Tuesday, January 30, 2007
By Damien Cave
Thursday, January 25, 2007 | International Herald Tribune
In the battle for Baghdad, Haifa Street has changed hands so often that it has taken on the feel of a no man's land, the deadly space between opposing trenches.
On Wednesday, as U.S. and Iraqi troops poured in, the street showed why it is such a sensitive gauge of an urban conflict marked by front lines that melt into confusion, enemies with no clear identity and allies who disappear or do not show up at all.
In a miniature version of the troop increase that the United States hopes will secure the city, American soldiers and armored vehicles raced onto Haifa Street before dawn to dislodge Sunni insurgents and Shiite militiamen who have been battling for a stretch of ragged slums and mostly abandoned high rises. But as the sun rose, many of the Iraqi Army soldiers who were supposed to do the actual searches of the buildings did not arrive on time, forcing the Americans to start the job on their own.
When the Iraqi units finally did show up, it was with the air of a class outing, cheering and laughing as the Americans blew locks off doors with shotguns. As the morning wore on and the troops came under fire from all directions, another apparent flaw in this strategy became clear as empty apartments became lairs for gunmen who flitted from window to window and killed at least one U.S. soldier.
Whether the gunfire was coming from Sunni or Shiite insurgents or militia fighters or some of the Iraqi soldiers who had disappeared into the Gotham- like cityscape, no one could say.
"Who the hell is shooting at us?" shouted Sergeant 1st Class Marc Biletski, whose platoon was jammed into a small room off an alley that was being swept by a sniper's bullets. "Who's shooting at us? Do we know who they are?"
Just before the platoon tossed smoke bombs and sprinted through the alley to a more secure position, Biletski had a moment to reflect on this spot, which the U.S. Army has now fought to regain from a mysterious enemy at least three times in the past two years. "This place is a failure," he said. "Every time we come here, we have to come back."
He paused, then said, "Well, maybe not a total failure," since American troops have smashed opposition on Haifa Street each time they have come in. With that, Biletski ran through the yellow smoke and took up a new position.
The Haifa Street operation, involving Bradley Fighting Vehicles and highly mobile Stryker vehicles, will probably cause plenty of reflection by the commanders in charge of the Baghdad "surge" of more than 20,000 troops.
Just how those extra troops will be used is not yet known, but it will probably mirror at least broadly the Haifa Street strategy of working with Iraqi forces to take on groups from both sides of the Sunni-Shiite sectarian divide.
Lieutenant Colonel Avanulas Smiley of the 3d Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2d Infantry Division, said his forces were not interested in whether opposition came from bullets fired by Sunnis or by Shiites. He conceded that the cost of letting the Iraqi forces learn on the job was to add to the risk involved in the operation.
"This was an Iraqi-led effort and with that come challenges and risks," Smiley said. "It can be organized chaos."
Many of the Iraqi units that showed up late never seemed to take the task seriously, searching haphazardly, breaking dishes and rifling through personal CD collections in the apartments. Eventually the Americans realized that the Iraqis were searching no more than half of the apartments; at one point the Iraqis completely disappeared, leaving the U.S. unit working with them flabbergasted. "Where did they go?" yelled Sergeant Jeri Gillett. Another soldier suggested, "I say we just let them go and we do this ourselves."
Then the gunfire began. It would come from high rises across the street, from behind trash piles and sandbags in alleys and from so many other directions that the soldiers began to worry that the Iraqi soldiers were firing at them. Mortars started dropping from across the Tigris River, to the east, in the direction of a Shiite slum.
The only thing that was clear was that no one knew who the enemy was.
At one point the Americans were forced to jog alongside the Strykers on Haifa Street, sheltering themselves as best they could from the gunfire. The Americans finally found the Iraqis and ended up accompanying them into an extremely dangerous and exposed warren of low-slung hovels behind the high rises as gunfire rained down.
American officers tried to persuade the Iraqi soldiers to leave the slum area for better cover, but the Iraqis refused to risk crossing a lane that was being raked by machine gun fire.
In this surreal setting, about 20 American soldiers were forced at one point to pull themselves one by one up a canted tin roof by a dangling rubber hose and then shimmy along a ledge to another hut. The soldiers were stunned when a small child suddenly walked out of a darkened doorway and an old man started wheezing and crying somewhere inside.
