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Page 1: WoT Operations
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Afghanistan
13 Civilians killed in U.S. Shelling of Central Afghanistan
Note: The headline is as it appears on IslamOnLine. The content seems to be at odds with it...
Some 13 Afghans were killed in an eight-hour American-Danish shelling of a civilian area in the Baghran area of Helmand province, BBC news online quoted eyewitnesses as saying Wednesday, February 12. Naming a new military offensive as "Operation Eagle Fury," Danish F-16s joined U.S. B1 and B52 bombers and UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters in pounding the mountain valley in central Afghanistan. U.S. special forces seized 12 Afghan fighters in the wake of the bombardment, AFP quoted the U.S. military in Afghanistan as saying.
[Takes off shoes for more accurate mathematical calculation...] That makes 25 either toes up or nabbed...
The warplanes began bombing the valley shortly after at least 25 Afghan fighters carrying rocket propelled grenade launchers and AK-47 rifles were seen "moving into offensive positions" in the valley.
How 'bout that? There were 25 sighted, 25 either waxed or in custody...
On Tuesday, February 11, U.S. military spokesman Colonel Roger King said Afghan fighters had taken up positions in mountain caves following their initial attack from ridges overlooking the valley floor. That operation was the biggest confrontation involving the U.S. military in Afghanistan for 10 months. The U.S. believes that fighters loyal to the Hezb-i-Islami party of former Afghan prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar are using the Adi Ghar cave warren as a base.
This appears to be a different engagement that the one reported yesterday, though sometimes it's difficult to tell. I still haven't caught on to how they're "civilians," unless it's the fact that they weren't wearing uniforms.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/12/2003 09:53 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [273 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Just cuz they're carrying RPG's and AK-47's doesn't mean they're fighters...they could be....uh....something else. Census takers maybe?
Posted by: Frank G || 02/12/2003 10:03 Comments || Top||

#2  Elk hunters. They just happened to wander into the line of fire...
Posted by: Fred || 02/12/2003 10:14 Comments || Top||

#3  Maybe they were going to a wedding?
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/12/2003 11:29 Comments || Top||

#4  Maybe they were getting married?
Posted by: Fred || 02/12/2003 12:00 Comments || Top||

#5  I'm wondering if Marc Herold picked these guys up as 'civilians'. If so, it gives me yet another opportunity to dish out another Righteous FiskingTM on his ass.
Posted by: Raj || 02/12/2003 12:14 Comments || Top||


Musharraf playing game with US, Afghanistan
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf is playing a double game with the US and Afghanistan by arresting only the foreign members of al-Qaeda to placate the US, but allowing the Taliban to rearm and regroup for further forays into Afghanistan against the US, media reported on Tuesday. According to Ahmed Rashid, author of Taliban, Jihad, and The rise of militant Islam in Central Asia, Musharraf is also supporting the fundamentalists in his country and using their "threat" to get more military aid from the US.

Rashid, who shares an excellent rapport with Afghan premier Hamid Karzai, told the Wall Street Journal about Karzai's fears that "Pakistan is giving him sleepless nights" by allowing extremist elements, living in Pakistan, to undermine his government in the Pashtun belt. Karzai also wondered why these rogue elements have not been arrested or handed over to the Afghan Government.

The ominous issue, said Rashid, is that the rebels who have resurfaced in Southern Afghanistan recently were assembled in Pakistan with heavy weapons, sophisticated communications equipment for a clandestine radio station, posters and pamphlets announcing a jihad against US forces and the government of President Karzai. They had enough supplies to set up a base camp and a medical clinic in the mountains south of Spin Baldak, just 15 miles from the Pakistani border, he said, adding their objective was clearly to harass the (US) 82nd Airborne Division camp near Kandahar, some 120 miles to the west. According to Rashid, hundreds more are being mobilised in Wazirstan, in the Pakistani tribal belt adjacent to eastern Afghanistan, for a spring offensive calculated to coincide with a US assault on Iraq.
Thought so. Not the least little movement of the old surprise meter.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/12/2003 09:27 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [350 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Its in Musharraf's best interests to release them, it makes his own islamofacists happy and it allows the US a chance to kill the buggers and remove the problem permenantly. It would be nice if he could put some kind of chemical on the rifle butts that allowed us to spot them quickly though.
Posted by: Yank || 02/12/2003 10:58 Comments || Top||

#2  But the question here is, have Perv and the ISI reverted to type and resumed subverting Afghanistan by funding and directing the Talibs, Hek, and any resident al-Qaeda in the NWFP and Balochistan? This article says "yes."

That puts Perv and his boyz - not just the local fundos and Soddy agents - into the position of actively working against our interests. If the Krazed Killer Korps at Spin Boldak traces back to ISI, rather than simply to Qazi and/or Fazl, they're due for a whacking. It's already pretty obvious that they're not indigenous, except by a severe stretch of the term.

Given Pakland's record of being unable to stop meddling in Kashmir, I'd say it's likely. They regard Afghanistan as their sphere of influence. There's lotsa room for Pakland on the Axis of Almost as Evil.
Posted by: Fred || 02/12/2003 12:28 Comments || Top||

#3  I saw somewhere, I think in the NY Times, that Moscow is suspected of funnelling $100 million + to Fahim et.al., outside of the auspicious of the new Afghan army. That seems decidedly unhelpful. What's your take on that?
Posted by: Sharon || 02/12/2003 14:29 Comments || Top||

#4  I consider Pakistan as an honorary member of the Axis of Evil but like China, I'm willing to let Bush slide for not mentioning them, nukes and all.
Posted by: Yank || 02/12/2003 17:24 Comments || Top||

#5  Sharon,

You post an interesting question that's probably too involved to be answered in a simple comment. I haven't seen the article you reference - I checked the NY Times site and couldn't find it. The premise would seem to be contradicted by this article, from EurasiaNet.

That being said, I don't doubt that the Russians are trying to maintain relations with the Northern Alliance members, just as they're trying to achieve influence with the broader-based Karzai regime. Like the Paks and Iran, the Russers regard Afghanistan as within their sphere of influence, which is where a part of Afghanistan's problems come from.

The Russians at this point probably somewhere between a minor problem and a moderate help, depending on what day of the week it is and what Ivanov had for breakfast. I'd also put Iran into the minor problem category, unless they see a real opening.

Pakistan I'd put into the real problem category. You notice that there's no real insurgent activity along the Iran border. What fighting there is comes from the Kandahar-based Pashtuns trying to make inroads into Ismail Khan's fief in Herat. I think Ismail has made the decision to support the Kabul government. He's now sending men to join the national army, and he states here, in an address to a graduating class at his (Herat) military academy, that he regards his forces as a part of the national army. Ismail, remember, wasn't a part of the Northern Alliance - he was allied with it, but an independent force. Similar sentiments apply to the Pandjiris and to Dostum's forces and, to a slightly lesser extent, to the Hazaras - it appears the central government is coming together, albeit slowly, and as it gets stronger they'll provide more support. If it falls apart in the near future, they still haven't put all their eggs into its basket.

Afghanistan's unrest comes from Pashtunistan, but even there, I think most of the Pashtuns are worn out from year after year after year of war and treachery. The arms, the ammunition, the leadership, the pamphlets, the safe havens, are all over the border in Pakistan, where they've been enjoying the benefits of fighting jihad against Kabul, without having to pay a serious price.
Posted by: Fred || 02/12/2003 18:13 Comments || Top||

#6  good analysis Fred (as usual {apply sucking-up sounds}...is the answer to apply some consequences to the assh***s that run NWFP and Pervez? Play up the India thang?
Posted by: Frank G || 02/12/2003 19:39 Comments || Top||

#7  I've addressed this with more verbiage and maybe more coherence on WOTWeek.
Posted by: Fred || 02/12/2003 22:51 Comments || Top||


Arabia
Riyadh: al-Jazeera Shield will not take part in the war against Iraq
The Assistant for Saudi Arabia's minister of defense and aviation Prince Khaled Bin Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz has stressed that al-Jazeera Shield force which is in Kuwait, which is led by Saudi Arabia will not take part in any military action against Iraq.In a statement to the Saudi daily Okaz issued yesterday, Prince Khaled explained that the existence of this force came at the request of Kuwait in order to help the Kuwaiti army in protecting the Kuwaiti territories without foreign missions.
Didn't think they would.
On the other hand, Prince Khaled had denied his country to have had decided to break the military ties with the US, describing news published to this effect as groundless.
Another day, another spin.
He said that the presence of the American, British and French forces at Prince Sultan base in Riyadh will come to an end when the reason for the presence of these forces will end, namely the implementation of the UN resolutions to monitor the no-fly zones in southern Iraq.
Meaning that after we kick Sammy's butt, we will no longer need to be in Saudi. We'll pack up and move to our new bases in Iraq. Bet that won't make you happy, Prince.
The Saudi deputy defense minister also denied that the issue of the foreign forces presence, especially the American forces to be controversial inside Saudi Arabia.
Right
Posted by: Steve || 02/12/2003 09:53 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [275 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Oh, no! We're doomed!
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/12/2003 11:30 Comments || Top||

#2  Oh, no! We're doomed!
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/12/2003 11:30 Comments || Top||


Europe
Email from Bosnia
-----Original Message-----

Date: Sunday, 9 February 2003, @10:30

Dear Dad:

A funny thing happened to me yesterday at Camp Bondsteel
(Bosnia). A French army officer walked up to me in the PX,
and told me he thought we Americans were a bunch of cowboys
and were going to provoke a war in Iraq. He said if such a
thing happens, we wouldn't be able to count on the support
of France.

