Friday, November 21, 2008

AJC Alarmed by Latest IAEA Report on Iran's Nuclear Program

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC is alarmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) latest report, which indicates that Iran has produced 630 kilograms of low-enriched uranium. According to nuclear physicists, this amount of low-enriched uranium is roughly sufficient to make one atomic bomb.

"The harsh reality is that Iran has defied repeated international demands and continued its enrichment program, widely believed to be for military purposes," said AJC Executive Director David A. Harris.

While additional steps are required to actually create the bomb, including further enrichment and design of the bomb itself, this development represents yet another ominous milestone in the Iranian effort to achieve nuclear weapons capability.

"This week's IAEA report on the Iranian nuclear program, coupled with earlier studies, should serve as a pressing wake-up call for the international community," said Harris. "It is high time for the UN Security Council, the European Union and key nations with ties to Iran to adopt further measures -- political, commercial and financial -- to ensure that Iran gets the clear message that 'it can't have its yellow cake and eat it, too.'"

Moreover, with nearly 4000 centrifuges at work to enrich uranium, and ambitions to increase that number rapidly, Iran is unquestionably seeking additional low-enriched uranium.

"The sanctions enacted to date, while laudable in their intent, have not yet had the desired impact," said Harris. "The international community must ratchet up the pressure, while leaving the door open to the diplomatic solution that Tehran has spurned for years. The stark alternative is a nuclear Iran, which would trigger a nuclear arms race among its neighbors and pose an unprecedented threat to regional and global security."

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Troops Kill, Detain Militants in Afghanistan Operations

Coalition forces killed 10 armed militants and detained 13 suspects during multiple operations aimed at disrupting the Taliban and Haqqani terrorist networks in Afghanistan's Nangarhar and Khowst provinces yesterday, military officials reported.

In Acheen, six armed militants were killed and 10 suspected militants were detained during a coalition forces operation targeting a regional Taliban commander.

Intelligence suggests the man is responsible for coordinating and directing bombing attacks against Afghan and coalition forces and innocent civilians in an effort to destabilize the region, officials said.

As the force approached the compound, multiple groups of armed militants came out of the buildings and attempted to maneuver on the force. One group took up fighting positions on a ridgeline and engaged the force with small-arms fire. Coalition forces engaged two groups of armed militants with precision close-air support. Other groups of militants were not engaged by coalition forces in an effort to protect potentially innocent civilians who may have been among them, officials said.

A search of the compound revealed rocket-propelled grenades, AK-47 assault rifles and other military equipment. Twelve women and 40 children were protected by the force during the operation, officials said.

In the Spera district of Khowst province, coalition forces killed one militant and detained two others while targeting a Haqqani operative believed to coordinate and direct attacks against the Afghan government and coalition forces in the province.

During the operation, the force came under direct fire from inside the compound. Coalition forces attempted to neutralize the threat by returning small-arms fire. Unable to do so, the force used close-air support to protect themselves, officials said. One armed militant was killed and one was wounded as a result of the strike. The wounded militant was treated by coalition medical personnel. A third suspected militant was detained without incident.

In Khowst's Sabari district, coalition forces targeted a known Haqqani associate who supports and assists with the movement of foreign fighters into the region. He is also suspected of facilitating roadside-bomb attacks in the region.

As the force approached targeted militants, they failed to follow directions and displayed hostile intent. Realizing the threat, the force engaged the militants with small-arms fire, killing three armed men. One suspected militant complied with the force's instructions and was detained without incident.

Elsewhere, Afghan and coalition forces killed two militants and destroyed three roadside bombs during operations Nov. 6 and 7 in the Nahr Surkh district of Helmand province.

The combined forces were on a patrol when they identified two militants attempting to detonate a bomb along the road. As combined forces drew closer, the two militants attacked the patrol with small-arms fire. Afghan and coalition forces responded with small-arms fire, killing the two militants.

A security sweep of the area near the engagement led to the discovery of three command-detonated bombs, all of which were safely detonated on site.

(Compiled from U.S. Forces Afghanistan news releases.)

Afghan, Coalition Officials Investigate Claims of Civilian Casualties

11/10/08 Afghan government officials and Afghan and coalition forces traveled Nov. 6 to the Shah Wali Kot district of Afghanistan's Kandahar province to investigate claims of civilian casualties in recent operations.

Results of the joint investigation to date indicate 37 civilians were killed and 35 others were wounded in a battle after a combined Afghan and coalition patrol was ambushed in the village.

The combined forces met with village elders in Wech Baghtu to discuss the Nov. 3 battle. Village elders told the joint investigation team that insurgents who were not from their village came in large numbers to Wech Baghtu. The elders acknowledged that insurgents fired at Afghan and coalition forces from some of the villagers' homes while using the homes for cover.

The villagers also said that insurgents prevented families from leaving the village, which officials said indicates a deliberate attempt to cause civilian casualties.

The Afghan and coalition forces patrol was taking accurate fire from the high ground, was separated from its relief unit by an improvised roadblock and used close-air support to suppress enemy fire.

