Thursday, December 31, 2009

Terrorism must be tackled ideologically

The director of Al Arabiya is correct: We 'Need to Wage War Against Extremist Websites'

'Who Turned Abdulmutallab into a Terrorist?

"Less than a day after the failed attempt to bomb a plane that was flying over the U.S. city of Detroit, a different kind of hunt began – the hunt for the person who instructed Omar Abdulmutallab [to carry out the operation], the person who turned Abdulmutallab into a terrorist. Omar Abdulmutallab is a Nigerian man who left Nigeria young and innocent and left London a prepared terrorist.

"Attention turned towards the Yemeni Sheikh Anwar Al-Awlaki, once again, who believes that he is the Sheikh of the new terrorists. It was this same Sheikh who instructed Major Nidal Hasan, an American of Arab origin, to commit the Fort Hood killings."

"The First Priority Should Be To Confront Extremist Ideology, Its Theorists, and Its Scholars, Before Its Students and Its Soldiers"

"So as not to further complicate this already complex issue, we can sum up the incident as follows: attention turned from pursuing Al Qaeda's army to pursuing its Sheikhs.

"After years of violent war, the image has become clear to everybody today; that 'Al Qaeda' is an ideological problem rather than an organizational one. Whilst there is a lot to do on the ground in order to eradicate this malignant disease, the first priority should be to confront extremist ideology, its theorists, and its scholars before its students and its soldiers. They are the secret to the organization and the reason for its continuation and its ability to recruit [people] and raise money, despite the great losses it has suffered all over the world.

"Abdulmuttalab, who was arrested in Detroit, and is only 23 years of age, spent three years studying mechanical engineering at a London university, and comes from a very moderate Muslim family; his father is a well-known banker in Nigeria and former chairman of First Bank, one of Nigeria's biggest banks.

"Farouk, Abdulmuttalab's father, was so concerned about his son that he alerted authorities, which is quite a rare thing to happen.

"The important question remains: Who convinced the young man [to carry out the operation] and prepared him for the operation? Abdulmuttalab is now in prison, whereas dozens of others or even hundreds like him are still at large."

Al-Awlaki, "The Source of the Problem," is "The Bin Laden of the Internet"

"Al Awlaki is now most wanted – and the source of the problem with regards to at least two crimes: that of [Major] Nidal Hasan, charged with killing 13 people, and [Omar] Farouk Abdulmuttalab, charged with attempting to blow up a plane and with the attempted murder of the 279 passengers on board.

"Al-Awlaki is an important character and it seems he is the bin Laden of the Internet, the leader of an organization that brings together thousands of young men who are communicated with firstly via websites and then dealt with on the ground later. He became a leader and a Mufti who communicated with his students electronically, and he takes part in extensive Daawa [Islamic preaching] through the World Wide Web.

"Just like bin Laden, a cat with nine lives, he was targeted in two similar raids a few days ago and it is possible that he escaped despite news reports of his death."

"Al-Qaeda is an Extremist Ideology That Must First Be Tackled Ideologically"

"The events of the last few weeks have revealed that the war on terror did not end with George W. Bush's absence, and that terrorism did not stop after the release of dozens [of prisoners] from Guantanamo Bay. The retirement or capture of leaders such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed did not and will not stop the recruitment and activity of this terrorist ideology.

"In fact, all of this has only confirmed the old truth that Al-Qaeda is an extremist ideology that must first be tackled ideologically, along with the prosecution of those who support it and the need to wage war against extremist websites in general – which have become larger camps than the first camp that gave its name to the 'Al-Qaeda' organization."

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Iran's Revolutionary Guard kidnapped Britons

"The five British men kidnapped in Iraq were taken in an operation led and masterminded by Iran's Revolutionary Guard, the Guardian reported Thursday, according to evidence uncovered during an extensive investigation.

One of the men, Peter Moore, was targeted because he was installing a system that would show how a vast amount of international aid was diverted to Iran's militia groups in Iraq, the report said. The four bodyguards killed with him were murdered in captivity."

PS: "Freed Iraq hostage Peter Moore denies Iranian involvement in kidnapping"

Yemeni Gitmo detainees to be detained a bit longer

Smart move.

The alleged Christmas day terrorism plot has complicated plans by Barack Obama, US president, to shut the Guantánamo Bay prison camp.

Following reports that two former inmates who took refuge in Yemen were behind the botched plot, senators from his own party were among those calling for detainee transfers to be halted pending an investigation into the links between Guantánamo and the Arab nation.

I've posted before about Gitmo detainees committing crimes after their release. This is not the first time that an Arab country, our "ally", has failed to keep the criminals locked up. Kuwait acquitted a Gitmo detainee after receiving him in 2005, and KSA attempts to "rehabilitate" Saudi prisoners released by the US military. I remember over the years many people online (no doubt Arabs and Arab Americans) claimed that all the Gitmo detainees are innocent.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, has joined Republicans in calling for a halt to planned transfers of Guantanamo Bay detainees to Yemen in the wake of revelations of ties between the Christmas day bombing attempt and terrorists in that country.

"Guantanamo detainees should not be released to Yemen at this time," Feinstein said in a statement. "It is too unstable."

