Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"A civil war is coming"

'The grouping of Sunni tribal sheiks in the once al-Qaeda–infested western province turned against the insurgents and sided with the U.S. military, providing the model for what became a nationwide campaign known as the Sahwa. But that model is in trouble. "The Sahwa has been infiltrated by al-Qaeda," he says somberly. "A civil war is coming."

If it happens, this time the lines in the sand will more likely be between Sunnis. Iraq's minority Sunnis have become increasingly split between those like Sheik Hamid, who are now allied with the Shi'ite-led government, and Sunnis who are against it.'

Shia Jurisprudence?

'Worse than the Taliban' - new law rolls back rights for Afghan women

'The Afghan constitution allows for Shias, who are thought to represent about 10% of the population, to have a separate family law based on traditional Shia jurisprudence.

..."There were lots of things that we wanted to change, but they didn't want to discuss it because Karzai wants to please the Shia before the election.'

Traditional Shia jurisprudence allows a man to rape his wife? This is becoming law in Afghanistan in the year 2009??

Monday, March 30, 2009

Blast walls removed from market; market bombed

Iraq car bombing kills 26 in Baghdad

"Blast walls had recently been removed from the outdoor market in a Shiite area of the capital. The Iraqi government is removing the barriers, seen as a symbol of U.S. control and sectarian violence."

What is the solution to this madness?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Egyptian–Israeli Peace Treaty 30 Years Old

The peace treaty between Egypt and Israel is 30 years old. That is amazing. I remember the reaction in Baghdad when Sadat was assassinated for signing that treaty: celebratory gunfire. At the time (I was 13) I did not understand.

Iran wins hanging contest

Iran had the highest rate of execution in 2008. Congratulations, Mahmoud and Ayatollahs. KSA was a close 2nd - maybe 2009? Iraq was 5th, behind Libya. The number of worldwide executions doubled last year from 2007. Thanks Molly and As'ad for the links.

Executing justice
Mar 24th 2009
From Economist.com

Where the death penalty was used most last year

AT LEAST 2,390 people were executed in 25 countries last year, according to a report published on Tuesday March 24th by Amnesty International, a human-rights group. China carried out at least 1,718 executions, 72% of the global total—the actual number (as in many other countries) is believed to be much higher. But if the populations of the 15 countries that carry out the most executions are taken into account, Iran and Saudi Arabia emerge as more zealous employers of capital punishment than China.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Iraqi govt still cannot provide basic services

'The report questioned the government's ability to provide critical services to its people, noting that the United States has spent about 87 percent, or about $9.5 billion, of the nearly $11 billion it allocated for reconstruction in the oil, electricity and water sectors since 2003. By comparison, Iraq -- which has a $47 billion budget surplus -- has spent about 12 percent, or $2 billion, of the more than $17 billion it allocated for those sectors over the same period.

"According to U.S. officials," it said, "Iraqi managers lack the skill level and authority to create plans and buy the materials necessary to sustain projects in the energy and water sectors." Despite both U.S. and Iraqi expenditures, the report said, electricity supply in 2008 met only 52 percent of demand and "many Iraqis are without water" or do not have access to a safe supply.'

Monday, March 23, 2009

60 Minutes Exposes the Injustice in Palestine

On American TV! Finally. I've always loved 60 Minutes. I watched it with my dad almost every Sunday evening between 1975 and 1980.

What will Israel do with the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza? If Israel's goal is to annex the West Bank, the Palestinians who live on the West Bank must become Israeli citizens. This will not happen because then Israel would no longer be a Jewish state. Does Israel hope they will leave? Many Palestinians in the West Bank are refugees from 48 and 67, and the descendants of refugees.

Thanks tgia for the heads up. Why does America support this injustice? Watch the clip below and watch Part 2 here.

Another Funeral Bombing


March 23, 2009

Funeral bombing kills at least 14 in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A suicide bomb exploded at a Kurdish funeral in the northern Iraqi town of Jalawla Monday evening, killing at least 14 people and wounding 31 others, according to local police.

The bombing happened at the funeral for the father of Kurdish regional government official Hameed Khudadat, an interior ministry official said.

The bomber detonated an explosives vest inside the tent where friends and neighbors were gathered to give their condolences to the family, police said.