I told him that it didn't surprise me. Since we had come to
France's rescue in World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and
the Cold War, their ingratitude and jealousy was due to
surface again at some point in the near future anyway.

He began to get belligerent at that point, and I told him
if he would like to, I would meet him outside in front of
the Burger King and kick his ass in front of the entire
Multi-National Brigade East, thus demonstrating that even
the smallest American had more fight in him than the average
Frenchman.

He called me a barbarian cowboy and walked away in a huff.
With friends like these, who needs enemies? Dad, please tell
Mom I love her.

Your loving daughter,
Mary Beth XXXXXXX, CAPT, USA
Posted by: dakotah || 02/12/2003 04:46 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [332 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Wait, didn't I read this a few weeks ago somewhere???
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/12/2003 17:14 Comments || Top||

#2  I can't vouch for this msg, but it was bouncing around Army Personnel Command today.
Posted by: dakotah || 02/12/2003 17:16 Comments || Top||

#3  It's been going around for months -- in some versions the female officer is a Marine. Frankly, I think it's phoney.
Posted by: Patrick Phillips || 02/12/2003 18:21 Comments || Top||

#4  Cheeze, I hate to do it, but...

From the Urban Legends website:
We first began seeing this e-mail in mid-October 2002 when it circulated with no more authorial attribution than "from a Marine Lieutenant Colonel in Bosnia." Not until mid-November 2002, a full month later, did we begin to receive copies signed by "Mary Beth Johnson" (or, in some cases, "Mary Beth xxxx" or "Mary Beth J."), a "LtCol, USMC." Our experience with researching Internet lore tells us articles start out with their authors clearly identified and through the forwarding process gradually lose proper attribution, but the process does not work in reverse. Previously unattributed articles do not suddenly sprout named authors, so either "Mary Beth Johnson" was simply a name someone added to the end of the piece to make it more humorous, or she's merely a recipient whose signature became attached to the item when she forwarded it on to others.

True or not, this piece was undoubtedly written by a man. A woman is unlikely to descibe the composition of another army (even France's) as "a bunch of faggots for soldiers"; that terminology (and the fear it expresses) are male. Also "thus demonstrating that even the smallest American had more fight in him than the average Frenchman" would be an odd statement for a female soldier to make after having just stood up to a belligerent foreigner; certainly it would have been "more fight in her." All in all, this missive sounds like something penned by someone stateside whose strongest connection with the Marines exists only in his imagination.

(Perhaps the choice of surname is telling. "Johnson" is one of the many slang terms for penis, and the article is an example of rampant "Check out the size of mine, will ya?" posturing. And it's coupled with "Mary Beth," an undeniably feminine name that conjures up images of sweet country girls in print dresses; the very opposite of the tough, professional soldier.)

We figure "Mary Beth" is a Michael or Sam or Douglas, and we're far from convinced the real author is even in the armed services, let alone serving in Bosnia and smartmouthing French officers. A real soldier -- especially one serving in the Balkans -- would know Camp Bondsteel is in Kosovo, not Bosnia.
Posted by: Fred || 02/12/2003 18:24 Comments || Top||

#5  sorry, my bad.
Posted by: dakotah || 02/12/2003 19:10 Comments || Top||


Joschka Schmoschka
Michael Kelly in WaPo...
"Excuse me. I am not convinced."
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, lecturing to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in Munich last week, after Rumsfeld's argument for war against Iraq.
Mr. Rumsfeld may have convinced the leaders of 18 European nations, but not you, Mr. Fischer. It's personal. This seems to me the right way to look at it. The question of failing to convince must be seen in the context of whom we have failed to convince. Sometimes "who" explains "why."
Posted by: kanji || 02/12/2003 01:01 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [328 views] Top|| File under:

#1  scathing.
Posted by: kanji || 02/12/2003 12:48 Comments || Top||

#2  read it all at the link - it's devastating to those who pretend that Chirac, Fischer, et al are our moral superiors. He's a thug dressed up as a diplomat. Rumsfeld shoulda kicked his ass
Posted by: Frank G || 02/12/2003 13:18 Comments || Top||

#3  What a joke this guy is? From Jew hating street thug to Foreign Minister. Kinda reminds you of... ummmmmmmmmm... Hitler?
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/12/2003 13:31 Comments || Top||

#4  The average german was not "convinced" that there were concentration camps turning the jewish population of europe into bars of soap and lampshades, even when they right down the street from their own houses.



Posted by: Frank Martin || 02/12/2003 14:12 Comments || Top||

#5  "Herr Fischer, how many corpses would it take to convince you?"
or, alternatively,
"Of course it's not a threat, Herr Fischer. Your father didn't help turn people into lampshades, either."
Posted by: Dishman || 02/12/2003 14:24 Comments || Top||

#6  "This is a man who's weapons experience is limited to Molotov Cocktails, and who's idea of combat is throwing said cocktails at police."
Posted by: Dishman || 02/12/2003 19:19 Comments || Top||

#7  From young street brawler to idealogue to minister? What a familiar pattern.
Posted by: Crescend || 02/12/2003 20:02 Comments || Top||

#8  Herr Fischer seems to keep falling short of the mark, though. Instead of beer halls, he got a handful of radicals. Instead of Chanceller, he's only the foreign minister.

Not that he's not trying, mind you.
Posted by: Dishman || 02/12/2003 21:40 Comments || Top||


German Agents Raid Terror Suspects
German authorities staged raids in several cities Wednesday in search of evidence against Islamic extremists suspected of planning terrorist attacks, federal prosecutors said. A total of 160 federal agents detained suspects for questioning and began searches before dawn at 11 locations in or near the cities of Munich, Wiesbaden, Mannheim, Ludwigshafen and Worms, the Federal Prosecutor's Office said in a statement. There were no immediate arrests. The raids are part of an investigation started last year that focuses on three men suspected of forming a militant Islamic terrorist association that planned attacks, the statement said. Prosecutors gave no immediate details on the alleged attack plans or the number of people questioned. There was no evidence of any links to the Sept. 11 plot against the United States, the statement said. Last week, German police raided two Islamic centers on suspicion they were sheltering a terrorist group that planned to attack a U.S. target in Germany and had links to the Hamburg cell of Sept. 11 suicide pilots. No arrests were made then. Wednesday's raids were unrelated, federal prosecutors said.
Sure, no relation at all.
Posted by: Steve || 02/12/2003 09:28 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [273 views] Top|| File under:

#1  They might not want to beat up the Iraqis, and they might not care if the Iraqis beat up the Turks, but they seem serious about rounding up as many loons as they can domestically.
Posted by: Fred || 02/12/2003 13:12 Comments || Top||


Fifth Column
SEAN PENN: IRAQ STANCE COST ME ROLE
Bad-boy actor Sean Penn says his opposition to a war in Iraq cost him a lucrative movie role - but the film's producer, Steve Bing, calls the claim "extortion." The feud over "Why Men Shouldn't Marry" erupted yesterday amid dueling lawsuits in Los Angeles. Penn accuses Bing of "borrowing a page from the dark era of Hollywood blacklisting" by denying him a promised role in the movie, which Bing wrote and was supposed to direct. But Bing - a multimillionaire who fathered a child with Liz Hurley - says he's the object of "an extraordinary extortion attempt by an irrational and irresponsible actor."
He's rich, shagging Liz Hurley, knows a A**hole when he sees one, and isn't afraid to say so. I like him.
Bing says Penn is trying to force him to pay $10 million, even though Penn never had a formal contract to do the movie. Penn visited Iraq in December, and has complained that President Bush's wish to disarm Saddam Hussein takes "a simplistic and inflammatory view of good and evil."
Maybe Jerry Lewis can get you a role in a French film.
Posted by: Steve || 02/12/2003 09:29 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [354 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Mr. Penn, allow me to introduce you to one of those awful truths of life:

Actions, consequences. Actions, consequences.
Posted by: Dreadnought || 02/12/2003 9:41 Comments || Top||

#2  Mr. Penn, allow me to introduce you to one of those awful truths of life:

Actions, consequences. Actions, consequences.
Posted by: Dreadnought || 02/12/2003 9:41 Comments || Top||

