Thursday, April 30, 2009
'BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The death toll from twin car bomb blasts in a crowded Baghdad market rose to 51 Thursday, police said, and the country's main Sunni political party condemned the attack on a heavily Shi'ite Muslim area.
The car bombs Wednesday, which also wounded 76 people in the capital's sprawling Sadr City slum, followed a series of other attacks in the past two weeks that have stirred fears of a return to broader sectarian bloodshed in Iraq.
A third car bomb was found in a parked taxi cab and detonated by security forces.
The Iraqi Islamic Party, the main political party in parliament representing the country's once dominant Sunni minority, denounced the attack as a blatant attempt to trigger renewed fighting between Sunnis and Shi'ites.
"The bloody hands want Iraqis to feel fear," the party said in a statement.
"These explosions in Sadr City are part of a big conspiracy by Iraq's enemies. We call on all political groups and the Iraqi government, and especially the security forces, to quell this sedition." '
60 dead in Baghdad suicide bombing
"A man views victims of a suicide bombing inside the morgue in Baghdad's Kadhimiya district on April 24, 2009. In a second day of major bloodshed, two suicide bombers wearing explosive vests blew themselves up at the gates of a revered Shi'ite Muslim shrine in Baghdad on Friday, killing 60 people, Iraqi police said. (UPI photo/Ali Jasim)"
Thanks K for the link.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Etymology ...Historically the word suggested poor, white rural Americans with little formal education. Historians point out the term originally referred to the strong Scots-Irish of the back country (as opposed to the English of the seacoast). Thus a sociologist reported in 1913: "As the plantations expanded these freed men (formerly bond servants) were pushed further and further back upon the more and more sterile soil. They became 'pinelanders', 'corn-crackers', or 'crackers'." 
Folk etymology There is also an apocryphal belief that the term dates back to slavery in the antebellum South. The popular folk etymology is based on slaver foremen using bullwhips to discipline African and African American slaves, and the sound of the whip being described as 'cracking the whip'. The foremen who cracked these whips are believed to have been known as 'crackers'. 
Examples of political usage "Cracker" has been used among African Americans like Malcolm X and Black Panther Party during the Civil rights movement and is considered an anti-white ethnic slur among African Americans.
In the 2006 movie All the King's Men, Jack Burden, played by Jude Law, refers to one of Willie Stark's opponents as a "cracker".
In 2008, Former President of the United States Bill Clinton used the term "cracker" on Larry King Live to describe white voters he was attempting to win over for Barack Obama: "You know, they think that because of who I am and where my politic[al] base has traditionally been, they may want me to go sort of hustle up what Lawton Chiles used to call the 'cracker vote' there." '
So Malcolm X used it, Bill Clinton used it, Jude Law used it, and yet some people are offended that I have used it. My use of the word "jarab" was not as protested by my American friends. Whatever dude. I apologize if you are offended, and I thank you for forcing me to learn the etymology of the word.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
This video is of Adil al Mashhadani, taken in Fadhil before his arrest. Fadhil, a Sunni-dominated neighborhood of Baghdad, has been an insurgent stronghold since the beginning, and for the last couple of years these guys have called themselves the "Sons of Iraq" and have been collecting their salaries from the US. After watching this video, I understand more why Maliki's team is reluctant to hire them.
Mashhadani says in the video "Iraq is our Iraq, not the government of Maliki..." and goes on to praise the Ba3ath and Saddam. Read more at Talisman Gate. Nibras writes in "...And he was supposed to be one of the 'reconcilable' ones":
'The crowd begins by shouting "Cheers to the resilient Ba'ath". Mashhadani then gives a pep talk saying that Iraq belongs to the youth of Iraq and "at their head is the Martyred Leader Saddam Hussein."
Then there's a funny, carnival-ish bit with a trumpet, concluding with the crowd shouting "With our souls, with our blood, we will [relinquish them to you] Oh Saddam." Mashhadani finishes up with a line of poetry: "We the youth will climb the scaffold [to be hanged], and for the sake of the Ba'ath and Saddam we will never waver."'
