Friday, December 30, 2011

Sunni Arabs in Adhamiya celebrate US withdrawal

'Hundreds of Sunni Muslims gathered in Baghdad Friday to celebrate the withdrawal of American forces, but in a sign of the sectarian divisions that re-emerged immediately after their departure, Shiite Muslims did not join the event.

The celebration took place near the Abu Hanifa mosque, the main house of worship in the primarily Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah in northern Baghdad. To secure the event, Iraqi troops blocked traffic on roads leading to the mosque and searched people approaching the area.

During the rally, men and children waved Iraqi flags and raised banners praising those who resisted the U.S. presence in Iraq.'

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Inside Saddam's Reign of Terror

I'm watching Inside Saddam's Reign of Terror on National Geographic. Pretty good summary for a short documentary. I found it on YouTube too:

The courageous Iraqis who stayed

A very nice photo essay about the Iraqis who stayed in Iraq despite the violence: 'Russia Abrahim, 26, lost her father and two brothers to sectarian violence. She insists on staying in Iraq to teach geography.

“Most times when you talk to someone who has been through that, they are bitter and would love to leave the country,” Ms. Bruce said. “She wants to stay and teach geography. She thinks the more people know about others in the world and are more educated, the less likely something like that would happen in the future. She actually has a reason for staying.”

Ms. Bruce said her portrait series grew from long discussions she had with Yasir Ghazi and Duraid Adnan, reporters for The Times in Baghdad, who also helped her to find subjects who were staying in Iraq. Sometimes Mr. Ghazi or Mr. Adnan would excitedly tell her about someone they discovered.'

Thanks Marsha for sharing!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Bashar been shelling Homs

"As many as 20 people were killed in heavy shelling and gunfire in the Syrian city of Homs on Monday, opposition activists said, even as the first group of about 50 Arab League observers was expected to arrive in the country to monitor compliance with a regional peace initiative."

Israel might commemorate Armenian genocide

"The Israeli parliament on Monday held its first public debate on whether to commemorate the Turkish genocide of Armenians a century ago, an emotionally resonant and politically fraught topic for Israel, founded on the ashes of the Holocaust and trying to salvage frayed ties with Turkey.

The session resulted from a rare confluence of political forces — a decades-long effort by some on the left to get Israel to take a leading role in bringing attention to mass murder combined with those on the right angry at the way Turkey has criticized Israel over its policies toward the Palestinians."

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Islamist militants bomb Nigerian Churches on Christmas

"The Boko Haram Islamist sect, which aims to impose sharia law across the country, claimed responsibility for the three church bombs, the second Christmas in a row the group has caused mass carnage with deadly bombings of churches. Security forces also blamed the sect for two other blasts in the north."

This is a major violation of the Qur'an, I would say.

Christmas festivities in Gaza a taboo

"Since the Palestinian Authority left the Gaza Strip, festive celebrations and displays of crucifixes have become taboo.

Christians in Gaza say they face intimidation and arrest over Christmas celebrations since Hamas took charge in 2007.

...Of the 1.5 million Palestinians now living in the Gaza Strip, fewer than 1,400 are Christian and those who can are leaving. The church hopes reconciliation will bring them back.

There hasn't been a Christmas tree in Gaza City's main square since Hamas pushed the Palestinian Authority out of Gaza in 2007 and Christmas is no longer a public holiday."

I wonder if Hamas is violating the Qur'an by doing this. According to the Qur'an, Muslims must respect Christians.

Merry Christmas!

Thanks Bruno for sharing.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

CIA may assist Iraqis with security

If needed....

"As the responsibility for nurturing bilateral relations shifts to the State Department, the responsibility for security assistance moves to the C.I.A., which operates in Iraq under a separate authority, independent of the military.

Although the United States military is unlikely to return to Iraq, it is possible that military counterterrorism personnel could return, if approved by the president, under C.I.A. authority, just as an elite team of Navy commandos carried out the raid that killed Osama bin Laden under C.I.A. command.

The C.I.A. historically has operated its own strike teams, and it also has the authority to hire indigenous operatives to participate in its counterterrorism missions."

Hashemi accuses Iraqi govt of bombing Shia neighborhoods

"Iraq's Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi has said Iraq's government was behind Thursday's series of bombings that killed nearly 70 people in Baghdad."

I think many Sunni Arabs believe this. It's either Iran or the Iraqi government, or both, according to them. I don't hear as many Arabs blaming Americans for bombings that kill civilians.

Thanks Anonymous for posting the link.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sunni Arabs in Iraq protest Maliki govt

"After Friday prayers, with Sunni imams warning Maliki was seeking to foment sectarian divisions, protesters were on the streets of Sunni-dominated Samarra, Ramadi, Baiji and Qaim, many waving banners in support of Hashemi, and criticizing the government."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

They attacked markets, grocery stores, schools, and govt buildings

"Using car bombs and improvised explosive devices, insurgents attacked markets, grocery stores, schools and government buildings in a dozen neighborhoods in central and eastern part of the capital."

Iraq has experienced the equivalent of 300 9/11s since 2003

CSM: "Mr. Maliki has had an arrest warrant issued for Sunni Arab Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, who has fled to autonomous Kurdistan. Mr. Hashemi has been charged with running a death squad. Whatever the merits of the charges against him -- few Iraqi politicians are more than one or two degrees separated from the sectarian violence at the height of Iraq's civil war – the timing of the charges sent a strong message that political consolidation, not reconciliation, is the order of the day.

Since then, the largely Sunni Iraqiya bloc has withdrawn its legislators, Maliki has begun parliamentary proceedings to remove the Sunni Saleh al-Mutlaq from his post as deputy prime minister (a position granted last year in recognition of the strong showing of Iraqiyya at the polls), and the prime minister has threatened to dismiss all of his political rivals from the cabinet and pack the government with Shiite loyalists.

As this paper wrote a few days ago, all of this strongly increases the odds that Iraq could plunge back into a sectarian civil war.

This is not, however, inevitable. The massive scale of Iraq's violence and the cleansing of whole neighborhoods of Christians, Shiites, and Sunnis will reverberate and create challenges for years. At minimum, 100,000 have died from violence in the war. Adjusted for population, that's the equivalent of one million Americans killed, or more than 300 9-11s, since 2003."

16 bombings in 13 Baghdad neighborhoods kill 69 civilians

"A string of explosions ripped through the Iraqi capital on Thursday, killing at least 60 people and injuring nearly 200 just days after the last U.S. troops left the country, police and health officials said.

The attacks came in the midst of a political standoff between the country’s main Shiite and Sunni Muslim factions, heightening fears of a return to the sectarian bloodletting that devastated the country a few years ago.

...There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But the seemingly coordinated attacks bore the hallmarks of Sunni insurgents linked to Al Qaeda, who regularly target Shiites and have previously sought to capitalize on political tension to ignite sectarian strife."

12 of the 13 areas bombed are Shia neighborhoods. One of my co-workers is an Iranian American who hates the mullahs. He's convinced Iran had something to do with the bombings. I hate the mullahs too, but it doesn't make sense to me that Iran would bomb Shia neighborhoods in Iraq. My co-worker said that Iran wants to control Iraq. By bombing Iraqi Shia? I don't get it. It is interesting that my Iranian American co-worker is a Republican.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Best case scenario for Iraq is to be like Russia?

