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Annan proposes investigation of oil-for-food program
Today's Headlines
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Russia prepared for swap with Qatar
Moscow is preparing an exchange of two Qatari nationals detained here three weeks ago for two Russian secret service agents arrested in Doha on murder charges, the Kommersant business daily reported on Friday. The two men, arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on February 26, had been held by the Federal Security Service (FSB, ex-KGB), but were recently put under the jurisdiction of Russia’s foreign ministry ahead of the planned swap, the newspaper said. Foreign ministry press officials declined to comment on the report.
This is the traditional Russian reaction when its guys are caught. Remember the exchanges that used to take place at Checkpoint Charlie?
The Qataris were detained shortly after Doha’s arrest of two Russian intelligence agents, who are charged with assassinating a leading Chechen rebel, the former president of the breakaway republic Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, in the Qatari capital on February 13. Qatari officials however have identified the detainees as Nasser Ibrahim Saad al-Madhihiki and Ibrahim Ahmed Nasser Ahmed, members of the nation’s wrestling federation. The Qataris were detained when customs discovered that al-Makhihiki was carrying 7,200 dollars that he did not declare, according to Alexander Dubrovksy, their Belarusian team trainer who was stopped along with the two men and later released. Russia’s new Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday reiterated Moscow’s demands that Qatar free the two Russian agents.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/20/2004 12:35:09 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [313 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Exchanging captured murderers for hostages.

Bad bargain - I seriously hope (without much hope) that Qatar doesn't accept it in the end. One should never make deals with terrorists, especially when it's about releasing more of their number.
Posted by: Aris Katsaris || 03/20/2004 14:20 Comments || Top||

#2  Terrorists??? Goodness gracious. Putin's re-election really put a burr under your saddle, hasn't it? Long live Putin.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/20/2004 15:02 Comments || Top||

#3  "Terrorists??? Goodness gracious.

Taking innocent people as hostages to use as leverage in demanding the release of your killers. Was it Hamas or Hezbollah who last used this tactic?

"Putin's re-election really put a burr under your saddle, hasn't it? "

Well he did kill, imprison, or force to exile all of his important opponents. And has all the media under his thumb.


"Long live Putin."

Is that because he's opposing Muslim separatists in Chechenya or because he's supporting Muslim separatists in Georgia? And other sort of separatists in Ukraine and Moldova?
Posted by: Aris Katsaris || 03/20/2004 16:59 Comments || Top||

#4  You have very little understanding of Russia. Do you have anyone better than Putin in mind to run the country? I thought not.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/20/2004 17:12 Comments || Top||

#5  I should add, had Putin done all these things 70 years in the future...70 years after the fall of communism...after 70 years of "democracy"...then I would agree with you. In the meantime, it will take 70 years to undo what communism has done for Russia.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/20/2004 17:19 Comments || Top||

#6  I have little understanding of Russia? I'd say you probably have much less understanding of Russia than I do. Because you seem to be thinking that popularity alone makes a politician worthy or harmless or freedom-loving, or a person that we must generally support.

I notice that you didn't respond on the little issue of the terrorist-like hostage-taking, btw.
I assume you wouldn't have a response on the issue of the quarter million Chechens killed either.

"Do you have anyone better than Putin in mind to run the country? I thought not."

Why do you assume I don't? How about Yushenkov?

And if we are to restrict ourselves to only non-murdered politicians how about Nemtsov?
Posted by: Aris Katsaris || 03/20/2004 18:36 Comments || Top||

#7  And do you have, btw, any reason to believe that Putin is heading to the direction of "undoing" what communism has done to Russia?

The restoration of KGB, and the efforts at restoration of Soviet union, with a Belarus-Moldova-Russia union, and the crushing of dissent, all indicate that Putin is doing his darndest to restore Soviet Union.

This time on the model of China, which allows some private property to its citizens, even as it retains the right to shoot them at will.
Posted by: Aris Katsaris || 03/20/2004 18:40 Comments || Top||

#8  Yushenkov? So Putin had him killed. Yeah right.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/20/2004 19:35 Comments || Top||

Straw Still On Board WOT
The international community could have prevented September 11 and other terrorist attacks by acting far earlier against al-Qa’eda rather than "turning the other cheek", Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, admits today. In an interview with the Telegraph on the first anniversary of the Iraq war, Mr Straw says that despite the attack on Madrid which killed 202 people, the world is winning the war on terror. "What the international community should have done is to heed the earlier warnings about the nature of al-Qa’eda and taken earlier action to deal with it and the failing state which was harbouring it, which was Aghanistan," he says. "Because if we had have done we might have avoided September 11 and everything that has followed that." His message is that the war on terrorism, while left too late, is the only way to combat a "cholera of the mind" that has infected "maniac" fundamentalists and made the world more dangerous. His remarks contain implicit criticism of the former American administration led by President Bill Clinton, whose country was the main target for al-Qa’eda, and suggests that the war on terror should have been launched in the mid-Nineties.
This guy’s Labour, right?
Mr Straw says he understands British people’s heightened feelings of insecurity after the Madrid attacks and says he has often thought about the war on terror and the wisdom of attacking Saddam. But he has always concluded that both were right. The strategy of using force against Saddam is already paying off, he claims, citing the decision by Libya to destroy its weapons of mass destruction and progress in getting Iran to comply with internatonal demands over its weapons programme. "I have never said that the reason we have been able to secure compliance from Libya and Iran was because in any sense they felt militarily threatened by the coalition but the effect was more subtle but nonetheless powerful. They felt threatened by Saddam and removing Saddam took away a threat and also exposed them to diplomatic action. So when the history books come to be written and when people are able to stand back they will be able to see that the strategy has been rational and effective."
The diplomatic operations have been nearly as brilliant as the military operations...
Mr Straw said the reason why many Spaniards changed their vote to the anti-war Socialists in last weekend’s election was unclear to only the blind. Were there to be a terrorist attack here, he said, the British electorate would not be "blackmailed" by al-Qa’eda. "They are made of sterner stuff than that."
The Brits have what it takes. Can’t wait to see how John Howard tops it.
Posted by: Mr. Davis || 03/20/2004 1:10:57 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [324 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Yes this guy is labour. But in May 1940 the Conservatives, who were dominant in the Governemnt of national coalition, wanted to nominate a soft guy as PM, perhaps reinstate Chamberlain. It was the Labour people who told that the only Conservative they would accept as PM was Churchill.

But these were 193x Labour vintage: people who were in the Party to improve the life of the working classes not the self esteem of blue-blooded chic leftists.
Posted by: JFM || 03/20/2004 7:16 Comments || Top||

#2  just hope hes right when he says the british people won't be blackmailed by them, i fear the lefty BBC and likes of Al Gaurdian will create as much awful press and news, they'll go on a campaign,that new 10 part docu drama the BBC are running at the moment called 'If' is the first part of thier campaign against the goverment,watch them drop to more Gilligan style stories and Panarama specials supposedly exposing Blair and his party.A terror attack combined with this all out lefty propaganda campaign could unfortuanatly seal the U.K's fate. :(
Posted by: Jon Shep U.K || 03/20/2004 8:35 Comments || Top||

#3  Just listening to the BBC's output in the last two days suggests to me they've decided to ramp up the anti-government nonsense in a big way. Anyone else hear "Any Questions" on BBC Radio 4 yesterday/today? Worse than ever. Basically, they assembled a panel of three lefties vs. Norman Tebbit, and had Peter Tatchell bait Tebbit about gay rights from early on. Tebbit's hemi-semile now, and sounded as though he could have been tranquilised himself. All sorts of bullshit was spouted regarding the Spanish elections (including the lie that Aznar deliberately deceived the electorate) and was left, from what I heard (before switching off in disgust), totally unchallenged. It's not spin any more - it's out-and-out deceit.

The BBC seems to consider itself the official opposition to the government. Its world view is in trouble like never before, and it might just be undergoing some sort of meltdown. Here's hoping.

BBC delenda est!

Eh, Howard?!
Posted by: Bulldog || 03/20/2004 9:35 Comments || Top||

Low Turnout Sinks Taiwan Referendum
Taiwan's first island-wide referendum, which asked whether the island should beef up defenses against China, failed to pass Saturday for lack of votes, the Central Election Commission said. The referendum focused on rival China's military threat and on possible talks with Beijing. Its failure was a blow to President Chen Shui-bian, who argued that a defeat for the referendum would be a victory for China. The two sides split amid civil war in 1949. Only 45 percent of eligible voters participated in the two ballot issues, the commission said. To be valid, the referendum needed at least 50 percent participation.
Wonder how many votes this referendum brought Chen?
Posted by: Steve White || 03/20/2004 12:23:27 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [423 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Of the 45% that voted 92% voted yes... the other side boycotted the vote in the hopes that they couldn't achieve the 50% of registered voters required... pretty sneaky, but shows that the population of Taiwan definetly wanted this to pass.
Posted by: Damn_Proud_American || 03/20/2004 12:38 Comments || Top||

#2  Ugh. That's why I dislike such turnout controls -- they count absences as if they were "no-votes", which means that no-voters have no reason whatsoever to participate in such a democratic process -- this undermines democracy itself IMO.

I very much prefer the turnout controls that say that atleast 50% of the valid votes and atleast 25% of the electorate give the same answer.

