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Special Forces bang Baghdad?
Today's Headlines
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Page 1: WoT Operations
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Afghanistan
Secret Army of Doom sez they're killing us like flies...
Secret Army for Islamic Mujjahiddin in Afghanistan claimed Monday, February 17, that more than 60 American soldiers were killed and hundreds injured in attacks on U.S. Special forces and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) during the period between December 22 and February 4. In a statement faxed to IslamOnline in Pashtun, the number of operations against foreign forces at the period allegedly hit 37, including killing nine American soldiers and wounding 48 others in three-day clashes in Kandahar late on January. The statement added that American forces claimed that Afghan resistance fighters all perished after the clashes.
"Yar! Infidels! We must kill them all! Whoops! Shoulda ducked, Mahmoud... Mahmoud?"
The statement went into details regarding the attacks allegedly launched against American targets in the country, stopping short of determining the groups that carried out the operations.
That's 'cuz it's a Secret Army of Doom...
Questioning assurances that the American Special Forces restored security to the war-torn country, the Secret Army claimed that four U.S. aircrafts were downed on from December 22 to February 4, one in Afghan capital Kabul that left all of its seven crew dead and another spy drone that shot down near the borders with Pakistan. It added that the third was a helicopter plane that was brought down in clashes with Afghan forces in Kandahar and the fourth between Kabul and Bagram in a missile attack. The operations raised concerns of the American forces in Afghanistan, British forces and United Nations officials, with the U.S. readying itself for a potential military action against Iraq, read the statement.
At this stage, Hek's Heroic Fighters™ are only killing the very smallest of infidels. That way we don't notice. It's all part of the Secret Plan™. It's in all the mosque bulletins in Peshawar and Quetta.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/18/2003 10:20 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6472 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Once Iraq starts, we better go into Mordar the NWFP with our secret army and take care of little Sauron Hek and the Secret Army of Doom (TM)
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/18/2003 10:29 Comments || Top||

#2  Unless we do set up our own Secret Army of Doom, go into NWFP and kill as many of them as we can find, and then stand around and look stoopid ("Who us? Wudn't us. Musta been somebody else.") that nonsense is going to grow. Leaning on the Paks hasn't been working.
Posted by: Fred || 02/18/2003 10:41 Comments || Top||

#3  Where's the Dread Pirate Roberts™ when you need him?
Posted by: Parabellum || 02/18/2003 13:45 Comments || Top||

#4  The loons in various left wing forums such as Democratic Underground are convinced that, once again, OUR GOVERNMENT IS LYING TO US. They just know that along with the thousands of dead Afghani's there are hundreds of dead troops. They're convinced that the deaths are covered up as "training accidents".
Posted by: hungry valley || 02/18/2003 16:59 Comments || Top||

#5  ...Just popped over to find the Democatic Underground occultists are gazing into the mystic ether and discovering that paintings predict the future, poets are conspiring to overthrow the wicked Bush regime (via a Barbara), and, profoundly, "sign is symbol, symbol is sign". Take a look into the strange world of left wing political debate, if you dare. WoooooooOOOOO!

Posted by: Bulldog || 02/18/2003 18:09 Comments || Top||

#6  Link
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/18/2003 18:55 Comments || Top||

#7  The next thing we will have to deal with will be the saucer people and the crop circles. They might as well pack their bags and we'll se 'em in Baghdad. Fortunately, crop circles in the desert are few and far between. Holy mandelas, Batman!
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/18/2003 20:01 Comments || Top||


Assassination Attempt On Governor of Paktia Foiled
Source: Ausuf, Translated by Jihad Unspun
An attempt to kill Governor of the Afghan province of Paktia, Mohammad Ali, was foiled in an incident that killed one official and severely injuring another. According to details, the governor was leaving his residence when on his way some unknown assailants attacked him. As a result, his body guard Mohammad Nabi was severely injured and the governor narrowly escaped death. The assailants managed to flee to safety. It is thought that the attackers were the men of Fateh Khan from a powerful Sherna tribe, which are under heavy investigation by Afghan government. Some arrests have been made which has made the situation more volatile in the region.
"Apostate! Hypocrite! Heretic! We must kill him!"
"What'd he do, Mahmoud?"
"Ummm... His great-grandfather... No, I think it was his great-great-grandfather, disprespected my great-uncle, twice removed!"
"No! Where's my gun?"
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/18/2003 05:10 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6463 views] Top|| File under:


Arabia
Saudi Minister Defends U.S. Military Presence
Saudi Arabia's defense minister defended the presence of U.S. forces in the kingdom Tuesday and said they were there under U.N. resolutions linked to Iraq and for the benefit of the whole region. "What we have are forces from the United States, Britain and France that have been here for 12 years under a (U.N.) Security Council resolution and under an agreement signed by the concerned countries and the Iraqi government," Defense Minister Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz said.
"This is what we have and this situation will continue because it is good for those countries, for Iraq and for Saudi Arabia," he said in comments broadcast on state television.
He did not say for how long the presence might continue.
His comments were in response to a Western media report earlier this month that Saudi Arabia -- a key U.S. ally in the region -- would ask U.S. forces to leave the country after any war with Iraq. Diplomats have said the job of those forces would be over if Iraq was no longer considered a threat.
That's right, after the war we'll just drive everyone to our new bases in Iraq and do an about face to face the new threat.
Posted by: Steve || 02/18/2003 02:56 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6468 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I wonder if we will ever care what happens in SA.
Posted by: Tom Roberts || 02/18/2003 20:45 Comments || Top||


Unilateral US strike on Iraq would be viewed as aggression
A unilateral attack by the United States on Iraq would be seen by many as an act of aggression, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said during an exclusive interview Monday. If the United States went in alone it "would appear as aggression", the foreign minister told the BBC. He also signaled that a possible war could destabilize the Middle East region.
It's stable now?
"If an attack comes through the UN Security Council, obviously it is not aggression," he said.
"Unless it's directed against us."
He added that "independent action" was not "good for the US. It would encourage people to think that what they are doing is a war of aggression rather than a war for the implementation of the United Nations resolution. "So we are ardently hoping, we are urging the United States to continue to work with the UN." Faisal further added, "If change of regime comes with the destruction of Iraq then you are saving one problem and creating ... more problems. "We live in the region. We will suffer the consequences of any military action."
You got that part right, Faisal.
Posted by: Steve || 02/18/2003 09:21 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6462 views] Top|| File under:

#1  They'll think whatever they've been indoctrinated led to think - screw em - We should do what's right for US
Posted by: Frank G || 02/18/2003 9:42 Comments || Top||

#2  Continuation of inflammatory anti-U.S. rhetoric in Saudi textbooks, sermons, and press conferences would be seen by many as an act of aggression, Rantburg commenter Tom said during an exclusive interview today. He also signaled that such propaganda could destabilize the Middle East region.
Posted by: Tom || 02/18/2003 10:36 Comments || Top||

#3  Well.....DUH!!!
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/18/2003 11:42 Comments || Top||

#4  Hey, Faisal! So what ya gonna do about it, huh?
Posted by: Dreadnought || 02/18/2003 12:09 Comments || Top||

#5  Frank is right. Faisel is just blowing the usual smoke. He is just a civvie and does not have the authority to issue a fatwa, so an interview is all he can do.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/18/2003 12:52 Comments || Top||

#6  Well I don't wanna bust his bubble, but wars are usually aggressive. Unilateral or not, as long as it gets the job done...
Posted by: RW || 02/18/2003 19:05 Comments || Top||


Britain
Man Arrested With Grenade Is Charged
A Venezuelan man arrested at London's Gatwick airport for carrying a live hand grenade in his luggage was ordered Monday to appear in court next week on terrorism charges.
They still keep calling him Venezuelan.
Hasil Mohammed Rahaham-Alan, 37, identified himself during Monday's hearing and said he lived in Caracas, Venezuela. He did not enter a plea and his next hearing was scheduled for Feb. 24.
Funny name for a Venezuelan, isn't it?
Rahaham-Alan was arrested last week during a huge security alert when the army placed more than 400 troops at Heathrow airport west of London and stepped up security at other airports. Rahaham-Alan had a Venezuelan passport and arrived on a flight from Caracas, police said. Officers said they found a grenade in his luggage and shut Gatwick's North Terminal for several hours. He was charged Sunday night with possession of an explosive, possession of an article for terrorist purposes and carrying a dangerous item on a flight.
Sounds serious.
In a separate hearing, a 33-year-old Algerian man was jailed for four months for having a fake passport.
Took them long enough to tell us he's one of those Algerian, er, North Africans, didn't it?
Posted by: Steve || 02/18/2003 10:36 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6469 views] Top|| File under:

#1  No, no. The Algerian guy's a leftover. (I hate it when they change subjects without warning!)

Hasil's reported to be a Bangla by origin.
Posted by: Fred || 02/18/2003 11:12 Comments || Top||

#2  Isn't Carlos the Jackel a Venezuelan?
Posted by: Chuck || 02/18/2003 11:33 Comments || Top||

#3  To CHUCK:
yes. the jackal's name is Vladimir Ilich (that is the name of lenin) Sanchez and he is from Venezuela.
The Venezuelan president recently asked france to give the man back to Venezuela (the jackal is in jail in france, unless they have freed him in the last weeks to be helped against the ...war). That would have meant freedom for the monster but fortunately Chavez has other problems now.
Posted by: Poitiers || 02/18/2003 12:23 Comments || Top||

#4  Nah, the French won't free Carlos the Jackal. He attacked the French. You attack the French, the French kidnap you and throw you in a jail cell to rot without trial. (Or they blow up your boat if you're Greenpeace.)
The French just are all hypocritical about other people standing up for their own interests.
Posted by: John Thacker || 02/18/2003 16:39 Comments || Top||

#5  "Me do new high tech elk hunting technique :me learn of it from Allah in a vision. P.S. There are also lots of dead infidels in the vision,too."
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/18/2003 22:34 Comments || Top||

#6  "Me do new high tech elk hunting technique :me learn of it from Allah in a vision. P.S. There are also lots of dead infidels in the vision,too."
Posted by: Hugh Jorgan || 02/18/2003 22:35 Comments || Top||


Europe
Americans Just Say ’Non’ to French Products
(First post. Apologies if I toggle it wrong)
NEW YORK — Jokes about France are plentiful lately, but many Americans aren't laughing at the European country's resistance to using force with Iraq -- and are fighting back by closing their wallets. Many Americans have decided to boycott French products such as wine and cheese, in an effort to hurt the country's economy.

Fromage.com, a French cheese distributor, reported that its sales to the United States have gone down 15 percent in the past two weeks. Some U.S. eateries are no longer offering French wines. And a restaurant in North Carolina has even changed the name of its fries.
That's what I call a good start.

Neal Rowland, who owns Cubbie's restaurant in Beaufort, N.C., said he decided to put stickers that say "Freedom" over the word "French" on all his menus after he watched France back away from support for war in Iraq. "Since the French are backing down, French fries and French everything needs to be banned," he told Foxnews.com in a telephone interview. "Fry sales have really gone up. People who eat them now say, 'Freedom never tasted so good.'"
Next step: call the place a "pub" or "eatery" instead of "restaurant."

If the backlash is strong enough, it could impact the French economy -- American trade with France tops $30 billion a year. "Well, if they prefer to eat American food, it is entirely their problem," Guillaume Parmentier, the head of the French Centre on the United States, told the Canadian new service CBC.ca. "But seriously. This never works. Boycotts work when there are grave human rights violations or something like that."
Human rights violations? What do you call Evian at $3.50 a bottle?

But Boris Marchand-Tonnel of the French-U.S. chamber of commerce in Paris played down the threat. "Maybe in a few New York restaurants, a few clients will refuse to order French wine," he told The Guardian. "But it's peanuts against the overall picture, it's really just symbolic."
"Cheeze! It's New Year's and they're drinking Boones! Zoot alors!"

I say we take the cheese-eaters up on the "symbolism" of a boycott. Any takers?
Posted by: therien || 02/18/2003 03:46 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6467 views] Top|| File under:

#1  OK, the highlighter toggle needs to go *before* the sentence rather than before *and* after, yes? Sorry...
Posted by: therien || 02/18/2003 23:36 Comments || Top||

#2  Hold the left mouse button down and drag to highlight the text, then click on "Hilite"
Posted by: Fred || 02/19/2003 3:48 Comments || Top||


French aircraft carrier runs away
The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is returning to France next week, say French officials, apparently scotching suggestions that it might be heading for the Gulf. The vessel set sail on 4 February from its Mediterranean home port of Toulon, amid speculation that its final destination might be the Gulf. Officially the vessel was heading for exercises off Crete, but some military analysts believed that it would subsequently join the build-up of military forces in the Gulf.
However, a senior French naval spokesman said on Monday there was "no question" of the Charles de Gaulle going to the Gulf.
"Are you crazy? There may be a war there!"
"As planned, we will leave Crete again on 21 February and we should arrive back in Toulon on 25 February," said Lieutenant Commander Bertrand Bonneau of the Charles de Gaulle battle group. "There is no question at all of us going to the Gulf," he told the French news agency AFP.
Good!
Posted by: Steve || 02/18/2003 09:12 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6463 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Maybe the Charles De Gaulle can reprovision at Toulon and then set sail for the Ivory Coast to project French power there.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/18/2003 10:33 Comments || Top||

#2  Join le navy and see Toulon.
Posted by: Tom || 02/18/2003 10:39 Comments || Top||

#3  Cheese eating surrender sea monkeys.
Posted by: Rex Mundi || 02/18/2003 11:03 Comments || Top||

#4  Lovers of historical irony might enjoy this. This flag(scroll down; it's the first one) was once the French naval ensign
Posted by: Christopher Johnson || 02/18/2003 11:34 Comments || Top||

#5  I think it still is.
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/18/2003 11:46 Comments || Top||

#6  Rex:

You mean "cheese-eating torpedo target," don't you? Hope we've got a 688 boat stalking her . . .

So where's the big French carrier that's makin' such a fuss?
We've gotta sink the
Charles DeGaulle, the world depends on us!
So load an ADCAP in the tube and bring the boat about
'Cause when we find the
Charles DeGaulle, we're gonna take her out!
Posted by: Mike || 02/18/2003 12:39 Comments || Top||

#7  You cant make up something that funny.
Posted by: Frank Martin || 02/18/2003 12:47 Comments || Top||

#8  they'll be able to find her by listening to the cavitation from the bent screws
Posted by: Frank G || 02/18/2003 14:18 Comments || Top||

#9  Mike: Even better, and lets' hope so.
Posted by: Rex Mundi || 02/18/2003 15:30 Comments || Top||


’New Europe’ hits back at Chirac
French President Jacques Chirac was facing a backlash from eastern and central European countries on Tuesday after attacking them for their pro-US stance. Mr Chirac, speaking in Brussels as he attended an EU emergency summit on Monday, accused the candidates of acting out of turn by siding with the US.He said they should have kept quiet.
"Shut up, and listen to me! I'm French, I know what's good for you!"
  • But on Tuesday Poland - the biggest of the candidate countries -launched its own rebuke. "France has a right to define its own policy, and we have to respect it," said Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Adam Rotfeld."Poland... also has a right to decide what is in its own good, and France should in its turn consider it with respect and with interest for the reasons for this difference (of opinion)."

  • Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Alexandr Vondr, when asked whether Mr Chirac was bullying the candidates, said: "That's the way it seems."