On March 29 Nibras Kazimi wrote: "Mashhadani was one of Al-Qaeda's point guys in eastern Baghdad, responsible for countless numbers of deaths. The Americans thought it wise to hire him, and trot him out to reporters, without mentioning what he had done."
'The Kurds, for example, a people boasting a rich history and numbering 25 million souls, are forced to get by without a state of their own. The Basques, Catalonians, Corsicans, and Scots also have no state. Even the Native Americans, Flemish, the Copts and the Maronites have no state. Therefore, it is quite odd that it is precisely the absence of a Palestinian state that preoccupies the international community and the Israeli consciousness.
But in fact, it’s not so odd. The demand for the establishment of a Palestinian state, speaking of the recent Durban II conference, is another type of anti-Semitic trick against us. With all the giant states in the Middle East, it is the Jewish State that is required to share with the Palestinians the little territory that we have. Instead of our neighboring countries crowding a little more in favor of their repressed brethren, we are the only ones required to make do with less territory.
All the archeological and biblical findings prove that we were here much before them, yet the contemporary narrative insists on equality of historical rights between us.'
Apparently the Palestinians must move to other Arab lands, and Arab countries must accept them and not complain. Otherwise we are anti-Semitic. Apparently he doesn't realize that Basques, Catalonians, Corsicans, and Scots are represented proportionally in the governments that rule them, that they have not been subjected to ethnic cleansing and their land has not been stolen from them.
This is a good example of how some right wing Zionists try to justify their destruction of Palestine. It is hasbara at its worst. It is injustice that many Americans support or would rather ignore. The Palestinians have been occupied and stateless before the Zionuts expelled most of them from their homes. But this is Israel's "manifest destiny" and we must accept it whether we like it or not. It makes me sick.
Thanks tgia for posting the article.
|Al-Qaeda in Iraq chief 'in custody'|
The Iraqi prime minister has announced that Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, a suspected senior commander of al-Qaeda in Iraq, is in custody.
Nuri al-Maliki referred to al-Baghdadi as "the head of evil, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq," accusing him of trying to ignite a civil war in the country through a campaign of bombings against civilians and holy Shia Muslim sites.
"This terrorist has strong relations with the previous regime and made a devilish alliance with its followers that left its mark on the innocent bodies of children, women and sheikhs in bloody scenes," al-Maliki said in a statement on Tuesday.
Iraqi police said al-Baghdadi was captured in Baghdad on Thursday.
However, officials have reported his arrest or killing before, only to later say they were wrong.
Major-General Qassim al-Moussawi, a military spokesman, said the government
The US military said it was working to verify who was captured.
Al-Baghdadi is the purported head of the Islamic State of Iraq, one of a handful of Sunni Arab groups accused of attacks in the northern city of Mosul and other parts of Iraq.
The US has previously said al-Baghdadi could be a fictitious character, used to give an Iraqi face to an organisation dominated by foreign al-Qaeda fighters.
A security official said information from al-Baghdadi had led Iraqi authorities to arrest four people plotting an attack to coincide with the birthday of Saddam Hussein, the former president who was toppled by US forces in 2003.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Trial begins in former soldier's murder trial
BY ANDREW WOLFSON • AWOLFSON@COURIER-JOURNAL.COM • APRIL 27, 2009
PADUCAH, Ky. — A federal prosecutor today told a jury that the government will prove that former soldier Steven Green raped a 14-year-old girl and then murdered her and her family “not in the fog of war, but in cold blood.”
Sunday, April 26, 2009
On March 28, Mr. Maliki’s Shiite-led government arrested a prominent Sunni leader on charges of heading a secret armed wing of Mr. Hussein’s Baath Party. A week later, the prime minister accused Baathists of orchestrating car bombings that killed more than 40 people. On Monday, he lashed out again, saying the Baath Party was “filled with hate from head to toe.”
Mr. Maliki’s earlier effort to reunite the country was one of Washington’s primary benchmarks for measuring political progress in Iraq. The goal was to separate Baathist opponents of the government who were considered more willing to trade violence for political power from intractable extremists, many of them religious.
Early last year, under intense American pressure, Mr. Maliki pushed through Parliament a law to ease restrictions on the return of Baath Party members to public life. But 15 months later, the law has yet to be put into effect.'
