to troops in contact with the enemy," said Col. Daniel Shanahan, commander of the 1st Cavalry Division's 1st Air Cavalry Brigade. "Our aircrews engaged valid targets, making positive identification of the enemy."

Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers and Iraqi security forces secured the area following the attack. State Department personnel and security elements left the area safely after ground forces arrived to the scene.

No Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers were injured during the attack. The incident is under investigation.

Talk Show America 5/30/2007

Troops Kill, Capture Insurgents in Afghanistan

Afghan and coalition forces killed several insurgents, detained eight suspects and discovered a weapons cache in Afghanistan over the past two days, military officials reported.

In an operation against Taliban forces in the Arghandab district of Zabul province today, Afghan and coalition forces detained three militants.

Credible intelligence led forces to the compound where suspected local Taliban fighters resided, officials said. Troops raided the site, capturing three suspected local militants, weapons and opium-processing materials, military officials said.

No shots were fired, and no one was injured in the operation. The detainees are being held for questioning.

More than 25 Taliban fighters, positioned in three compounds, attacked coalition forces with machine-gun fire and rocket- propelled grenades near the Sangin District Center yesterday morning.

Coalition forces returned fire, suppressing the enemy fighting positions with artillery fire from a nearby coalition base. Enemy forces then attempted to maneuver on the coalition force, but failed to gain the tactical advantage.

Coalition forces killed several Taliban fighters and destroyed two enemy positions as enemies retreated after the six-hour battle.

There were no Afghan civilian or coalition injuries reported.

"The Taliban has learned they cannot stand up to coalition forces," said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman. "Their cowardly efforts to disrupt the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan will continue to be crushed as efforts to rid the country of Taliban fighters' increases."

In the Qalat district of Zabul province yesterday, Afghan and coalition forces detained five militants in an operation against Taliban forces.

Acting on credible intelligence, troops raided a suspected al Qaeda safe-house and detained five local militants, military officials said.

No shots were fired and no one was injured in the operation. The detainees are being held for questioning.

Talk Show America 5/30/2007

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Home Sales Soar to Record Level

Sales of new homes surged in April by the biggest amount in 14 years, but the median price of a new home dropped by the largest amount on record. The mixed signals left no clear picture of whether the worst of the nation's housing slump is over.

The Commerce Department reported that sales of new single-family homes jumped by 16.2 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 981,000 units. That was far better than the tiny 0.2 percent gain that economists had been expecting.

However, the median price of a new home sold last month fell to $229,100, a record 11.1 percent decline from the previous month. The big price decline indicated that builders are slashing prices in an effort to move a huge overhang of unsold homes.

The jump in sales was the biggest increase since a 16.4 percent surge in new home sales that occurred in April 1993.

The strength in sales was led by a 27.8 percent surge in the South. Sales were also up in the West by 8.5 percent and in the Northeast, where they rose 3.8 percent.

In other economic news, the Commerce Department said that orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods posted a moderate 0.6 percent increase in April, helped by a continued rebound in business investment.

While the increase in orders for durable goods was less than had been expected, the government sharply revised the March performance to show a 5 percent surge, much stronger than the 3.7 percent gain previously reported.

Talk Show America 5/25/2007

Time:There's Good News From Iraq

There is good news from Iraq, believe it or not. It comes from the most unlikely place: Anbar province, home of the Sunni insurgency. The level of violence has plummeted in recent weeks. An alliance of U.S. troops and local tribes has been very effective in moving against the al-Qaeda foreign fighters. A senior U.S. military official told me—confirming reports from several other sources—that there have been "a couple of days recently during which there were zero effective attacks and less than 10 attacks overall in the province (keep in mind that an attack can be as little as one round fired).

This is a result of sheiks stepping up and opposing AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq] and volunteering their young men to serve in the police and army units there." The success in Anbar has led sheiks in at least two other Sunni-dominated provinces, Nineveh and Salahaddin, to ask for similar alliances against the foreign fighters. And, as TIME's Bobby Ghosh has reported, an influential leader of the Sunni insurgency, Harith al-Dari, has turned against al-Qaeda as well. It is possible that al-Qaeda is being rejected like a mismatched liver transplant by the body of the Iraqi insurgency.