"The best-case scenario for Iraq is that it will be another Russia — an imperfect, corrupt, oil democracy that still holds together long enough so that the real agent of change — a new generation, which takes nine months and 21 years to develop — comes of age in a much more open, pluralistic society. The current Iraqi leaders are holdovers from the old era, just like Vladimir Putin in Russia. They will always be weighed down by the past. But as Putin is discovering — some 21 years after Russia’s democratic awakening began — that new generation thinks differently. I don’t know if Iraq will make it. The odds are really long, but creating this opportunity was an important endeavor, and I have nothing but respect for the Americans, Brits and Iraqis who paid the price to make it possible."

Iranian & Arab extremists did not want democracy in Iraq

"Iran, the Arab dictators and, most of all, Al Qaeda did not want a democracy in the heart of the Arab world, and they tried everything they could — in Al Qaeda’s case, hundreds of suicide bombers financed by Arab oil money — to sow enough fear and sectarian discord to make this democracy project fail." -Thomas Friedman

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Rumors that Maliki to have Sunni VP arrested?

on charges of terrorism?

"Iraq’s political process was unraveling faster than had been anticipated Saturday, with Sunni politicians walking out of the nation’s parliament and threatening to resign from the government even before the last U.S. troops had left the country.

The crisis was triggered by reports that security forces loyal to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, are planning to arrest the country’s Sunni vice president, Tariq al-Hashimi, and charge him with terrorism."

Update: "An Iraqi investigative committee issued an arrest warrant Monday for the country's vice president, who is accused of orchestrating bombing attacks against government and security officials.

The committee of five judges issued the warrant for Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi under Article 4 of the country's anti-terrorism law.

The Interior Ministry, at a news conference, showed what it called confession videos from people identified as security guards for al-Hashimi, the country's Sunni vice president. In the videos, the men described various occasions in which they purportedly carried out attacks under direct orders from al-Hashimi."

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Iraqi Shia and Irani relationship is complicated

Liz Sly, WP: "When a senior Iranian cleric announced last month that he was planning to move to this holy Shiite city to open an office, the furor that erupted offered a glimpse into the future of a complicated relationship.

As American troops leave Iraq, Iran certainly ranks high among the beneficiaries of their eight-year presence. As a Shiite power that suffered enormously during its own eight-year war with a Sunni-dominated Iraq in the 1980s, Iran now can generally count on closer ties with a friendly Shiite government next door.

But the biggest winners of all have been Iraqi Shiites, whose ascent to power reversed nearly 1,400 years of sometimes brutal Sunni domination. And while Iraqi Shiites broadly welcome the departure of Americans, they seem in no mood to substitute one form of foreign domination for another — and least of all, they say, from Iran."

Muslims should learn more science

"More than 150 scholars from Muslim countries discusses the causes and consequences of takfir and its remedies at the event organized by the Prince Naif International Prize for the Sunnah of the Prophet and Contemporary Islamic Studies.

Ahmad Hassan Al-Qawasima and Abdul Shafi Ali of Egypt said they found in a study that most students believed that unscientific education was the cause of takfir tendencies among youths. The two researchers said they surveyed more than 300 students at King Faisal University for the study."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fall of Saddam was cause for celebration, but...

"The fact that Saddam Hussein is gone is a genuine cause for celebration. But the list of errors and horrors in this war is inexcusably long, starting with a rush to invasion based on manipulated intelligence.

The Bush administration had no plan for governing the country once Saddam was deposed. The Iraqi economy still bears the scars from the first frenzied days of looting. The decision to disband the Sunni-dominated Iraqi Army helped unleash five years of sectarian strife that has not fully abated. Iraq’s political system remains deeply riven by ethnic and religious differences."

War in Iraq is ending for Americans, maybe not for Iraqis

'Iraqis will be left with a country that is not exactly at war, and not exactly at peace. It has improved in many ways since the 2007 troop “surge,” but it is still a shattered country marred by violence and political dysfunction, a land defined on sectarian lines whose future, for better or worse, is now in the hands of its people.

“It is the end for the Americans only,” Emad Risn, an Iraqi columnist, recently wrote in Assabah al-Jadeed, a government-financed newspaper. “Nobody knows if the war will end for Iraqis, too.” '

Thursday, December 15, 2011

US officially ends Iraq war

LAT: 'The violence also goes on — by some estimates, an average of 30 bombings and other attacks each week and about 10 deaths a day. That death toll is roughly 20% of what it was during the worst days of the Shiite-Sunni warfare in 2006.

More than 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed, according to Iraq Body Count, a website that has tracked the war. About 12% died at the hands of American forces and the rest in terrorist attacks, sectarian violence and extrajudicial executions.

The security of civilians is now the responsibility of Iraqi troops and police, visible on virtually every major street in Baghdad, searching passing cars and patrolling avenues. More than a year ago, they took over security responsibilities after U.S. forces withdrew from Iraq's cities.

With the Americans gone, it is up to men like Cpl. Hatim Abdul Kareem to help control the country's endemic violence. He has his doubts. A Shiite, he lost a cousin to sectarian violence. He fears more bloodletting after U.S. troops leave.

"After the Americans are gone, there will be war in the streets," he said. "This is not just me saying this. Other soldiers are saying this. My family, my friends, they're all saying the violence will get worse." '

Bahraini police think Bahraini protesters are paid by Iran

Nicholas Kristof: 'The royal family in this U.S. ally of Bahrain deserves credit for turning a desert island in the Persian Gulf into a modern banking center. The rulers have educated Bahrainis, built a large English-speaking middle class, empowered women and fostered such moderation that the ambassador to Washington is a woman from Bahrain's tiny Jewish community.

Yet our pals here also represent a brutal, family-run dictatorship, and few countries crushed the Arab Spring so decisively as Bahrain. The regime helpfully displayed this darker side a few days ago when riot police attacked the video journalist accompanying me and detained both of us.

...The police promptly detained me. They wedged me in the back seat of a different police car but treated me courteously. The detention turned out to be a fascinating "embed," because the police freely shared their venomous hatred of the protesters and their delusional view that they are all paid by Iran.'

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Some Americans don't like portrayal of Muslims as peaceful

Last night on GAWKER: "On tonight's Daily Show, Jon Stewart took a look at the controversy surrounding TLC's new show, All American Muslim, and the Tampa-based group that hates it. Because the Muslims depicted in the show aren't shown to be terrorists bent on destroying America, the Florida Family Association can't abide it. Like most zealots, all they want is their stereotypes reinforced. Is it too much to ask for Bravo to whip up a season of the The Real Martyrs of Jalalabad? Sheesh."

I love the writer(s) at GAWKER. And of course Jon Stewart is awesome as usual:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Did Gene Sharp start revolutions?

I'm watching "How to Start a Revolution" on CURRENT TV. WOW. I learned about Gene Sharp through the Angry Arab, who didn't have great things to say about Sharp, but until recently I did not know who Gene Sharp is. The Angry Arab does not believe Gene Sharp deserves so much attention. He wrote "All Arab uprisings have had violence in them."

The documentary portrays Sharp as influential in the revolutions of eastern Europe and of the Middle East this year. Many revolutionaries were interviewed and they acknowledge Gene Sharp's influence. The documentary mentioned that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood published Gene Sharp's writings on their web site. An American influenced the Muslim Brotherhood! That is impressive.