Last week the Department of Justice announced that it had transferred six detainees to the government of Yemen. As the Washington Post notes, former Gitmo detainees in Yemen "have led and fueled the growing assertiveness of the al Qaeda branch that claimed responsibility for the attempted Christmas Day bombing."

There are 80 Yemenis left at the Guantanamo facility, almost half the remaining prison population. The Obama administration has already acknowledged that it will miss its one-year deadline for shuttering the prison; the emergence of Yemen as a flashpoint will likely further complicate their efforts.'

Iraqi Jews were expelled by Arab nationalists

"Iraqi Author Dr. Rashid Al-Khayoun: Iraqi Jews Were Driven Out of the Country by Pan-Arab Extremists, Led By Nazi Ally, Mufti Haj Amin Al-Husseini"

It's good to see this on Al Arabiya, one of the most popular media outlets in the Arab world.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

One-sided sectarian violence continues in Pakistan

The Wahhabi-inspired Taliban have been mass murdering Shia in Pakistan and Afghanistan for many years now. Some Pakistani Shia have blamed America for the bombings. Some rioted. One Pakistani said “This is precisely the kind of reaction that the Taliban were seeking in the first place. They want to divide Pakistan.”


"Several thousand mourners attended funerals on Tuesday for victims of a suicide bombing that killed 43 people in Pakistan's commercial capital, an emotional reminder of a raging Taliban insurgency.

Coffins were carried through the crowds after Monday's explosion in Karachi during a procession at the climax of Ashura, one of the most important events in the Shi'ite calendar.

The bombing underscored multiple security challenges facing nuclear-armed U.S. ally Pakistan at a volatile time for President Asif Ali Zardari, who could be weakened further if corruption charges against his close aides are revived.

...Although the government blamed militants for the Karachi attack -- the third in as many days -- some mourners expressed disbelief that fellow Muslims were capable of such carnage.

"I am 100 percent sure that the United States and its agents are behind this attack, and all other such attacks in the country," said Syed Kausar Hussain Zaidi, a Shi'ite lawyer.

Other mourners were furious, shouting confusing slogans.

"Down with America. Down with the Taliban. Down with Israel."

Religious scholars urged people to remain peaceful.'

Gertrude Bell drew Iraqi borders

I find it ironic that the majority of Iraqis, especially Iraqi Arabs and nationalists, are determined to keep Iraq united, given that Gertrude Bell, with T.E. Lawrence (of "Arabia"), drew Iraq's borders.

The US occupation has been very different from the British occupation of the 20th century. The US could have split up Iraq, but left it up to the Iraqi people to decide. The British, on the other hand, combined Mosul, Baghdad, and Basra and called it Iraq. The British exploited Iraq's oil resources. The Americans have not. Incidentally, two huge oil contracts (to two European companies) were signed today in Baghdad.

4 Sahwa found dead at checkpoint

"Four Awakening Council members were found dead early Tuesday, apparently killed as they stood guard at a checkpoint in a northern neighborhood of the capital, the police said, continuing the escalation of violence against them in recent weeks.

Awakening Councils are neighborhood-based groups of Sunnis, many of them former insurgents, who are now paid by the Iraqi government. They are credited, along with the increase in American troops, with helping to diminish violence in Iraq.

But 15 Awakening members have been killed around the country this month, including five slain in the same Baghdad neighborhood as those who died in Tuesday’s attack.

Members of the Awakening, who typically operate checkpoints and provide security in Sunni neighborhoods, are often targets of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and other Sunni extremist groups. They regard the Awakening Councils as traitorous because many Awakening members quit insurgent groups to ally themselves with the United States military and the Iraqi government in return for steady pay."

Monday, December 28, 2009

Iraqi govt protects Ashura protesters, Iranian govt arrests & kills them

'During yesterday's Shia observance of Ashura, more than 5,000 protesters gathered outside the Imam Hussein Shrine in Karbala to protest the policies of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in advance of March elections.

According to the Washington Post, "After the US invasion, the day had been embraced by the country's Shiite majority a moment to express solidarity in their new found political power and long frustrated political freedom." Saddam Hussein so feared the power of the observance that he barred public commemoration of it under his rule.

But under Iraq's democratically elected government, troops on the street were there to prevent violence, not to confront the protesters or suppress the protest.

Moreover, the protests were not taking place to question the legitimacy of the government but its policies. Shiite leader Amar al-Hakim stated, "We can see the political money, temptations and seductions. Iraqi people don't want promises to disappear after the election. People will not obey any extortions," sounding very much like American supporters of McCain-Feingold or, ironically, earmark critic Senator Tom Coburn.

Contrast that with Iran, where Ashura sparked widespread anti-government protests. The nascent opposition, which took to the streets last summer to protested the rigged presidential elections, came out in force again, this time confronting security forces, with more protesters killed and scores arrested.'

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mousavi's nephew killed

"The nephew of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the Iranian opposition leader, has reportedly been killed in violence surrounding street protests in Tehran during the Shia Muslim festival of Ashoura."

Friday, December 25, 2009

WSJ Reports: Sectarian Violence Continues in Iraq

Sectarian Violence Continues in Iraq

"Attacks in the capital and the southern town of Hilla killed at least 26 in Iraq on Thursday and Friday, with religious-tinged violence ticking up as Christmas coincided this year with one of Shiite Islam's most important observances.