In such a case 0.45*0.92=41.4% and it would have clearly exceeded a 25% turnout limit.
Posted by: Aris Katsaris || 03/20/2004 13:26 Comments || Top||

#3  Such is the case in the Hungarian constitution, btw.
Posted by: Aris Katsaris || 03/20/2004 13:27 Comments || Top||

#4  Katsaris, do YOU even know what you're talking about, if anything?
Posted by: Jen || 03/20/2004 14:07 Comments || Top||

#5  Not-surnamed-one, what is it you are disagreeing with now?

How did my words *now* show me to be a pinko communist gay Muslim with a false name who's posting from Russia or perhaps Afghanistan?

Or are you just being assholey for principle's sake?
Posted by: Aris Katsaris || 03/20/2004 14:44 Comments || Top||

#6  You're off on a personal riff.
In the case of this thread, you're babbling about the merits of the Hungarian constitution on a post about Taiwan.
I can't begin to follow your word salad adventures.
Posted by: Jen || 03/20/2004 15:01 Comments || Top||

#7  Ugh. That's why I dislike such turnout controls --they count absences as if they were "no-votes", which means that no-voters have no reason whatsoever to participate in such a democratic process -- this undermines democracy itself IMO.

Considering that was the first time the Taiwanese had conducted a referendum, I supect there'll be some subtle changes for the next one, now that President Chen survived the election process.

Aris, in the case of the Hungarian constitution, did the referendum article come with the '89 amendment, or was it part of the original '49 document?
Posted by: Pappy || 03/20/2004 15:17 Comments || Top||

#8  Jen> Yes, it's called "providing examples from other countries" as pertains on the issue of the "role of turnout in referendums" that was under discussion.

Pappy> Not sure -- I think the turnout bit I mentioned is actually an even more recent amendment than '89. I believe hat originally it was same as in Taiwan (50% of the electorate must take part), and they changed it to the current system in 2001 or something, after the earlier system had resulted in the invalidation of various referendums...

Going to check.
Posted by: Aris Katsaris || 03/20/2004 16:11 Comments || Top||

#9  I believe that the issue that was under discussion was what the turnout reflected about Taiwanese public sentiment and as the poster pointed out, how many referendum voters were likely to vote for Chen or vice versa.
Clearly, there is a good portion of the Taiwanese population that is reluctant or afraid for Taiwan to take on an aggressive position vis-a-vis Mainland China.
I don't blame them, but...

As for you, Katsaris, you're into some kind of electoral weirdness.
It seems to go nowhere, but I'm pretty sure that Al Gore could have used you for the recount mess in 2000.
Posted by: Jen || 03/20/2004 16:33 Comments || Top||

#10  Jen> Why don't you check out the title of this article? If you know how to read, you'll see it says "Low Turnout Sinks Taiwan Referendum".

In your own fantasy universe you may have had a different issue under discussion, but I wouldn't know about that.

Pappy> It was as I said, but they changed it to what I described in 1997, not 2001 that I had mentioned earlier.
Posted by: Aris Katsaris || 03/20/2004 16:42 Comments || Top||

#11  It was as I said, but they changed it to what I described in 1997, not 2001 that I had mentioned earlier.

Thank you.

It wasn't so much that a significant portion of Taiwanese are reluctant or afraid of taking an aggressive position as it is a battle of "nuances" between exiles and natives.

The Nationalists have no qualms about defending Taiwan, but as a policy they don't want anything that impinges up on the idea of them re-taking China. Hence the opposition to talks with China, declaring independence, etc. As the old-timers die off, that is fading. But it'll be around for at least a couple of decades.
Posted by: Pappy || 03/20/2004 22:37 Comments || Top||

Down Under
Ayman wuz in New Zealand in the 1990s
Al Qaeda's second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, visited New Zealand and Australia in 1996 to recruit militants, his biographer was quoted as telling an Australian newspaper today. Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir makes the claim in a yet-to-be televised interview with Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) television, parts of which were disclosed in reports today. "In those days, in early 1996, he was on a mission to organise his network all over the world," Mir said. Mir said al-Zawahiri told him he travelled to New Zealand to "meet some of his people", then went on to Australia and Indonesia. The Weekend Australian said Mir claimed al-Zawahiri, a 52-year-old bespectacled Egyptian surgeon, had visited New Zealand twice. New Zealand police counter-terrorism boss Assistant Commissioner Jon White told NZPA today systems had been checked since Mir's claim. "We have no verification that al-Zawahiri visited this country under that name, or any of the other names he uses. But naturally, we are interested to know if there are any more details available from the writer (Mir)."
"It's not that important, though, so don't rush. We're busy managing the economy here."
Mr White understood Mir was about to publish a biography of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden early next week, in which his claims were included. "We'll be looking at that." Mr White was confident the New Zealand checks had been carried out properly, but admitted it was possible al-Zawahiri had entered under a new name. "If we were given a name to check, that could certainly be done in very short order," he said. Mir told The Weekend Australian that al-Zawahiri travelled around the world at the time as a businessman on a false passport, "often using Christian names".
"Bob Zawahiri"? "Ayman W. Jones"?
"He told me he stopped for a while in Darwin (in northern Australia), he was ... looking for help and collecting funds," the newspaper reported. But Mr White said no details had been verified. "It's difficult to speculate, but it's not an unknown thing for a network such as al Qaeda to look to other countries to either raise funds or recruit people." New Zealand authorities would work with Australian colleagues on the matter, he said. Australia's attorney-general, Philip Ruddock, said the government could not rule out the possibility that al-Zawahiri visited Australia in the 1990s, but not under his own name.
Gee. Golly. Y'think?
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/20/2004 12:03:32 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [323 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Hmmm. I would imagine that Zawahiri would find the recruiting tough in a prosperous nation like Australia, but in a poor 3rd world nation like Papua New Zealand, planting the Islamofascist seed could be a real threat. You would think that after decades of Peace Corp and other NGO efforts in poverty-stricken Papua NZ you would think it would be a more stable society, but when you have no running water, and your thatched-roof hut is falling down around you, I guess Islamic extremism looks attractive.
Posted by: Carl in NH || 03/20/2004 1:02 Comments || Top||

#2  Carl in NH: I dont think that if I lived in a thatched roof hut which leaked a torrents of rain I would be interested in killing people because I lived in a thatched roof hut which leaked torrents of rain. What on earth are you talking about!!!! Peace corps be damned!! That is th US way of doing things If I want to live in a thatched roof hut that leaks, then so be it, don't mandate your ways upon me!! I have been doing this for thousands of years and I will be damned if I want a satalite TV, which may "blow out" because of the leaks in my roof and prevent me from seeing "john kerry" "note the undercase" from belching his invectives once again to the American public. This individual is not only pathetic he is dangerous.
Posted by: Barry || 03/20/2004 2:38 Comments || Top||

#3  "Papua New Zealand" WTF? Is that anywhere near Irian Paraguay?
Posted by: Atomic Conspiracy || 03/20/2004 4:30 Comments || Top||

#4  Perhaps Carl in NH is suggesting that the difference between Papua New Guinea and New Zealand is, nowadays, only superficial? :-)
Posted by: rsd || 03/20/2004 6:33 Comments || Top||

#5  Shoot. Try as I might, can't get nary a nibble. Nobody from Papua New Zealand reads Rantburg ? And now Barry is fishing in my waters, too...
Posted by: Carl in NH || 03/20/2004 9:04 Comments || Top||

#6  I think you are speaking of Papua New Guinea. New Zealand is the first world island who lives in the opposite side of Australia and whose people raise sheep, play rugby, win America Cup and produce Oscar-winning movies.
Posted by: JFM || 03/20/2004 9:15 Comments || Top||

#7  I hear the Hobbits of PNZ are cannibalistic.
Posted by: Bulldog || 03/20/2004 11:15 Comments || Top||

#8  Now, now, JFM, regulations say I don't get to keep you, so I just have to throw you back :)
Posted by: Carl in NH || 03/20/2004 12:02 Comments || Top||

#9  I never have understood how the simple (yet scientific) natives of PNZ ever put together an Americans Cup winner.
Posted by: Shipman || 03/20/2004 20:35 Comments || Top||

French Policy Still Vigorously Criticized By Iraqis
Translation an article from the French newspaper Le Monde by Grant Coulson of the Gantelope

It is almost impossible, save among deposed Baathist leaders, to find anyone who supports Paris’ stance on the crisis.

by Rémy Ourdan

French policy is still vigorously criticized by Iraqis. Contrary to the common perception among Europeans, the fact of having opposed the American occupation has absolutely not increased Europe’s popularity, or that of any country, among Iraqis.

It’s a paradox, but it’s reality. While a large majority of Iraqis publicly long for an end to the U.S. occupation, that same vast majority remains pleased about the fall of Saddam Hussein and recognizes in private that the pull-out of Coalition troops could drag the country into civil war. Iraqis know that Washington lied about WMDs, but they couldn’t care less—the toppling of the tyrant was for them the most positive development in thirty years. In the end, Iraqis have the tendency, out of both habit and pragmatism, of following the lead of the strongest.