Talk Show America 5/25/2007

Torture, Al-Qaeda Style Manual Released by DoD (***Warning Graphic***)

Drawings, tools seized from Iraq safe house in U.S. military raid

MAY 24--In a recent raid on an al-Qaeda safe house in Iraq, U.S. military officials recovered an assortment of crude drawings depicting torture methods like "blowtorch to the skin" and "eye removal." Along with the images, which you'll find on the following pages, soldiers seized various torture implements, like meat cleavers, whips, and wire cutters. Photos of those items can be seen here. The images, which were just declassified by the Department of Defense, also include a picture of a ramshackle Baghdad safe house described as an "al-Qaeda torture chamber."

It was there, during an April 24 raid, that soldiers found a man suspended from the ceiling by a chain. According to the military, he had been abducted from his job and was being beaten daily by his captors. In a raid earlier this week, Coalition Forces freed five Iraqis who were found in a padlocked room in Karmah. The group, which included a boy, were reportedly beaten with chains, cables, and hoses. Photos showing injuries sustained by those captives can be found here.

Read More at: The Smoking Gun

Talk Show America 5/25/2007

Anbar Ready for Political Progress

Coalition and Iraqi security forces have made great improvements to the security situation in Iraq's Anbar province, opening the door for political developments and partnerships, a top U.S. general in the region said today.

"Now is the time, with the improvement in security in the province, to expand our contact to grow closer with the central government in Baghdad and with the provincial government in the province, to grow closer to the municipalities throughout the province, and we're doing that on a regular basis by visiting the municipalities,"
Army Brig. Gen. John Allen, deputy commanding general of Multinational Division West, said at a news conference in Baghdad.

Allen and Anbar Gov. Mamoun Sami Rashid al-Awani were in Baghdad to meet with U.S. agencies and Iraqi ministries about the way forward in Anbar. Awani said that chief among his concerns for the meetings was rallying support from the central government ministries, such as the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Oil, for solving local problems in Anbar.

Dynamic changes are happening in Anbar province, with the local population rejecting al Qaeda and a swell in U.S. and Iraqi forces, Allen said. There are still security issues to deal with, but Iraqi and coalition forces are working together every day and achieving successes against terrorists, he said.

"I report progress today in the Anbar province, and I also report a sense of optimism," Allen said. "But what we call 'Team Anbar,' which is the U.S. interagency working closely and in partnership with our Iraqi colleagues, we expect to continue the progress and we expect to continue this opportunity for political and economic development."

Allen also noted the progress in talks between the local government and the "Anbar Awakening," the group of tribes and former insurgents against al Qaeda. Discussions that three months ago would have centered on security and terrorism are now focused on the future and on political and economic developments, he said.

"Yes, there are security issues, but when I watch our friends talk about the future, that's a very positive thing,"
he said.

Terrorist groups like al Qaeda use false slogans that used to mislead the citizens of Anbar, Awani said. However, the people began to see through the terrorists' tactics and are now turning against them and joining the security forces in droves, he said.

"When the people started to see that this mask has fallen and these slogans are all false and that (the terrorists) came just to destroy the country and to destroy the infrastructure and especially targeting the innocent people, so the people -- and many of the developments that we've done and talks that we started with the people in Anbar -- this changed the equation from a negative to a positive point,"
Awani said through a translator.

The influx in the number of Anbar citizens joining the security forces is an indicator of progress in the region, Allen said. These Iraqi security forces are partnered strongly with coalition forces, conducting joint operations and frequently sharing living spaces, he said.

"Our partnership is close; it is improving the ability of the people to live securely, because Iraqi police by the thousands are in the neighborhoods now, and they separate the people from the insurgents," Allen said. "With the surge, ... we have benefitted in the Anbar province by an increase in coalition forces, which has permitted us, along with the Iraqi police and the Iraqi security forces, to have significant security presence in all off the principal population centers in the Anbar province."

Allen and Awani both said that al Qaeda has been driven from almost all the major population centers in Anbar. In the coming months, al Qaeda will probably be driven out completely, and Iraqi and U.S. forces will focus on reconstruction, Awani said.