  • Mr Chirac's attack "displayed some nervousness", said Bulgarian Deputy Foreign Minister Lubomir Ivanov. "This approach will not help to create unity in the Security Council," Mr Ivanov told Bulgarian national radio. Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha said there was no question of Bulgaria changing its stance, although he said that Mr Chirac's comments should not be exaggerated.

  • In Estonia, foreign ministry spokeswoman Tiina Maiberg told BBC News Online: "All we would say is that the more plurality of opinion in Europe, the better it is. Our country and other countries have a right to express our opinions. "The more expressions of view the better."
The candidate countries were being briefed in Brussels on Tuesday on the outcome of the EU emergency summit. The divisions in Europe have split the EU's existing members into two camps. But among candidate countries' governments, there is widerspread support for the US. France, Germany and Greece, spearheading European resistance to an early war, were angered first by an open letter signed by eight EU and candidate countries in January. It was followed by another letter, signed by 10 central and eastern European states, also expressing backing for the US handling of the crisis. Mr Chirac's unprecedented attack came at a news conference after Monday's EU summit. He said the joint statements were "childish and irresponsible". The countries, he said, had "missed a great opportunity to shut up", and should have. They should have consulted the EU before issuing statements in support of the United States.
"Listen to your betters!"
Posted by: Steve || 02/18/2003 09:22 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6464 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Chirac: "L'Europe, c'est moi!"

He ALSO Missed a Good Opportunity to Keep Quiet
Posted by: BarCodeKing || 02/18/2003 10:24 Comments || Top||

#2  "Apres moi, le bree!"
Posted by: mojo || 02/18/2003 10:43 Comments || Top||

#3  My suppository, she ees on fire!!
Posted by: kanji || 02/18/2003 12:19 Comments || Top||

#4  Gotta love it. The former king of Bulgaria has more guts than the French president does.
Posted by: Christopher Johnson || 02/18/2003 13:33 Comments || Top||

#5  Best quote still had to come from a Czech diplomat, according to the Economist, "One thing we learned from the 1930s—no more security guarantees from France.” (Thanks to ChicagoBoyz)
Posted by: John Thacker || 02/18/2003 16:55 Comments || Top||


Chirac lashes out at East Europe
Jacques Chirac last night launched a furious attack on east European candidates for EU membership, saying they had behaved "recklessly" in making pro-American statements on the Iraq crisis.
Is there a French equivalent of the "How to Make Friends and Influence People" course?
Speaking at the end of the emergency Brussels summit, the French president astonished diplomats and dismayed the European commission and other governments by accusing the incoming and aspirant members of "infantile" and "dangerous" behaviour.
"How dare zey think for zemselves! What do zey suppose zey have now, a democracy or zumthing?"
Letters signed by Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, with current EU members Britain, Spain, Italy, Denmark and Portugal, and by the so-called Vilnius 10 group of EU and Nato candidates were "not well-brought-up behaviour," he complained. "They missed a good opportunity to keep quiet. When you are in the family, after all, you have more rights than when you are asking to join and knocking on the door," Mr Chirac said, warning Romania and Bulgaria that they had been particularly incautious since they were still seeking EU membership.
That is about the most audacious thing Chirac has said so far, and that's saying something.
Mr Chirac's fury betrayed France's anxiety at the way the club it helped to found is set to change beyond recognition when it admits 10 new members next year - and anger at the distinction made by Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, who dismissed France and Germany as "old Europe" compared with the pro-American easterners.
Rummy mashed on a nerve allright, far better than anyone knew at the time.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/18/2003 12:50 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under:

#1  OMG, I can not believe he said that.

Maybe he realizes that military action is inevidable so he has to sabotage his countries position to save face. On the other hand, maybe he is a concieted ahole who can't realize his countries sphere influence extends about 50 feet in any direction.
Posted by: Jon || 02/18/2003 15:35 Comments || Top||

#2  Chirac is a big-time crook who spent more than two decades plundering Paris, and successfully avoided jail thanks to his political leverage, some kind of a french Andreotti, only much more sordid and less connected (unless you include his links with Rafik Hariri, the late Hafez El Assad or Hassan II,...). He got re-elected because he ultimately faced an aging populist left-over from post-WWII fascism (his first turn score was the lowest ever) and has only regained some popularity now thanks to his anti-US stance. France really is sick, and Chirac is one of its many symptoms, nothing more.
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/18/2003 5:13 Comments || Top||

#3  sounds like an abuseive father berateing his step-kids.Bet that whent over real well with East Europe.
Posted by: raptor || 02/18/2003 5:27 Comments || Top||

#4  Of course this won't stop the French deriding Bush as a politically inept cowboy for one minute...
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/18/2003 5:50 Comments || Top||

#5  France is a rogue nuclear state. It clearly wishes to dominate its neighbors, and acts in an aggressive, cowboy-like manner whenever it wants, i.e. African adventurism and bombing the Greenpeace ship for two examples. The nations of Europe should be worried about having such a dangerous and unpredictible nuclear armed nation as a neighbor. Disarm France! Make Europe safe for democracy.
Posted by: Chuck || 02/18/2003 7:47 Comments || Top||

#6  Another wonderful tidbit about J Chirac. During the 70s he had a lot of contacts with Iraq. He facilitated the contracts that led to the building of the Osirak reactor (called by the Israelis the O'Chirac reactor). This reactor was supposed to cost Iraq about $150M but actually cost about 4 times that and undoubtedly, J Chirac got some nice souvenirs from the construction company.
Posted by: mhw || 02/18/2003 8:50 Comments || Top||

#7  You have to do a lot better than that, Jacques, if you want to impress countries that spent the last 50 years under the soviets.

Not even close, froggy boy.
Posted by: mojo || 02/18/2003 9:59 Comments || Top||

#8  Hey, Frogman. Napoleon's dead. Get over it.
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/18/2003 11:50 Comments || Top||

#9  You know the diplomacy game is over when it is played out on the front pages of the press. Chirac doublecrossed Powell and Bulgaria doubles Chirac. Touche!

For a moron, GW sure knows how to play. Daschle and Chirac need to compare notes.
Posted by: john || 02/18/2003 15:21 Comments || Top||

#10  OMG, I can not believe he said that.

Maybe he realizes that military action is inevidable so he has to sabotage his countries position to save face. On the other hand, maybe he is a concieted ahole who can't realize his countries sphere influence extends about 50 feet in any direction.
Posted by: Jon || 02/18/2003 15:35 Comments || Top||

#11  Go to Little Green Footballs to view this:
A jaw-dropping photograph from 1975, showing Saddam Hussein in France visiting a nuclear reactor. At far right: Jacques Chirac.
Explains a lot, doesn't it?
Posted by: Steve || 02/18/2003 15:54 Comments || Top||


Chirac pledges to veto oppose new resolution
Tony Blair's options for going to war on Iraq were shrinking last night after Jacques Chirac publicly pledged that France would veto an early second United Nations resolution explicitly authorising military action. "There is no need for a second resolution today, which France would have no choice but to oppose," Mr Chirac insisted as he arrived for the European Union's emergency summit in Brussels. He called it "the worst solution".
No doubt Chirac thinks the key word in his statement is "today". When it comes around to payback time, we're going to remember his weasel words.
But Mr Blair, who is determined to avoid being provoked into a worse EU split over Iraq, repeated what he and his aides have said for weeks; that time is still needed to answer the key test: "Is Saddam co-operating or not? The most important thing is to send a signal of strength, not weakness, because that is the language Saddam will understand. That is also our best chance of avoiding war."
The concept seems entirely too subtle for the likes of Jacques to comprehend...
There is dispute among military experts as to how ready even the US is for a land war in Iraq in the next few weeks - unless Washington is willing to risk trying to seize Baghdad and "decapitate" the regime.
And Chirac isn't helping, since this tends to make Turkey hold back.
France's position dashed already slim hopes that the EU would be able to bridge the gap between those who back impatient US rhetoric and those demanding more time for UN weapons inspections.
There were no hopes.
On top of the challenge of peace protests around the world, it intensified pressure on Mr Blair. He has insisted all along that a second security council resolution is desirable, though not necessary. No 10 still believes it will get one.
What he wants at this point is 9 votes in favor, even if the French veto. He's already said that would be good enough.
Faced with France's flat refusal to go back to the UN at this stage, the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, appeared to be moving to the government's fallback position, saying that resolution 1441 "gives us the authority we need". No 10 was also adamant that the prime minister's new stress on the moral and humanitarian arguments for removing Saddam Hussein to ease the suffering of the Iraqi people does not represent a hardening of policy towards "regime change" in Baghdad.
It does, but he can't say that publicly.
But it does appear to offer President Saddam two choices: despite Downing Street's blood-curdling description of the Iraqi dictator as a man "who runs his country like a butcher's shop", he could be allowed to stay in power if he complies with 1441. But if the US leads a coalition to war without UN sanction - or restraint - he will be removed. Faced with the weekend's mass protests, No 10 again said: "There is another side to the moral balance sheet. There is no moral monopoly."
It's pretty heavily tilted towards allieviating the suffering of the people of Iraq, but okay.
In Brussels, Mr Straw conceded ministers should "listen carefully" to the protesters' message, but he said people taking part had different concerns; some would support war if all else failed. As if to confirm that claim on a day of mixed messages, Germany signalled that it might back war "as a last resort".
Is this just jerking Tony's chain, or did the NATO Defence Council vote yesterday put some gray remover in Schroeder's hair dye?
Foreign ministers put a positive spin on their talks, described by Mr Straw as "serious and constructive", but left the hard graft to heads of government, who were meeting Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general. The EU, facing embarrassing disarray over the crisis - and a potentially mortal blow to its aspirations to play a coherent role on the world stage - is divided into three camps. The group of hawks, led by Britain, includes Spain, Italy, Portugal, Denmark and the Netherlands. The doves are France, Germany, Belgium Luxembourg, Greece and Austria. Ireland, Sweden and Finland are somewhere in between. "We all know that this is about the question of Iraq, but it's also about the question of Europe," Joschka Fischer, the German foreign minister, said. Greece, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, called the summit to try to heal divisions after the highly damaging row in Nato. But many feel it will only serve to highlight the rift.
It did.
The French foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, said UN inspectors should be given more time and that Britain, Italy and Spain, were taking "strictly an American line".
As opposed to a French line.
As grassroots mutterings grow against Mr Blair's leadership, leftwing MPs stepped up their demands for abandonment of New Labour's "market-based and militaristic" policies and promised to organise an anti-war conference next month. "It is time for party members to take back our party from the New Labour clique that have hijacked it," said John McDonnell MP, chairman of the Campaign Group.
Wonder if it's time for Dame Margaret to start talking about the "Looney Left" again?
Posted by: Steve White || 02/18/2003 09:16 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Kofi laid it on the line, Bertie agreed, and Chirac open mouth and inserted both feet.

Just hope it's in time to save Blair, although I do not agree w/his policies.
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/18/2003 0:48 Comments || Top||

#2  I am reminded of french friendliness towards Bob...
The way things are heading (esp. with Chirac lambasting the Vilnius Group), Bob may be France's best and only friend come summer.

Maybe Chirac should start proclaiming his fondness for Daffy Duck. That'd get them another new friend.
Posted by: Dishman || 02/18/2003 0:50 Comments || Top||

#3  Headline is wrong: Chirac promised to "oppose" it, not veto. Ha.
Posted by: someone || 02/18/2003 2:53 Comments || Top||

#4  As usual, I don't think the French are interested in friendship. What would the most progressive, morally superior and culturally sohisticated country on the planet need with friends? You get some idea of the breathtaking arrogance involved from Chirac's threats to the Eastern half of the continent. They want their EU Empire back, 'cause they are watching it slip out of their fingers.
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/18/2003 3:36 Comments || Top||

#5  Headline is wrong: Chirac promised to "oppose" it, not veto. Ha.

Good catch. Chirac seems to be self-destructing, but perhaps he has left himself a little weasel room. We can always hope!
Posted by: becky || 02/18/2003 6:50 Comments || Top||

#6  For Becky and 'someone', the headline was correct. Click on the source and you'll see that the Al-Guardian uses the word 'veto' both in the title and in the first paragraph. But perhaps Chirac meant to say 'oppose'. After all, the French are incomprehensible!
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/18/2003 10:05 Comments || Top||

#7  Aargh, that last anon comment was me. My bad.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/18/2003 10:07 Comments || Top||

#8  He said literally "La France ne pourrait que l'opposer" (France could only oppose it).
Posted by: Peter || 02/18/2003 14:10 Comments || Top||

#9  There will be no second resolution until after the Marines are in Iraq. GW already has a plurality of support for war, and Blair made his stand on Sunday facing down the party and protestors. The diplomacy is over. Chirac knows this (and so does Saddam for that matter), and he has to support the next resolution because Kofi needs it, and Chirac needs it for the UN to live another day. Kissing off a veto vote at the UN over a done deal would mean the end of Chirac, and all the sordid stories would start to leak/appear.
Posted by: john || 02/18/2003 15:32 Comments || Top||


Fifth Column
Jimmy sez "Not in my name!"
FORMER US President Jimmy Carter is backing the Daily Mirror's Not in My Name campaign.
Not in my name, he's not...
The Nobel Peace Prize winner, and the only US president since 1945 never to order American soldiers into war, endorsed our stance on war with Iraq, saying: "You're doing a good job. I am glad about that. War is evil."
"And Sammy's not."
Carter, who will be 79 this year, is a pariah among hawkish Republicans and a hero for doveish Democrats, frequently denouncing wars and conflict whenever they flare. He said: "There has been a virtual declaration of war but a case for pre-emptive action against Iraq has not been made. We want Saddam Hussein to disarm but we want to achieve this through peaceful means."
"How 'bout if I go talk to him? That always helps."
"He obviously has the capability and desire to build prohibited weapons and probably has some hidden in his country. A sustained and enlarged UN inspection team is required."
Just think of it as 250,000 armed inpectors, then...
Carter said an opinion poll which rated the US as the country posing greatest danger to world peace was a "very embarrassing thing". It was "sobering" to realise the degree of doubt that has been raised about his country's motives for war in the absence of convincing proof of a genuine Iraqi threat.
It's "sobering" to me that we had this jerkoff statesman as our president. I feel like I need a shower.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/18/2003 11:25 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6462 views] Top|| File under:

#1  C'mon--give the guy a break! If anyone could peacefully resolve this situation and give the world lasting peace, it's Jimmy! I mean, look at how he negotiated with North Kor-- Um, never mind...
Posted by: Dar Steckelberg || 02/18/2003 11:50 Comments || Top||

#2  Carter said an opinion poll which rated the US as the country posing greatest danger to world peace was a "very embarrassing thing".

You want embarrassing, Jimmy? Go look in a mirror.And hold up your Nobel Peace Prize while you do.
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/18/2003 11:52 Comments || Top||

#3  You want embarassing? Consider that there were enough stupid people in this country to actually elect you as president.
Posted by: Dreadnought || 02/18/2003 12:11 Comments || Top||

#4  Well, now that "Jimmah" is against it, I can safely say I'm for it. You cant go wrong by doing the opposite of what "Jimmah" thinks is right.

If you wanted to get into Mr. Peabody's "way-back" machine and effect history, you couldn't do a better job than you could by going back to 1979 and stopping that man from doing what he did when our Embassy was invaded and our people were taken hostage.

Teaching Islamic fundamentalists that there were no consequences for their actions and that attacks on american civilians would go unpunished was the first in a long series of stupid errors that "the man from plains georgia" had a hand in creating.

