Thomas R. Eddlem
Japanese Financial Services Minister Shozaburo Jimi confirmed that China's central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan had not defected to the United States, something rumored from Chinese-based sources for several days over the weekend. But the question now being asked is why the rumor started in the first place.
The much ballyhooed withdrawal of “combat troops” from Iraq by the Obama administration has revealed another uncomfortable truth: The U.S. Army soldiers and Marines that are being sent home from Iraq in August (less the 50,000 “non-combat” soldiers that will remain behind) are being replaced by a new U.S. “civilian” contract army under the control of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
U.S. Commander for Afghanistan General David Petraeus told NBC's “Meet the Press” August 15 that he prefers not to talk about “winning” in the Afghan war, and that Obama's deadline for withdrawal of U.S. troops from the war-torn nation of July 2011 was a flexible guideline where only a “couple of thousand” U.S. soldiers may be sent home by that date.
The return of Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri to Iran from CIA custody has news agencies wondering whether he defected or was kidnapped by the CIA during a June 2009 hajj (Islamic religious pilgrimage) to Mecca. “Americans wanted me to say that I defected to America of my own will, to use me for revealing some false information about Iran's nuclear work," Amiri said from Tehran airport last week, claiming, "I was under intensive psychological pressure by [the] CIA.... The main aim of this abduction was to stage a new political and psychological game against Iran.”
Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass has penned a cover story for Newsweek magazine calling for a smaller U.S. presence in Afghanistan, but not complete withdrawal.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recommended Marine Corps General James Mattis July 8 to head the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), the joint military command for the Middle East that includes supervision of the Iraq and Afghan wars. The U.S. Central Command combines theater command of the four service branches as well as special operations for the Middle East and Central Asia.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch reported April 27 that a secret Iraqi prison maintained by the current lame-duck Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki engaged in “routine” torture against detainees.
The Iraqi government has run a secret prison where minority Sunni Muslims were kept outside of the ordinary Iraqi system of justice and tortured, according to various press reports.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki's party, the State of Law Coalition, lost the March 7 parliamentary elections in a fractured vote, but appears to have embarked upon a course of using political violence as a means of erasing the election results. “At least four Sunni Muslim candidates who appear to have won parliamentary seats in Iraq on the winning ticket of secular leader Ayad Allawi have become targets of investigation by security forces reporting to the narrowly defeated Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki,” McClatchy news service reported March 27.
Americans received yet another confirmation on February 16 that President Obama has taken on the mantle of his war-mongering predecessor with a statement by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs saying he “wouldn't rule out” war against Iran.