The Iranian regime does not like Gene Sharp and think he is a CIA agent! It's funny. I can relate, as I have also been accused of working for the CIA!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Embarrassing to see Shia defending al Assad

It is embarrassing to see Shia defending Bashar al Assad's regime. Hasan Nasrallah defended the dictator. Iran of course is defending him. Even one of my own relatives says the footage out of Syria is fake. Fake!?? Watch Barbara Walters' interview with Bashar al Assad and tell me the video is fake, 3ammu.

We Shia should be supporting democracy in Syria, even if many Syrians did not support democracy in Iraq.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Assad wants "evidence" of his regime's crimes

Bashar al Assad seems to be living in a parallel universe, as if he does not know of brutality and murder by his own goons. He tells Barbara Walters that he has seen no evidence of brutality against Syrian protesters!

Barbara Walters gives some examples of torture and murder by Assad's regime:

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He said only a "crazy" leader kills his own people. He really sees himself as a legitimate leader still.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Obama: "Trickle-Down Economics" doesn't work

Obama gave a good speech today. It's been a while! He said trickle-down economics doesn't work, has never worked.

"Tax cuts for the wealthy, primarily those passed by Republicans in 2001 and 2003, lowered rates for the richest Americans to historically low levels — but those cuts were followed by massive deficits and weak job growth, not the economic boom conservatives promised."

Monday, December 05, 2011

Ashura, day of sorrow

"At least 20 people — many of them women and children — were killed in three bomb blasts about 50 miles south of Baghdad, security officials and hospital officials said. Dozens more were injured.

In the capital, another three explosions in heavily Shiite neighborhoods left three people dead and nearly 20 wounded, police officials said.

The attacks came as hundreds of thousands of worshipers flocked to the holy city of Karbala to celebrate Ashura, which commemorates the death of a foundational figure in Shiite Islam more than 1,000 years ago."

Ashura has been attacked before, and not just in Iraq, but Iraqi Shia have been the primary victims of Wahhabi terrorism since 2003.

More on Ashura: "Shia Imams strongly insist that the day of Ashura should not be taken as a day of joy and festivity. According to a hadith which is reported from Ali claiming it was on that day the God forgave Adam, Noah's Ark rested on dry land, The Israelites were saved from Pharaoh's army, etc. The day of Ashura, according to Eighth Shia Imam, Ali al-Rida, must be observed as a day of inactivity, sorrow and total disregard of worldly cares."

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Al Jazeera sucks (again)

Hayder al-Khoei: "Arab broadcasting has never been renowned for neutrality but the events of the past week in Saudi Arabia have revealed some interesting – if not surprising – bias.

On 20 November, 19-year-old Nasser al-Mheishi was shot dead in Qatif, Saudi Arabia. When the authorities refused to hand over his body to his family, protests ensued the next day and security forces shot another young man, Ali al-Felfel. In the demonstration that followed on Wednesday, two more protesters, Munib al-Adnan and Ali al-Qarayrees, were killed.

On Thursday, al-Jazeera Arabic did mention those two deaths but it simply echoed the Saudi authorities' claims that the security forces were fired upon and shot back in self-defence. The casualties were merely caught in the crossfire. End of story.

Even Al-Jazeera English, which does better than its Arabic sister station, did not follow up its coverage of deaths at Qatif protests"

Unbearable and Unfathomable

"David Emanuel Hickman, 23, was the 4,483rd American military member killed in Iraq, according to, and just the second in November. He was the 53rd to die this year, by far the lowest annual total of the war and 16 times lower than the peak rate in 2007.

Although combat operations have officially been considered over since September 2010, danger remains. Every death in war is tragic, but the loss of a son or daughter as a war winds down seems all the more unbearable and unfathomable."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Will the fall of Assad throw the Middle East into turmoil?

Patrick Cockburn: "The fall of the government in Syria will not be confined to one country, as happened in Libya. It will throw the whole Middle East into turmoil. Turkish leaders say privately they have been given a free hand by the US and Britain to do what they want. But the Saudis have no wish to see Turkey become the champions of the Muslim world. The battle for Syria is already producing fresh rivalries and the seeds of future conflicts."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Does Israel control America?

Is the man in the video below anti-semitic? I don't think so. He is merely telling the truth, it seems to me. It is an objective assessment, as he says. Israel is our friend and should be our friend in that troubled region, he says. But he says some things that might offend strong supporters of Israel. Is it wrong or anti-Jewish to suggest that Israel controls America?

Is it true that Israel receives $15 billion per year from the American taxpayer? I thought it was $3 billion per year in military aid, and the economic aid ended some time ago. I will have to look more into this.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Police pepper spray nonviolent students at UC Davis

In America! I say that as if America is exceptional, somehow superior to most countries in terms of human rights. Maybe I should not expect such high standards from America. Or should I?

It's one thing for a a police officer to defend himself against a violent criminal by pepper spraying the criminal in the face. It's a very different thing when you see a police officer pepper spraying passive students at a university that is supposed to be all about tolerance and justice. The only explanation that I can think of is that this police officer's superior officer told him to do this, in which case that superior officer must be fired.

This happened on Friday afternoon. Today the media is giving this incident a lot of coverage, thankfully.

If UC Davis wants to maintain its image as a great liberal university, the university must fire the police officers who pepper sprayed the students. Their superior officers should be fired as well. It is not enough that the chief and the pepper sprayers are put on "administrative leave", especially if they are paid while on leave. The schmucks should not be rewarded with a vacation. They should be fired immediately.

Friday, November 18, 2011

"All American Muslim"

'For those constantly fretting about the inability of Muslims to integrate or assimilate into western culture, fret no more!

American Muslims finally have their own reality TV show – the Learning Channel's "All-American Muslim" – focusing on the lives of five American Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan, who are predominantly Lebanese and Shiite. The show's premiere gave TLC huge ratings and made the show No 2 in its time period. Mainstream critics have embraced the show citing it as "intimate and informative" and a "deeply intriguing, uncharacteristically thoughtful reality series".'

I remember a few people on Angry Arab in 2006 and 2007 who said that I could not be Iraqi and American. I wonder if they know there are hundreds of thousands of Muslims of all backgrounds living in America.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Occupy" is everywhere

The "occupy" movement in America got crushed yesterday and today. American police are looking more like Middle Eastern police. Well maybe not that bad. But things got violent in many cities. NYC police were "very aggressive". Seattle police used large canisters of pepper spray, and they used it abundantly on the crowd. An 80+ year old woman was hit, and an Iraq war veteran helped her stand up.

The movement is growing, even if protesters are expelled from parks and arrested by the hundreds. Just like you can't kill protests in the middle east, you can't kill protests in America. Americans are becoming more educated about the income disparity between 1% of Americans and the rest of Americans. I am part of the 99%. I am right in the middle of it. Truly middle class. I don't want to pay higher taxes. I want the people with top incomes to pay higher taxes.

Many people (truly smart people) with top incomes demand they be taxed higher. These are patriotic millionaires:

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The occupy movement is everywhere. Even millionaires agree with the 99%.

"Freedom of assembly, sometimes used interchangeably with the freedom of association, is the individual right to come together and collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests. The right to freedom of association is recognized as a human right, a political freedom and a civil liberty."

Colin Powell said recently that protests are as American as apple pie. He's right, of course.

What Obama actually said

Republican candidates Rick Perry and Mitt Romney do what they are good at: quoting Obama out of context. Apparently they are getting away with it. They know how to spread a lie.