To quote a good country and western song " How can I miss you when you wont go away...."
Posted by: Frank Martin || 02/18/2003 12:12 Comments || Top||

#5  Carter ordered the ill-fated embassy hostage rescue mission in Iran in '82. He ordered them off to war, so the Mirror's statement is not true. He did this after they had been held for over a year. Real decisive leadership. Jeeze his hypocracy pisses me off.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/18/2003 13:55 Comments || Top||


“Human Shields” Hold First War Council in Baghdad
I came all the way to Iraq to be a human shield and all I got was this lousy tee shirt!The first “war council” opened late Monday, February 17, in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, with the “human shields” planning to select their targets carefully and split up into different units while coordinating the action once the battle gets underway.
Oh, I am so inspired! What're they gonna do?
For Ben, a 25-year-old American, there's a lot of work to be done. "We have no plan. We don't have an organization. We don't have a leadership," he admitted at the opening of a first war council of the "human shields" who have come to Baghdad.
Oooh. That's the very best way to do things!
Their ambitions run high. They hope to prevent thousands of tons of U.S. bombs raining down on Iraq at the launch of any campaign to (allegedly) overthrow President Saddam Hussein for allegedly concealing banned arms programs in defiance of the United Nations. Gathered in a smoke-filled hall of a Baghdad hotel, they have come from around the world in a bid to keep at bay the armada mobilized around Iraq by the United States and Britain.
"Never fear, Sammy! We are here to save you!"
"Yeah. Whatever. Mahmoud, find them some space over by the ammo dump... uh... grade school."

Westerners in Palestinian keffiyehs (head covers) and dungarees mingle with Islamic scarves worn by young women from Turkey, as some 30 activists huddle in a circle to debate how to combat the mighty war machine. "We have to decide where, when and how we want to be human shields," he told the meeting on the first floor of the Andalous Hotel.
Lemme see here. "Where" would be Iraq. "When" would be now, probably until the first armaments start arriving. Then "where" switches to Jordan. "How" is, from the footage I saw on the teevee this morning, ostenatiously, which could result in howling mobs of indignant locals stringing them up when Sammy's gone, if they don't make it to Jordan.
John Ross, 65, surveys the meeting with one eye, the other one hidden behind a black patch since he lost it in an accident. A veteran fighter for causes, he wears his white hair in a pony-tail. "We are here to protect the regime population in Iraq, we want to make the American government change its plans," said Ross, a journalist, poet and writer.
One of those guys whose business cards describe them as a "poet"...
For the resident of Mexico who renounced U.S. citizenship, the Iraq crisis brings back memories of Vietnam. "I was the first conscientious objector to be sent to prison. I went to jail on August 4, 1964," just three days before Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution which launched the Vietnam war, he said.
Maybe he'll be lucky and get killed in this one, but I doubt it...
A translator is busy at work for the hefty contingent from Turkey, as the chief of staff meets to draw up a plan of action for the 200 or so human shields who have arrived so far in the Iraqi capital.
"Mahmoud!"
"Yeah, boss!"
"Put this batch down by the sarin... uh... baby milk factory."

Gordon, a young and athletic man, reasons that they should be careful with the choice of sites to be protected. "We should choose the best sites. If we go to a purification plant, it should be the one that produces the best water," he recommends to his fellow human shields.
If you go to an explosive depot, make sure it's high explosives, okay?
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/18/2003 10:07 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:

#1  My favorite line was in a story I saw yesterday, where a self-styled "reiki master and spiritual healer" from Portsmouth claimed that the presence of vegans and spiritual healers would shield the buildings from harm if war broke out.

I almost pulled a muscle in my chest laughing that hard...
Posted by: BarCodeKing || 02/18/2003 10:29 Comments || Top||

#2  I sincerely hope these clowns don't meet a sticky end. Would make a great movie one day. I've had more laughs out of this lot that I've had in ages. You couldn't make this material up if you tried...
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/18/2003 10:30 Comments || Top||

#3  This operation is a mad hatter's tea party. It is always good to get a good laugh before going to work. Thanks, Fred for the article.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/18/2003 10:39 Comments || Top||

#4  "E-excelent, Smithers! Now activate the GPS locators in those belt-buckles we gave them!"
Posted by: mojo || 02/18/2003 10:46 Comments || Top||

#5  Gathered in a smoke-filled hall of a Baghdad hotel, they have come from around the world in a bid to keep at bay the armada mobilized around Iraq by the United States and Britain.

Hope it's real good hash. Could be the last good thing that happens to them for quite awhile...
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/18/2003 11:57 Comments || Top||

#6  Hey, if I had known that they gave you a snazzy T-shirt, I would have joined the suicide squad months ago... ;-)
Posted by: Paul || 02/18/2003 12:26 Comments || Top||

#7  Neal Boortz had an interesting prediction today: once the bombs start dropping, Saddam will kill a whole chunk of his population and blame it on us, with cameras rolling everywhere. A caller brought up an even better point: Saddam kills some of the human shields, and blames it on the US.

Now, I'm all for them "taking the eternal dirt nap" as he says, but it will really screw up our fight politically. I mean, think about it: Brave little Johnny went to save the poor civilians and the imperialist US blew him up for it.

It's sad.
Posted by: Dave || 02/18/2003 13:26 Comments || Top||

#8  Aha! All we have to do is look where the useful idiots human shields are, and those will be the places we bomb when the war starts. Hey! Human spotters! A grateful nation thanks you!
Posted by: Denny || 02/18/2003 13:42 Comments || Top||

#9  But you left out the best part...

Mandela Invited to “Join The Club”

On Thursday, February 13, the mostly western human shields said they had invited Nobel Prize winner Nelson Mandela to join their "voice for peace."
"We have written to ask (former South African president) Nelson Mandela to join us here in Baghdad as a voice for peace," said Canadian Roberta Taman, a leading member of the first group, which arrived in Baghdad a week ago.
"We have not had a response from him yet, but we know that he has said he would come to Baghdad if he was invited. So we have extended that invitation and are waiting to hear from him," she told a press conference.


When the phone don't ring, you naive idiot, you'll know it's Nellie...
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/18/2003 13:50 Comments || Top||

#10  The best thing that we could do is start spreading the rumor that the human shields have been infiltrated by the CIA, Mossad, MI6, etc. Furthermore, they are actively helping Western intelligence agencies identify targets in Iraq. Saddam will deal with them appropriately.
Posted by: 11A5S || 02/18/2003 14:32 Comments || Top||

#11  Mandella invited...

I'm laughing so hard. How can anyone be so utterly freakin stupid?

There's them what's cannon fodder and there's them what extolls the virtures of cannon fodder (once they are safely out of the way as it would be icky to actually have to deal with them), generally for a profit and personal gain.

If these people do get hit with bombs it can only be considered a mercy killing.
Posted by: Michael || 02/18/2003 18:32 Comments || Top||


Iraq
Police Foil Terror Plans in Erbil
A spokesman for the KRG Ministry of Interior announced that a number of members of a terrorist group operating in the City of Erbil have been apprehended. Local police, in cooperation with other security agencies, after significant effort, successfully uncovered the group and its plans. Police believe that the arrests of the group’s members will foil plans to set off explosions in the city. During questioning, members admitted they had planned to carry out several terrorist acts. Abdul Amir Izzat, leader of the terrorist group, is the also head of security for the Iraqi Turkman Front.
We don't hear about the Turkmen often, but we probably will in the weeks ahead. The Kurds have their own areas, but the Turkmen are split between the Kurds and the Baghdad regime. Their affinity is with Turkey. Lotsa worms in this can...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/18/2003 08:29 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under:


Three mystery ships are tracked over suspected ’weapons’ cargo
From the Al-Independent, so use a jumbo grain of salt:
Three giant cargo ships are being tracked by US and British intelligence on suspicion that they might be carrying Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
Each with a deadweight of 35,000 to 40,000 tonnes, the ships have been sailing around the world's oceans for the past three months while maintaining radio silence in clear violation of international maritime law, say authoritative shipping industry sources.
I thought international law only applied to the US. Besides, maybe their radios are just broken
The vessels left port in late November, just a few days after UN weapons inspectors led by Hans Blix began their search for the alleged Iraqi arsenal on their return to the country.
Just a coincidence. Nothing here. Please move on now, we're trying to fix that darn radio.
The ships were chartered by a shipping agent based in Egypt and are flying under the flags of three different countries. The continued radio silence since they left port, in addition to the captains' failure to provide information on their cargoes or their destinations, is a clear breach of international maritime laws.
The vessels are thought to have spent much of their time in the deep waters of the Indian Ocean, berthing at sea when they need to collect supplies of fuel and food. They have berthed in a handful of Arab countries, including Yemen.
American and British military forces are believed to be reluctant to stop and search the vessels for fear that any intervention might result in them being scuttled. If they were carrying chemical and biological weapons, or fissile nuclear material, and they were to be sunk at sea, the environmental damage could be catastrophic.
About 1 ten-quadrillionth as catastrophic as if they were to be delivered.
A shipping industry source told The Independent: "If Iraq does have weapons of mass destruction, then a very large part of its capability could be afloat on the high seas right now. These ships have maintained radio silence for long periods and, for a considerable time, they have been steaming around in ever-decreasing circles."
The ships are thought to have set sail from a country other than Iraq to avoid running the gauntlet of Western naval vessels patrolling the Gulf. Defence experts believe that, if they are carrying weapons of mass destruction, these could have been smuggled out through Syria or Jordan.
The Syria theory has been around for weeks.
Posted by: JAB || 02/18/2003 07:54 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6469 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Put a 688 on the tail of each one. If they get within 500 miles of anything important (e.g., Diego Garcia or better) we just have to take the shot.

Reminds me of a Mike Wallace interview long ago with the Shah of Iran. Apparently the Shah had complained to the Soviet Ambassador about high-altitude overflights from the Soviet side into Iranian airspace. The ambassador categorically denied that the aircraft were Russian and said that his country had no knowledge of them. To which the Shah replied, "if these are not your airplanes, then surely you will not object if I shoot them down."

The overflights stopped.

Lesson: if the ships don't have identifiable owners, are flying flags of convenience, and don't respond to hails, then no one can complain should we find it necessary to sink them.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/19/2003 0:03 Comments || Top||


US concern as Iranian-backed troops enter Iraq
Via DrudgeReport.com
Iranian-backed Iraqi opposition forces have crossed into northern Iraq from Iran with the aim of securing the frontier in the event of war, according to senior Iranian officials.
Yet another reason why Turkey matters.
The forces, numbering up to 5,000 troops, with some heavy equipment, are nominally under the command of Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, a prominent Iraqi Shia Muslim opposition leader who has been based in Iran since 1980 and lives in Tehran.
If the leader calls himself Ayatollah Mohammad, we've got to be worried.
Iranian officials insist that force's role in the north is defensive but its presence will exacerbate the concerns of the US and especially the Arab world that military intervention in Iraq will lead to a permanent disintegration of the country. Through inserting a proxy force, Iran is underlining that it cannot be ignored in future discussions over Iraq's make-up.
Stories like this lead me to conclude we've waited too long.

Posted by: JAB || 02/18/2003 04:31 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6466 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Very Interesting!

1) How do we know they are Iranians?
2) Best case: its our idea, on our schedule, with the purpose of starting a landslide of unrest in Iraq.
3) Worst case: we didnt see this one coming.
4) Likely case: Do we really care? If Iran does in iraq and that just leaves Iran standing, doesnt that help our case?

Cool beans. I love it when the 'conventional wisdom' has to take a walk.
Posted by: Frank Martin || 02/18/2003 17:09 Comments || Top||

#2  How will we know whether their Iranians or Iraqis?

Friendly fire does happen.
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/18/2003 17:23 Comments || Top||

#3  Not too late....yet. If we go in by 1st of March, and bag Sammy & Co quickly, that leaves Ayatollah (insert name here) out in the sticks where they're said to be at the moment. Still...that's a big IF. We need to get Turkey onboard now and kick-start this thing.
Posted by: Rex Mundi || 02/18/2003 18:26 Comments || Top||

#4  This kind of suggests to me that the Iranians think we're going to invade real soon. They wanted to get some kind of force in Iraq, but not too early -- since that would give the Iraqis a chance to kick them back out again.
Posted by: Patrick Phillips || 02/18/2003 19:07 Comments || Top||

#5  I don't think the Iraqis would be so kind as to allow us to announce our alliance with Iran.
Posted by: Dishman || 02/18/2003 20:41 Comments || Top||


Iraq confirms U-2 flight , Special Forces Invade Baghdad
Iraq confirmed Tuesday that an American U-2 surveillance plane flew over its territory to search for suspected weapons of mass destruction. The Iraqis agreed last week to let U.S. spy planes fly over their territory to avert a possible U.S.-led military offensive. "A U-2 surveillance plane entered the Iraqi airspace at 11:55 a.m. and left at 4:51 p.m. after flying over several areas," said the Iraqi Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has already said, however, that such measures aren't enough to avert a U.S. military offensive. He urged Iraq to "fully disarm or face the consequences." Over the weekend, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice warned Saddam had "weeks, not months" to comply with the U.N. resolutions asking him to disarm.
Don't suppose we kept copies of the photos, do you?
Meanwhile, a London-based Arabic newspaper Assharq al Awasat reported Tuesday U.S. military personnel recently entered Baghdad and carried out a series of exercises aimed at testing the readiness of Saddam's troops. Quoting sources in Baghdad, the Saudi-owned newspaper said during the exercise U.S. Special Forces also conducted a set of explosions that caused panic in the Iraqi capital. The Iraqi authorities, the paper said, have arrested dozens of security officials for allowing the Americans to enter Baghdad.
Snicker, just releasing a story like this would be enough to cause panic. We wouldn't do anything like that, would we?
Posted by: Steve || 02/18/2003 02:44 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6490 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Uh, huh-huh.....he said "Assharq"
Posted by: Rex Mundi || 02/18/2003 18:13 Comments || Top||

#2  Hey, people still believe the printer virus hoax. Why not this one?
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/19/2003 16:47 Comments || Top||