In this country where, by tradition and with a grin, you still often hear “France good, USA bad!” there is also very severe criticism of France’s policy of the past year. “If the American approach has led to error after error in Iraq, the Europeans, and the French in particular, are still more idiotic because they base their position solely on the position of Washington. They pay absolutely no attention to Iraq and its inhabitants,” says Fakhri Karim, director of the Al-Mada newspaper, in summing up popular sentiment. “Iraqis think that Europe and France have twice abandoned them, first to Saddam, and then under U.S. occupation. France is interested only in its anti-American position. It has forgotten the Iraqis. Chirac and Villepin should understand that not a single Iraqi considers their position to be courageous
 What did France do to help Iraq liberate itself from the dictator, and to help Iraq regain its sovereignty? Nothing!”

Hilmi Dawood, a Kurdish journalist, both a French-speaker and a Francophile, is also harshly critical. “I was utterly shocked by France’s opposition to the war because, even if nobody likes Bush, either in Europe or Iraq, the essential thing was to liberate us from Saddam,” she said. “I could not understand France’s position. Not to mention the aftermath of the war when Iraqis need help in the face of security concerns and misery, and France is nowhere to be seen.”

Echoing this view on the aftermath of the war are Bilal and Mounaf, political science students who are radically anti-American Sunnis and rather nostalgic about Baathist power: “Once the war was over, we realized that French promises about helping the people of Iraq were nothing but hot air. Nothing came of it. French policy is all talk, no action,” said Bilal. “I think France opposed the war solely for its own selfish interests, because it was Saddam’s friend and received gifts from him,” followed-up Mounaf. Many Iraqis share Mounaf’s conviction that there was a special relationship between Paris and Saddam Hussein’s Baghdad.

Their instructor, Amer Hassan Fayath, described himself as “disappointed.” “Educated Iraqis lament France’s absence,” he said. “The rest couldn’t care less about Europe, because they know the U.S. makes the rules. The position France adopted last year weakened it in the eyes of Iraqis. France proved that her opinion was irrelevant. France was against the war, and the war happened anyway!”

It’s virtually impossible, save among defunct Baathis leaders, to find anyone who supports Paris’ stance on the crisis. No more in the local market than anywhere else: “I want the American invaders out as quickly as possible, but I’m happy that they got rid of the bloodthirsty Saddam for us!” affirmed Hamid, a Shiite fabric salesman. “I’m disappointed, me, an admirer of General de Gaulle and Victor Hugo, that Chirac did nothing to help the Iraqi people.” “We’d like to be friends with the French,” added his friend Majid, “but they supported Chirac who himself defended Saddam right ‘til the end. I’ve never understood why. It’s utterly bizarre...”

Iraqis once employed by France in Baghdad are equally bitter. “They get us together every month to ask us to be patient and to ‘stay faithful to France,’” recounted a Sunni professor with the French Cultural Center (currently closed for security reasons). “What faith? We laid-off professors aren’t being paid. France hasn’t even been able to provide for our livelihood during this troubled year. I’m a Francophile, I don’t care for the Americans, but they offer good jobs and good salaries. They’ve offered me a position. I’d refused until now, hoping that France would get involved in Iraq, but now I’m going to take it. I’m rather angry with myself for going to work for the American occupiers and accepting their money, but I’m even angrier at France!”

“It’s the same misunderstanding that is continuing between Europe and Iraq since the terrorist attack in Madrid. Europe, anti-American and pacifist, is celebrating Spain’s withdrawal from Iraq, as if the Spanish had just won a great victory!” observed a Baghdad journalist. “We Iraqis think that the French and German refusal to help us, and the announced departure of the Spanish are catastrophes. In order for us to recover our spirit after the terrible Saddam years, for us to get past this tête-à-tête with the Americans, we need the involvement of other countries more than ever. The UN, Europe, and France never had much credibility in Iraq, but they lost it all a year ago when they let Bush, whom we detest by the way, topple Saddam on his own, and when they failed to come to our aid when the war ended."

Posted by: tipper || 03/20/2004 9:38:59 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [435 views] Top|| File under:

#1  As usual, the Iraqis are telling everyone what they want to hear. To the US, they tell us they love us, and to the French, they tell them that they love them. The Japanese and the Germans are quite definitely a different, better class of people.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 03/20/2004 22:52 Comments || Top||

#2  Iraqis know that Washington lied about WMDs, but..

Yawn. Any chance these Frogs will get a clue sometime soon?
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 03/20/2004 23:02 Comments || Top||

#3  ...a Baghdad journalist: “[....] The UN, Europe, and France never had much credibility in Iraq, but they lost it all a year ago when they let Bush, whom we detest by the way, topple Saddam on his own.... Ingrait! Are all journalists idiots?
Posted by: GK || 03/20/2004 23:02 Comments || Top||

#4  They were trained well by Saddam to kiss butt. Given what we did with the Afghani teenagers in Gitmo and what we've received from the Germans and Japanese 40 years hence I suspect the Iraqis will have no trouble telling us what they think of us to our face. Then we'll know we've succeeded. Helluva way to find out you done good.
Posted by: Mr. Davis || 03/20/2004 23:05 Comments || Top||

#5  Actually, I was generalizing a little - I suspect that Iraqi journos want to be respected by their global brethren for their sophistication. As we all know, sophisticates are easily identified by their disdain for GWB.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 03/20/2004 23:37 Comments || Top||

German financed the Bali bombings
A German under investigation for alleged terrorist connections after being deported from Indonesia has been linked to the financing of the Bali bombings by suspects in the attack, a German magazine reports. Seyam Reda, a German citizen of Egyptian descent, returned to Germany in July after serving a 10-month prison sentence for visa violations.
I think that unless they're willing to change their names to "Hans" or "Fritz" and wear lederhosen they oughta be denied citizenship. But I guess that's just me...
Federal prosecutors said he was being investigated on suspicion of supporting al-Qaeda, but no arrest warrant has been issued for him. The German weekly Der Spiegel said two suspects in the October 2002 Bali attacks in which 202 people died, including 88 Australians, said Reda helped finance the nightclub bombings on behalf of al-Qaeda via two Muslim foundations. It did not name the suspects. "We found terrorist payrolls on Reda," Muchyar Yara, a former spokesman for Indonesia's intelligence agency, was quoted as telling Der Spiegel. "Among the recipients was Imam Samudra," who has been sentenced to death for his part in the bombings.
Yep. Follow the money. Now the question is, where did Fritz Seyam get the dough he passed on to Imam Samudra?
German federal prosecutors declined to comment on the report, saying only that Reda remained under investigation on suspicion of supporting al-Qaeda. "We have a very wide-ranging investigation," spokesman Hartmut Schneider said.
"We're looking into where he got the moolah..."
Reda was arrested in Jakarta in September 2002 for alleged links to al-Qaeda but Indonesian police later said they found no evidence to support that claim. Reda has denied any wrongdoing and said he was in Indonesia as a journalist.
"Ja! I'm a reporter for Welt am Jihad!"
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/20/2004 10:24:47 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [313 views] Top|| File under:

Spanish crook led Moroccans to dynamite
A Spaniard with a criminal record led four Moroccans to an explosives warehouse at a mine to steal dynamite used in the Madrid terror bombings, a newspaper reported Saturday. The unidentified Spaniard, a former miner in the northern Asturias region, was among five people arrested Thursday. He insisted he only led the Moroccans to the warehouse and did not help with the robbery or know the Moroccans had Islamic extremist links, El Pais reported, quoting police sources. The Spaniard has a record for drug and weapons possession, the newspaper said. The Moroccans remain at large and have not been identified, it added. Interior Ministry officials could not be reached to comment on the report. The Moroccans told the Spaniard they ran a mine in Morocco but had trouble obtaining explosives. The Spaniard offered to help them get dynamite, and in return was apparently given drugs, El Pais said.

The Spaniard met with the Moroccans in the Asturian town of Aviles in late February and led them to an explosives warehouse at a mine, the report said. The explosives were stolen on or about Feb. 29, the paper said. The Spaniard was arrested Thursday in Aviles, El Pais said. Four Moroccans were also arrested Thursday outside Madrid. Police think all or part of the estimated 220 pounds of dynamite used in the Madrid bombings came from that warehouse, the paper said.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/20/2004 9:43:09 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [300 views] Top|| File under:

#1  He insisted he only led the Moroccans to the warehouse and did not help with the robbery or know the Moroccans had Islamic extremist links

"they seemed like Simple Shepherds™ to me, which explained the need for dynamite"
Posted by: Frank G || 03/20/2004 11:52 Comments || Top||

Europe rejects agency like CIA
via Miami Hearld
Sat, Mar. 20, 2004
European security officials agreed Friday to appoint an "antiterrorism czar," but balked at calls for a new European intelligence agency modeled after the CIA. Interior and justice ministers from European Union countries met in response to the March 11 train bombings in Madrid, which killed 202 people and raised fears Europe would become a new battleground in the war on terror. The ministers said they would ask EU heads of government to name an "antiterrorism czar" during their summit next week and declare that the Europeans will "do everything within their power to combat all forms of terrorism."
"Within our own borders, of course. Other places can attend to themselves. What happens there doesn't apply to us."
The ministers also identified steps that could be taken to enhance cooperation. Those steps include a European terrorism database, mandatory national identity cards and increased security for train stations, airports and other vulnerable targets. Those proposals will be reviewed by the EU foreign ministers who meet in Brussels on Monday and by heads of government at their two-day summit beginning Thursday. However, the ministers rejected calls by Belgium and Austria to establish a centralized European intelligence agency -- loosely modeled after the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency -- to serve as a clearinghouse for information from spy services of the member countries. Despite the carnage in Madrid, some national secret services were still reluctant to share information across an expanded European Union, which will grow from 15 members to 25 in May.
Hear no evil. See no evil. Speak no evil.
Posted by: .com || 03/20/2004 3:28:44 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [335 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "...balked at calls for a new European intelligence agency modeled after the CIA."