This Congresswoman is trying to sound smart, but ends up sounding stupid, saying carbon dioxide is natural, so I guess it must be a good thing, not harmful! CO2 is wrongly portrayed as a bad gas, dammit. She says carbon dioxide is just 3% of the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide actually comprises just 0.03% (three hundredths of a percent), not 3% - she was off by a factor of 100.
and another one, reminding me how fundamentalist Muslims think.
These are members of the US Congress???
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Palestine Archipelago by Julien Bousac, from L’Atlas - Le Monde Diplomatique 2009 and Strange Maps. Thanks to tgia and vza for posting this.
Also see "Barak's Generous Offers" by Gush Shalom. Flash Player is needed to view.
Latest Attacks Fuel Residents' Anxiety
By Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 26, 2009
BAGHDAD, April 25 -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton promised the people of war-torn Iraq on Saturday that the Obama administration would not abandon them as it begins to pull out U.S. troops.
Clinton flew to the country Saturday morning on the heels of four suicide bombings in two days that killed more than 160 people. The violence signaled the difficulties the Obama administration may face as it tries to shift troops from Iraq to the escalating war in Afghanistan. cont
Thursday, April 23, 2009
"The blast in central Baghdad took place as a group of policemen were distributing relief supplies to Iraqis who had been driven from their homes during the sectarian bloodshed that followed the 2003 US-led invasion."
Do humans get any more jarab than Ba3thi and Wahhabi jarab? I don't think so.
At Least 75 People Are Killed in Two Attacks in Iraq
"In the first bombing, a woman wearing a suicide belt exploded herself in the Karada district of Baghdad as dozens of people lined up at a food giveaway, killing 28, including 12 police officers, and wounding 50, according to an official with the Interior Ministry.
In the second attack, in Muqdadiya in Diyala Province, a bomb went off inside a restaurant where a group of Iranian tourists were eating lunch, killing 47 and wounding 70, according to police officials. All but five of the dead and wounded appeared to be Iranians. It was not immediately clear whether the explosion had been caused by a suicide bomber. Two of the dead and three of the wounded were Iraqis, officials said.
The attack in Baghdad came as food was being distributed by members of the Iraqi police and the Red Crescent charity in front of an apartment building. In the aftermath of the blast, the street was littered with bags of flour and red apples, and pieces of human flesh attracted masses of flies.
One woman who said she did not know what had happened to her children sat on the sidewalk wailing. Iraqis arrived in tears to search for missing family members."
Update: Suicide bombers kill 79 in Iraq attacks
Update II: 80 Are Killed in 3 Suicide Bombings in Iraq
By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS
Published: April 23, 2009
BAGHDAD — At least 80 people died and 120 others were injured Thursday in three bombings, one by a female suicide bomber in Baghdad who, Iraqi officials said, held a young child’s hand as she set off her explosives among a group of women and children receiving emergency food aid.
Update III: At least 60 die in latest Iraq suicide bombing
Posted on Friday, 04.24.09
BY CORINNE REILLY
BAGHDAD -- BAGHDAD-In another day of heavy violence in Iraq, at least 60 people died Friday when two suicide bombers detonated within seconds of each other outside a revered Shiite Muslim shrine in Baghdad.
The explosions occurred around noon in the capital's Khadamiyah neighborhood at a holy site marking the tomb of a Shiite imam, police said. At least 125 people were wounded. It was the second bloody day in a row for Iraqis.
More than 80 people died in two attacks Thursday, one in Baghdad and another in the northeastern province of Diyala.
The bombings and their massive death tolls are heightening concerns that security gains here are beginning to reverse, just as the U.S. prepares to draw down its forces in Iraq.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
"Vali Nasr, a professor at Tufts University's Fletcher School of International Affairs, has been tapped to be a senior adviser to Richard Holbrooke, the administration's special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Nasr says this time Pakistan will need to be held accountable for the U.S. aid it receives."