Turkish Press stories on Iraq (long)
These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on February 18, 2003. The Anadolu Agency does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
But they are usually pretty close.CO-COMMAND IN NORTHERN IRAQ
A total of 40,000-55,000 Turkish soldiers will go to Northern Iraq. Two co-commanders, one from Turkey and one from the U.S. will be in charge in the region. Turkish general will command 15,000 Turkish soldiers. The U.S. commander will convey his orders to the other units by the Turkish commander. A consensus of opinion has been reached between Turkey and the U.S. about many military and political issues that are related to Northern Iraq and Iraq. However the differences of opinion between the two sides regarding the economic assistance programme continues. Turkey wants to have a donation worth of at least 10 billion dollars for the first year within the scope of the economic assistance programme, but the U.S. only wants to give 6 billion dollars.
15,000 Turkish troops under direct Turkish control, the other 40,000 or so under US command routing orders er, suggestions, through the Turkish commander. That's the way any joint command works. We're back to the economic assistance being the sticking point.
CLOSE CONTACT WITH EU FOR IRAQ
While Turkey conveyed its demands to the U.S. yesterday, it also had close contacts with the EU. EU took the views of Turkey and it extended support to the peaceful initiatives of Turkey. After the EU summit which was held yesterday, a declaration was announced saying that ''EU supports Turkey's regional initiatives'' within the scope of Iraqi crisis. EU made a special invitation to Turkey to participate in its summit on Iraq.
"regional initiatives" meaning their attempts for a peaceful solution or for their attempt to prevent a Kurdish State? The EU doesn't want to open that can of worms either.
GUL: PREPARE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE IF REFUGEES COME
Prime Minister Abdullah Gul who explained his worries to European Union (EU) Term President Greece said that they should support Turkey, if refugees come to Turkey. Gul attended the summit which was held by EU with the participation of heads of states and governments and he said that the motion regarding U.S. soldiers could be brought to Parliament only if economic and political expectations of Turkey were provided. Gul held a press conference after his contacts and emphasized that negotiations on that issue were still continuing and said that if economic and political worries of Turkey were not removed, the issue would not be brought to the agenda of Parliament.
"economic and political worries" = Loans & Kurds.
VISIT THAT AGITATED U.S. WAS POSTPONED
Decision to stop negotiations with the United States for a while which came out from the summit held in Prime Ministry caused military activity. The United States got agitated when Chief of General Staff and commanders of forces decided to visit Turkish units in Iraq border. The visit, which was planned to take place on Wednesday, was later postponed. American officials said that steps could be taken regarding military problems to restart the negotiations. Changed manner of U.S. side in the last few days was effective in the interruption of negotiations.
WTF? Did the US have a fit because the Turkish CGS was going to tour the front lines instead of talking to them?
HERE IS LAST PROPOSAL
The paper listed the demands of Turkish government from the U.S. before submitting its motion on deployment of foreign soldiers in Turkey and sending soldiers abroad. Turkey asked for 10 billion dollars of donation and 15 billion dollars of long-term credit from the U.S. to meet its losses stemming from a possible Iraqi war. Turkey also asked the U.S. to meet all of its military expenses, to erase its military credits and to set up qualified industry zones.
$10 billion donation
$15 billion line of credit
Pick up Turkish military's bar tab for 2003 Iraq party
Forgive Turkish Military's debt at PX
Set up qualified industry (free trade?)zones

KURDISH GROUPS WARNED
Representatives of Kurdish groups in Northern Iraq came together with Turkish officials in the region near Silopi town of eastern SÃœrnak province. Military and civilian officials conveyed the reservations of Turkey about the situation in Northern Iraq. The officials stressed in the meeting that terrorist organization PKK got powerful due to the authority vacuum that appeared in Northern Iraq during the Gulf Crisis of 1991, adding Turkey wouldn't let the formation of such a vacuum in the region this time.
You think they have mentioned this point enough?
U.S. WARNS TURKEY
The U.S. warned Turkey when the latter decided not to discuss the second motion on deployment of soldiers in the parliament as long as an agreement is not reached with the U.S. on the economic assistance package. The U.S. told Turkey that ''the bargaining has ended, give your decision immediately.'' The U.S noted that if Turkey does not adopt the motion on Feb. 18, the northern front won't be opened and the support of IMF to Turkey will freeze.
"Yes or No, make up your mind soon! Otherwise, we'll take our business elseware. And I mean all our business!"
NATO REACHES COMPROMISE
The decision of NATO's Military Committee to meet the demands of Turkey asking for protection in case of an operation against Iraq, relieved Turkey very much. AWACS and Patriot anti-missile systems are expected to be deployed in Turkey in 30 days at the latest.
I'd make it sooner if I was you.
BILL OF WAR WILL BE USD 17 BILLION
The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu said in his meeting with German Ambassador in Ankara Rudolf Schmidt that annual cost of a possible Iraq war on Turkish economy would be 16.6 billion U.S. dollars. He added that written agreements should be made with the United States to eliminate Turkey's economic loss in case of a possible war in Iraq.
Annual cost? We need to read the fine print before we buy this package. I think Iraq will be back on its feet and trading with Turkey sooner than some people think. All in all, I don't think it sounds as bad as some people are reporting.
Posted by: Steve || 02/18/2003 01:44 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6468 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I know this is naive - but why don't we just air lift our troops and tanks into the NWFP?

Is it because the Turks will come into Iraq anyway and cause havoc with the Kurds?

It seems to me it would be best if we just airlifted our guys in and told the Turks that we were willing to help them with the refugees and Kurds, but they took too darn long - and now they can just deal with it on their own.

Sorry to be so daft - but I'm really curious why we don't just bypass them now that they have become such a pain.
Posted by: becky || 02/18/2003 14:47 Comments || Top||

#2  An airlift would still require use of the airspace, and they have to be airlifted from somewhere. Airlifting them directly from the USA would be an "interesting" (read hair-raising) logistical problem, and the logistics for it aren't in place. It's probably something that could be done, reluctantly, if that was what we originally set out to do, but it's too late in the game to change directions now.

To give you an idea of the magnitude of the problem, one C5 - still the largest cargo plane we have, I think - can carry two Abrams tanks. That's a lot of trips, and while our air fleet is large and capable, it's finite.

There's also the problem of where you're going to put the men and equipment down, necessitating an airfield on the other end. When making rabbit stew, the first item in the recipe is to catch the rabbit. That's why the activity at the airfields in Kurdish-controlled territory now. But an airfield is located in only one place - you can't move it, and its coordinates are known quantities. That means it can be targeted pretty easily, assuming the Bad Guys can get close enough. That means air defense, ground surveillance radars, and artillery would have to be landed first, along with a strong security forces, which probably isn't the order they'd planned on.

Doing a border crossing is a different matter. Everybody doesn't go at once. First out are reconnaissance and intelligence elements, followed closely by engineers to clear obstacles, set up bridges, and the sort of thing. Each crossing will have an alternate route, and each alternate route another alternate. So having staging areas that aren't within the zone of hostilities gives the commanders on the ground a lot more flexibility.
Posted by: Fred || 02/18/2003 16:56 Comments || Top||

#3  Thanks. Those of us without military experience never really grasp the enormity of the task.
Posted by: becky || 02/18/2003 17:32 Comments || Top||

#4  The airlift capacity of the USAF is already spoken for, out into the future 1-2 months. The only way we would get more airlift Here is by taking it away from There. The Austrians denying transit rights is also a nuisance in this Turkish thing. Now the troops will have to either ship out of Germany via the Netherlands or go by rail through the old East bloc. The world turns....
Posted by: Tom Roberts || 02/18/2003 20:43 Comments || Top||

#5  Re:Beckys comment using the word"enormity":it doesnt mean hugeness,it means great evil.Not trying to be a wiseass,but that word gets misused all the time....;-D
Posted by: Hugh Jorgan || 02/18/2003 23:02 Comments || Top||

#6  Well, it was certainly never my intent to imply this deployment is a great evil, so in light of the ENORMITY of my error, I checked Websters and we are both right.

Enormity - 1. the quality or state of being immoderate, monstrous, or outrageous (esp. great wickedness) 2. a grave offense against the order, right, decency 3. The quality or state of being huge: IMMENSITY the ~ of the task of teachers in slum schools.

I assure I meant definition number 3! But thanks for the heads up on the unfortunate double meaning.
Posted by: becky || 02/18/2003 23:42 Comments || Top||


Ankara To Washington: We Are Ready Whenever You Are Ready
Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis said early on Tuesday that the government couldn't submit the second motion on deployment of foreign soldiers in Turkey to the parliament on Feb. 18, adding the government was ready to submit it to the parliament in the shortest possible time when the conditions were fulfilled.
"As soon as the check clears"
Speaking to the press after his meeting with State Minister Ali Babacan, Yakis said that the negotiation process between Turkey and the U.S. continued within the scope of a possible Iraqi operation and that the sides conveyed their views reciprocally within this process. When asked if there was a difficulty in the process, Yakis said that ''there is no problem.''
''The reasons why it was difficult for us to present the request to parliament on that date remain. Therefore, we are not presenting it on the 18th, but when conditions are fulfilled we are prepared to present it in the shortest possible time,'' Yakis said.
"Like I said, when the check clears!"
Upon a question, Yakis said that a new list of demand has not come from the U.S., adding that the consultations continued and that every consultation was a development which was one step forward. When reminded about the difficulties for the written agreement on the economic assistance package between Turkey and the U.S., Yakis said ''this is an issue that stems from the constitutional order of the U.S. The administration can't undertake commitments which also bind the Congress. It is just like our government's not undertaking any commitments that bind the parliament.''
Upon the news telling that the U.S. would bring onto agenda a 'B plan' if the motion was not adopted by the parliament until Feb. 18, Yakis said that Turkey knew the difficulties of the U.S. about this issue and it evaluated that. ''We do the things that are necessary for a solution rather than causing trouble within the scope of strategic cooperation with the U.S.,'' he added.
Plan B would be a southern front only option. It would take longer, but we'll do it if we have too. It would also mean no economic aid package for Turkey. They know that too.
Political, military and economical negotiations between Turkey and the United States concerning a possible operation against Iraq are continuing. Sources said Ankara conveyed the final point in its expectations from the United States to Washington.
Noting that if conditions were appropriate, they could bring the motion regarding the deployment of U.S. soldiers in Turkey to Parliament, Ankara gave the message to Washington that ''We are ready whenever you are ready.'' Ankara does not want to bring motions concerning dispatching of Turkish soldiers abroad and deployment of U.S. soldiers in Turkey to Parliament without reaching an agreement on memorandum of understanding with the United States.
We promised somewhere around $25B in aid, Turkey wants $50B, it'll be a figure somewhere in the middle.
Sources said that studies between Turkish and American officials on an extensive text were continuing, however sides had not reach a complete agreement on the text yet. Sources added that it was normal that there could be some problems in such an extensive text.
The devil is in the details.
Sides made progress in political aspect of negotiations and they partially reached an agreement on ''command'' issue.
This would be the Kurdish problem and who is in overall command of Turkish forces that go into Northern Iraq. I don't think the two sides are as far apart as the press reports suggest. The 101st is just now shipping their helicopters and heavy gear, it will take 2-3 weeks to get there. They are working getting the ports and airbases ready to receive them. We've got a little time left to finalize the deal.
Posted by: Steve || 02/18/2003 10:05 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6464 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I'm sure we can scrape up the extra dough from someplace...uh, how much do we send to Egypt? World Bank? UN dues? A couple hundred million here, a couple hundred million there, pretty soon we're talking real money.
Posted by: matt || 02/18/2003 11:56 Comments || Top||

#2  "We promised somewhere around $25B in aid, Turkey wants $50B, it'll be a figure somewhere in the middle."...Hmmm, that would buy a lot of arms for Kurdistan, wouldn't it?
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/18/2003 12:53 Comments || Top||


Brits, Turks waffle on Iraq
U.S. allies Britain and Turkey appeared to waver yesterday in their resolve to back quick military action against Iraq with or without UN approval. Stunned by huge peace demonstrations over the weekend, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said it would be "very difficult indeed" for the embattled Labor government of Prime Minister Tony Blair to wage war with a majority of the party and the nation opposed. Turkey also appeared taken aback by the massive protests and delayed a parliamentary vote on setting conditions for the flow of thousands of U.S. Army troops into the country to open a northern front against Iraq in the event of war.
Thank god some people have common sense
Iraq complicated the allied attempts to achieve unity by belatedly complying with a major demand of the UN weapons inspectors and allowing the first overflight of an American U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said the spy plane made an overflight of more than four hours, but there was no immediate confirmation from the U.S. military.

In Brussels, divisions among the 15 nations of the European Union on Iraq were further strained by a general declaration backing the U.S. push for swift and complete disarmament by Baghdad. The declaration said Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had one "last chance" to disarm but also called war a "last resort."

French President Jacques Chirac, who has led the opposition to a U.S.-led war, took theopportunity to scold several Eastern European countries that recently signed a letter backing the hawkish U.S. stand. Chirac suggested it could jeopardize their chances of joining the EU. "It is not really responsible behavior," he told a news conference. "It is not well-brought-up behavior. They missed a good opportunity to keep quiet."

The EU declaration was overshadowed by Straw's earlier remarks that "we have to take account of public opinion" in backing the U.S. push for quick military action if Iraq fails to disarm. "It's patently more straightforward for governments to take a country to war, to military action, if they palpably have the public behind them than if not," Straw said. Straw and Blair said the British public would back the military option if authorized in a second UN resolution. Blair's staunch support for a war with Iraq has cost him politically in Britain, where a large portion of public opinion is opposed to a war.
Serves him right, warmonger
A poll by The Guardian newspaper released yesterday said only 35% of the British are satisfied with his leadership. Significantly, Straw said he "would not put a deadline" on talks to achieve a new resolution that Chirac said he already viewed as a nonstarter. "There is no need for a second resolution," Chirac said, "which France would have no choice but to oppose." Chirac said inspections were working and should continue. "We consider that war is always, always, the worst solution," Chirac said.
"We would rather be defeated and occupied... Not that we have to worry about that right now. But still..."
Posted by: Murat || 02/18/2003 09:37 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Murat, you have nothing to offer to improve the situation as it stands, you'd willingly condemn the Iraqis to suffer under the current Baathist regime, while proclaiming fear for The Children™ should we intervene in the only manner that seems to work - militarily.
I've changed my mind - I thought you were a troll (Tony Foresta-type), but now I believe you're simply an apologist for Arab dictatorship. It would be nice if you posted an identifying header on your input so I can scroll past without wasting my time
thanks
Posted by: Frank G || 02/18/2003 10:06 Comments || Top||

#2  The Brits may be waffling but the Turks clearly see this as an opportunity to extort. They may want not only loans and grants but also may want to be able to set up military posts deep in Iraq.
This, of course, is a consequence of the peace at any price movement.
Posted by: mhw || 02/18/2003 10:13 Comments || Top||

#3  Murat doesn't seem to understand the purpose of Rantburg. This has been an invaluable site for getting news about the war. Murat's attempt to use this site as a platform for political arguments and name-calling dilutes the value of Rantburg. Fred's policy of opening up his site for guest posting should not be used to undermine the host's intentions. Maybe Murat would be more respectable if he showed some respect for others. Maybe Murat should host his own forum...that would give him an appreciation for the difficulty of balancing respect for diverse opinions with a desire to focus on an area of interest.
Posted by: Pink & Fluffy || 02/18/2003 12:00 Comments || Top||

#4  "Thank god some people have common sense"

I know eh? I always knew that Condi, Powell, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush et al would make a great team.
Posted by: RW || 02/18/2003 12:01 Comments || Top||

#5  Pink and Fluffy,
Well said, I agree, since my time is limited these days it is getting really annoying having to wade through this stuff. How about para-bloggers, as a term for those who act as parasites on other's blogs?
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/18/2003 13:25 Comments || Top||

#6  parabloggers - I love it.

How about, pest-of-sites. You know, because they always kill a good board.

or maybe b'leaches (Blog leaches).