Ashura, a 10-day commemoration of the death of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson, one of Shiite Islam's most revered figures, culminates Sunday. Hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims stream to the Iraqi cities Karbala and Najaf, providing a convenient target for sect-based violence."

Meanwhile the Arabs continue their KABOBfest and they continue to complain about US "occupation" and "imperialism".

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Starbucks in the Arab World

Over the years I have heard Arabs and Arab Americans calling to boycott Starbucks because its CEO (a Jew!) allegedly shares his wealth with Israel.  As Arabs and Arab Americans continue to preach "resistance" and hate the "puppet" government of Iraq, and as Arab terrorists continue to wage war on innocent Iraqis, often targeting small cafes, in nine Arab countries customers buy frappuccinos without worrying about terrorism or "resistance":  
  • 24 Starbucks in Egypt, which has cooperated with Israel in stopping weapons smuggling into Gaza, and has been accused of strangling Gaza's economy.
  • More than 90 Starbucks in the United Arab Emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, etc), host to a US Air Force base
  • 10 Starbucks in Qatar, along with Al Jazeera headquarters and a very important US military base called "CENTCOM". 
  • 71 Starbucks in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including 26 in Mecca (holy cappuccino!). In 1991 KSA hosted almost a million foreign troops, 73% of whom were American.
  • 16 Starbucks in Lebanon. 
  • 10 Starbucks in Jordan, home of Zarqawi and the deranged sons of Salt.
  • 12 Starbucks in Bahrain, host to a US Naval base
  • 7 Starbucks in Oman, which makes its military bases available for use by the US.  
  • 72 Starbucks in Kuwait, which makes its air bases available for use by the US and is also host to a few US Army bases.  

And there have been more than 1,700 suicide bombings in Iraq.

PS: As an afterthought (again!) I thought I should explain that in 2007: 

About 45% of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are from Saudi Arabia; 15% are from Syria and Lebanon; and 10% are from North Africa, according to official U.S. military figures made available to The Times by the senior officer. Nearly half of the 135 foreigners in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq are Saudis, he said.

And in 2005: 

Who are the suicide bombers of Iraq? By the radicals' account, they are an internationalist brigade of Arabs, with the largest share in the online lists from Saudi Arabia and a significant minority from other countries on Iraq's borders, such as Syria and Kuwait. The roster of the dead on just one extremist Web site reviewed by The Washington Post runs to nearly 250 names, ranging from a 13-year-old Syrian boy said to have died fighting the Americans in Fallujah to the reigning kung fu champion of Jordan, who sneaked off to wage war by telling his family he was going to a tournament.

Since 2004, Iraq has been the only country in the Arab world that is ruled by Shia.

I had to revise this post a few times because I kept finding more Arab countries with Starbucks and it took some time researching the American military presence in each country.  Also I tried to read it from the perspective of somebody who has little understanding of the history and sectarian nature of the conflict.

Are the Arabs not the biggest hypocrites in the world?

The one-sided sectarian violence continues

It's good to see the mainstream media reporting the truth about Iraq. The Associated Press acknowledged the sectarian nature of the recent violence:

Explosions killed at least 26 people across Iraq on Thursday, most of them Shiite pilgrims taking part in a holy mourning ceremony, authorities said, raising fears of further sectarian attacks at the approach of Shiite Islam's most solemn occasion.

The deaths came three days before the climax of Ashoura, when hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims converge on the central city of Karbala to mourn the killing of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, Imam Hussein, in a 680 A.D. battle that sealed the split between Shiites and Sunnis.

While Thursday's attacks were smaller than similar bombings in previous years, they demonstrated the continued ability and intent of insurgents to incite sectarian tensions.

Al Jazeera had to report that Shia were attacked, but they quoted a journalist in Baghdad who said "They were not by the hand of al-Qaeda - they were not suicide bombers, but mostly car bombs and bombs beside cars."

They were not suicide bombings, but does this mean they were not carried out by AQ? I think it just means that AQ is low on suicide bombers.  Or it means the bombings were strictly the work of Saddamists. 

Al Jazeera has come a long way from 2004 and 2005, when they did not identify the sects of victims in Iraq.  Like many biased Arabs, before 2006 Al Jazeera could not bring themselves to admit that their "brave and honorable resistance" would bomb places of worship and kill innocent Iraqis.  AJ seemed to refuse to admit that Sunni extremists were terrorizing Iraq's Shia population.  Even western media did not  discuss the sectarian nature of the violence before 2006.  

Some western media seemed themselves to be biased.  After the Iraqi government closed down Al Jazeera's office in Baghdad in 2004, a Guardian journalist reported the "raid followed a decision by the prime minister, Ayad Allawi, to close the station temporarily in August because of its apparent failure to support the US occupation."  Really? Is that why they closed AJ's Baghdad office?  So it had nothing to do with AJ's biased reporting and their praise of the "resistance" that was attacking Iraqi security forces and civilians?  If Al Jazeera was that concerned about US occupation, why did they never criticize Qatar, where CENTCOM and Al Jazeera's headquarters are?  Did Al Jazeera not know of CENTCOM's role in the US invasion(s) and occupation of Iraq?  Or are the Arabs simply hypocrites?  To be fair, Al Jazeera was funded by the Emir of Qatar, which explains their bias and lack of journalistic consistency.  But the ordinary Arabs and the "intellectual" and "educated" Arabs did not discuss AJ's hypocrisy, which to me symbolizes the stupidity of these "intellectual" and "educated" Arabs.  As'ad Abu Khara (Happiest Father of Shit) is a good example.  