Provincial reconstruction teams, small coalition units that work with local Iraqi governments on reconstruction, will be essential to Anbar's future success, Allen said.

"That may be the most important reinforcement that has come to the Anbar province in a very long time, because as we are able, ultimately, to change the security dynamic and pursue economic opportunity, the presence of the U.S. interagency (team in) the Anbar province will facilitate that in a very big way," he said.

Talk Show America 5/24/2007

Troops Shut Down Terrorist Network

Coalition forces killed eight terrorists, detained scores of others and confiscated money, weapons and bomb-making materials in various recent operations, military officials reported.

A raid today in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood targeted an individual suspected of funneling weapons and money from Iran to a clandestine terrorist network that operated in Baghdad, Basrah and Maysan provinces, officials said.

Four armed terrorists fired on coalition troops during the raid. Coalition troops returned fire, killing two of the terrorists.

Coalition troops searched 11 buildings during the operation, which yielded bomb-making materials, large amounts of Iranian money, and more than $6,000 in U.S. currency.

"Rogue militia elements and terrorists are seeking to destroy the future of Iraq," Multinational Force Iraq spokesman Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver said. "We will continue to capture or kill them and dismantle their organizations."

Six more terrorists, including a suspected regional leader of al Qaeda, were killed and 39 suspects were detained today during three other coalition raids conducted in southern Baghdad in an area northwest of Taji and in an area near Yusufiyah, officials said.

The alleged al Qaeda leader and an accomplice were killed during the south-Baghdad operation, officials said. The fallen terrorist chieftain was suspected of coordinating regional foreign fighter and suicide attacks.

Northwest of Taji, coalition forces targeted an individual suspected of supplying foreign fighters for suicide attacks. During the raid, four terrorists engaged coalition forces with small-arms fire. Coalition forces returned fire, killing the four terrorists.

During a building search conducted afterward, coalition troops found weapons and detained an individual suspected of aiding the al Qaeda cell.

Also today, coalition forces seized five suspected terrorists during an operation conducted in Mosul. One of the individuals detained in the raid is an alleged terror cell leader suspected of masterminding assassinations and attacks against coalition and Iraqi security forces.

Coalition forces today also captured 13 suspected terrorists, including an alleged al Qaeda cell leader, during three coordinated raids conducted near Karmah. Also today, during an operation in Fallujah, coalition troops detained four more alleged terrorists suspected of operating a car-bomb network.

Near Yusufiyah, today, U.S. soldiers with 10th Mountain Division's Company C, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, detained 17 individuals and seized an array of weaponry after searching several local houses. Confiscated material included two AK-47 assault rifles, two 9 mm pistols, 10 ammunition magazines, two gas masks, seven bandoliers, a modified cell phone, a bayonet, three ammunition vests, and five other weapons, three of which were hidden inside tennis-racket cases.

"We continue to disrupt the leadership of the al Qaeda in Iraq organization and its affiliates," Garver said. "Step by step, we work to keep these terrorists from launching brutal attacks on the Iraqi people."

In other news, 10th Mountain Division soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, found weapons and numerous materials suitable for building roadside bombs yesterday during search operations for three U.S. soldiers missing since May 12, officials said.

Items confiscated include five 57 mm rocket rounds, a 120 mm rocket round, two six-volt batteries, two spools of copper wire, two 58 mm rocket rounds, two heavy machine guns, two AK-47s with five magazines, two ammunition vests, a hand grenade, four grenade fuses, four blasting caps, a stick of plastic explosive, a roadside bomb detonator, 100 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition, a motorcycle, and more than 150 homemade compact discs labeled in Arabic. The explosives were destroyed in a controlled detonation.

Talk Show America 5/24/2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Talk Show America Will Be Back Live Tomorrow at 10 AM EST

Hey Folks,

Jay Are here. Talk Show America will return live tomorrow, Thursday May 24th at 10 AM EST. So tune in as we get back to taking on the main stream news media and the liberal left and their constant attacks on our country and our brave men and women in the military.

Don't Miss It !

Take care and stay safe,

Jay Are

Analyst :Iran Planning Strike on Europe

Iran is attempting to draw up plans to strike targets in Europe and has reconnoitered European nuclear power stations, a security analyst told a meeting at Britain's parliament.