Posted by: becky || 02/18/2003 14:07 Comments || Top||

#7  Blog Hogs?
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/18/2003 16:36 Comments || Top||


Coup fears cited as Saddam puts confidant under arrest
Saddam Hussein was reported to have placed his Defence Minister and close relative, Lieutenant-General Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Jabburi Tai, under house arrest in an extraordinary move apparently designed to prevent a coup.
Getting nervous, is he?
Iraqi opposition newspapers, citing sources in Baghdad, said on Sunday that General Sultan was now effectively a prisoner in his home in the capital. His apparent detention, also reported by the Cairo-based newspaper al-Ahram, is surprising. He is not only a member of the Iraqi President's inner circle, but also a close relative by marriage. His daughter is married to Qusay Hussein, the dictator's 36-year-old younger son, considered by many as his heir apparent.
Being related to Sammy hasn't stopped him from killing people before.
Reports of General Sultan's arrest came amid signs of growing concern in Baghdad that the army, including the elite Republican Guard, might desert in the event of an attack on Iraq. On Monday night one independent source in Baghdad confirmed that General Sultan was in custody. "He continues to attend cabinet meetings and appear on Iraqi TV, so that everything seems normal," said the source, an official with connections to Iraq's ruling Ba'ath party. "But in reality his house and family are surrounded by Saddam's personal guards. They are there so he can't flee." The source also claimed that several other high-ranking military and government officials had been arrested in the past few days.
Good, our evil plan to sow disention and cause FUD is working.
The Saudi Government has been taking the lead in attempting to foment unrest in Baghdad.
Uh, not exactly.
Under a proposal put forward by the Saudi Foreign Minister, Saud al-Faisal, all but Saddam's innermost circle would be granted immunity from war crimes prosecution - the hope being that such a guarantee would encourage senior members of the Iraqi Government to stage a coup.
Sammy appears to have gotten this proposel, and reacted just like we thought he would.
This is not the first time Saddam has apparently fallen out with his family. In 1996 he had his two sons-in-law executed after he persuaded them to return to Baghdad following their defection to Jordan. His estranged first wife, Sajida, is no longer on speaking terms with him after the mysterious death of her brother. General Sultan has been one of Saddam's most trusted colleagues. After the 1991 Gulf War it was he who signed a ceasefire deal between the Iraqi Army and US-led coalition forces. More recently he negotiated with Moscow over the resumption of military ties. General Sultan earned a reputation as one of Iraq's most courageous officers during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war and was decorated by Saddam for bravery. He survived several purges of the military establishment in the aftermath of the war and rose to become the the army's most senior general. Saddam eventually made him defence minister.
Purge of his generals just before the war starts, following in the footsteps of his mentor, Stalin.
Posted by: Steve || 02/18/2003 08:26 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Fredo, I know it was you... You broke my heart."

Fredo, NO! Don't go fishing...
Posted by: Chuck || 02/18/2003 9:04 Comments || Top||

#2  Uneasy sits the butt that bears the boss...
Posted by: mojo || 02/18/2003 10:51 Comments || Top||

#3  Uh.. he put his favorite son's father-in-law under house arrest?
Qusay can't be happy about that.
Posted by: Dishman || 02/18/2003 11:38 Comments || Top||

#4  "Salaam Pax" (first item for 2/19/03) points out that Qusay's wife is the daughter of Maher Abdul-Rasheed who was once a very important military man, got jugged for awhile, and is now living in the Iraqi western desert raising camels and staying out of politics. General Sultan's son is driving a fancy car around Arasat Street "intimidating everybody like all good sons of ministers do."

Can't even accuse al-Guardian of sloppiness here. It's easy enough to get outdated or erroneous information, and sometimes it's hard to get it caught up. There are times when it keeps perpetuating itself, especially if you use Google a lot.

Sonny still driving around in his car and lording it over the masses suggests the story is mistaken, or that Sonny's a power in his own right.
Posted by: Fred || 02/18/2003 18:51 Comments || Top||


Southeast Asia
Philippines Links Bomb Phone, Iraqi Diplomat
A cell phone used by a member of the Abu Sayyaf Muslim extremist group to call an Iraqi diplomat was later employed in a failed attempt to trigger a bomb, according to a confidential Philippine intelligence report.
Oops!
Iraqi Consul Husham Husain was expelled last week after the report claimed he received a call from an Abu Sayyaf member on Oct. 3, 2002, a day after a bomb in southern Zamboanga city killed a U.S. soldier and two other people. The caller was not identified. The Iraqi Embassy denied any links to Philippine dissident groups, including the Abu Sayyaf, which is on a U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations and has been loosely linked to al-Qaida.
Six days after the contact was made, the caller's cell phone was used to try to set off another bomb in Zamboanga's San Roque district, near the military's Southern Command headquarters, but it failed to go off, according to the intelligence report, obtained by The Associated Press.
Police later recovered the bomb and the cell phone, a security official said. The cell phone listed contacts for Hamsiraji Sali, one of five Abu Sayyaf leaders on a U.S. wanted list.
Sali, believed to be hiding on southern Basilan island, has threatened to launch terror attacks in Manila and other Philippine cities if the United States attacks Iraq, the intelligence report said.
"Hey Kim, did you wipe the contact list on that phone I gave you?" "Uh, no. Don't worry about it, Ham, the blast will do that. I mean, what can go wrong?" "OK"
Posted by: Steve || 02/18/2003 03:05 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6468 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Dude, you can get a a new phone and number for around $100 up front and I'm sure the Saudi embassy would cover it. This reminds me of the 1993 WTC Ryder truck bomber who got busted after trying to get his deposit back.
Posted by: JAB || 02/18/2003 16:11 Comments || Top||

#2  The same thing happened with the Kenyan and Bali bombers. They used their own trucks and the police traced them right back to them. They seem to think if you blow them up the serial numbers disappear. Wrong!
Posted by: Steve || 02/18/2003 21:09 Comments || Top||


MILF kills 7 soldiers in ambush
Moro Islamic Liberation Front guerrillas killed seven soldiers and wounded 11 in an ambush yesterday morning in Maguindanao. It was the biggest spillover of violence triggered by the weeklong military offensives in Liguasan Marsh, believed to be haven to at least 10,000 MILF fighters and an undetermined number of criminals, including the Pentagon kidnap gang.
I forget. What's the difference between a MILF fighter and a criminal?
Sketchy military reports said 20 soldiers of the 64th Infantry Brigade in Matanog were waylaid by an undetermined number of MILF fighters in the border community of Sitio Pimbatan. “They were supposed to go to market,” said Army Maj. Julieto Ando, spokesman of the 6th Infantry Brigade.
Caught 'em on a grocery run...
In an interview, MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu said the attack was in retaliation for the military attacks in Liguasan Marsh in Buliok in Pikit, North Cotabato.
The good thing about being a terrorist is that one-on-one, the terrorist is actually more fearsome than a soldier, because the terrorist wants to kill people. The bad part of being a terrorist is that group to group, well-trained soldiers always win. Hence, they're kicked out of Buliok when they try to stand and fight, but they're able to bump off a few guys going to town for cigarettes and beans in revenge.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/18/2003 10:33 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6462 views] Top|| File under:


No Iraqi Blood for French Oil
Cranky Hermit has pix of the pro-American rally at the Colorado state capital building over the weekend, if you need a bit of inspiration.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/18/2003 07:12 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:


Tequila Floods Louisville Sewer
Thanks, Paul...
February 11, 2003
More than 1,000 gallons of tequila spilled into the sewer system Monday after a worker tried to unload it from a truck into an already full storage tank at a distillery. The tequila overflowed at a rate of 100 gallons per minute, resulting in 1,500 to 1,800 gallons entering the city sewer system, said Phil Lynch, a spokesman for the Brown-Forman Distillery. Fire and sewer officials were called because of the flammability of the 80-proof liquor. Water was used to dilute the spilled alcohol. ''It was a simple case of human error,'' Lynch said.
I'll say it was. How could they leave out the lime?
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/18/2003 04:25 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6469 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The fire department needs to go back to fire school. Alcohol spirits below 100 proof (50% alcohol) will not burn. A basic axiom of sanitary and wastewater engineers---dilution is the solution to polution---may apply here, however.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/18/2003 16:39 Comments || Top||

#2  it was Don Eduardo Anejo, which, although it has won awards, is not a personal favorite of mine....now they also have Jack Daniels at that distillery, and losing that much Old No. 7 would be a crime (in Kentucky it actually might be) and cause much distress.
Posted by: Frank G || 02/18/2003 20:29 Comments || Top||


Jacques sobers up...
"Oooh! My head! Who dared hit the President of France with a claw hammer?"
"It wasn't a hammer, sir. I think it was the gin. Would you like an aspirin?"
"Give me four of them."
"Yes, sir. I have told the reporters you won't be available until after 2 p.m."
"Reporters? What do they want me to say?"
"You already said it, sir."
"I... said something?"
"Yes, sir."
"At the dinner?"
"Yes, sir."
"Give me a cigarette, please. What did I say?"
"You said, 'It is not really responsible behavior. It is not well brought up behavior.'"
"I was discussing someone's poorly behaved 4-year-old?"
"You were discussing Eastern Europe, sir."
"Egad. I said that? Give me a cigarette, please."
"You already have one, sir. Would you like an ice pack?"
"No. What else did I say?"
"'They missed a good opportunity to keep quiet.'"
"That's... That's... as much as telling them to shut their goddamned mouths. Are you sure I said that?"
"Yes, sir. I was there. I saw the tape."
"Oh, my. It's on tape?"
"Yes, sir."
"And then?"
"'Concerning the candidate countries, honestly I felt they acted frivolously because entry into the European Union implies a minimum of understanding for the others.' You weren't, uhhh... very understanding of them, if you know what I mean."
"You mean I was insufferably arrogant and condescending."
"Yes, sir. You warned the candidates their position could be 'dangerous' because the parliaments of the 15 EU nations still have to ratify last December's decision for 10 new members to join."
"I was threatening them? Do we have any more aspirin? At least I stuck to generalizations..."
"You said that Romania and Bulgaria were particularly irresponsible to sign the letter when their position is really delicate."
"Delicate?"
"If they wanted to diminish their chances of joining Europe they could not have found a better way."
"Oh, God! I was that crass?"
"Yes, sir. 'When you're in the family you have more rights than when you're knocking on the door.'"
"It was... It was... It was only a dinner. Almost the same thing as chatting in private. I'm sure nobody noticed..."
"Poland did. Adam Rotfeld said that Poland 'has a right to decide what is in its own good, and France should in its turn consider it with respect and with interest for the reasons."
"Poland said that? That's how I got this welt on my cheek?"
"No, sir. That is from the Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Alexandr Vondr, when he was asked whether you were bullying the candidates. He said, 'That's the way it seems.'"
"There must be some mistake..."
"You can take some comfort, sir. Bulgaria's Prime Minister, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha..."
"The man who could have been king? Royalty is standing up for me? How appropriate..."
"...said there was no question of Bulgaria changing its stance, although he said that your comments should not be exaggerated."
"Oh."
"After all, you were drunk."
"Pour me a drink, please."
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/18/2003 01:34 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6476 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Parlez-vous? The anti-jihadis at one French website - www.aipj.net/dos/france.html have posted a new dossier: "France: Islamic Gangrene." Its worth a regardez.

Prediction: the French will be the first to implement the necessary stampede of the Muslim enemy. We will be asking them for lessons in a couple of years. Chirac est un chien.
Posted by: Anon || 02/18/2003 17:56 Comments || Top||


Bill Quick found this...
And I want one, too!
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/18/2003 12:05 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6463 views] Top|| File under:


Middle East
Hamas leader urges Iraqis to fight US with suicide attacks
Hamas fuehrer spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, has issued a religious decree (fatwa) calling on Iraq's citizens to carry our suicide attacks against America if Iraq is attacked by the US. Yassin made the comment in an interview on the Fox TV news station.
If it happens, we know where it came from. And we know who to kill.
Yassin added that the talks between various Palestinian factions taking place under Egyptian patronage in Cairo would come to nothing.
"And we'll make sure it happens."
The talks are aimed at achieving an end to attacks against Israelis.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/18/2003 11:58 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under:

#1  bring it on, goatface!
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/18/2003 13:20 Comments || Top||

#2  Since these bastards seem to have a fetish for death, I suggest that Yassin and his lieutenants be liquidated once the attack on Iraq gets underway and Hamas members try to change focus by killing Jews via suicide bombs again. All these fatwas and exhortations to kill people is getting really, REALLY tiresome.

Next in line after Hamas would be Hezbollah/Islamic Jihad.

Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 02/18/2003 13:58 Comments || Top||

#3  about the $25000, ah, the cheque is in the mail.
Posted by: john || 02/18/2003 18:36 Comments || Top||

#4  We need to develop a fatwa-homing JDAM for these guys.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/18/2003 19:10 Comments || Top||


Three boom babes (carefully) arrested in Bethlehem
The IDF said Tuesday that it had arrested three Palestinian women in the West Bank city of Bethlehem who were planning to carry out suicide attacks in Israel. The women are reportedly associated with the Tanzim. Acting on intelligence information troops arrested the women in the Bethlehem area refugee camps of El Aida, Dehaisha and the village of Beit Sahur.
Aren't those camps run by the UN? I wonder why they didn't pick 'em up?
Army Radio said that the three women were among 12 wanted Palestinians arrested in the West Bank. A Hamas man was also killed by IDF troops south of Hebron.
He will be missed. By his Mom. Maybe.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/18/2003 11:51 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6463 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Excuse me Mohammed, do you think this bomb belt makes me look fat? No Fatima. So I look fat in other bomb belts? I'll show y... Boom!
Posted by: Denny || 02/18/2003 13:53 Comments || Top||


Reuters "posts loss", plans to cut 3,000 "jobs"
Financial news and information provider Reuters Group PLC posted its first "annual loss" since becoming a publicly traded "company" and announced Tuesday it would cut "3,000" jobs in an effort to restructure operations.
One man's "annual loss" is another man's, ummm... annual loss, I guess.
Poor market conditions and a sharp drop in revenues for its electronic brokerage business, Instinet, contributed to a net loss of 394 million pounds (US$630 million) for 2002 compared to a net profit of 46 million pounds (US$74 million) in the previous year. The results were in line with analysts' expectations.
Their problems started when the Samoans increased the price per barrel of quotation marks. It's driving them under...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/18/2003 11:42 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6462 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The thing is, if they dump Instinet, they'll return to profitability. If it wasn't for the Instinet charges, today's Wall St. Journal says they would have made $80-110 million, so we'll never get rid of them.
Posted by: Raj || 02/18/2003 12:16 Comments || Top||

#2  My crocodile tear duct just opened back up. Couldn't happen to a nicer management team.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/18/2003 12:48 Comments || Top||

#3  The CEO used to be a NY M&A lawyer. The COO worked at DHL (very useful experience, eh?), the CFO worked at a magazine publisher (no, not thatsort of magazines).
Now we hear that a certain Mr Devin Wenig anotherNY M&A lawyer by training is to head all the product divisions.
Give it back to the Oxbridge journalists to run. They did a pretty good job until the new mob arrived!
Posted by: gonzo || 02/18/2003 15:55 Comments || Top||

#4  Perhaps the worst "news" service of all time gets a kick in the butt...they're cheap, and they get the kind of quality journalism you'd expect from stringers who make about 2 cents a word. They'll be bought out or go under in a year.
Posted by: R. McLeod || 02/19/2003 3:50 Comments || Top||


Middle East
Syrian army to redeploy from northern Lebanon
Syria is to make a substantial withdrawal of troops from northern Lebanon in the next few days, the Lebanese army said Tuesday. The redeployment was agreed at a meeting of the Lebanese-Syrian military committee on Tuesday, the Lebanese Army Command said in a statement. The surprise move is bound to please Lebanese critics of Syria, mainly Christian opposition groups who have long called for Syria to withdraw its 20,000 troops from the country. But the redeployment is not expected to reduce Syria's dominance in the politics of Lebanon, its western neighbor. It was unclear Tuesday if the Syrian troops in north Lebanon would return to Syria or be redeployed to the Bekaa Valley of eastern Lebanon, near the Syrian border. The statement gave no figures for the redeployment, but said it should be completed "within five days."
Interesting. I wonder if they're pulling them out of the way of the Israelis, moving them into position to defend Bekaa, or pulling them back to Syria in anticipation of reinforcing Sammy...
Lebanese security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said up to 4,000 soldiers would be involved and that they could begin moving as early as Tuesday night or early Wednesday. Syrian troops are expected to remain in Tripoli.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/18/2003 11:34 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6469 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Moving out of the way, I think. Hezb's got a pummling coming, and Syrai wants clear.
Posted by: Chuck || 02/18/2003 12:33 Comments || Top||

#2  Would seem to make sense if Hezbollah is serious about opening a front on Isreal's northern border if Iraq is attacked.
Posted by: Rex Mundi || 02/18/2003 12:34 Comments || Top||

#3  They may be pulling them back to Syria in order to guard their border with Iraq. Might be concerned that a few thousand Iraqis may be relocating themselves, real soon. Also,Syria has their own Kurds that could be getting ideas, if you know what I mean.
Posted by: Steve || 02/18/2003 21:04 Comments || Top||


Iran
Leader: Martyrdom an element of national strength
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei here on Tuesday termed martyrdom as a decisive element of national strength and devotion.
So why don't you kill yourself?
In a message to a congress held to commemorate the memory of martyred students of this western province, the Leader stressed that enemies of Islam today are trying to undermine jihad (holy war) and the virtue of martyrdom. Elsewhere in his message, Ayatollah Khamenei called on all Iranian students to value martyrdom.
I notice he didn't call on all Iranian clerics to go out and get killed. Too important to the movement, y'know...
The Leader, in his message to the congress, also referred to martyrdom as the most beautiful of human values.
I'll keep that in mind, next time I'm holding a baby.

