Packing and patrolling, U.S. troops roll out of Iraq

Packing and patrolling, U.S. troops roll out of Iraq

CAMP ECHO, Iraq | Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:20pm EST

(Reuters) – Camp Echo’s dusty motorpools are empty, its private contract caterers have long gone home and murals depicting the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York’s twin towers have been painted over.

One of the last seven U.S. military bases in Iraq, Echo is in rapid handover to Iraqi hands as American soldiers there pack up and complete their final task – protecting the last few departing troops heading home south across the Kuwaiti border.

Nearly nine years after the invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein, the U.S. mission in Iraq is fast winding down with only 13,000 troops left in the country. Hundreds are departing each day until the end of 2011.

Hundreds of convoys of military vehicles and civilian trucks have gone south into Kuwait since President Barack Obama last month said troops would leave as scheduled, effectively ending the large-scale U.S. military presence on Iraqi soil.

“It’s time. The president and everyone is saying it’s time. We did as much as we can,” U.S. Army Sergeant Fred Fox said at Echo in Diwaniya, 150 km (95 miles) south of Baghdad.

“It’s time for us to go home and let them take care of their own,” he said.

Soldiers left on Camp Echo, like other bases in Iraq, are still patrolling to protect themselves, the highway south and the base even as they pack up and hand over equipment from vehicles to air conditioners to the Iraqi armed forces.

On Echo, rows of white SUVs, construction vehicles and jeeps sit parked waiting for Iraqi officials to check U.S. inventories. U.S. troops are leaving behind anything not cost-effective to ship elsewhere, like concrete blast walls.

Nearby, sand-colored MRAP armored vehicles warm their engines before trundling out on patrol to secure Highway One.

Violence in Iraq has dropped sharply since the sectarian conflict in 2006-2007, when suicide bombers claimed hundreds of victims each day and inter-communal killing between Sunnis and Shi’ites ravaged Baghdad and other cities.

Attacks and bombings still happen almost daily. Iraqi forces are battling a Sunni Islamist insurgency and rival Shi’ite militias backed by Iran.

At the height of the war, Iraq had more than 100 attacks a day. Nearly 4,500 U.S. troops died in eight and a half years and at least 60,000 Iraqis were killed in the violence. In 2006 alone, 17,800 Iraqis were killed, government statistics say.

Attacks on U.S. forces are far less common now, though officials have warned insurgents may try to pick up their assaults in the last days of the American withdrawal.

U.S. forces at Camp Echo still face one or two attacks a week, usually roadside explosives. The base was last mortared a few months ago.

Patrols from Echo head out daily scouring highways or nearby fields for suspicious piles of trash, dead animals on roadsides – clearing anything that could be used to hide explosives targeting convoys.

“We know they can’t destroy us, but they do want to try to show they are the ones who forced the Americans out,” Captain Mark Barnes, an army intelligence officer…..http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/30/us-iraq-withdrawal-troops-idUSTRE7AT21Y20111130

Packing and patrolling, U.S. troops roll out of Iraq

Packing and patrolling, U.S. troops roll out of Iraq

CAMP ECHO, Iraq | Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:20pm EST

(Reuters) – Camp Echo’s dusty motorpools are empty, its private contract caterers have long gone home and murals depicting the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York’s twin towers have been painted over.

One of the last seven U.S. military bases in Iraq, Echo is in rapid handover to Iraqi hands as American soldiers there pack up and complete their final task – protecting the last few departing troops heading home south across the Kuwaiti border.

Nearly nine years after the invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein, the U.S. mission in Iraq is fast winding down with only 13,000 troops left in the country. Hundreds are departing each day until the end of 2011.

Hundreds of convoys of military vehicles and civilian trucks have gone south into Kuwait since President Barack Obama last month said troops would leave as scheduled, effectively ending the large-scale U.S. military presence on Iraqi soil.

“It’s time. The president and everyone is saying it’s time. We did as much as we can,” U.S. Army Sergeant Fred Fox said at Echo in Diwaniya, 150 km (95 miles) south of Baghdad.

“It’s time for us to go home and let them take care of their own,” he said.

Soldiers left on Camp Echo, like other bases in Iraq, are still patrolling to protect themselves, the highway south and the base even as they pack up and hand over equipment from vehicles to air conditioners to the Iraqi armed forces.

On Echo, rows of white SUVs, construction vehicles and jeeps sit parked waiting for Iraqi officials to check U.S. inventories. U.S. troops are leaving behind anything not cost-effective to ship elsewhere, like concrete blast walls.