Thankfully we have Lawrence O'Donnell to explain it:

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Iraq executes Tunisian for bombing of Askari shrine

'Iraq executed a Tunisian man convicted of the 2006 bombing of a revered Shiite shrine that set off the worst of the country’s sectarian violence, a senior Iraqi official said Thursday.

Deputy Justice Minister Busho Ibrahim said that Yusri Fakhir, who was convicted early this year of the bombing on the al-Askari shrine in Sunni city of Samarra, was executed Wednesday in Baghdad. Ten other people — one Egyptian and nine Iraqis — also were executed on unrelated terrorism convictions, Ibrahim said.

The Tunisian Foreign Ministry expressed its “regret and displeasure” following the execution, which happened “despite the efforts undertaken by the Tunisian state” to try to win a reprieve for Fakhir.

Last week, Tunisia’s interim president sent a letter to his Iraqi counterpart, Jalal Talabani, asking for Fakhir’s release.

Fakhir’s father told the Tunisian state news agency TAP that his son was innocent of any crime.

“I consider my son a martyr and his final resting place is paradise,” Fakhir Trigui said. “There is no reason to be ashamed because he did nothing wrong.” '

He was innocent of any crime? He did nothing wrong? Did the schmuck go to Iraq as a tourist?

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Why is Iran jailing its students?

A few days ago I received emails from Amnesty International regarding the detention of students in Iran:

'Did you know you could be arrested in Iran for "insulting the president?"

That is what happened to Behareh Hedayat, a student leader, in 2009 -- and she is still in prison.

Since Iran's 2009 election, thousands of students and other peaceful protesters have been arrested by a repressive government with little tolerance for dissent. Individuals demanding political reform and human rights protections have been jailed and sometimes even tortured for their beliefs.'


In Iran, students continue to face egregious forms of repression and human rights abuses, as the Iranian authorities attempt to exert control over students opposed to their policies. Those who dare speak out do so at great risk and with devastating consequences.

Majid Tavakkoli and Behareh Hedayat are two student leaders who were arrested after they participated in demonstrations calling for social and political reforms.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

It's ok to be a Muslim in America

‎"Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no. That's not America. Is there something wrong with a seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing he or she could be president? Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion that he is a Muslim and might have an association with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel particularly strong about this because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay, was of a mother at Arlington Cemetery and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone, and it gave his awards - Purple Heart, Bronze Star - showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death, he was 20 years old. And then at the very top of the head stone, it didn't have a Christian cross. It didn't have a Star of David. It has a crescent and star of the Islamic faith.

And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan. And he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was fourteen years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he could serve his country and he gave his life."

- Colin Powell in 2008

I found the quote and photo on a facebook page called "I actually do SUPPORT MY PRESIDENT". Many excellent photos, cartoons, and quotes there.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Can't convert to Christianity in Iran

"Government officials in Iran are trying to convince a jailed pastor to return to Islam as he waits for the nation’s supreme leader to decide whether he should be executed for converting to Christianity, sources close to the case told"

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Most Americans support withdrawing from Iraq

"According to a recent Gallup poll,75 percent of Americans support President Obama's recent decision to withdraw nearly all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. Democrats and independents were strongly in favor of the troop withdrawal, while a slight majority Republicans disapproved of the decision."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Top 1% in America get much richer

LAT: "The rich have gotten richer over the last three decades -- and the very rich have gotten very richer -- far outpacing the middle class, according to a new government study."

The news is all over the US media: income disparity grows exponentially. In America!

"Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret."

There is another graph that shows the line escalating sharply. I will update this post later.

and a more amusing photo going around facebook:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Most sophisticated IEDs designed in Iran

"Electronic parts made in Minnesota were smuggled through Singapore to Iran, and some of them ended up in the remote controls of makeshift bombs seized by American forces in Iraq, the Justice Department said on Tuesday.

The parts are normally used in commonplace devices like routers that wirelessly connect computers and printers in a typical office network. The Justice Department said in an indictment that the ones smuggled to Iran had been put to use in sophisticated improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.’s, that could be triggered from miles away.

...About 60 percent of all American casualties in Iraq have been caused by makeshift bombs, and the American military has long reported finding evidence that the most sophisticated and deadly of them were designed or fabricated in Iran.

By implicating Iran, at least circumstantially, in insurgent attacks on American soldiers in Iraq, the charges add to the ever worsening tensions between the countries. Two weeks ago, the United States accused Iran of complicity in a foiled plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington."

Global warming confirmed by a skeptical scientist

'The latest icy blast of reality comes from an eminent scientist whom the climate-change skeptics once lauded as one of their own. Richard Muller, a respected physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, used to dismiss alarmist climate research as being “polluted by political and activist frenzy.” Frustrated at what he considered shoddy science, Muller launched his own comprehensive study to set the record straight. Instead, the record set him straight.

"Global warming is real,” Muller wrote last week in The Wall Street Journal.'

Monday, October 24, 2011

Arab Hypocrisy on US Embassies

A day after I expressed my belief that Iraq should maintain diplomatic ties with the US in a post about Muqtada al Sadr's comment about the US embassy, a Canadian Palestinian said I am a traitor for defending the occupier. Just because I want to see Iraq maintain diplomatic ties with the US? He said if I ever said this stuff in any Arab country I would most likely be lynched.

Tonight I watched this:

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Syrian protesters in Hama greeted the American ambassador with flowers. The Palestinian in Canada, like most Sunni Arabs everywhere, presumably support the protesters in Hama. At the same time a large number of them condemn or have condemned Iraqis who want normalized relations with the US. There are US embassies in every Arab capital now, yet only Iraqis are condemned for it. I wonder if the munafiqeen know they are munafiqeen.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sadr considers US embassy staff in Baghdad as "occupiers"

'In response to a question from one of his followers, Sadr now says that after the expiration of the SOFA, the staff of the embassy should be considered “occupiers” and must be “resisted”. '

On one hand I see Muqtada al Sadr as an ungrateful fundamentalist majnoon. His opposition to the US does not make sense, given that the US overthrew the dictator who murdered his father and his two oldest brothers in 1999.

On the other hand I can understand why Muqtada al Sadr and his followers would distrust the US, given that the US could have overthrown the dictator in 1991 after bombing Iraq for 40 consecutive days and marching to the outskirts of Baghdad. By the 29th day of the 1991 bombing, the "Allied air campaign passes 40,000-sortie mark - 10,000 more missions than were flown against Japan in final 14 months of World War II."

Based on comments by Americans for posts about 1991, some Americans seem to think the Iraqis should not be angry or bitter about what the US should have done differently in 1991. Some think Iraqis should blame the Saudis, who were afraid of Iran taking over. So did the US allow Saddam to fly his helicopters because the Saudis did not want to see the Shia take over Iraq? Did KSA & USA have common interests? Or was KSA in charge? Is America KSA's bitch? It seems that way, especially when you consider that KSA was not punished for 9/11. The friendship seemed to flourish, actually.

For Americans and Saudis, 1991 turned out to be a good year. They got it all: a short war with relatively little casualties, KSA paid for the war and Sunni Arab domination of Iraq continued. Few Americans and Arabs were interested in helping Iraqis overthrow the Saddam.

Despite the bad things that happened and the mistakes, I would say the average Iraqi does not agree with Muqtada al Sadr and would like to see normal relations with the US. Iraq needs international assistance to develop into a prosperous nation.

