Gotta nuther one

Another big fish caught in Iraq.  More signs that the surge is working.

A senior figure in al-Qaeda in Iraq armed group was arrested on Monday northeast of Baghdad, the official spokesman of the law-imposing security plan said. “Hussein al-Heyalli, the general mufti of al-Qaeda network in Iraq, was arrested and gave us information that will help to dismantle the group,” Brigadier Qassem Atta al-Mousawi said in news conference. “Since the beginning of March, 241 gunmen and 700 suspected militants have been arrested,” he said in the news conference, which was attended by General William Caldwell, spokesman for the Multi-National forces in Iraq. “A number of hospitals and markets were secured during that period and the security forces played an important role in limiting gunmen’s attacks,” he noted. The spokesman added “the defense ministry has signed contracts to buy devices for detecting explosives, bomb cars and will be used by Iraqi forces soon.” For his part, General William Caldwell said that two brigades of the Multi-National force-Iraq arrived in Baghdad, while a third brigade arrived in Kut, 180 km southeast of Baghdad, and will be in Baghdad in the upcoming days. “The number of forces heading for Baghdad will be completed by June and 7,000 more troops will be deployed, including military police forces, in addition to other 2,000 Georgian troops,” General Caldwell added. U.S. President George W. Bush had vowed to send 21,500 extra troops to Iraqi capital Baghdad to support Iraqi government under Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Iraqi and U.S. troops have been involved in a large-scale operation called Fard al-Qanoon (Rule of Law), since mid-February, in a bid to quell bombings and sectarian violence in Baghdad.

Source:  Iraq Slogger 

Shadow Wolves join the hunt

Their name conjures up images of the old West, or more recently, the WWII Navajo code-talkers. They are an elite group of trackers who have been recruited from American Indian tribes, including the Navajo, Sioux, Lakota and Apache, called the Shadow Wolves. Recently, they have been used to track drug smugglers on the southern US border. Now, the Pentagon wants them to joint the hunt for bin Laden.

The Pentagon has been alarmed at the ease with which Taliban and al-Qa’ida fighters have been slipping in and out of Afghanistan. Defence officials are convinced their movements can be curtailed by the Shadow Wolves.

The unit has earned international respect for its tracking skills in the Arizona desert. It was founded in the early 1970s to curb the flow of marijuana into the US from Mexico and has since tracked people-smugglers across hundreds of square kilometres of the Tohono O’odham tribal reservation, southwest of Tucson.

shadowwolves.jpgHarold Thompson, a Navajo Indian, and Gary Ortega, from the Tohono reservation, are experts at “cutting sign”, the traditional Indian method of finding and following minute clues from a barren landscape. They can detect twigs snapped by passing humans or hair snagged on a branch and tell how long a sliver of food may have lain in the dirt.

Some military experts want the Shadow Wolves to help to track down bin Laden. Despite a $US25million bounty on his head and the use of billions of dollars worth of sophisticated equipment, US forces have so far failed to fulfil President George W. Bush’s promise to capture bin Laden “dead or alive”.

But a senior US official insisted last week that bin Laden’s trail had “not gone stone cold”. Vice-Admiral Mike McConnell, the new US director of national intelligence, told a Senate committee that bin Laden and his lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahiri, were setting up new training camps in northwestern Pakistan.

Sounds like a plan to me.


More at cao’s blog

Background on the original Shadow Wolves (thanks swamps)


California authorities are reporting that the fire in Orange County was deliberately set.  They have pinpointed the source of the fire to a stolen vehicle which was set on fire, spreading to the surrounding area.  More than 2000 acres have burned.

The fire, stoked by hot dry winds and fueled by chaparral, spread south and west quickly in an unincorporated part of Orange County and threatened multimillion-dollar homes here and in Anaheim Hills, about 35 miles southeast of Los Angeles. Authorities said the blaze may have been started by a vehicle fire, and were investigating if the car was stolen and set on fire to destroy evidence.

Two firefighters have suffered minor injuries.



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