Over the years Al Jazeera has changed and today they appear to be more objective.  They seemed to be influenced by western media and eventually they acknowledged the sectarian nature of the violence, especially after innocent Sunni Arabs in Baghdad were rounded up and murdered by Shia militias in 2006.  

Although western media reported that Shia were being attacked in 2004 and 2005, they did not call it "sectarian" violence.  In the eyes of the media, it was not "sectarian" violence until Shia militias began killing innocent Sunni Arabs.  

The one-sided sectarian violence continues in Iraq, and the mainstream media is actually reporting it this time; they are correctly calling it "sectarian" violence.  Arab and Arab American bloggers, meanwhile, continue their KABOBfest and they continue to praise the "resistance" and condemn the "puppet" government of Iraq.  

PS: The Washington Post also called it sectarian violence!  

"The Shiite festival, commemorating the death of Imam Hussein in 680 AD, has been marred over the past six years by sectarian violence."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Salafi is a mental midget

Only a Salafi would emphasize his intolerance of other religions by bombing places of worship and ceremonies of other religions.  I wonder if the Salafi knows this kind of behavior makes him look bad and will certainly not win any converts to Islam!

'At least eight people have been killed in attacks targeting Christians and Shi'ite Muslims as they prepare to observe coinciding holidays.

A bomb exploded near a historic church in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul Wednesday, killing two people in the latest attack targeting the city's Christian minority.

The attack wounded five people and caused damage to the Church of St. Thomas, which dates back to the eighth century.  The bombing came a day before Christians are due to celebrate Christmas Eve.

Islamic militants in Iraq have frequently targeted Christians since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, driving many to flee the country.

In Baghdad, police say three separate bombings targeting Shi'ite worshipers killed at least six people and wounded about 40 others.

The attacks came as Shi'ites gathered to observe the solemn Ashura holiday, which marks the seventh-century killing of the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.'

Anti-Iranian demonstrations spread across Iraq

'A row over an oil well on the Iran-Iraq border has triggered anti-Iranian demonstrations across Iraq, angry statements by politicians accusing the Government of supporting Iran and the announcement of a new cross-tribal armed force to combat Iranian incursions.

The controversy began on Friday when armed Iranians moved on to the al-Fakka oilfield, in Missan province, south Iraq, and erected their flag on oil well No 4, which has been disputed by the two countries since the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988.
Last night the Iranian troops were “still inside Iraqi territory” said a Government spokesman. An anonymous source working at al-Fakka said that around 100 Iranian troops and two tanks were still present.
Tribal leader Abdelkareem Muhammadawi, from Missan, claimed that armed Iranians had also moved onto wells 11 and 13 on the oilfield. This was denied by the Government and by a source at the Iranian Embassy, who said that “no Iranian forces have entered Iraqi territories.”

Many Iraqis, among whom suspicion has been growing of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s strong relationship with Tehran, have reacted angrily at the lack of firm response from his Government.
A tribal council in the south of the country announced that they had formed a combat brigade to stand against the Iranian forces on the oil field.'

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

KSA "took nothing" for keeping prices stable in 90s

They took nothing except the extra revenue from increased oil sales!  KSA had to cover not only Iraq's reduced output, but they had to cover Kuwait's lost output as well, until Kuwait recovered from the war by 1994.

'Saudi Arabia, the biggest producer in OPEC, increased output to meet demand as Iraq’s supplies fell after it invaded Kuwait in 1990. Iraq’s reintegration into the quota system “will take some give-and-take eventually,” Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said today in Luanda.

Saudi Arabia “took nothing” when it boosted output in the 1990s, al-Naimi said. “We ensured the market was well-supplied. If it were not for Saudi Arabia the market would have been in very bad straits.” '

Iraqi politics becoming more democratic

'The costs of the Iraq war have been great and perhaps indefensible. But Iraq could still turn out to be an extraordinary model for the Arab world. Its people are negotiating their differences for the most part peacefully; its politics is becoming more pluralistic and democratic; its press is free; its provinces have autonomy; its focus has shifted to business and wealth creation, not religion and jihad. At a conference in Baghdad last October, the Iraq government focused on its current obsession -- investment. It released a well-produced document, "Open for Business," that details the business opportunities that await capitalists in Iraq. Politics in Iraq feels different from other Arab countries. Friday sermons in Baghdad are mostly about the corruption and competence of Iraq politicians, not the evil designs of America of the perfidy of the Jews. It could be the weakening of the victim complex in which the Arab world has been stuck -- forever seeing itself as acted upon by foreign forces and never in charge of its own destiny.

In 2010, the Obama administration has a window of opportunity to push these positive trends forward. If they stay engaged, are successful, and get lucky, perhaps this is what America will ultimately be remembered for in Iraq.'

Thanks to Iraq Pundit for posting about Zakaria's article.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The benefits of oil embargoes

Tonight I learned from Thomas Friedman that Denmark launched its clean tech industry after the 1973 Arab oil embargo.  As a result, today Denmark has the highest energy efficiency in Europe and it is a major exporter of clean tech products.