Claude Moniquet, president of the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Centre, a private think-tank in Brussels, said his organisation also had evidence Tehran has increased the number of its intelligence agents across Europe.

"We have serious signals that something is under preparation in Europe," Moniquet said. "Iranian intelligence is working extremely hard to prepare its people and to prepare actions."

The centre, which he said deals directly with European intelligence agencies, believes Iranian operatives have carried out
"reconnaissance of targets in European cities, including nuclear power stations,"
Moniquet said. He mentioned no other specific targets.

Preparations to target Europe's nuclear energy plants could be tied to the diplomatic standoff over Tehran's contested nuclear program, he told a meeting of MPs and analysts in London's House of Commons.

Iran appeared to be preparing to target
"British citizens on the streets of London," Moniquet said. "Just as they kill British soldiers in the south of Iraq."

Conservative parliamentarian Patrick Mercer told the meeting that Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, in a debate in December, had acknowledged worries about Tehran backing terrorist activity inside Britain.

There were
"concerns about the scale and nature of terrorism in this country, and about whether some of that is inspired or funded in any way by forces in and around Iran,"
Beckett told MPs.

Parliament's intelligence and security committee, a panel of MPs which reviews the work of Britain's MI5 and MI6 domestic and foreign spy agencies, also warned last year of an "increased threat to UK interests from Iranian state-sponsored terrorism".

Talk Show America 5/24/2007

US: Tehran stirring Iraq trouble

IRAN is forging ties with al-Qaeda elements and Sunni Arab militias in Iraq in preparation for a showdown intended to tip a wavering US Congress into voting for a full military withdrawal, US officials say.

"Iran is fighting a proxy war in Iraq," a senior US official in Baghdad said. "They are already committing daily acts of war against US and British forces.

"They are behind a lot of high-profile attacks meant to undermine US will and British will, such as the rocket attacks on Basra palace and the Green Zone. The attacks are directed by the Revolutionary Guard who are connected right to the top (of the Iranian Government)."

The official said US commanders were bracing themselves for a nationwide, Iranian-orchestrated offensive, linking al-Qaeda and Sunni insurgents to Tehran's Shiite militia allies, who Iran hoped would trigger a political mutiny in Washington and a US retreat.

The official warned of a determined campaign by the insurgents before US commander General David Petraeus reports to Congress on President George Bush's security "surge".

"We expect that al-Qaeda and Iran will both attempt to increase the propaganda and increase the violence prior to Petraeus' report in September," the official said.

"Certainly it (the violence) is going to pick up from their side. There is significant latent capability in Iraq, especially Iranian-sponsored capability. They can turn it up whenever they want.

"You can see that from the pre-positioning that's been going on and the huge stockpiles of Iranian weapons that we've turned up in the past couple of months. The relationships between Iran and groups like al-Qaeda are very fluid."

Iran has maintained close links to Iraq's Shiite political parties and militias but has previously eschewed collaboration with al-Qaeda and Sunni insurgents. US officials now say they have firm evidence that Tehran has switched tack as it senses a chance of victory in Iraq.

The official said Tehran's strategy to discredit the US surge and foment a congressional revolt against Mr Bush was not confined to the Shiite south, its traditional sphere of influence.

It included stepped-up co-ordination with Shiite militias such as Sheikh Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army as well as Syrian-backed Sunni Arab groups and al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, he said.

Iran was also expanding contacts across the board with paramilitary forces and political groups, including Kurdish parties such as the PUK, a US ally.

"Iran is playing all these different factions to maximise its future control and maximise US and British difficulties.

"Their co-conspirator is Syria, which is allowing the takfirists (fundamentalist Salafi jihadis) to come across the border."

Any US decision to retaliate against Iran on its own territory could be taken only at the highest political level in Washington, the official said. But he indicated that American patience was wearing thin.

A senior Bush Administration official in Washington said:
"Tehran is behaving like a racecourse gambler. They're betting on all the horses in the race, even on people they fundamentally don't trust. They don't know what the outcome will be in Iraq, so they're hedging their bets."