Wouldn't want to do anything that might actually be effective now, would we?
Posted by: Dave D. || 03/20/2004 8:32 Comments || Top||

#2  Europe needs a unified spy agency, that is certain. But given the CIAs very public level of ineptitude, I can see why they wouldn't want to create an EU version in its' image.
Posted by: Scott || 03/20/2004 9:02 Comments || Top||

#3  Hey, don't knock the Euros. They're going to name a "Mr. Terrorism." After that, there will be a contest for "Miss Terrorism." Maybe if Madeleine Albright regains her Czech citizenship, she can be a contestant.
Posted by: Infidel Crusader || 03/20/2004 9:02 Comments || Top||

#4  Maybe if Madeleine Albright regains her Czech citizenship, she can be a contestant.

IC, please! I just ate lunch, man...
Posted by: Raj || 03/20/2004 12:53 Comments || Top||

#5  Scott, they're not perfect, but I haven't seen conclusive evidence that the CIA is as inept as you maintain.
I think that trashing the CIA is one of the Left's current favorite talking points and is part of the current bureaucratic "war" going on in the Beltway between the CIA and the State Dept. (which is infiltrated with Lefty Liberals like former Amb. Joe Wilson).
State is the one that is inept and is the one keeping the US from going at the Saudis, the Iranians, etc. full throttle.
Posted by: Jen || 03/20/2004 14:16 Comments || Top||

#6  It wont happen cos the Brits wont sign up for it because it would kill their (close) intelligence relationship with the USA.
Posted by: phil_b || 03/20/2004 15:35 Comments || Top||

#7  We don't need more bureaucracy. We need better cooperation.

Secret services will always be seen as inept. Simply because you hardly ever know when they do the right thing, only when they blunder.

What many people don't understand is that several major terrorist attacks in Europe have been foiled quietly.

But the one that goes through will have the attention.

American intelligence services have quite good relations with German services. Again... you will only hear about those relations when something didn't work out the way it should have.
Posted by: True German Ally || 03/20/2004 15:43 Comments || Top||

#8  I have suspected for years that the CIA is actually a CIA front... no, really! They cultivate this elaborate facade of being bumbling, inept fools, when there is actually at the center of it a core of supremely clever, manipulative geniuses, whom no one suspects because of the cover story! Fiendish, isn't it?
Posted by: Sgt. Mom || 03/20/2004 16:38 Comments || Top||

#9  Scott, they're not perfect, but I haven't seen conclusive evidence that the CIA is as inept as you maintain.

Someone who can give you that answer would be Bob Baer.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 03/20/2004 18:49 Comments || Top||

#10  Bomb, I know about Bob Baer, but I don't agree with him, at least not totally.
And he has a right to be bitter; he was left high and dry in Iraq by the Clintoon Admin.
Posted by: Jen || 03/20/2004 19:29 Comments || Top||

Terror suspects seized in Antwerp and Brussels
Belgian police raided 20 houses in Antwerp, Brussels and Tongres on Friday and arrested a number of men suspected of links with Islamic extremist terror groups, the federal prosecutor’s office has confirmed. The men are all suspected of having links with an organisation called the Moroccan Islamic Combatants’ Group (MICG). In a statement, the prosecutor’s office said there was "serious evidence" that north Africans linked to the MICG had received paramilitary training in camps in Afghanistan and were now living in Belgium, several of them with no official residence papers. One of the men arrested was wanted by the Moroccan authorities in connection with the May 2003 bomb attacks in Casablanca, which left 45 people dead, the statement continued. The police said they had also seized suspicious documents during the raids on Friday. They added that the men taken into custody could well have links with Khalid B, a Belgian man of Moroccan origin who was recently arrested in the Netherlands.
"Khalid B" is probably the guy mentioned in the first article at this link. Victor Koppe, his attorney, is also the brainiac who got Mullah Krekar of Ansar-al-Islam sprung and living the good life in Norway.
Meanwhile, Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt on Friday rejected claims made in the Spanish press that the 11 March terror attacks in Madrid may have been partly organised in Brussels.
"No, no, certainly not! We reject these claims entirely."
Spanish newspaper El Periodico made the claims on Thursday, citing Moroccan intelligence sources.But in a statement issued on Friday, Verhofstadt firmly denied the allegations. "The Spanish and Moroccan authorities have confirmed to us that this article was not correct. At present there is nothing to suggest a link between Brussels or Belgium and the 11 March attacks in Madrid," he said.
"These aren’t the droids you’re looking for, move along."
Posted by: Seafarious || 03/20/2004 3:38:41 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [448 views] Top|| File under:

#1  One silly question: Does the rapidity of these arrests mean that there's excellent cooperation between nations, or that the Belgians had long known about these men and for whatever reason waited until the right time?
Posted by: Pappy || 03/20/2004 22:50 Comments || Top||

German mosque raids criticized
A German Islamic leader on Wednesday criticized German authorities for carrying out a large number of raids on mosques and homes of Moslems. Nadeem Elyas, chairman of the Central Council of Moslems, said police had searched more than 80 German mosques and over 1,000 apartments and offices belonging to Moslems in Germany in connection with anti-terror sweeps. "All this achieved nothing," said Elyas in a Deutschland Radio interview. He called on German authorities to view the Moslem community as partners in the struggle against terrorism.
"Trust us on this, Fritz."
"We must indeed exclude fringe groups and win over the majority of German Moslems as partners by giving them the feeling they belong here," Elyas said.
I suggest you start wearing lederhosen and eating schweinhachse. Pick up a copy of "Burka to Dirndl in Four Easy Steps"...
Germany has about 3.1 million Moslems out of a total population of 82 million. The vast majority of German Moslems are from Turkey.
Posted by: Seafarious || 03/20/2004 3:19:43 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [315 views] Top|| File under:

#1  fair play for raidin the mosques, seems they always act as meeting places for islamoids.I say close all the mosques down across the civilised world till the terror stops,failing that bulldoze 10 mosques down for every islamo boom
Posted by: Jon Shep U.K || 03/20/2004 4:55 Comments || Top||

He called on German authorities to view the Moslem community as partners in the struggle against terrorism.

He also called on the Sicilian authorities to view the Mafia as partners in the struggle against organized crime.
Posted by: Mike Sylwester || 03/20/2004 6:02 Comments || Top||

#3  The SPIEGEL has a story about "Al Qaeda in Germany" next Monday.
I see more mosques raided in the imminent future. The Bavarian minister of the interior called for the expulsion of radical islamists without a trial.

Works for me.
Posted by: True German Ally || 03/20/2004 12:08 Comments || Top||

Spain Ignored Evidence That Zougam Stole Telephones and Committed Other Crimes
From the Wall Street Journal, March 19, "Morocco to Madrid, A Bomb Suspect Grew Radicalized." I’m not able to link to the article, so I typed the following excerpts.
Three years ago, Spain’s national police stormed the apartment of Jamal Zougam, a 30-year-old Moroccan immigrant who ran a cellphone business in Madrid. Among items they seized: phone numbers for suspected terrorists ..... The raid followed a request by a French magistrate who suspected Mr. Zougam was involved in terrorism. But the Spanish police figured the evidence wasn’t strong enough to arrest Mr. Zougam, or even to seek a judge’s permission for a wiretap. .... According to a senior French counter-terrorism official, Spain took a year to respond to France’s request to raid Mr. Zougram’s home. And Moroccan authorities said they warned Spain last year that Mr. Zougam ... was a member of a dangerous cell. ....