#3  Cause... Effect...
Posted by: Fred || 02/12/2003 9:54 Comments || Top||

#4  I know that these fools doing damage to the security of the nation that I call home (cause) should understand that if I can undermine their financial security by boycotting any and all products they appear in, advertise for, or recommend, I will gladly do so (effect). But then again, would anyone recognize a boycott of Madonna's "Swept Away" as a political statement or just good cinema judgement?
Posted by: Frank G || 02/12/2003 10:00 Comments || Top||

#5  Sean, Sean, Sean. It's not publicity that keeps a career afloat -- it's FAVORABLE publicity. Collaboration with the enemy doesn't fall into that category. Maybe you should have had a better agent, but it's probably too late now.
Posted by: Tom || 02/12/2003 10:01 Comments || Top||

#6  Most directory like actors who are COHERENT.
Posted by: Frank Martin || 02/12/2003 10:05 Comments || Top||

#7  How soon before the dreaded spectre of "McCarthyism " rears it's ugly head.....Sean, what did you expect? A victory parade when you got home? Idiot!
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/12/2003 10:36 Comments || Top||

#8  Why doesn't a large group of Hollywood lefties move to France and help the French film system become first rate. That would really show the Americans wouldn't it. We'd miss Spicoli, Lou Grant and Alec Baldwin of course, but the message is the important thing.
Posted by: Yank || 02/12/2003 11:01 Comments || Top||

#9  Snicker! The old saying, "there is no such thing as bad publicity" is only true when you aren't already a house-hold word. Once everyone who is going to like is already aware of you, then bad publicity can't bring you new fans - it only makes you lose ones you already have.

It's ok Sean - you're tough. You can get a great job as a laborer or a waiter. Stick to Hollywood though, you'll have a tough time with the tips in middle America. And of course, if things get really bad, there is always France.

Oh..this article brightened my day. :-)
Posted by: becky || 02/12/2003 11:29 Comments || Top||

#10  Forget these thespian lightweights. This guy doesn't read anybody's scripts, and has the best possible links' page:

http://www.joe4rep.com

Help Joe clean up Florida, and the rest of the story.
Posted by: Anon || 02/12/2003 13:16 Comments || Top||

#11  Sean Penn: hahahaha you sucker!
Posted by: RW || 02/12/2003 23:07 Comments || Top||


India-Pakistan
3 States On US Hit-list After Iraq, Says Qazi
Source: Dawn
The chief of Jamaat-i-Islami and a leader of MMA, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, has claimed that Pakistan will be one of three Muslim countries to be targetted by the US after Iraq. "Despite a global opposition, the United States is fully ready to destroy Iraq," said in a special Eid message to the people. "After Iraq, it has focussed its eyes on Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan."
Sounds like a pretty good set of choices. One's the driver behind Hezbollah and the prop to Syria. The second's the bankroll of terrorism, and the third's the "mind that's weak and the back that's strong."
He was echoing a view among some Pakistanis that their country could be targeted because of perceptions that Al Qaeda and Taliban remnants are regrouping on Pakistani soil and that Osama is hiding in its territory. "The Musharraf government has given FBI a free hand to conduct raids on any house, mosque or Madaris and round up respectable citizens while Pakistani courts are helpless in offering any relief," Qazi railed.
On the other hand, they could stop providing shelter to crazed killers and international terrorists. If they did that, nobody would care what the hell they did.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/12/2003 01:41 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [254 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Don't forget Syria, don't forget Syria! And Yemen, and Egypt and the Palestinian Authority...
Posted by: Yank || 02/12/2003 17:32 Comments || Top||


Court issues arrest warrants of Col. (Retd) Sultan Sarkharoo
The Court of Additional Session Judge Talagang has issued arrest warrants of Colonel (Retd) Sultan Sarkharoo a MPA of PML (Q) in a murder case. According to detail, a case was registered against Colonel Sultan Sarkharoo in the murder case of the brother of his opponent during the recent elections, but the Police discharged him. On the request of the brother of the deceased Nazim Tariq Awan, the Additional Session Judge Talagang ordered him to present himself in the Court. Instead of appearing in the Court, Colonel Sultan Sarkhroo moved a writ petition in the High Court which was rejected. The Supreme Court also rejected his application. Despite the Court's orders, he did not appear and the Court of Additional Session Judge Talagang issued his arrest warrants.
I dunno. These guys make even the Daley mob administration look clean and well-behaved. On the other hand, if I was gonna write a bad adventure novel, I'd make the insidious villain somebody named Sultan Sarkaroo...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/12/2003 10:13 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [297 views] Top|| File under:


India Tests Fires Cruise Missile
India on Wednesday test fired a cruise missile jointly developed with Russia and capable of hitting Pakistan, officials said. The Brahmos missile, based on the Russian Yahont anti-ship missile, has a range of 185 miles, sufficient for hitting several cities in neighboring Pakistan.
"The missile followed the predicted trajectory and accurately hit the target," Defense Minister George Fernandes was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India. The Brahmos soared off the Indian Navy's destroyer "Rajput" on Wednesday afternoon, PTI reported. The missile, which flies at twice the speed of sound, has undergone previous successful tests and is expected to be deployed next year, army officials say.
Brahmos (short for Brahmaputra and Moscow) was set up in 1999 by India's Defense Research and Development Organization and Russia's State Unitary Enterprise NPO Mashinostroyenia.
India expects to significantly enhance its long-range strike abilities with the missile, designed for use with land, sea and aerial platforms. The Indian Air Force reportedly is considering the possibility of fitting the Brahmos on its Russian-made Su-30 combat jets.
Supersonic cruise missile with a 440 warhead. Pakistan is not happy about this.
Posted by: Steve || 02/12/2003 09:29 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [333 views] Top|| File under:

#1  That should be a 440 pound warhead. Supposed to not be nuke capable.
Posted by: Steve || 02/12/2003 10:07 Comments || Top||

#2  Nice timing, as if the NK machinations weren't enough. Now GWB has to deal with another India v Pakistan flame up before Iraq.
Posted by: Jon || 02/12/2003 15:51 Comments || Top||

#3  Not really - just evac the guys in Pakland and tell India we've got issues with the ISI
Posted by: Frank G || 02/12/2003 20:16 Comments || Top||


Iraq
Hizbullah reveals ‘Iraqi Taif’ plan
Hizbullah outlined Sunday its proposal for what it called an Iraqi national reconciliation, urging the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference or their members to sponsor what is being called an “Iraqi Taif.” Hizbullah warned that the goals of an American military assault on Iraq had become “clear to all,” and would result in “disastrous” consequences for Iraq and the region.
Like for Hezbollah, for instance...
As one way to remove the pretexts for such an aggression, Hizbullah said, its secretary-general, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, had broached Friday the idea of a reconciliation conference, or Iraqi Taif, along the lines of the 1989 meeting in Saudi Arabia that helped end the Lebanese civil war.
And gave Hezbollah its push start...
Hizbullah said that participants in such a conference would comprise representatives of the Iraqi regime and the opposition. The statement said that the participants “set down the principles and the basis for a comprehensive national reconciliation,” with participants and organizers creating the mechanism needed to implement this reconciliation, “which should give birth to an Iraqi government of national consensus.”
And give the Hezbers the opportunity to do a little expansion...
Hizbullah said it favored free and fair elections to produce the government, which it said should focus on three tasks ­ safeguarding national unity and rebuilding, solving problems with neighboring countries, and resolving Iraq’s outstanding problems with the United Nations. “These measures will produce a regime that enjoys popular internal legitimacy and credibility regionally and internationally, which would remove the justifications for the aggression (to be launched by) the American administration,” Hizbullah said.
That way, there could be minimal change to the balance of power in the Middle East, too...
On Friday, Nasrallah had advised the Iraqi regime to “seek humbleness before meeting with opposition factions 
 (and agree upon) transparent elections that should (in turn) give birth to a government representing all factions, including the ruling Baath Party.”
I have my doubts Sammy would do that. If they let elections take place, the Ba'ath will be tossed. If they don't nothing's changed...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/12/2003 07:39 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [334 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Game Plan:
1A) Iraq
1B) Iran
1C) Syria
1Ca) Smoke Hezbollah if they're still around - reminder - ask Ariel Whattup with them first
Posted by: Frank G || 02/12/2003 21:05 Comments || Top||

#2  This is fascinating and important. Hizbollah has made it clear that it wants to avoid a US intervention in Iraq, which would hurt the region. Yet he main case against war is precisely that it would lead to more recruits for terrorist groups - like hizbollah!!!! under that scenario Hizbollah is one of the principle beneficiaries of the war - yet they are trying seriously to avoid it. This is something that should be spread throughout the blogger community, where it may be picked up mainstream media.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 02/13/2003 7:40 Comments || Top||


Learning the Lessons of the Israeli-Palestinian Fighting
Dr Frank points to this piece of unmitigated hilarity...
During these meetings, Saddam usually questions the top brass on their preparedness. On one occasion, Saddam asked the Republican Guard commanders: "Are you following the battles between your Palestinian brothers and the Zionist entity? What have you learned from the use the enemy makes of armored vehicles? What technological development do you see they have added to the tanks?"