It was not immediately known if any Kurdish officials were among the dead and wounded.

Jalawla, about 80 km (50 miles) northeast of Baquba, is a mostly Kurdish town in Iraq's Diyala province. TheKurdish regional government and Iraq's central government are in a dispute over who should control the area.

Earlier Monday a bomb exploded in western Baghdad killing nine civilians and wounding 23 others, an official with Iraq's interior ministry said.

The bomb was planted near auto mechanic shops in a commercial area of Abu Ghraib district, the official said.

The explosion took place at about 1 p.m. local time (6 a.m. ET).

Friday, March 20, 2009

IDF Killed Innocent People

Americans are shocked!

'Now testimony is emerging from within the ranks of soldiers and officers alleging a permissive attitude toward the killing of civilians and reckless destruction of property that is sure to inflame the domestic and international debate about the army’s conduct in Gaza. On Thursday, the military’s chief advocate general ordered an investigation into a soldier’s account of a sniper killing a woman and her two children who walked too close to a designated no-go area by mistake, and another account of a sharpshooter who killed an elderly woman who came within 100 yards of a commandeered house.

When asked why that elderly woman was killed, a squad commander was quoted as saying: “What’s great about Gaza — you see a person on a path, he doesn’t have to be armed, you can simply shoot him. In our case it was an old woman on whom I did not see any weapon when I looked. The order was to take down the person, this woman, the minute you see her. There are always warnings, there is always the saying, ‘Maybe he’s a terrorist.’ What I felt was, there was a lot of thirst for blood.” '

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Iraq has come a long way, has a long way to go

A February poll suggests Iraqis are 'more upbeat about future' even though Iraq is 'traumatised and divided six years on'.

From the poll:

"While deep difficulties remain, the advances are remarkable. Eighty-four percent of Iraqis now rate security in their own area positively, nearly double its August 2007 level. Seventy-eight percent say their protection from crime is good, more than double its low. Three-quarters say they can go where they want safely – triple what it’s been.

Few credit the United States, still widely unpopular given the post-invasion violence, and eight in 10 favor its withdrawal on schedule by 2011 – or sooner. But at the same time a new high, 64 percent of Iraqis, now call democracy their preferred form of government.

Remaining challenges are serious. Many views have not recovered to their pre-2006 levels. Violence continues, even if much abated. Basic services such as medical care and clean water, though better, are still in short supply. Even with their confidence vastly improved, Sunni Arabs remain far more vulnerable personally and skeptical politically. Sunni/Shiite segregation has increased sharply. Kurdish-Arab relations are tense. And issues from corruption to suspected vote fraud and political gridlock cloud the horizon."

More Arabs Accept Legitimacy of Iraqi Govt

Good news.

Visiting Arab League chief praises Iraq's progress

The Associated Press
Published: March 17, 2009

BAGHDAD: The Iraqi government is on the right track in its efforts to promote national reconciliation, the head of the Arab League said Tuesday, on his first visit to Iraq in more than three years.

The organization's secretary-general, Amr Moussa, said the government's policies have led to more stability.

"I feel that there is a big difference in the country," Moussa said at a joint news conference with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. "Hope has emerged for a prosperous future."

Moussa arrived in Iraq on Monday for his first visit since Oct. 2005. At the time, an Arab League convoy doing advance work for the visit was hit by gunfire but nobody was hurt.

Mostly Sunni Arab nations have begun to engage the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government, after shunning it for years to avoid implying approval of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Iraqi leaders have also long resented the 22-nation Arab League's perceived inaction toward Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated regime and its alleged bias in favor of Iraq's Sunni minority.

The Arab League opened a Baghdad mission in 2006 and named a new envoy to Iraq last July.

"Iraq is an Arab state with a big role and this role should be resumed soon," Moussa said.

Al-Maliki reiterated his call for more Arab countries to send ambassadors to Iraq and he said Iraq welcomes bids from Arab companies to participate in the reconstruction of his wartorn country.

"Iraq is recovering and turning back again to the Arab world," he said. "It is ready to be a partner in all missions and commitments based on that."

