Islamic State attack on Iraqi base leaves hundreds missing, shows army weaknesses

By Loveday Morris  Follow @LovedayMe army base in Iraq’s western Anbar province had been under siege by Islamic State militants for a week, so when a convoy of armored Humvees rolled up at the gate, the Iraqi soldiers at Camp Saqlawiyah believed saviors had arrived.

But this was no rescue attempt. The vehicles were driven by militants on suicide missions, and within seconds on Sunday the base had become a bloody scene of multiple bombings.

On Monday, a day after the attack, five survivors — including three officers — said that between 300 and 500 soldiers were missing and believed to be dead, kidnapped or in hiding. Army officials said the numbers were far lower, leading to accusations that they were concealing the true toll.

If the survivors’ accounts are correct, it would make Sunday the most disastrous day for the Iraqi army since several divisions collapsed in the wake of the Islamic State’s capture of the northern city of Mosul amid its cross-country sweep in June. In any case, the chaotic incident has highlighted shortcomings in an army that the United States has spent billions of dollars training and equipping, and it has further undermined the force’s reliability as a partner as President Obama expands airstrikesinto provinces including Anbar.

It has also heightened pressure on new Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, whose opponents have already seized on the incident to accuse him of a soft-handed approach to terrorists.


Found at Canadian border: 3 Afghan soldiers missing from Cape Cod

By MICHAEL MUSKAL, W.J. HENNIGANcontact the reporters

AfghanistanU.S. Department of DefenseCanada

Three missing Afghan soldiers attending military exercises at Cape Cod base have been found

Three Afghan soldiers, who went missing while in Massachusetts for military training, have been found trying to cross the border into Canada, a Defense Department official said Monday.

“I can confirm that the Canadians have them,” the official said. 


The Afghan officers were reported missing late Saturday after a trip to a shopping mall in Hyannis, Mass., about 20 miles from Joint Base Cape Cod, where they were involved in a training exercise. Earlier this month, two Afghan police officers disappeared from a Drug Enforcement Administration training program in Quantico, Va., and were found several days later in that area.

In each case, the Afghans were part of a chaperoned group that was taken to see U.S. sights and culture, officials said. Both groups were vetted by U.S. officials before they were allowed into the United States.

“There is no indication they pose any threat to the public,” the military said of the three officers.

The three were identified as Maj. Jan Mohammad Arash, Capt. Mohammad Nasir Askarzada and Capt. Noorullah Aminy. They arrived at Joint Base Cape Cod on Sept. 11. In addition to Afghanistan, personnel also arrived from Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia.

The exercises took place at Camp Edwards, home to the Massachusetts National Guard and part of Joint Base Cape Cod, which includes a replica of an operating base used by soldiers in areas like Afghanistan.

The training, known as Exercise Regional Cooperation 2014, is one of a series of annual events, sponsored by the U.S. Central Command. Such training has taken place every year since 2004; last year’s exercise was Germany.

The visitors get days off, such as Saturday, the military said. The Afghans were taken to the mall to sight-see and observe aspects of U.S. culture, the military said.

On Sept. 13, two Afghan policemen went missing in Washington, D.C., while visiting the U.S. for training in narcotics law-enforcement techniques, said Joseph Moses, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The two Afghan officers, who were said to be looking for a better life, were on a chaperoned visit to Washington's Georgetown section when they went off. They were found a few days later and returned to the training program, which ended last week.

The pair had been vetted before they arrived and found to be clear of all criminal ties, Moses said.

The incident marked the first time any police had gone missing among the thousands of foreign officers who have received additional training in Quantico, Va., according to authorities.

Follow @latimesmuskal for national news

Concern over US concessions as Iran seeks to leverage ISIS issue in

Republican lawmakers are raising alarm that Secretary of State John Kerry is putting too much on the table in talks over Iran's nuclear program -- as Tehran reportedly tries to leverage its cooperation in the Islamic State crisis in return for nuclear concessions from the U.S. and its allies. 

The White House denies that any such trade-off is in the works. 

"The United States will not be in a position of trading aspects of Iran's nuclear program to secure commitments to take on ISIL," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday, using an alternate acronym for the Islamic State. "These two issues are entirely separate." 

But, even before the Islamic State aspect surfaced, Republicans already had voiced concern that Washington may be softening its negotiating position in the nuclear talks. 