Iran-Iraq War in Wikipedia

'The Iran–Iraq War, also known as the Imposed War (جنگ تحمیلی, Jang-e-tahmīlī) and Holy Defense (دفاع مقدس, Defā'-e-moghaddas) in Iran, and Saddām's Qādisiyyah (قادسيّة صدّام, Qādisiyyat Ṣaddām) in Iraq, was a war between the armed forces of Iraq and Iran lasting from September 1980 to August 1988.

The war began when Iraq invaded Iran on 22 September 1980 following a long history of border disputes and fears of Shia insurgency among Iraq's long-suppressed Shia majority influenced by the Iranian Revolution. Although Iraq hoped to take advantage of revolutionary chaos in Iran and attacked without formal warning, they made only limited progress into Iran and within several months were repelled by the Iranians who regained virtually all lost territory by June, 1982. For the next six years, Iran was on the offensive.[14] Despite calls for a ceasefire by the United Nations Security Council, hostilities continued until 20 August, 1988. The last prisoners of war were exchanged in 2003.[14][15]
The war came at a great cost in lives and economic damage — a half a million Iraqi and Iranian soldiers as well as civilians are believed to have died in the war with many more injured and wounded — but brought neither reparations nor change in borders. The conflict is often compared to World War I[16] because tactics included large scale trench warfare, manned machine-gun posts, bayonet charges, use of barbed wire across trenches and on no-mans landhuman wave attacks and Iraq's extensive use of chemical weapons (such as mustard gas) against Iranian troops and civilians as well as Iraqi Kurds. At the time, the UN Security Council issued statements that "chemical weapons had been used in the war." However, in these statements Iraq was not mentioned by name, so it has been said that "the international community remained silent as Iraq used weapons of mass destruction against Iranian as well as Iraqi Kurds" and it is believed that the United States government prevented the UN from condemning Iraq.[17]'

Iran wants reparations too?

I thought it was just Kuwait and KSA who wanted Iraq to continue to pay them for Saddam's mistakes.

'Iran complains that Iraq owes it billions of dollars in reparations from the Iran-Iraq war as both sides search for political solutions to an oil-well seizure.

Iranian forces seized an oil well near the border in the southern Iraqi province of Maysan on Friday. The incident raised concerns that Tehran was subverting U.S. influence in Iraq by such brazen measures, though Iraqi and U.S. military officials downplayed the event as commonplace along the disputed border.

As political discussions unfolded, Hossein Ebrahmi, an Iranian lawmaker on Parliament's National Security and
Foreign Policy Committee, told the Mehr News Agency that Tehran was still upset over the billions of dollars that Baghdad has yet to pay for "initiating" the Iran-Iraq war.'

Sunday, December 20, 2009

What motivates suicide bombers?

'In September 2007 when American forces raided an Iraqi insurgent camp in the desert town of Singar near the Syrian border they discovered biographies of more than seven hundred foreign fighters. The Americans were surprised to find that 137 were Libyans and 52 of them were from a small Libyan town of Darnah. The reason why so many of Darnah’s young men had gone to Iraq for suicide missions was not the global jihadi ideology, but an explosive mix of desperation, pride, anger, sense of powerlessness, local tradition of resistance and religious fervor. A similar mix of factors is now motivating young Pashtuns to volunteer for suicide missions in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

...The actions of the US prison guards at Abu Ghraib played on what it meant to be an honorable, self-respecting subject in Iraqi society. The disciplinary practices humiliated the prisoners, but were also felt and seen as humiliating to all Iraqis. In the months following the release of the Abu Ghraib photos, daily suicide bombing attacks in Iraq increased dramatically.'

Apparently these suicide bombers who were influenced by photos of abuse at Abu Ghraib did not know that Iraqis were treated much worse at Abu Ghraib and other Iraqi prisons between 1980 and 2003.  Or maybe it's just OK for Muslims to kill other Muslims. 

PS: Photos of abuse at Abu Ghraib were released a few months after Saddam was captured and just weeks before the first hearing of the special tribunal to try Saddam:

Iraqi Refugees Before 2003

Iraq Pundit wrote another great post:

'The Atlantic magazine has a moving pictorial about Iraqi refugees. The slide show is accompanied by this commentary: "It has been almost seven years since the U.S. invaded Iraq. While the war is officially over, another crisis continues to unfold, attracting far fewer headlines and less public debate. All across Iraq, civilians are fleeing their homes. There are nearly three million of these refugees, according to various NGO and relief-group estimates."

No Iraqi would begudge the attention these people are getting. But some of us can't help but ask where this thoughtful commentary was when we were forced to leave Baathist Iraq? Thank God for the agencies that help the great number of refugees who fled since 2003. But trust me, the story is incomplete.

Iraqis do not have a tradition of emigration the way the peoples of the Levant do. Most Iraqis left in the 1980s and 1990s. Certainly the last several years resulted in the deaths of countless Iraqis leading to refugees next door. But so did the Iran-Iraq war. Also, Saddam kicked out, chased out, and murdered millions. Otherwise, travel was not possible. Saddam had all sorts of rules about how and when anyone could travel -- if allowed to leave Iraq at all. I don't remember anyone losing sleep over the artists, the musicians, the scientists, and scholars who had to start life over again far away from home. I know first hand what it's like to leave the life you know and start all over again. My heart goes out to those mentioned in magazine.

