Friday, August 21, 2009

What keeps me up at night...

A few things that have been wandering around my head lately:

1. Is the government of Iraq, or at least the Ministry of Defense, conducting attacks, or allowing attacks to occur, in the vicinity of the green line between the Arabs and the Kurds in order to have a reason to bring more Iraqi Army soldiers into the area and push the Peshmerga out?

2. Is the government of Kurdistan allowing attacks to occur in the vicinity of the green line, or even harboring Al Qaida or New Ba'ath Party insurgents, in order to have a reason to bring more Peshmerga forces into the area and gain control over more territory?

3. I am eligible for the FY '10 major's board. My first "below zone" look. Am I ready to be a major?

4. I am most likely next in line for one of the MI commands in the brigade...209th MICO or D Troop/1-14 CAV. Am I ready to be a company commander?

All 2 of my readers, please discuss.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The smell is what I always forget...

There are few times in your life you will get a standing ovation, unless of course you are in the entertainment business. The morning after my arrival to FOB Caldwell my analysts and I walking out of the S2 office shortly after everybody else on staff had arrived. There was an immediate shout of "that's the patch we want to see!"

Followed by everyone in the operations center getting up and clapping. You have to love moments like that. They were not cheering me, I realize that, but these tired soldiers were cheering the concept my two analysts and I represent...freedom from the Hell that is a year long deployment.

Flew into Iraq in usual glorious fashion on a C-130 crewed by the Flying Vikings. Not sure how the Vikings of old would feel about their name being used by a group of what is essentially a flying bus service. Flying Greyhounds would make more sense...and be a bit more amusing.

Landed at one of the massive bases in Iraq and then after a short time boarded a "Catfish Air" Blackhawk flight that would take me and my two guys on a ring route to multiple smaller FOBs to our final destination at FOB Caldwell in between the cities of Balad Ruz and Mandali. Unfortunately, it was night so I couldn't see too much from the Blackhawk, although illumination was pretty good. I also grabbed the worst spot on the bird...rear right. Stupid prop blast.

Currently chilling at COP Cobra in between Sadiyah and Jalula checking out how the unit here conducts operations before I (hopefully) head back to Caldwell and greet the rest of my Squadron as they arrive.

I've missed riding hatch in a Stryker seeing a whole other world close up. Even saw the mountains of Iran today. How many people can say that?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Annoying organizations in Diyala

I do not like terrorists. I also do not particularly like communists. Being the lazy person I am, I like to be able to direct my anger at organizations that are both communists and terrorists. Luckily, one such group exists in Iraq, the Mujahedin-e-Kharq or MeK for short.

Flag of the evil nazi commies...I mean, commie terrorists

For those of you not paying attention at home, the MeK is an organization founded in Iran back in the 60's who opposed the Shah. They assisted in the 1979 Islamic Revolution despite being communists but soon became violent against the Islamist regime. Iran kicked their asses out where they quickly settled in Iraq who just so happened to be at war with Iran at the time. Saddam gave them weapons, equipment, and bases in Iraq and used the MeK to conduct attacks against the Iranian Army. After the war, the MeK conducted assasination attempts and terrorist attacks within Iran. Saddam even used the MeK to help suppress the Kurdish and Shia uprisings that occured after the Gulf War.

Upon the US invasion in 2003, the MeK quickly surrendered and despite having been labeled a terrorist organization it was announced by Donald Rumsfeld that the MeK were protected persons under the Geneva Conventions and all personnel were moved to Camp Ashraf just north of Baqubah. They were placed under guard by US as well as Bulgarian forces and were later used as intelligence sources on the Iranian nuclear program.

Let's recap:

1) Iranians living in Iraq

2) terrorists

3) communists

4) anti-American...I forgot to mention that didn't I?

5) had a lot of tanks, and female fighters...not that there is anything wrong with that, but it scares me for some reason

A nightmare...or a turn on, I can't decide

This year US forces turned over control of the MeK compound to the Iraqi government, who has made it quite clear they wanted to remove these pesky Iranians from there country...which makes sense. Iran wanted them back, probably to prosecute them, and nobody else would take them in, shocking.
Iraqi forces moved into the compound this week, sparking riots which of course led to violence, people wounded and probably some MeK folks dead. To be perfectly honest, I'm surprised it took Iraq this long to go in. Government officials are saying they only want to establish a police station within the compound but everyone knows this is just a preliminary step to removing the MeK altogether.
The MeK don't like this.
Too bad, you don't belong in Iraq.
Maybe I'm just cold hearted, but I find it tough to feel any sympathy for a group of anti-American, terrorist, communist, Iranians who assisted in cracking down on legitimate Iraqi uprisings. I also don't like that my government was involved in shady dealings and intelligence gathering with this group while at the same time using them as pawns against the Iranians. We have better ways of dealing with the Iranians, we shouldn't be looking at terrrorists for assistance, not to mention wasting valuable military assets to guard them.