Rat bastards.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/18/2003 11:29 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Murat? No comment here?
Posted by: RW || 02/18/2003 12:07 Comments || Top||

#2  This isn't a religion, it's a death cult. Why don't they just pass out the Kool Aid and get it over with?
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/18/2003 12:07 Comments || Top||


Korea
134 dead in Tube attack
An arson attack on an underground train in South Korea today killed at least 134, injured 136 and trapped dozens more in carriages filled with choking smoke. It is feared the death toll could rise, as fire officials said 99 people are still missing. As many as 600 passengers were on board the train when the fire started at around 10am. In the attack in the southern city of Taegu a man in a tracksuit set light to a milk carton filled with flammable liquid. "The man kept flicking a lighter and an old man told him to stop," he said. "The man dropped the lighter and the train caught fire. Several young men seized him, but the fire spread and black smoke rose. Then everyone rushed out."
Except for the ones who were killed...
Police were later questioning Kim Dae-han, 46, who was shown on Korean television being treated by nurses in hospital. He sat frowning on a ward bed, his face and hands smeared with soot. It quickly emerged that the arrested man has a psychiatric history. "It is not known what motivated him but we believe he is mentally ill," said police chief Suh Hyonsoo. "He is known to have been treated at a mental hospital."
So now explain to me the difference between an act of lunacy and an act of terrorism... Oh, yeah. That's it. Terrorists have a support network to do this kind of thing. Lunatics do it in isolation.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/18/2003 11:24 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6468 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Regardless... I smell the odor of an NKor. The NKors are behind a bunch of the protests in the South. They regularily try to infiltrate agents. This would make sense as one of their actions.

Richard Reid is a nut job, too. But he had lots of help with his sneakers.
Posted by: Chuck || 02/18/2003 11:35 Comments || Top||

#2  Another example of somebody using minimal weaponry to inflict an incredible amount of damage. What does this say about al-Qaida's inability to mount any operation of note within the U.S. since 9-11?
Posted by: Patrick Phillips || 02/18/2003 11:55 Comments || Top||

#3  PP,

Among Al Qaeda's numerous failings, I think one of their worst is that they are enamored of their press clippings. The explosions have to be bigger and better than ever.

Good help is hard to find, so they can't go wasting their English-speaking, able to blend in folks on small stuff like subway fires.

Allah demands great things of the jihadi! Or something like that.
Posted by: Dreadnought || 02/18/2003 12:18 Comments || Top||

#4  That "minimal weaponry" has me wondering. What kind of stuff fits in a milk carton, yet is so powerful that it's killed more than 130 people? Note that it wasn't just that one carriage affected, but several.

A couple of articles I've seen mention fires, but that seemed to be a supposition on the part of people who weren't there. This is all about "choking smoke", not fire. Hmm...
Posted by: Angie Schultz || 02/18/2003 12:35 Comments || Top||

#5  This is a shot in the dark, but a good carton of gasoline can get alot of plastic burning in the subway cars, which will produce lots of toxic smoke. We do not know the details, like the action of the doors on the cars. If there were problems, people would be confined and would suffocate on the smoke. This is all pure speculation and we will just have to see what is found in the investigation.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/18/2003 17:45 Comments || Top||

#6  Apparently two trains were involved, so I'd guess at least part of one was stuck in the tunnel. The electricity was cut off and some who got out had to break train windows. I've seen footage of the gutted train doors still closed.

Guy who did it (allegedly) looks like a nut, was in hospital looking well but tied to his bed.
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/18/2003 19:05 Comments || Top||

#7  Philipps post"...al quedas inability to mount an attack...."They haven't struck in US since 9/11 because they haven't wanted to.They will strike after Iraq starts,thereby leading the useful idiots to deduce that the US foreign policy created the latest mass murder by the Islamomaggots,just as 9/11 itself was the US' fault...
Posted by: Hugh Jorgan || 02/18/2003 23:13 Comments || Top||


Caucasus
Chechnya: Unravelling the links
Extracted from a longer article, that's worth the read...
With the outbreak of the second Russo-Chechen War in October 1999, the Wahhabi militants formed several jamaats (Arabic 'communities', but in this context the term actually means 'platoons') which operated under the auspices of Amir Khattab's Islamic Battalion. These groups were tasked with some of the most difficult (almost suicidal) military assignments in the defense of Grozny and many of the Wahhabis had 'funerals' before going into combat as they considered themselves already to be shaheeds (martyrs) for Allah.
And good riddance to them...
Military analysts put the total number of Arab mujahideen fighting in Chechnya at no more than 200-300, but they are well armed and financed by Wahhabi charities in the Gulf, such as Al Haramein. The U.S. State Department claims that as much as 100 million dollars have been channeled to the Chechen resistance fighters from the Middle East. The international Arab fighters bribe their way into Chechnya at great risk. They often combine the romantic notions of defending an oppressed people of the sort espoused by American idealists (such as Ernest Hemmingway) who went to fight against Franco's fascists in Spain, with notions of perpetual jihad of the strain espoused by Arab fighters in Al-Qaeda's 055 International Brigade in northern Afghanistan. In an interview with this author, Abu Hamza al-Misri, the extremist Imam of the notorious Finnsbury Park Mosque in London claimed to have directed several devout Muslims from his mosque to defend the Chechen Dar al-Islam (Realm of Islam) from the Russian infidels. Graphic videos sent back to London by these fighters have been distributed throughout the Middle East where they serve as recruiting promotionals for jihad against the Russians. I have also witnessed Muslim congregations in the Middle East collecting money to be sent to Chechnya for humanitarian purposes, some of which certainly falls into the hands of the militants who control the cash flow into the region.
"Humanitarian purposes" includes ammunition shipments...
With the mysterious poisoning death of Emir Khattab in the Spring of 2002, whose exploits were romanticized by Arab supporters throughout the Middle East, analysts nevertheless speculate that the flow of money to the Wahhabi jamaats operating in the mountains of Chechnya may have been temporarily disrupted. That was until Khattab's right hand man, Abu al-Walid, rose to be Emir (Commander) of the Wahhabi fighters in Chechnya. According to the London-based Islamic Observation Center, 'Abu al-Walid' is in fact a 34 year old Saudi citizen named Abd al-Aziz al-Ghamdi who originates from the town of Al Hal in the province of Baljrasi in southern Saudi Arabia. Like Khattab, Abu al-Walid received his 'education' on the battle fields of Afghanistan. Abu al-Walid next appeared in Chechnya via the jihad in Zenica, Bosnia, and then partook in Khattab's videotaped ambush and slaughter of a Russian column of the 245th motorized rifle regiment in April 1996. In the current war, Walid was named commander of the eastern front by Maskhadov in a summer 2001 war council, and his forces made headlines when they shot down and captured the crew of a Russian Mi 24 Hind gunship. Following the December 27, 2002 bombing in Grozny, the Russian government has accused Walid of the crime and of being supported by the Muslim Brotherhood. This accusation may be nothing more than 'agitprop' blustering on the part of the Kremlin, and it should be noted that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a militant jihadi organization of the variety of Ayman al-Zawahiri's Islamic Jihad or Al-Qaeda, rather it is recognized as a legitimate opposition group made up of doctors, lawyers, professors, etc. in Egypt and Jordan.
It's a "funnel" organization, like Hizb ut-Tahrir, that finds and indoctrinates the jihadis without getting involved in operations itself...
Regardless of the source of his funding, Abu al-Walid demonstrates the fact that Russia's continued brutality in the region will continue to make Chechnya a magnet for Wahhabi financial sponsors and devout Muslims throughout the world who see Russia's crimes against humanity in Chechnya as crimes against the Muslim umma.
On the other hand, if they let up, the jihadis will throw them out and set up their own khalifate, and they'll be subverting their neighbors before you can say "Ivanov."
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/18/2003 11:03 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under:


Iran
Aghajari to face death sentence court again
Iranian dissident Hashem Aghajari, whose death sentence for blasphemy was quashed last week, is to face a retrial before the same court which ordered his execution, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Elham said Monday. "It's the court of first instance (in the western city of Hamedan) ... which must correct procedural failings and issue a new judgement," Elham told the official IRNA news agency. "It's possible that the new verdict will be the same as the original one," said the newly appointed spokesman, who is considered a hardliner even within the conservative-dominated judiciary.
"In fact, it's virtually certain. He's toast."
On Friday, Iran's supreme court overturned the death sentence against Aghajari pronounced in November after he questioned the right to rule of Iran's Shiite Muslim clergy. The sentence had sparked the biggest demonstrations here since a wave of deadly student unrest in 1999.
They're hoping the demonstrators have it all out of their system now, and they can go ahead and kill him for questioning their infallibility.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/18/2003 10:39 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6462 views] Top|| File under:

#1  If they're so infallible, how come they made "procedural failings", eh? Eh?

Anyone? Anyone?

Beuhler?
Posted by: mojo || 02/18/2003 10:48 Comments || Top||

#2  "..which must correct procedural failings and issue a new judgement,"

Translation: We will retry him until he is found guilty, regardless of how many retrials it might take.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 02/18/2003 13:24 Comments || Top||


Middle East
Palestinian Fayyad Rules Out Taking New PM Post
Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayyad, tipped to become the first Palestinian Authority prime minister, said on Tuesday he had no intention of taking the post. "I'm not a candidate for this position," he told reporters before the start of talks between Palestinians, Israelis and international aid donors in London. Palestinian President Yasser Arafat said on Friday he would appoint a prime minister as part of reforms sought by Palestinians and international mediators, but named no candidate or starting date.
"I'm a newcomer to the Palestinian Authority," Fayyad said. "There's no doubt in my mind there are others who have been there in public service who are more suitable for the job."
"They've got seniority, and more guns and stuff!"
It was also unclear how much authority Arafat would be willing to share with a prime minister running the daily affairs of a Palestinian Authority weakened by Israel's reoccupation of much of the West Bank in June after suicide attacks. Fayyad, who supports Palestinian reforms, did not say if he had been approached about taking the job, but insisted that his ruling himself out did not mean he intended to challenge Arafat or his Authority in other ways.
"I will not be a candidate in any kind of framework that in any way runs contrary to the higher Palestinian interest...by possibly targeting to weaken the leadership of the Palestinian Authority, the elected leadership of President Arafat," he said.
"Yassar, please, I don't want your job! Don't kill me!"
Israel and the United States have refused to deal with Arafat and have called on Palestinians to replace him, saying he has not done enough to stop anti-Israeli violence or stamp out corruption in his Palestinian Authority. U.S. President George Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon want to sideline him after 28 months of conflict. Fayyad had appeared to be a likely candidate for the job, a position envisaged by a peace "roadmap" drafted by the so-called Quartet of U.S., European Union, U.N. and Russian negotiators.
"I really don't want that job! At least, as long as Yassar's still breathing. Call me when he's dead, we'll have lunch"
Posted by: Steve || 02/18/2003 09:39 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6462 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Breaking news?
(http://www.msnbc.com/news/801833.asp)

Yasser Arafat’s deputy in the PLO, Mahmoud Abbas, said Monday that if offered the post of prime minister, he would seriously consider it. Abbas is considered the front-runner for the job and has the support of Arafat’s Fatah movement, while Fayad has also been mentioned as a contender.
Posted by: Scooter McGruder || 02/18/2003 10:48 Comments || Top||

#2  Well, Fayyad must have read the fine print and found the Black Spot (TM), making the correct decision in turning down the job. I would think that he should stay away from Ramallah for the next few weeks also.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/18/2003 10:49 Comments || Top||

#3  The "breaking news" broke yesterday...
Posted by: Fred || 02/18/2003 11:09 Comments || Top||


Korea
German send nerve gas precursor to NK via scud ship
By Bill Gertz THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The North Korean ship that last year delivered Scud missiles to Yemen transferred a large shipment of chemical weapons material from Germany to North Korea recently, U.S. intelligence officials said.
Whores then, not just weasels
The ship, the Sosan, was monitored as it arrived in North Korea earlier this month carrying a shipment of sodium cyanide, a precursor chemical used in making nerve gas, said officials familiar with intelligence reports. The same ship was stopped by U.S. and Spanish naval vessels Dec. 9 as it neared Yemen. It was carrying 15 Scud missiles and warheads.
Hidden under cement
After a brief delay and assurances from the Yemeni government, the ship was allowed to proceed to Yemen with the missile shipment. After unloading the missiles in Yemen, the Sosan then traveled to Germany, where it took on a cargo of sodium cyanide estimated to weigh several tons.
Didn't learn huh? Should've taken the scuds and scuttled the ship
he ship then was tracked as it traveled to North Korea. It arrived at the west coast seaport of Nampo on Thursday, the officials said. Disclosure of the chemical shipment comes amid heightened tensions between the United States and North Korea over Pyongyang's nuclear activities.
and between Germany and the US over their obstruction on Iraq - wonder what all they sold Iraq?
The North Koreans were found to have violated a 1994 agreement to freeze plutonium production and other agreements prohibiting it from making nuclear arms. The Bush administration is planning in the coming months to impose sanctions aimed at halting weapons shipments to North Korea and cutting off funds sent to the communist state by Korean residents in Japan, said an administration official. The plans were first reported yesterday by the New York Times.
Sounds like a blockade - good
North Korea's official media have said that any sanctions imposed on the country would be tantamount to a declaration of war.
Hokay
The official Korean Central News Agency confirmed that the Sosan arrived at Nampo on Thursday. At a press conference, the captain and crew answered questions for reporters and said that the Dec. 9 incident was an act of U.S. piracy. The Sosan's captain, Kang Cholryong, told the news agency that the crew, not wanting to surrender their cargo to the United States, tried to set the ship on fire and sink it but were stopped by U.S. commandos who boarded from helicopters.
That's what every innocent ship travelling with their name painted out and hidden missiles would do, of course
"The United States should be fully responsible for this piratical act and make a formal apology and due compensation to the [North Korean] government for it," the KCNA report stated. The action against the ship was "part of the premeditated and brigandish moves of the U.S. imperialists to isolate and stifle [North Korea] and dominate the world with their policy of strength," it stated.
The Hermit Kingdom's doing a pretty good job of isolating itself, it seems...
Sodium cyanide is a dual-use chemical. It is used to make the nerve gas sarin, as well as commercial products including pesticides and plastics.
pesticides to spray on the plastic fruit that the starving populace is given in place of food?
The chemical is controlled by the 34-nation Australia Group, a voluntary coalition of states that agree to curb exports of dual-use chemicals that can boost the chemical weapons programs of states like North Korea. Germany is a member of the group. A German Embassy spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Too busy moralizing against the US. We need to get out of Germany before we pick up an STD - look who she's been sleeping with South Korea's defense ministry stated last year that North Korea has a stockpile of between 2,500 and 5,000 tons of chemical weapons, including 17 different types of agents.
Pesticides! They're all pesticides! That's why we put them in artillery shells
The ministry stated in a report made public in September that North Korea can produce 4,500 tons of chemical weapons agents annually. It also can produce a ton of biological weapons agent a year.
But not a bushel of millet to save themselves Sodium cyanide is an ingredient of the deadly nerve agent sarin, a small amount of which can kill a human. The intercept of the Sosan near Yemen in December highlighted divisions within the Bush administration over how to act in curbing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missile-delivery systems, U.S. officials said. White House National Security Council officials supported seizing the missiles, but State Department officials opposed the idea
typical, ain't it?
saying it would damage relations with Yemen, a growing ally in the war against terrorism. The Sosan was seized after Yemen's government at first denied the missiles were theirs. The denial led U.S. intelligence officials to suspect the missiles could be headed for another country, such as Iraq, and they were seized. The ship was stopped after a Spanish warship fired warning shots at the vessel. It then was boarded by U.S. commandos who discovered the missiles, warheads and canisters of chemical used for the missile's solid rocket fuel.
hidden under cement
The Yemeni government then acknowledged the missiles had been purchased legally by the San'a government.