Ultimately the group made it back to the high rises and escaped the sniper in the alley by throwing out the smoke bombs and sprinting to safety. Even though two Iraqis were struck by gunfire, many of the rest could not stop shouting and guffawing with amusement as they ran through the smoke.
One Iraqi soldier in the alley pointed his rifle at an American reporter and pulled the trigger. There was only a click: The weapon had no ammunition. The soldier laughed at his joke.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
By Sabrina Tavernise
Sunday, January 28, 2007 | International Herald Tribune
A painful measure of just how much Iraq has changed in the four years since I started coming here is contained in my cellphone. Many numbers in the address book are for Iraqis who have either fled the country or been killed. One of the first Sunni politicians: gunned down. A Shiite baker: missing. A Sunni family: moved to Syria.
I first came to Iraq in April 2003, at the end of the looting several weeks after the American invasion. In all, I have spent 22 months here, time enough for the place, its people and their ever-evolving tragedy to fix itself firmly in my heart.
Now, as I am leaving Iraq, a new American plan is unfolding in the capital. It feels as if we have come back to the beginning. Boots are on the ground again. Boxy Humvees move in the streets. Baghdad fell in 2003 and we are still trying to pick it back up. But Iraq is a different country now.
The moderates are mostly gone. My phone includes at least a dozen entries for middle-class families who have given up and moved away. They were supposed to build democracy here. Instead they work odd jobs in Syria and Jordan. Even the moderate political leaders have left. I have three numbers for Adnan Pachachi, the distinguished Iraqi statesman; none have Iraqi country codes.
Neighborhoods I used to visit a year ago with my armed guards and my black abaya are off limits. Most were Sunni and had been merely dangerous. Now they are dead. A neighborhood that used to be Baghdad's Upper East Side has the dilapidated, broken feel of a city just hit by a hurricane.
The Iraqi government and the political process, which seemed to have great promise a year ago, have soured. Deeply damaged from years of abuse under Saddam Hussein, the Shiites who run the government have themselves turned into abusers.
Never having covered a civil war before, I learned about it together with my Iraqi friends. It is a bit like watching a slow-motion train wreck. Broken bodies fly past. Faces freeze in one's memory in the moments before impact. Passengers grab handles and doorframes that simply tear off or uselessly collapse.
I learned how much violence changes people, and how trust is chipped away, leaving society a thin layer of moth-eaten fabric that tears easily. It has unraveled so quickly. A year ago, my interviews were peppered with phrases like "Iraqis are all brothers." The subjects would get angry when you asked their sect. Now some of them introduce themselves that way.
I met Raad Jassim, a 38-year-old Shiite refugee, in a largely empty house, recently owned by Sunnis, where he now lives in western Baghdad. He moved there in the fall, after Sunni militants killed his brother and his nephew and confiscated his large chicken farm north of Baghdad. He had lived with Sunnis his whole life, but after what happened, a hatred spread through him like a disease.
"The word Sunni, it hurts me," he said, sitting on the floor in a bare room, his 7-year-old boy on his lap. "All that I have lost came from this word. I try to avoid mixing with them."
"A volcano of revenge" has built up inside him, he said. "I want to rip them up with my teeth."
In another measure of just how much things have changed, Jassim's Shiite neighborhood is relatively safe. The area is now largely free of Sunnis, after Shiite militias swept it last year, and it runs smoothly on a complex network of relationships among the local militias, the police and a powerful local council. His street is dotted with fruit stands. Boys in uniforms roughhouse. Men sit in teahouses sipping from tiny glass cups.
Just to the south, the Sunni neighborhood of Dawoodi is ghostly at almost any time of day. Wide boulevards trimmed with palm trees used to connect luxury homes. Now giant piles of trash go uncollected in the median.
A serious problem is dead bodies. They began to appear several times a week last summer on the railroad tracks that run through the neighborhood. But when residents call the police to pick up the bodies, they do not come. The police are Shiite and afraid of the area.
"Entering a Sunni area for them is a risk," said Yasir, a 40-year-old Sunni whose house is close to the dumping ground.
A few weeks ago, a woman's body appeared. It was raining. Yasir said he covered her with blankets and called the police. A day later the police arrived. They peeked under the waterlogged blanket and drove away. It was another day before they collected the body. They took it at night, turning off their headlights and inching toward the area like thieves.