It is disheartening to think the US has been handing out money to people who do not fulfill their end of the obligation, who may even be supporting injustice. Which brings me to Israel. Israel has been receiving billion of dollars in annual aid since 1973. For the last 36 years Israel has unconditionally received $3 billion every year and has used it to buy all kinds of things, including US-made weapons and big bulldozers to destroy Palestinian homes and olive farms. In 2007 Israel received $6.8 million every day in 2007. Shouldn't we attach some strings to that? Shouldn't the US be influencing Israel, and helping to protect justice, instead of Israel influencing the American Congress to ignore injustice?
Monday, April 20, 2009
It's not surprising that Democrats like Nancy Pelosi support Israel, but sometimes they're caught doing something that really makes you wonder how much influence AIPAC has in Congress. Apparently these allegations are old, but there is new evidence, reported by a journalist named Jeff Stein, which suggests former Attorney General Gonzales killed the FBI investigation of Harman because she was for the Bush administration's desire to wiretap people without warrants. In any case, this story illustrates how influential AIPAC is, and it's not being covered by mainstream media except MSNBC (Countdown with Keith Olbermann thus far) and the LA Times:
'As Stein said, "It’s true that allegations of pro-Israel lobbyists trying to help Harman get the chairmanship of the intelligence panel by lobbying and raising money for Pelosi aren’t new." Neither, he said, is the allegation that the FBI dropped its investigation of the case for "a lack of evidence."
What is new, Stein said, is word from intelligence sources about the court-approved NSA tap, and about this nugget: those same sources say the case was dropped not for lack of evidence but because of pressure from Bush Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales, who apparently hoped in return that Harman would help President Bush win approval for its warrantless wiretap program.'
So Bush's Attorney General obstructed an FBI investigation, killed it in fact, in order to protect a conservative Democrat who was pro-Bush in some ways, including in the very important Israel category, which can't be bad, right? I wonder if the only reason MSNBC (a very liberal news show) has covered this story is because it implicates the hated Bush administration with corruption charges. If true, both Democrats and Republicans can be accused of corruption in this case, which should not be at all surprising.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Iraq arrests children recruited by Al-Qaeda
KIRKUK, Iraq (AFP) — Iraqi security forces have arrested four children who were recruited by Al-Qaeda to carry out suicide attacks in and around the northern city of Kirkuk, an army general told AFP on Sunday.
"Special forces units have arrested an organisation of children consisting of four individuals under the age of 14 who call themselves the 'Birds of Paradise'," General Abdelamir al-Zaidi said.
"The group relies on children and is connected to Al-Qaeda. It works to recruit children and young people to carry out suicide attacks and to aid the terrorist groups in detonating roadside bombs," he said.
The name of the group likely comes from the traditional Islamic belief that when children die they become birds in paradise.
Secure Enough to Sin, Baghdad Revisits Old Ways
By ROD NORDLAND
Published: April 18, 2009
BAGHDAD — Vice is making a comeback in this city once famous for 1,001 varieties of it.
Gone, for the most part, are nighttime curfews, religious extremists and prowling kidnappers. So, inevitably, some people are turning to illicit pleasures, or at least slightly dubious ones.
Nightclubs have reopened, and in many of them, prostitutes troll for clients. Liquor stores, once shut down by fundamentalist militiamen, have proliferated; on one block of busy Saddoun Street, there are more than 10 of them.
Abu Nawas Park, previously deserted for fear of suicide bombers seeking vulnerable crowds, has now become a place for assignations between young people so inclined. It is not that there are hiding places in the park, where trees are pretty sparse; the couples just pretend they cannot be seen, and passers-by go along with the pretense.
It is a long way from Sodom and Gomorrah, but perhaps part way back to the old Baghdad. The Baathists who ruled here from the 1960s until the American invasion in 2003 were secular, and more than a little sinful. Baghdad under Saddam Hussein was a pretty lively place, with street cafes open until 2 or 3 a.m., and prostitutes plying their trade even in the bowling alley of Al Rashid Hotel.
“Everything is going back to its natural way,” said Ahmed Assadee, a screenwriter who works on a soap opera.
Men gather in cafes to smoke a hookah and gamble on dice and domino games. On weekends, the Mustansiriya Coffee Shop’s back room is crammed with low bleachers set up around a clandestine cockfighting ring. On one recent day, the 100 or so spectators were raucous while watching the bloody spectacle, but they placed their bets discreetly.