Haniyeh Aide on Zarqawi: "He's a terrorist"

From a 2006 interview by David Margolick, published in an article in Vanity Fair (thanks Molly):

'Only a few weeks earlier I had been in the building the Israelis bombed, and for anyone whose image of Hamas is men holding up AK-47s and wearing black masks and green headbands displaying Koranic verses, it was a bit disorienting. One doesn't expect Hamas people to speak American English and have an AOL e-mail address, as did one key Haniyeh aide I met, or to have a cell phone that rings to the tune of a Bach minuet, as did another, or to have congratulated me over the killing that day of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda's man in Iraq, as had a third. "For us too, it's good," he told me. When I asked why, he seemed taken aback. "He's a terrorist," he explained.'

Do we need newspapers?

I heard this morning that the Seattle Post Intelligencer stopped printing papers and has only a website, making it America's largest newspaper to provide the news digitally, without the paper. So I guess you can't call it a newspaper anymore, which is fine with me. Paper is made from wood, which comes from trees, which is a resource that should not be wasted, and nor should the gasoline used to distribute all those papers.

We will always need journalists and media outlets to give us the news, but given the current economic and environmental circumstances, I think it's best to minimize the consumption of paper products. I applaud all newspapers who make this inevitable change. I hope that struggling companies such as the SF Chronicle are able to survive on their websites alone.

PS: on the other hand, not everybody has access to the internet.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Iraqis Getting Stronger

The sanctions imposed on Iraq after Saddam's invasion of Kuwait were devastating in many ways. The economic and political conditions during the 90s led to malnutrition among poor Iraqis. I wonder how long people expected Iraqis to live under sanctions, which had no effect other than to make Saddam's grip on power stronger. Thankfully those sanctions ended after Saddam's murderous regime was toppled, and Iraqis were finally free.

Iraq's recent provincial elections proved that Iraqis are free. Iraq's future is bright, despite the best efforts of "the resistance" to destroy it. The article below is an example of how determined some Iraqis are to improve their lives.

March 10, 2009

Baghdad’s Bodybuilder

For Sattar Attiya the American invasion of Iraq helped his bodybuilding career in an unexpected way. The chaos and open borders meant he could get proteins and nutritional supplements which were not available under Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Five years later Sattar Attiya became world champion in the 65kg category (just over 143 pounds) of the International Federation of Body Building and Fitness world championships held in Bahrain on November 2008.

Born in 1980 in one of the poor Shiite neighborhoods of southern Baghdad, Sattar began training in 1997, in a city whose many weightlifting gymnasiums bear crudely-drawn portraits of the country’s bodybuilding idol: Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sattar has won Iraqi, Arab and Asian competitions but was unable to participate in many international championships before the 2003 war because Iraq was suspended under the international sanctions imposed on his country.

A father of two, he is responsible for three families; his own, his parents’ and that of his younger brother, who all live in a small home with two bedrooms and one hallway.


Kuwaiti Islamist Caught Being Stupid

by MEMRI, of course.

March 16, 2009

Following MEMRI TV Clip, Arab Liberals Denounce Kuwaiti Islamist 'Abdallah Al-Nafisi

MEMRI TV recently translated and released a clip of a speech by the prominent Kuwaiti Islamist Dr. 'Abdallah Al-Nafisi. In his speech, Al-Nafisi suggested a method for carrying out an anthrax attack in the U.S., lavishly praised Mullah Omar, and expressed the hope that "white militias" would succeed in their alleged plans to bomb a nuclear facility in the U.S. (see http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2027.htm).

Al-Nafisi's speech garnered sharp responses from a number of prominent liberals: Kuwait University professor Ahmad Al-Baghdadi and columnist Ahmad Al-Sarraf, both of whom are Kuwaiti, and the Jordanian-American author Shaker Al-Nabulsi.

Following are excerpts from their responses:

Ahmad Al-Baghdadi: Al-Nafisi's Lecture Shows "The Extent to Which Terrorism Has Penetrated the Arab Mentality"

In a February 24, 2009 article in the Kuwaiti Al-Siyassa daily, Ahmad Al-Baghdadi wrote: "Day after day the Muslims prove to the West, and to others, that they are a nation that encourages terrorism, [though] they become angry if Western authorities accuse them or imprison them. The proof of this is the applause received by the [Kuwaiti] thinker Dr. 'Abdallah Fahd Al-Nafisi during his terrorist lecture in Bahrain, which urged the killing of more than 300,000 Americans in an anthrax [attack] and called the 9/11 attacks just 'small change.' Anyone who listens to this Kuwaiti thinker's lecture and hears his words of support for Mullah Omar, and his call to encourage and support the terrorists and their [WMD] laboratories, will see the extent to which terrorism has penetrated the Arab mentality.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Which Countries Fund UNICEF?