In 1999, the [Zougam] brothers ... opened a cellphone shop down the street.... It sold cellphones and cellphone cards, repaired phones and rented out booths for long-distance calls. The phones they sold were cheap, and business boomed. "Soon after they first opened the shop, they were selling so many cellphones and doing such an unbelievable volume that we in the neighborhood thought for sure that the phones were stolen," says Felix Cuesta, who tends a convenience store across the street. .... Wiretap transcripts indicate Mr. Zougam was associated with a new group of friends centered on Imad Edin Barakat Yarkas ... a man Spanish police later accused of leading a Madrid cell ... providing false documents, stolen credit cards ....
The usual activities, just as it calls for in the Koran...
In 2001, he [Zougam] got into a knife fight in a Madrid restaurant ... According to transcripts of wiretaps, a friend told Mr. Yarkas that Mr. Zougam ... stabbed the man’s friend, called Said, punched him, and hit him with an iron bar, but was stabbed too. Both landed in the hospital. Said threatened to tell police that Mr. Zougram’s business dealt in stolen cellphones.... A few months later, Mr. Zougam .... blurted out [in a wiretapped phone conversation with Yarkas] that he had obtained two passports.... All through the spring and summer of 2001, Mr. Yarkas used the phone shop to make calls to contacts around Spain, as well as to pick up unidentified merchandise ....
That usually translates to explosives or jihadis...
Following the raid on Mr. Zougam’s apartment, Spanish authorities asked for and received authorization to wiretap the homes and mobile phone of several people in the Madrid cell, but not Mr. Zougam. A senior Spanish anti-terrorism official says there wasn’t enough evidence against Mr. Zougam to tap his phone. ....
This is the lawn order approach to terrorism in action...
In June [2003] Moroccan authorities alerted Spanish officials that Mr. Zougam, whom they suspected of links to terrorism, had returned to Spain and was "particularly dangerous," according to the Moroccan government. Spain evidently didn’t heed the warning, letting Mr. Zougam continue to operate freely.
The Anzar government would have been re-elected last Sunday if it had simply prosecuted, jailed and then deported these Moroccan criminals a couple of years ago for dealing in stolen telephones and passports. The first step to fighting terrorism is to enforce laws against Moslem illegal immigration and criminal activities. This should be clear to the Spanish population and even to the Socialist government.
Posted by: Mike Sylwester || 03/20/2004 12:30:06 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [313 views] Top|| File under:

#1  In other words, for allahs (please note the the NON CAPITILIZATION)sake we MUST not infringe upon the right of the "nappie head" muslim to conduct in private activities and/or planning operations (which by the way we know about) which are designed to "exterminate" ""HITLERS"" term the unbelivers!! EXCUSE ME! You do not want to know what I think of your Allah or you. You WILL NOT do you understand NOT prevail you are a bunch of baby killers and are inept at interperiting your koran (note the lower case! because that is what you are: Lower case) You have absoutly no concept of Muhamads writings. Go back to kindergatten and maybe, just maybe you will get a "light in your eye" but I doubt it. You poor mis-educated individuals TAKE YOUR WRATH OUT ON YOUR F$&%ING TEACHERS not the inocents. Get a life ITS WORTH LIVING!!!!
Posted by: Barry || 03/20/2004 2:03 Comments || Top||

#2  Mike, as the UK found when dealing with the IRA and the US when dealing with organized crime you need special laws and enforcement capabilities. Relying on the normal legal mechamisms is going to result in too many corpses. Relying on terrorists to break unrelated laws in order to stop them is just unacceptable.
Posted by: phil_b || 03/20/2004 4:36 Comments || Top||

#3  bet even if the spaniards had nabbed em a year before the human rights fuckwits would have demanded his release and kicked up an out of proportion fuss over it
Posted by: Jon Shep U.K || 03/20/2004 4:51 Comments || Top||

Re #2 ... as the UK found when dealing with the IRA ...

Illegal immigrants may be deported without much ado. As the USA found after September 11, hundreds of illegal Moslem immigrants may be deported in a few weeks with minimal legal proceedings if there is a will to do it.
Posted by: Mike Sylwester || 03/20/2004 6:10 Comments || Top||

Re #3 "... the human rights fuckwits would have ... kicked up a ... fuss ..."

The possible silver lining on the dark cloud of the Socialists' election victory is that if a Socialist government decides that Spain ought to enforce its laws against Moslem illegal immigrants, then there won't be much fuss of that kind."
Posted by: Mike Sylwester || 03/20/2004 6:15 Comments || Top||

#6  The Spanish government did not even have to try and convict these illegal immigrants of selling stolen cellphones. The Spanish government knew who they were and simply could have deported the illegal residents without proving anything else at all. The wiretapping and surveillance of the legal residents could have continued without being exposed.
Posted by: Mike Sylwester || 03/20/2004 6:22 Comments || Top||

#7  Deport them? Where, to Morocco? What did the Moroccans do to deserve that? Would you feel comfortable deporting Atta if we had arrested him prior to his little caper?
Posted by: virginian || 03/20/2004 7:59 Comments || Top||

#8  I think this is a major flaw in our current law enforcement systems, like CIA and FBI. They value collecting information more than they do using the information to accomplish its intended purpose....law enforcement.

Sort of like when good citizens call law enforcement and ask them to clear their previously quiet and happy neighborhoods from a new group of drug dealers who recently moved in. Rather than just doing a few sweeps to rid the neighborhood of the culprits, the FBI steps in and decides they want to go after the big fishes, with the idea that the little fishes aren't worth their time.

So, instead of cleaning up the street, they allow the drug dealing to continue for years as they pursue their investigation. Meantime, the street gets worse, more kids get hooked, law abiding citizens leave the neighborhood, and the drug networks firmly entrench themselves with a complex network.

All the while, the FBI watches, and waits, going after bigger and bigger fishes. But by the time they finally bust anyone worthwhile, the neighborhood is so "hooked" into the drug world, the removal of one king pin just doesn't matter anymore. The neighborhood was long since lost.

That, IMHO, is what went wrong in the fight against the terrorist networks.
Posted by: B || 03/20/2004 10:08 Comments || Top||

#9  Mike, I am sorry but yours is a seriously dangerous and vacuous argument. If the Madrid bombers hadnt committed some fairly minor crimes, are you arguing that nothing should have been done to stop them?

The reality is that AQ and its other manifestations hasnt yet reached the level of sophistication of the IRA where the minor law breakers were firewalled from the hard boyz who did the bombing and shooting. But AQ etc will figure it out!
Posted by: phil_b || 03/20/2004 10:20 Comments || Top||

If the Madrid bombers hadn't committed some fairly minor crimes, are you arguing that nothing should have been done to stop them?

Why do you think I'm arguing that? Go back and read what I wrote. I'm arguing that it would be a huge improvement if Spain would start to aggressively enforce ordinary immigration and criminal laws against Moslems in Spain.

Deport them, so that if they blow up more trains, it will be in Morocco, not Spain.
Posted by: Mike Sylwester || 03/20/2004 11:35 Comments || Top||

#11  Enforcing the laws has its place. Bust their chops on immigration, petty theft, jaywalking, etc., and you can disrupt their comm and planning to some extent. And you never know when you'll get lucky and nab a big boy.

My anger at the Kerry position (such as it is until he flips again) is that he seems to think that this is ALL you need to do -- and since he's been happy to hobble the intel community in the past, one wonders just exactly what "law enforcement" will be able to do under a Kerry administration.

I rather wish GWB would get out there more and talk about the integrated, pro-active approach: intel AND law enforcement AND special ops AND diplomacy AND finances AND military operations AND int'l cooperation where it's useful. GWB needs to offer a clear contrast, and he needs to be explicit about selling it.
Posted by: Steve White || 03/20/2004 12:13 Comments || Top||

Great White North
Khadr Family Continues to Fail At Everything -- Terrorism, Spying, Getting Paid
A Canadian man recently released from Guantanamo Bay in Cuba has been telling the BBC how he worked there undercover for the CIA. Abdurahman Khadr, the son of alleged former senior al-Qaeda member Ahmed Said, is now back in his native Canada. He left Guantanamo because he did not believe he was accomplishing his task - to identify al-Qaeda members and get them to give away information. Mr Khadr was initially detained in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taleban, and was first interviewed by British forces. He told the BBC he was held in a "series of jails" before agreeing to work with the CIA in Pakistan. "That didn’t work out, and they decided to send me to Cuba to work for them there." .... Mr Khadr said he was handed over to the American troops on 12 March, 2003. He said he had two main objectives. The first was to recognise people and identify which were considered terrorists and which were innocent civilians. He said he managed to identify some of the Guantanamo inmates. His second objective was to get suspected al-Qaeda members to talk to him. .... But he said he had little success at this. "They put me next to one person, and he was as stubborn with me as he was with them." ....
Sounds like they fingered him for a stoolie from the start — or that he was doubled...
Asked how many of the inmates were real terrorists, Mr Khadr said: "Eighty per cent were innocent. "Ten per cent were ’stubborns’, who should be there and should be kept there forever, and 10% are people that might do something if they got out." .... He claims the CIA promised he would be paid $3,000 for every month he worked undetected, plus a $5,000 bonus - but he was revealing his story because he had still not been paid anything. ....
Posted by: Mike Sylwester || 03/20/2004 6:58:50 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [305 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Announcing to the world you're a snitch sounds like a good way to get killed.
Posted by: RussSchultz || 03/20/2004 9:28 Comments || Top||

#2  One can only hope. Why the BBC is interviewing this jerk is beyond me (well, just about everything the BBC does disgusts me recently!)
Posted by: Tony (UK) || 03/20/2004 13:51 Comments || Top||

#3  His second objective was to get suspected al-Qaeda members to talk to him. .... But he said he had little success at this.