Bush administration officials have described North Korea as a major supplier of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons know-how and missile-delivery systems. Richard Armitage, deputy secretary of state, told Congress earlier this month that North Korea's nuclear and other programs relating to weapons of mass destruction are threats to the United States. "North Korea's programs to develop weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery ... are also a threat to the international community, regional security, U.S. interests and U.S. forces, which remain an integral part of stability in the region," Mr. Armitage said. "It is time for North Korea to turn away from this self-destructive course. They have nothing to gain from acquiring nuclear weapons — and much to lose. Indeed, every day, the people of that country are paying a terrible price for these programs in international isolation and misspent national resources."
The State dept needs to remember a little more often which state they represent
Posted by: Frank G || 02/18/2003 09:09 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6467 views] Top|| File under:

#1  It wouldn't hurt my feelings if that ship disappeared on the high seas, especially in very deep water.
Posted by: Tom || 02/18/2003 10:57 Comments || Top||

#2  I thought Germany was filled with pacifists and Greens! Who's making all this deadly stuff for North Korea?
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/18/2003 11:01 Comments || Top||

#3  This is a perfect opportunity for a live-fire "training" exercise for one of our attack subs.
Posted by: Dar Steckelberg || 02/18/2003 11:57 Comments || Top||

#4  Interesting how the we follow the trail...NKOR..Yemen..Germany..NKOR. Wonder if they will be able to get maritime insurance for the next trip?
Posted by: john || 02/18/2003 18:30 Comments || Top||

#5  I do not think that a ship not flying any flag with the name painted out is really going to apply for or have maritime insurance. I wonder if and when they are going to depart Nampo again. They lost their cover and will become a large slow target. I do not think that they will get off so easy next time, if there is a next time for the good ship Whatsitsname.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/18/2003 22:48 Comments || Top||


Home Front
US-Taliban money trail
This is information from the winter of 2000-2001, on the money pipeline feeding the Taliban, the Arab mercenaries in Chechenya and Maskhadov...
We would like to introduce our official delegation from the Islamic Centre of South Arlington who are carrying monetary assistance for the suffering people of Afghanistan. The members of this delegation are listed below:

1. Abdullah Muhammad Saeed, American Passport Holder
2. Ishaq Mansoor Al-Katib, American Passport Holder
3. Muhammad Abdur-Rasheed, Canadian Passport Holder

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES MUST ANY OF THE MONEY BE HANDED OVER TO ANY OFFICIAL OF ANY AIRPORT OR COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, EVEN FOR A FEW SECONDS. IF THERE IS A MAJOR PROBLEM, SAY THAT YOU WILL RETURN BACK TO YOUR COUNTRY WITH THE MONEY BUT THAT YOU WILL NOT HAND OVER THE MONEY TO ANYONE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, EXCEPT ITS INTENDED RECIPIENTS. IF THEY OFFER TO KEEP THE MONEY SAFELY FOR YOU UNTIL YOU DEPART, REFUSE AND INSIST TO STAY WITH THE MONEY, EVEN IF IT MEANS STAYING IN THE AIRPORT UNTIL THE NEXT FLIGHT.

(d) Once safely in Karachi, Pakistan, the money should be handed over to the Official Taliban Consul-General, Mullah Rahmatullah, at the Taliban Consulate in Karachi, together with a copy of your official letter from your organisation. The contact details of the Taliban Consulate in Karachi are given below:

Mullah Rahmatullah Kakayzada Khybanay Shamsheer
Consul-General
Consulate of the Taliban Islamic Movement of Afghanistan
Karachi Defence Housing Association (D.H.A.)
Bungalow No. 33
Street No. 27
District 11, Phase V (five)
Karachi
PAKISTAN
Tel: 00-92-21-585 1128 (585 1128 inside Karachi)

If you have problems contacting the Taliban Consulate in Karachi, you may also call the Taliban Embassy in Islamabad, Tel: 051-282 4505/6 (inside Pakistan)

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU HAND OVER THE MONEY TO ANYONE AT THE CONSULATE OTHER THAN THE CONSUL-GENERAL, MULLAH RAHMATULLAH.

Although, there is no minimum amount to the donation that you can give, since the Consul-General will also be busy with other things, it is advisable that you wait until your donation reaches at least $20,000 before travelling to Pakistan.

(e) Once you have received your official receipt, you can take it back to your country and display a colour photocopy of it (not the original) in the organisation or mosque noticeboard as proof to the donors
Anybody know anyone in Pakland who can whack a few people?
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/18/2003 09:31 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6475 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Is there a source for this, Anonymous?
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/18/2003 5:55 Comments || Top||

#2  apologies: i included the link but it didn't work right!!! I stuffed up. It is here:

http://www.as-sahwah.com/

Go to "current affairs" link down right hand side, then scroll down new frame, choose article: "where should we send our donations this winter?"
It was 2000-01 so perhaps these people are already gone , but it never hurts to remember a few names.

here it is again: click here
Posted by: anon || 02/18/2003 7:39 Comments || Top||

#3  just think, while OBL was plotting the 9/11 disaster with the Talibs, the good folk of the South Arlington Mosque were sending them $$$ earned in America to pay for their training...

just scroll down on this exact link, it is near the end of the story:
click here
Posted by: anon || 02/18/2003 7:58 Comments || Top||


Middle East
You own the Land, We own the wall?
Palestinians Protests After Israeli Army Commander Informs Bethlehem Residents of Partition
An Israeli army commander on Tuesday told Palestinians living near a Jewish pilgrimage site in Bethlehem that their neighborhood will be cut off from the rest of the town by a security wall, and that outsiders will need special permits to enter. Palestinians complained that Israel grabbed the land illegally and is dividing the town in violation of previous peace agreements. Israel says the wall is necessary to protect Jewish worshippers and keep Palestinian militants out of Israel.
The Paleos, on the other hand, are still killing people at random, also in violation of previous peace agreements...
At issue is the area around Rachel's Tomb, the traditional burial site of the biblical matriarch. Abutting the already heavily fortified tomb are Palestinian homes, shops, a Muslim cemetery and a refugee camp. The area is on the northern edge of Bethlehem, just south of Jerusalem. Israel retained control over the tomb after it withdrew from Bethlehem in 1995, as part of interim peace agreements. In the past 29 months of fighting, Palestinian stonethrowers and gunmen have frequently clashed with soldiers guarding the site. Israeli troops have reoccupied all of Bethlehem, along with other West Bank towns, in recent months, in an offensive against militants.

Israel's security Cabinet approved the construction of the wall through Bethlehem in September, as part of a series of barriers around Jerusalem that are intended to keep out Palestinian militants. Over the weekend, Israel distributed notices to Palestinians living near the tomb that the neighborhood is formally being seized by Israel. The order said 3 1/2 acres are being taken. Bethlehem Mayor Hanna Nasser said that land only refers to what would be covered by the wall, and that in fact about 1,000 acres of Bethlehem would come under full Israeli control. About two dozen homes, as well as several shops and restaurants, are in that area, he said.
Posted by: Bruce || 02/18/2003 08:46 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6465 views] Top|| File under:

#1  What doesn't seem to have dawned on the Palestinians is that if they weren't so intent on killing Jews, there wouldn't be any wall-building. What's more, the Israeli military would then have NO REASON to be in Bethlehem.

There will only be peace when the Neanderthals (aka Palestinians) get this idea through their damn thick skulls.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 02/18/2003 14:03 Comments || Top||

#2  Bomb-a-rama

So those ever expanding 'settlements' are kosher with you?

I believe that the Israelis are after 'piece of land' rather than 'land of peace'.
Posted by: Bruce || 02/18/2003 14:34 Comments || Top||

#3  Bruce,
The Palestinians don't realize that they can't have the whole piece either. The sooner they accept that, the sooner they will have a lasting peace. Europe has seen borders redrawn & land lost dozens of times, and the people have adjusted somehow.
Posted by: RW || 02/18/2003 19:44 Comments || Top||

#4  I believe that the Israelis are after 'piece of land' rather than 'land of peace'.

Well, seeing as how Israel has been attacked repeatedly and that they came into control of that land as a result of whipping the asses of their enemies, I don't see what the big deal is.

Now if the Palestinians think that the presence of settlements isn't right, do you think they should negotiate? Or is it perfectly okay to kill Jewish civilians?

Keep in mind: It's not just Jews in the settlements that are being attacked, but also in Israel proper. That tells me that the presence of settlements isn't really the issue it's made out to be.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 02/18/2003 22:37 Comments || Top||

#5  Israel has to dismantle the settlements.That said,why don't the Paleos ever called Jordans control of West Bank from 1948-1967 an "occupation"?
Posted by: Hugh Jorgan || 02/18/2003 23:25 Comments || Top||

#6  Israel has to dismantle the settlements.

Not going to happen. As has already been mentioned, Israel came into control of the land by winning it from those that attacked them. Why should they simply give it up just because a member of the losing side says they should? The Palestinians can negotiate in good faith, or they can make demands/engage in terrorism and get nothing.

What has been their choice so far?
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 02/19/2003 17:26 Comments || Top||


Home Front
Survey: 85 percent of young Americans could not find Iraq on a map
Survey Results: U.S. Young Adults Are Lagging
They always seem to be lagging, don't they? Until they throw somebody like Sammy out on his ear.
Despite the daily bombardment of news from the Middle East, Central Asia, and other world trouble spots, roughly 85 percent of young Americans could not find Afghanistan, Iraq, or Israel on a map, according to a new study.
Hope the pilots know where to drop the bombs
Sounds like an indictment of the schools, not of the students. If you don't teach geography — not the hardest subject ever — why would you expect kids to know where Bhutan or Swaziland or Iraq is? It takes less than an hour to learn to read a world map, and less than a week to become passingly familiar with its contents. Maybe if schools took a little time off from group hugs that'd happen?
Americans ages 18 to 24 came in next to last among nine countries in the National Geographic-Roper 2002 Global Geographic Literacy Survey, which quizzed more than 3,000 young adults in Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, and the United States. Top scorers were young adults in Sweden, Germany, and Italy. Out of 56 questions that were asked across all countries surveyed, on average young Americans answered 23 questions correctly. Others outside the U.S., most notably young adults in Mexico, also struggled with basic geography facts. Young people in Canada and Great Britain fared almost as poorly as those in the U.S.
Gosh. You think that might have something to do with the way those countries are situated? If you live in Luxembourg and border France, Germany and Belgium, you tend to have more of an awareness of borders. Britain borders no one, and they can still find France and, in the summertime, Spain.
Among young Americans’ startling knowledge gaps, the study found that
  • nearly 30 percent of those surveyed could not find the Pacific Ocean, the world’s largest body of water;
  • more than half—56 percent—were unable to locate India, home to 17 percent of people on Earth; and
  • only 19 percent could name four countries that officially acknowledge having nuclear weapons.
Several perhaps interrelated factors affected performance—educational experience (including taking a geography course), international travel and language skills, a varied diet of news sources, and Internet use. Americans who reported that they accessed the Internet within the last 30 days scored 65 percent higher than those who did not.
No wonder that most Americans here on board are trigger happy, when they don't even know which country the US is going to attack, it must be like packman on the PC.
Posted by: Murat || 02/18/2003 09:30 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6467 views] Top|| File under:

#1  This as expected, thanks to educationnal standards, but... What exactly is this doing in "terror network", hummm ? Do I feel some prejudice, here, Murat, or did your finger slip...? Anyway, this is not going to make a point, only making you seems bitter. Still, I'm almost glad to see some country-bashing not aimed at la belle France for a change (but feel free to resume at any time).
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/18/2003 4:56 Comments || Top||

#2  That's a mistake of mine, I forgot to select where to file it, the selection must have stood on terror networks.

It is not meant as a bashing, as a none American it was a big question to me why Americans particularly are more trigger happy than the rest of the world. I guess the far from home war has for the most the effect of watching a movie.
Posted by: Murat || 02/18/2003 5:19 Comments || Top||

#3  i wonder what percentage of people could name the northern Ivorian rebels as Islamists? 0.1%? Nobody knew because the PC media refuses to use the word 'islamic' in conjunction with aggression.

We are in WW3 and nobody in the West even knows.

If Murat does a good job, everyone will think it is all America's fault and that the USA are the enemy, then we'll sit like ducks and wait to be infiltrated and blown up by Islamists.
Posted by: anon || 02/18/2003 5:31 Comments || Top||

#4  I didn't know that this was such an influential site Anon, thanks for the tip maybe I can turn everyone in the world into a pacifist now :)
Posted by: Murat || 02/18/2003 6:00 Comments || Top||

#5  Hope the pilots know where to drop the bombs....That's why we have smart bombs. If you think we're trigger happy now, wait until the kids figure out that they would have to look at old copies of National Geographic to see titties.
Posted by: dsaucer || 02/18/2003 6:38 Comments || Top||

#6  Reminds me of the Doonesbury cartoon: only 13% of American teenagers can find Iraq on a map... but they're all Marines. :-)
Posted by: Q2 || 02/18/2003 6:59 Comments || Top||

#7  "...it was a big question to me why Americans particularly are more trigger happy than the rest of the world"

Murat, Murat, Murat... Take a while to consider who is the aggressor here. On the one hand you have the US. They're trying to implement a UN-sacntioned use of force against the Baghdad regime, as a last resort against a demonstrably dangerous threat to local and world peace. This in the face of delaying tactics employed by a handful of European nations who want Saddam to remain in power for reasons of national self-interest.

On the other you have an assortment of, terrorists whose preferred targets for murder are are civilians, rabid Imams calling umpteen times a day for jihads and issuing fatwahs against anyone who disagrees with what they say, and regimes of the kind of barbarity most of the world thankfully grew out of many centuries ago.

