“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, April 07, 2008

Petraeus Testimony Should Twist Some Democratic Knickers

This only happened three weeks before the Basra battle. Go figure.

Iran joined militias in battle for Basra
Sarah Baxter and Marie Colvin Times on Line

IRANIAN forces were involved in the recent battle for Basra, General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, is expected to tell Congress this week.

Military and intelligence sources believe Iranians were operating at a tactical command level with the Shi’ite militias fighting Iraqi security forces; some were directing operations on the ground, they think.

Petraeus intends to use the evidence of Iranian involvement to argue against any reductions in US forces.

Dr Daniel Goure, a defence analyst at the Lexington Institute in Virginia, said: “There is no question that Petraeus will be tough on Iran. It is one thing to withdraw troops when there is purely sectarian fighting but it is another thing if it leaves the Iranians to move in.”

US defence chiefs are concerned that the troop surge has overstretched the military. Admiral Mike McMullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, warned that the army and marines were at risk of crossing an “invisible red line” if the burden on forces remained. He said deployments of 15 months had to be reduced to a year “as fast as possible”.

Petraeus is likely to announce that combat tours will be reduced from 15 months to 12 months.

The number of US troops in Iraq is set to fall from 160,000 to 140,000 by July, but Petraeus is expected to recommend an indefinite pause in further troop cuts.

Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shi’ite cleric, has called for 1m people to march on Baghdad on Wednesday – the fifth anniversary of the fall of the capital – when Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador to Iraq, will be briefing Congress.

A senior Iraqi official who met Petraeus last week said, “It will be difficult to show that the situation is improving.” Another Iraqi source described the US general as “furious” that al-Maliki moved against the militias into Basra without consultation and had to rely on US forces to bail him out.

Abu Ahmed, a senior military commander with the Awakening, the Sunni tribal movement cooperating with US forces, said progress was largely the result of al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army ceasefire.

“When the Mahdi Army decides to resume its activities, neither the American troops nor the Iraqi government will be able to stop it,” he said.

Additional reporting: Hala Jaber


  1. I don't get it. What about all those photo-ops of Ahmadinejad and Maliki grinning like the best of buddies?

  2. "The US must recognise that Iran is engaged in a full-up proxy war against it in Iraq," wrote the military analyst Kimberly Kagan.

    There are signs that targeting Iran would unite American politicians across the bitter divide on Iraq. "Iran is the bull in the china shop," said Ike Skelton, the Democrat chairman of the Armed Services Committee.

    "In all of this, they seem to have links to all of the Shi'ite groups, whether they be political or military."

    Iran Strikes

  3. That there Venezualan weapon appears to be a new AK-103. It is indeed the latest variant of the AK-47. Modern plastics instead of wood, improvements from the AK-74 series. Interestingly uses the old AK-47 7,62x33 round and not the AK-74's 5,45). They just purchased 100,000 of these from Russia to arm militia units to repel invading gringos.


  4. Son was showing me a similar outfit for the M-14.
    Not cheap, lots of mounts, "looks cool."

  5. Few M14s were in use in the Army until the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. Since the start of these conflicts, many M14s have been employed as designated marksman and sniper rifles. These are not M21 rifles, but original production M14s. Common modifications include scopes, fiberglass stocks, and other accessories.

    Some units of the U.S. Marine Corps have also used the M14

  6. Cynthia McKinney's Report from Mexico

    Hello all!

    Yesterday was not only the 40th Anniversary of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it was also the anniversary of the murder of Casey Sheehan. Cindy shared the pain of her memory with us as we stand with working people across the Americas who are defending their right to work in dignity, and to maintain ownership of their countries' natural resources, and their objection to US wars.

    We are hoping that the next Continental Congress of Workers will take place in our country. Please visit for more information.
    Here are my remarks:

    Cynthia McKinney Segundo Encuentro Continental de los Trabajadores
    Mexico City, Mexico
    April 4, 2008

    Brothers and Sisters in the Movement
    I am happy to be here in Mexico City where the people all over Latin America are on the move:
    On the move for justice, self-determination, and peace.

    I love that you have created a Power to the People movement with your votes that is stronger than the mightiest military force on the planet!
    With the power of your vote you have taken your countries back.

    Now, all we have to do is to count all the votes in the United States and Mexico!

    In the 2000 U.S. Presidential election, an estimated six million people went to the polls and voted, but their votes weren't counted.

    In 2000, and again in 2004, Democrats helped to install Republicans into power rather than fight for the victory that the voters had given them.
    I am proud to join this international movement for self-determination; for justice and for peace. Despite today's difficulties, we must never let our dream be deferred. We in the U.S. gain inspiration from your successes here so we can carry the struggle to every nook and cranny of the United States.

    Que vivan los pueblos de america!

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