Nearby, sand-colored MRAP armored vehicles warm their engines before trundling out on patrol to secure Highway One.

Violence in Iraq has dropped sharply since the sectarian conflict in 2006-2007, when suicide bombers claimed hundreds of victims each day and inter-communal killing between Sunnis and Shi’ites ravaged Baghdad and other cities.

Attacks and bombings still happen almost daily. Iraqi forces are battling a Sunni Islamist insurgency and rival Shi’ite militias backed by Iran.

At the height of the war, Iraq had more than 100 attacks a day. Nearly 4,500 U.S. troops died in eight and a half years and at least 60,000 Iraqis were killed in the violence. In 2006 alone, 17,800 Iraqis were killed, government statistics say.

Attacks on U.S. forces are far less common now, though officials have warned insurgents may try to pick up their assaults in the last days of the American withdrawal.

U.S. forces at Camp Echo still face one or two attacks a week, usually roadside explosives. The base was last mortared a few months ago.

Patrols from Echo head out daily scouring highways or nearby fields for suspicious piles of trash, dead animals on roadsides – clearing anything that could be used to hide explosives targeting convoys.

“We know they can’t destroy us, but they do want to try to show they are the ones who forced the Americans out,” Captain Mark Barnes, an army intelligence officer…..http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/30/us-iraq-withdrawal-troops-idUSTRE7AT21Y20111130

World banks announce joint action plan

Shares jump as central banks try to ease financial woes

30 November 2011 Last updated at 17:05 ET

Global stock markets surged as some of the world’s big central banks launched plans for co-ordinated action aimed to support the financial system.

Wall Street’s Dow Jones index saw its biggest gain since March 2009, rising 4.2%, after jumps on European bourses.

It came after the US Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, and the central banks of the UK, Canada, Japan and Switzerland acted to improve lending.

Their move includes making it cheaper for banks to buy US dollars.

It is hoped that this will ultimately help businesses and households get access to finance more easily.

As well as cheaper US dollars, the central banks will also provide easier access for banks to other major currencies as and when they need it, beginning 5 December.

Investors cheered the move, sending Wall Street’s other key indexes, the S&P 500 and tech-rich Nasdaq, also more than 4% higher.

Germany’s Dax index closed 5% higher, while France’s Cac 40 jumped 4.2% and the UK’s FTSE 100 rose 3%.

Banks were particular beneficiaries. Wall Street titans JP Morgan and Bank of America rose 8.4% and 7% respectively.

In the UK, Barclays surged more than 6% and shares in Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland ended more than 7% higher.

In France, BNP and Societe Generale each rose 4.6%, while Credit Agricole closed 8.4% up. In Germany, Deutsche Bank rose 6.2%…..http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15966753

World banks announce joint action plan

Shares jump as central banks try to ease financial woes

30 November 2011 Last updated at 17:05 ET

Global stock markets surged as some of the world’s big central banks launched plans for co-ordinated action aimed to support the financial system.

Wall Street’s Dow Jones index saw its biggest gain since March 2009, rising 4.2%, after jumps on European bourses.

It came after the US Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, and the central banks of the UK, Canada, Japan and Switzerland acted to improve lending.

Their move includes making it cheaper for banks to buy US dollars.

It is hoped that this will ultimately help businesses and households get access to finance more easily.

As well as cheaper US dollars, the central banks will also provide easier access for banks to other major currencies as and when they need it, beginning 5 December.

Investors cheered the move, sending Wall Street’s other key indexes, the S&P 500 and tech-rich Nasdaq, also more than 4% higher.

Germany’s Dax index closed 5% higher, while France’s Cac 40 jumped 4.2% and the UK’s FTSE 100 rose 3%.

Banks were particular beneficiaries. Wall Street titans JP Morgan and Bank of America rose 8.4% and 7% respectively.

In the UK, Barclays surged more than 6% and shares in Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland ended more than 7% higher.

In France, BNP and Societe Generale each rose 4.6%, while Credit Agricole closed 8.4% up. In Germany, Deutsche Bank rose 6.2%…..http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15966753

US uncertain Israel would advise before Iran strike

US uncertain Israel would advise before Iran strike

By JPOST.COM STAFF AND REUTERS

12/01/2011 00:03

US still convinced sanctions, diplomacy right path to take take on Iran, Israel may not share that perspective, top US military officer says; US fears fallout on world economy if Israel strikes Iran.

