Britain's war in Iraq will end by this time next year, a highly placed defence source said yesterday. But asked whether the pullout from Iraq would mean reinforcements being sent to combat a resurgent Taliban, the senior officer responded: "Emphatically no. We have already mortgaged the Iraq dividend by boosting our force in Afghanistan to 8,000. That is the limit."
British troops 'will leave Iraq within a year'
Iraqi Red Crescent Paralyzed by Allegations
The Iraqi Red Crescent, the country's leading humanitarian organization, has been crippled by allegations of embezzlement and mismanagement, including what Iraqi officials call the inappropriate expenditure of more than $1 million on Washington lobbying firms in an unsuccessful effort to win U.S. funding.
The group's former president, Said I. Hakki, an Iraqi American urologist recruited by Bush administration officials to resuscitate Iraq's health-care system, left the country this summer after the issuance of arrest warrants for him and his deputies. He and his aides deny the allegations and call them politically motivated.
NIE on Afghanistan reportedly 'grim'
A classified report on Afghanistan being prepared by U.S. intelligence analysts calls the Asian country's state grim, ABC News reports.
Sources close to the preparation of the National Intelligence Estimate said the Bush administration does not plan to declassify it before the election. It is to be presented to policy makers in the administration.
Pakistan finds 'U.S. drone wreckage'
Pakistani security forces say they have recovered the wreckage of a U.S. drone that crashed inside Pakistan after flying across the border from Afghanistan
But U.S. officials in Washington and Afghanistan denied a drone had crashed in Pakistan Tuesday.
U.S. funds sent from Iraq to al-Qaeda - source
A former Iraqi investigator said more then $US13 billion of the money allocated for reconstruction projects in Iraq was wasted or stolen, with some of it ending up in al-Qaeda’s coffers.
He said many of the projects funded by the U.S. ‘were not needed, and many were never built’ like an electricity project in Nineveh province that an oversight agency found ‘existed only on paper’, reports the Washington Post newspaper.
Embezzlement schemes were widely used for arms procurement, according to Adhoob. In one case Iraqi Defence ministry officials helped set up two front companies to buy combat vehicles and other equipment with $1.7 billion in U.S. funds. The companies were paid, but for some items only ‘a small percentage’ of the order was delivered and, in one case, the delivered bullet proof vests were defective and absolutely useless.
The REAL reason for the decline in Iraqi violence.
The American military began paying many members of the Awakening movement as the program expanded, even including Shiite members who make up about one-fifth of the program. They were paid roughly $300 a month by the United States to guard checkpoints and buildings and — for those who used to be insurgents — to no longer blow up American convoys and shoot American troops.
Although the “surge” is often described as the turning point that led to lower violence, a number of American officers contend the Awakening that began well before the surge in 2006 in Anbar Province and continued in Baghdad last year was the most significant reason for the decline. In some places, American casualties plunged within weeks of the Sunnis joining with American forces. All told, the movement is thought to have about 100,000 members.
TVNL Comment: The propaganda continues that the Bush 'surge' has been a great success. The truth about payments to Sunnis and Shiites alike has been carefully hidden from the US public. The reduction in violence has come at a cost of $300 of taxpayer money a month for EACH of the 100,000 Iraqis who became part of the so-called "Awakening."
$13 Billion in Iraq Aid Wasted Or Stolen, Ex-Investigator Says
A former Iraqi official estimated yesterday that more than $13 billion meant for reconstruction projects in Iraq was wasted or stolen through elaborate fraud schemes.
Salam Adhoob, a former chief investigator for Iraq's Commission on Public Integrity, told the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, an arm of the Democratic caucus, that an Iraqi auditing bureau "could not properly account for" the money.
While many of the projects audited "were not needed -- and many were never built," he said, "this very real fact remains: billions of American dollars that paid for these projects are now gone."
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