They have voted in Iraq

Fox News reports:

Polls closed across Iraq on Sunday as the war-weary population awaits results from the national election that will decide the future of the country’s still-fragile democracy.

The election tested the mettle of the country’s shaky security as insurgents killed 31 people across Iraq, unleashing a barrage of mortars intent on disrupting the historic day.

About 19 million Iraqis were eligible to vote on a government that will oversee the withdrawal of U.S. forces. The election is critical in determining whether Iraq can overcome the jagged sectarian divisions that have defined it since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Once the day’s results are calculated, it could be months before Iraq’s new parliament chooses a prime minister and forms a government.

On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said voter turnout was “high if not higher” than expected, according to Reuters. Expectations prior to the national election were approximately 50 percent voter turnout.

The article goes on to note that ‘insurgents’ launched a series of deadly attacks across the country to try and disrupt the elections, but did not succeed in dampening the spirits of the Iraqi people who braved it in order to exercise their right to vote.

Iraqi girl

A young Iraqi girl, who accompanied her family to the polling station, asked for her finger to be inked, even though she was too young to vote, shows her inked finger as she leaves the polling station in Karbala, Iraq, Sunday, March 7, 2010. Iraqis voted Sunday in an election testing the mettle of the country's still-fragile democracy as insurgents killed 25 people across the country, unleashing a barrage of mortars intent on disrupting the historic day.
(AP Photo/Ahmed al-Hussainey)

For more photos, click here.

Iraq the Model has posted their predictions for the election outcome. Iraq Pundit has posted on his and his family’s voting experiences here.

Of course, the McClatchy news outlet has taken the opportunity to taint their reporting on the Iraqi elections by – you guessed it – bashing Bush. President Obama praised the Iraqi elections as an “important milestone” for Iraq’s future, and at the same time praised American, Iraqi, and other allied forces for keeping the country safe during the vote. Me? I’d like to praise every brave Iraqi who voted this weekend, and US and allied forces in Iraq for doing the very important work of making sure the polling places were safe for Iraqis to vote. No praise will be given, however, to our Commander in Chief who, if he had has his way regarding Iraq, a very different, darker, bloodier picture would be emerging out of that country today.

Cross-posted to Right Wing News, where I am helping guestblog for John Hawkins on Sundays.

Multiple sources: Adam Gadahn captured in Pakistan (UPDATE: NOT GADAHN?)

Huge news, via Bill Roggio at The Long War Journal:

Adam Gadahn and an associate are reported to have been captured during a raid by Pakistani special forces on a home at the Super Highway in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city.

US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal said they believed Gadahn has been detained but would not confirm the report.

Gadahn’s capture was first reported in the Pakistani press; he was not directly named, however. Geo News identified the captive al Qaeda leader as Commander Abu Yahya Azam while Dawn identified him as Abu Yahya Mujahdeen al Adam. Adam Gahdan’s nom de guerre is Abu Azzam al Amriki.

“The Pakistani press often incorrectly reports the names of foreign fighters arrested in the country, especially Arabic noms de guerre,” Arif Rafiq, the editor of The Pakistan Policy Blog, told The Long War Journal.

Gadahn was likely detained in the Sohrab Goth neighborhood in Karachi, Rafiq said. “Sohrab Goth is a major Pashtun area in northern Karachi,” he said. “Many Mehsud tribesmen live there.”

The reported capture of Gadahn comes the same day as As Sahab, al Qaeda’s propaganda arm, released a video of him praising Major Nidal Hasan, the Muslim US Army officer who murdered 13 soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, on Nov. 5, 2009.

“Brother Nidal is the ideal role model for every repentant Muslim in the armies of the unbelievers and apostate regimes,” Gadahn said, according to a partial translation provided by CTV.

“Nidal Hasan is a pioneer, a trailblazer and a role-model who has opened a door, lit a path and shown the way forward for every Muslim who finds himself among the unbelievers,” Gadahn continued.

Gadahn also called for additional attacks in the US, mirroring the tactics used by Hassan, but said the attacks should not be limited to US military targets.