Must've been his using "CIA" as every third word...
Posted by: Pappy || 03/20/2004 15:40 Comments || Top||

Home Front: WoT
Terror Advisor proud of his personal failure
EFL hattip drudge
President Bush’s former top terrorism advisor says the president isn’t doing the best job fighting terrorism. The former advisor, Richard Clarke, discusses this and other observations he made while he was a White House insider in an interview with Lesley Stahl to be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday March 21 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
He’s a FORMER terrorism advisor for good reason - as noted below.
The top counter-terrorism advisor, Clarke was briefing the highest government officials, including President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, in the aftermath of 9/11. "Rumsfeld was saying we needed to bomb Iraq....We all said, ’but no, no. Al Qaeda is in Afghanistan," recounts Clarke, "and Rumsfeld said, ’There aren’t any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq.’ I said, ’Well, there are lots of good targets in lots of places, but Iraq had nothing to do with [the 9/11 attacks],’" he tells Stahl. Clarke, who advised four presidents, reveals more about the current administration’s reaction to terrorism in his new book, "Against All Enemies."
So he advised four presidents while AQ grew. Under his watchful eye and brilliant anaylsis, he raised no alarms re: the years of planning that resulted in the worst attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor. You failed miserably in your job, loser. It’s obvious to anyone who isn’t a partisan that you should have been fired long before Bush did it.
Posted by: B || 03/20/2004 1:27:41 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [334 views] Top|| File under:

#1  For me, this war has been ongoing since at least as far back as the Iran hostage crisis in 1979. A large part of the reason 9/11 happened is because we allowed it to happen; and that, in turn, was a result of our refusal to believe that a sizeable chunk of the Islamic world--if not all of it--considered itself at war with us.

As much as I approved of the rest of Ronald Reagan's actions as president, he deserves as much blame for shortsightedness about the Islamic threat as his predecessor or any of his successors.

And through all 25 years of head-in-the-sand neglect, this Richard Clarke clown was there giving bad advice.

Bye bye, Richard. Maybe you could land that new job as EU Terror Czar...
Posted by: Dave D. || 03/20/2004 13:45 Comments || Top||

#2  Couldn't agree more, Dave.
If only Jimmuh Cartuh had given a muscular response to the Iranian hostage crisis, there would have been no 9/11 and the situation we face today.
Same goes for Reagan pulling us out of Lebanon after the Beirut bombing of the Marine barracks.
But that was then, this is now and we're finally confronting IslamoFascism.
Dick Clarke is another of the Left's Useful Idiot and I, for one, am sick and tired of these ex-admin officials getting fired and then being more than happy to "tell tales out of school" to the Lying Liberal Left media about our current Administration while the country's at war!
Posted by: Jen || 03/20/2004 13:54 Comments || Top||

#3  I had much the same reaction as the posted commentary here -- what's THIS guy doing talking about the Bush team's terrorism record?

Every time I see the "AQ could not have a tie to Iraq" formula, it's literally scary. In a passage not quoted here but getting TV play, Clarke says the FBI and CIA disputed any AQ tie to Iraq -- huh? Not sure how the FBI would even have a knowledgeable view, but of course CIA judged as of fall '02 that there had been AQ/Iraq cooperation. Clarke's narrative, at least as quoted, is at odds with very public info.

In the passage cited above, he also makes an astounding assertion -- that he knew, soon after 9/11, that Iraq had no role. How did he know that?

Besides this, of course, Rummy & Co. quickly took down AQ and friends in Afghanistan -- making Clarke's quote look even sillier.

And lastly, how rich and illustrative is it that Clarke and the Clinton crew are saying they provided the incoming Bushies with stark warnings. It doesn't bear on whether or not the pre-9/11 Bush record merits criticism, but to highlight how much you warned the new crew after having been at the helm for 8 YEARS without taking effective action .... wow.
Posted by: IceCold || 03/20/2004 14:51 Comments || Top||

#4  Clarke's a weathervane with no credibility. When it was fashionable to criticize Clinton, after Afghanistan but before Iraq, he criticized Clinton. Now that it's fashionable to criticize Bush, he's criticizing Bush. The sad thing is that this guy kept on getting kicked upstairs every time he screwed up.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 03/20/2004 15:48 Comments || Top||

A Day in the Life of Donald Rumsfeld
Sworn in as the 21st secretary of defense on Jan. 20, 2001, Donald Rumsfeld has had a career that has taken him from the cockpit of a Navy fighter plane to the top spot at the Pentagon. In between, Rumsfeld has made successful pit stops in Congress and at the White House. He said he rarely gets burned out, except on the really long diplomatic missions. "The only time I ever really feel it is if I go a long period without exercise," Rumsfeld said. "The other risk factor for me is relaxing. Once you relax, you wind down and then it’s hard to get cranked back up again."
Instead of using the humongous desk (Black Jack Pershing’s) in his office Don uses the same standup secretary he has had since 1969. He says that sitting makes him loggie.
In a week that marks the one-year anniversary of the war in Iraq, Rumsfeld, considered one of the most intriguing figures in Washington, D.C., gave Fox News unprecedented access to view him in action throughout his daily schedule.

I watched the Bret Baier hour long special that was simular to s CSPAN special that shadowed Victoria Clarke. Overall the CSPAN piece was superior - it included short segments with Pete Pace, Myers, Rumsfeld and others - but the Fox Special is worth watching if it reruns over the weekend.
Here are some highlights:

His take on the Spanish situation is that the race had been closing for weeks prior to the election. The view that the terrorists changed the election result may be fallacious but because it is a pervasive opinion it is an important perception. He opines, "weakness is provocative." He implies that the Sec Def job was simpler during the Cold War but that weakness was provocation then as well.

Instead of micromanaging Rumsfeld uses meetings to inspire idea memos called snowflakes. On the day of the interview Rumsfeld generated 40 - a light day - but rolled out 108 on another day last week. His secretary should market an aerobic exercise video.

Wolfowitz and he go together to big things than split for complementary tasks. (Getting down in the mud = fighting bureaucracy.)

He has the famous satellite picture of the Korean power grid mounted under the glass of his coffee table as a tribute to the many thousands of US and Allied who gave their life in an effort that has resulted in millions of Koreans living in light instead of darkness. The parallel to Iraq is obvious.

His wife Joyce does all the driving so that he can read.

72 in July, Rumsfeld regularly plays and beats one of his thirty something aides in squash. The aide played on the Naval Academy squash team an characterizes Rumsfeld’s game as a cerebral attack.

He describes the President as available, interested and engaged. As an illustration Rumsfeld says that it is not unusual for Bush 40 questions in 30 minutes to crystallize the direction he wants to head. Bush then steps out of the process and lets it proceed, monitors the process through periodic updates and changes direction based on results. Rumsfeld thinks that Bush’s executive experience has made Bush more effective faster than he implies Ford was.

Rumsfeld considers a cabinet level appointment to be more demanding that being a CEO of a corporation because investors monitor results through quarterly reports but presidential policy decisions are immediately analyzed when they are or before they are announced and second guessed to death well before they are implemented.

He says that the interrogations following the Iraq War have offered a unique opportunity to generate the flip-side of Lessons Learned. Military planners are getting an excellent picture of whether they actually predicted correctly the rationalizations and decision-making processes of the opposing force.
Posted by: Super Hose || 03/20/2004 12:41:47 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [306 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Does jock itch ever go away on its own?
Posted by: Anonymous || 03/20/2004 12:58 Comments || Top||

#2  Try Desinex. It worked for me once.
Posted by: Super Hose || 03/20/2004 13:08 Comments || Top||

#3  Torch your pubes with lighter fluid; it worked for Richard Pryor.
Posted by: Raj || 03/20/2004 13:23 Comments || Top||

#4  Try gargling with Summer's Eve, Boris.
Posted by: Dar || 03/20/2004 13:25 Comments || Top||

#5  LOL guys--Boris would know about a lot about hard-to-get-rid-of bacteria in that he is the equivalent of cyber jock itch here at RB...

I love Donald Rumsfeld! He never disappoints and, in fact, delights me almost daily with his fabulousness.
What a man!
Rummy/Rudy 2008!
Posted by: Jen || 03/20/2004 14:05 Comments || Top||

#6  Jump into a barrel of diesel-fuel.

I love the detail about the desk!
Posted by: Evert Visser in NL || 03/20/2004 15:34 Comments || Top||

US Drops Charges Against Guantanamo Muslim Chaplain
The U.S. military on Friday dropped all criminal charges against Muslim Army chaplain Capt. James Yee, who ministered to Guantanamo Bay prisoners, marking the final collapse of the espionage case against him. Miami-based U.S. Southern Command said the Army abandoned charges of mishandling classified information, as well as lesser charges of adultery and storing pornographic material on a government computer, stemming from Yee’s work at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In all, the military had brought six counts against Yee. Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the commander of the prison facility at Guantanamo where the United States houses about 610 foreign terrorism suspects, dismissed the charges, citing national security concerns that would arise from the release of the evidence, Southern Command said in a statement.

"They collapsed. Chaplain Yee has won his case," Yee’s civilian lawyer, Eugene Fidell, told Reuters. "This represents a long overdue vindication. In our view, he’s entitled to an apology and we’ll be looking forward to receiving one." Asked if Yee would get an apology, Col. Bill Costello, a Southern Command spokesman, said, "Hell I don’t know."