Friday, October 21, 2011

All US troops to leave Iraq by end of 2011

"President Obama announced Friday that the United States will withdraw nearly all troops from Iraq by the end of the year, effectively bringing the long and polarizing war in Iraq to an end."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Qadhafi is dead

Haha. The talk in the US media is a lot about the killing of Qaddafi, and a US drone was involved, according to Lawrence O'Donnell. Many commentators on MSNBC are comparing it to how the US acted against Iraq. It is a valid comparison, but they don't go into how Iraq and Libya were very different. It is interesting how some Republicans are reacting - they're playing down American involvement, don't want to give too much credit to Obama.

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Rachel Maddow is portraying it as a "Responsibility to Protect", as in protect civilians. America will "work with others" and liberals are praising the way Obama has conducted his foreign policy. It is impressive, even though he doesn't have to deal with major civil war in Libya.

I wonder how different Iraq would have been if the US had helped Iraqis kill Saddam. It would have taken serious help, and the US should have done it in 1991, after bombing the shiite out of the place.

Anyway, it is always good to see a dictator go down. I hope Libya becomes a progressive democracy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ayn Rand hated altruism

A very clever video that shows what Republicans are all about:

Paul Ryan says Ayn Rand did a "fantastic job" of explaining the "morality" of capitalism. What morality is that schmuck talking about? Ayn Rand was a selfish individualist who hated altruism and socialism. She did not believe in love for our fellow human. And these Republicans who love Ayn Rand call themselves Christians! Either these Republicans do not understand Ayn Rand's philosophy or they do not understand Christianity. Perhaps it is both.

Some Republicans are smart

Some Republicans learned from their mistakes:

"Republicans favor tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, but these had no stimulative effect during the George W. Bush administration and there is no reason to believe that more of them will have any today."

--Bruce Bartlett, who held senior policy roles in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations

Monday, October 10, 2011

Egyptian police kill 25 Egyptian Christian protesters

No surprise that the Mujrimeen, I mean Muslimeen, would kill Christians, but is this the new Egypt?

"At least 25 people were killed in Cairo when government troops crushed a demonstration of Coptic Christians over an attack on a church. It was the worst violence Egypt has seen since the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

The protest was aimed at Egypt's new military leaders, blaming them for failing to protect the Christian community from attacks by radical Islamists, such as the partial demolishing of a church in Aswan province last week."

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Tea Party vs. "THC" Party

Jon Stewart takes a humorous look at the "Occupy Wall Street" protests that started in NYC and are spreading across the country. I love how he compares FOX News' coverage of the Tea Party to their coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protesters, whom he sarcastically suggests may be called the "THC" party.

Also watch a NYPD "white shirt" pepper spray peaceful protesters.

"Inside Job"

I gotta watch this documentary.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Steve Jobs was a great American

Steve Jobs died today. It was not unexpected, but it was still shocking. He was relatively young and he had a huge impact on the computer industry. Macintosh was always more expensive than Windows-run computers. When I bought my first Mac in 2008, I understood why.

After I read the news I got on facebook. I happened to see a post by an Arab American, who wrote on her page: "in case you didn't know; the arab that made apple" and linked to this article: "Steve Jobs Dies: He Was The Most Famous Arab in the World". Steve Jobs was an Arab? LOL! A couple of hours after that I got back on facebook, saw another friend express her gratitude to Steve Jobs. A friend of hers wrote on her post "Did you know he is Sryian".

After I bought my Mac and then my iPhone I saw Apple's stock explode. Last year while visiting London I visited the Apple store on Regents street and I was not surprised to see huge crowds there. During my visit I read an article that said that Apple store on Regents street was the most profitable per square foot in London in 2009. After I returned home I wanted to know more about the genius who founded Apple, so I read the Wikipedia article. From that article I learned that Steve Jobs was born to a Syrian father and American mother, who gave him up for adoption. He was adopted by an American couple named Paul and Clara Jobs. So I was a little surprised to see Arabs and Arab Americans claiming that Steve Jobs was Syrian or Arab!

I wonder if Steve Jobs even knew his biological father, and I wonder if he would have become the genius he was if he was raised by his Syrian American biological father, a political science professor!

Steve Jobs was not Syrian, not an Arab, had nothing to do with Arabs except that his biological father was an Arab. Steve Jobs was a great American.

Bahrain court jails more activists

"A Bahraini security court has sentenced 26 activists to prison for their part in anti-government protests, raising to 60 the total number convicted over the past two days in stepped-up prosecutions.

Bahraini authorities on Tuesday also banned the largely Shia opposition from organising a "human chain" demonstration against the jailing of medics and activists.

The official Bahrain News Agency said Tuesday's verdicts included members of a Shia political group, Al Amal, which was banned by the Sunni monarchy after pro-reform protests began in February."

Thanks Ghassan for posting on fb.

Were the numbers of US troops in Iraq enough to avoid tens of thousands of deaths of innocent Iraqis?

Al Jazeera reporter Abderrahim Foukara asks former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld if he made adequate preparations for the invasion of Iraq to avoid tens of thousands of deaths of innocent Iraqis. As if Arabs really cared about the deaths of innocent Iraqis! But it is a good question, and obviously the answer is no.

Also interesting is the charge that it is in Foukara's "nature" to be pejorative. It is not in the Arab "nature" to be pejorative. It is in the Arab nature to be a hypocrite. LOL

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Saudi women will be allowed to vote, but they will not be allowed to drive

"Two days after Saudi King Abdullah's historic decision to allow women to participate in elections, two Saudi women were punished for breaking the ban on female driving: One was sentenced 10 lashes by a court in Jeddah and another was detained in Riyadh."

PS: Every article I've read about this story implies that KSA is a democracy. It's not.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Obama Says Palestinians Are Using Wrong Forum"

What forum are they supposed to use? Isn't the UN the forum the Zionists used to establish their state?

"Obama Says Palestinians Are Using Wrong Forum"

"President Obama declared his opposition to the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood through the Security Council on Wednesday, throwing the weight of the United States directly in the path of the Arab democracy movement even as he hailed what he called the democratic aspirations that have taken hold throughout the Middle East and North Africa."

Iraq calls for Assad to step down

NYT: 'After months of striking a far friendlier tone toward the government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, the Iraqi government has joined a chorus of other nations calling on him to step down.

An adviser to the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, said in an interview on Tuesday that the Iraqi government had sent messages to Mr. Assad that said he should resign.

“We believe that the Syrian people should have more freedom and have the right to experience democracy,” said the adviser, Ali al-Moussawi. “We are against the one-party rule and the dictatorship that hasn’t allowed for the freedom of expression.” '

Iran releases American hikers

Good news!

"Iranian state-run media said Wednesday that two Americans arrested two years ago while hiking along the Iran-Iraq frontier and imprisoned on espionage charges had been released."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sabra & Shatila

I just watched Waltz With Bashir on YouTube. The animated documentary was chosen as one of the "50 Documentaries To See Before You Die" on Current TV. I wanted to watch the film on Netflix, but I couldn't find it there. So I went to YouTube and found it there. It wasn't until half way through the film that I realized the massacre the characters referred to was Sabra & Shatila. I have read a lot about this massacre. This is the first time I have seen a documentary about it, and in this clip there is some gruesome footage that I've never seen before:

"Wain al 3arab" (where are the Arabs?), screams one woman. It's a scream that was no doubt repeated by many Palestinians in the last 60 years. The Arabs were fighting Iran, it turns out.