In a letter sent to Kerry on Friday, 31 Republican senators expressed grave concerns about the new negotiations. 

Warning of "troubling nuclear concessions to Iran," they asked whether the administration would accept the mere "disconnection" of centrifuges as an alternative to dismantling them.

The Elephant's Child

President Obama, on a trip to the Group of Eight Summit in Belfast, managed to stick his nose into the internal affairs of Northern Ireland. He pretty much suggested that the Irish should dismantle their Catholic and Protestant schools on the grounds they’re hotbeds of hatred.  This is an old leftist canard, and odd coming from an American president whose nation’s founding was set upon the idea that all sorts of different religions could flourish together as long as there is the guarantee of freedom.

“If towns remain divided — if Catholics have their schools and buildings and Protestants have theirs, if we can’t see ourselves in one another, and fear or resentment are allowed to harden — that too encourages division and discourages cooperation,

The headline in the Scottish Catholic Observer observed: the “US President undermines Catholic schools after Vatican Prefect praised them.

More . . .


Obama Offends Catholics

Posted by ilona trommler 

By Paul Scicchitano

President Barack Obama angered some proponents of Catholic education during his visit to Ireland this week when he told a Belfast audience that towns will remain divided “if Catholics have their schools and buildings, and Protestants have theirs.”

An article, which subsequently appeared in the Scottish Catholic Observer carried the headline, “U.S. President Undermines Catholic Schools after Vatican Prefect Praised Them.” 

The article said that Obama “made an alarming call for an end to Catholic education in Northern Ireland,” and quoted from recent remarks of the Vatican’s Archbishop Gerhard Müller, who had said that Catholic education was “a critical component of the Church.”

Dr. Matthew Bunson, senior correspondent for Our Sunday Visitor and author of the new book, “Pope Francis,” tells Newsmax that the president should have chosen his words more carefully and he pointed to the contribution that Catholic education has made to bringing about the 15-year-old peace in the once troubled region.

More . . .


Obama in Belfast: If Catholics Have Their Schools and Protestants Have Theirs..That Encourages Division

By Terence P. Jeffrey 


President Barack Obama speaks to a town hall meeting of youth in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on June 17, 2013. (AP Photo)

( - Likening religious schools to segregation--a racist system that forced blacks to attend different schools and use different facilities than whites in the American South--President Barack Obama told a town hall meeting for youth in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Monday that there should not be Catholic and Protestant schools because such schools cause division.

"Because issues like segregated schools and housing, lack of jobs and opportunity--symbols of history that are a source of pride for some and pain for others--these are not tangential to peace; they’re essential to it," said Obama. "If towns remain divided--if Catholics have their schools and buildings, and Protestants have theirs--if we can’t see ourselves in one another, if fear or resentment are allowed to harden, that encourages division. It discourages cooperation.

See more at:


New Nationwide FEMA Camps Should Raise Eyebrows

By Alan P. Halber

Of all the Rumors Flying Around on the Internet, one just Refuses to Die, and it Concerns

America’s FEMA CAMPS

In a nutshell, there seems to be a solicitation of bids occurring for the staffing of FEMA camps within 72 hours of implementation by an order from either Homeland Security or the president.  This situation begs to be investigated, with special consideration paid to the motives of the present administration.

I went to the source, the, and searched for the solicitation number HSFEHQ-10-R-0027, titled National Responder Support Camp.

 A search of the history of the amendments to this Solicitation for Contract showed that it had been modified several times, with the last modification — number 0008, with an original date of letting out to bid with a synopsis of May 13, 2011 — occurring on December 16, 2011.  This last modification rescinded the solicitation, with said modification’s purpose noted as follows:

Read more:


Clinton calls for change in law she says blocked discipline of employees over Libya

By Judson Berger

Published January 25, 2013

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed this week that several employees who were "removed" from their positions in the wake of the Libya terror attack are still being paid and have not actually left her department.


But she also gave a surprising answer when asked why: Her hands are tied, she said.

Amid complaints from lawmakers that no government official has really been held accountable for missteps in the run-up to the attack, Clinton claimed current federal regulations limit what disciplinary actions can be taken. 

The sticking point appears to be what constitutes a "breach of duty," which is the threshold for action. Whether it turns out the secretary has more leeway, lawmakers expressed a keen interest Thursday in changing the law.


Read more:

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