ABOARD A US MILITARY AIRCRAFT – The top US military officer told Reuters on Wednesday he did not know whether Israel would alert the United States ahead of time if it decided to take military action against Iran.

General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also acknowledged differences in perspective between the United States and Israel over the best way to handle Iran and its nuclear program….http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=247670

US uncertain Israel would advise before Iran strike

US uncertain Israel would advise before Iran strike

By JPOST.COM STAFF AND REUTERS

12/01/2011 00:03

US still convinced sanctions, diplomacy right path to take take on Iran, Israel may not share that perspective, top US military officer says; US fears fallout on world economy if Israel strikes Iran.

ABOARD A US MILITARY AIRCRAFT – The top US military officer told Reuters on Wednesday he did not know whether Israel would alert the United States ahead of time if it decided to take military action against Iran.

General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also acknowledged differences in perspective between the United States and Israel over the best way to handle Iran and its nuclear program….http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=247670

Pastor Non-Gospel and New Reality Show

Good works does not give eternal life. Man can help others on earth and that is great, but when man is not presented the message of repentant faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior; he is given nothing but earthly goods. Man is relieved of earthly poverty but is still poor in spirit. Osteen’s feel good message is like dust in the wind.

And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:23-27

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Cor. 5:20,21

Mark 1:15 – Repent and believe the gospel

Joel Osteen, Mark Burnett Partner For Reality Show About Lakewood Church Mission Trips

First Posted: 11/30/11 11:26 AM ET Updated: 11/30/11 11:27 AM ET

reddit

Houston megachurch leader Joel Osteen will soon be coming to a television near you — this time as the star of his own reality show.

The preacher and his family have partnered with “Survivor” producer Mark Burnett for a show about Lakewood Church’s mission trips, the Associated Press reports. The show, which will focus on “people helping people,” is expected to air some time in 2012.

Osteen has reportedly been approached for several reality shows in the past, but this one caught his attention, according to the Houston Chronicle.

“We have great respect for Mark and we know that the finished product will not only entertain but will illustrate the generosity and selflessness that is a hallmark of the American people,” Osteen told “Entertainment Tonight”.

Don Iloff, Lakewood spokesperson, told the Chronicle that the program will have a feel-good premise similar to that of reality shows such as “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

At least one expert says he’s not surprised by the pastor’s new endeavor. …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/30/joel-osteen-reality-show_n_1120522.html?ref=religion&icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk2%7C116690

Pastor Non-Gospel and New Reality Show

Good works does not give eternal life. Man can help others on earth and that is great, but when man is not presented the message of repentant faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior; he is given nothing but earthly goods. Man is relieved of earthly poverty but is still poor in spirit. Osteen’s feel good message is like dust in the wind.

And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:23-27

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Cor. 5:20,21

Mark 1:15 – Repent and believe the gospel

Joel Osteen, Mark Burnett Partner For Reality Show About Lakewood Church Mission Trips

First Posted: 11/30/11 11:26 AM ET Updated: 11/30/11 11:27 AM ET

reddit

Houston megachurch leader Joel Osteen will soon be coming to a television near you — this time as the star of his own reality show.

The preacher and his family have partnered with “Survivor” producer Mark Burnett for a show about Lakewood Church’s mission trips, the Associated Press reports. The show, which will focus on “people helping people,” is expected to air some time in 2012.

Osteen has reportedly been approached for several reality shows in the past, but this one caught his attention, according to the Houston Chronicle.

“We have great respect for Mark and we know that the finished product will not only entertain but will illustrate the generosity and selflessness that is a hallmark of the American people,” Osteen told “Entertainment Tonight”.

Don Iloff, Lakewood spokesperson, told the Chronicle that the program will have a feel-good premise similar to that of reality shows such as “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

At least one expert says he’s not surprised by the pastor’s new endeavor. …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/30/joel-osteen-reality-show_n_1120522.html?ref=religion&icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk2%7C116690

Bible Belt Senator in Samaria: ‘G-d’s Promise is Forever'

Bible Belt Senator in Samaria: ‘G-d’s Promise is Forever’

A Bible Belt state senator who backed a pro-Israel resolution hopes more states will follow. “G-d’s promise to Jews is forever.”

By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

First Publish: 11/30/2011, 5:23 PM

There still are some folks there who think Jews have “horns on their heads,” a view based on the improper translation that Moses descended from Mount Sinai with “horns” of light on his head, based on the literal translation of the Hebrew word “keren,” which in this context is understood as “rays.”