Gambling, after all, is illegal.
Walid Brahim, 25, a bomb disposal expert with the Iraqi Army, and his brother Farat, 20, an electrician, recently sat side by side at a table in the Nights of Abu Musa bar, on an alley off Saddoun Street, working their way through a bucket of ice and a bottle of Mr. Chavez Whiskey, an Iraqi-made hooch.
“This is great,” Walid Brahim said. “We used to buy alcohol and just drink secretly in our house.”
The bar is men-only, as pretty much all respectable taverns are, but the brothers look forward to an even brighter future.
“If this security continues,” Farat Brahim said, “within a year all the waiters will be girls.”
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Saudi senior Al-Qaeda figure arrested in Iraq
BAGHDAD (AFP) — A Saudi accused of being a senior Al-Qaeda leader in southern Iraq has been arrested in the port city of Basra along with three of his aides, an Iraqi army official told AFP on Saturday.
"A special force from the interior ministry arrested the Al-Qaeda chief with three of his Iraqi assistants," he said on condition of anonymity, without naming the men or giving a date for the arrests.
"He is a Saudi and was arrested in a house in the Abu al-Khassib district with his Iraqi assistants. They have been transferred to Baghdad by military aircraft," the official added.
Iraq has seen drastic improvements in security over the past two years as US and Iraqi forces have allied with local tribes and former insurgents to drive Al-Qaeda and other armed groups out of vast swathes of the country.
But attacks are still common and have killed more than 80 people this month, according to an AFP count based on reports from security officials.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Growing up in Colorado, I saw first hand how infatuated Americans are with their guns. It's as if guns are toys. When I was 15 years old, a good friend of our family, an Iraqi American (Iraqi father, American mother) who was in his 30s at the time, invited me to go with him deep into the Rocky Mountains and shoot his guns, a .22 caliber and a slightly larger pistol- not the most powerful handguns available. He had bought the .22, which was used, a few weeks before. We took with us a few aluminum cans and found a secluded spot along a river bank. After a safety lesson, we filled the cans with water and started shooting them from about 100 feet (30 meters). I used the smaller pistol. After a few shots, we walked up to the cans to inspect the damage. While kneeling and with the .22 in my right hand, the gun fired. Luckily it was pointed towards the ground. My finger wasn't even on the trigger - at least that's how I remember it. We were both shocked by this mishap, and we decided to pack up and go home. My friend sold his guns soon after that incident.
Two summers later I got the chance to fire a much larger gun, a .357 magnum, with a good friend in Utah. That gun was incredibly powerful. I didn't touch a gun after that until my senior year in college. That year I befriended a bespectacled rock climber, also half Iraqi, half American. He walked into the Arab Students Club one day and we hit it off immediately. He was one of the most brilliant people I had met, and he turned out to be a gun freak. One day as we sat in the university cafeteria chatting, he looked around to make sure nobody was looking, put his backpack on the table, opened it, and showed me a small handgun inside. WHAT? I think that was against campus rules, I said. He smiled proudly. I couldn't believe it. A few weeks later he invited me to meet his parents and have dinner with them in their lovely home in the hills of Boulder. After dinner he took me up to his room and said he wanted to show me something. He was giddy when he pulled out a box from under his bed and opened it to reveal parts he had ordered in the mail - parts to make a machine gun! He finally received all the parts he needed, he said, and it was time to test it. He asked me if I would like to join him at the range. OK, I said, feeling slightly uncomfortable and excited at the same time. We drove to the local shooting range, where he was a regular, and he assembled his new gun and loaded the magazine. It was around 9 pm and we were alone. He fired and the magazine was emptied within a couple of seconds. The trigger was sticking. The sound was deafening. He reloaded the magazine with bullets and handed me the gun. I must admit I was very excited. I pulled the trigger and again it stuck. I was amazed by how quickly the magazine was emptied. He examined the trigger mechanism and said he would fix it, but he was chagrined that bullets were being wasted like that. A few weeks later we graduated, and I never heard from him again. A few years later I heard he was working for a federal government agency.
It is scary how easy it is to buy a gun or make one in America. What is wrong with this picture?