Talk Show America 5/24/2007

Report:70 Percent of Insurgents in Iraq Come From Gulf States Via Syria

Seventy percent of insurgents fighting in Iraq come from Gulf countries via Syria where they are provided with forged passports, an Iraqi intelligence officer alleged in a published report Wednesday.

"They, according to their own confessions, gather in mosques in the said (Gulf) states to travel to Syria using their passports, taking with them phone numbers of individuals waiting for them there,"
Brig. Gen. Rashid Fleih, the assistant undersecretary for intelligence of Iraq's Interior Ministry, told Kuwait's Al-Qabas daily in an interview.

Fleih did not provide more specific details about the alleged insurgents or which countries they come from. But he said once in Syria, the alleged insurgents are transported to the al-Qaim border area. Individuals provide the men them with new passports after destroying the old ones, Fleih alleged in an interview from Baghdad.

American and Iraqi officials claim Syria does not do enough to prohibit people of different nationalities from crossing its 380-mile border with Iraq to join the ranks of Al Qaeda and other insurgent or terrorist groups there. Damascus denies the allegations and says it is doing all it can to stop them.

The Iraqi intelligence officer did not say where the other 30 percent of insurgents come from. Iraq's other neighbor Iran, is suspected of aiding Iraqi Shiite fighters with training, money and weapons. Tehran denies the accusations.

Once in Iraq, the insurgents are provided with forged Iraqi documentation and
"lots of money which they use to buy cars and booby trap them,"
Fleih told the newspaper.

He also accused Baathist followers of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein of offering the foreign insurgents information about targets.

"In brief, there is clear intelligence cooperation between them,"

Talk Show America 5/24/2007

Embedded journalists in Iraq having minds changed by U.S. soldiers.


While I was at the Combined Press Information Center in Baghdad on my recent trip to Iraq, a pair of Spanish journalists--a newspaper reporter and a photojournalist--walked in, fresh from their embed with the 1-4 Cavalry of the First Infantry Division (the unit with which I embedded only days later). They had spent two weeks amongst the troops there, living and going on missions with them, including house-to-house searches and seizures, and their impressions of these soldiers were extremely clear.

"Absolutely amazing,"
said David Beriain, the reporter (and the one who spoke English), said of the young Cavalry troops.
"In Spain, it is embarrassing--our soldiers are ashamed to be in the army. These young men--and they seem so young!--are so proud of what they do, and do it so well, even though it is dangerous and they could very easily be killed."
Mr. Beriain explained that the company he had been embedded with had lost three men in the span of six days while he was there--one to a sniper and two to improvised explosive devices, both of which had blown armored Humvees into the air and flipped them onto their roofs. Despite this, he said, and despite some of the things they might have said in the heat of the moment after seeing another comrade die, the soldiers' resolve and morale was unshaken in the long term, and they remained committed to carrying out their mission to the best of their ability for the duration of their tours in Iraq.

It was in the process of performing that mission, of coping with the loss of loved ones, and of just being themselves as American soldiers that these young men were able to win over the admiration and affection of more than one journalist who had arrived in their midst harboring a less-than-positive opinion of the Iraq war, and of those who were tasked with prosecuting it.

"I love those guys,"
Mr. Beriain said, looking wistfully out the window of the media cloister in the Green Zone that is the Combined Press Information Center.
"From the first time you go kick a door with them, they accept you--you're one of them. I've even got a 'family photo' with them" to remember them by. "I really hated to leave."

Such a radical transformation--and such a strong bond of affection--can rarely be forged in so little time outside of the constant, universal peril of a wartime environment. "It is those common experiences," Mr. Beriain explained, "where you are all in danger, and you go through it together. It builds a relationship instantly."

It doesn't matter how skeptical of the war a journalist might be, according to an Army public affairs officer who spoke with me about it on condition of anonymity. "So often, they come out of that experience and--even if their opinion of the war hasn't changed--they're completely won over by the troops."

"I was one of those,"
admitted Mr. Beriain, speaking broken English and blinking away tears.
"No matter what you think of the war, or what has happened here, you cannot be around the soldiers and not be completely affected. They are amazing people, and they represent themselves and the Army better than anyone could ever imagine."
A retired Army officer concurred, telling me that
"young troops are some of the best goodwill ambassadors we've ever produced. It would never occur to one to not tell you what he's really thinking, and they are so earnest"
that it is almost impossible not to be won over by them if given enough time.