PS: I just read this in Robert Fisk's "Pity the Nation":

"Pregnant women will give birth to terrorists; the children when they grow up will be terrorists."
--Phalangist involved in the Sabra and Chatila massacre, when questioned by an Israeli tank crew, west Beirut 17 September 1982

"We know, it's not to our liking, and don't interfere."
--Message from an Israeli army battalion commander to his men, on learning that Palestinians were being massacred 17 September 1982

Monday, September 19, 2011

KSA beheads man who committed "witchcraft and sorcery"

'Saudi Arabia beheaded a Sudanese man by sword in the western city of Medina on Monday after he was convicted of practicing sorcery, the Interior Ministry announced.

Abdul Hamid al-Fakki "practiced witchcraft and sorcery," which are illegal under Saudi Arabia's Islamic sharia law, said a ministry statement carried by state news agency SPA.'

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What Israel should have done

Thomas Friedman: 'What could Israel have done? The Palestinian Authority, which has made concrete strides in the past five years at building the institutions and security forces of a state in the West Bank — making life there quieter than ever for Israel — finally said to itself: “Our state-building has not prompted Israel to halt settlements or engage in steps to separate, so all we’re doing is sustaining Israel’s occupation. Let’s go to the U.N., get recognized as a state within the 1967 borders and fight Israel that way.” Once this was clear, Israel should have either put out its own peace plan or tried to shape the U.N. diplomacy with its own resolution that reaffirmed the right of both the Palestinian and the Jewish people to a state in historic Palestine and reignited negotiations.

Mr. Netanyahu did neither. Now the U.S. is scrambling to defuse the crisis, so the U.S. does not have to cast a U.N. veto on a Palestinian state, which could be disastrous in an Arab world increasingly moving toward more popular self-rule.'

Zanga Zanga!

In celebration of Qadhafi's downfall.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Most Arabs remain in denial about 9/11

"Ten years on from 9/11, the Arab world remains in denial. A recent Pew study shows the majorities in all Muslim states think that Arabs were not responsible for the attacks of September the 11th. Three out of four Egyptians hold that belief, for example."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

"New evidence links Saudi Arabia to 9/11 hijackers"

New evidence? LOL. Many Americans still don't know, maybe don't care, how many Saudis were involved in the hijackings on 9/11/01.

"Weeks after terrorists brought down the World Trade Center, FBI agents swarmed into a Sarasota gated community to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a wealthy young Saudi couple who apparently had ties to some of the hijackers.

The couple and their two children abandoned their home abruptly, just a week or so before Sept. 11, leaving behind cars, furniture and food on countertops.

According to one published report, the FBI discovered phone calls between the house and at least two of the hijackers and several other terrorism suspects stretching back a year.

Yet until a Fort Lauderdale website reported the news this week, no mention of the couple has ever appeared publicly — not in the Sept. 11 commission report, nor in FBI briefings to congressional investigators, former Florida Sen. Bob Graham said Friday."

But wow. It took 10 years for authorities to start investigating this link.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Usama bin Ladin's Al Qaeda did 9/11

This morning when I checked my facebook page I read a post by "Global Liberation Network":

'Some people don't believe Bin Laden and his al-Qaida group were behind the Sept 11 coordinated attacks on the US. Some even go so far as to believing the towers fell due to blasts on the ground level. Let's be rational. Bin Laden himself has stated the attacks were al-Qaida's work, and that he helped organize them. He has also stated their motives.'

I agreed and liked the post, and then I read the comments. I was surprised to see so many "truthers" who believe that 9/11 was an inside job, and I was really surprised by the number of westerners (with western names, at least) who liked the comments by the truthers.

One of the administrators posted this recording of bin Laden claiming responsibility for the attack, and explaining why it was done:

"May peace be on those who follow the light of guidance" he says. How ironic that he would mix peace with mass murder.

One truther, whose profile pic is "9/11 Truth", wrote "CIA has been caught making the bin laden tapes.FBI doesn't mention 9/11 in connection with bin laden's FBI most wanted list because they state themselves that there is NO evidence linking him to it. Don't mislead the sheep..."

CIA made the tapes? Don't mislead the sheep? Really? 10 people liked his comment, and they all have western names!

The only comment I left was a link to the Popular Mechanics article that debunks the conspiracy theories. Nobody responded to that.

The GLN admin posted this video later in the day.

It is amazing how many people think 9/11 was not done by Arab terrorists.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Journalist who criticized Iraqi govt is murdered

'Iraqi authorities should conduct an immediate, full, and transparent investigation into the September 8, 2011 killing of Hadi al-Mahdi, a popular radio journalist often critical of the government, at his home in Baghdad, and prosecute those responsible, Human Rights Watch said today.

“The killing of Hadi al-Mahdi sadly highlights that journalism in Iraq remains a deadly profession,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “After more than six years of democratic rule, Iraqis who publicly express their views still do so at great peril.”

Witnesses at the crime scene told Human Rights Watch that they saw no evidence of a struggle or theft, suggesting that the killing was deliberate. Al-Mahdi’s cell phone, laptop, and other valuables were left in the house untouched.

Al-Mahdi, a freelance journalist and theater director, had been openly critical of government corruption and social inequality in Iraq. His popular talk radio program, “To Whoever Listens,” ran three times a week in Baghdad before he left the show two months ago. The program’s appeal was al-Mahdi’s fearless and scathing voice, laced with a sense of humor, Human Rights Watch said. Leading up to the country’s “Day of Anger” mass pro-democracy and anti-corruption demonstrations on February 25, he became increasingly involved as a vocal organizer of Iraq’s new protest movement in Baghdad.'

Sunday, September 04, 2011

12,284 civilians killed in suicide bombings in Iraq 2003 - 2010

"While sophisticated roadside bombs have taken a heavy toll on American troops over the course of the war here, suicide bombings have largely been a hallmark of sectarian warfare. Independent researchers have now tried to quantify their damage, poring through data compiled from death reports to conclude that more than 12,000 Iraqis have been killed in at least 1,000 suicide attacks since the American-led invasion.

...According to the paper, from March 20, 2003, to the end of 2010, suicide bombers killed 12,284 Iraqi civilians and wounded 30,644 others. The attacks killed 200 coalition troops, including 175 from the United States."

Thanks idit for posting.

According to this Wikipedia article, there were 1,759 suicide bombings in Iraq between 2003 and 2010.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Iraq is very different from Libya

Iraq is surrounded by assholes. Excellent writing by Fouad Ajami, as usual:

"The Iraqis should be envious. Their new order, midwifed by the Americans, had been delivered into a hostile environment. The neighborhood was treacherous. To the east bulked Iran, presumably a Shiite sister republic of the new Iraq but in truth a spoiler determined to thwart the American project there. Those in the know understood that the Shiite faith could never bridge the Arab-Persian divide, and that Iran would be a burden on post-Saddam Iraq and its leaders.

To the West, there was the Syrian regime. There but for the grace of God go we, the Syrian rulers thought. Syria presented an exquisite illustration of political cynicism—an Alawite tyranny providing a conduit into Iraq for Sunni jihadists from all Arab lands drawn by the thrill of battling and killing American soldiers and Iraqi Shiites. To divert attention from itself at a time of its own panic and vulnerability, Syria's regime did all it could to set Iraq ablaze.