I received the map below from UNICEF a few weeks ago, and tonight I finally figured out a way to scan and transfer files from my HP scanner to my new Mac. The Mac is different in many ways from Windows and previously owned computers; overall it is much nicer than my other laptops! It is the best computer I've ever owned. Yes I love my new Mac. But I need to learn more, like how to scan without downloading the HP scanner driver, if that's possible. I had to use my camera's memory card this time.

Anyway this post is about UNICEF and the countries that fund UNICEF. What is wrong with this map, with this picture? Click on it to enlarge and read the legend in the lower left corner. Notice the only three* countries where UNICEF receives contributions and where UNICEF actively operates. Turkey is the only middle eastern country where UNICEF operates and receives funds at the same time. Why aren't more countries in the middle east (especially the oil rich nations) contributing to UNICEF?

*First I said two countries; about 30 minutes later I looked closely and noticed that Latvia *and* Lithuania contribute to UNICEF.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Arab Waltz With Bashir

Omar al Bashir, the Sudanese dictator who once gave shelter to Usama bin Ladin and supported the Janjaweed, has been indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

Sadly, many Arab leaders have reacted to this news by supporting Bashir: "Arab diplomats described the decision as setting a dangerous precedent that would enable the international court to seek to hunt down any Arab or Muslim head-of-state in the region in accordance with what they see as double standards in dealing with human rights violations." Whatever.

From Arab News: "The Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (APU), a regional grouping of 22 Arab parliaments, has called on the UN Security Council to suspend the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Sudanese President Omar Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity."

Some Palestinians in Lebanese refugee camps expressed similar support with banners that state "The Americans and Zionists leaders who have commited crimes in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan, are the one who should be taken to International courts".

Maybe I shouldn't be surprised. This is another embarrassing moment in history for the Arabs. Arab lawmakers of the APU - now that is comedy. Why embarrass themselves and ordinary Arabs like this? Why not say nothing? Arab leaders are not the only ones who have expressed their support for Bashir. Iran and China have as well. The Economist explains:

Yet the attitude of many countries over the past week to the ICC’s indictment has been worse than disappointing. Many have expressed dismay at the ICC’s decision and yet said nothing about the expulsion of the aid agencies. China, long Sudan’s main backer, blocked a mere press statement from the UN Security Council that would have condemned Mr Bashir’s government for the move. Such countries say they want the Security Council to defer the ICC’s indictment, on the ground that seeking justice against Mr Bashir will upset the “peace process” in Darfur. They would have a reasonable point if there were indeed a genuine peace process under way which the indictment would jeopardise. But Mr Bashir has long since emptied the process of meaning. His government has done nothing to bring any of the mass killers to justice. In these circumstances, the ICC has become the last resort.

Mr Bashir’s cry that the ICC is a weapon of Western “neo-colonialism” has gone down well with some African governments, many Arab leaders and Iran. Not all African countries have rallied to his support, however. Sierra Leone, for instance, which experienced horrors rather like Darfur’s, has become a strong proponent of justice and a firm believer in the part it must play in ending conflicts. Most African governments subscribe to a “peer review” mechanism that invites them to judge each other’s human rights records. Few, unfortunately, take this seriously.

The ICC indictment has served as a wedge between Bashir and his allies in the Janjaweed -some commanders have abandoned him, fearing they too may be arrested, and apparently Bashir fears that members of the Janjaweed will testify against him.

At least one Sudani Islamists says that Bashir deserves to be indicted because Bashir violated Islamic law and says that Bashir should give Usama bin Ladin $200 million. This is a dilemma for Bashir, and it's also a dilemma for the US and western countries. What to do with Bashir? If he is overthrown, radical Islamists may take control, and may make the situation in Darfur worse.