Many people left in recent years for serious reasons. But those of us who left earlier also had serious reasons to leave. I do recall countless articles about the well-connected political people, but there was nothing about ordinary people. One reason is probably that the fear of the Baathists was so strong that Iraqis lived quietly. That same fear remains so strong that many continue to do so. It sounds to me as though if one opposes Saddam and the Baathists, his plight is not as interesting as one who opposes the United States. My question to The Atlantic is simply why?'

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Rage still rampant among Sunni Arabs in Iraq, says Sunni Arab leader

NYT: 'Sheik Abdul-Rahman Munshid al-Assi has been making up for the time he lost in an American prison, aggressively diving into Iraqi politics after being held nearly a year on charges of aiding the insurgency.

After his release last year, he formed the Arab Political Council to represent Sunni Arabs in Kirkuk. He recruited Sunni candidates to run in the coming national elections. He is forging a political bloc with Arab nationalists, other tribal leaders and former members of Saddam Hussein’s outlawed Baath Party as a counterweight to Kurds in the province.

At first glance, the fact that a vehement opponent of the Shiite-led government in Baghdad and Kurdish leaders next door is embracing democratic politics may seem to be a purely positive sign. After all, much of the American security effort of the past few years has been to channel Sunnis into just such a course.

But for Sheik Abdul-Rahman the political action is far from a concession. Rather, it is an attempt to tap into the simmering
rage he says is still rampant among Sunni Arabs in Iraq. And he and many of his peers are far from becoming fully reformed democrats: he has yet to renounce the insurgency, though he denies directly supporting it, and warns that more violence could come.

“Sunni Arabs are still not reconciled to the fact that they lost power in Iraq,” said the trim 57-year-old sheik in an interview at his home in Kirkuk. “This will never leave their mind, even if they are engaged in the political process.”

The Sunni Arabs’ sense of disillusionment and disenfranchisement was one of the factors in the political impasse that stalled Iraq’s new elections for months before intense pressure from the United States, 
United Nations and Turkey recently forced Iraqi leaders into an 11th-hour deal. The distrust remains one of the biggest obstacles to political progress and security; one senior American diplomat who recently departed Iraq said that it was what kept “the embers of the insurgency” burning. And the hostility fuels longer-term fears, too, that Iraq could fall back into sectarian war after American troops leave.

The grievances between Sunni Arabs and Kurds, who have aggressively pursued territorial claims, have grown particularly tense.

Barham Salih, the current prime minister of Iraq’s 
Kurdistan region, said the Sunni Arab minority in Iraq still needed to come to terms with the idea that it could not rule Iraq alone, as it did under Mr. Hussein, and must instead share power with Shiites, Kurds and other groups. He said Kurds would never again accept “second citizen” status in Iraq.

“If Iraq cannot come to terms with these realities, then Iraq is condemned to this perpetual cycle of violence, no doubt,” said Mr. Salih, who previously held the post of deputy prime minister in the central government, in an interview in the Kurdish region’s capital, Erbil.

Another mass grave discovered in Iraq

"A mass grave discovered in northeast Iraq contains dozens of bodies, mostly of women and children believed killed during a crackdown against Kurds by former dictator Saddam Hussein, an Iraqi official said Saturday."

Meanwhile the Arabs continue their KABOBfest and their praise of "resistance" to the "puppet government" of Baghdad. 

Friday, December 18, 2009

Angry and Stupid

As'ad Abu Khara (Happiest Father of Shit) warns: "Interpreting for the occupation may be bad for your health"

Do people understand why I dislike this guy so much?  Even intellectuals among the Arabs who condemned Saddam seem to be mentally retarded when discussing Iraq and unwilling to condemn the "resistance" that fights "occupation" by killing Iraqis.

LA Times:
After the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. military discovered that rebuilding the country and confronting an insurgency required a weapon not in its arsenal: thousands of interpreters.

To fill the gap, the Pentagon turned to Titan Corp., a San Diego defense contractor, which eventually hired more than 8,000 interpreters, most of them Iraqis.

For $12,000 a year, these civilians served as the voice of America's military, braving sniper fire and roadside bombs. Insurgents targeted them for torture and assassination. Many received military honors for their heroism.

At least 360 interpreters employed by Titan or its successor company were killed between March 2003 and March 2008, and more than 1,200 were injured. The death toll was far greater than that suffered by the armed forces of any country in the American-led coalition other than the United States. Scores of interpreters assisting U.S. forces in Afghanistan also have been killed or wounded.'

Arabs and Arab Americans don't seem to care about US efforts to help Iraqis to rebuild their country.  Arabs like As'ad Abu Khera seem to care only for the "resistance" that fights "occupation".  Do these schmucks read Iraqi blogs other than Layla Anwar's?

Iraq Pundit:  

The man said young people don't know that Iraq was a good country before it was destroyed by Saddam. "Remember the invasion of 2003?" the man asked. "Iraqis welcomed the Americans and threw flowers at them." He stood up to make his point. "Do you know anyone who would welcome an invader?" I don't know. "A people would have to be reduced so much in order to throw flowers at invading troops."