The Republican Guard commanders answered him, "Sandbags are placed on the tanks to stop the bullets." "Right," responded Saddam, "This is one means used by the enemy. But what else...? The enemy used its armored vehicles against Palestinians the wrong way... but the enemy introduced a technological development and I ask you, what is it? You said 'sandbags' and that is correct, but what are the details of the armor protecting [the infantry forces]? I want to make sure that you, as armored corps officers, noticed it in order to benefit from it – or perhaps it passed before your eyes on television without you thinking it was important? I noticed it, even though I am not an armored corps officer. I noticed that each enemy tank has a machine gun, and I don't think that each of your tanks has a machine gun?!"
The nice part about being a bloody-handed tin-hat dictator is that you can have people shot if they point out that you've just made a fool of yourself in the course of giving your "field guidance."

Oh, and Sammy, don't forget to tell your guys to use those big-ass active infrared searchlights mounted next to the main guns on those T72s. They're great for picking out any infantry creeping up on you at night. Matter of fact, you should probably tell 'em to leave 'em on all the time...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/12/2003 04:07 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [309 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Umm, what is Saddam's point? I don't get it. Maybe my brain is just confused since it's late afternoon on Wednesday, but then again Saddam's rantings are often utter nonesense. Someone, please help me understand!
Posted by: Scooter McGruder || 02/12/2003 16:37 Comments || Top||

#2  Machine guns? On tanks? Wow, what a concept.Good Sammy picked up on that.
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/12/2003 16:39 Comments || Top||

#3  Ah, thanks tu3031! I was trying too hard - I assumed "machine guns" had to be a metaphore for something... "sandbags" a metaphore for something else - but for what, I had no idea!

The next thing you know Sammy will pick up on the concept of bullets for those machine guns. That would be a REAL tactical breakthrough!
Posted by: Scooter McGruder || 02/12/2003 17:14 Comments || Top||

#4  Like Schwarzkopf said, Saddam is a great military man.
Posted by: RW || 02/12/2003 20:59 Comments || Top||


Arabs just love Jacques and Gerhard...
Many papers are grateful to France, Belgium and Germany for resisting US pressure to ready the US-led alliance for a possible attack on Iraq.

"We would like to present one million roses from the gardens of Arab dictators' presidential palaces to Germany and France," Sudan's Al-Ray Al-Am says. "With this gesture we would like to express our appreciation to them." The paper has a very different view of Washington: "The US is a dreadful military power, a cowboy frightening the whole world." But "the US is scared to death of Bin Laden and the al-Qaeda network, scared of Saddam Hussein and of North Korea."

Gratitude is also expressed by the UAE's Al-Ittihad. "It is obligatory for us, on behalf of the Muslims and the Arabs, to thank France and Germany," it says, "and all those standing firm in support of peace and justice."

London's Al-Arab Al-Almiyah also finds hope in the French-German-Belgian stance within Nato. "The salvation of the whole world," the paper says, "is linked to the extent of Old Europe's steadfastness in the face of the deadly American storm which aims to suppress the entire world to serve American interests over the corpses of millions of innocent people."
"Really. Blood-handed tin-hat dictators are people, too, y'know."
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/12/2003 02:58 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [263 views] Top|| File under:


Experts Say Iraqi Missile Range Too Far
International missile experts found that an Iraqi missile exceeded the maximum 93-mile range allowed under U.N. resolutions, U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said Wednesday.
He said it is now up to chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix to recommend what to do about the violation. The experts met at U.N. headquarters on Monday and Tuesday to examine Iraq's production of the al-Samoud 2 and al-Fatah missiles, which in some tests exceeded the maximum range allowed under Security Council resolutions in place since the 1991 Gulf War.
"I think the experts found that the al-Samoud is in breach of the ... limits," Negroponte said. "Let's see what Dr. Blix recommends."
Yes, Friday is going to be a interesting day.
Blix has promised to give his assessment of the missile programs to the Security Council when it meets Friday to hear his latest report on Iraq. A finding that the programs violate Iraq's disarmament obligations could provide new ammunition to the U.S. case for military action against Iraq. Blix explained last week that he wanted international experts, not just his own, to study the technical issues regarding Iraq's missile programs. He said he also wants U.N. lawyers to look at the legal side of the matter.
Oh, great, just what we need, UN lawyers.
The experts came from seven nations with missile programs including the five permanent council members - the United States, Britain, Russia, China and France - as well as Ukraine and Germany.
Guess they didn't get the memo to go easy on Iraq.
Secretary of State Colin Powell, outlining the U.S. case to the Security Council last week, said the missiles were prohibited. He also accused Baghdad of illegally importing rocket engines and trying to produce ballistic missiles that fly farther than 625 miles. Blix told a news conference in Baghdad on Sunday that Iraq turned over more papers this weekend on the two missile types, though he gave no details. The government reported the missile programs and tests in its semiannual report to inspectors and in its 12,000-page weapons declaration on Dec. 7. In his Jan. 27 report to the council, Blix said "these missiles might very well represent prima facie cases of proscribed systems."
Sounds like it to me.
He said the range of the missiles is significant, but some technical issues need to be studied before he makes a conclusion. "In the meantime, we have asked Iraq to cease flight tests of both missiles," he said. According to council diplomats, Blix reported that there had been 40 tests on the liquid-fueled al-Samoud 2, and it went beyond 93 miles 13 times, once to 114 miles. The al-Fatah, a solid propellant missile, was tested 33 times, and went over 93 miles eight times, once to 100 miles, the diplomats said on condition of anonymity. During Blix's visit to Baghdad in January, he said the Iraqis suggested that when they fitted guidance and control systems and other devices to the missiles they would be weighed down and fly less than the allowed distance.
Sure, I believe that.
In his Jan. 27 presentation, Blix noted that the diameter of the al-Samoud 2 was increased to 760 mm despite a 1994 U.N. directive to limit the missile's diameter to less than 600 mm.
He reported that Iraq had refurbished casting chambers to produce missiles of the type that had been destroyed by previous U.N. inspectors. He said the equipment could produce motors for missiles capable of flying much farther than 93 miles.
What more do you need, Mr. Blix?
Posted by: Steve || 02/12/2003 02:04 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [266 views] Top|| File under:


Chinese get cold feet on Iraq
Is China about to join the axis of weasels? A phone conversation on Tuesday between French President Jacques Chirac and Chinese President Jiang Zemin has sparked speculation that Beijing is siding with a European push to delay an American-led attack on Iraq. After the phone talk, the Chinese official news agency Xinhua lost no time in issuing a bulletin saying that Mr Jiang had expressed support for the French, German and Russian declaration seeking reinforced United Nations weapons inspections in Iraq, and postponing a decision on military intervention. "We should try all means to avoid war," Mr Jiang was quoted as saying. If China is drifting to support the French position, after long signalling that it would abstain from opposing the US over a military strike, the UN Security Council debate starting on Saturday morning Melbourne time could produce as many as three vetoes from among the five permanent members. With this prospect, the US may then opt to attack Iraq without seeking a second Security Council resolution giving explicit authorisation, and simply claim a mandate flowing from the earlier one combined with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's inadequate response.
But the political embarrassment for America's "coalition of the willing" will be deeper, particular for Britain's Tony Blair and Australia's John Howard, who face strong public opposition to intervention without a UN mandate. But who called whom on Tuesday night? The Xinhua report said Mr Chirac called Mr Zemin. But China analysts note that Beijing always reports that such phone calls originate with the foreign party, partly to emphasise China's importance and partly to play down Chinese initiatives in case they go wrong.
Up to now it has been widely considered likely that China will go along passively with a US intervention, as it did in 1990 when it abstained from the Security Council vote authorising the Gulf War. Mr Jiang, who steps down as President next month, has invested his prestige in an even relationship with Washington, and made little demurral in his summit meeting with US President George Bush last October.
An energy importer, China has a big stake in Iraqi oil, having signed long-term contracts with Baghdad that give it virtual ownership of huge undeveloped oilfields in the country. It would be worried that an irked United States, running the post-Saddam occupation of Iraq, might nullify its contracts.
This is the first I have heard about China and Iraqi oil.
But the wider Chinese leadership is uneasy at the spectacle of American unilateralism and deliberate regime change, which Washington would be encouraged to apply elsewhere - among its peripheral friends such as North Korea and maybe Burma, if successful in Iraq. The emergence of the French-German-Russian opposition may be giving it a chance to "hide in the crowd" putting a brake on the Americans. The task of deciphering Chinese policy is made even more difficult by the apparent contradictory approach with North Korea. With Iraq, Beijing seeks a solution within the United Nations. With North Korea, it is urging Washington to settle the nuclear weapons issue through direct bilateral talks with Pyongyang rather that through a multilateral approach, as the Americans favour, or by referring the issue to the Security Council.
Friday's UN meeting should be interesting.
Posted by: Steve || 02/12/2003 10:17 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [329 views] Top|| File under:

#1  China wants to see the USA fall as much as the Islamic world does. But the Chinese are smart enough not to telegraph their intentions. For now they're happy enough to wait and quietly build their strength. But you can count on China to undermine us any chance they get.
Posted by: Scooter McGruder || 02/12/2003 11:02 Comments || Top||

#2  The Chinese know where their butter is. The Chinese govt is floating on a huge trade deficit with the US. The noise about not buying French or German is certainly reaching their ears. They can not afford a widespread boycot of everything made in 'China'. Businessmen will cry, but the smart ones will get the plants up and running in Central America and the Carrib as fast as they can. Once rolling, it will be hard to get them back.
Posted by: Don || 02/12/2003 11:10 Comments || Top||

#3  Chinese are putting clothing factories in Africa.
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/12/2003 17:21 Comments || Top||

#4  Predicting what China will do is easy. They will do whatever they perceive to be in their best interests, and make no apologies about it. To anyone.
Posted by: mojo || 02/12/2003 19:35 Comments || Top||


UAE Sends Ships, Forces to Defend Kuwait
The United Arab Emirates said Wednesday it will send tanks, attack helicopters, warships and about 4,000 troops to Kuwait to help defend that country from an Iraqi attack if the United States goes to war against Saddam Hussein.
We were a little hard on the UAE yesterday, sorry.
A top military official speaking on condition of anonymity said the Emirates is sending a mechanized brigade backed by Apache attack helicopters, Leclerc tanks, BMP3 amphibious armored vehicles, a missile boat and a frigate in the coming days. The small island nation of Bahrain also said Wednesday it would send a frigate and an unspecified number of troops. Fellow Persian Gulf states have also agreed to dispatch a combined military force to Kuwait, preparing for the likelihood of war even as they hope for a diplomatic end to the U.S.-Iraq crisis. The decision to send the combined force, known as the Peninsula Shield, was made in Saudi Arabia Saturday at a meeting of ministers of the six Arab Gulf states. The forces will be under the command of the host country, Kuwait, the Emirates official said, speaking by telephone from Abu Dhabi, the nation's capital and largest of its seven emirates.

Peninsula Shield, based in Hafr al-Baten, a northeastern Saudi base near the Iraqi border, has some 5,000 troops. It was unclear how many of those troops would be sent to Kuwait, or how many Emirates troops would be involved in that deployment. A Bahraini Information Ministry official told The Associated Press in Manama that Bahraini forces were on their way to Kuwait. As part of its contribution, Bahrain was dispatching its only frigate, Sabha - a gift from the U.S. Navy. It also was sending some troops, the official said. He would not elaborate.

Other Gulf nations have not yet said publicly what they would contribute to Kuwait's defense. Peninsula Shield proved powerless in August 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait and remained in the country until a U.S.-led coalition expelled Saddam Hussein's army seven months later. The council's oil-rich members have small armed forces and rely heavily on the United States and other Western allies for their defense.
They'll be useful for securing prisoners and protecting rear areas. Don't expect them to be involved in the assault.
Posted by: Steve || 02/12/2003 01:16 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [272 views] Top|| File under:


Romania Would Send Specialists to Iraq
Parliament agreed on Wednesday to contribute non-combat troops to a U.S.-led coalition to disarm Iraq and to allow the United States to use Romania's airspace and airports. Romania, which in November received an invitation to join NATO, will deploy 278 troops, including those specializing in nuclear, biological and chemical decontamination, de-mining, as well as military police and medical assistance. Parliament approved a request made earlier this week by President Ion Iliescu in a 351-0 vote. There were 74 abstentions by the nationalist Great Romania Party. Speaking to lawmakers, Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana said the country needed to be on the side of the United States and other nations in disarming Iraq. "If Saddam Hussein is not disarmed and is allowed to develop his capabilities, he could strike Romania and (the rest of) Europe," Geoana said.
He figured it out, funny how so many others can't.
Ilie Ilascu, a senator for the Great Romania Party, said his party was against Romania taking part in a military intervention that has not yet been approved by the United Nations. The United States recently requested that Romania assist in a possible war in Iraq. Romania, which was under communist rule until 1989, is keen to show itself a reliable ally of Washington. Romania sent infantry and military police troops to Afghanistan last year.
Thanks guys.
Posted by: Steve || 02/12/2003 09:20 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [319 views] Top|| File under:

#1  351-0. Now that's what I call support.

They should also send gymnists, lots and lots of female gymnists.

Posted by: Chuck || 02/12/2003 10:13 Comments || Top||

#2  Good idea. If the place is infested with flat-chested 12-year-olds, the Bad Guys will think they're already dead and in paradise, so they'll just sit around expecting to be fed grapes...
Posted by: Fred || 02/12/2003 10:44 Comments || Top||

#3  "If the place is infested with flat-chested 12-year-olds,"....... Scott Ritter will want to film the sequel of "In Shifting Sands,"......"Shifts in the Sand"
Posted by: dsaucer || 02/12/2003 13:33 Comments || Top||

#4  "Ilie Ilascu, a senator for the Great Romania Party, said his party was against Romania taking part in a military intervention that has not yet been approved by the United Nations." Ah, why would a Nationalist demand a decision from a non-national source to support his decision?
Posted by: Jabba the Tutt || 02/12/2003 20:53 Comments || Top||


America’s 48 hours to kill Saddam
AMERICAN war planners believe that they have little more than 48 hours from the start of a ground war to kill President Saddam Hussein if they are to avoid a protracted conflict and a complicated peace. Haunted by the failure to capture Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, Washington is putting in place plans to limit the damage if it fails to topple the Iraqi leader swiftly.
Another day, another US plan hits the papers
They rest in part on persuading the Iraqi people that US forces control the country even before Saddam’s demise. The Pentagon is planning to drop emergency food and medical aid from the first day of airstrikes to try to win the “hearts and minds” of locals so that they will support the ensuing invasion.
OK, I buy that.
The opening days of the war are planned as a massive air assault aimed at collapsing Saddam’s command structure,
Check
followed by a “rush for Baghdad” by ground forces.
Fast, but careful.
US special forces and CIA teams are already operating on the ground in Iraq.
Sussh, don't tell anyone!
But if US forces cannot find Saddam or present credible evidence that he is dead, they will face stiffer resistance from the Iraqis. “If people think Saddam is still alive they will be frightened to come out and support us, even if he is powerless,” one US official said.
Finding him will be tricky, unless someone dials our 1-800-DIESADDAM tip line.
The American failure to get bin Laden “dead or alive”, in Mr Bush’s words, has provided an unsettling background to war planning in Iraq. “Osama bin Laden hangs very heavy over Iraq,” the official said. “We can’t afford another repeat.”
Binny's dead, Saddam will be soon.
There are formidable difficulties in finding Saddam, who has numerous body doubles and rarely sleeps in the same place two nights running, and America is hoping that its massive show of force will prompt a “palace revolt”.
I'd be really worried right now if I was one of Sammy's doubles
Posted by: Steve || 02/12/2003 09:30 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [267 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The war will start when an Iraqi general calls in Saddams position and we take him out. One phone call, one cruise missle, one get out of jail free card for the General who is taking minimal risks since he doesn't have to get near Saddam with a weapon.
Posted by: Yank || 02/12/2003 11:04 Comments || Top||

#2  Saddam will probably be the very last one to die. Plus the fixation on Saddam is foolish. What good does it do for us to get rid of him or his sons if we just replace him with an equally thuggish Baathist leader?