Photo by Michael Stravato for the New York Times
If you want to learn more about guns in America and haven't watched Bowling for Columbine yet, it is a must see documentary.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Iraq: Suicide bomber kills 15 Iraqi soldiers
By SAMEER N. YACOUB – 5 hours ago
BAGHDAD (AP) — An Iraqi army officer says a suicide bomber walked into a base west of Baghdad and set off his explosives belt, killing 15 Iraqi soldiers and wounding at least 40.
The officer says the attack Thursday occurred at the joint base shared by Iraqi soldiers and U.S. troops in Habbaniyah about 45 miles (70 kilometers) west of Baghdad.
He says the bomber walked up to a group of soldiers headed for a base canteen and then detonated his explosives. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not allowed to release the information.
It's not immediately clear if there were any U.S. soldiers at or near the gathering.
Iraq air raids hit mostly women and children
Report urges review of military strategy when targeting urban areas
By Kim Sengupta, Defence correspondent
Thursday, 16 April 2009
Air strikes and artillery barrages have taken a heavy toll among the most vulnerable of the Iraqi people, with children and women forming a disproportionate number of the dead.
Analysis carried out for the research group Iraq Body Count (IBC) found that 39 per cent of those killed in air raids by the US-led coalition were children and 46 per cent were women. Fatalities caused by mortars, used by American and Iraqi government forces as well as insurgents, were 42 per cent children and 44 per cent women.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
'Most alarmingly, in Nineveh province, home to the volatile city of Mosul, Kurds have announced an indefinite boycott of the provincial council. The move came after the Sunni Arab nationalist party Hadba, which won a majority of seats, formed an administration without giving any positions to the Kurdish alliance that won about 25% of the popular vote.
The Kurds say that violates the spirit of the new Iraq, which has seen many of its institutions built upon power-sharing coalitions among rival factions.
"We hope Hadba changes its mind. If not, it's going to be very difficult for this government to succeed, " warned Khasro Goran, the outgoing Kurdish deputy governor of the province.
The dispute threatens to escalate tensions between Arabs and Kurds over territories around Mosul that both claim. Kurds living in areas they dominate are unlikely to cooperate with the new provincial administration, Goran said.'
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
In Iraq, Saddam was not the cause of Iraqi backwardness, but rather its product. And in his absence and the ensuing vacuum, intelligence operatives from neighbouring countries found an opportunity to settle scores with America on the one hand, and among themselves on the other. The result was five years of Iraqi bloodshed.
This is the sad story of Iraq and most of the Arab world, and the lesson should be clear: when looking at their misery, the Arabs should stop blaming the Mongols, the Persians, the Ottomans, the French, the British, the Russians, the Israelis or the Americans for their ills.
When feeling in distress over socioeconomic and political issues inside their countries, Arabs should start looking inward and keep in mind an Ancient Greek aphorism: Know Thyself."
Friday, April 10, 2009
Bomb in Mosul Kills Five U.S. Troops, 2 Iraqis
By Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, April 10, 2009; 10:31 AM
BAGHDAD, April 10 -- Five U.S. soldiers were killed Friday morning in a suicide bombing in the northern city of Mosul, the deadliest attack on U.S. troops in nearly a year, the military said.
Two Iraqi National Police officers were also killed.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
The request would also provide about $800 million for the Palestinian Authority, including humanitarian aid for Gaza, the Hamas-ruled territory that was heavily bombarded by Israel in December and January; $800 million to support U.N. peacekeeping missions in Africa; and $30 million to the Department of Justice to manage the closure of the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."
Lawsuit: Firms sold poison gas ingredients to Iraq
By DAVID DISHNEAU
HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — Three companies illegally sold materials to Saddam Hussein's regime in the 1980s for making chemical weapons that were used to carry out attacks against thousands of Iraqi Kurds and ultimately caused scores of chronic ailments, according to a federal lawsuit.
The complaint filed Tuesday in Baltimore by five Iraqi expatriates and the Nashville, Tenn.-based Kurdish National Congress seeks class certification for an estimated 100,000 Kurds. The Republic of Iraq is also named as a defendant.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Iraq shoe thrower's jail term cut
'The Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at former US President George W Bush has had his sentence cut from three years to one year on appeal.