There are other verses that are not open for interpretation, and two South Carolina senators this year succeeded in using them to help gain unanimous state legislative support for the first-ever pro-Israel resolution in a state.

It commends “the Nation of Israel for its relations with the United States and with the state of South Carolina.” Even more unusual is that the resolution was proclaimed “Whereas, Israel has been granted her lands under and through the oldest recorded deed as reported in the Old Testament, a tome of scripture held sacred and reverenced by Jew and Christian, alike, as the acts and words of G-d;

and Whereas, as the Grantor of said lands, G-d stated to the Jewish people in the Old Testament; in Leviticus, Chapter 20, Verse 24: ‘Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey.'”

Several other “whereas” statements continued the theme of the Promised Land for Jews and also noted that “those same haters of Israel also hate, and seek to destroy, the United States of America.”Resolution co-sponsor Sen. Alan Clemmons, on his first-ever visit to Israel, visited Samaria this week and spoke with Arutz Sheva, which asked him why a Bible Belt senator – a Mormon, no less – is so interested in Israel while the “Jewish vote” is minimal in his state.

“I have a heartfelt desire to correct what I felt was a wrong when President Obama shared with the world his proclamation and his belief that Israel should return to the 1948 ceasefire lines, what he called the 1967 borders,” Sen. Clemmons said. “You and I know there are no such borders.”

He said that he, along with co-Republican Sen. Larry Smith, who is to visit Israel next week, sponsored the resolution in favor of Israel because “I am bringing peace to myself.”

Sen. Clemmons explained that it must be understood that “Israel is a G-d given land, that G-d gave the land to Israel and that Israel is not occupying any land. He promised the Jewish people that Israel would be theirs forever. That means ‘always,’ regardless of what a president or prime minister says.”

He said he was pleasantly surprised that “not a single one of the 124 members of the legislature in South Carolina objected to the resolution.”

Asked if local issues are not more important to ….

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/150262

Bible Belt Senator in Samaria: ‘G-d’s Promise is Forever'

Bible Belt Senator in Samaria: ‘G-d’s Promise is Forever’

A Bible Belt state senator who backed a pro-Israel resolution hopes more states will follow. “G-d’s promise to Jews is forever.”

By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

First Publish: 11/30/2011, 5:23 PM

There still are some folks there who think Jews have “horns on their heads,” a view based on the improper translation that Moses descended from Mount Sinai with “horns” of light on his head, based on the literal translation of the Hebrew word “keren,” which in this context is understood as “rays.”

There are other verses that are not open for interpretation, and two South Carolina senators this year succeeded in using them to help gain unanimous state legislative support for the first-ever pro-Israel resolution in a state.

It commends “the Nation of Israel for its relations with the United States and with the state of South Carolina.” Even more unusual is that the resolution was proclaimed “Whereas, Israel has been granted her lands under and through the oldest recorded deed as reported in the Old Testament, a tome of scripture held sacred and reverenced by Jew and Christian, alike, as the acts and words of G-d;

and Whereas, as the Grantor of said lands, G-d stated to the Jewish people in the Old Testament; in Leviticus, Chapter 20, Verse 24: ‘Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey.'”

Several other “whereas” statements continued the theme of the Promised Land for Jews and also noted that “those same haters of Israel also hate, and seek to destroy, the United States of America.”Resolution co-sponsor Sen. Alan Clemmons, on his first-ever visit to Israel, visited Samaria this week and spoke with Arutz Sheva, which asked him why a Bible Belt senator – a Mormon, no less – is so interested in Israel while the “Jewish vote” is minimal in his state.

“I have a heartfelt desire to correct what I felt was a wrong when President Obama shared with the world his proclamation and his belief that Israel should return to the 1948 ceasefire lines, what he called the 1967 borders,” Sen. Clemmons said. “You and I know there are no such borders.”

He said that he, along with co-Republican Sen. Larry Smith, who is to visit Israel next week, sponsored the resolution in favor of Israel because “I am bringing peace to myself.”

Sen. Clemmons explained that it must be understood that “Israel is a G-d given land, that G-d gave the land to Israel and that Israel is not occupying any land. He promised the Jewish people that Israel would be theirs forever. That means ‘always,’ regardless of what a president or prime minister says.”

He said he was pleasantly surprised that “not a single one of the 124 members of the legislature in South Carolina objected to the resolution.”

Asked if local issues are not more important to ….

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/150262