The UN chief said yesterday that 'it was not too late for Sudan's own courts to take "very credible" measures to prosecute those responsible for crimes in Darfur.' That Bashir would prosecute those responsible for mass murder is, in my estimation, doubtful, even if the Arabs do decide to do the right thing and condemn him.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

20 Years in Jail for "Blasphemy"

OK this guy's got it worse than Muntathar al Zaidi:

Afghan Court Backs Prison Term for Blasphemy

I just heard that from Keith Olbermann. "The student, Parwiz Kambakhsh, 24, from northern Afghanistan, was arrested in 2007 and sentenced to death for blasphemy after accusations that he had written and distributed an article about the role of women in Islam."

He wrote about the role of women in Islam? 20 years for writing about the role of women in Islam? Also shocking is that he denies he is the writer. He says he downloaded it from the internet!

"Journalists and news organizations flourished in the early post-Taliban years under President Hamid Karzai, but have increasingly suffered from threats and attacks from the Taliban and pressure from the government and religious conservatives."

3 years in jail for throwing shoes at cowboy head of state

Muntathar al Zaidi has been sentenced by an Iraqi judge to three years in jail for throwing his shoes at President Bush. Yes Bush overthrew a murderous dictator, and many Iraqis are grateful for that (shoulda done it in 1991 - I would throw a shoe at Bush Sr.) but Bush's team also bombed Iraq in order to liberate it, causing collateral damage that will stay with some Iraqis for the rest of their lives. Bush's team allowed security contractors to kill innocent Iraqis with impunity. Yes some of those criminals have been indicted by US prosecutors, as they should be, but I doubt that the case would have even been investigated if the media had not raised such a fuss about it. Many Iraqis have a right to be angry with George Bush.

Zaidi did not harm Bush, and yet he received a sentence that is six times longer than the sentence given to the Jordanian man who murdered his sister and her lover. Some US soldiers have gotten away with murder, yet an Iraqi who throws his shoes at the cowboy in charge gets three years. What kind of justice is that?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

US steals Iraqi oil, gives it to China

Just a year ago a young Iraqi Swiss man told me that the US pays for the war in Iraq by stealing Iraq's oil. I wonder if he still believes this.

Iraq inaugurates oil deal with China's CNPC
Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:37am EDT

By Ahmed Rasheed

WASIT, Iraq, March 11 (Reuters) - Iraq inaugurated an oil project on Wednesday with the Chinese National Petroleum Company (CNPC), activating the country's first major oil deal with a foreign firm since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani joined Chinese officials at the al-Ahdab field in south-eastern Wasit province, which should eventually produce 110,000-130,000 barrels of oil a day.

CNPC will operate Ahdab under a contract, initially signed under Saddam, which the Iraqi government renegotiated last year to gain better terms by changing it from the production-sharing agreement reached in 1997 to a set-fee service deal.

Shahristani pushed the button on a seismic survey of the field and said the project would begin drilling four appraisal wells "within months."


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Reconciliation haram

Hiba Mohammed, an eight-year old Iraqi girl, is treated after today's suicide bomb attack. Photograph: Adil al-Khazali/AP

Baghdad suicide bomber kills 33
"Attack on Sunni and Shia tribal leaders at reconciliation meeting"

The salafi jarab have convinced themselves (but were more likely convinced by others first) that reconciliation is haram, and killing people who engage in such haram will be rewarded in heaven. It happens so often in Iraq, yet I am still boggled and I'm left wondering how humans can do such things.

Two journalists working for Baghdadiya, employer of Muntather al Zaidi, died in the attack. I wonder if Muntathar would blame the murders on George Bush.

PS: Read this article that says hardcore Baathists and jihadi militants are partners.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Is America a Nation of Cowards?

Earlier I watched on CNN a debate about Eric Holder's remarks about America being a nation of cowards when it comes to race, that we don't talk to each other enough about racial equality.

"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial, we have always been and we -- I believe continue to be in too many ways essentially a nation of cowards," Holder told Department of Justice employees at an event Wednesday celebrating Black History Month.'

His words have sparked a lot of debate. The President said he wouldn't have said it like that, that we've made a lot of progress.

It amazes me that an Attorney General, the first black Attorney General in America, can provoke some serious debate about racial equality in America. And he does this as the first black Attorney General, working for the first black President.