For those eager to write off Iraq as lost, one fact bears remembering. A great many Shiites and Kurds, who together make up 80 percent of the population, will tell you that in spite of all the mistakes the Americans have made here, the single act of removing Saddam Hussein was worth it. And the new American plan, despite all the obstacles, may have a chance to work. With an Iraqi colleague, I have been studying a neighborhood in northern Baghdad that has become a dumping ground for bodies. There, after American troops conducted sweeps, the number of corpses dropped by a third in September. The new plan is built around that kind of tactic. But the odds are stacked against the corps of bright young officers charged with making the plan work, particularly because their Iraqi partner — the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki — seems to be on an entirely different page. When American officials were debating whether to send more troops in December, I went to see an Iraqi government official. The prospect of more troops infuriated him. More Americans would simply prolong the war, he said.
"If you don't allow the minority to lose, you will carry on forever," he said.
The remarks struck me as a powerful insight into the Shiites' thinking. Abused under Saddam, they still act like an oppressed class. That means Iraqis are looking into a future of war, at least in the near term. As one young Shiite in Sadr City said to me: "This just has to burn itself out."
Hazim al-Aaraji, a disciple of the renegade Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, understands this. A cleric himself, he is looking for foot soldiers for the war. On a warm October afternoon, as he bustled around his mosque in western Baghdad, he said the ideal disciples would have "an empty mind," and a weapon. Surprised by the word choice, an Iraqi friend I was with stopped him, to clarify his intent. Once again, he used the word "empty."
The frank remark spoke of a new power balance, in which radicals rule and moderates have no voice. For many families I have become attached to here, the country is no longer recognizable.
I met Haifa and her husband, Hassan, both teachers, in a driveway in western Baghdad. They had just found the body of their 12-year-old son, who had been kidnapped and brutally killed, and were frantic with grief. They finally decided to leave Iraq, but its violence tormented them to the end. They paid a man to drive them to Jordan, but he was working with Sunni militants in western Iraq, and pointed out Hassan, a Shiite, to a Sunni gang that stopped the car. Over the next several hours, Haifa waved a tiny Koran at men in masks, pleading for her husband's release, her two remaining children in tow.
Hassan, meanwhile, knelt in a small room, his hands behind his back. His captors shot a man next to him in the neck. Haifa, a Sunni, eventually prevailed on them to let him go. The family returned to Baghdad, then borrowed money to fly to Jordan.
Now they live there, in a tiny basement apartment without windows in a white stone housing project on the side of a hill. Like many Iraqis there, they live in hiding. Residency permits cost $100,000, far beyond their means. Hassan cannot work, nor even risk leaving the house during the day for fear the Jordanian police will deport him.
He tries not to talk to people, afraid someone will recognize his Iraqi accent. He doesn't bargain in the vegetable market. He accepts mean remarks by Jordanian cabdrivers wordlessly.
Most of all, he wants to go home. "But death is waiting for us there," he tells me. "We are homeless. Please help us."
Saturday, January 27, 2007
AP and Reuters are both using the figure "tens of thousands" to measure the number of protesters in Washington, DC today, quoting an unnamed DC parks police officer. How many people is that? Fewer than 100,000, or possibly more?
Let's not forget Matt Taibbi's 2003 article in which he berated the U.S. press for cravenly "hiding" 200,000+ people at the January 2003 anti-war rally. (This was before Bush's March invasion, you recall). The media drastically underestimated the protesters' numbers to as low as 30,000, whereas Metro Police Chief Ramsey said it was bigger than the anti-war rally in October 2002 rally that drew 100,000, and one of the "biggest...in recent times."
Yet even as Taibbi admits, "crowd counting is a tricky business." I'll be curious to read his Low Post blog reaction in Rolling Stone, because I'm sure he was there, counting.
But what I really wanted to mention was the unbelievable stupidity of the rally's organizers, United for Peace & Justice, which is a coalition of several hundred anti-war groups.
Yes, UPJ should be given all manner of kudos for organizing this timely anti-war event. So what did they do so stupidly wrong? Looking at the mainstream media coverage, any average American could tell you....
(Reuters): "Veterans and military families joined some lawmakers, peace groups and actors including Vietnam war protester Jane Fonda to urge Congress and President George W. Bush to stop funding the war and pull troops from Iraq."
(AP): "Showcased speakers in addition to Fonda included actors Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and Danny Glover.