Victory will be marked by crushing the Iraqi army, occupying the country and destroying all of their toys that shouldn't be in the hands of children or homicidal maniacs.
Posted by: Dreadnought || 02/12/2003 16:12 Comments || Top||

#3  It better not come down to us sitting there playing Metallica at full blast to roust him out of the Vatican embassy.
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/12/2003 16:49 Comments || Top||

#4  If command and control can be taken out it should be. In a dictatorship the dictator is the top of the command and control.
Posted by: Yank || 02/12/2003 17:37 Comments || Top||


Southeast Asia
‘There Will Be More Casualties’
The field commander of the Bali bombings, Imam Samudra, has warned there will be more attacks on Americans and their allies. Samudra, whose confession to police was broadcast Monday night on Australian current affairs program Four Corners, reportedly said the bombings were revenge for US-led attacks on civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq. “We talked about our obligations as Muslims toward fellow Muslims who are being oppressed and slaughtered by the American terrorists and their allies - England, France, Australia, and so on,” he said.
That's 'cause we're basically evil at heart. I went out and potted a few Muslim civilians myself this morning. Gave me a good appetite for breakfast.
Samudra gives 13 reasons for why the bombers targeted nightclubs on Jalan Legian in the tourist hub of Kuta in Bali. Two of the first three reasons mention Australia. “One - to oppose the barbarity of the US army of the Cross and its allies - England, Australia, and so on. Two - to take revenge for the 200,000 men, women, and children and babies who died without sin when thousands of tons of bombs were dropped in Afghanistan. Three, Australia had taken part in efforts to separate East Timor from Indonesia, which was an international conspiracy by followers of the Cross.”
200,000 deaders in Afghanistan? This guy's been smoking some really heavy stuff...
According to Four Corners, Australia was initially selected as a target by none other than al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2001. “The crusader Australian forces were on Indonesian shores and they landed on East Timor, which is part of the Islamic world,” bin Laden was quoted as saying.
Not anymore, eh?
Samudra said he and some of the other plotters had selected the Sari Club and Paddy’s during a surveillance period because they were hangouts for Western terrorists. “When we got to Jalan Legian, we sat in the car in front of the Sari Club. I saw lots of whiteys dancing, and lots of whiteys drinking there. That place - Kuta, and especially Paddy's Bar and the Sari Club - was a meeting place for US terrorists and their allies, who the whole world knows to be the monsters,” he told police.
Y'know, us racially tolerant Merkins could get really steamed at this sort of talk, especially those of us who aren't under the delusion that no other race but "whiteys" can be racist. I'd like to give that little piss-ant three or four kicks to the scrotum, not because he's an oriental, but because he's brown, puckered, and smells like poop.
He expressed no remorse for his actions. “I felt that I feared only Allah, and that my efforts - which had been so small - had caused the deaths of so many people. But if those killed were not Muslims but Americans and their allies, then I was grateful.”
We'll be grateful when he's neck's three feet long, too. And if the Indons let him off, I hope somebody hunts him down and kills him doorknob dead.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/12/2003 01:28 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [341 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Two - to take revenge for the 200,000 men, women, and children and babies who died without sin when thousands of tons of bombs were dropped in Afghanistan."
Marc Herold call your office.
Posted by: Pink & Fluffy || 02/12/2003 13:47 Comments || Top||

#2  "We'll be grateful when he's neck's three feet long, too."
I checked on this, the Indonesian's don't hang people, they use a firing squad. I must admit, I'm torn between one round right between the eyes or one round low in the gut. OK, I've decided. Gutshoot the bastard.
Posted by: Steve || 02/12/2003 14:24 Comments || Top||

#3  Just make sure this prick is first...
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/12/2003 15:41 Comments || Top||

#4  Where do go to volunteer for that last job?
Posted by: NoBreakfast || 02/12/2003 17:46 Comments || Top||

#5  Every one of these Muslim maggots should be on a live PPV event;proceeds to benefit the thousands of victims of the piss -stained sheets and fan belt on head -wearing mob.They are to be strung up on ropes greased in pig fat,while the female executioner juices their yambags with the electrodes which have been clamped on the ballbag.
Posted by: Hugh Jorgan || 02/12/2003 22:35 Comments || Top||


President Gloria orders capture of MLF Camp
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Wednesday ordered the military to capture a key camp of the largest Muslim separatist group after 70 people were reported killed in renewed fighting in Mindanao. "As of 2:00 pm (0600 GMT) today, I have ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to capture and occupy the Buliok complex," the President said in a statement.
You go, girl!
She said the offensive was "not directed against" the MILF but that soldiers were under orders to "defend themselves against any force blocking their mission to eliminate criminal gangs in Mindanao."
Since the MILF is a criminal gang I guess this is just diplospeak.
The fighting occurred as the government and MILF were preparing for peace talks in Malaysia after signing a ceasefire agreement two years ago. Southern military chief Lieutenant General Narciso Abaya said that the fighting, involving several thousand troops and MILF guerrillas, had left an estimated 60 MILF rebels dead based on field reports. However, no bodies had been recovered, officials said. According to military chief of staff General Dionisio Santiago, three soldiers were killed and 18 others wounded in the clashes which began on Tuesday after the MILF guerillas tried to break out of a military cordon on the outskirts of Pikit town near the southern city of Cotabato.
MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu placed the number of casualties at 10 soldiers and one rebel dead.
Funny how his numbers are different, isn't it?
Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday called a suspension of the fighting in deference to a Muslim holiday. But the military charged that the MILF forces continued to harass them.
You can't attack muslims during their holidays, but they can attack you anytime.
Government sentiment further hardened after the MILF boycotted a meeting Wednesday in Cotabato City to discuss ending the fighting. "We cannot hold talks when the troops on the ground are fighting," Kabalu said, insisting that the military must pull out of the area before talks could resume.
Since you are losing, I don't think talks are going to start anytime soon, Kabalu.
Presidential envoy Jesus Dureza said he would pursue "back-channel talks" with the rebel leaders instead. Cotabato City and nearby provinces were without electricity on Wednesday after suspected MILF rebels blew up two steel transmission towers overnight. The MILF denied they were behind the blasts.
"Wasn't us, it was , er, someone else."
Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes deplored the MILF decision to boycott the truce talks, saying it was "clear evidence of a lack of sincerity on their part." Reyes said in Manila that the military were after two outlaw groups that were allegedly hiding in MILF territory. They included two MILF commanders suspected of a lethal bombing that killed 15 people in December as well as members of the Pentagon group, a local kidnap gang of alleged former MILF members. He accused the MILF of allowing the enclave to be used as "a safe haven for lawless elements," where kidnappers could stash their hostages so they could negotiate freely for ransom. Asked in a television interview if violence could be averted if the MILF surrendered the fugitives, Reyes replied, "that would be a good first step."
Posted by: Steve || 02/12/2003 10:31 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [276 views] Top|| File under:


Manila expels Iraqi diplomat
The Philippine Government has ordered an Iraqi diplomat to leave the country over his alleged contacts with a Muslim rebel group. Philippine Foreign Secretary Blas Ople accused Husham Hussein of having links with Abu Sayyaf, which the United States classes as a terrorist organisation. Mr Ople said his government considered Mr Hussein "undesirable", and gave him 48 hours to leave the country.
"Git out of town, scumbag!"
The foreign secretary had previously complained about Mr Hussein to Iraq charge d'affaires Samir Bolus, but the Iraqi embassy denied the diplomat had done anything wrong. In a statement on Monday the embassy insisted "no one of its staff did or will do any kind of communications with dissident groups". This is the second time an Iraqi diplomat has been expelled from Manila. In 1991, Jasim Al-Ani was ordered to leave the country over alleged links to terrorists accused of setting off a bomb in a US-run library.
Nice track record there, Iraq.
Mr Hussein "has ceased to enjoy the rights and privileges of a diplomat of the embassy of Iraq", Mr Ople said on Wednesday.
I'm thinking that being a diplomat in Manila is a heck of a lot better than sitting in a trench defending Baghdad
The case against him centres on a bomb attack in October 2002 in the southern city of Zamboanga. The police blame Abu Sayyaf for the bombing, which killed an American serviceman. The day after the attack, Philippine spies monitored a telephone call to Mr Hussein by a suspected member of Abu Sayyaf. "I have a very detailed report from our intelligence community and that is sufficient for me to take the necessary action," Mr Ople said on Wednesday. Details of the call have yet to be disclosed, and there is also no information on why the Philippines are only taking action now, more than four months after the bomb blast.
Finished their investigation, can reveal the link now. Be nice if the plane carrying this guy happened to stop somewhere where the FBI could pick him up. Being a diplomat I suppose we can't do that. Bet any Iraqi diplomat stationed overseas has family back home to make sure he doesn't defect.
Posted by: Steve || 02/12/2003 09:30 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [355 views] Top|| File under:

#1  He, he, he...

Ha, ha, ha...