“You shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that military bases are the only high-value targets in America and the West,” Gadahn said. “On the contrary, there are countless other strategic places, institutions and installations which, by striking, the Muslim can do major damage.”

The current reports of Gadahn’s capture come as six top leaders of the Afghan Taliban’s Quetta Shura, or executive leadership council, have been detained in Pakistan. The Pakistani military and government have previously denied that the Quetta Shura existed and said no senior Afghan Taliban leaders were present in Pakistan.

JWF has a link round-up on the reports of Gadahn’s capture.

The validity of the early reports on this story was being questioned but it appears that the news is true, and that all we’re waiting on this point to make it “official” is a senior US military leader confirming it. Of course, they could be withholding details of the what they know until after they feel he has been, um, sufficiently questioned … sound familiar?

It’s been a good last several weeks for the US military and CIA forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan in terms of the high-level Taliban/AQ operatives who have been captured, arrested, or killed – oftentimes with the aid of Pakistani intelligence agents. And unlike the left, who routinely downplayed and poohpoohed any high value detention or kill of high level Taliban/AQ operatives during the Bush admin – oftentimes saying it was “no big deal” because where one was captured or killed another would take his place – I can acknowledge these victories in the GWOT with my head held high and being happy about it, because in the GWOT, we should all be on the same side: the side that wants the US and their allies in the Middle East to defeat Islamofascism and bury it deeply into the ground.

Related to that, Bill Jacobson notes how some on the left are actually feeling triumphant about today’s news:

This is a fight on which we all should be on the same side.

But wait for it: This proves Obama’s anti-terrorism strategy is better than Bush’s –

What, you mean working with your allies as opposed to trying to run roughshod on them actually works? Who knew? [Political Carnival]

It’s like the commander in chief is focused on fighting terrorism or something. [O. Willis]

Because al-Qaeda terrorists never before have been captured in Pakistan (other than Khalid Sheikh Mohammend and other people we can’t figure where to put on trial).

Heh. Yep.

Update – 10:17 PM: CBS is citing sources who say the Pakistani’s did not capture Gadahn but instead someone else (via ST reader Anthony in the comments):

An “important Taliban militant” was arrested today in Pakistan. But that is where the confusion started.

Earlier it was reported by Pakistani media that intelligence agents had arrested Adam Gadahn, the American-born spokesman for al Qaeda, in an operation in the southern city of Karachi.

It was further reported by the Associated Press and Reuters that Gadahn had been arrested, sourcing security officials.

CBS News was told by sources in the Pakistan government that it was Gadahn, even after U.S. officials refused to confirm it was the California native for whom a $1 million reward has been posted.

Now, CBS News’ Farhan Bokhari in Islamabad writes that earlier reports the detained individual was Gadahn proved false. According to a Pakistan security official who spoke with CBS News on condition of anonymity, the arrested individual is in fact “a Taliban militant leader who is known as Abu Yahya.”

The official said evidence compiled from an interrogation of the suspect and information exchanged with U.S. officials verified the man’s identify.

The reassessment only added to the confusion surrounding the arrest of a man earlier described by other unnamed Pakistani security officials as Gadahn.

“In the light of our latest information, I can say, this is not looking like Gadahn. But it is still the arrest of an important Taliban militant,” said the Pakistani security official who spoke to CBS News late Sunday.

The New York Times, sourcing American and Pakistani officials, reports that the man arrested was Abu Yahya Mujahdeen Al-Adam, and describes him as an al Qaeda commander who was born in Pennsylvania.

Western diplomats in Islamabad, responding to the latest twist to this increasingly confusing saga, said the arrest is not insignificant. “Even if this is not Adam Gadahn, it is still not an unimportant development. But let’s hold our breath before we come to a final conclusion. We may be groping in the dark ’til someone, especially the Pakistanis who are holding this man, agree to present him publicly,” said one western diplomat in Islamabad who spoke to CBS News on condition of anonymity.

Stay tuned …