I disagree that we are a nation of cowards, but human beings in general can be quite naive and are often slow to improve. I've never lived in the South, and I can only imagine what life would have been like for a black man living in Alabama or Mississippi in 1965.

Stem Cell Research

Today President Obama lifted the ban on federal funding for stem cell research. I have two siblings with Type 1 Diabetes, and I am very happy about this monumental decision.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Americans Defend American Muslim

Today I received this video from my uncle in a forwarded email, which is titled "How Muslims Are Treated In USA", the same title of the YouTube video below. ABC Primetime staged an experiment in which a bakery clerk denies service to a woman dressed in hijab. I downloaded the video and was shocked by the first two bigots shown in the clip, but then I was shocked in a very pleasant way to see the number of Americans who defended the hijab-wearing woman and condemned the bigot. Those are the Americans who make me proud to be an American! Yes I love America!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Are Iraqis Ready to Reconcile?

Maliki has made a good move here, I believe.

From the BBC:

Friday, 6 March 2009
Maliki makes reconciliation call

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has urged the nation to forgive those who worked with the government of former President Saddam Hussein.

He was speaking in the capital, Baghdad, at a reconciliation conference with an Iraqi Shia tribe.

Mr Maliki said such conferences were the cornerstone of rebuilding Iraq and returning it to the rule of law.

A key part of his reconciliation plan is to create tribal councils that will have a big say in local government.

The initiative has been opposed by many Iraqi politicians, who say it is aimed at boosting Mr Maliki's chances in next year's parliamentary elections.

"We must reconcile with those who committed mistakes, who were obliged in that difficult era to side with the past regime. Today they are again sons of Iraq," Mr Maliki said, the Reuters news agency reported.

"We will reconcile with them, but on the condition they come back to us and turn the page on that dark part of Iraq's history… What happened, happened."

The US military and Iraqi government have pursued efforts at political reconciliation focussing on bring Sunni Arab Iraqis into the political process and promoting the Awakening Councils - Sunni insurgents who allied themselves to the US and Iraqi militaries.

Mainstream Sunni political groups participated widely in January's provincial elections in which Maliki and his Shia political allies did very well.

Violence in Iraq has fallen sharply in the last 18 months, though bombings and attacks remain a daily occurrence.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

"We will leave Iraq a better place"

"The general who has spearheaded Britain's two longest and most controversial wars of the past 60 years claims today the army will leave Iraq with al-Qaida largely defeated and the roots of democracy firmly planted."

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Pakistan: Takfiri Central?

Yesterday's attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team reminded me of the murderous attacks on soccer players and fans in Iraq. They've even killed Iraqi kids playing soccer.

Has Pakistan become the center of Takfiri terror? Or has it always been?

Myra MacDonald of Reuters asks "Has Pakistan become the central front?" The Guardian asks "Is Pakistan in a state of war?"

Myra MacDonald: 'In a report released late last month, the U.S. Atlantic Council think tank warned that the ramifications of state failure in Pakistan would be far graver than those in Afghanistan, with regional and global impact. “With nuclear weapons and a huge army, a population over five times that of Afghanistan and with an influential diaspora, Pakistan now seems less able, without outside help, to muddle through its challenges than at any time since its war with India in 1971.” '

As extremists escalate attacks in Pakistan, the takfiri continue their murderous mayhem in Iraq. I'm not sure if it's appropriate to call the attackers "takfiri" in this case, or in any attack in which the majority of the victims are Sunni. This is closer to takfiri.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Obama Evolving

'His speech on Friday, announcing a faster timetable for withdrawal of combat troops, also reflects his own evolution as a leader.

Gone is the rhetoric of the Illinois state legislator who referred to an American invasion of Iraq as a "dumb war" and who then later used that stance to beat a pro-war Hillary Clinton in the Democratic caucuses. Instead, a pragmatic commander in chief spoke of promoting "an Iraqi government that is just, representative, and accountable, and that provides neither support nor safe haven to terrorists."

...Obama also doesn't see Iraq as a failed state but a "great nation" that can be a peaceful, stable US partner. He praised the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the creation of a sovereign government, and the US role in giving Iraqis an opportunity to "live a better life." '