Al Jazeera understands negotiations are underway between tribal leaders and Nato commanders in the Panjawi district of Afghanistan, one of the most troubled places in the country. A similar deal was recently struck with the British in the neighbouring town of Musakala in the southern province of Kandahar. Nato pulled back from Musakala a month ago. Exclusive Al Jazeera pictures showed the damage caused by heavy fighting and bombing before British troops reached a deal with tribal elders. There are now no sign of Taliban forces in the town.
Nobody knows exactly how many people died when Panjawi was bombed. Some say as many as 80. Nato acknowledged that many were civilians. Tribal elders in Panjawi say they now want a deal similar to the one in Musakala.
Jan Mohammed, an adviser to the Afghan president on tribal affairs, said he was strongly against such agreements. "Leaving that district to Taliban means changing that district to a Taliban stronghold, to a Taliban centre," he said. "Step by step the Taliban will go to other districts and demand the same thing and will keep demanding the same thing. That is the Talibans main goal to get foreign forces out."
Continued on Page 49
Insurgent violence in Afghanistan this year will likely double that of 2005 and will continue next year, the US militarys top intelligence official told Congress on Wednesday.
General Michael Maples, director of the US Defence Intelligence Agency, said insurgents had expanded their abilities and operations even while incurring serious combat losses. Despite having absorbed heavy combat losses in 2006, the insurgency has strengthened its capabilities and influence with its core base of Pashtun communities, he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The head of the Central Intelligence Agency, General Michael Hayden, in his testimony emphasised the need to continue supporting the Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai. Kabul needs help because it lacks capacity, not because it lacks political will or lacks support, Hayden said. President Karzai understands this and recognises his governments responsibility. Citing a recent conversation with the US ambassador in Kabul, Ron Neuman, Hayden said the effort would take a long time in my view, at least a decade and cost many billions of dollars. I would add that the Afghan government wont be able to do it alone.
Another totally lost cause, unless we address the problem in Pakland. We apparently are burning $2 billion per week in Iraq. How much are we wasting in Afganland ? I haven't seen recent figures. What's really interesting is that these figures may not include fuel burned daily in patrols by Navy/ Air Force. This figure alone must be staggering. This has a lot to do with complete utilization worldwide of oil. This never gets mentioned either. The US is in serious economic straits. Most of this is fantasy funding, supplied by buyers of Treasury notes. We will never be able to repay this debt. Then what ? What will the lives of US citizens born today be like in 75 years ? Maybe not too good if the country is forced to function in debtor class.
I don't believe the report. Balochi nationalists have hardened on phony refugees from Afghanistan and the federal government is responding. As for the Waziri tribalists, Pakistan signed an agreement with them with the purpose of enabling cross-border retaliation by NATO.
There has been bad publicity in Pakistan concerning Mullah deceit that led young terrorists to be slaughtered.
There has been bad publicity in Pakistan concerning Mullah deceit that led young terrorists to be slaughtered.
Now that is an interesting tidbit, Sneaze Shaiting3550. Very interesting indeed. Ties in nicely with the Afghans televising interviews with captured jihadi wannabees around Ramadan, complaining how the experience wasn't at all what was promised.
Human rights activists in Morocco are demanding an investigation into the death of a man in prison. Zakaria El Miloudi was arrested along with thousands of others following a series of suicide bombings which killed 41 people in Casablanca in May 2003. He is the second person from the 2003 arrests to die in custody, after the death of a hunger striker last year.
It is not clear how Mr El Miloudi died, but it is thought that he was suffering from asthma.
Trouble breathing, huh? A pillow over the face can do that.
An autopsy can tell the difference between suffocation and asthma. Wonder if that was done or if the warden said, "never mind, we see dese all da time!"
Abdurrahim Mouhtad of the human rights association An-Naseer says they are devastated by the news. "We are very moved and saddened to have lost someone who is a Moroccan and a Muslim because we believe he was innocent," he said. "And those who found him saw that he had died far from his children and his family, far from his home in a cell with a locked door in a detention centre - it's very sad, very sad."
My heart [urp!] bleeds...
Eating chili late at night will do that, Fred. Try Malox.
The human rights group says it will wait to hear the results of an autopsy but it cannot understand how a man who suffered minor ailments came to die in his prison cell.
Although Morocco has been praised in particular by the United States for its tough stance on terrorism it seems the human cost of that approach is mounting.
Egyptian Culture Minister Faruq Hosni said in an interview published on Thursday that the ever-growing number of women wearing the Islamic veil in his country marked a regressive trend. There was an age when our mothers went to university and worked without the veil. It is in that spirit that we grew up. So why this regression?, he said in the independent Al-Masri Al-Yom daily.
Each woman with her beautiful hair is like a flower, and should not be concealed from the view of others, he said, arguing: Religion today focuses on appearances too much. A womans true veil is the inner veil, not the visible one. The relationship between God and a person does not hinge on the latters sartorial decisions.
Parents have forced a comprehensive school to back down over plans to offer only halal chicken on its Christmas dinner menu. Pupils will now also have the option of traditional turkey with trimmings as a choice after the intervention of a former Government minister.
The dispute arose at Oakwood School, in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, amid claims that the British festive season was being undermined. Around one in five of the 1,000 boys and girls is Asian and the school says its initial decision had been made to bring "a spirit of inclusion" to the Christmas meal.
Rachel Johnson, who has two teenage daughters at the school, explained that objections had been raised "as a matter of principle" and not a racial issue. She said: "It has really rocked my boat because I feel my culture is being stolen away from me.
"I have no objection to halal meat being on the menu so long as there is a choice of traditional Christmas fare.
"A lot of parents have been in touch supporting my views. Our culture and religion are being trampled on and it is not right."
The £1.75p Christmas dinner is made available for pupils as a treat in place of the usual school menu. Under the original proposal there would have been an option of sausages wrapped in bacon alongside the halal chicken.
Mrs Johnson said: "Why can't the non-Muslim kids enjoy traditional Christmas fare. Why can't we have a choice of chicken which suits everyone, both Muslims and non-Muslims. We bend over backwards at Eid to eat traditional Muslim food so why should we have to change our Christmas tradition?
"This is a multi-racial, multi-religious school and should be catering for the needs of everyone, not just the Muslim section."
Her 15-year-old daughter, who asked not to be named, had been thinking of boycotting the Christmas meal along with many of her friends if no choice was offered. She said: "I have no objection to including Muslims in celebrating Christmas but it is quite wrong to offer us only halal meat."
The problem with halal chicken is that it is bloody halal! F**k that noise! If the Muslims want their precious little meals, let them bring them to school as specials, not shove them down everyone else's throat; or in this case, have PC school officials do it for them.
Halal chicken is to Christmas as a BLT is to Eid Al Fitr. Try proposing the reverse to muslims next Eid.
Christmas is not meant to "include" muslims in any of it's traditions. Much like Eid is not meant to include "infidels" in its'.
Don't get me wrong; feel free to partake in sampling and enjoying the traditions of another culture's festivals. Just do not expect the very essence and tradition of the event to vaporize because you've decided to drop in. You are as welcome to join in whatever festivities you wish as you are to bugger off if you don't.
A major security alert has been sparked after police lost a briefcase full of imitation bombs. An officer left the case containing around 15 mock-up explosive devices on a train. We have a winner.
He was returning home after using the "bombsî in a presentation to security staff and police.
Among the items are believed to be mock-ups of the device that caused the Lockerbie air disaster in 1988 and of those used by the Animal Liberation Front. One source said: "They are very realistic. If the briefcase went through an x-ray machine you would see fuses and what looks like explosives.
"This could cause a massive security panic and chaos if one of these was found on the Tube or someone smuggled one onto a plane."
Heh, I'm betting it's 50/50 or less that a TSA screener would recognize them.
The incident is a major embarrassment to the City of London Police whose officer mislaid the case. The force's acting commissioner Mike Bowron ordered an immediate internal inquiry.
The dummy "bombs" are used in police presentations to alert fellow officers or corporate security staff to what they should be looking out for during searches for explosives. The case is also believed to contain mock devices in the form of video cassettes.
The City officer who lost the briefcase immediately alerted British Transport Police after realising he had apparently left it on the train. BTP officers halted the train and conducted a search but could not find the case. Police had been hoping that it would be handed in after the incident on 31 October but it is still missing.
A City of London spokesman said: "We can confirm that a briefcase belonging to the City of London Police was lost or stolen on 31 October. The briefcase contained training materials used to educate the public about terrorism awareness. An internal inquiry is being carried out to ascertain the full circumstances around the loss of the material. We take incidents of this nature very seriously. We have also carried out an urgent review into how officers handle such material. A number of changes have already been made to ensure we minimise the risk of such incidents in the future."
Police hope that whoever has the case will return it intact, complete with dummy devices.
In April, artist Monica Saieva sparked a bomb alert which paralysed west London when she left a series of suspicious boxes with nails sticking out of them in the street. The bomb squad, forensic science officers and ambulances were called out before police realised the items were a hoax. The operation is believed to have cost £100,000. Ms Saieva was arrested and charged with causing a public nuisance but escaped with a caution.
Hurt by election losses back home, President Bush tried to exert his authority on the world stage Thursday by warning a nuclear-armed North Korea against peddling its weapons and vowing the United States would not retreat into isolationism. The president then headed for Vietnam and Hanoi, the wartime capital of the once-divided country, in a visit that promised to stir inevitable comparisons between the unpopular war raging in Iraq and the divisive war fought and lost in Vietnam more than three decades ago.
Ummm... Is this news or an opinion piece? We certainly know what the writer's opinion is, though the only piece of news we've got so far is that Bush went to Hanoi, which we knew yesterday...
Bush's words on North Korea and isolationism came on the eve of his trip to Hanoi to attend a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders and to hold individual meetings with a handful of them all curious about whether election setbacks had unsettled him. Striking moments for Bush in Hanoi will include a visit Friday to Communist Party headquarters for talks with the party's general secretary.
What's "striking" about that? He goes to a country, he talks to the people in charge. It's Vietnam. Guess who's in charge?
Bush directly challenged newly empowered Democrats in the U.S. who are demanding a fresh course in Iraq and are fearful that free-trade agreements could cost American jobs. "We hear voices calling for us to retreat from the world and close our doors to these opportunities," the president said in a speech at the National University of Singapore. "These are the old temptations of isolationism and protectionism, and America must reject them."
Do they have automated writing programs that turn out crap pieces like this? I could probably write a better one for them.
WORLDNEWS.com > SCOOP.com.NZ > COmpromise wid Iran nearing end. Possible US-Allied plan to COMPLETELY BLOCK STRAITS OF HORMUZ + CUT OFF IRAN's OIL-TRADE FLOWS. Author, however, admits /speculates blockade may induce Iran to declare war on America ergo counter-inducing America to iniate mil actions against Iran in PC = seeming self-defense. ALso, WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IRAN article by Henry Kissinger > USA-WEst must continue to work to convince Iran it is a NATION, NOT A CRUSADE [=JIHAD], else WAR MAY POTENTIALLY PROVE INEVITABLE.
The Bush administrations policy toward North Korea has failed and a new approach must be tried, including punishing the Norths leaders and sending a US envoy to Pyongyang for talks, a key Democrat said on Wednesday.
Is he suggesting sending some Noo Joisey hard boyz to break their knees?
One week after mid-term elections, Rep. Tom Lantos of California, who is expected to head the US House International Relations Committee when Democrats take over Congress in January, laid down markers for the way forward. The White House must try a new and bold approach towards the vexing North Korean crisis as it is now abundantly clear to the world that our current policies have failed, he told a hearing.
As did the Clinton policies. If it were easy someone would have figured it out by now.
Lantos said North Korean leaders, through sanctions and financial asset freezes, must feel personal pain for testing a nuclear weapon last month. Arguing this must be matched with heightened diplomacy, Lantos said US envoy Chris Hill must be dispatched to the next round of six-country talks with the authority to negotiate a comprehensive and verifiable deal and, afterward, should stop in Pyongyang to demonstrate our peaceful intent.
Depends on the message Mr. Hill would deliver, wouldn't it? This is just more of the usual Dhimmicratic touchy-feeling school of diplomacy.
The administrations refusal to allow visits by American diplomats to North Korea must end, as must internal divisions that have hobbled US policy, he added. Faced with this and other criticism, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said the administration achieved a tactical, but not strategic, success with a September 2005 agreement in which the North pledged to give up its nuclear programme in return for political and economic benefits.
The only new policy pro-CHINA/ASIA FOR ASIANS ONLY, etal bloggers-posters want IS AMERICA OUT OF ASIA-PACIFIC IN ENTIRETY. In true Lefty love style, the full choices can be ascribed as either FULL UNCONDITIONAL RETREAT BACK TO CONUS =US WEST COAST, versus SAME BUY KEEP SENDING THE MONEY, i.e. PAY AMER'S ENEMIES NOT TO ATTACK AMERICA. Else, could be GLOBAL PEACE IN OUR TIME [ Not]!?
The Dutch government, facing re-election next week, said Friday it plans to draw up legislation "as soon as possible" banning the head-to-toe garment known as burkas and other clothing that covers the entire face in public places. The announcement puts the Netherlands, once considered one of Europe's most welcoming nations for immigrants and asylum seekers, at the forefront of a general European hardening of attitudes toward Muslim minorities.
"The Cabinet finds it undesirable that face-covering clothing -- including the burka -- is worn in public places for reasons of public order, security and protection of citizens," Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk said in a statement.
"From a security standpoint, people should always be recognizable and from the standpoint of integration, we think people should be able to communicate with one another," Verdonk told national broadcaster NOS.
Continued on Page 49
Basing the order on security concerns apparently was intended to respond to warnings that outlawing clothing like the burka, worn by some Muslim women, could violate the constitutional guarantee against religious discrimination.
Correct me if I'm wrong here, but doesn't national security tend to supercede the relatively limited possibility of religious discrimination?
America must waste no time before imposing this same ban.
You cannot identify people who appear on security cameras wearing a burqa. Nor is any presented personal identification verifiable. The burqa also presents a perfect opportunity for male terrorist operatives to both disguise themselves with less chance of interception and enhance their ability to transport explosives or weapons.
Male terrorists have already been apprehended several times using a burqa as a disguise. What's the big mystery here?
Finally, burqas are worn by those who belong to the most extremist sects of Islam. By outlawing this apparel, members of these violence prone groups will be less likely to immigrate here. This is a major win-win situation for national security.
Besides which, many states here in the US already have anti-mask laws in place : they were put in place to protect against that American domestic terrorist group, the KKK. Anonymity using their hoods to cover their faces made the Klan an effective terrorist group, since you could not visually identify their members, outside of their garb. Unfortunately, here in Oregon, the Mayors of Portland have consistent chosen NOT to enforce said laws against the anarchists, Muslims, eco-terrorists, etc.
The Burka has less to do with video cameras than it has to do with western ideals. If you want to wear a burka great, go to Yemen and swelter in peace. We don't cover our women here like chattel. We don't gang rape women and challenge them to come up with four witnessnes. If you want to live like a 9th century barbarian good on ya, but not in the western hemisphere. Go to north africa or some shithole, but don't come here.
Ah, yaaasss, Dailymotion, infamous for its political censorship (anything too "rightwing" and/or islamophobic is not welcomed, dunno if it's because of PCness or if it's based on organized action by idiotarians/muslims who flag vids as inapropriate). I actually have quite a lot of vids there, but it's only AMV, Cramps or VRP videoclips, and MMA fights, I actually prefer it to Youtube because there's no duration limit and size is 150 mb max. Much smaller audience, though.
KOLKATA, India - Tens of thousands of communists marched in the Indian city of Kolkata on Thursday demanding that Saddam Husseins death sentence be lifted. Indias left parties, which won a record number of parliamentary seats in the 2004 elections, have a long history of opposing American foreign policy and have held huge protests in recent years against US military action in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Protesters shouted Hang Bush and Blair, release Saddam as they marched in the heart of Kolkata, capital of the communist-ruled state of West Bengal. Activists also burnt an effigy of US President George W. Bush. They changed the judge and rigged the trial completely, Biman Bose, a communist leader said.
Leftists all over the world are in a sordid nexus with islamists.
In India, there is an additional motive.
The Communist in Bengal are engaged in massive electoral fraud.
They actively facilitate the illegal immigration of bangladeshi muslims (there are now 10 million bangla illegals in India).
Immigrants still wet from crossing the river are given ration cards and indian identification.
They are now magically "Bengali muslims". A captiv e vote bank that ensures the commies will remain in power.
Other commies (and Indian leftists in general) seek an alliance with the islamists because they share a desire to destroy the overturn the status quo and capture power at the federal level.
SUN TZU = ASYMMETRIC WARFARE = True Master of War is able to defeat his enemies without fighting, bu letting ot inducing his enemies inflict the gravest damage unto himself. ASIA TIMES > CHICOM applications vv Asymmteric Warfare > FOR TIME BEING CRIPPLE, NOT NECESSARILY DESTROY, AMERICA IN ORDER TO EXERT DOMINANCE + CONTROL OVER SAME.
Control Vital SPECIFIC sectors of US economy wid out which Hyperpower America cannot successfully wage MODERN/ MANUEVER WARFARE = BATTLESPACE DOMINANCE, e.g. OIL/POL = GAZPROM??? PRIORITIZE FIFTH COLUMN-PYWAR > let Anti-Amer Americans + "Useful Idiots", etc. within US NPE-MIC do their work, directly or indirectly. SAVE MAD ANTI-USA GLOBAL NUKE WAR FOR AFTER YEAR 2014 [China] or 2016-2018 [Russia]. NAME-OF-GAME > INCREASE SOCIALISM AT HOME, WEAKEN OVERSEAS. America + VOLUNTEER ARMY TO RUN OUT OF BEANS-AND-BULLETS BEFORE "RISING EAST" RUNS OUT OF CANNON FODDER USEFUL IDIOT BODIES = SOCIETIES.
The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) Supreme Council has decided in principle that its legislators will resign from the National Assembly in protest at the Protection of Women Bill, but not decided on when they will do so. MMA President Qazi Hussain Ahmed told a press conference after the Supreme Council meeting that the final decision would be taken in an MMA parliamentary party meeting in Islamabad on December 6. Sources privy to the meeting, which continued for about five hours, said that there was a clear split in the alliance and within its component parties over the resignations.
Qazi Hussain, chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami, insisted that MMA legislators should resign immediately, but Maulana Fazalur Rehman pressed for more time to consult religious scholars and law experts on whether the bill is against the teachings of Islam. He initially opined that this would take at least four more days. Maulana Fazl also suggested that the alliance could hold talks with the government to introduce amendments to the bill before it is put before the Senate for approval.
The Ulema wing of the Jammat-e-Islami (JI) working under the flag of the Rabitatul Madaris headed by MMA Maulana Abdul Malik issued a decree with the signatures of prominent Ulema against President General Musharrafs government saying that the Musharraf government should be deposed and parliament dissolved. We believe the policies of the Musharraf lead government are against the Muslim Ummah, and parliament also passed the Womens Protection Bill which is against the Quran and Sunnah. Therefore, this government should be deposed, Maulana Abdul Malik told Daily Times. The National Assembly passed the Womens Protection Bill because General Musharraf pressured the ruling coalition to please the US, said Malik.
Malik added, The policies adopted by General Musharraf after the 9/11 episode are against Muslims. He said that most importantly, the present government had passed a bill against the Quran and Islamic teachings.
Malik said that General Musharrafs decision to send troops to Waziristan was also anti-Muslim because the same troops are now killing our own Muslim brothers. He added that Musharraf was supporting US policies which were against the Muslim Ummah and that Musharraf had therefore lost the right to rule a Muslim state. The Rabitatul Madaris is a member of the Itahad-e-Tanzimat-e-Madaras-e-Dinya (ITMD) representing the five wafaqs. Wafaqul Madaris Al Arabia Secretary General Qari Hanif Jalandry, Vice Principal Jammia Asharafia Lahore Maulana Fazl-e-Rahim, Jammia Aloom-e-Islamia Banoori Town Karachi member Dr Abdur Razaq Sikandar, Jammia Haqqania Akora Khattak Vice Principal Muhammad Anwarul Haq and Tanzimul Madaris Ahle Sunnah Examination Controller Maulana Ghulam Muhammad Sialwai are also signatories to the decree along with about 25 other Ulema.
An influential Jesuit magazine close to the Vatican has criticised shortcomings in Pakistans religious tolerance, charging that Christians and other minorities were often the target of violence by Islamist fundamentalists. In Pakistan, unfortunately like in many countries with a Muslim majority, religious freedom is not guaranteed in practice as promised by the constitution, wrote the Civilta Cattolica magazine in this weeks edition.
Christians, Shias and members of the Ahmadi Muslim sect all suffered from acts of violence and persecution, it said, adding that particularly at risk were Muslims who converted to Christianity or who left the Sunni majority to join other Muslim sects, often facing expulsion from their communities, loss of political and civil rights and even death. For the fundamentalists, the conversion of a Muslim to another religion, especially Christianity, is felt as an insult to Islam, as a real treason punishable with the death penalty, the magazine wrote.
HYDERABAD: Indian police fired in the air and used batons on Thursday to disperse rioting groups of Hindus and Muslims who had clashed over a razed mosque in southern India, wounding at least 25, police said.
A group of Muslims had set municipal vehicles on fire and stoned houses of local politicians from the ruling Congress party after a mosque in the town of Tadipatri was demolished to make way for a new highway.
A group of Muslims had set municipal vehicles on fire and stoned houses of local politicians from the ruling Congress party after a mosque in the town of Tadipatri was demolished to make way for a new highway, said local police chief Stephan Ravindra. Hindu Congress supporters retaliated, throwing two small homemade bombs at the Muslim mob before police intervened by firing five shots in the air and charging the crowd with batons, Ravindra said. At least 25 people were injured, some of them in the clashes and some when police charged the rioters, he said.
As Palestinian Arab rockets struck two Israeli towns yesterday, U.N. bodies prepared to launch no fewer than two overlapping "fact-finding" missions to second-guess Israel's anti-terrorist tactics. President Do you have to remind us of that? Can you at least put "Former President?" Carter could head one of those missions.
The U.N. General Assembly is expected to convene a special emergency session tomorrow to deal with the November 8 Israel Defense Force artillery strike on the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, which killed 19 terrorists and supporters civilians. A draft resolution for the assembly session calls on the U.N. secretary-general to establish a fact-finding mission into the event and requests that he report back to the assembly in a month.
And yesterday in Geneva, the U.N. Human Rights Council led by Sudan and China, which in its five months of existence has failed to pass one resolution on any country other than Israel, concluded its third emergency session on the Jewish state. In the session's resolution, the council called on its president, Ambassador Alfonso de Alba of Mexico, to establish a fact-finding mission to investigate the incident at Beit Hanoun.
A diplomat in Geneva who requested anonymity said the sponsors of the resolution are planning to ask Mr. Carter to head the investigation. Other candidates include the diplomats Martti Ahtisaari of Finland and Sadako Ogata of Japan.
Israel, which is conducting its own investigation into the incident, has yet to decide on its level of cooperation with the U.N. probes. "I wish there was some coherence at the U.N.," a U.N. official who requested anonymity said yesterday. As things stand, he added, no rule exists to prevent system-wide redundancies where separate bodies can create missions to investigate the same event.
The proposed resolution for tomorrow's General Assembly session draws most of its language from a Security Council resolution proposal that was vetoed on Friday. In addition to the fact-finding mission, the new proposal calls on "the international community, including the Quartet" – America, the United Nations, the European Union, and Russia – to establish "an international mechanism to protect civilians."
The French ambassador to the United Nations, Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, made similar suggestions last week at the 15-member Security Council. Europe was split in the Friday council vote: France and Greece voted for the Arab-sponsored resolution, while Britain, Denmark, and Slovakia abstained and America vetoed the resolution.
Asked about the idea of a council-sponsored fact-finding mission and the establishment of a mechanism to protect civilians in Gaza, the American ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, responded to The New York Sun with one word: "No."
In the past, Arab and Muslim countries have used the General Assembly, where they can easily marshal a voting majority, to convene emergency sessions designed to override an American veto in the Security Council. Friday's assembly meeting will mark the 15th time the emergency session has been convened since its establishment in 1997 to condemn the construction of a new Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem.
"The assembly turns itself into a court of law where the Arabs have a majority," the deputy Israeli U.N. envoy, Daniel Carmon, said. As result, he said, the assembly always deals with events like Beit Hanoun and avoids the underlying cause. "The cause is terrorism. The U.N. should not shy away from investigating terrorism," he said. Specifically, he cited yesterday's events in Sderot, where an Israeli woman was killed and several injured in a rocket attack from Gaza that was also directed at the coastal town of Ashkelon.
In Geneva, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution by a vote of 32 in favor, eight opposed, and six abstaining, that condemned Israel for the "willful killing" of Palestinian Arab civilians. Most of the Europeans on the 47-member council opposed the resolution or abstained.
In the aftermath of the Beit Hanoun attack, which according to IDF commanders was the result of an error, many European leaders, including the British foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, denounced Israel's recent incursions against rocket-launching sites in northern Gaza. Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Olmert, have apologized for the incursions. But in a speech to Jewish leaders in Los Angeles yesterday, Mr. Olmert vowed to continue the operations in Gaza. "At this time, the [ IDF's] general staff is holding a meeting to discuss the steps that need to be taken," he said. "We will decide on more steps on the war against terror which is emanating from the Gaza Strip and which is incessant."
Dhimmi carter is in high demand by those who are unabashadly opposed to American interests. I wonder why?
I was convinced of this, because for almost three years, Kim Il Sung sent me a steady stream of invitations and personal entreaties to come to Pyongyang to let him explain the North Korean position, and to try to relay some communication back and forth with Washington...
carter's Frontline interview in which he explains how he got involved in the '94 debacle.
On Tuesday night, Tehran's English-language news channel featured commentary from political scientist Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh, who called for the U.S. to remain in Iraq until it has established a strong, stable central government capable of providing adequate security.
"The Americans can't simply withdraw from Iraq, leaving the mess as it is," Mojtahedzadeh said in a telephone interview from the Iranian capital afterward. "Who's going to look for the safety of the Iraqis there? The Iranians can't do it. The Turks can't do it . This is not a question of political rivalry between Iran and the West. It has to do with the fact that the society has to have a government structure in place."
They're just worried about the direction of the pull-out. What did that Onion story say once? That's it. "We'll just go through Iran."
Posted by: Eric Jablow ||
11/17/2006 17:04 Comments ||
As wid CHINA > Radical Iran has to be unilater willing and able to support its own ambitions - read, PAY FOR. With approximately 60%-plus of Iran's population at or below the poverty line, not even MOUD + "Twelfer/Twelvers" are likely in a hurry to take over.
At this earliest stage of democratic development, Iraqi national consciousness is as yet too weak and the culture of compromise too undeveloped to produce an effective government enjoying broad allegiance.
Last month American soldiers captured a Mahdi Army death squad leader in Baghdad -- only to be forced to turn him loose on order of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Two weeks ago, we were ordered, again by Maliki, to take down the barricades we had established around Sadr City in search of another notorious death squad leader and a missing American soldier.
This is no way to conduct a war. The Maliki government is a failure. It is beholden to a coalition dominated by two Shiite religious parties, each armed and ambitious, at odds with each other and with the ultimate aim of a stable, modern, democratic regime.
Is this America's fault? No. It is a result of Iraq's first democratic election. The United States was not going to replace Saddam Hussein with another tyrant. We were trying to plant democracy in the heart of the Middle East as the one conceivable antidote to extremism and terror -- and, in a country that is nearly two-thirds Shiite, that inevitably meant Shiite domination. It was never certain whether the long-oppressed Shiites would have enough sense of nation and sense of compromise to govern rather than rule. The answer is now clear: United in a dominating coalition, they do not.
Fortunately, however, the ruling Shiites do not have much internal cohesion. Just last month two of the major Shiite religious parties that underpin the Maliki government engaged in savage combat against each other in Amarah.
There is a glimmer of hope in this breakdown of the Shiite front. The unitary Shiite government having been proved such a failure, we should be encouraging the full breakup of the Shiite front in pursuit of a new coalition based on cross-sectarian alliances: the more moderate Shiite elements (secular and religious but excluding the poisonous Sadr), the Kurds and those Sunnis who recognize their minority status but are willing to accept an important, generously offered place at the table.
Such a coalition was almost created after the latest Iraqi elections. It needs to be attempted again. One can tinker with American tactics or troop levels from today until doomsday. But unless the Iraqis can put together a government of unitary purpose and resolute action, the simple objective of this war -- to leave behind a self-sustaining democratic government -- is not attainable.
Actually Maliki's situation is the result of massive vote fraud by Iran. The Iranians tried to give election to the 2 Shiite religious parties, and they almost succeeded.
The Iranians are also giving those 2 parties aid to the tune of several billion dollars a year.
Posted by: frozen al ||
11/17/2006 17:01 Comments ||
Shiites are killing Sunnis and both are killing government officials and occupation forces. Once ethnic borders are established, then it will stop.
Iff Dubya's plan was to use IRAQ andor AFGHANISTAN as a "killing ground" by using these countries as bait so that instead of using scant US volunteer milfors to invade myriad pro-Radicalist/Terror Supporting Muslim countries, dedicated Radical Islamists will instead come to one = fem US-controlled areas to be destroyed - well, it worked. Iff as GLENN BECK believes [C2CAM.com/Show] Dubya's plan was always focused = cnetered against IRAN, this hasn't worked out too well becuz the US Voter hasn't seen or learned of any overt/covert US operation or scheme to destabilize Iran. While Dubya& Admin had HINTED of such efforts, ALL THE US VOTER SEES IS MOUD + RADICALS STILL IN POWER AND NO "REGIME CHANGE" IN ANY FORM TAKING PLACE. IMO 2006 > THE US VOTER WANTS TO KNOW WHAT IS THE DE FACTO LT AGENDA OR US POLICIES FOR THE ENTIRE ME + NORTH KOREA. 2006 was NOT voter rejection of either PRE-EMPTION or USA USING MIL FORCE TO DEAL WID NATIONS-GOVTS WHOM SUPPOR TERROR OR ATTACKS AGZ AMERICA. The US VOTER wants to see VICTORY + DEMOCRACY/LIBERTY, WANNA SEE MOUD + KIMMIE GETTING SHOT BY THEIR OWN PEOPLE OR GETTING THE BOOT, NOT PC + NOT POLITIX OF POLISCHTICK WHERE US SOLDIERS ARE GETTING SHOT WHILE ENEMY HEADS OF STATE ARE ALIVE, WELL, AND STILL RANTING. WANT PATTON + MACARTHUR + STORMIN NORMAN, NOT HORATIO GATES OR CHARLES LEE OR MONTGOMERY, OR MANY POST-BAY-OF-PIGS CUBAS. The Amer people wanna hear + feel VICTORY, not MSM PC "Winning = Losing/Losing = WInning forever".
Prime Minister Maliki told parliamentarians November 12 in a closed session that he was planning a comprehensive reshuffle of ministers in his national unity government, and scolded lawmakers for failing to show their loyalty to a united
The move is aimed at addressing the six-month-old government's failure to curb widespread corruption, reduce sectarian violence and improve public services. Speaking to a closed session of Parliament, Maliki did not disclose which ministers he planned to replace, but legislators close to the Prime Minister said he intends to maintain the political distribution of the current cabinet seats.
Prime Ministerial Press Adviser Yassin Majid said that the reshuffle could include between seven and nine ministers, but did not give specific names.
Iraqi parliamentarians have been forecasting a reshuffle for months, but this is the clearest indication from the government so far that a change in the government is imminent.
During the week of November 8-14, electricity availability averaged 6.5 hours per day in Baghdad and 10.5 hours nationwide. Electricity output for the week was three per cent below the same period in 2005. Down 25% from last week (8.6 hours), but nearly three times what the WaPo had on the front page November 12.
The Agriculture Reconstruction and Development Program for Iraq (ARDI) is importing 173 seed cleaners to be distributed throughout the country. Normally, seeds available to the Iraqi farmers have extraneous material such as rocks, twigs, dirt and seeds of multiple types of crops. Test plots with cleaned seed have produced two to-six times the yield of fields without the cleaned seed.
ARDI conducted a workshop with Iraqi veterinary organizations. Fluffy bunnies and baby ducks will be pleased! The course began with a discussion on the transition of Iraq's economy from central planning to market-orientation and an introduction to basic economic principles. The Veterinary Syndicate will be able to use these skills immediately as they develop and maintain private service providers.
Oil production is up, from last week, at 82% of the goal, and refining production is way up.
The Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI) convicted 23 individuals October 27- November 1 for various crimes including possession of illegal weapons, possessing fake civil affair and fake military identifications, using or taking advantage of someone elses identification, heading, leading, joining armed groups and illegal border crossing. Hmph. They have that problem, too?
The trial court found a Saudi Arabian man guilty of joining armed groups to unsettle the security and stability of Iraq and endangering peoples lives in violation of Article 4/1 of the Iraqi Penal Code. The defendant admitted to coming into Iraq illegally to fight. The trial panel sentenced the man to the death penalty November 1.
The trial court found four Iraqi men guilty of possession of illegal weapons in violation of Section 6, Paragraph 2B. The men were apprehended after conducting an attack on Multi-National Forces. A search of their vehicle revealed two RPG launchers, two PKM and one RPD machine guns, five AK-47s and a video camera used to film the attack. All four defendants were sentenced to 30 years imprisonment November 1.
Since its establishment in April 2004, the CCCI has held 1,683 trials for Coalition apprehended insurgents. The proceedings have resulted in 1,447 convictions with sentences ranging up to death.
Contributors to Iraqi Stability Operations
Albania Armenia Australia Azerbaijan
Bosnia-Herzegovina Bulgaria Czech Republic Singapore Slovakia South Korea Ukraine UK Denmark El Salvador Estonia Georgia Italy Japan Kazakhstan Latvia Lithuania Macedonia Moldova Mongolia Poland Romania
*Note: Fiji participating as a part of the UN mission in Iraq.
*32 includes the 28 countries listed above, the US, Fiji, and four NATO, non-MNF-I countries: Hungary, Iceland, Slovenia, Turkey
Here's the twist. Remeber, this is the Official State Department Report - to Congress, I thought.
The editor-in-chief and two reporters at the Berlingske Tidende one of Denmarks largest newspapers went on trial November 13 for publishing classified intelligence reports concerning former Iraqi leader Saddam Husseins weapons program. No wonder the MSM doesn't read this!
The journalists face charges of publishing confidential government documents, which is punishable by fines or up to two years in prison; prosecutors say the newspaper violated a law prohibiting media from publishing information that can harm national security. Oh, but the New York Times said they made a teeny, tiny mistake in blowing the cover of the banking intelligence.
A former intelligence officer has already been sentenced to prison for leaking the documents in the case.
Normally, seeds available to the Iraqi farmers have extraneous material such as rocks, twigs, dirt and seeds of multiple types of crops
Different culture. Law of the damn Souk, the idea of two free agents both winning in an arms-length-contract-is foreign. These morons don't need democracy they need the Uniform Commercial Code with teeth.
President George Bush has told senior advisers that the US and its allies must make a last big push to win the war in Iraq and that instead of beginning a troop withdrawal next year, he may increase US forces by up to 20,000 soldiers, The Guardian newspaper reported on Thursday, quoting sources familiar with the administrations internal deliberations.
Mr Bushs refusal to give ground, coming in the teeth of growing calls in the US and Britain for a radical rethink or a swift exit, is having a decisive impact on the policy review being conducted by the Iraq Study Group chaired by Bush family loyalist James Baker, the sources told the newspaper.
Although the panels work is not complete, its recommendations are expected to be built around a four-point victory strategy developed by Pentagon officials advising the group. The strategy, along with other related proposals, is being circulated in draft form and has been discussed in separate closed sessions with Mr Baker and Vice-President Dick Cheney, an Iraq war hawk.
Continued on Page 49
First set up 12 combat battlegroups, 1 as a fire-brigade to put otu fires, 7 on the borders to secure them, two in prep for assault, training with Iraqi units that will accompany them, and the other two active and engaging.
Take down 2 cities a month Fallujah style for 6 months.
15K Iraqi troops along with each assault group, and 5K police. Core is US battlegorup, rotated in from training then out to border duty so they have a chance to recover after the assault phases.
After the battle half the Iraqi troops and police stay. They get replaced in the next assault with new Iraqi units that come in with the US BG that was in training and prep. The current US BGs rotate out to the border, 2 border ones rotate into training and prep and one of the rested BGs in the border rotates out to the fire brigade duty.
Repeat the process.
By the time you're done with 5 months, you've hit and wiped the 10 biggest target areas in Iraq, and left 7500 combat hardened Iraqi troops and 2500 combat police in each of them.
For the last month, leave the previosu 10 cities with 2500 troops each and 1500 police each. This lets you pull in 50K combat experienced Iraqi troops from the cities, 10K police, and 4 rested and trained US BGs - mix of US Marines for the light infantry and US Army armor and mech. Go clean out Baghdad for 6 weeks.
Then start pulling down US troops levels, and jumping up air support.
If Iraq canot be pacified after that, then it never will be short of bombing it flat.
How do you avoid playing Mole Basher with the terrorists? They always seem to melt away when the going gets rough. Surprising them with which city is next by just suddenly surrounding it and attacking would work for the first few, but after that they would have plenty of places to sneak back into. It seems to me that this kind of activity might be our weakest link in dealing with the terrorists. It gives them the idea that even if they are going get beat, they can just sneak away and fight another day rather than just die like a good terrorist should. If they lost that idea, perhaps they would just give up and go with the flow. Then again, maybe they'd just wait to fight again after we left.
If you define it as a 'last' big push, it WILL fail. Bad guys will hunker down and wait for it to pass. In the meantime the 'push' will kill some of the wrong people and break some of the wrong stuff and doing little good. In fact, if I was a bad guy looking at that scenario I would be busy supplying fraudulent tips to induce misguided attacks and otherwise framing the Coalition Forces. (This all assumes we are unwilling to be utterly ruthless and totally disregard collateral damage.)
I like OS' idea. But it may not be just 'a last big push'.
Lebanon is going to have problems with Hezbollah, and fairly soon. A 20K troop increase isn't going to go unnoticed by Syria and Iran. It's going to put pressure on the former and make it harder on the latter to resupply its proxy.
tw, I like the way you think. Not what 'fits the binder on file', but something that might actually be effective.
I doubt there is sufficient political or popular support to expand the war at this time, no matter how 'right' that action might be. I fear we will have to get whacked again, big time (nuke?) before we can get the support to push forward (and, depressingly, I am not even sure we have the broad national will to EVER push forward.)
National Ammo Week - stock up. Before it's too late. (Presupposes RBers are already well armed.)
I Still think that making it 3 countries will lead to wars between 3 countries. I say lets rotate presidents every 2-4 years electing a president from a different one of the factions each time. (Sunni, Shia and Kurd) Let the Kurds and Shias pick 1 Sunni candidate and let the Sunnis' pick 2 candidates when its Sunni. This would almost certainly ensure that the Sunnis' would split their vote and the Kurds and Shia would get behind a common candidate, effectively gauranteeing that the militant Sunnis' would never get the guy they want. This of course does not have a snowballs chance in hell until after the U.S. drops the hammer on Iraq, and Iraqis begin to actually want a real Nation.
Posted by: Mike N. ||
11/17/2006 21:57 Comments ||
Former Defense Minister and longtime Oslo and Gaza Disengagement supporter Binyamin Ben-Eliezer is calling for the IDF to do "whatever is necessary" to halt Kassam rocket attacks from Gaza.
In an interview with Army Radio, the current Minister of National Infrastructure, Ben-Eliezer exclaimed, Weve had enough! The rocket attacks must stop!
I am tired to burying children and visiting people in the hospital, he added, stating the government must order the IDF to do whatever is necessary to bring a complete halt to the attacks. He rejected the opinion of those who feel the attacks cannot be stopped, but rather just minimized at best.
Ben-Eliezer, a retired IDF Brigadier General stated he is certain that the attacks can be halted in a two-hour period if and when the military is given the green light to do that which must be done. Ben-Eliezer stated the targeted surgical strikes must be stepped-up, around-the-clock, not only to target terrorists who fire rockets, but with direct strikes against anyone who plays a role in the attacks, including those who transport terrorists.
He explained that the objective can and must be achieved, at whatever the cost, reiterating it is simply not an option to permit residents to continue to live with the reality of daily rocket attacks.
Have you ever been in Sderot? They are civilians too! stated Ben-Eliezer in an agitated voice, responding to concerns over the condemnations of the international community that IDF fire into Gaza kills innocent civilians.
We pulled out of Gaza. Instead of busying themselves with building Gaza, they attack us, he added, rejecting the calls for talks from PA leaders as long as PA security forces do nothing to halt the attacks.
During his interview, Ben-Eliezer admitted there is no one to talk to with regard to peace negotiations, stating we cannot conduct talks under fire. He pointed out that in a recent meeting in Cairo with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak; the Egyptian leader confirmed that he would not sit still for a similar situation, the indiscriminate firing of rockets into civilian population centers.
Ben-Eliezer is among the more audible voices calling on IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz to step down. He would like to see former IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi move into the top military post, a view that is gaining popularity as Halutz is under increasing scrutiny for the perceived military failures during the recent war in Lebanon.
When is the last straw the last straw ? When it's your kid whose legs have been blown off, scumbag ?
That's the kind of shit we'll hear here in the US when the lefties begin to jump onto our wagons.
Some of us had enough on 9/11/2001. Whenever you late comers are ready to order us into battle, feel free. (/snark)
I can tell you how to end the rocket attacks.
I'm no expert, just an observer of the goings on.
Every time they send a pissy little rocket into israel, send a massive conventional warhead into lebanon. Soon the tit for tat rocket exchange will get the leb govt to make it stop.
Iran has given the Hamas-led Palestinian government more than $120 million this year, a Hamas leader said Thursday, and the Iranian government promised to sending money to the administration amid a Western financial embargo.
The US and Europe have cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian government to pressure Hamas to recognize Israel and renounce violence. Iran, a longtime ally of Hamas, has moved in with funds to try to fill the void, boosting its influence among Palestinians.
The Hamas announcement was made probably to 'shame' the Arab sponsors of the PA (Saudi Arabi and the Gulf States). The latter group are tired of subsidizing the PA and have been late in fulfilling their 'pledges'.
Israel dismissed reports Thursday that Spain, France and Italy are preparing a new Middle East peace initiative, saying that at the most, they were discussing "some Spanish ideas." Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced the plan at a summit in Spain with President Jacques Chirac of France. "Peace between Israel and the Palestinians means to a large extent peace on the international scene," Zapatero told a news conference. "We cannot remain impassive in the face of the horror that continues to unfold before our eyes," Zapatero said.
Referring to the errant artillery shells in Beit Hanun and Wednesday's fatal rocket attack in Sderot, Zapatero said the violence "has reached a level of deterioration that requires determined, urgent action by the international community." He said that the peace plan will be presented to an EU summit next month, and that he hoped to win the backing of Britain and Germany. Chirac said France was "going to act jointly with the Spanish and Italian governments, with the cooperation of the EU" to initiate "moral and political reforms in the Middle East."
IRAN > WILL DEMAND AMERICA TREAT IT AS AN EQUAL AND ACKNOWLEDGE THAT 200-PLUS YEARS OF AMERICAN-WESTERN HEGEMONY IN THE MIDDLE-EAST = ASIA IS AT AN END. Who knew that the Pilgrims + first Turkey day was the root of all ME-Asian problems - D*** YOU, DUBYA + BUTTERBALL + BC COMICS???
Lebanese civilians close to the border with Syria told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that weapons for Hizbullah were being brought in by the truckload at night. Lebanese Army troops on duty at the border refused to confirm the claims. This correspondent watched as a line of trucks and lorries several kilometers long built up at one crossing on the road from Lebanon into Syria. The trucks, en route from Beirut to Damascus, were laden with a mixture of goods: everything from construction materials to fruits and vegetables. But in the late afternoon wintry chill they were stationary; their drivers had disappeared and only the occasional soldier kept guard every few hundred meters. "They don't move in the day," said Yusuf Saad, a taxi driver waiting at the border crossing.
Saad, who had watched this correspondent from the other side of the road for some time before signaling for me to come over, added that "It's much easier for them to drive at night." He nodded toward the distant Syrian mountain range. "There's not so much traffic on the road. And I can tell you" - his voice dropped to a conspiratorial whisper - "they might be going in with produce, but they're coming out with weapons. They hide the rockets under the goods and that's how they're able to bring them into the country."
No one in the Lebanese Army would confirm Saad's observations. The soldiers here don't like journalists, and reporters are warned against taking any photographs or conducting any interviews. But a young officer softened a little as the day wore on Thursday and allowed some filming to take place - but only in the direction of Syria. By then cars had piled up in both directions. A number of trucks drove past, headed for Beirut. "Journalists lie," the officer explained. "During the war they came here and told lies about the border not working. They said there was chaos. But as you can see, everything is completely under control."
Continued on Page 49
If When Israel finally strikes again to take this stuff out, they will definitely hit Syria - their airfields, ammo depots and logistics sites.
Syria just made themselves part of the problem, and in an obvious way.
Israel has nothing to lose going after Syria and its handpuppet in Lebanon.
Me, I'd start wiht a decapitation strike out of the blue. No mobilization. Just a fast hit to kill Assad and destroy the command structure. Then suppress the air defenses and destroy the airforce, and then all military targets.
After that, Lebanon will only need mop-up work.
With no logistics from Syria, they cannot hold out -- hamas is structured as a supressive force, not one that can operate and sustain itself. Once the other factions in Lebanon see that Syria is out of the game and unable to resupply, they'll draw their knives and settle some very old grievances with the Syrian puppets. The hard way.
One other thing to consider: Israel will crater ALL the runways in the area. Iran will be unable to supply since their trucks cannot cross Iraq, and turkey will not allow them overland access to Syria (the Kurds will be more than glad to make sure that doesnt happen - and the Turks do NOT want that sort of mess on thier hands).
One beneficiary of all this?
The Kurds in NW Syria. They may just be able to break away.
And you can bet that if the Syrians strike out at Iraq to draw the US into it, there will be some very "special" people paying the command and staff a visit. As well as a few sites that will get B2 type attention with follow ups on the ground for chemical sampling.
OS: The Kurds in NW Syria. They may just be able to break away.
Does Turkey lump all Kurds in the same basket? If so, it seems to me that Turkey is not going to like the idea at all and may do something to minimize the possibility of any kind of independent Kurdish state. Any ideas on what/why their reactions might be?
iirc , there are under 20 airfields in syria that have runways long enough to support military ops .. most of those are still littered with bomb craters and are ill managed, so it wouldnt take long , maybe a 12 hour operation to disable all inbound/outbound flights from all airfields
Oooh the memories ! , 6 years ago , landing at Damascus , it looked like the exterior of a violantly abused golf ball . The tarmac was poorly laid and as in any arab place in the world everythinng was shoddy and ill maintained. On arrival , i was promptly followed round by goons with fat mustaches , attitude and coms . How i chuckled to myself buying a cheap 35mill camera and snapping everything that moved , then lobbing it in the bin just before departure , watching them rifle through the bin to get it back. 101 things to do in Syria
The one way the Turks might react is the way this would push them:
Kurds start breaking loose, in NW Syria, the Turkish Army will roll in due to "Cross border chaos". they will establish a "peacekeeping force" that will lock down northern Syria, and will become a defacto partition. This will also play well to the Turkish public as a point of pride. And it will worry the hell out of the regional powers that remember the recent history of an Arab bugbear: the Ottoman Empire.
It's documented from spy staellites that the Turks have been allowing landing rights to air transports from Iran. They may not allow truck convoys,true, but they are not our friends here by any measure.
Next war, either use nukes or napalm, and screw either UNIFIL or any "civilians" in the free-fire zone (Lebanon south and west of the Syrian border, all of Syria, parts of Saudi Arabia and Egypt). It'll be a much shorter war, and it'll take much longer to "rebuild".
Posted by: Old Patriot ||
11/17/2006 22:34 Comments ||
The Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement and its Christian ally, Michel Aoun, said Thursday they no longer accepted the authority of the Western-backed government of Prime Minister Fouad Seniora. "This government has lost legitimacy and we won't obey its orders after today," the hardline Aoun told his followers at a rally.
Hezbollah politburo member Ghaleb Abu-Zeinab also said "civil disobedience is a legitimate choice" if the government continued to reject Hezbollah's demands for a national unity government. Abu-Zeinab stressed that even if Interior Minister Ahmed Fatfat refused to license protests, "they will not stop us from exercising our democratic legitimate rights," but did not specify any course of action.
The political crisis in the country intensified after the failure on Saturday of national roundtable talks which focused on forming a unity government as called for by pro-Syrian Lebanese factions, especially Hezbollah and Aoun. The ruling anti-Syrian majority has rejected the demands for a new government before securing a pledge for the ouster of President Emile Lahoud, whose term was extended in 2004 for three years under a Syrian-sponsored constitutional amendment.
Continued on Page 49
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