"Fonda was a lightning rod in the Vietnam era for her outspoken opposition to that war, earning the derisive nickname ''Hanoi Jane'' from conservatives for traveling to North Vietnam during the height of that conflict 35 years ago. She had avoided anti-Iraq war appearances until now."
(Reuters): "Fonda, who was criticized for her opposition to the Vietnam war, drew huge cheers when she addressed the crowd. She noted that she had not spoken at an anti-war rally in 34 years."
(AP photo caption): "Actress Jane Fonda, right, smiles with Eve Ensler, author of 'The Vagina Monologues,' center, at the U.S. Navy Memorial as they participate in a protest against the war in Iraq, Saturday Jan. 27, 2007, in Washington. Actor Sean Penn can be seen at left."
IDIOTS! Every f-ing time they do this!! Who the hell invited these f-ing Hollywood celebrities? Why are they there? What possible "value" are they adding to this event?? And the most important rhetorical question: Where's Team America when you really need them to waste some sanctimonious, self-promoting, lefty-lib camera hogs?
Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Danny Glover, favorite conservative pinata "Hanoi Jane" Fonda and -- what the hell!? -- "Vagina Monologues" author Eve Ensler! That kind of lineup of usual liberal suspects needs no further mocking. They're a mockery unto themselves.
"But," pointed out a friend, "you don't seem to understand that, as long as Susan Sarandon and Sean Pean are showing up at a rally, the rally is guarenteed at least some press coverage; famous names attract journalists and attention."
To which I say: This was a planned rally that attracted tens of thousands of people. The media can't ignore it. So, all these celebrities' presence does is leave the media's viewers/readers the impression that this was some celebrity-orchestrated and dominated event, when it wasn't. It was dozens of grassroots organizations getting together, doing all the heavy lifting, making sure thousands of people would turn out, just so these f---ers could waltz in at the end and act like it was their show.
Their presence, at least according to the media, almost completely dominated the rally in Washington. Of course that's not true, but since most Americans weren't there, it doesn't matter. Perception is reality. And the MSM's reporting of this event would make any decent American think it was a no-good rally of dope-smoking, anti-American Hollywood liberals and lesbians.
But that's the media's job. Distortion, I mean. I'm not really mad at them. I'm mad at the anti-war rally's organizers for repeating this stupid mistake for the umpteenth time in recent years. Liberals fail to understand basic PR and marketing.
Listen, United for Peace & Justice: Jane Fonda needs you a hell of a lot more than you need her. She wasn't attending anti-war rallies when a majority of Americans still skeptically supported the war. No, she's glomming on to the anti-war crowd now to bask in the adulation of the majority.
Silly UPJ, you don't need B-list celebrities to attract attention or lend your event any credibility. About 70% of Americans already oppose the Iraq war; and almost 90% oppose sending more troops. In this political climate, rallying against the war should be a slam dunk! You've already got 70% of America on your side! Why f--- up a sure thing by inviting guests whom most Americans consider sniveling, immature, amoral traitors and idiots?
Here's some more unsolicited advice, UPJ: Next time Jane Fonda or Sean Penn calls up asking to speak at your anti-war rally just to get another mega-crowd orgasm, say, "Sure, great, thanks, we'd be honored! Just let me put you in touch with our event coordinator..." who will give them driving directions to an empty field somewhere in Maryland. I doubt they'll call back after that.
And while we're at it, let's turn away all the Usual Liberal Suspects who haunt these rallies. From now on, the list of guest speakers shall not include:
> Outspoken homosexuals whose only credentials are being outspoken, and homosexual;
> University professors;
> Anyone angry and black;
> Authors who aren't featured in Oprah's book club; and
To be maximally effective in terms of PR, the guest speakers at today's rally should have included exclusively:
> Some cute, sincere kid (preferably white) who wrote an anti-war essay or started a web site (there was one of these, thankfully);
> Iraq war vets (preferably white amputees in wheelchairs);
> Korea/Vietnam/WWII vets (preferably gray and wearing medals);
> Some firefighters or policemen (preferably from 9/11); and
> Maybe some actors like Bea Arthur and Wilford Brimley.
I hate to be so cynically calculating, my friends, but we can't afford not to be in such times. You either work the media, or you get worked over. Please, let's not repeat the same dumb mistakes again! Meaning well won't cut the mustard anymore.
Postscript: In a future post, I will share more of my thoughts on what effective liberal protests rallies & demonstrations should look like.