Everywhere Iraqis looked there was trouble. The Turks had schemes of their own and proxies in Iraq (the Turkomen community), and they were keen to monitor and limit the aspirations of the Kurds. Jordan was hostile. Saddam had long been a hero in that country, and the Sunni pan-Arab doctrines had long held sway among Jordanians and Palestinians alike in that binational state.

Nor were the two most influential Arab states, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, favorably disposed toward the new Iraq. To the rulers in Cairo and Riyadh, the jumbled mix of freedom and tumult, and the defeat of the Iraqi Sunnis, were heralds of trouble. Iran was pushing ever deeper into Arab affairs, the balance of power in the region was being altered. There had been uncontested Sunni primacy in Arab lands, but Baghdad—a city of great meaning and consequence in Arab-Islamic history—had fallen to the Shiite stepchildren, and the Americans had brought it all about.

Libya is blissfully free of the poison of that primitive Sunni-Shiite schism."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Elderly man turns suicide bomber at Baghdad mosque

An elderly man?

"An elderly man swathed in bandages blew himself up in Baghdad's biggest Sunni mosque killing up to 29 people in a suicide attack blamed on al Qaeda.

The blast killed a member of Iraq's parliament and wounded 38 when it tore through a crowd of about 200 worshippers at the Um al-Qura mosque."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Al Qaeda in Iraq regrouping

'U.S. officials said al Qaeda's global second-in-command, Atiyah abd al-Rahman -- a Libyan who played a key role in managing ties between the leadership and al Qaeda in Iraq -- was killed in Pakistan last week.

But al Qaeda's resurgence, along with Shi'ite militias often funded and armed by neighbor Iran, represents a dangerous sectarian mix for Iraq as Syria seethes next door and U.S. forces aim to leave by year-end.

"There was a thought that al Qaeda has ended in Iraq. No, they regrouped and now the third generation of al Qaeda is working actively to reorganize itself with weapons and training," Lieutenant-General Hussein Kamal, Iraq's deputy interior minister for intelligence, told Reuters.'

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Will Qadhafi pull a Saddam?

'Like Saddam, Gadhafi is thought to have access to millions of dollars stashed away over the years. He has loyalists who benefited from his long rule and who, like the Iraqi leader's Baathist followers, believe they have nothing to gain and everything to fear from a new Libyan government.

"What we've learned is that finding one individual particularly in a tribal area is tough, despite all of technology we have, with our ability to collect intelligence sources together," said retired Lt. Col. John Nagl, who served in Iraq's al-Anbar province in 2003.

"The good news is Libya has a long coast line and the population is clustered close to the shore," said Nagl, who now heads the Washington-based Center for a New American Security. "The bad news is we have few, if any, Americans on the ground, and this is a society we don't understand very well." '

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Munich terrorists were trained in Libya

I'm watching "One Day in September" on Current TV, and I decided to read the Wiki article, which turned out to be timely:

"The documentary begins with an advertisement by the Munich Tourism Bureau with a beautiful young girl inviting the world to visit the city for the Olympics, then shows interviews with the wives of some of the murdered athletes, including Ankie Spitzer, widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer. The film also features the first known filmed interview with Jamal Al-Gashey, allegedly the only surviving terrorist. Al-Gashey, who is in hiding in Africa, wears a cap and sunglasses and his face is slightly blurred.

There are various shots of the Games getting under way, and attention is given to the lax security the Germans had at the Games. The terrorists are seen preparing for the assault; Al-Gashey claims that he and the other members were trained in Libya before going to West Germany to begin the assault."

Amazing how much terrorism Qadhafi funded.

PS: One Day in September is a MUST SEE documentary.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lebanese Shia want to know what happened to Musa al Sadr

"The Lebanese militant Hezbollah group has called on Libyan rebels to help uncover the fate of Moussa al-Sadr, a charismatic Shiite cleric who disappeared during a trip to Libya more than 30 years ago.

Many in Lebanon have blamed the disappearance on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

The mystery of the missing imam remains a burning issue for Shiites in Lebanon, including leaders of the powerful Hezbollah. Framed photos of al-Sadr adorn the shops and homes of Lebanese Shiites, and the day he was last seen, on Aug. 31, 1978, is annually marked in Lebanon.

The Lebanese Shiite leader had flown to Tripoli for a week of talks with Libyan officials. He was never seen or heard from again, along with his two traveling companions."

Iran punishes Hamas for not supporting Assad

"Iran has turned off the tap of funds to Hamas after the Islamist movement that controls Gaza failed to show public support for the embattled regime of the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, Reuters reported."

Read more:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Juan Cole defends NATO action in Libya

He says people in the region were very happy to see somebody rescue the revolutionaries from being bombed to death.

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Syrians inspired by Libya taunt Assad

"Taking inspiration from the rapid unraveling of the regime in Libya, thousands of Syrians poured into the streets Monday and taunted President Bashar Assad with shouts that his family's 40-year dynasty will be the next dictatorship to crumble.

Assad, who has tried in vain to crush the 5-month-old revolt, appears increasingly out of touch as he refuses to acknowledge the hundreds of thousands of people demanding his ouster, analysts say. Instead, he blames the unrest on Islamic extremists and thugs."

That would really suck if Islamic extremists and thugs actually take over Libya and Syria. The other day on fb Hayder al Khoei was "wondering how many of the Libyan rebels now fighting Gaddafi were once upon a time in Iraq killing innocent people with Gaddafi's blessings." I am still wondering, and I also wonder how many Syrians who oppose Assad were supporting the insurgency in Iraq at some point since 2003. In any case, I am with the people who want freedom and democracy, and I hope for peace between the Arab countries.

Iranian cult murdered Iraqis

In the 1991 uprising the Mujahideen e Khalq joined forces with Saddam! I just learned this after reading An Iranian Cult and Its American Friends:

During the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the group served as Mr. Hussein’s own private militia opposing the theocratic government in Tehran. For two decades, he gave the group money, weapons, jeeps and military bases along the border with Iran. In return, the Rajavis pledged their fealty.

In 1991, when Mr. Hussein crushed a Shiite uprising in the south and attempted to carry out a genocide against the Kurds in the north, the Rajavis and their army joined his forces in mowing down fleeing Kurds.

Ms. Rajavi told her disciples, “Take the Kurds under your tanks, and save your bullets for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.” Many followers escaped in disgust.

So the Rajavis then began preying on Iranian refugees and asylum seekers in Europe to fill their ranks. The Rajavis promise them salaries, marriage, family, freedom and a great cause — fighting the Iranian government. Then the unwitting youths arrive in Iraq.

What is most disturbing is how the group treats its members. After the Iran-Iraq war, Mr. Rajavi orchestrated an ill-planned offensive, deploying thousands of young men and women into Iran on a mass martyrdom operation. Instead of capturing Iran, as they believed they would, thousands of them were slaughtered, including parents, husbands and wives of those I met in Iraq in 2003.

After my visit, I met and spoke to men and women who had escaped from the group’s clutches. Many had to be deprogrammed. They recounted how people were locked up if they disagreed with the leadership or tried to escape; some were even killed.

Friendships and all emotional relationships are forbidden. From the time they are toddlers, boys and girls are not allowed to speak to each other. Each day at Camp Ashraf you had to report your dreams and thoughts.