Muntadar al-Zaidi's lawyer argued that the charge should be changed from assault to insulting a foreign leader.
The judge agreed and reduced the term in line with the less serious offence.
An official for the court said the presiding judge had also taken into account the fact that Zaidi had no prior criminal history.'
President Obama Lands in Baghdad for Surprise Visit to Troops
'President Obama made a surprise detour on his way home from his European trip, stopping in Baghdad today to meet with U.S. commanders and consult with Iraqi officials.
Obama said there has been "significant political progress," in Iraq but noted there is still "a lot of work to be done.'
Monday, April 06, 2009
Through an exchange with a fellow Iraqi Shi3i, I came across the article below. I find it interesting that many of the great writers who expose the injustice are Jewish, and yet many American Christians disbelieve them or dismiss them.
'Middle East peacemaking has been smothered in deceptive euphemisms, so let me state bluntly that each of these claims is a lie. Israel, not Hamas, violated the truce: Hamas undertook to stop firing rockets into Israel; in return, Israel was to ease its throttlehold on Gaza. In fact, during the truce, it tightened it further. This was confirmed not only by every neutral international observer and NGO on the scene but by Brigadier General (Res.) Shmuel Zakai, a former commander of the IDF’s Gaza Division. In an interview in Ha’aretz on 22 December, he accused Israel’s government of having made a ‘central error’ during the tahdiyeh, the six-month period of relative truce, by failing ‘to take advantage of the calm to improve, rather than markedly worsen, the economic plight of the Palestinians of the Strip . . . When you create a tahdiyeh, and the economic pressure on the Strip continues,’ General Zakai said, ‘it is obvious that Hamas will try to reach an improved tahdiyeh, and that their way to achieve this is resumed Qassam fire . . . You cannot just land blows, leave the Palestinians in Gaza in the economic distress they’re in, and expect that Hamas will just sit around and do nothing.’
'It is too easy to describe Hamas simply as a ‘terror organisation’. It is a religious nationalist movement that resorts to terrorism, as the Zionist movement did during its struggle for statehood, in the mistaken belief that it is the only way to end an oppressive occupation and bring about a Palestinian state. While Hamas’s ideology formally calls for that state to be established on the ruins of the state of Israel, this doesn’t determine Hamas’s actual policies today any more than the same declaration in the PLO charter determined Fatah’s actions.
...Halevy also pointed out the absurdity of linking Hamas to al-Qaida. "In the eyes of al-Qaida, the members of Hamas are perceived as heretics due to their stated desire to participate, even indirectly, in processes of any understandings or agreements with Israel. [The Hamas political bureau chief, Khaled] Mashal’s declaration diametrically contradicts al-Qaida’s approach, and provides Israel with an opportunity, perhaps a historic one, to leverage it for the better." '
'The first bombing occurred around 7 a.m. on a narrow street in the Alawi neighborhood in Baghdad’s center when a parked car exploded outside a row of grocery stores and inexpensive restaurants, one of them called “Father of Peace.” At least 4 people died there; 15 others were wounded. Among those killed was a man selling tea from a small sidewalk cart; he and his clients appeared to bear the brunt of the blast.
“We are all so simple,” said Hussein Jawad, a 40-year-old construction worker, who returned to street afterwards, his head swathed in bandages from his injuries. “We are all workers. We are not a military outpost. This is a public place.”
He expressed anger but seemed at a loss to understand a motive behind the bombing, except to say, “The point behind this explosion was sabotage.” '
Thanks IraqPundit for linking to the article.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
AP INVESTIGATION: Notorious terrorist indicted in US eludes capture in Iraq, slips into Syria
'Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Ibrahim had managed to elude coalition forces — possibly while aiding the Sunni insurgency — before he recently crossed into Syria, federal law enforcement and former CIA officials believe.
The FBI is eager to catch Ibrahim, whose real name is Husayn al-Umari, and has ramped up efforts to find him, releasing an age-enhanced sketch of Ibrahim to the AP, the first known picture of him ever made public.