Please explain to me why, in your opinion, concisely and logically, the US is morally inferior to the Islamic world. For an additional ten points please write a short essay entitled "Why the arab world eschews democratic government, and how this is to the benefit of arab culture", or "How Islam has changed the world for the better".
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/18/2003 7:20 Comments || Top||

#8  I was at UC Santa Cruz during GWI.
When people speak of 'pacifists', the only image that comes to mind is of the perma-grin types who'd fried their brains with waayyyyy too many drugs.
Posted by: Dishman || 02/18/2003 7:26 Comments || Top||

#9  Murat's geography may be good, but sadly his history is lacking. How else can you explain his ignorance of the millions upon millions of people who have been brutally oppressed or massacred by totalitarian regimes or in fighting against Islamists - just during the last 100 years?

The desire to protect our freedoms (the likes of which have not been recorded by any civilization in the last...oh say.. 10,000 years) does indeed keep us "trigger happy" and will continue to do so as long as there is breath in our bodies.

Fortunately, the 249,500,000 Americans who DIDN'T march in the peace rallies last weekend are wiser than logic-impaired Murat.
Posted by: becky || 02/18/2003 7:39 Comments || Top||

#10  oops, I see that I gave the useful idiots waaaaaaay too much credit. Assuming that there were 500,00 US appease marchers (I'm being generous) that means that as of 8:54 this morning, 289,782,846 people didn't find it in their interest to march.

http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html
Posted by: becky || 02/18/2003 7:57 Comments || Top||

#11  "It is not meant as a bashing"

Then why did you make this comment:

"No wonder that most Americans here on board are trigger happy, when they don't even know which country the US is going to attack, it must be like packman on the PC."

That certainly looks like bashing to me.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 02/18/2003 8:17 Comments || Top||

#12  Becky, in reference to the original article:

"nearly 30 percent of those [Americans aged 18 to 24] surveyed could not find the Pacific Ocean, the world’s largest body of water"

...I feel obliged to point out that numbers present at the marches may only represent a small fraction of those who left their homes that morning with the intention of finding the start lines.

Especially if, as I suspect, there's a fairly strong correlation between geographical knowledge and political wisdom: link
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/18/2003 8:24 Comments || Top||

#13  Bulldog,
Oh, so you consider that in my opinion the US is morally inferior to the Islamic world, right?
May I ask what gave you that idea? I don’t remember that I ever talked about Islam vs US. On the contrary of what you maybe think about me, I am not an Arab nor do I have a high esteem of Arab culture. Maybe you can still not grasp that killing innocent people, be it Iraqi Arabs as in this case (still regarded humans in Europe and Asia), is regarded crime by the rest of the world. Even if this vocation is underlined by the "necessity" of downing a dictator.
Posted by: Murat || 02/18/2003 8:37 Comments || Top||

#14  My apologies, Murat, but I'm still finding it hard to discern your anti-war stance from an I-really-don't-care-if-the-Iraqis-have-to-live-under-Saddam-and-his-descendents-for-generations-because-I-don't-believe-taking-action-militarily-can-ever-be-justified stance.

Pacifism will never be a credible philosophy. Do you know the eggs and omelettes analogy? You have to break the eggs to make the omelette. Or you can just sit and watch them to rot.
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/18/2003 8:51 Comments || Top||

#15  Bulldog,
Maybe it is not the right comparison but you can compare Vietnam with Iraq for my part. I would ask was it right to wage that war which killed so many people, today most people would say nay, but in those days people where tagged communist when they voiced against it.
Whether or not a credible philosophy closing the eyes for civilian casualties I do regard evenly evil as the Osama Bin Laden deed, he didn’t give a damn about civilians too.
Posted by: Murat || 02/18/2003 9:08 Comments || Top||

#16  Murat,
I'll wager you any amount of money that we will kill far less innocent Iraqis than Saddam already has. Just like we killed far less Afghanis than the Taliban had. We wouldn't even be doing any of this if the Islamofascists had left us alone. Beware awakening the sleeping tiger. We're awake, we're mad as hell, and we ain't gonna take it anymore!
Posted by: Denny || 02/18/2003 9:32 Comments || Top||

#17  But Murat, those who believe going to war is justified have satisfied themselves the net result is a decrease in human suffering, that it is morally right to go to war, and that not to go to war when you can do so could be compared to not intervening when some guy down the road is starving his kids, raping his wife and daughters and smashing his brothers' heads against the wall, on a daily basis. And that neighbour's abusing a household of 25 million people.

Maybe I'm spoiling any elegance my argument had by going on, but...

Twelve years ago he marched into his neighbours house, shot some of his family, and declared the place his property.

Twenty years back he was engaged in a fight he started with another neighbour in which a million or more members of both households were killed. During that time he killed using chemicals, sometimes against the distant relatives of his who lived in the garden in a Wendy house.

And he rewards with cash the parents of the uneducated kids of his neighbour's neighbour who regularly run to the guy's house next door to them to blow themselves to smithereens in the kitchen.

This guy's an ugly moustachioed midget a few blocks away, and you could take him out, no problem. Would you sit on your sofa and tell yourself it's not the right thing to do, it's morally wrong to walk in and stop it happening any more?

There's no reason at all to believe that Saddam will become a benign head of his household simply due to international diplomatic pressure.

A military campaign to remove Saddam is likely to involve a few thousand civilian casualties and would free the Iraqi house from tyrrany.

You do the moral maths...
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/18/2003 9:37 Comments || Top||

#18  Bulldog..re:
""nearly 30 percent of those [Americans aged 18 to 24] surveyed could not find the Pacific Ocean, the world’s largest body of water" ...I feel obliged to point out that numbers present at the marches may only represent a small fraction of those who left their homes that morning with the intention of finding the start lines."

Ha ha, you make a good point! But even if there were an equal number of those who intended to march as compared to those who wanted to march but got lost, there are still 289,000,000 MORE Americans that chose NOT to march. 289 MILLION!

Here are some comparison's for you ...one million show up for the Rose Parade and 2 million show up for Macy's parade. And millions upon millions more show up for the 4th of July Parades. Frankly, comparatively, Murats numbers are looking downright pathetic.
Posted by: becky || 02/18/2003 10:02 Comments || Top||

#19  (sigh) Murat, if we were trigger happy, your boss would've been dead for about a decade now.
Posted by: mojo || 02/18/2003 10:03 Comments || Top||

#20  haha - leave it to murat to kick start a conversation!
Murat you're being a little harsh about the geography thing. After all, the reason why the rest of the world is so much better at picking out countries on a map is because they always seem to be in conflict with their neighbours. If I was being shot at, invaded, harrassed, made fun of, dumped on by every country surrounding me, I would be good at geography too. Maybe because the U.S. hasn't seen that much conflict on its soil resulted in poor grades in geography. If true, it is the rest of the world that should take lessons from the U.S.
Posted by: RW || 02/18/2003 11:47 Comments || Top||

#21  I don't think Murat could find his ass with a map.
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/18/2003 12:00 Comments || Top||

#22  Marat sounds like those peace queers who want to save the "Iraqi people"by.........keeping Saddam in power.
Posted by: Hugh Jorgan || 02/18/2003 22:48 Comments || Top||

#23  Maps? They're still using maps? Who needs maps, we got GPS .... and lasers ..... and J-Dams. We'll find what we need to. ;^)
Posted by: Jabba the Tutt || 02/18/2003 23:16 Comments || Top||


International
Opec pledges flood of oil in event of conflict
Oil producers will flood the world market with crude supplies if the US attacks Iraq to prevent spiralling energy costs from strangling global growth, sources in Opec promised yesterday. The 11-member exporters' cartel will lift production-limiting quotas and "pump at will" should conflict in the Middle East put a halt to Iraq's 2m barrels a day in exports. But the cartel declined to offer any immediate relief to the market, where mounting concerns over the repercussions of an attack have driven prices to two-year highs. "Until war starts, there is nothing more they can do," a source said. "More production can't cool prices. They are high because of war hysteria."
Upping the quota a little sure would calm that some, but that would bring prices back down and they don't want that, now do they?
Analysts fear that a cornered Saddam Hussein will torch his own oilfields and attempt an attack on neighbouring Saudi Arabia, which holds a quarter of the world's reserves. "The market doesn't buy the idea that the war is going to be over in three days and Saddam will go into exile," said Paul Horsnell, an oil analyst at JP Morgan. "It's getting harder and harder to see a benign outcome.
Hey! He reads Rantburg!
"A more likely scenario is that there is a scorched earth policy by Saddam, western strategic reserves are run down and the war is dragged out."
Um, no, I guess he doesn't.
Mr Horsnell said oil prices could potentially spike to $50 (£32) a barrel - the highest in real terms since the Arab oil boycott after the Yom Kippur war in 1973 - although he said they were unlikely to stay that high. But even a $5 a barrel increase in prices would cut global growth, according to the International Monetary Fund. Prices eased yesterday as the international divisions over disarming President Saddam widened and traders digested the news from Opec. In London, benchmark Brent crude fell 40 cents to $31.98 a barrel. An attack on Iraq could not come at a worse time for the global market, already struggling to make up for the disruption of Venezuela's supplies from the 11-week strike. Supplies to the American market from Venezuela have slowed to a trickle, reducing US crude stocks to their lowest levels for 30 years.
This should be coming back over time; the strike seems to be losing steam.
Adding to market nervousness are forthcoming elections in Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer. "Virtually everything that could go wrong in terms of getting the price level down, has gone wrong, from Venezuela's industry going on strike to the Japanese declaring their nuclear industry unsafe, so the Japanese are buying oil like there is no tomorrow," Mr Horsnell said.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the only two Opec members with enough spare capacity to make up for any more disruptions to supply, analysts said. "One or two countries could volunteer to make up for the loss of supplies should war start on Iraq, but they would need the blessing of other members," the Opec source said. "It would be a temporary exemption, just as long as it takes to compensate for the loss and to cool off the market." Traders are pinning their hopes on America releasing its massive emergency stockpiles in the event of a war.
What are the odds on that?
Posted by: Steve White || 02/18/2003 09:12 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under:


Korea
S Korea warns of regional arms race
The outgoing South Korean president, Kim Dae-jung, gave warning yesterday that his country and Japan may join a nuclear arms race if North Korea declares itself the latest member of the atomic weapons club. Both have the technological prowess and abundant supplies of plutonium to build huge nuclear arsenals which would destabilise north-east Asia, which borders on China and Russia.
"Hello, Jiang? This is Kim.
"No, the other one.
"Just wanted to let you know that we're planning on reprocessing some plutonium to make some warheads.
"No, the other one.
"We figure that we can make oh, a dozen or so in the next year. We're working with our good friend Junichiro on this.
"No, the other one."

The first steps in an arms race were apparent yesterday in reports that Japan will begin testing an anti-ballistic-missile system it has been developing with the United States.
"Jiang, we got some plans on building an ABM system. That isn't going to bother you by any chance, is it?"
The fear is that North Korea will accelerate the trend by launching a prototype long-range missile, or even declaring itself a nuclear power. According to the CIA, it already has enough plutonium to make two bombs, and with the resumption of full-scale operations at the Yongbyon reactor earlier this month it will soon be producing more fissile material. The suspicion that it will be used for weapons has grown since early January, when Pyongyang announced its withdrawal from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty
If you work in a liquor store, and some guy comes in and whips out a rod, the suspicion that you're being held up grows, too...
Mr Kim said Pyongyang should not "even dream of having nuclear weapons", which he said would be a dangerous development. "If North Korea gets nuclear weapons, the stance of Japan and our country toward nukes would change," he added.
"Listen, Jiang, you really ought to hear the guys at the office talk about this. We had a rip-roaring discussion on megaton yields the other day ...
No, the other one."

Mr Kim won the 2000 Nobel peace prize for his attempts to bring peace between his country and North Korea and end the last cold war conflict.
Best prize money could buy.
South Korea is not a nuclear power, though it was on the verge of building an atomic bomb in 1978 when Washington intervened.
"Won't take us that long, Jiang, we got the blueprints 'round here somewheres."
The US says it removed all of its own land-based nuclear weapons from the peninsula in 1991. In Japan, where memories of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are still strong, the government has long been a strong advocate of nuclear non-proliferation. But in recent years senior politicians have warned that this position is not written in stone. Last April Ichiro Ozawa, one of the most influential Japanese politicians of recent years, boasted that his country had the technology and the plutonium to build several thousand nuclear warheads.
"Hey Jiang, I got this crazy friend, he's talking all kinds of goofy shit about warheads.
"Yes, I know the other one has crazy friends, too, but my crazy friends are also kinda rich, ya know?"

US senators have also spoken out in favour of a nuclear Japan allied with Washington to counter-balance a nuclear North Korea allied with China.
"And my favorite uncle, man is he ever crazy!"
Mr Kim's comments will put pressure on China to use what influence it has in Pyongyang to ease the nuclear crisis. But it is far from clear that Beijing can pull the strings in North Korea.
"Hello, Kim? Jiang, here... Lookee here, we can't say anything officially, y'know, but... Could you guys maybe ship us about 150 tankers of sedatives?... Yeah. Through the back channels... No, that's okay. Rubber glove production is up. We can take care of that part of it ourselves..."
The Japanese defence agency is reported to be seeking a budget of 20bn yen to test an anti-ballistic missile system developed in collaboration with the US. The tests, which will begin in April next year, will involved the guided-weapons technology on Aegis-class destroyers, or land-based tracking equipment, according to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
Y'know, I haven't heard anybody bitching about developing ABM systems lately...
Japan and the US began jointly researching such technology after North Korea fired a Taepo-dong three-stage missile over north-eastern Japan in August 1998.
"My crazy friends gave up drinkin' rice hootch an' everything. They look real clear-eyed and sober these days, Jiang."
Tokyo hesitated about field tests for fear of upsetting China, which fears US plans to build an Asian missile defence shield which would cover Taiwan, but North Korea's recent actions appear to have won over the doubters.
"Listen, Jiang, if you ever see Kim — no, the other one — you might wanna slap him upside the head and talk some sense into him. Lissen, I gotta go, I'm briefing the new guy on plutonium reprocessing. Bye!"
Posted by: Steve White || 02/18/2003 08:59 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6459 views] Top|| File under:

#1  China may not have any strings it can pull with Daffy Kim, but they do have a nice length of rope, in the form of roughly modernized 600,000 troops deployed near the border.
Even the younger engineers I deal with in China dislike the Japanese. I can't imagine they'd be happy about pushing South Korea into the (nuclear) arms of Japan.
Posted by: Dishman || 02/18/2003 1:17 Comments || Top||

#2  In Japan, where memories of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are still strong, the government has long been a strong advocate of nuclear non-proliferation. But in recent years senior politicians have warned that this position is not written in stone. Last April Ichiro Ozawa, one of the most influential Japanese politicians of recent years, boasted that his country had the technology and the plutonium to build several thousand nuclear warheads.

What people seem to always forget is that a nation with memories of being on the receiving end of the most effective strategic bombing campaign in history might be willing to do anything to avoid something like that again.

Congratulations, North Korea, you've woken up the Japanese after their fifty year slumber.
Posted by: Patrick Phillips || 02/18/2003 5:37 Comments || Top||



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Tue 2003-02-18
  Special Forces bang Baghdad?
Mon 2003-02-17
  Volunteer "human shields" flock to Iraq
Sun 2003-02-16
  Iraqis: "We will fight to the last drop of our blood"
Sat 2003-02-15
  Israeli sources say war imminent; Iran and Syria next
Fri 2003-02-14
  Brits nab grenade artist at airport
Thu 2003-02-13
  Brits hunting anti-aircraft missile smugglers
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

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