So who will the man vote for? "I don't know," he said. "But at least I have a choice."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Saddam was a monster the World helped create

A few days ago I found and posted an article about the western countries that sold weapons to Saddam.  I called it "Saddam was a monster the West helped create".  Today I thought more about who helped Saddam become powerful and I remembered that Russia also sold weapons to his regime, as did China.  I searched my blog for "Russia" and found some interesting posts, but none about Russian arms sales to Iraq. The discussion about Russian arms sales took place in the comments (haloscan) section, and RhusLancia of IBC wrote a post in January 2007 titled "Where did Saddam get his chemical weapons?"  That was a good post, and in it RhusLancia pointed out the following:

  • All told, 52% of Iraq's international chemical weapon equipment was of German origin.
  • Around 21% of Iraq’s international chemical weapon equipment was French.
  • About 100 tons of mustard gas also came from Brazil.
  • The United Kingdom paid for a chlorine factory that was intended to be used for manufacturing mustard gas
  • An Austrian company gave Iraq calutrons for enriching uranium. The nation also provided heat exchangers, tanks, condensers, and columns for the Iraqi chemical weapons infrastructure, 16% of the international sales.
  • Singapore gave 4,515 tons of precursors for VX, sarin, tabun, and mustard gasses to Iraq.
  • The Dutch gave 4,261 tons of precursors for sarin, tabun, mustard, and tear gasses to Iraq.
  • Egypt gave 2,400 tons of tabun and sarin precursors to Iraq and 28,500 tons of weapons designed for carrying chemical munitions.
  • India gave 2,343 tons of precursors to VX, tabun, Sarin, and mustard gasses.
  • Luxemburg gave Iraq 650 tons of mustard gas precursors.
  • Spain gave Iraq 57,500 munitions designed for carrying chemical weapons. In addition, they provided reactors, condensers, columns and tanks for Iraq’s chemical warfare program, 4.4% of the international sales.
  • China provided 45,000 munitions designed for chemical warfare.
I was surprised to see India and Singapore on the list.  One of the Wikipedia pages that RhusLancia linked to mentions that Saudi Arabia loaned or gave $20 billion to Iraq between 1980 and 1982.  Other Gulf countries also loaned Saddam money in the 80s, including Kuwait.  

Many countries and international companies did business with Saddam, but today the most controversial  support, the support that most people talk about, was the support the US gave Saddam.  In 2005 NPR diplomatic correspondent Mike Shuster answers answered an important question:

CHADWICK: Can you say--is there any sense that the US created Saddam Hussein, that the United States essentially was responsible for the rule of Saddam Hussein?

SHUSTER: Well, certainly not created Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein came to power in the late 1960s in Iraq. He created Iraq's secret police and intelligence, and he became the number one strongman of Iraq in 1979. But after that, the United States did play a key role in all of his actions, military and political, in the Middle East. In effect, the United States chose Iraq, led by Saddam Hussein, to be its surrogate for policy in the Persian Gulf region and to counter the actions of Iran, which the United States, the Reagan administration, saw as the biggest threat. And the fact that it supported Saddam Hussein in all these clandestine ways, a man who had been the pariah to the United States in the decade earlier, it seems to me could not have helped encourage Saddam's grandiosity about his role in the Arab world. He was meeting with senior US diplomats. They were looking the other way when he was using chemical weapons and developing other unconventional weapons. He couldn't have helped but to think that the United States was behind him.

The US did not create Saddam, but in the 80s the world's powerful countries helped make him a powerful dictator.  After 8 years of senseless war and a decade of ethnic cleansing, torture, and murder, in 1990 Saddam finally violated the rules of the west by invading Kuwait and thus drew the condemnation of the American President, who drew a line in the sand.  In 1991 the West, along with a few key Arab allies, destroyed much of Iraq's infrastructure and its military and forced Saddam to withdraw the Iraqi army from Kuwait.  
After the 1991 Gulf War the West, led by the US, sought to destroy the remainder of Saddam's WMD via UN sanctions and inspections, ensuring that Saddam would not be able to threaten his neighbors.  They did not, however, destroy Saddam's ability to mass murder and imprison innocent Iraqis.  Iraqis not only suffered through another 12 years of murder, torture, and imprisonment, but they endured through sanctions that crippled the country's economy.  As a result of the sanctions and government neglect, ordinary Iraqis struggled to survive as Saddam built 81 palaces in the 90s. I have said many times that Saddam should have been overthrown in 1991, but I was still happy when it happened in 2003. Kan'an Makiya summarized my feelings in a 2006 interview:

It is very sad for me that Europe, which is a bastion of so many of the highest ideals to which I aspire, sat back and was happy to let the Iraqi people live under that inhuman regime of sanctions, which were killing people in vast numbers. And [Europe] allowed this situation of abuse and tyranny of the regime to continue, and did not think it morally necessary -- forget practically, maybe it's not practical -- to get rid of that kind of institutionalized abuse on that kind of scale.

Now, the United States chose to act, for whatever reason. From my point of view as an Iraqi, that decision was a thousand times better, morally speaking, than the inaction of the Europeans. The complicity of so many people in the United Nations, for instance, with the former regime. We now know so much about that because of documents that were discovered inside Iraq after the fall of the regime.

It wasn't just the Europeans who wanted Iraqis to continue to suffer under Saddam.  So did the Arabs. The Arabs who continue to defend Saddam are simply stupid. 

