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Archive: May 2008
Watch It Here
International Compact with Iraq Reviews Progress, Calls for Support
05/29/2008 5:05 PM ET
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Stockholm, May 29, 2008.
Video: Government of Sweden. Image:
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Stockholm, May 29, 2008.

Here's the full video of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt speaking to the press at the conference to review the International Compact with Iraq in Stockholm on May 29.

See the full remarks of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon here: ban_may29_stockholm.pdf.

A transcript of Iraqi Deputy PM Barham Salih's remarks can be read here: salih_stockholm_May29.pdf

See the whole conference webcast here.

The Swedish government is archiving documents related to the conference on this site.

The Latest
Reward Offer Quietly Dropped from $5 Mil to $100K in February
05/13/2008 4:36 PM ET
Undated picture released by the US Army in June 2006, showing Abu Ayyub al-Masri, also known as Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Mohajer.
Photo via Getty Images
Undated picture released by the US Army in June 2006, showing Abu Ayyub al-Masri, also known as Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Mohajer.

The bounty for the reputed leader of the al-Qa'ida in Iraq organization, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, has been quietly downgraded many-fold by US officials. The reward offer for the man who once was among the top wanted men in Iraq by US forces has been downgraded from a high of $5 million to a current low of $100,000, according to US News and World Report.

USNWR writes that the al-Masri bounty was quietly dropped in February by the State Department's Rewards for Justice program, which offers bounties for wanted terrorists.

Key paragraphs in the USNWR story deal with why American officials may have reduced the reward for the Egyptian extremist:

Officially, defense sources say that rewards have historically been reduced for a number of reasons. "When they have reduced rewards in the past, some of the discussion has been to devalue them , to not hold them in such high regard," says a senior defense official. It's psychological warfare of sorts: "It may cause them to do things that say, 'Look, I'm important,'" says the official—and in so doing, perhaps do something that makes it easier for them to be captured. The reasons in the past have also been more pedestrian, adds the official. "Sometimes the rewards are set so high that for some people maybe $100,000 is more tangible than $1 million."

Others insist that the move reflects a shift in thinking about the importance of al-Masri. "The overarching reason is his blatant ineffectiveness as a leader of AQI," says a U.S. military official.

Particularly striking, however, given the heavy emphasis that the U.S. government has placed on the target, is the number of senior officials who were only vaguely aware of the reduction in the bounty on al-Masri. "I had heard that they were talking about doing that," says a senior U.S. military official in Baghdad. "I would think that we have some input on that." The move also leaves questions about why Pentagon officials would want to remove al-Masri from the Rewards for Justice site, which has higher visibility on the Web than the Pentagon's program.

Last week, Iraqi officials claimed to have captured Abu Ayyub al-Masri in the northern city of Mosul, said by US and Iraqi forces to be the "last urban stronghold" of the al-Qa'ida in Iraq organization. However, US forces later dismissed the Iraqi claim of apprehending the AQI leader.

Read the whole story here.

read it here
Report Cites Pentagon Data on Active Duty Personnel, Reservists, Troop Rotations
05/13/2008 2:01 PM ET
Graph: CRS; Image:

As of March 1, 2008, the United States had 159,700 military personnel deployed in Iraq, according to DOD statistics compiled in a newly authored Congressional Research Service (CRS) report that compiles Pentagon figures on US force levels in Iraq. 134,900 of the troops present in March were active duty personnel, while 24,800 were National Guard and Reserves, CRS adds. The CRS document, entitled "U.S. Forces in Iraq" is available in full below, and was made available by the Federation of American Scientists. The document also contains breakdowns of DOD troop-level data over time as well as a table showing the Pentagon's slated troop rotations of troops in Iraq for 2008.

Below is the opening summary of the CRS report:

Varying media estimates of military forces in Iraq have raised concerns about the actual number of troops deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Interest in troop level deployments continue in 2008. Last year, a major announcement on a surge in troop deployments to Iraq by the President Bush included a planned gradual increase of more than 20,000 U.S. troops on the ground in Baghdad and Anbar province over several months. Since the “new strategy for Iraq” speech by the President on January 10, 2007, troop deployments gradually increased during the months of February through October in 2007 but decreased beginning in November 2007. This report provides solely Department of Defense (DOD) statistical information on U.S. forces serving in Iraq. It also provides brief official information on the military units scheduled for the next rotation of duty into Iraq. As of March 1, 2008, according to DOD, the United States had 159,700 troops stationed in Iraq — 134,900 active component and 24,800 National Guard or Reserves. For security reasons, DOD does not routinely report the composition, size, or specific destination of military forces deployed to the Persian Gulf. This report will be updated upon receipt of new DOD data. For additional information on U.S. forces, see RL34387, Operation Iraqi Freedom: Strategies, Approaches, Results and Issues for Congress, by Catherine Dale.

Read the whole six-page document here: RS22449.pdf.


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