ROTFL with delight.
Posted by: Chuck || 02/12/2003 8:56 Comments || Top||

#2  Just a thought... Perhaps countries that defy U.N. Security Council resolutions for a decade or more should lose diplomatic protections. Naaah, it would never fly -- next I'd be thinking that countries like that shouldn't be eligible to chair U.N. disarmament groups. Never mind.
Posted by: Tom || 02/12/2003 10:12 Comments || Top||

#3  Yes, Saddam recalled all diplomat families last fall.
Posted by: Dishman || 02/12/2003 13:35 Comments || Top||

#4  Is this goon on a direct flight, or does he have to change planes?
Posted by: mojo || 02/12/2003 19:45 Comments || Top||

#5  At least put him on a UAV programmed to fly straight into the ocean.
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/13/2003 5:15 Comments || Top||


Fighting rages on in the Philippines
Fighting has continued in the southern Philippines between government troops and separatist Muslim rebels, despite a ceasefire ordered by President Gloria Arroyo. Military officials say 60 rebels from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have been killed since the fighting erupted in Cotabato province on the island of Mindanao on Tuesday. But a rebel spokesman said they had suffered very few casualties. He said the guerrillas would fight on until government troops withdrew to their original positions. He said they would boycott a meeting of the ceasefire committee that the government had asked for.
Sounds like the army is on a roll.
The army says it is pursuing a notorious kidnap gang sheltering in a rebel base. Up to 20,000 villagers have sought shelter from the fighting in schools and other government buildings. Officially, the truce had been called to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. But the BBC's correspondent in Manila, John McLean, said President Arroyo ordered a halt to the offensive because the government is worried that another big breakdown in a shaky five-year old ceasefire could endanger peace talks with the MILF.
Why would you want peace talks when you have them cornered?
Southern military chief Lieutenant General Narciso Abaya said the suspension of the offensive had ended at midnight, and that he was not ruling out resuming an attack on the MILF.
"Hello, hello, is that you Ms President? I can't hear you, the radio is breaking up! Hello, nope, still can't hear you."
Hours before the ceasefire meeting was due to begin, two bombs knocked out a power pylon and plunged the town of Pikit and nearby villages into darkness. No-one was hurt in the explosions and the electricity supply was restored by Wednesday morning. On Tuesday, more than 2,000 soldiers moved in with tanks, artillery and planes against the MILF stronghold near Pikit. The military says the attack was planned to flush out a group of kidnappers known as the Pentagon gang, which is on the list of US terrorist organisations and are allegedly being sheltered by the MILF. The MILF denies this accusation.
"Don't know them, they ain't here! Now stop shooting at us!"
Posted by: Steve || 02/12/2003 09:31 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [269 views] Top|| File under:


Home Front
1st American Volunteer Hacker Batallion Gets Noticed by Feds.
FBI warns ‘patriot hackers’ to lave cyberstrikes against Iraq to the government.But feel free to buy the boys a "red bull" if you see one....

ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 — Real patriots don’t hack.True, they usually carry a gun and wear a uniform, but theres more than one way to serve your country. Uncle Sam says only he can do that. The FBI’s National Infrastructure Protection Center warned Wednesday that growing tensions between the United States and Iraq could lead to an increase in global computer hacking activities on both sides.

‘The U.S. government does not condone so-called "patriot hacking" on its behalf.’
"REGARDLESS OF THE MOTIVATION, the NIPC reiterates such activity is illegal and punishable as a felony." the agency warns on its Web site. "The U.S. government does not condone so-called ‘patriot hacking’ on its behalf. Further, even ‘patriotic hackers’ can be fooled into launching attacks against their own interests by exploiting malicious code that purports to attack the other side when in fact it is designed to attack the interests of the side sending it," the agency said. "In this and other ways, ‘patriotic hackers’ risk becoming tools of their enemy." The warning comes less than a week after administration officials confirmed that President Bush had signed a secret order allowing the government to develop guidelines under which the United States could launch cyber attacks against foreign computer systems.Can anyone see Jimmy "JC" Cater or Big Bill Clinton doing that?

The United States has never conducted a large-scale cyber attack Someone should ask the feds what they thought the inital release of Windows 98 was, but officials said last month that the administration’s unfolding cyber stategy will specify that the Defense Department can wage cyber warfare if the nation is attacked.
The NIPC warning doesn’t address the government’s role in such attacks, but it makes it clear that individual attacks on computer networks are illegal, regardless of the motivation. The agency specifically cited patriot hackers who target Iraq or its sympathizers, hackers opposed to war who target U.S. systems, and those who would use the crisis as a guise to further personal goals.

"As tensions arise, it is prudent to be aware of and prepare for this type of activity," the agency said.
NIPC said computer network administrators and computer users should take precautions to guard against cyber attacks while tensions between the United States and Iraq are high.


Posted by: Frank Martin || 02/12/2003 11:14 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [324 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Before Bush sighed the secret order (How secret is it now, BTW?), it made perfect sense for patriots to engage in partisian Cyber activities against tyrannies. However, once the feds are in it, it IS their duty to defer to the Government. They won't be any more helpful than paramilitary units in actual battles "helping" our regulars, and thus perhaps spoiling any elements of surprise, attracting premature attention, or becoming a distraction.

This doesn't mean Patriot Hackers (PHs) can't do anything: A vital component of the life blood of the modern military is intelligence. They can serve as HUMINT (Human intelligence) sources and give clues to possible vunerabilities. And it always helps to have extra eyes on the lookout. Just pass the info on and get the hell out of the way...
Posted by: Ptah || 02/13/2003 6:14 Comments || Top||


Korea
UN declares N Korea in nuclear breach
The United Nations nuclear watchdog has declared North Korea in breach of UN nuclear safeguards and asked the UN Security Council to consider the issue. The move - the most severe the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) can take - raises the possibility of economic or political sanctions being imposed on the North.
Tightens the old tensions, doesn't it?
Pyongyang earlier said that it would consider sanctions to be tantamount to a declaration of war but has not yet reacted officially to the IAEA declaration.
Takes 'em awhile to gnaw through the straps...
The Director General of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, said after the decision was announced that he would prefer a diplomatic solution. But he said that North Korea had to make the first move after having been "in chronic non-compliance since 1993".
First move will be to rant and rave and denounce everyone but Dear Leader. Let's see what follows that...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/12/2003 02:43 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [752 views] Top|| File under:

#1  KCNA should be in top form tomorrow. Or Friday. They probably need 2 days to go through their Rant- Rave dictionaries and find the proper invective.
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/12/2003 15:23 Comments || Top||

#2  So ELBaradei admits NK has been in violation since 1993. Jimmy Carter call your office.
Posted by: mhw || 02/12/2003 15:25 Comments || Top||

#3  Now doesn't that just make Dear Leader's birhtday even more special? Oh yeah, KCNA should be a hoot tomorrow.
Posted by: Rex Mundi || 02/12/2003 15:40 Comments || Top||

#4  "Pyongyang...has not yet reacted officially to the IAEA declaration
Probably cause China is in process of considering their (China's) next move. Now that China is cozying up to the weasels in Europe, it's important that they play their cards right. They can use the rift in the security council as an opportunity to the screw the U.S. even further regarding N.Korea.

If nothing is done about the North Koreans at the U.N., I think the security council isn't the only thing that will become irrelevant.
Posted by: RW || 02/12/2003 21:42 Comments || Top||


Home Front
A Day of Poetry for the War

James Taranto's "Best of the Web" at the Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal site sponsored a poetry contest for pro-war poets. The results are in, and there's some impressive work on display, even if it's not quite Rudyard Kipling. Some of it is quite stirring:


"Traders' Call to Arms"

Our apparent greed mocked by the media;
Our insatiable need condemned by professors,
Who condemn materiality, lest their
Discussions of Foucault affect nothing.
Until you are part of a trading floor
You will not understand the excitement of
Real-time screens, of offers to buy that
Bid up dealers' prices around the globe
Instantaneously, uniting buyers and
Sellers in an enterprise that promotes
Enterprise. 3,000 dead by terrorists.
I'm short on Afghanistan, long on bonds.
Liberty is specious without a sound
And active economy. Position yourselves.

--Eugene Schlanger (in memory of Constantine Economos, 104th Floor, 2 WTC)


"To The Enemy"

Ours is the only nation on this earth
with might to smash every Al Qaeda cell
whose homicidal members measure worth
by deaths inflicted on the Infidel.
Go reprehend the British and the French
who left you to your native tyranny.
There is no cave, Mujahedeen, no trench
to shield you from the sweetest victory
since the Iraqis, cast out of Kuwait,
fled from our tanks, a war so nearly won,
or since your forebears whom we deem so great
fled from Seville and storied Aragon-
since Caesar sank Queen Cleopatra's fleet
and ground your sands beneath his sandaled feet.

--Tim Murphy


Other contributions are more light-hearted:


While the war in Iraq is engendered,
One reaction is already tendered:
Mais bien sur, c'est tres chic!
Yes, in less than a week,
The French have already surrendered

--Adam Flisser


"Poets Against the War"

For sensitive poets
We have this news:
Saddam is why God
Made B-52s

--Jim Godwin


Saddam sings, "I am
Iraq, I am an island."
Soon: Sounds of Silence.

--Brian Donnelly


There's even a five-line Fisking of Robert Fisk:


There once was a writer named Fisk
Who opined at "great personal risk"
Till a teed off Afghani
With the strength of my granny
Kicked his "what used to be kissed"

--Tom Spaulding
Posted by: Mike || 02/12/2003 01:27 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [338 views] Top|| File under:

#1  UPDATE: More good verse can be found at the new Poets for the War website. Contributions welcomed.
Posted by: Mike || 02/12/2003 14:11 Comments || Top||

#2  I've always thought of Haiku is poetry for people who can't rhyme worth a damn. So, how about the Rantburg Haiku challenge?

I'll start. Ominously.

**********

The new sun thunders into life
sand fuses
and the Black Stone melts
Posted by: Patrick Phillips || 02/12/2003 18:49 Comments || Top||

#3  UPDATE #2: Noemie Emery, writing in The Weekly Standard, describes antiwar poets:

"They have left the American street for the Ivory Tower, the most airless room of the national attic, and the one most inclined to inversion and cluelessness. This is an attack of the unknown, armed with the unreadable, in defense of the unconscionable.

"Call them the Edna St. Vincent Malaise."
Posted by: Mike || 02/13/2003 5:22 Comments || Top||


Al Qaeda Lurking in U.S., FBI Warns
Hundreds of Al Qaeda operatives are in hiding throughout the United States planning potentially catastrophic attacks, and the FBI does not know who or where many of them are, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III told lawmakers Tuesday.
This news makes me want go out on a comfortable stroll.
Posted by: kanji || 02/12/2003 04:15 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [269 views] Top|| File under:


Korea
N. Korean Rocket Reportedly Can Hit U.S.
North Korea has an untested ballistic missile capable of reaching the western United States, intelligence officials said Wednesday.
I think the threat level just went way, way up...
The North Korean missile is a three-stage version of the Taepo Dong 2, said Vice Adm. Lowell Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. It has not been flight-tested, leaving some questions about the North Korea's capability to successfully launch the missile. CIA Director George J. Tenet, who joined Jacoby in briefing the Senate Armed Services Committee, also acknowledged the North Koreans have the capability to reach the western United States with a long-range missile. Previous U.S. intelligence reports have said such a missile probably could carry a nuclear weapon-sized payload across the Pacific Ocean.
If one of these things is even seen on a launch pad, it should be taken out immediately. You don't take chances with lunatics. The first flight test could be to San Francisco or Seattle..
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/12/2003 12:56 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [325 views] Top|| File under:

#1  This is terrible news.
Posted by: kanji || 02/12/2003 14:12 Comments || Top||

#2  But wait! didnt we sign an agreement with them that they wouldnt do that?

Somebody get Jimmy "JC" Carter on the phone and ask him if hes got the reciept from that little package of crap he left behind for us to clean up.
Posted by: Frank Martin || 02/12/2003 14:18 Comments || Top||

#3  This is not new info. In fact, the administration is making a limited deployment of ABM in Alaska precisely to counter this threat -- one of the reasons we pulled out of the ABM treaty.
Posted by: JAB || 02/12/2003 15:36 Comments || Top||

#4  This could provide Boeing with a little impetus to speed up the Airborne Laser project......
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 02/12/2003 22:27 Comments || Top||


Happy Birthday Dear Leader!
Pyongyang, February 11 (KCNA) -- The Ministry of the People's Armed Forces held a public presentation on the greatness of Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army Kim Jong Il at the April 25 House of Culture yesterday on the occasion of his birthday. They said that the Supreme Commander performed immortal exploits in the annals of the fatherland and the struggle for human liberation by leading the Korean revolution and the cause of global independence to victory with his distinguished ideological and theoretical activities and preeminent revolutionary army-based leadership. They called upon all the servicepersons to bear in mind the great honor and happiness of having him at the head of the workers' party, the state and the army of Korea, uphold his army-based idea and leadership with arms and struggle for national reunification and the revolutionary cause of Juche. A performance was given by art circle members of the ministry to celebrate the February Holiday. Put on the stage were narration and chorus "Native Home Covered with White Snow," Oungum-accompanied group singing "February is Spring", poem and chorus "We will Defend the Headquarters of Revolution with Our Lives" and other colorful numbers.
Does anyone have an mp3 of "We will Defend the Headquarters of Revolution with Our Lives"?
Posted by: Hermetic || 02/12/2003 01:14 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [262 views] Top|| File under:

#1  It's his birthday!
Everyone should eat cake!
Yes, yes, let them eat cake!
Posted by: Dishman || 02/12/2003 13:48 Comments || Top||


Kim Jong Il’s birthday celebrated by Ministry of People’s Armed Forces
Shit! I completely forgot. Did anybody send a card?
Pyongyang, February 11 (KCNA) -- The Ministry of the People's Armed Forces held a public presentation on the greatness of Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army Kim Jong Il at the April 25 House of Culture yesterday on the occasion of his birthday. The presentation was addressed by Director of the General Political Department of the KPA Jo Myong Rok, Chief of the KPA General Staff Kim Yong Chun, Minister of the People's Armed Forces Kim Il Chol and others.
...in other words the people up there that still are allowed to eat.
They said that the Supreme Commander performed immortal exploits in the annals of the fatherland and the struggle for human liberation by leading the Korean revolution and the cause of global independence to victory with his distinguished ideological and theoretical activities and preeminent revolutionary army-based leadership.
Damn. What do you get the guy who seems to have everything?
They called upon all the servicepersons to bear in mind the great honor and happiness of having him at the head of the workers' party, the state and the army of Korea, uphold his army-based idea and leadership with arms and struggle for national reunification and the revolutionary cause of Juche.
The Juche, gotta have the Juche.
A performance was given by art circle members of the ministry to celebrate the February Holiday.
Put on the stage were narration and chorus "Native Home Covered with White Snow," Oungum-accompanied group singing "February is Spring", poem and chorus "We will Defend the Headquarters of Revolution with Our Lives" and other colorful numbers.
The NK Top Ten.No wonder these people will fight to the death. What do they have to live for?
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/12/2003 11:19 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [267 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Actually, meesa likes Juche. Lotsa lotsa Juche.

Meesa likes Orange Juche, Pineapple Juche, Grape Juche.

Meesa says Apple Juche a day keepsa dokta away.

But meesa thinks Supremo Commanda hava badda casa consteeepaion. Verrry badda. Meesa say he get BIG COOL ONE of Pruna Juche. Clears da mind it does...
Posted by: Ptah || 02/12/2003 15:18 Comments || Top||


Middle East
3 Paleos Killed Trying to Storm Settlement
Three Palestinian fighters were killed by Israeli occupation soldiers in the small hours of Wednesday, February 12, when they tried to storm a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip. Armed with grenades and knives, the three fighters were shot dead by Israeli occupation troops guarding the Dugit settlement close to the border between the densely-populated Gaza Strip and Israel. The bodies were later handed over to medical officials in Gaza City who were trying to identify them.
"We'll get to it. We'll get to it. Hold your horses. (Ewww! That's nasty!)"
The resistance attack was the latest in a series of infiltration bids by Palestinian fighters in the coastal strip, where around 7,000 Jewish settlers live in a string of heavily-guarded rural communities facing impoverished cities and refugee camps where more than a million Palestinians live under self-inposed deplorable conditions.
"Can't understand why our conditions are deplorable. Just because we slaughter our neighbors at the least opportunity, that's no reason for them not to give us jobs or to buy our stuff, is it?"
The incident came just hours after an Israeli army captain was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper during an operation in Bethlehem, reoccupied by the Israeli army, like almost the entire West Bank, since last June. Shahar Shmul was fatally wounded in the neck near the Church of the Nativity late Tuesday, February 11, after his infantry unit blew up a suspect car which had been stolen in Israel. Israeli occupation troops declared the town a closed military zone and sent in tanks for the first time since June. Two tanks were seen heading for Manger Square, in front of the Church of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of Jesus, BBC News Online said.
They mean the place where the poor guy was murdered.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/12/2003 10:02 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [278 views] Top|| File under:



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A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.

Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.

Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has dominated Mexico for six years.
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Meet the Mods
In no particular order...
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Two weeks of WOT
Wed 2003-02-12
  UN declares N Korea in nuclear breach
Tue 2003-02-11
  'Bin Laden' tape calls for Iraqi suicide attacks
Mon 2003-02-10
  Germany in bid to block war on Iraq
Sun 2003-02-09
  Belgium to Block Turkey Plan
Sat 2003-02-08
  Grandest of Muftis prays for Muslims' victory
Fri 2003-02-07
  Hamas Urges Muslims to Hit Back
Thu 2003-02-06
  NKors warns US of pre-emptive action
Wed 2003-02-05
  Powell speaks...
Tue 2003-02-04
  Big Parade in Mosul; US urges citizens to leave Gulf
Mon 2003-02-03
  Sammy issues blood-curdling threats...
Sun 2003-02-02
  Still working on that Saddam exile plan...
Sat 2003-02-01
  Shuttle Columbia breaks up over Texas
Fri 2003-01-31
  U.S. advises its citizens to leave Saudi Arabia, Kuwait
Thu 2003-01-30
  Abu Hamza faces deportation
Wed 2003-01-29
  Americans already in northern Iraq

Better than the average link...



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