The most spectacular recent case of a journalist with an antiwar mindset being completely overwhelmed into a change of heart by American soldiers, according to the public affairs officer, was a Greek public television reporter who had been embedded with an infantry unit that became entrenched in a 45-minute firefight with insurgents. Yanked out of the line of fire by a soldier who put the journalist's life above his own, he waited under cover and in fear of his life for the almost hourlong duration of the battle, with the best view possible of American soldiers in action against an armed and murderous enemy. He credits his having lived to tell the tale directly to those young troops.

"He had tears in his eyes as he talked about it," said the public affairs officer. "He just kept saying, 'They saved my life, they saved my life. . . . These are great men; they are heroes.' Even after telling it several times, he couldn't get through the story without choking up--and this was a man who had arrived here with all of the disdain for the Iraq mission and for the American soldiers who he [like seemingly most Europeans] had seen as the bad guys in this fight."

While embedding may be decried by some for causing journalists, who claim the utopian titles of "objective" and "neutral" for their reportage, to lose their cold detachment and actually begin to see the soldiers they live alongside as humans, it is that very quality that makes the practice of embedding reporters with military units so beneficial to both parties. Rather than observing events from a safely detached distance--and thus being able to remove the human element from the equation--embedded reporters are forced to face up to the humanity of their subjects, and to share common experiences--often of the life-and-death variety--with those they are covering.

Human nature being what it is, such close working conditions, and such common, life-threatening experiences, will have an effect on both parties involved--and it is a testament both to the soldiers themselves, and to the journalists who volunteer to live and work alongside them, that that effect has, in so many cases, been so positive.

Mr. Emanuel, a special operations military veteran who served in Iraq, is a leadership fellow with the Center for International Trade and Security at the University of Georgia. He is also a contributing editor for, and is a columnist for the Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald.

Talk Show America 5/25/2007

Dems Conceed to President on Iraq War Bill

In grudging concessions to President Bush, Democrats intend to draft an Iraq war-funding bill without a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and shorn of billions of dollars in spending on domestic programs, officials said Monday.

While details remain subject to change, the measure is designed to close the books by Friday on a bruising veto fight between Bush and the Democratic-controlled Congress over the war. It would provide funds for military operations in Iraq through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.

Democratic officials stressed the legislation was subject to change. They spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss provisions before a planned presentation to members of the party's rank and file later in the day.

Either way, Democratic leaders have said they hope to clear a war spending bill through both houses of Congress and send it to Bush's desk by week's end. They added the intention was to avoid a veto.

Bush vetoed one bill this spring after Democrats included a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq, and Republicans in the House upheld his rejection of the measure.

The House then passed legislation to provide war funds in two 60-day installments. Bush threatened a veto, and the measure was sidetracked in the Senate in favor of a non-controversial bill that merely pledged to give the troops the resources they need.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Coalition Forces Detain Nine in Search for Missing Soldiers

Coalition forces detained 11 people during operations yesterday, including nine suspected of involvement in the May 12 kidnapping of three U.S. soldiers.

Coalition forces continued to follow tips and information leads in the disappearance of three soldiers, raiding a building near Amiriyah yesterday morning, officials reported. During the raid, coalition forces detained nine suspects.

May 18 intelligence reports led coalition forces to a site in Baqubah, where they detained two people allegedly associated with the al Qaeda in Iraq command network.

In other operations yesterday morning, coalition forces discovered two weapons caches. One cache south of Baghdad contained weapons, magazines and assault vests, and another northeast of Habbiniyah housed eight rockets. The weapons were safely destroyed on site.

We will not stop searching until we find our soldiers," said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "We're using all available assets and continuing to assault the al Qaeda in Iraq network."

Operation Harris Ba'sil Knocks Enemy Off Balance

Operation Harris Ba'sil has wrapped up after helping knock enemy forces in Iraq's western Anbar province off balance, officials involved in the operation reported today.

Regimental Combat Team 2 and elements of the Iraqi army's 7th Division completed the operation after eight weeks of interdicting and disrupting enemy routes and safe havens outside major cities along the Euphrates River valley, the team's operations officer said.

