7:14 AM, Jan 28, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
The U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, the largest and most expensive in the world, cost at least $700 million to build by the time of its completion in 2009. Several years later in 2012, the embassy was scheduled for a $115 million upgrade as the Washington Post reported at the time. However, in spite of the cost and security measures already in place, the State Department recently prepared to solicit bids to furnish and install steel doors and "T-walls" in the embassy compound in Baghdad.
T-walls are 12-feet high concrete barriers to protect against sniper and bomb attacks. A 2008 Department of Defense report from Camp Victory in Baghdad estimated that one million of these barriers were in place around that entire complex at the time, costing about $800 each. Examples of T-walls from that 2008 report are pictured below:
No further details are provided in the pre-solicitation document about the quantity or specific use for the T-walls and steel doors to be acquired through the upcoming contract. The Request for Proposals is expected in February, but the date of the contract award is not yet determined. The work, however, is expected to be completed within seventy-five days of the contract award.
When asked for more details on the security upgrade and whether or not specific threats to the embassy prompted it, a State Department spokesperson replied, "We do not comment on security upgrades of status-level changes. We are constantly evaluating our security protocols and standard operating procedures to ensure the safety and security of our personnel."
2:12 PM, Jan 27, 2015 • By JONATHAN FOREMAN
American Sniper is easily the most authentic looking and sounding movie that Hollywood has made about American troops at war since Black Hawk Down.
You can tell within minutes of its beginning that the filmmakers cared to get the details right, that their military consultants weren’t the usual Vietnam veterans that the studios often turn to, and that Clint Eastwood and his team actually listened to what their advisers had say.
Why the left can’t tolerate this movie.Feb 2, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 20 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
"So-called ‘sand movies,’ the term Hollywood sometimes uses for films set in Afghanistan and Iraq, have a terrible box office track record,” noted the New York Times. Or rather, they had a terrible box office track record. The release of American Sniper, a biopic about Iraq war veteran and legendary Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, has changed all that.
5:31 PM, Jan 21, 2015 • By ADAM J. WHITE
In last night's State of the Union, President Obama reiterated his call upon Congress to pass a new "AUMF" -- or Authorization for Use of Military Force -- against ISIS, rather than continuing to wage war pursuant to the original 2001 AUMF against al
12:10 PM, Jan 20, 2015 • By IRFAN AL-ALAWI and STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
The hideous practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is neither an exclusively Muslim nor a principally Middle Eastern phenomenon. It exists among non-Muslims through wide areas of Africa.
9:04 PM, Jan 14, 2015 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Seems the Iraqis don’t think the U.S. is pulling its weight in the fight with ISIS. As Ahmed Rasheed and Ned Parker of Reuters report:
4:50 PM, Jan 9, 2015 • By LEE SMITH
U.S. Army Col. Joel Rayburn, a senior research fellow at the National Defense University, is a historian who served as an adviser to Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq. He is also author of Iraq After America: Strongmen, Sectarians, Resistance (Hoover Institution Press), a thorough account of what’s happened in Iraq since President Obama’s December 2011 withdrawal of American troops. The book is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the extent of Iranian influence in Baghdad, or how the Islamic State came to be. Recently I spoke with Rayburn about his book and Iraq today.
10:10 AM, Jan 7, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby, when asked Tuesday about the number of Islamic State (ISIL/ISIS) fighters killed in ongoing coalition strikes in Iraq and Syria, gave a rather colorful response: "[W]e don't have the ability to -
8:05 AM, Jan 6, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren addressed reporters Monday about the start of the U.S.
10:05 AM, Jan 2, 2015 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Armies have always been vulnerable to epidemic disease. And in the Middle East, history may be repeating itself. There have been reports:
7:08 AM, Dec 29, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The U.S. bombed three Islamic State controlled buildings in Syria, according to video recently released by U.S. Central Command. Here's the video, titled "Airstrike against three ISIL buildings, Dec. 21, near Aleppo, Syria":
"A video of an airstrike supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. The video depicts impacts occurring Dec. 21 against three ISIL buildings near Aleppo, Syria," says the video's description, as posted on YouTube.
10:31 AM, Dec 23, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
U.S. Central Command has released this video of an airstrike that took place December 18 on ISIS in Iraq: