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Today: 63 articles and 241 comments as of 1:05.
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Iraq Votes
Today's Headlines
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Page 1: WoT Operations
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Page 2: WoT Background
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Page 4: Opinion
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Suicide bomber injures 3
A suicide bomber blew himself up and wounded three civilians on Friday afternoon as he tried to ram his car into a convoy of NATO peacekeepers in western Kabul, not far from the new building where legislators are set to gather Monday for the opening of Afghanistan's first Parliament in 30 years.
They're still not real good at that suicide booming thing. The one in Mazar yesterday didn't hurt anybody except for the boom boy, either.
Mutual of Kabul is going to cancel his policy, sure 'nough ...
The soldiers, from Norway, escaped unharmed, although one jeep was slightly damaged, said a statement from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Kabul. Witnesses said that the bomber had missed the two Norwegian armored jeeps, but that one caught fire momentarily. A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the blast in a telephone call to Reuters, and said the attacker had intended to strike at the refurbished Parliament compound but took the opportunity to attack NATO soldiers when he saw them.
Somewhat lacking in fixity of purpose, is was he?
He said there would be more bombings before the Parliament opened. "This Parliament is a symbol of American occupation of our country," he said by telephone from an undisclosed location somewhere in Pakistan. "It is not representative of the people of Afghanistan. It is a bogus body. We will continue to target such symbols in the future."
"We don't care if they voted for it or not. We'll tell 'em who they need to represent them, and that'll be us. Until it's us, anything else is bogus!"
Witnesses said they had rushed to help two men wounded in the attack, a passing motorcyclist and a man on a bicycle, as ammunition inside the bomber's car continued to explode. Masood Amiri, 25, a carpet dealer who had just moved back to Afghanistan after living in the United States for 20 years, said he and other witnesses had put the two men into a car and sent them to the hospital, "because, you know, there's no ambulance service here." A third injured man was later seen walking home.
That's probably the saddest statement in the entire article.
A police investigator, Maj. Zaher, who uses only one name, said the police had found wires, parts of a pressure cooker and two large ammunition shells in the wreckage, indicating that a bomb had been rigged up in the car. "He blew himself up early," before the vehicle hit the soldiers' jeeps, the investigator said.
"Wotta dumbass."
Debris from the passenger car was scattered across the road and up to 100 yards around. "In our opinion," Major Zaher said, "these people are trained by Al Qaeda and are doing this wherever they want."
Thank you for today's statement of the obvious.
In a separate incident, the police reported that suspected Taliban militants dragged a teacher out of his schoolroom in southern Afghanistan on Thursday and shot him to death outside the school gate. The killing occurred in the Nadali district of the southern province of Helmand, where the Taliban have made numerous attacks on police officers and American troops, as well as on tribal elders, mullahs and a candidate for Parliament. The teacher, known by the single name Laghmani, had received threats to stop teaching, the provincial police chief, Abdul Rahman Sabir, told Reuters.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 12/17/2005 00:21 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [282 views] Top|| File under:

UK court backs French bomb plot trial for Algerian
An Algerian man lost a legal challenge in a British court on Friday to his planned extradition to France over a plot to blow up a police station in Lille ahead of a 1996 summit of rich nations. Mustapha Labsi, who was arrested in November 2000, had argued that France could transfer him to Algeria, where he says he had been mistreated by the authorities. He also says that he had already served more time in jail than any sentence likely to be imposed in France. Last April, the British government ruled that he should be extradited to France.

Labsi is wanted for conspiring to bomb the police station in the northeastern city prior to a summit of Group of Seven leading industrialised nations held there in April 1996. He is accused of conspiring to supply forged documents, including passports, in connection with the "preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism". In delivering his ruling, Judge Maurice Kay told the High Court in London that France's commitment to European human rights legislation meant Labsi could not be transferred to face torture in Algeria. He also ruled that it was still important for Labsi to stand trial, even if any sentence passed was the same or less than the amount of time he has already spent in custody.

"It is important to keep in mind that the allegations are of offences connected to terrorism," Kay said. "In these circumstances, if the allegations are true, there is an important public interest in obtaining convictions, quite apart from the sentencing implications." Earlier this month, Britain extradited another Algerian man, Rachid Rama, to face charges of blowing up a Paris underground railway station in 1995. The legal wrangling which delayed the extradition for years caused tensions between London and Paris.
Posted by: Fred || 12/17/2005 15:13 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [257 views] Top|| File under:

#1  He should have fired his lawyers more often to keep the filibuster going. His argument that France would transfer him to Algeria is nonsensical unless he is found innocent of plotting a bombing in Lille. If the French really want to screw the UK they should clear him of the charges and returned him to England.
Posted by: Super Hose || 12/17/2005 18:19 Comments || Top||

Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia
Radiation alert at Chechen plant
Prosecutors in Chechnya have opened a criminal investigation after finding "catastrophic" levels of radioactivity at a chemical factory in the republic. Investigators say the radiation - in one place reportedly 58,000 times the usual level - poses a danger to people in the region's capital, Grozny. The case has also raised fears militants could take radioactive waste to use in a so-called "dirty bomb". The plant has reportedly not been secured since Russia bombed it in 1999. For years, rebels in Chechnya have been fighting a separatist struggle against Russian forces. They have been blamed for bomb attacks in Moscow and on Russian airliners, and the deadly sieges at a school in Beslan, North Ossetia, and in a Moscow theatre.

Chechen prosecutors say radioactive materials have been improperly stored at the Grozny Chemical Factory, run by the Chechen Oil and Chemical Industry, and that a "catastrophic radioactivity situation" has developed. "It's a threat to the population because the leadership of the plant is taking no steps whatsoever to remove the radioactive material or isolate access to the plant," prosecutor Valery Kuznetsov said on Friday, according to the Associated Press.

The Russian prosecutor general's office said between 27 and 29 radioactive elements had been identified at the plant, with the cobalt-60 isotope considered particularly dangerous. Radioactive materials have a variety of uses in the manufacturing industry. If not disposed of properly, they can pose a serious threat to people nearby. The radioactive cloud released by the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine in 1986 may be responsible for 4,000 deaths, according to a recent study. The radioactivity at one storage centre in the Grozny plant is half that recorded at Chernobyl, Rossiya state television said.

Vladimir Slivyak of the Ecodefense environmental group in Moscow urged the Russian government to remove and secure radioactive materials from the plant as a matter of urgency, warning of the dangers of them falling into the hands of "terrorists". The risk of nuclear material to unsuspecting people was illustrated in 2002, when three woodsmen, coming across cylinders giving off heat in the forest of Georgia, dragged them back to their camp. They grew seriously ill and received radiation burns from the containers, which were eventually recovered by a specialist UN team.
Posted by: lotp || 12/17/2005 09:47 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [291 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Perhaps this is the nuclear technology Putin is selling to the Iranians? I didn't think so.
Posted by: Clinesing Thaiter9373 || 12/17/2005 10:34 Comments || Top||

#2  "...when three woodsmen, coming across cylinders giving off heat in the forest of Georgia, dragged them back to their camp..." Better than chopping wood every day.
Posted by: Super Hose || 12/17/2005 12:24 Comments || Top||

Nerve agent may be responsible for poisoning of Chechen schoolkids
Some salt reqired until we get further confirmation.
A group of schoolchildren from the village of Starogladovskaya in Chechnya's Shelkovskaya district have been hospitalized with poisoning, possibly from a nerve agent, said Shelkovskaya district administration head Khusein Nutayev. "Four girls have been taken to the Grozny clinical hospital. Doctors have so far been unable to make a diagnosis," Nutayev told Interfax on Friday. "Our doctors have categorically ruled out food poisoning," he said. "Similar incidents happened earlier in the village of Staroshchedrinskaya, but the causes have never been established," Nutayev said. "I am firmly convinced that the incident might be the result of poisoning by a nerve agent or psychotropic substance," he said.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 12/17/2005 03:19 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [285 views] Top|| File under:

#1  they picked the wrong mushrooms too eat
Posted by: Jerelet Thineling2988 || 12/17/2005 9:26 Comments || Top||

#2  "I am firmly convinced that the incident might be the result ..."

I'll wait for further corroboration too.
Posted by: lotp || 12/17/2005 11:29 Comments || Top||

#3  It's also possible it's leaking Soviet-era munitions.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 12/17/2005 13:08 Comments || Top||

#4  I would look again at food poisoning prior to jumping on the Sarin bandwagon. The Odwalla Apple Juice incident is an example.
Posted by: Super Hose || 12/17/2005 13:23 Comments || Top||

Chinese tell Dongzhou villagers to shuddup or else
This is what commies do, of course.
SHANGHAI, Dec. 16 - Ten days ago, the sleepy fishing village of Dongzhou was the scene of a deadly face-off, with protesters hurling homemade bombs and the police gunning them down in the streets.

In Dongzhou, where some residents say the police killed 20 or more demonstrators during a clash last week over building a power plant, people drove under banners on Wednesday encouraging them to obey the law. Now, a stilted calm prevails, a cover-up so carefully planned that the small town looks like a relic from the Cultural Revolution, as if the government had decided to re-educate the entire population. Banners hang everywhere, with slogans in big red characters proclaiming things like, "Stability is paramount" and "Don't trust instigators."

Many facts remain unclear about the police crackdown on a Dongzhou demonstration on Dec. 6, which residents say ended in the deaths of 20 or more people, but one thing is certain: The government is doing everything possible to prevent witnesses' accounts of what happened from emerging.

Residents of Dongzhou, a small town now cordoned off by heavy police roadblocks and patrols, said in scores of interviews on the telephone and with visitors that they had endured beatings, bribes and threats at the hands of security forces in the week and a half after their protest against the construction of a power plant was violently put down. Others said that the corpses of the dead had been withheld, apparently because they were so riddled with bullets that they would contradict the government's version of events. And residents have been warned that if they must explain the deaths of loved ones - many of whom were shot dead during a tense standoff with the police in which fireworks, blasting caps and crude gasoline bombs were thrown by the villagers - they should simply say their relatives were blown up by their own explosives.

"Local officials are talking to families that had relatives killed in the incident, telling them that if they tell higher officials and outsiders that they died by accident, by explosives, while confronting the police, they must make it sound convincing," said one resident of the besieged town in an interview. "If the family members speak this way they are being promised 50,000 yuan ($6,193), and if not, they will be beaten and get nothing out of it."

Another villager, who, like other residents, spoke on condition of anonymity for fear or reprisals, said families of the dead who agreed to invoke accidental explosion as the cause of death had been offered $15,000 each.

"The story is being spread around the village that people were not killed by bullets, but by bombs," said one man interviewed Friday by telephone. "That's rubbish. Everybody knows they were killed by gunfire."

The bomb story was also being spread at a hospital in the nearby city of Shanwei, where villagers injured in the protest are being treated. Plainclothes police surrounded a Chinese man who entered the hospital seeking to see the wounded, denying him access to a tightly guarded ward even when he said his relative was among the injured. Later, hospital staff members told the man that the injured had all been warned to stick to the same story, of being injured by their own explosives.
Much more at the link.
Posted by: Steve White || 12/17/2005 12:24 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [279 views] Top|| File under:

Al Qaida unit enters China, may target U.S. interests
From East Asia Intel, subscription.
Al Qaida terrorists are seeking to open a new front in their global jihad by sending agents to China, according to Israeli counterterrorism sources. An Al Qaida unit was smuggled into the Chinese border town of Kushi in Xinjiang Province in November, according to the sources. The cell then joined Uighur terrorists sympathetic to Bin Laden’s Al Qaida. Al Qaida is believed to be planning operations against U.S. companies and tourists in China. The cell’s movement from Uzbekistan into China is the basis for a recent terror warning to luxury hotels in southern China.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 12/17/2005 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [254 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Wild. Debka had this 2 weeks ago.
Posted by: Iblis || 12/17/2005 0:14 Comments || Top||

#2  Muslims in China stick out like a dick on a pumpkin.
Posted by: gromky || 12/17/2005 0:48 Comments || Top||

#3  As nervous as the Chinese are about any Muslim activity in that country, any Al-Q caught would be shown just what REAL Torture is all about by the Chinese Secret Police.
Posted by: Shieldwolf || 12/17/2005 3:28 Comments || Top||

#4  ...stick out like a dick on a pumpkin.

Gromky, if I use this excellent analogy, I'll give you credit.
Posted by: Penguin || 12/17/2005 10:46 Comments || Top||

#5  Not me Gromky. It's gone without a trace.
Posted by: Thieven SPemble1217 || 12/17/2005 11:53 Comments || Top||

#6  LOL, gromky! Bam!
Posted by: .com || 12/17/2005 13:48 Comments || Top||

Dutchman guilty of exporting nuclear equipment to Khan
A Dutch court has found two men guilty of illegally exporting materials to Pakistan that could be used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

Dutch businessman Henk S., 61, and his business Zoran F., 37, sent the materials, which required an export licence, to the Institute of Industrial Automation in Pakistan, which was linked to Khan Research Laboratories (KRL).

KRL, run by Abdul Qadeer Khan, was the driving force behind Pakistan's development of a nuclear arsenal. S. was the Dutch business partner of Khan, who is believed to have stolen plans from a lab in the Netherlands in the 1970s, helping him to become the father of the Islamic A-bomb.

The court sentenced S., 61, from Sint Pancras to 12-months in jail, with the last eight months suspended. F., Heerhugowaard, was ordered to do 180 hours community service.

The exports by the company headed by S. took place between 1999 and 2002. F. coordinated the transaction.

The prosecution had sought an 18-month sentence for S., with the last six months suspended. F. faced a demand for 240 hours community service and a EUR 20,000 fine.

S. was bound over to good behaviour for two years and was fined EUR 100,000. If he doesn't pay the fine, he will have to go to jail for 360 days. Two of S.'s companies were fined EUR 65,000 and EUR 32,500 respectively. F. was fined EUR 5,000.

Posted by: lotp || 12/17/2005 09:39 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [250 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Khaaaaaaaan!
Posted by: Raj || 12/17/2005 9:53 Comments || Top||

#2  12-months in jail, with the last eight months suspended. F., Heerhugowaard, was ordered to do 180 hours community service.

S. was bound over to good behaviour for two years and was fined EUR 100,000. If he doesn't pay the fine, he will have to go to jail for 360 days. Two of S.'s companies were fined EUR 65,000 and EUR 32,500 respectively. F. was fined EUR 5,000.

Boy howdy! That's REALLY SERIOUS punishment for F*&KING NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION. How about 10-20 years and take away all their assets? Look at the damage they helped do?
Posted by: Frank G || 12/17/2005 10:41 Comments || Top||

#3  "The court sentenced S., 61, from Sint Pancras to 12-months in jail, with the last eight months suspended. F., Heerhugowaard, was ordered to do 180 hours community service."

In the minds of the Dutch, their justice is the gold standard. In the minds of anyone still on this side of consciousness, Dutch "justice" primarly takes its shape from an unwillingness to name such a thing as a "wrong". Often, their sentences are born from the beliefs that criminals are merely misunderstood, and that criminal acts have root causes that provide criminals with moral cover for their actions.

(BTW, I have in part Dutch heritage.)
Posted by: jules 2 || 12/17/2005 11:23 Comments || Top||

#4  Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Posted by: Anonymoose || 12/17/2005 12:52 Comments || Top||

Great White North
Suspect knew of Van Gogh murder plan
Terrorist suspect Nouriddin El F. knew in advance about the plan to kill film director Theo van Gogh, a witness told the trial on Friday. The witness, named only as A.A., 28, said El F. told him he gave moral support and encouragement to Mohammed B., the man who killed Van Gogh in November 2004. El F., B and 12 other Dutch-Muslims are on trial charged with membership of a terrorist organisation, the Hofstadgroep. Police recovered a mini machine gun when they arrested El F. in Amsterdam earlier this year. The witness said he met El F in The Hague shortly before that. El F. told him that he was "number 1", the police were searching for him and that he would not be taken alive. He wanted to die a martyr, the witness said.
sorry, twerp
Earlier in the trial, Mohammed B. repeated his assertion that he acted alone when he killed Van Gogh and that no one knew about his plan. El F. disputes that he ever met A. The defence suggested on Friday that A. was concocting his testimony because his ex-wife Soumaya S. went on to have a relationship with El F.
Cherchez la femme. The brazen hussy...
A second witness, 24-year-old H.S. from The Hague, said El F. was been heavily involved with guns. The woman appeared very frightened and nervous as she told the court that El F. forced her and her husband to rent a house in Brussels, and the three of them travelled there together on a few occasions. El F. also threatened her with a gun, she said.
"Make me breakfast or I'll plug yez, bitch!"
S. recounted how when walking in the Amsterdamse Bos (wood) with her husband and El F., the accused man took out a gun and began shooting. He also made them fire the gun. "I was very frightened, also because I was afraid I would be shot," she said. The trial continues.
Posted by: lotp || 12/17/2005 09:40 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [244 views] Top|| File under:

Home Front: Politix
House rejects troop withdrawal timetable
For the second time in as many months, the House rejected calls for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq with a vote Friday that Democrats said was politically driven and designed by Republicans to limit debate on the war. In a 279-109 vote, the GOP-controlled House approved a resolution saying the chamber is committed "to achieving victory in Iraq" and that setting an "artificial timetable" would be "fundamentally inconsistent with achieving victory." Democrats voted against the resolution by a roughly two-to-one margin, underlining splits within the party over alternatives to President Bush's Iraq war policies.

Democrats called the vote a political stunt, and offered an alternative statement simply congratulating Iraqis for holding three successful elections this year but not mentioning withdrawal or victory. Republicans rejected it. Instead, the House GOP maneuvered for its own resolution, as Democratic calls for an immediate or eventual troop pullout intensified in the weeks since prominent a Democratic hawk, Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, said it was time for U.S. troops to start coming home. Some Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, have lined up behind him.

The minority party also complained that Republicans were intentionally limiting debate on Iraq by scheduling a vote as lawmakers are under pressure to finish their work so they can adjourn for the year. Several dozen Democrats - some wearing "Debate Iraq" buttons - filed to the floor to "request an open debate" on the war.
Continued on Page 49
Posted by: Pappy || 12/17/2005 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [306 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "it's a trick! Vote against For present"
Posted by: Frank G || 12/17/2005 1:01 Comments || Top||

#2  Notice how the vote changed from 400+ against last time. Ms. Pelosi sends out orders to her subjects to vote against the first bill and then in the second sends out the position that they can have diversity in their position. The brain dead lefty trolls who broadstroke Reps as lockstep bots never seem to see their own in the same light. Which is why their comments are buried and ignored upon posting when they revert all so often to style.
Posted by: Ulaing Angonter4916 || 12/17/2005 9:05 Comments || Top||

#3  All these negative and "present" votes will come back to haunt the donks in '06. The majority of US citizens are not for immature withdrawal, they want to finish the job.
Posted by: Captain America || 12/17/2005 21:51 Comments || Top||

Arrest warrant issued for Ansar al-Sunnah leader
Iraq has issued an arrest warrant for a militant believed to be responsible for the 2003 truck-bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, the U.S. military said in a statement. The attack killed 22 people including U.N. envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.

The statement yesterday said Iraq's Central Investigating Court had issued the warrant on December 4 for Mullah Halgurd al-Khabir. It named him as the prime suspect for the U.N. headquarters attack and said he was the senior leader in Baghdad of the Army of Ansar al-Sunna -- one of the main Sunni insurgent groups in Iraq. It also said Khabir had historical ties to Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda's leader in Iraq.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 12/17/2005 00:20 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [276 views] Top|| File under:

Casey expects US troop reduction
The top U.S. military commander in Iraq said Friday he would make recommendations in the next few weeks about troop withdrawals from Iraq, and he expects the force level will drop back to 138,000 by early February. That has been the usual number this year.

Speaking from Iraq, Gen. George Casey told Pentagon reporters that by late next fall, the Iraqi military should be able to largely take the lead in the country's defense, with continued support from U.S. and coalition transition teams.

"We just had the election, we're doing our assessments, and I'll make some recommendations in the coming weeks here about whether I think it's prudent to go below that baseline," said Casey, adding that the two extra battalions that were sent to Iraq for election security will be heading home in January.

But he made it clear that U.S. forces will still be in the lead in portions of Iraq until sometime in 2007. Depending on the progress of the new Iraqi government ministries, he said it will take until then for Iraqi security to be able to completely take control of its forces across the country. As Iraqi security takes over, U.S. troops will be able to withdraw.

And even with Iraqi forces in the lead, some levels of U.S. support would still be needed for support. There are about 153,000 U.S. troops in Iraq now.

Casey also said the Iraqi police forces would not be able to take charge of internal security until late next year or early 2007.

Coming on the heels of what U.S. officials have touted as a successful parliamentary election in Iraq Thursday, Casey tempered his comments saying he expects insurgents to escalate their attacks to demonstrate they are still a force to be reckoned with.

"We should not expect the insurgency to just go away because of yesterday's great success," he said. "But we should expect it to be gradually weakened and reduced as more and more Iraqis adopt the political process and the root causes of the insurgency are addressed by the new Iraqi government and by the coalition."

Meanwhile, President Bush said Thursday's parliamentary elections represented "a glorious day."

"It was a remarkable day yesterday in the history of mankind and in the history of freedom," the president said in the Oval Office alongside Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, Samir Sumaidaie.

Sumaidaie pleaded with the United States to stick with Iraq until it is stable.

"I believe that yesterday was a great day for Iraq. It was a great day for freedom," he said. "I think it was a turning point and the beginning of the end of terrorism in Iraq."

Casey said conditions along Iraq's border with Syria have improved, leading to a decrease in suicide bombings. He said coalition operations have restored Iraqi control of the border and the Syrians appear to have taken steps to pick up foreign fighters coming through there. As a result, he said, suicide attacks declined from more than 60 last June, to less than one a day this month.

In contrast, he said Iran appears to have meddled more than any other border country in the Iraqi election.

"And I believe that they will continue to attempt to influence the formation of this government over the coming weeks to get a government that they believe is supportive of their interests," he said. "That is worrisome and it is a challenge for us."

Battles between various factions of the insurgency, particularly in Sunni-dominated regions of the country, helped tamp down election-day violence, he said, as Sunni's fought back against al-Qaeda efforts to prevent them from going to the polls.

In other comments, Casey said that an ongoing investigation into a Pentagon propaganda program that pays to plant favorable articles in the Iraqi media has not yet found anything that would prompt him to cancel or suspend the operation. The investigation will be completed in about a week, he said.

Casey's discussion of troop levels came amid growing pressure from Congress and the American public to begin withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq. While the Pentagon has refused to publicly detail any withdrawal, defense officials have said the Pentagon has tentative plans to halt the scheduled deployment of two brigades to Iraq. Instead, smaller transition teams would be sent to support and train Iraqi forces, and much of one brigade, which is currently in Kuwait, would return to its home base in Germany. The officials did not want to be identified because the plans are not final.

One of the officials said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is expected to announce next week that most of the 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Polk, La., will not go to Afghanistan as initially planned.

A brigade normally numbers about 3,500.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 12/17/2005 00:19 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [284 views] Top|| File under:

Bill Roggio writes on election day in Iraq
In the Sunni-dominated province of Anbar, the cities of Barwana, Haqlaniya, and Haditha are collectively known as the Triad. Over the summer, before the joint U.S. military and Iraqi forces established a security presence in the Triad, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda's commander in Iraq, was said to have run up the black flag and declared the region an "Islamic Republic." Beheadings, hangings, and execution-style killings were routinely carried out against those who were believed to have cooperated with U.S. forces or the Iraqi government.

On Election Day last week, the atmosphere in the Triad was quite different. In the city of Barwana, with a population of approximately 20,000, voters showed up in droves. The process was more or less orderly, and no one was harassed for participating. I observed all this as an embed with Lima Company of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, the unit assigned to ensure the security of the city in conjunction with the Iraqi Army.

The polling site in Barwana was on the Euphrates River, between hills and a teeming palm grove, a welcome site in the land of deserts. The voting center was easy to secure as well as accessible to the residents. But there seemed to be a hidden meaning behind its placement. The voting center sat directly beneath the recently destroyed Barwana bridge, where Zarqawi terrorists had routinely executed residents. And the building itself used to be the headquarters of the local Baath party. If there was a message here, it was this: The old order is dead, and a new government has replaced the repressive regimes that once dominated the Triad and Iraq.

Turnout was heavy. During the referendum on the Constitution in October, about 2,300 total votes were cast in the city. Today, the polls opened at 7 a.m., and Iraqis immediately lined up to vote. By 8:30 a.m., the lines snaked up the street. At the end of the day, it was estimated that over 5,000 ballots had been cast.

The overwhelming majority of voters were men. Only 47 women came to the polls. They brought their small children and babies, and were covered from head to toe in the traditional black dress of the region, with only their faces exposed, bearing exotic tattoos. The children were colorfully dressed and smiling, curiously looking at the Iraqi soldiers and U.S. Marines.

The women were searched by female Marines brought in specially for the election. Several of the Iraqi women struck up friendly conversations with the Marines, and many photographs were taken with the women of both countries and the children of Iraq (see photograph on page 7).

The male residents of Barwana were subjected to several security searches, which were the exclusive responsibility of the Iraqi soldiers. The Iraqi unit was made up of a newly formed battalion, and the recruits were pretty green. Curious about the interaction of the soldiers and citizens, and potential conflicts between the Sunnis and Shiites or Kurds, I asked the Iraqi soldiers where they were from. The vast majority hailed from Shiite regions.

The Iraqi soldiers patted down voters and scanned them with hand-held metal detectors. I observed some good-natured ribbing between the voters and soldiers, with what appeared to be jokes about checking under the men's headdresses and the need to search a little more closely the bellies of some overweight voters. No Sunni-Shiite hatred surfaced in my presence.

By mid-morning, there was a rush of voters, which caused logistical problems inside the polling center. As a significant portion could not read or write, they required assistance with their ballots. The impression among some impatient voters and some of the military observers was that poll workers were not moving quickly enough. Heated disagreements broke out between the poll workers, city councilmen, and some voters. There was pushing, shoving, and shouting, and a press of bodies towards the entrance into the voting center.

An Iraqi soldier fired several rounds in the air in an attempt to deffuse the situation. It worked, but the gunfire came at a cost. A few voters angrily left the courtyard, and one of the council leaders attempted to barricade those remaining. Some voters in line outside the building fled for fear of violence, but the majority of those inside and outside the building remained, awaiting their turn.

Captain Shannon Neller, commander of Lima Company, ordered water, which belonged to the Marines and Iraqi troops, to be distributed to the Iraqis waiting to vote. As there were many older men and young children in line, and the day had grown warm under the late morning sun, the gesture was greatly appreciated. As Marines and Iraqi soldiers stepped through the razor wire and handed out bottles to the smiling and grateful crowd, good will was reestablished.

After lunch, the lines grew short as fewer voters headed to the center and, because of improvements inside the polling center, ballots were being cast more efficiently. At 5 p.m., the polls closed and the U.S. Marines and Iraqi troops began to break down the rings of security. There were no security incidents in Barwana, and very few in Iraq.

The Marines guarding the polling station felt a sense of accomplishment, and recognized the importance of the day's events. They were proud of their months of hard work and sacrifice during combat operations and subsequent rebuilding efforts, but they understood the future of Iraq lay with its people. There was a sense that they had witnessed history, a sense I shared.

Overall turnout was estimated at 67 percent, well above the 58 percent for the January elections. Voting in three large Sunni cities was high as well: Turnout was estimated at 70 percent in Falluja, 80 percent in Saddam's hometown of Tikrit, and 80 percent in war-torn Ramadi.

Barwana, once part of Zarqawi's self-declared "Islamic Republic of Iraq," was thus the scene of al Qaeda's greatest nightmare: Muslims exercising a constitutional right to choose their own destiny. The other Sunni towns and cities along the Euphrates River and in the Sunni Triangle have chosen as well.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 12/17/2005 00:18 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [324 views] Top|| File under:

#1  a happy, historic day. Good luck to the Iraqi's!
Posted by: 2b || 12/17/2005 6:22 Comments || Top||

#2  Bill's a character. Got his blog fans to pay for his trip, closed the blog, went to Threats Watch where a very condensed version of this was posted and sent the rest to the Standard. Sweet!
Posted by: Suspi SPemble 1217 || 12/17/2005 7:33 Comments || Top||

#3  I agree - as much as I can muster, anyway, 2b. It's been an expensive experiment, but I hope they make the best of it and create the expected initially illiberal democracy -- and evolve into the real deal somewhere down the road.

On another level...

[rantus burgus]
The Dhimmidonk strategy is simply to oppose. Period. The impression of an embattled and ineffective Bush Admin is their only hope, the only relief their raging BDS affords them, their holding pattern until MaGiK HaPpEnS.

On a day when we should have heard trumpets blaring the success of the Iraqi elections, we have CNN leading with the ice storm down in the SE. We have the NYT printing a story that was old hat to every Dhimmidonk on the Intel Committee - and bogus to boot - since everyone knows if Zawahiri or bin Laden or other Watch List asshat makes a call to someone in the US, well, we're gonna hafta listen in. That we have a Special Prosecutor appointed and much ballyhoo attached to investigating a faux charge such as outing Plame, yet the leakers of this NSA story, or any of the other Dhimmidonk Leak Specials which have failed to scuttle the Admin in the last year, will never be sought or face any music tells you all you need to know. We have the vote on the Patriot Act scheduled for the same day - with lotsa staged angst about its provisions, yet there's never been a single abuse of its powers. Not one. And whaddya know - they filibuster and the RINOs stampede - to cover. All of the hubbub and brouhaha were scheduled, manufactured, designed to tamp down or override the good news - the achievement of another step in the vision of our President's team and our Military's triumphs to bring it off. Bush can have no successes without taint. To be honest, our Govt is simply broken - running on, maybe, 5 or 6 cylinders. I'm pretty close to thinking we should junk the bitch and start over.

I've had all I can stand of politics. Our Dhimmidonk SS, EuroTrash, PakiWakiIslamoNutz, MadMullahNutz, even SurfersDefendingBeachBunnies. I've also had it with all aspects and forms of Islam. Look at the news - just scan the headlines at Google, AP, Rooters, AFP, the lot of 'em - not just those which specialize like RB. 60% or more is about Islamoshit. Seething, killing, bombing (themselves and others), nukes, missiles, cells, walking out on talks, interfering in non-Islamic politics, silly revisionist shit, sillier superstitious shit, demanding this and that and other shit, marching on KFC or McD's or just around in circles, staging photo-ops with RPGs, getting fawning attention from the Tranzis and their MSM enablers and symps. Pfeh. Fuck Islam. Forever. It's a pathogen. It should be eradicated. Period. That's what people with some guts and a clear view of the road ahead would do. Kill it.

Enuff. Romp 'n Stomp the lot of 'em. Start with our homegrown demagogues, such as LostAnus - yesterday's Troll Distraction du Jour, part 'n parcel to the Dhimmidonk design thingy I mentioned. RC's Good News Law was fully in effect, methinks. It offered nothing but Talking Points and no had purpose other than to obfuscate and troll - and it wasn't even original. I certainly hope circumstances evolve so that I get to shoot a few dozen just like it - real soon. Yeah, I know. Blah³.
[/rantus burgus]
Posted by: .com || 12/17/2005 7:50 Comments || Top||

#4  Well said.

Myself, I'm not quite yet at Romp 'n Stomp-- except intermittently and in anger-- but I get a little closer to it with each new outrage from the Donks.

My teeny, tiny little "Inner Liberalhawk" keeps hoping that adults within the Democratic Party will assert themselves and put a stop to the bullshit, saying, "Enough with the lies, already! This is WRONG. We're harming the country, and getting American soldiers killed, by encouraging the enemy to believe we can be driven off. This crap has got to STOP, and stop NOW, for the good of the nation."

But it never happens-- instead, every day brings a new load of crap from the Donks. It can't go on like this indefinitely, I know that much. At some point the bonds of civility will snap.

Buy ammo.
Posted by: Dave D. || 12/17/2005 8:35 Comments || Top||

#5  Patience, .com, though that is the last thing you want to hear. Think of Lincoln. There's a lot of folks cycling through Iraq. They know what lies are being peddled by the boomer elites in control of the media. But their day is almost at an end. And when they pass they will be replaced by those who know the truth and who will keep the dhimmis out of power for a good 20 years. During that time the Mohammedans will go one step too far, and 70+% of the population will be ready to romp and stomp too. Just live clean and wait. The opposition is stupider. By a mile. And they're on the wrong side.
Posted by: Throlutch Cromoting6093 || 12/17/2005 8:40 Comments || Top||

#6  I have never felt more optimistic about this war than I do today. Don't you see, it never ends. There is no moment in history when the good guy wins and the bad foe is totally vanquished. It's a battle that continues to infinity.

Be that as it may, today is about as good as it gets gets for the good guys. Ayman is trying to rally his discouraged troops. The Iraqi's get their shot, despite the fact that their fashion sense is lacking. But hey, they are attempting to move centuries forward when it was less than a hundred years ago. showing an ankle in America was indecent and women didn't have a vote. Democracy isn't pretty - as you have so perfectly noted in your rant above. It's a constant battle.

Politics - bleah. It sucks. But right now, a representative democracy is the best we've got in this imperfect world. It's better than Stalin and Saddam enforcing kite flying. Yeah..anyone who loves politics in Washinton DC is on invite from Hell.

But look at the bright side. Hamas won. Isn't that really what the Paleo's thought they wanted? Hey Paloes, you want it? You got it! Are you happy now? How about now? Can you hear me now? Does your life still suck? Yeah, well now you can blame Hamas. If you don't like it, vote for someone else.

Muslims are born no different than you and me. But in the end, it's like Freecell. You can always get lucky - but if you follow a given set of rules you have a better chance of winning.

This week has been a good week for freedom. Don't let the bastards get you down. They will always be there. We've moved forward. Enjoy the moment.
Posted by: 2b || 12/17/2005 8:43 Comments || Top||

#7  "As a significant portion could not read or write, they required assistance with their ballots."
this surprised me, I thought these were educated people.
most excellent rant .com.
On CNN was the "Jib Jab video" that they played more that the info on the election.
With our country allowing other countries to buy our media, it is very concerning what we will be "allowed" to see on TV in the future.
Posted by: Jan || 12/17/2005 9:10 Comments || Top||

#8  My teeny, tiny little "Inner Liberalhawk" keeps hoping that adults within the Democratic Party will assert themselves and put a stop to the bullshit

God bless Liberalhawk and god bless my mother. Their optimism makes the world a better place.
Posted by: 2b || 12/17/2005 9:11 Comments || Top||

#9  Thanks, 2b. I was as disconsolate as .com, just not as angry. Yours was the voice of reason!
Posted by: Bobby || 12/17/2005 9:49 Comments || Top||

#10  Bill's a character.

Bill was in uniform a while back. Good guy - I've had lunch with him. One of the bloggers who's wanted to go full time but needed to pay the rent & I'm thrilled he's made the Standard and broken into the bigger leagues now. Proud to have played a very small part in that.
Posted by: lotp || 12/17/2005 10:24 Comments || Top||

#11  Great thread, folks. I woke up at 0530 on a Saturday, pissed off as hell, when I should have been sleeping in. .com expresses well the anger of us at the systematic effort by the Democrats and their tools like the NYT to destroy the President and his policies.

We have seen, especially at Rantburg, the kind of enemy that this republic faces. There is an external enemy of radical Islam (well, the ROP good Muslims™ are not our greatest allies, either). We also have an internal enemy, a fifth column that is just dangerous and hell-bent for creating a socialist world-government type nanny state out of the US.

The US has got into this predicament because we have lost our way and moral compass, just like when the body is weakened and then diseases of opportunity (e.g., viruses) set up shop and raise hell. Now we are trying to get out of it and it is painful and disruptive. And just like the virus or parasite, it can kill its host, which kills itself.

Make no bones about it, this is a war to the death, both within and without our country. I agree somewhat with the sentiments of 2b: We are winning---the tide is turning. If we were not, the tactics of the Dems would not be as desparate and vicious. The Valerie Plame thing went nowhere, so they switched issues and attacked from another angle. The attacks will get more and more vicious. The Dems are trying to radicalize people against this administration, just like the old Marxist playbook.

There will be a day of reckoning. It may come as a day to butt heads, like .com expresses. It may come as a day when the Dems are thrown out office on their asses. There may be another terrorist attack on our population, then all bets are off. But that day of reckoning is coming---the country cannot be divided like this and survive.

TC6093 refers to President Lincoln. His experience is a good one to study for us. Here he was, trying to hold the Union together. He had Congress working to undermine and destroy him. He had members of his own cabinet that worked against his interest. He had generals that would not lead and some worked against him, like Little Mac. And he had a war to run, too. Plus he had tremendous bouts of depression to battle. Yet he never lost sight of the vision, and he kept going. Those were the times that try men's souls. Well, now is the same for us.

I think of Dems like Joe Lieberman, a man of concience, a decent man, one of reason and evaluating isssues on the facts and their merits. This man is systematically being driven out of the party by the likes of Howard Dean, Kerry, Shumer, and co. Moderates like Lieberman have nowhere to go. These people of moderation and compromise are being systematically purged.

And do not think that the Republicans have all of our interests in mind. At least most of them are not trying to destroy the President.

Well, I am very cautiously optimistic. A good 51%, heh. One thing for sure, the radical (now mainstream) Dems will not go down quietly. There WILL be a day of reckoning. Will it be violent, or peaceful? Depends upon whether the people wake up sooner or later. It's going to be a hell of a race, folks. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. We have 40 years of misplaced values to undo. [/rantus burgus II]
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 12/17/2005 10:26 Comments || Top||

#12  Sorry, but I remain sick at heart. I went to bed Thursday night with my spirits buoyed by the news just breaking about how stunningly and unbelievably well the Iraq elections went, and the first glimmers that the MSM was finally going to be forced to report truly good news for the country. Even the Beeb and (at first) the NYT were featuring grudgingly upbeat assessments, and I could feel a seismic shift starting.

Then the stiletto snuck between the ribs. This stupendoulsy positive development for Iraq and the US was NOT EVEN GIVEN A FULL 24 HOURS to sink into the national consciousness before the NYT trumpets the "Bush authorizes spying on Americans" story and everybody from Jim Lehrer to MTV to Republican senators are calling it the new (or should I say latest) Watergate and calling for hearings, investigations, impeachment, whatever. They had this story on file for a year, and I can't escape the conclusion that they were waiting for any major development in Bush's favor to spring it. If anybody doubts the depth of the BDS rot at the Times, go read "The Mask Slips" by Thomas Lifson in the American Thinker from Dec 15. They'll slit their own country's throat if there's a chance GWB will drown in the blood that results, and they'll do it with a self-satisfied smirk, or more likely a self-serious, Tim-Robbins-like, vaguely constipated, a-chill-wind-is-blowing-up-my-ass frown. I pray that this treason will someday soon be exposed, and those responsible meet justice. But I'm not gonna hold my breath.
Posted by: docob || 12/17/2005 10:48 Comments || Top||

#13  I too am heartsick - and deeply deeply angry. So angry it's a subsonic rumble in my bones. I don't know when or where it will explode, but part of me wants it to do so now, violently.
Posted by: too true || 12/17/2005 10:54 Comments || Top||

#14  I woke up today glad that we have done what we did there. The greater lesson to me was that we could have gone on for another 10 years with the low level crap in Iraq like the last 10 or do something about it. Like we did. We should have done this in Korea 40 years ago. This is a great day for the world, so be proud .com, no matter what the pathetic Kerry's do, they cant take the bug of democracy from the middle east. Once democracy is tasted they will never go back.

Our nation has a strong leader, one the enemy fears. He stands on solid ground and no matter what the MSMs and dems do the nation can see his firm leadership and will follow him. He has not made a single decision based on polls. This is killing the MSMs who were literally running our nation by slanted polling and democrats changing their minds on issues because of it. I really believe the Clintons gave the nation to the MSMs by basing their decisions on the daily news and polls, a very quiet but powerful coupe. The MSMs are in a historic fight for the control of our nation and Bush has taken it back. Stay vigilant.
Posted by: 49 pan || 12/17/2005 11:21 Comments || Top||

#15  I'm not heartsick at all. It was a GREAT day for the people of Iraq.

That sticks. That has consequences both there and at home. People aren't stoopid; they see what works. It's going to be easier for GWB to make his case on Iraq because of this. The MSM is going to be less able to paint doom, gloom and Fairbanks as the Iraqis show they can take over and get things done.

As to the NYT, .com has the best defense for GWB but doesn't realize it: all Bush has to do is say, "if some terrorist phones someone in the US, we need to know about it. We were accused of missing 9/11, but what would be inexcusable would be missing ANOTHER 9/11. I authorized an exception to the law on surveillance precisely to prevent another major terrorist attack on the United States."

Goal. Touchdown. Three-point swish. Even if the NYT and Kos try to spin that, Americans will get it. Bush is trying to make us safer, and the Dhimmis are wailing about a loss of freedom that no one seems to notice.

Nope, it's been a good couple of weeks. GWB's speeches have been making a difference, and the Iraqis have made a bigger difference. The NYT may have had this story in the can for quite some time waiting for the book deal and the right moment, but it isn't going to matter.
Posted by: Steve White || 12/17/2005 11:28 Comments || Top||

#16  I'll take my cue from the AOS and try to remain focused on the positive! Research indicates that the muscles you use to smile actually send a message to your brain to cheer up a bit, so I'll give 'er a shot: =)
Posted by: docob || 12/17/2005 12:17 Comments || Top||

#17  I was depressed until I read the text of the president's speech today. His focus is on protecting us. The people understand this and are not living in fear of the gov't. The NYT can rot in hell. The pres also made a clear point that whoever leaked this crap is going to be in trouble. I hope that is the case. Classified has to mean something in this country again. Drag the assholes from the NYT into court and throw their asses in jail if they don't tell who told them about this.

The good news of this week will not be hidden. And there is the silver lining of Friday's NYT treachery...that this is another stunning example of how the donks are not prepared to deal with the security of this country. They will wind up on the sidelines holding large puppets.
Posted by: remoteman || 12/17/2005 14:51 Comments || Top||

#18  "The pres also made a clear point that whoever leaked this crap is going to be in trouble. I hope that is the case."

You would think so, but I fear the mild scolding Bush delivered in today's speech will be the beginning and end of it.

After all the asinine, hypocritical bullshit we've been subjected to by the Dhimmidonks about Valerie Plame, some of them need to do hard time for this. My own preference would be that they face a firing squad; but some might consider that too harsh.
Posted by: Dave D. || 12/17/2005 14:58 Comments || Top||

#19  How about life in front of a firing squad? (Who said that?)

There's always death by Womba....
Posted by: Bobby || 12/17/2005 17:41 Comments || Top||

#20  I'm angry at the donkeys from both parties that have done so much to try to wreck this nation, and proud that despite all their efforts, we've done wonderful things in Iraq. I hope the half-million men and women who have rotated through Iraq and Afghanistan DO come back angry. I hope they make that anger known, and convey the reasons behind it to their family and friends.

We failed to take the necessary steps to end treason when it reared its ugly head during the Vietnam War (Fonda, Kerry, et. al.). It's had time to enter "mainstream" behavior, and will take equally as long to root out. It will take killing those who refuse to give up - there will be no choice. There WILL be a second revolution, with much the same goals as the first: to replace a dictatorial, power-driven government by one that is in the hands of the people, and amenable to their will.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 12/17/2005 21:43 Comments || Top||

Bulgaria begins troop withdrawl from Iraq
Bulgarian troops began withdrawing from Iraq on Friday after their mission concluded, the Bulgarian Defense Ministry's press office said. In a statement issued on Friday afternoon, the ministry said the 400 Bulgarian soldiers deployed in Iraq's southern region of Divaniyah had concluded their military mission and began their withdrawal.

According to the action plan, Bulgaria will officially hand over the commanding power in the Divaniyah region in days to come to Iraqi troops, who have been trained by the Bulgarian troops, the statement said. The Bulgarian troops have planned to withdraw in three batches as of Friday and the pullout are expected to be completed by the end of this year. Bulgaria, which sent troops to Iraq in May 2003, has lost 13 soldiers during the past two years.

In May, the Bulgarian parliament decided that the 400 soldiers in Iraq should come back home before Dec. 31, 2005.
Posted by: Pappy || 12/17/2005 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [304 views] Top|| File under:

#1  thank you Bulgaria - 3+ times as courageous as our Spanish "allies"
Posted by: Frank G || 12/17/2005 22:43 Comments || Top||

Al-Zarqawi capture report unconfirmed
The Pentagon has said it cannot confirm reports that Iraqi police captured and then unwittingly released al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in 2004. Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said on Friday: "That was rumoured a year ago and never proved to be confirmed."

Earlier, Hussain Kamal, Iraq's deputy interior minister, said in a television interview that al-Zarqawi had been arrested by security forces in Falluja, but released because the forces did not know who he was. However, speaking later to Reuters news agency, Kamal said the story was many months old and contained no new information. "More than a year ago the Iraqi police in Falluja captured Zarqawi but released him after three or four hours because they did not recognise him," he told Reuters. "We captured a Saudi terrorist ... and he told us this information," he said. "I said that before."

"Things weren't stable in Falluja and the Interior Ministry was trying to organise; that's why they didn't recognise him," Kamal said, adding: "It won't be long before we capture him again though." His comments raised questions over the effectiveness and capability of Iraq's security forces a day after the apparent success of national elections held to form a new parliament.
Posted by: Fred || 12/17/2005 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [248 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Doesn't this knucklehead Al-Zarqawi have a missing leg? How could they miss that?
Posted by: airandee || 12/17/2005 5:00 Comments || Top||

#2  Kamal said the story was many months old and contained no new information. "We captured a Saudi terrorist ... and he told us this information," he said. "I said that before."

Learned a good bit from ol' Bill Clinton, it seems.
Posted by: 2b || 12/17/2005 6:27 Comments || Top||

#3  Damn.
I'm reminded of the magnetic shavings face toy
Posted by: Jan || 12/17/2005 9:14 Comments || Top||

#4  Things weren't stable in Falluja and the Interior Ministry was trying to organise; that's why they didn't recognise him," Kamal said, adding: "It won't be long before we capture him again though." His comments raised questions over the effectiveness and capability of Iraq's security forces a day after the apparent success of national elections held to form a new parliament.

Another fake news story trotted out by the mainstream media to counterbalance the good news coming out of Iraq.
Posted by: Ebberesh Ulaviling3841 || 12/17/2005 13:18 Comments || Top||

Attempted Hit On Iran President?
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s motorocade was ambushed, one of his bodyguards killed and a second injured near Zabol, in the restive southeastern province of Baluchistan Friday.

This is reported by the semi-official Jomhouri Islami quoted by Iran Focus.

The assailants are described as armed bandits and trouble-makers, Tehran’s terms for anti-government dissidents and rebels. The president's whereabouts are not mentioned.

On Nov. 18, DEBKA-Net-Weekly 230 revealed that certain power-groups in the Islamic regime have put out a contract on the blabbermouth president, fearing that as champion of the most way-out factions of the Revolutionary Guards, he may be gathering momentum for a coup.
Real glassy-eyed fanatics make everybody nervous. Call it "The Caligula Effect".
Posted by: Anonymoose || 12/17/2005 18:49 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [302 views] Top|| File under:

#1  that certain power-groups in the Islamic regime have put out a contract on the blabbermouth president, fearing that as champion of the most way-out factions of the Revolutionary Guards, he may be gathering momentum for a coup.

Or vice versa--he may have staged an unsuccessful assassination attempt as a pre-emtive measure to free his hands to gain momentum for bloody purges and a coup.

In any case, some VIP heads would roll.
Posted by: twobyfour || 12/17/2005 19:16 Comments || Top||


The Perps
Posted by: Omomomble Elmang2869 || 12/17/2005 19:26 Comments || Top||

#3  Better luck next time.

Tomorrow, maybe?
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 12/17/2005 19:54 Comments || Top||

#4  Couldn't have been the CIA -- they'd use an IED for Mahmoud. Couldn't have been the Mossad -- they wouldn't miss. Must have been locals.
Posted by: Darrell || 12/17/2005 21:28 Comments || Top||

#5  Or vice versa--he may have staged an unsuccessful assassination attempt as a pre-emtive measure to free his hands to gain momentum for bloody purges and a coup.

That occurred to me too.
Posted by: 2b || 12/17/2005 21:33 Comments || Top||

#6  or it could be someone who thinks Ahmadi Nejad is too moderate or it could be someone who dislikes the 'I had a halo' speech because it is too Christian
Posted by: mhw || 12/17/2005 22:11 Comments || Top||

Ahmadinejad escapes ambush in Baluchestan
Tehran, Iran -- One of the bodyguards of Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was killed and another wounded when an attempt to ambush the presidential motorcade was thwarted in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan, according to a semi-official newspaper and local residents.

“At 6:50 pm on Thursday, the lead car in the presidential motorcade confronted armed bandits and trouble-makers on the Zabol-Saravan highway”, the semi-official Jomhouri Islami reported on Saturday. “In the ensuing armed clash, the driver of the vehicle, who was an indigenous member of the security services, and one of the president’s bodyguards died, while another bodyguard was wounded”, the newspaper, which was founded by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, wrote.

Ahmadinejad traveled to the restive province, where ethnic Baluchis have been fighting for years for autonomy, on Wednesday and returned to Tehran on Friday afternoon. The newspaper report made no mention of Ahmadinejad’s whereabouts during the attack on his bodyguards’ vehicle, but Zabol residents reached by telephone said there were rumors in the town that the hard-line president himself was the target of the attack, which took place near Zabol. “Many people have been rounded up for questioning after the attack and the authorities here were clearly shaken by the incident”, a Zabol resident told Iran Focus.

The Sunni Baluchis have faced years of religious and racial discrimination under Iran’s Shiite clergy-dominated government.

Ahmadinejad called the Holocaust a “myth” on Wednesday, on the first day of his trip to the province. “They have fabricated a legend under the name 'Massacre of the Jews', and they hold it higher than God himself, religion itself and the prophets themselves”, he told a crowd in Zahedan, the provincial capital of Sistan and Baluchestan.
Posted by: Steve White || 12/17/2005 11:52 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [261 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Love that great Baluchi 'can do' spirit...
Posted by: Seafarious || 12/17/2005 13:17 Comments || Top||

#2  "there were rumors in the town that the hard-line president himself was the target of the attack"

Posted by: .com || 12/17/2005 13:46 Comments || Top||

#3  DARN!
Posted by: The Happy Fliegerabwehrkanonen || 12/17/2005 14:39 Comments || Top||

#4  Missed him by that much...
Posted by: Agent 86 || 12/17/2005 14:49 Comments || Top||

#5  Red on Red is Win Win for us!
Posted by: 3dc || 12/17/2005 15:08 Comments || Top||

#6  Ohh Well... there is always Tomorrow....
Posted by: newc || 12/17/2005 15:13 Comments || Top||

#7  I don't want this guy dead. Yet. Everytime he opens his mouth he provides the world with evermore justification for a preemptive strike.
Posted by: Mark Z. || 12/17/2005 15:14 Comments || Top||

#8  I thought Baluchestan was where Bin Laden was rumored to have holed up at one time. Time article or something....better get all the coordinates for the whole province to make sure we get them both!
Posted by: Danielle || 12/17/2005 15:48 Comments || Top||

#9  North Korea: missile sales to Iran and secret nuclear weapons development program.

Iran: rattling its snaky tail about Israel, the US and the right to enriching uranium.

Ahmadinejad in Ladenland? Doing what, playing Milles Bornes?

Behavior worth more than watching. What the fug?
Posted by: jules 2 || 12/17/2005 15:56 Comments || Top||

#10  Missed by THAT much!

Posted by: doc || 12/17/2005 16:01 Comments || Top||

#11  Balochis also hate the Punjab dominated terrorist entity of Pakistan. Maybe they will take out Qazi someday.
Posted by: CaziFarkus || 12/17/2005 16:33 Comments || Top||

#12  *Breaking News*

Taxi cab president leaves skid mark
Posted by: Red Dog || 12/17/2005 16:36 Comments || Top||

#13  Someone should remind him of the Saddam trial which started with the case of retaliation for an assassination attempt.
Posted by: Penguin || 12/17/2005 16:59 Comments || Top||

#14  I thought Baluchestan was where Bin Laden was rumored to have holed up

Balochistan is divided between Iran and Pakistan.
Balochis have resisted the rule of both countries.

The late Shah of Iran supported Pakistani suppression of Balochi separatism in the 1970s when the Pak army killed 10 000 Balochis.
Posted by: john || 12/17/2005 18:44 Comments || Top||

#15  Maybe Ahmadinejad was going to meet Binny and give him a get-well-gift.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 12/17/2005 20:41 Comments || Top||

German intelligence warns Iran has new missiles
German intelligence believes Iran has now bought 18 longer-range missiles from North Korea, giving Tehran the capability to attack targets in central Europe, the German daily newspaper Bild reported Friday.

The study by the foreign intelligence service BND said the BM-25 missiles were being purchased from Pyongyang in the form of kit sets. The mobile missiles, which are based on the Russian SS-N-6 missile for submarine launch, will have a nominal range of 2,500 kilometres. However it was possible to upgrade them to hit targets 3,500 kilometres away, the Munich-based BND said.

Iran already has Shehab-3 missiles with a range of 1,300 kilometres.

Bild quoted the BND dossier as saying: "Germany and other parts of Europe could be affected in the medium to long term by the Iranian missile programme." It added: "With longer ranges in the future, combined with the apparent efforts to obtain nuclear warheads, Iran would be in a position to reach all of Israel and parts of central Europe."
Posted by: lotp || 12/17/2005 08:40 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [244 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Afraid they might be pointed at Berlin? I certainly hope so.
Posted by: Hupung Slineper6361 || 12/17/2005 9:07 Comments || Top||

#2  But it's all Bush's fault.
Posted by: lotp || 12/17/2005 10:20 Comments || Top||

#3  I blame Robert Goddard.
Posted by: Thieven SPemble1217 || 12/17/2005 11:59 Comments || Top||

#4  von Braun

Posted by: .com || 12/17/2005 13:45 Comments || Top||

#5  Blame Allan?
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 12/17/2005 14:21 Comments || Top||

#6  von Braun was never at Roswell so what did he know? Goddard was the reason the Martian SS came to Roswell in the first place.
Posted by: Thieven SPemble1217 || 12/17/2005 15:10 Comments || Top||

#7  We should not waste time helping them improve the range of these missiles so they can be aimed at the U.S. instead of Europe.
Posted by: J.C. and V.P. || 12/17/2005 16:37 Comments || Top||

Terror Networks
9/11-Style Attacks Foiled by Patriot Act
Lost in yesterday's Senate debate and eventual rejection of most of the Patriot Act was one salient fact. Since its inception, the measure has foiled at least three terrorist attacks of 9/11 proportions against the U.S. - and seven other attacks in nations of close allies around the globe.

Earlier this year, the White House detailed the chilling al Qaida plots foiled during the four years the Patriot Act was in full force - plots that would have likely proceeded undetected until their final execution, under the kind of rollback the Senate passed on Friday.

According to a CNN report in October, the list of plots foiled thanks to the Patriot Act includes:

The West Coast Hijack Plot:

In mid-2002 the United States disrupted a plot to use hijacked airplanes to attack targets on the West Coast of the United States. The plotters included at least one major operational planner behind the 9/11 attacks.

The East Coast Hijack Plot:
In mid-2003 the United States and a partner disrupted a plot to use hijacked commercial airplanes to attack targets on the East Coast of the United States.

The Jose Padilla Plot:

In May 2002 the United States disrupted a plot that involved blowing up apartment buildings in the United States. One of the alleged plotters, Jose Padilla, allegedly discussed the possibility of using a "dirty bomb" inside the United States. Bush has designated him an "enemy combatant."

The British Urban Bombing Plot:
In mid-2004 the United States and partners disrupted a plot to bomb urban targets in Britain.

The Heathrow Airport Hijack Plot:
In 2003 the United States and several partners disrupted a plot to attack London's Heathrow Airport using hijacked commercial airliners. The planning for this alleged attack was undertaken by a major operational figure in the 9/11 attacks.

Another British Bombing Terror Plot:
In the spring of 2004 the United States used intelligence gathered under the Patriot Act to disrupt a plot to conduct large-scale bombings in Britain.

Four additional attack plots detailed by the White House targeted U.S. interests in the Middle East.

Now that the Patriot Act has been gutted by the Senate, however, plots like those cited above will presumably proceed to their successful completion.
Posted by: Captain America || 12/17/2005 19:30 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [327 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Many of us have speculated that the next tipping point for US policy / public opinion will be another serious hit on US soil. I guess the Dhimmidonks got tired of waiting and wish to precipitate that event.

That a rational observer would likely conclude that such an event would not favor the seditious cheesedicks of the Left doesn't seem to be to have occurred to them. Perhaps they're precisely as smart as Zarqi and don't realize that killing their own won't help their cause.

That would, indeed, fit with their other actions of late.

This will get people killed. Period. Too bad it won't be limited to the assholes, and their followers, who're responsible for it.
Posted by: .com || 12/17/2005 22:16 Comments || Top||

#2  Ima rooting for target Berkely
Posted by: Frank G || 12/17/2005 22:49 Comments || Top||

#3  Hit Seditious San Francisco and Peoples republik of Bezerkeley will fall in line.
Posted by: Red Dog || 12/17/2005 23:09 Comments || Top||

Which again shows that Democrats can never be trusted with our national defense. They're a single issue party and that's abortion. I could be wrong, it is possible that Sandy Berger smugled out the Dems. National Defense strategy out in his socks.
Posted by: macofromoc || 12/17/2005 23:36 Comments || Top||

#5  If there is another attack of 9/11 magnitude or greater, it will indeed be a 'tipping point.' However, I predict that it will be tipping us further from the Left's preferred policy. There will be significant pressure to take the gloves off up to and including nukes. The left does not understand the American psyche.
Posted by: JAB || 12/18/2005 0:00 Comments || Top||

Bush Kicks Asses; Takes Names
President Bush said Saturday he personally has authorized a secret eavesdropping program in the U.S. more than 30 times since the Sept. 11 attacks and he lashed out at those involved in publicly revealing the program. "This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security," he said in a radio address delivered live from the White House's Roosevelt Room.

"This authorization is a vital tool in our war against the terrorists. It is critical to saving American lives. The American people expect me to do everything in my power, under our laws and Constitution, to protect them and their civil liberties and that is exactly what I will continue to do as long as I am president of the United States," Bush said.

Angry members of Congress have demanded an explanation of the program, first revealed in Friday's New York Times and whether the monitoring by the National Security Agency violates civil liberties.

Defending the program, Bush said in his address that it is used only to intercept the international communications of people inside the United States who have been determined to have "a clear link" to al- Qaida or related terrorist organizations.

He said the program is reviewed every 45 days, using fresh threat assessments, legal reviews by the Justice Department, White House counsel and others, and information from previous activities under the program.

Without identifying specific lawmakers, Bush said congressional leaders have been briefed more than a dozen times on the program's activities.

The president also said the intelligence officials involved in the monitoring receive extensive training to make sure civil liberties are not violated.

Appearing angry at times during his eight-minute address, Bush left no doubt that he will continue authorizing the program.

"I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al-Qaida and related groups," he said.
Posted by: Captain America || 12/17/2005 13:58 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [244 views] Top|| File under:

#1  About time. He should wipe McCain's ass hairs from his boot.
Posted by: The Happy Fliegerabwehrkanonen || 12/17/2005 14:38 Comments || Top||

#2  You know, the next time a reporter and their media outlet releases classified data, they need charged, convicted and executed for treason. I don't care who they are, leaking classified data in a time of war should earn them death.
Posted by: Silentbrick || 12/17/2005 15:15 Comments || Top||

#3  Where did the leak come from? NSA? Congress? Enquiring minds want to know. BTW, I second Silentbrick's sentiments.
Posted by: Mark Z. || 12/17/2005 15:26 Comments || Top||

#4  Silentbrick - dittos
Posted by: DMFD || 12/17/2005 15:49 Comments || Top||

#5  I think that in the long run, this will be as damaging to the NYT as fake but accurate was to CBS.

NYT is in deep trouble. And they just dug themselves in much deeper. This incident will be used to dismiss them as a credible news organization. They sold out national secrets to help sink the patriot act and upon further review - it's just bogus hype. Bush comes out looking like the strong protector and the NYT and the by proxie the Howard Dean Pelosi types look like traitors.

My prediction - the NYT just lost any chance it ever had of redeeming itself. It's stock will continue to fall and it will lose it's serious nonderanged reporters to other venues for two reasons: their stock will plummet to where they can't pay them and more importantly, even if the Saudi prince's pump them up with some cash, then the better reporters won't want to be tainted with the NYT stink of Enquirer journalism.
Posted by: 2b || 12/17/2005 15:53 Comments || Top||

#6  Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, said he was disturbed to learn of the program and backed calls by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, for congressional hearings.
Leahy is clueless, Specter needs his butt kicked
and Silentbrick needs to change the wording to "this time"

Posted by: mjslack || 12/17/2005 15:56 Comments || Top||

#7  "I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. If I had my choice I would kill every reporter in the world, but I am sure we would be getting reports from Hell before breakfast. "

William Tecumseh Sherman
Posted by: doc || 12/17/2005 16:11 Comments || Top||

#8  Levin has more here.
Posted by: doc || 12/17/2005 16:19 Comments || Top||

#9  Dittos, Brick and Happy
Posted by: Red Dog || 12/17/2005 16:31 Comments || Top||

#10  Ok, what am I missing here. Being classified as secret means you are *not* supposed to talk about it, right? And doing so gets your ass thrown in the slammer?

Dittos for brick, happy and Gen. Sherman.
Posted by: SteveS || 12/17/2005 16:49 Comments || Top||

#11  time for a national leak investigation/prosecutions. Leahy's not trusted with this kind of info for this very reason : Leaky Leahy
Posted by: Frank G || 12/17/2005 18:01 Comments || Top||

#12  If you are a phoning Tora Bora from teh US, only the ACLU would consider that protected.
Posted by: Super Hose || 12/17/2005 18:31 Comments || Top||

#13  I'm sure the NY courts authorize more than 30 wiretaps per year. But then they are to stop criminals, not the poor terrorists that the Times so loves and supports. The Times had this story a year ago and held it to derail the patriot act vote. But you read a proposed pres responce by .com earlier. Guess the big guy reads Rantburg!
Posted by: 49 pan || 12/17/2005 18:59 Comments || Top||

#14  The big whammy on the NYT is the obvious timing of the release of this "news". It is an obvious attempt to 1) influence the vote on the Patriot Act and 2) move attention away from the wonderful events in Iraq. Both show the NYT to be literally in the pocket of the DNC. Both show that this is not a credible news organization. Both show that the paper will risk the lives of the citizens of the US and its soldiers to do the bidding of its DNC masters. These are pretty obvious points for all but the serious kool aid drinkers and point to some real serious problems for the NYT in the future. The grey lady is dead, farting dust, morto.
Posted by: remoteman || 12/17/2005 19:33 Comments || Top||

#15  I hope that the President includes the information in his radio address today in tomorrow's TV speech. AND he needs to name congressmen that were briefed and now attacking him. The public needs to know all about this tratorious act and the perpetrators. They need to know that leaks like this threaten THEIR safety. In short, the President needs to go on the offensive and go for the throats of the traitors.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 12/17/2005 20:48 Comments || Top||

#16  agree, Remoteman. They went too far on this one. They threatened all of our safety and they thought they were clever. I think this wound will be fatal - slow sepsis.
Posted by: 2b || 12/17/2005 21:32 Comments || Top||

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Two weeks of WOT
Sat 2005-12-17
  Iraq Votes
Fri 2005-12-16
  FSB director confirms death of Abu Omar al-Saif
Thu 2005-12-15
  Jordanian PM vows preemptive war on "Takfiri culture"
Wed 2005-12-14
  Iraq Guards Intercept Forged Ballots From Iran
Tue 2005-12-13
  US, UK, troop pull-out to begin in months
Mon 2005-12-12
  Iraq Poised to Vote
Sun 2005-12-11
  Chechens confirm death of also al-Saif, deputy emir also toes up
Sat 2005-12-10
  EU concealed deal allowing rendition flights
Fri 2005-12-09
  Plans for establishing Al-Qaeda in North African countries
Thu 2005-12-08
  Iraq Orders Closure Of Syrian Border
Wed 2005-12-07
  Passenger who made bomb threat banged at Miami International
Tue 2005-12-06
  Sami al-Arian walks
Mon 2005-12-05
  Allawi sez gunmen tried to assassinate him
Sun 2005-12-04
  Sistani sez "Support your local holy man"
Sat 2005-12-03
  Qaeda #3 helizapped in Waziristan

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