PPS: The International Herald Tribune on page 4 of its Tuesday edition after the Saturday anti-war rally quoted a UPJ organizer who said 400,000 protestors showed up in Washington, DC.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
BY NIBRAS KAZIMI
New York Sun | January 25, 2007
There has been a flurry of press reports recently about insurgents battling American and Iraqi security forces on Haifa Street in Baghdad, and around the rural town of Buhruz in Diyala Province. These same insurgents also claimed to have shot down a Black Hawk helicopter near Buhruz. At the same time, the Americans and Iraqis are declaring a major victory as evidenced by the increased number of dead or captured militants, and the uncovering of massive weapons caches. So, what is going on?
What needs to be understood is the central role that Al Qaeda — or more accurately its successor organization, a group called the Islamic State of Iraq — is playing on these fronts and the diminishing role of all the other insurgent groups.
The wider Sunni insurgency — the groups beyond Al Qaeda — is being slowly, and surely, defeated. The average insurgent today feels demoralized, disillusioned, and hunted. [How the hell does he come to that conclusion? He could at least present some phony quote or statistic. But he doesn't even bother. We're just supposed to let him speak about the insurgents' "feelings" without any authority or justification!? -- J]
Those who have not been captured yet are opting for a quieter life outside of Iraq. Al Qaeda continues to grow for the time being as it cannibalizes the other insurgent groups and absorbs their most radical and hardcore fringes into its fold. [Again, he doesn't bother to quote any military or terrorism experts, cite any statistics, or back up this doubtful claim in any way. Don't you believe him! -- J]
The Baathists, who had been critical in spurring the initial insurgency, are becoming less and less relevant, and are drifting without a clear purpose following the hanging of their idol, Saddam Hussein. [Well, this is the first I've heard of this. As if their morale depended on Saddam!? Come on, everybody knew he was a dead duck as soon as he was caught. That was months ago, and the violence hasn't receded. If anything, Saddam is more potent as a martyr than as some ragged old coot in a prison cell. -- J]
Rounding out this changing landscape is that Al Qaeda itself is getting a serious beating as the Americans improve in intelligence gathering and partner with more reliable Iraqi forces.
In other words, battling the insurgency now essentially means battling Al Qaeda. This is a major accomplishment. [Again, this is just bald assertion -- in contradiction of our own military and intelligence estimates -- with nothing to back it up. Don't fall for it! Iraq is not about al Qaeda. -- J]
Last October, my sources began telling me about rumblings among the insurgent strategists suggesting that their murderous endeavor was about to run out of steam. This sense of fatigue began registering among mid-level insurgent commanders in late December, and it has devolved to the rank and file since then. The insurgents have begun to feel that the tide has turned against them. [Can't he at least manufacture a quote from some phony insurgent? He's too lazy and dumb even to manage that. (Sigh.) -- J]
In many ways, the timing of this turnaround was inadvertent, coming at the height of political and bureaucratic mismanagement in Washington and Baghdad. A number of factors contributed to this turnaround, but most important was sustained, stay-the-course counterinsurgency pressure. At the end of the day, more insurgents were ending up dead or behind bars, which generated among them a sense of despair and a feeling that the insurgency was a dead end. [Seriously, how much is the CIA paying this guy to write this fantastical crap?! He is offending our intelligence. -- J]
The Washington-initiated "surge" will speed-up the ongoing process of defeating the insurgency. But one should not consider the surge responsible for the turnaround. The lesson to be learned is to keep killing the killers until they realize their fate.
General David Petraeus, whom President Bush has tasked to quell the insurgency, spent the last year and a half updating the U.S. Army and Marine Corps's field manual for counterinsurgency. There's plenty of fancy theory there, as well as case studies from Iraq. I don't know how much of the new manual is informed by General Petraeus' two notable failures in Iraq: building a brittle edifice of government in Mosul that collapsed at the first challenging puff, and the inadequate training and equipping of the Iraqi army due to corruption and mismanagement.
General Petraeus walked away from those failures unscathed and hence unaccountable. He re-enters the picture with major expectations. Most commentators, especially those who begrudge attributing any success to Mr. Bush, will lionize the general as he takes credit for this turnaround and speeds it up. Let's hope that he has enough sense to allow what works to keep working and to improve on it, rather than trying to put his own stamp on things and test out the theories he's developed.
