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Middle East Current Events

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  1. Middle East Current Events C/Capt Sean Morgan C/Capt Christopher Taylor 25 Sept 2007

  2. Overview • Iraq • Iran • Afghanistan • Syria

  3. Summary Issues • U.S. Military Deaths • Private Contractors outnumber US Forces • Blackwater Situation • Iranian President Visit to Columbia • Osama’s Message and the Next Target • U.S. Patrol of Iran-Iraq Border • Secretary of State visit to Middle East • President Bush plans Mideast Conference • Coalition Capture of Iranian Commando

  4. U.S. Military Deaths • As of Saturday, 22 Sept 2007 • 3,795 U.S. military members have died since operations began • British Military: 169 • Italy: 33 • Ukraine: 18 • Poland: 21 • Bulgaria: 13 • Spain: 11 • Denmark: 7 • Latvia: 3 • Estonia, Netherlands, Thailand: 2 each • Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Romania, South Korea: 1 each • Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5972698/

  5. Iraq

  6. Iraq • A "republic" was proclaimed in 1958, but in actuality a series of military strongmen ruled the country until 2003 • Slightly more than twice the size of Idaho • Population: 27,499,638

  7. Private Contractors Outnumber US Forces • More than 180,000 private contractors • Current U.S. military forces: 163,100 • Raises fundamental question: • “Have we become so dependent on privately contracted forces?” • Private forces do not fight with LOAC principles • Blackwater situation most recent, but there have been incidents in the past • Source: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=3626620

  8. Private Contractors Outnumber US Forces • A measure proposed by Rep. David Price, would require all government contractors to be covered by federal criminal codes

  9. Blackwater • Private military contractor • Founded in 1997 Erik Prince & Al Clark • Based out of North Carolina • 90% of Revenue Government Contracts • Currently operating in Iraq

  10. Blackwater Background • Motto: “The Most Comprehensive Professional Military, Law Enforcement, Security, Peacekeeping, and stability operations in the world” • Products include: • K-9 Development • Airships • Targeting Systems • Combat Training • Armored Vehicles • Air Maintenance/Defense Systems • Source: http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/09/17/iraq.main/index.html

  11. Blackwater Situation • Eight civilians killed in Baghdad street shootout • Blackwater claims killings occurred in self-defense • Iraqi officials claim Blackwater fired without provocation • SUV convoy assaulted midday from small arms fire, following a car bomb explosion • 14 others wounded during shootout, mostly civilians • Iraqi reaction-force and US Army arrive to stabilize area • Source: http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/09/23/blackwater.probe/index.html#cnnSTCText

  12. Blackwater Fallout • Blackwater’s operating license in Iraq was revoked • Iraqi government will file criminal charges for the deaths of civilians • Order 17 of Coalition Provisional Authority • “Contractors shall be immune from Iraqi legal process with respect to acts performed by them pursuant to the terms and conditions of a Contract or any sub-contract thereto” • Iraqi official claim killings unprovoked, claim to have video evidence • Inability to obtain justice threatens sovereignty • Despite this, Blackwater has resumed security duties

  13. General Petraeus • Video http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=3587383

  14. Iran

  15. Iran • Known as Persia until 1935. • Slightly larger than Alaska. • Population: 65,397,521 • Median Age: 25 • Religions: 98% Muslim (89% Shi’a, 9% Sunni)

  16. Iranian President Visit to Columbia • Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia University yesterday • Large Protests • Agenda • Reassure that Iran is not building nuclear weapons • Answer Questions • Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20942057

  17. Iranian President Visit to Columbia • Requested to lay a wreath at Ground Zero • Request denied • Also attending the U.N. General Assembly today • Said Holocaust a “myth” and called for “Israel to be wiped off the map” • “Well, you have to appreciate we don't need a nuclear bomb. We don't need that. What need do we have for a bomb?" • "It's wrong to think that Iran and the U.S. are walking toward war. Who says so? Why should we go to war? There is no war in the offing." • Source: 60 Minutes Interview, CBS News

  18. Iranian President Visit to Columbia • Video • http://video.msn.com/v/us/msnbc.htm?f=00&g=f30204ee-9d43-4e6d-9eea-97a14349729b&p=News_Editors%20Picks&t=m5&rf=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20942057/&fg=

  19. US Patrol of Iran-Iraq Border • Tensions have been building over Iran’s Nuclear Program • 900 mile border-logistic problem • Build Infrastructure and Train Iraqis • Col. Mark Mueller, Commander 3rd Infantry Division border virtually impossible to protect

  20. US Patrol of Iran-Iraq Border • New U.S. Strategy-build base 4 miles from Iranian border. • Facility will have internet and other luxuries; no troops will have to leave • Cost-$5 million dollars • Operational by November

  21. US Patrol of Iran-Iraq Border

  22. Coalition Capture of Iranian Commando • Iranian officer arrested; smuggled roadside bombs into Iraq • Tensions Increased between US and Tehran • Suspect member of Quds Force elite group

  23. Coalition Capture of Iranian Commando • Involved in transporting armor piercing explosively formed perpetrators • Trained infiltrators in Iraq • Bush Administration intent on blacklisting Quds • Result strain relations between Iran and United States

  24. Afghanistan

  25. Afghanistan • Won independence from British control in 1919. • Slightly smaller than Texas • Population: 31,889,923 • Median age: 17 • Birth Rate:6.64 children born/woman • Religion: Sunni 80%, Shi'a 19%

  26. Osama’s Message and the Next Target • Key Points • Bin Laden calls for a jihad against Pakistan • Rallying for the support of Pakistanis to overthrow President Musharraf and the gov’t • Targeted as a result of a raid on Red Mosque in July 07 • Result in killing of Abdul Rashid Ghazi • 100 other militants • Pakistanis ignore his statement

  27. President Bush plans Mideast Conference • President Bush hosting Mideast peace conference. • Objective-End Palestinian-Israeli conflict • Committee Members include: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia

  28. Osama’s Message and the Next Target • Video • http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid452329876/bclid1202413571/bctid1203052326 • Source: http://in.news.yahoo.com/070921/211/6l1l3.html

  29. President Bush plans Mideast Conference • Both sides want different outcomes • Palestinians want outline for peace deal • Israel wants more vague declarations • Hamas-seized Gaza Strip considered “hostile territory”

  30. President Bush plans Mideast Conference

  31. Syria

  32. Syria • In the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Syria lost the Golan Heights to Israel. • Slightly larger than North Dakota. • Population:19,314,747 • Sunni 74%, Shi’a 16%, Christian 10%

  33. Review of Issues • U.S. Military Deaths • Private Contractors outnumber US Forces • Blackwater Situation • Osama’s Message and the Next Target • U.S. Patrol of Iran-Iraq Border • Secretary of State visit to Middle East • President Bush plans Mideast Conference • Coalition Capture of Iranian Commando

  34. Conclusion • Iraq • Iran • Afghanistan • Syria

  35. Any Questions?