...The 73-year-old Ibrahim is an almost mythological figure in terrorism, a sort of mysterious puppet master — always out of reach, in the background, pulling strings.
Pictures of him are rare. The Palestinian didn't make tape recordings and broadcast his anti-Israel, anti-American manifesto to the world. He let his bombs do the talking and taught a group of proteges his formidable skills — ones he acquired studying chemical and electrical engineering and later learned from KGB.
He's been described as a "genius." The "grandfather of bomb makers." A "Michelangelo." Or as one former Pentagon official said, "Dr. Frankenstein." '
Saturday, April 04, 2009
More than a year ago I had dinner with a cute Iraqi girl who asked me as we drank wine what I would do if my son turns out to be gay. I said I would support him. I asked her what she would do if her son turns out to be gay. She said "I would kill him" and laughed uproariously.
Iraqi police: 2 gay men killed in Baghdad slum
By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer
BAGHDAD – The bodies of two gay men have been found in Baghdad's Shiite slum of Sadr City after a leading cleric repeatedly condemned homosexuality, an Iraqi police official said Saturday.
The killings come after Shiite cleric Sattar al-Battat repeatedly condemned homosexuality during recent Friday prayers, saying Islam prohibits homosexuality. Homosexual acts are punishable by up to seven years in prison in Iraq.
The two men were believed killed Thursday by relatives who were shamed by their behavior, said the official. Police said they suspected the killings were at the hands of family members because no one has claimed the bodies or called for an investigation.
The killings come weeks after Iraqi police found four bodies in late March buried near Sadr City with the words "pervert" and "puppies" written on their chests, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.
Friday, April 03, 2009
And alarmingly, 78% of Egyptians and 66% of Jordanians approve of attacks on U.S. troops (not civilians) based in the Gulf."
Why is that alarming? Thanks Molly for posting the article.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
From the article:
* The Iraqi malcontents comprised an assortment of the disaffected--secular Baathists, Sunnis suddenly deprived of long-held privilege and power, simple religious bigots (rather than committed doctrinal fanatics, and there is a difference), and, to be honest, Iraqis who merely resented the 2003 intervention. Notwithstanding Beltway blather denying its existence--some emitted by now vice-president Biden--an Iraqi national identity, however limited, exists.
* The Sunni Awakening was encouraged when the Iraqis found their alleged "resistance" increasingly dominated by Saudi Wahhabis who had come over the long Saudi-Iraqi border in the "second Iraq intervention," as detailed here, here, and here. When "Al Qaeda in Iraq" manifested its Taliban characteristics--executing women caught without covered faces, possessors of music CDs, Sufis, and others they deemed apostates--the anti-coalition combatants perceived that the United States and Baghdad authorities were a preferable alternative to governance by lynching.
Wide as the horizons of their global ambition doubtless were, and dedicated as they were to using Iraq as a platform for reinforcement of Wahhabism in their own country, the Saudi radicals who streamed north were primarily interested in striking at the coalition, to stimulate new support for their perverse cause, and did not aim at immediate expansion into Jordan or Kuwait.
By contrast, the Taliban is not a mélange. They include no secular types comparable to the Baathists and few "Afghan patriots." Afghan national identity is much weaker than that found even in Iraq. The Pashtun base of the Taliban is tribal, but they have a lesser presence in local history than the Iraqi Sunnis that usurped power in Mesopotamia. The Taliban embody monolithic radicalism in the Wahhabi style, rooted in the Deobandi school of fundamentalism, and consider all Muslims who fail to share their ideology to be unbelievers deserving liquidation. The Iraqi Arab Sunnis, even at the height of their influence under Saddam, could not wipe out the Iraqi Shias or the Kurds, but the Taliban massacred the indigenous Hazara Shias in Afghanistan, effecting a nearly-successful genocide.
Further, the Taliban have demonstrated that their current goal, rather than mere power in Afghanistan, is the "Talibanization" of Pakistan, a nuclear-armed failing state. This would provide the running dogs of al Qaeda with unconcealed weapons of mass destruction as well as millions of fresh foot-soldiers in an environment that, along with its large and problematical diaspora in Britain, has become the main breeding ground of Islamist extremism worldwide. '