The best way to use the extra troops would be to protect the Sunni neighborhoods of Baghdad from Shiite death squads. This will give an added incentive for Sunnis to turn against the militants operating in their midst. For most Sunnis, the insurgency has come to be about communal survival, rather than communal revival. They no longer harbor fantasies of recapturing power. They are on the run and are losing the turf war with the Shiites for Baghdad. [True enough. -- J]
Sunni sectarian attacks, usually conducted by jihadists, finally provoked the Shiites to turn to their most brazen militias — the ones who would not heed Ayatollah Sistani's call for pacifism — to conduct painful reprisals against Sunnis, usually while wearing official military fatigues and carrying government issued weapons. The Sunnis came to realize that they were no longer facing ragtag fighters, but rather they were confronting a state with resources and with a monopoly on lethal force. The Sunnis realized that by harboring insurgents they were inviting retaliation that they could do little to defend against. [He just contradicted himself. Either the Sunnis are fighting for survival, or they've given up and are ready to die, or they're begging the U.S. military to protect them against Shiite death squads and the Iraqi (Shiite) army. Which is it?? -- J]
Sadly, it took many thousands of young Sunnis getting abducted by death squads for the Sunnis to understand that in a full-fledged civil war, they would likely lose badly and be evicted from Baghdad. I believe that the Sunnis and insurgents are now war weary, and that this is a turnaround point in the campaign to stabilize Iraq.
Still, major bombings will continue for many years, for Al Qaeda will remain oblivious to all evidence of the insurgency's eventual defeat. [We know this old trick! By rhetorically conflating and confusing al Qaeda with the wider Sunni insurgency, he can then argue that any more Sunni violence is because of al Qaeda, not Iraq's "normal" Sunnis, who are "war weary" and don't want to fight. This argument is so tempting because it can't be disproven by facts. -- J]
The Baathists, and jihadist groups like Ansar al-Sunna, the Islamic Army of Iraq, and the 1920 Revolution Brigades, may be collapsing due to aimlessness and despair, but Al Qaeda still enjoys the clarity of zealotry and fantasy. Right now, they are arm-twisting other jihadist groups to submit to them and are also taking credit for the large-scale fighting that continues in Iraq.
Al Qaeda will continue the fight long after the Iraqi battlefield becomes inhospitable to their cause, and they will only realize the futility of their endeavor after they are defeated on the wider Middle East battlefield and elsewhere in the world. [It must be uncomfortable with Dick Cheney's arm up your arse, making your jaws move. This guy sounds like he's straight out of the Administration! -- J]
As the wider insurgency recedes, the Iraqi state will gain some breathing space to implement the rule of law and dissolve the death squads. A society that sets about rebuilding itself can endure the type of attacks mounted by Al Qaeda, although they are painful.
Counterinsurgency strategists will argue about the precise moment when this turnabout occurred and will try to replicate the victory elsewhere. [Onward Christian counterinsurgents! Seriously though, this guy, assuming anybody remembers him, will rue the day he wrote this idiocy. -- J]
Pundits [on what planet?!? -- J] will argue about who or what policy was responsible for it, a matter eventually to be settled by historians. Victory has a way of making everyone associated with it golden, and many will claim right of place. Defeat has a way of turning everyone associated with it to ash, and many will disclaim responsibility for it.
Let me state the lesson of this turnabout clearly lest it be obscured amidst the euphoria: Never mind who takes credit, kill or capture more of the killers to ensure victory. [Totally. I mean, it's not like Arab-Muslims are the type to hold a grudge when you kill their father, brother, or fourth cousin twice removed. Nah! They're not into that whole "revenge thing." The idea of a glorious, violent death really turns them off. Yep, killing more Iraqis is definitely the answer. -- J]
Mr. Kazimi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Kazimi is a "visiting scholar" at the conservative Hudson Institute, whose site mentions Kazimi was "Research Director of the Iraqi National Congress in Washington, DC." During the Saddam days, the INC was a known CIA front organization, and where Bush stooges Iyad Allawi and Ahmad Chalabi came from.)
Postscript: I don't know why I'm surprised, but after I posted this, FOXNews' Brit Hume cited on his "Political Grapevine" Kazimi's op-ed as evidence of the defeat of the Iraqi insurgency. Honestly, I thought even FOX would be too embarrassed to tout this bogus story. Silly me -- apparently not!