If a man was turned on by the scent of a woman or a whiff of perfume, he had to confess. Members had to attend weekly ideological cleansings in which they publicly confessed their sexual desires. Members were even forced to divorce and take a vow of lifelong celibacy to ensure that all their energy and love would be directed toward Maryam and Massoud.

Mr. Hamilton and Generals Jones and Clark have been paid speakers’ fees by front groups for Mujahedeen Khalq and have spoken in support of the group in public conferences. They claimed ignorance of how the group treated its members.

“I don’t know a lot about the group,” Mr. Hamilton told me over the phone last week. But in 1994, when he was chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. Hamilton received a report describing the group as a violent cult with a distinct ideology synthesizing Marxism and messianic Shiism.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Libyan rebels enter Tripoli

Libyan rebels enter Tripoli, arrest Gadhafi's son

"Libyan rebels moved into the capital Tripoli on Sunday and came within two miles of the city center, as Moammar Gadhafi's defenders melted away. The rebel leadership said Gadhafi's son and one-time heir apparent Seif al-Islam has been arrested."

Saturday, August 20, 2011

AQI killed Iraqis to avenge Usama bin Laden

That must make a lot of sense to them!

NYT: "One of the most powerful insurgent groups in Iraq, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, released a statement on Saturday, warning that it had launched a 100-attack campaign to exact revenge for the United States’ killing of Osama bin Laden.

The statement did not explicitly refer to a string of over 40 attacks on Monday that killed more than 90 people and was the most violent day in Iraq this year. But the statement said the campaign had begun in the middle of this month — Monday was Aug. 15 — and would continue until there had been 100 attacks.

“We began this stage with an invasion we have called the battle of revenge for Sheik Osama bin Laden and other senior leaders,” said a statement posted on the Internet.

Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia has long claimed an affiliation to Bin Laden’s group, and has clearly been inspired by it. Bin Laden died in May in an American raid on his compound in Pakistan."

U.S. hikers sentenced to 8 more years in Iran prison

LAT: "Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, both 28 years old, were arrested along the Iran-Iraq border during what they insist was an ill-fated hiking trip in the scenic mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan. Iranian officials allege that the two men were spies, but have yet to publicly present any evidence. A third hiker, Sarah Shourd, was released on bail last year and has been campaigning for her friends' release. All three are Berkeley grads."

Evidence? Evidence in Iran is whatever the top cleric wants it to be! It's how they win elections.

I wince every time I hear or read a Muslim praising the Iranian government. It is embarrassing.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Iraq going in wrong direction

"It appeared Iraq was in a time warp, a nation still struggling with terrorists, sectarian gangs and militias at a time much of the Arab world is moving to replace extremism through revolutions for democracy. The violence seemed intent on disrupting the government of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki as U.S. forces are preparing to leave eight years after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

There were more than 35 attacks nationwide, shattering the relative calm of recent months. The deadliest was in the southern city of Kut, where an explosion whirled through a marketplace. Minutes later, as onlookers gathered, a car bomb detonated, killing at least 33 people and injuring 77, according to a security official."

The "days of Zarqawi are going to return soon"

NYT: 'Insurgents across Iraq launched their most significant and wide-ranging attacks in months on Monday, killing 68 people and wounding over 300, marking the most violent day in Iraq this year.

The violence touched nearly every region of the country, except for Kurdistan, and appeared to be aimed at security forces in both Sunni and Shiite areas.

In all, there were 37 attacks, more than double the daily average this year, nearing the level of violence at the height of the sectarian conflict here in 2006 and 2007. The attacks included 11 car bombs, 19 improvised explosive devices and 2 suicide bombers.

Coming a little less than two weeks after the Iraqi government said it would negotiate with the United States about keeping some of its 48,000 troops here after the end of the year, the violence raised significant questions about the capabilities of the Iraqi security forces.

No group claimed responsibility for the attacks on Monday. But in a voice recording posted on a Web site for Al Qaeda in Iraq last week, the spokesman for the terrorist group said that they were preparing a wide-scale attack.

“I promise you that we are on the right path,” said the spokesman, Abi Muhhamed al-Adnani. “Thank God that we are doing very well here.”

“Do not worry, the days of Zarqawi are going to return soon,” he said, referring to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the former leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq who was killed by American forces in 2006. “We have men who have divorced themselves from life and love death more than you love life and killing is one of their wishes,” he said.'

Friday, August 12, 2011

Corporations have too much influence in America

In light of Mitt Romney's claim that corporations are people, I am posting the short excellent video below. Thanks to a 2010 decision by five (douchebag) Supreme Court judges, corporations are now allowed to spend as much as they like to influence an election. Even before this bad decision, corporations had too much influence in America. It's time to put corporations back in their place.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

CO2 traps energy in atmosphere

FOX News doesn't get. Or are they paid not to get it? Are they willfully stupid?

From Media Matters for America: August 09, 2011 4:42 pm ET by Jocelyn Fong:

'Those who watched Fox News over the weekend were treated to a brief but ambitious science lesson on "Why CO2 Can't Cause Warming":

Oh boy. Let's take these one at a time.

During the segment Fox's global warming expert, Joe Bastardi, who is employed by the WeatherBELL meteorological consulting firm, declared that the theory of human-induced climate change "contradicts what we call the 1st law of thermodynamics. Energy can be neither created nor destroyed. So to look for input of energy into the atmosphere, you have to come from a foreign source."

It's not clear what to conclude from this except that Fox and Bastardi are not familiar with the greenhouse effect. Climate scientists aren't claiming that humans are creating energy. They're saying that humans are trapping more energy by increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Duke University scientist William Chameides, who called Fox's claims "utter nonsense," explained via email:

It is true that global warming requires a source of heat. In this case it comes from the sun. What CO2 does is trap a larger amount of the heat from the sun, preventing it from escaping and thus driving up temperatures. To argue otherwise is to argue that the greenhouse effect does not exist. In fact the existence of the greenhouse effect was established by scientists more than a century ago. It would be impossible to explain the temperatures of Mars and Venus, as well as the Earth, without invoking this effect.

Bastardi went on to claim Le Chatelier's Principle "says that any system in distress, physical or chemical in the atmosphere, tries to return toward normalcy. And that is why you're seeing temperatures level off."

In fact the notion of a system moving toward "normalcy," or more accurately, toward a new "equilibrium," explains why greenhouse gases do cause warming, rather than "Why CO2 Can't Cause Warming." By preventing infrared energy from efficiently escaping to space, increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere make it more difficult for the earth to maintain its previous energy balance, and thus its previous temperature.

Kevin Trenberth, Senior Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, explained via email that the system "re-creates equilibrium" by heating up, since the surface and atmosphere radiate more at a higher temperature. As a result, "it reaches a new equilibrium but at a higher temperature," he said, adding: "And of course we keep adding more CO2 so we have not reached that new state yet."

Though it appears that Bastardi cites Le Chatelier's Principle in a general sense and not in reference to any specific process, the principle does have implications for "the uptake of fossil fuel carbon by the ocean," according to David Archer of the University of Chicago's Department of Geophysical Sciences. He said, "Without Le Chatelier's principle, the climate crisis would be much worse than it is, but even with this buffering, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is rising and will continue to remain elevated for tens of thousands of years into the future. So to suggest that Le Chatelier's principle is going to save us is wrong." And the principle certainly doesn't establish that "CO2 Can't Cause Warming."

And that's not all Fox got wrong.'

Read more here. Why is FOX News trying so hard to disprove what 97% of scientists agree on?

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