One villager reported insurgents moving down a mountain and firing on the combined forces from the roofs of villagers' homes in an attempt to use villagers as human shields. Another villager said he was appreciative of the compensation he received and grateful for a phone call he received from Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Afghan government officials and Afghan and coalition military officials also visited the families of victims in Shah Wali Kot district at a hospital in Kandahar city, Nov. 7. During the hospital visit, condolence payments were distributed to victims and their families. After the families told the combined forces their accounts of the events, a village elder thanked the visitors for addressing their needs.

"Our primary effort is to provide security for the civilian population," said Army Col. Greg Julian, U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesman. "Civilians getting caught in the crossfire is the worst possible thing that could happen. We regret this tragic loss of innocent lives and express our condolences to the families and to the people of Afghanistan."

(From a U.S. Forces Afghanistan news release.)

Coalition Forces Remove Eight Suspects from Terrorist Networks

11/10/08 Two suspected terrorists were captured and six others were detained as coalition forces continued to systematically dismantle terrorist networks in Iraq during operations yesterday and today, military officials reported.

Forces operating in Baghdad yesterday captured a suspect who is believed to be a financier for a terrorist group. He and one additional suspect were detained without incident.

Coalition forces detained three suspects during an operation in Mosul yesterday targeting an alleged foreign terrorist involved in roadside-bomb operations.

In Tikrit today, coalition forces dealt a blow to terrorist communication networks when they captured a suspect who reports suggest is a courier for terrorists in the region. The suspected terrorist surrendered himself to ground forces during the operation, and two men believed to be his associates were detained for further questioning.

In other operations yesterday:

-- Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers discovered munitions in two separate areas – Saydiyah and Aamel -- in southern Baghdad's Rashid district.

-- Acting on a tip from a local citizen, soldiers serving with the 101st Airborne Division's Troop C, 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, seized a cache in Baghdad's Mansour district. The munitions included a Dragonov rifle with scope, nine sticks of explosives, five 82 mm mortars, five Dragonov magazines, seven rocket-propelled grenade propellants, an 82 mm illumination round, a rocket, 10 artillery fuses, three canisters of C4 explosive, seven rifle grenade rods, four grenade fuses, 21 MP5 magazines, three belts of ammunition, five M-203 rounds, 125 sniper rounds, an M-19 round, three project boxes, 100 feet of detonation cord, a spool of wire, a periscope, an RPG site, a potential pipe bomb, a washing machine timer with blasting cap and two wireless doorbell clickers.

-- During an operation outside of Mosul, coalition forces captured a suspected terrorist who reports suggest smuggles foreign terrorists and weapons into Iraq. Two additional suspects were detained for further questioning.

-- In Yusifiyah, southwest of Baghdad, coalition forces targeted and captured a suspected terrorist believed to be associated with car-bomb terrorists. Four additional suspects were detained during the operation.

-- Forces captured two suspected al-Qaida operatives in Baghdad who reportedly are involved in the city's suicide-bomber operations. Three more suspects were detained for further questioning.

In operations Nov. 7:

-- Iraqi police on a joint mission with the 25th Infantry Division's 411th Military Police Company, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, discovered a cache north of Baghdad. The items included 1,280 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition, two AK-47s, a .22-caliber pistol and a pair of binoculars.

-- A tip from a concerned citizen led to the seizure of a 120 mm mortar round and an oxygen tank by Iraqi police north of Baghdad.

-- A local citizen turned in seven fragmentary hand grenades he found in an open field to Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers at Joint Security Station Ameriyah in Baghdad's Mansour district.

-- Coalition forces operating near Tikrit, north of Baghdad, targeted terrorist networks in the Tigris River Valley. One man believed to be associated with a local terrorist leader was detained for additional questioning.

-- In Kirkuk, coalition forces captured a wanted man believed to have ties with al-Qaida leaders in the region. Four additional suspects were detained during the operation.

-- South of Mosul in the village of Beiji, forces detained three men believed to have connections to a suspected terrorist associated with the city's roadside-bomb networks.

-- Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers detained a known leader ofIranian-backed enemy fighters in southern Baghdad's Rashid district. Soldiers from Company B, 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, attached to the 4th Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team, detained the man while conducting a combat patrol in the Risalah community. The patrol returned to the combat outpost with the detainee to conduct additional questioning.

In operations Nov. 6:

-- In Mosul, Iraqi soldiers captured a suspected roadside-bomb cell leader and three more individuals. The cell is allegedly responsible for manufacturing and emplacing bombs targeting civilians as well as Iraqi and coalition forces.

-- During a separate operation in Tal Uwaynat in northwest Iraq, Iraqi soldiers captured five suspected al-Qaida weapons facilitators. The cell members were believed to be supplying weapons to terrorists throughout Ninevah province.

-- In the Jedaydah Village of Diyala province, Iraq's Baqouba special weapons and tactics team captured a suspected al-Qaida cell leader and four cell members. The individuals are believed to be responsible for providing logistical support and safe housing for terrorists in the Bani Sayd area. The cell leader also is believed to be the leader of a sniper cell.

--An Iraqi army unit received information about a possible car bomb, but instead discovered a rolling cache containing 14 82 mm mortars. The Iraqi soldiers received a tip about a car bomb that had been parked in the Al Islah Al Zarai neighborhood of Mosul for a couple of days. After setting up a cordon, the unit investigated the vehicle and determined it was used to store explosives and weapons and was not a car bomb. The explosives were removed from the neighborhood without incident.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)