Iraqi govt gets serious about combatting terrorism

Finally. Better late than never. Iraq should have elections more often!

'The Iraqi cabinet has approved a plan to offer rewards of up to 85,000 dollars for tip-offs about car bombs, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Wednesday, a day after a new wave of bombings.
"The cabinet decided on Tuesday to offer rewards of up to 100 million dinars (85,000 dollars) for information about car bombs," Maliki told a news conference.
The plan still needs to go before parliament.
Maliki also announced the creation of a new "joint coordination committee for intelligence and security which will work with citizens to unmask hidden terrorist cells."
Three car bombs rocked Baghdad on Tuesday, killing four people and wounding 14 in the fourth wave of coordinated attacks in as many months.
An eight-day-old baby was killed and 40 people wounded, five of them children, the same day by a car bomb targeting a church and adjacent school in the main northern city of Mosul.
There has been mounting criticism of the security services' failure to stem car bomb attacks, even against public buildings in the heart of the capital, despite the security measures already in place.'

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

American Muslims can be radicalized too

I wonder what media those Pakistani guys were reading and watching before traveling to Pakistan to engage in their "jihad".  This is not surprising, judging by some of the comments on blogs by Arab and Muslim Americans. Many Arab Americans insist that the bombings in Iraq are the work of Americans.

'A spike in terrorism cases involving U.S. citizens is challenging long-held assumptions that Muslims in Europe are more susceptible to radicalization than their better-assimilated counterparts in the United States.

Four investigations disclosed in the past 12 months, including the arrests of five Northern Virginia men in Pakistan this week, underscore what the Obama administration asserts is a domestic threat emanating from Americans training overseas with al-Qaeda and related terrorist groups in Pakistan. "We have apprehended extremists within our borders who were sent here from the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit new acts of terror," President Obama said this month in announcing plans to deploy 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.'

Iranians destroyed Iraq?

'Iraqis are increasingly using Facebook as a platform to campaign for their favorite candidates in the 2010 parliamentary elections. 

...On the National Iraqi Front’s page a woman named Wasan Wartan proclaims herself one of the secular voters whose support Mr. Allawi has sought in past elections. She wrote: “Hi everyone, God willing, the liberal Iraqi forces will win this time. God willing, Iraq will move towards a better future and the liberal parties will wipe all the tears off the face of Iraq.” Another member named Taha Tamimy wrote, “Amen, and we will get rid of the Iranians who destroyed our country.” '

What does Taha mean by "get rid of the Iranians"?  This sounds like Saddam when he expelled tens of thousands of Iraqis (aka ethnic cleansing) because they were of Iranian descent.  I doubt Allawi, being Shiite, would allow that to happen again, but it is frightening to see Arabs still saying inflammatory (and quite stupid) things and again blaming the wrong people for the violence in Iraq.  The Iranians have condemned the recent bombings in Baghdad, and the Arab "resistance" continues to mass murder innocent Iraqis,  primarily targeting government, including the Iranian embassy, but killing mostly civilians. 

Monday, December 14, 2009

Who is responsible for the violence in Iraq?

On her show tonight, Rachel Maddow said Tony Blair "would have advocated war against Iraq even if he had known there were no weapons of mass destruction there," but in the interview Blair said "I would have still thought it right to remove him..."  So is arguing for Saddam's removal the same thing as advocating a war against Iraq?

I don't think it was Blair's intention to see the deaths of so many Iraqi civilians.  Blair and Bush wanted to remove a dictator from power; they did not intend to cause the sectarian war that followed the invasion.  If we can blame all the carnage that took place after the 2003 invasion on Tony Blair and George W. Bush, we can also blame George HW Bush and John Major for the deaths of Iraqis that resulted from the 1991 invasion.

If Tony Blair can be held responsible for the crimes of Saddamists and Salafi slime, the same logic can be used to try John Major for war crimes, because the 1991 invasion of Iraq also resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.  I'm sure John Major did not intend to cause Saddam's Republican Guards to mass murder Iraqis in 1991, but the mass murder of Iraqis nevertheless happened as a result of the 1991 invasion of Iraq. Yet nobody demanded that John Major be tried as a war criminal after the 1991 invasion of Iraq.

Was the 1991 invasion of Iraq acceptable because Saddam was not removed?  Judging by how differently the Arabs and media reacted to each war, that appears to be the case.

I find the people who insist that we must punish George Bush and Tony Blair without punishing the Arab terrorists who are directly responsible for crimes against Iraqis to be naive.  On the NYT's At War blog, an Iraqi wrote a post titled 'I Have No Living Friends in Iraq Now' in which he discusses the death of his father and his ex-girlfriend.  The first comment was from a "Jim" in Austin, and it has been recommended by 15 readers: 

You can thank Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfield for killing your family and friends. If these three rulers were from any country but the US, they would be at the Hague facing charges of genocide. As an American, I apoligize for these individuals for the tragedy they brought to your country.

The Iraqi "can thank Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld" for killing his family and friends.  I wonder if "Jim" realizes how insensitive his comment may seem to Iraqis.  I hated the Arabs who said that every bombing and shooting in Iraq is the responsibility of America and said nothing about the Arabs who actually committed the crimes. This kind of talk no doubt encouraged the Arab "resistance" to mass murder more Iraqis, and that made me very angry.  To see Americans saying the same thing is quite disheartening.