First we will start with the titled piece.
Hell must have frozen over because the AP is bringing us good news from Iraq. (Thats right, Associated Press and good news from Iraq, in the same sentence I said it!!!!)
BAGHDAD - U.S. and Iraqi forces killed more than 60 insurgent and militia fighters in intense battles over the weekend, with most of the casualties believed to have been al-Qaida fighters, officials said Sunday.
The U.S. Embassy, meanwhile, joined a broad swath of Iraqi politicians — both Shiite and Sunni — in criticizing a nonbinding U.S. Senate resolution seen here as a recipe for splitting the country along sectarian and ethnic lines.
U.S. aircraft killed more than 20 al-Qaida in Iraq fighters who opened fire on an American air patrol northwest of Baghdad, the U.S. command said.
The firefight between U.S. aircraft and the insurgent fighters occurred Saturday about 17 miles northwest of the capital, the military said.
The aircraft observed about 25 al-Qaida insurgents carrying AK-47 assault rifles — one brandishing a rocket-propelled grenade — walking into a palm grove, the military said.
"Shortly after spotting the men, the aircraft were fired upon by the insurgent fighters," it said.
The military did not say what kind of aircraft were involved but the fact that the fighters opened fire suggests they were low-flying Apache helicopters. The command said more than 20 of the group were killed and four vehicles were destroyed. No Iraqi civilians or U.S. soldiers were hurt.
"Coalition forces have dealt significant blows to Al-Qaida Iraq in recent months, including the recent killing of the Tunisian head of the foreign fighter network in Iraq and the blows struck in the past 24 hours," military spokesman Col. Steven Boylan told The Associated Press.
Iraq's Defense Ministry said in an e-mail Sunday afternoon that Iraqi soldiers had killed 44 "terrorists" over the past 24 hours. The operations were centered in Salahuddin and Diyala provinces and around the city of Kirkuk, where the ministry said its soldiers had killed 40 and arrested eight. It said 52 fighters were arrested altogether.
The ministry did not further identify those killed, but use of the word "terrorists" normally indicates al-Qaida.
In a separate operation, U.S. forces killed two insurgents and detained 21 others during weekend operations "to disrupt al-Qaida in Iraq networks in the Tigris River Valley."
Intelligence led to a raid early Sunday that netted what the U.S. military called 15 rogue members of the Mahdi Army militia at an undisclosed Baghdad location.
The mainstream of the militia, the armed wing of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's organization, has been ordered by the religious leader to stop attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces.
But many one-time members of the group have split off and are acting independently of al-Sadr's control. Some have gone to Iran for training and are receiving weapons and financing from the Islamic regime in Tehran.
The Senate resolution, adopted last week, proposed reshaping Iraq according to three sectarian or ethnic territories. It calls for a limited central government with the bulk of power going to the country's Shiite, Sunni or Kurdish regions, envisioning a power-sharing agreement similar to the one that ended the 1990s war in Bosnia. Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden, a Democrat presidential candidate, was a prime sponsor.
In a highly unusual statement, the U.S. Embassy said resolution would seriously hamper Iraq's future stability.
"Our goal in Iraq remains the same: a united, democratic, federal Iraq that can govern, defend, and sustain itself," the unsigned statement said.
"Iraq's leaders must and will take the lead in determining how to achieve these national aspirations. ... attempts to partition or divide Iraq by intimidation, force or other means into three separate states would produce extraordinary suffering and bloodshed," it said.
The statement came just hours after representatives of Iraq's major political parties denounced the Senate proposal.
The Iraqi's had ruled out that idea previously so this is no big surprise.
NEXT STOP IRAN.
John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, was invited to a meeting organised by the Global Strategy Forum, where he said:
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was "pushing out" and "is not receiving adequate push-back" from the west.
"I don't think the use of military force is an attractive option, but I would tell you I don't know what the alternative is.
"Because life is about choices, I think we have to consider the use of military force. I think we have to look at a limited strike against their nuclear facilities."
He added that any strike should be followed by an attempt to remove the "source of the problem", Mr Ahmadinejad.
"If we were to strike Iran it should be accompanied by an effort at regime change ... The US once had the capability to engineer the clandestine overthrow of governments. I wish we could get it back."
The fact that intelligence about Iran's nuclear activity was partial should not be used as an excuse not to act, Mr Bolton insisted.
"Intelligence can be wrong in more than one direction." He asked how the British government would respond if terrorists exploded a nuclear device at home. "'It's only Manchester?' ... Responding after they're used is unacceptable."
Mr Bolton, now a fellow at the conservative thinktank the American Enterprise Institute and the author of a forthcoming book called Surrender is Not an Option, was applauded by delegates when he described the UN as "fundamentally irrelevant".
More Iran News:
The Telegraph reports that the American air force is working with military leaders from the Gulf to train and prepare Arab air forces for a possible war with Iran, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
An air warfare conference in Washington last week was told how American air chiefs have helped to co-ordinate intelligence-sharing with Gulf Arab nations and organise combined exercises designed to make it easier to fight together.
Gen Michael Mosley, the US Air Force chief of staff, used the conference to seek closer links with allies whose support America might need if President George W Bush chooses to bomb Iran.
Pentagon air chiefs have helped set up an air warfare centre in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where Gulf nations are training their fighter pilots and America has big bases. It is modelled on the US Air Force warfare centre at Nellis air force base in Nevada.
Jordan and the UAE have both taken part in combined exercises designed to make sure their air forces can fly, and fight, together and with American jets.
The conference was long-planned to discuss developments in air warfare technology, but the question of possible hostilities involving Iran was discussed.
Last but not least, for your extreme amusement, we have a GAY Ahmadinejad, compliments of Stop the ACLU.