Yee, 36, was arrested on Sept. 10, 2003, at Jacksonville Naval Air Station in Florida as he arrived back in the United States from Guantanamo, and military authorities accused him in a court document of spying, mutiny, sedition, aiding the enemy and espionage. But even as Yee spent 76 days in a Navy brig in South Carolina -- much of it in leg irons and handcuffs -- the Army never brought espionage-related charges against him. Yee, who also uses the first name Yousef, is a 1990 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. Raised a Lutheran in New Jersey, the Chinese American converted to Islam while in the Army at about the same time he served in Saudi Arabia after the 1991 Gulf War. Southern Command said Yee will face nonjudicial proceedings on the allegations relating to adultery and storing pornography in a step that does not involve criminal charges.
Posted by: Paul Moloney || 03/20/2004 1:00:41 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [300 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The key words here are "national security concerns."
The Gov'ment obviously has bigger fish to fry than Yee.
(I personally suspect a larger Justice Dept. investigation of the Saudi-funded infiltration of the U.S. military chaplains (and maybe our prison systems, too) by Wahhab clerics.)
Posted by: Jen || 03/20/2004 3:00 Comments || Top||

#2  Please tell me the government's going to start talking about how cooperative Yee's been. Nothing else could convince the Islamists he's turned faster than that.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/20/2004 11:38 Comments || Top||

#3  Time for a sock party.
Posted by: ed || 03/20/2004 13:27 Comments || Top||

An endorsement Mel Gibson didn’t need ...
Arafat aid compares The Passion of the Christ to current Palestinian suffering

Yasser Arafat watched Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ on Saturday, and afterward a top aide compared Jesus’ pain during crucifixion to the suffering of Palestinians in the conflict with Israel.
Damn you! Now I know how John Kerry must feel after scoring the endorsements of two Third World dictators and a terrorist fellater!
Nabil Abu Rdeneh, one of Arafat’s closest advisers, watched the film along with the veteran Palestinian leader and a group of American and European Christians and Palestinian Muslim clerics.
’Course, Islam has its own problem with the movie ... instead of God having "love for humankind" and so sending His only begotten Son to die for our sins, their Allah shuffled "Isa" off to paradise and left a random ’bystander’ to die in his place ... and somehow people complain about the God seen in the movie. *snort*
"The Palestinians are still daily being exposed to the kind of pain Jesus was exposed to during his crucifixion," Abu Rdeneh said in a statement after he viewed the movie.
How many times can I debunk thee? Let me count the ways ... For the record, I won’t go back on my opinion of the movie and what it’s doing - overwhelmingly, almost unanimously positive - but wait til the media gets word of this ...
P.S. Didn’t it just pass The Matrix: Reloaded as the biggest R-rated movie of all time?
P.P.S. The typo in the title is from the original article.
Posted by: Edward Yee || 03/20/2004 8:19:53 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [488 views] Top|| File under:

#1  His next movie supposed to be about Massada.
Word on the street sez it's gonna be called:
The Jews Are Revolting.
Posted by: Shipman || 03/20/2004 20:49 Comments || Top||

#2  Shipman: His next movie supposed to be about Massada. Word on the street sez it's gonna be called: The Jews Are Revolting.

Actually, it's going to be about Hanukkah. Same title, though
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 03/20/2004 21:24 Comments || Top||

#3  The Masada confusion may have been caused by me. I hadn't realized the span of time between the two events. Mea culpa.
Posted by: eLarson || 03/20/2004 21:43 Comments || Top||

#4  The Hamas version should have Jesus strapping on a suicide bomb and...
Posted by: mhw || 03/20/2004 21:48 Comments || Top||

#5  Yasser just liked the part where the jew was tortured and then killed.
Posted by: Super Hose || 03/20/2004 21:50 Comments || Top||

#6  Hannukah to the birth of Jesus? About 200 years, and Masada, at least vs. the Romans, was about 70 AD.
Posted by: Edward Yee || 03/20/2004 22:22 Comments || Top||

#7  just who went into the Ramallah aquarium asking who's opinion about a Christian religious movie? I'd like to know Bandar's view too, think I could get an interview?
Posted by: Frank G || 03/20/2004 22:36 Comments || Top||

#8  I'd like to know what OBL thought of the movie as well.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/20/2004 23:19 Comments || Top||

Jordan disclaims sending Special Forces to Afghanistan
Jordanian Government disclaimed news saying ßthat Afghani security sources said that Jordanian Special Forces soldiers are in southeastern Afghanistan to participate in the operations against Al-Qaeda. Official speaker of the Jordanian Government Asma Al-Khedher asserted Friday that Jordan is playing mere humanitarian role in Afghanistan through the field hospital and the force that protects it in Mazar Al-Sharif city, which is hundreds of kilometers far from the Afghani-Pakistani borders.
Hmmm... We've heard that "humanitarian" story before. Guess it works both ways...
A news agency quoted an Afghani source, who denied identification, as saying that "100 soliders of the Jordanian Special Forces arrived earlier this week to participate in the operations against Al-Qaeda".
The source added, "the mission of these forces is to join the foreign fighters in Al-Qaeda heavily existing in the borders area". The source also noted that "the American Army is launching a psychological war by spreading false information on Taliban and Al-Qaeda networks to confuse them".
Posted by: TS || 03/20/2004 17:23 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [428 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Does jock itch ever go away on its own?
Posted by: Anonymous || 03/20/2004 22:21 Comments || Top||

CS - Physical Effects of Car Bombs on the Body
Posted by: Super Hose || 03/20/2004 15:10 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [344 views] Top|| File under:

#1  SH--Good link. Thanks!
Posted by: Dar || 03/20/2004 15:32 Comments || Top||

Afghanistan/South Asia
U.S. Chopper Attacks Pakistan by Mistake, Wounds 3
A U.S. helicopter gunship mistakenly strayed into Pakistani territory from Afghanistan while chasing militants and wounded three civilians in an attack, a Pakistani security official said on Saturday. Villagers in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region on the Afghan border said one person was also killed in the Friday night raid but the region's security chief said no one was killed.
"Look! Look! They killed me! I'm dead!"
"Shuddup. You ain't dead."
"The helicopter entered Pakistan due to a navigational error," the security official, Mehmood Shah, told Reuters. "Three civilians were injured."
Anyone we know?
Villagers said the helicopter fired on a van, wounding the three, than made a second attack in which one person was killed. Body parts had been found at the scene of the second attack, they said.
I'll wait for the DNA analysis.
Posted by: Steve White || 03/20/2004 12:27:56 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [345 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Does jock itch ever go away on its own?
Posted by: Anonymous || 03/20/2004 12:37 Comments || Top||

#2  Apparently not, you're still here.
Posted by: Damn_Proud_American || 03/20/2004 12:52 Comments || Top||

#3  Try cutting off your 'nads; see if that works...
Posted by: Raj || 03/20/2004 12:57 Comments || Top||

#4  Raj - assumes he has any. I seriously doubt it...
Posted by: PBMcL || 03/20/2004 13:41 Comments || Top||

#5  Umm - I'm thinking its something worst than Jock Itch that you caught at the 2am rest stop rendezvous. I doubt penicillin will help.

Why does nude beaches and nude work pop up so much on a Google Group search with your name?
Posted by: Yosemite Sam || 03/20/2004 19:06 Comments || Top||

Al Aqsa Apologizes for Arab Man's Slaying
A jogger killed by Palestinian militants in a drive-by shooting was an Arab college student mistaken by the assailants for a Jew, the victim's father and militants said Saturday. George Khoury, 21, was shot dead Friday evening in a Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem that borders the West Bank. The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, an armed group linked to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the shooting. It apologized for the slaying on Saturday after the victim was identified as an Arab.
Despite the apology, George is still doorknocker dead.
The militant group told the family that it considers the young man a Palestinian martyr, a title given to those killed in the conflict with Israel, including suicide bombers, said Zacariyya Zubeidi, head of an Al Aqsa cell in the West Bank town of Jenin and one of Israel's most-wanted militants. "The family remained angry, and it's their right to be angry, but we consider him one of the many martyrs that fall every day," Zubeidi told The Associated Press. "This is a war between us and Israel, and it is natural for there to be accidental victims."
"Wudn't our fault he looked like a Jooooo!"
Khoury was one of dozens of Arabs among the more than 940 people killed on the Israeli side since Israeli-Palestinian fighting broke out in September 2000. Most of the Arabs were killed in suicide bombings in buses, malls and restaurants, while some were victims of mistaken identity. In the same period, more than 2,700 people were killed on the Palestinian side. Khoury's father, Elias, said Saturday that he hoped his son was the last victim. "This has to stop," he told Israel Radio. "I wished the victims of the recent days could be the last ones, and bring the leaders on both sides to reason."
Won't happen. It's much easier to bump people off than it is to actually think up positions and negotiate on them...
George Khoury was a second year student of economics and international relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In high school, he participated in several international gatherings on religious tolerance, his father said. The victim's grandfather, Daoud, was killed in a 1975 bombing attack by Palestinian militants in downtown Jerusalem, Elias Khoury said.
Wonder if George was pulling away from the family tradition, or just putting it on hold?
Posted by: Steve White || 03/20/2004 12:19:22 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [426 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Bet they take back the apology when they learn he was a Christian.
Posted by: ed || 03/20/2004 12:32 Comments || Top||

#2  That's great--kill your own, call the victim a martyr, and blame the Joooos. Yes, these people are definitely ready for their own country.
Posted by: Dar || 03/20/2004 13:33 Comments || Top||

#3  "This is a war between us and Israel, and it is natural for there to be accidental victims."