The operation, dubbed "Valiant Guardian," involved nearly 4,000 Marines, soldiers and sailors covering most of the 30,000 square miles of RCT 2's operating area.

"We uncovered over 250 caches, arrested over 250 suspected insurgents and discovered over 100 improvised explosive devices," said Lt. Col. Michael Manning, RCT 2's operations officer. "We clearly surprised them. The number of caches and detainees attest to that, but more importantly, we let the enemy know that they can't hide from us."

The effort marked the first large scale operation for RCT 2 this year, supporting Multinational Force Iraq's Operation Farhd al Qanoon and using the surge battalions sent to Anbar province. RCT 2's operating area stretches from the Syrian border city of Qa'im to Hit, northwest of Ramadi.

Multiple Terror Suspects Killed, Captured in Iraq; Safe House Destroyed

Coalition forces killed eight terrorists and detained 34 suspected terrorists during two operations today to disrupt the al Qaeda command network, Defense Department officials said.

Northeast of Karmah, coalition forces advanced toward a targeted building, officials said. Six terrorists emerged from a nearby vehicle, armed with automatic weapons and military-style assault vests. Coalition forces, perceiving a hostile threat from an organized force, engaged the six men with an air strike, killing them, officials said.

Coalition forces detained four suspected terrorists within the targeted building for their alleged ties to senior al Qaeda leaders.

Meanwhile, coalition forces approached a target southwest of Baghdad and were blocked by two armed men in tactical positions near the objective. Coalition forces perceived a hostile threat, engaged the two terrorists, and killed them, officials said.

Ground forces proceeded to secure the building and detained 14 people suspected of having ties to al Qaeda. At two other locations southeast of Fallujah, coalition forces detained 16 people with suspected ties to the same network.

"We're continuing to target the al Qaeda network and the terrorists responsible for attacks on Iraqis and the country's forward progress,"
said Lt. Col. Christopher, Multinational Force Iraq spokesman.

Yesterday, Multinational Division Baghdad forces launched a precision strike against an abandoned building being used by terrorist forces as a safe house and weapons cache site in southern Baghdad, officials said.

The house, in Radwaniyah, was destroyed by aircraft-delivered precision munitions. Coalition and Iraqi forces cordoned off the area to prevent any casualties from occurring as the result of collateral damage, officials said.

In recent weeks, multiple caches of munitions and bomb-making materials have been found on the premises, officials said. In addition, coalition troops had obtained information from local nationals that al Qaeda of Iraq was using the building as a safe house for operatives.

Additionally, a tanker truck that had been rigged as a vehicular bomb was discovered parked outside the house and was disposed of before it could be used against the populace or coalition forces, officials said.

On May 18, troopers from the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment on a mounted patrol engaged three members of an insurgent mortar team near the village of Sab Al Bor.

According to officials, the insurgent mortar team fired a mortar round from the bed of a truck toward a U.S. outpost. The soldiers engaged the enemy mortar men with counter-fire, and three terrorists fled their vehicle. The soldiers pursued the three and later found one of the men dead as a result of wounds received during the engagement.

The other two terrorists were not found. No U.S. soldiers were killed or wounded during the engagement, officials said.

Elsewhere May 18, Iraqi forces along with coalition advisors detained the alleged leader of an al Qaeda affiliate group in Salah Din province. Iraqi forces also detained eight other suspects during the operation.

The troops seized weapons and materials used to make IEDs during the operation, officials said.

No Iraqi or coalition forces were injured during the operation.

Troops Free Captive Iraqis, Detain Suspected Terrorists

Coalition forces freed five captive Iraqis and detained six suspected terrorists during operations throughout Iraq today.

Coalition forces freed five Iraqis who had been held captive and tortured by terrorists, targeting the building where the captives were held northeast of Karmah during continued operations to disrupt the al Qaeda network operating in the area.

After a thorough search of the building, ground forces found a padlocked room. Inside were a boy who had been kidnapped and severely beaten with chains, cables and hoses, and four men who also showed signs of torture. The boy said the terrorists had hooked electrical wires to his tongue and shocked him.

Coalition forces evacuated the five individuals and treated their injuries. The hostages indicated their captors were foreign fighters who spoke with different accents. The hostages will be turned over to their respective tribal leaders for repatriation.

"The brutality and viciousness of these acts demonstrate the complete disregard terrorists have for human life," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "We will continue to hunt foreign fighters who bring this violence into Iraq."

Several enemy fighters were detained today in a series of raids elsewhere in Iraq:

Coalition forces captured three suspected al Qaeda cell leaders during raids this morning in western Baghdad. One of the suspects is allegedly a commander of a group that conducts assassinations and car-bomb attacks in the capital city.

In Mosul today, coalition forces captured a suspected commander of a bomb cell and an alleged senior cell leader. Intelligence reports also indicate the alleged senior cell leader formerly led a sniper cell.

Coalition forces also captured four individuals with suspected ties to al Qaeda northeast of Karmah today.

During operations south of Fallujah, coalition forces detained three suspected terrorists for alleged involvement with a regional al Qaeda in Iraq commander, officials report.

"Every day, we are hitting al Qaeda and disrupting their network," Garver said. "We will continue this incremental progress against them, using each operation as a stepping stone to the next."

In other recent operations, soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, discovered a component often used for bombs and traced it to a house near Hamadanyia, where they uncovered a weapons cache and detained the suspect who was with the weapons. The find yielded two AK-47 assault rifles, 1,000 rounds of AK-47 ammunition, several magazines, a video camera, six propane tanks, and many components used in the making of roadside bombs. An hour after finding the cache, the troops also found a bomb near the site. The suspect is being held for further questioning.

During a combat operation May 19, soldiers from Fort Drum, N.Y.'s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, thwarted a possible sniper attack while looking for evidence of three missing U.S. soldiers who were abducted May 12.

Soldiers were notified that two insurgents with weapons were lying in wait for the troops. After the insurgents were positively identified, they were shot by an AH-64 Apache helicopter gunship crew.

Soldiers later found a semi-automatic sniper rifle and a magazine full of 7.62 mm ammunition. The unit also confirmed one of the insurgents was killed. The weapon will be analyzed to see if it had been linked to previous incidents within the area of operations, U.S. officials said.

Troops Detain Terrorism Suspects, Free Hostages

Coalition forces detained 15 suspected terrorists and freed 12 Iraqi hostages in Iraq today, military officials reported.

Two alleged terrorist cell leaders were among suspects detained in various raids targeting the al Qaeda network.

In Mosul, coalition forces detained three suspected terrorists, including an alleged al Qaeda in Iraq leader believed to be responsible for identifying Iraqi army and police targets and directing attacks against them.

Using information from a successful raid conducted yesterday, coalition forces targeted associates of a suspected terrorist commander in Baghdad. Two individuals were detained for their alleged involvement in the terrorist group, which conducts assassinations and car-bomb attacks.

Coalition forces conducted two coordinated operations in Iraq's Anbar province, where they detained 10 suspected terrorists for their alleged involvement in the al Qaeda in Iraq network in the area.

In other news from Iraq, coalition forces freed 12 Iraqis who were held captive and beaten by terrorists during a raid this morning on a site northeast of Karmah. The site was targeted for its ties to another terrorist detention facility.

After five Iraqi hostages were freed yesterday, intelligence reports indicated two buildings were being used for kidnappings and murders, officials said. As coalition forces approached the first building, armed men engaged them with small-arms fire. Ground forces returned fire and called in air support. Five terrorists were killed by the ground forces, and four were killed in an air strike.

Coalition forces then secured the building and discovered 12 Iraqis held captive in a locked room; three of them appeared to have been beaten. The ground force evacuated the captives and treated their injuries. The hostages will be turned over to their respective tribal leaders for repatriation, officials said.

The first building also contained a cache of weapons, including two rocket-propelled grenades, a submachine gun, rifles, and 19 military-style assault vests. The weapons were safely destroyed on site.

In the second building, coalition forces found stolen goods and detained three suspected terrorists there for their alleged ties to the kidnapping network.

"Terrorists continually show their disrespect for human life and for the citizens of Iraq," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "Our operations continue to systematically dismantle their organizations."