Hypocrites. Everyone inadvertently killed by the Israelis was "murdered in cold blood."
Posted by: Korora || 03/20/2004 14:47 Comments || Top||

#4  Khoury's father, Elias, said Saturday that he hoped his son was the last victim. "This has to stop," he told Israel Radio. "I wished the victims of the recent days could be the last ones, and bring the leaders on both sides to reason."

His loss notwithstanding, this guy needs to get a clue and dispense with this "both sides" bullshit.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 03/20/2004 18:08 Comments || Top||

#5  State Farm of Ummah provides a handsome stipend for the family of the bomber but the family of the innocent victims get the shaft.
Posted by: Super Hose || 03/20/2004 20:55 Comments || Top||

#6  Obviously, the Al Aqsa Martyr's Gang needs to improve on their racial profiling technique.
Posted by: GK || 03/20/2004 22:15 Comments || Top||

U.S. Helicopter Is Shot Down in Iraq
A U.S. military helicopter was downed by rebel fire west of Baghdad, but there were no injuries, the U.S. military said Saturday. The downing occurred Friday near Amariya, south of Fallujah, said Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the U.S. military's deputy director of operations. Insurgents are active in the area. "Both pilots were recovered without injury and forces secured the crash site and completed recovery efforts," Kimmitt said. On Friday, Spc. Justin McCue, a military spokesman in Baghdad, said a military OH-58 Kiowa helicopter made a precautionary landing because of mechanical problems in Amariya, and that both pilots were uninjured. It was not immediately clear whether Kimmitt was referring to the same helicopter cited by McCue.
Time for another sweep in Fallujah!
Posted by: Steve White || 03/20/2004 9:37:56 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [300 views] Top|| File under:

Japanese Troops Cross Border Into Iraq
About 130 Japanese troops crossed the border into Iraq on Saturday to join a humanitarian mission in the southern city of Samawah. The soldiers entered Iraq in a 50-vehicle convoy of armored personnel carriers, trucks and an ambulance. They were expected to arrive in Samawah in the afternoon, task force official Lt. Col. Shigeru Yamasaki said. In Samawah, the 130 soldiers will join 200 other Japanese working to purify the water supplies and rebuild the infrastructure. Tokyo has committed 1,000 military personnel, including air and naval forces, to the reconstruction of Iraq. Japan's noncombatant mission in Iraq is the country's largest foreign military deployment since World War II. The government says it has a responsibility to the international community to help rebuild Iraq after the war that toppled Saddam Hussein's regime in April.
Posted by: Steve White || 03/20/2004 12:17:52 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [302 views] Top|| File under:

#1  And the libs are always saying it's only the BIG BAD USA that's involved and that we should get out--that there's no "coalition." Right.
Posted by: ex-lib || 03/20/2004 13:06 Comments || Top||

Africa: Subsaharan
Annan: Burundi Needs U.N. Peacekeepers
U.N. peacekeepers should be deployed in Burundi to help end a decade of civil war, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Friday. In a report to the Security Council, Annan recommended a U.N. force of 5,650 troops be sent to take over for African Union peacekeepers, whose mission there ends in April.
The whole f'ing continent needs peacekeepers.
The African Union's 2,523 troops and 43 military observers played a crucial role by creating the necessary atmosphere for parties to join the political process, Annan said. "Yet the Burundian population continues to live in fear ... of abuse and abject poverty, and in the fear that the upcoming elections will result in turmoil," he said. Elections are due in less than eight months. The council is scheduled to hold consultations on Burundi next week.
I hear the Spanish have troops available for this.
Posted by: Steve White || 03/20/2004 12:25:05 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [304 views] Top|| File under:

#1  These morons don't seem to understand that if they spend their time telling us how much they hate us, we're not going to be real motivated to spend blood and treasure rescuing the basket cases of the world.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 03/20/2004 15:28 Comments || Top||

Afghanistan/South Asia
TCS says Kill the Bastard!
Posted by: Super Hose || 03/20/2004 11:49 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [308 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Article has an excellent point well made.

I believe we are better off capturing (for intelligence) the "middle management". Their anonymity will prevent much of the excesses Bennett describes.

Better off for all of us if we simply kill the cannon fodder and upper management on the battlefield.
Posted by: Carl in NH || 03/20/2004 11:59 Comments || Top||

#2  battlefield? Kill them wherever they're found. A sniper's bullet would do better to "show how his mind works" ...or doesn't... heh heh
Posted by: Frank G || 03/20/2004 12:12 Comments || Top||

#3  Who cares what information they may or may not possess? KILL EVERY ONE OF THE SONS-OF-BITCHES YOU SEE, AS SOON AS YOU SEE 'EM.

The only good muslim....is a dead muslim.
Posted by: Texan || 03/20/2004 13:04 Comments || Top||

#4  Gotta go with my fellow Texan on this one--we can't use torture (Dammit! I hate it that the US is so humane!) and without that, these dirtbags aren't going to tell us anything.
Don't take 'em alive!
Posted by: Jen || 03/20/2004 14:09 Comments || Top||

#5  Actually, I'm more inclined to say "Kill them all".
Posted by: Old Patriot || 03/20/2004 16:28 Comments || Top||

#6  We have ways of breaking down prisoners without using torture.

However, a high-profile prisoner would prevent our using the techniques, because they would be painted in the worst way imaginable by the media. This is exactly why we are not yet learning much from Saddam Hussein.

So, go after the mid-level no-names, who can lead us to other cells and parts of the organization, and who are of no interest to the "human rights" folks.

And, by "battlefield", I meant kill them without capturing them first. A JDAM through a window while they sleep at their home is fine by me...
Posted by: Carl in NH || 03/20/2004 21:01 Comments || Top||

US forces repel attack on Afghan border base
US and Afghan forces repelled a major attack on a base on the Afghan-Pakistan border, leaving at least three suspected Taliban or al-Qaeda fighters dead, an Afghan military commander said today. Afghan Militia Force commander Zakim Khan said the militants had fled from the Pakistani tribal belt where the military has launched a major operation to hunt down al-Qaeda and Taliban fugitives, cornering up to 400 fighters. "This group had came from Pakistan and fled back to Pakistan after the fighting," he said. "Three al-Qaeda fighters were killed and we believe seven to eight of them were wounded."
The dead guys are now cavorting with flat-chested 12-year-olds, of course. The maimed guys get to go through life with people calling them "Stumpy" and lugging around colostomy bags. I like that part. Good advertising against jihad as a way of life.
The insurgents attacked the base with about 20 rockets and machine guns, Khan said, adding there were no coalition injuries. Khan commands a border regiment based in Lwara, in southeastern Paktika province across the border from South Waziristan, where thousands of Pakistani troops are hunting suspected al-Qaeda forces.
Wow! Wotta coincidence!
It was attacked last night by "an extremely large" number of Taliban and al-Qaeda militants who crossed from Pakistan and later fled back across the porous frontier, Khan said.
"Spit! It's the fire! Back into the frying pan, guys!"
"We replied with fire and the US helicopters responded during the fighting which started at 8pm local time and lasted until midnight." Yesterday, a Taliban source said 50 al-Qaeda operatives had fled across the border into Afghanistan is a result of the Pakistani operation.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/20/2004 9:51:29 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [314 views] Top|| File under:

#1  They just don't make major attacks like they used to... 3 dead. Makes it sound like the battle of Olustee was akin to Verdun.
Posted by: Shipman || 03/20/2004 20:06 Comments || Top||

#2  Is this area of Afghanistan so densely populated that you can't give the jihadis some Little Big Horn action. 3 dead and the rest escape, how did these guys ever defeat the Soviets?
Posted by: Super Hose || 03/20/2004 21:10 Comments || Top||

Pakistan captures 100 al-Qaeda
Pakistan's military has arrested more than 100 suspects in a five-day assault on militants holed up in mud fortresses along the border where al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri is believed trapped, a commander said Saturday.
I think I've come to the conclusion he's not there, or that he's beat it by now...
Those detained included foreigners and the local Pashtun tribesmen who have been sheltering them, said Lt. Gen. Safdar Hussain, who is in charge of the sweep. Hussain said 400 to 500 militants are believed to still be fighting from within the heavily fortified compounds, using mortars, AK-47s, rockets and hand-grenades in a face-off with troops.
Konduz redux.
``These people have been here for a long, long time. They are extremely professional fighters,'' he said. ``They have tremendous patience before they open fire.''
I suggest the massive application of airpower. Does wonders on mud fortresses.
The military showed journalists 40 prisoners, all blindfolded and with their hands tied, who were sitting under heavy guard in the back of a military truck in Wana, the main town in the tribal South Waziristan region, where the battle was raging. The army also displayed the body of one suspected militant wrapped in a white blanket. Hussain said troops were convinced the compounds held a ``high-value'' target, but he said they had no confirmation the man was al-Zawahri.
DEBKA sez it's a local muckety-muck. I think it used to be Zawahiri and the muckety-muck, and now it's just the local turban with the cannon fodder left to be burned.
He said the militants attacked his troops from all directions during an initial assault Tuesday in which the bulk of the 17 army casualties were killed. ``It's practically like chasing a shadow,'' he said. The resistance we're facing is tremendous.'' As he spoke, Cobra attack helicopters hovered overhead, some swooping toward the battle zone. Brig. Mahmood Shah, the chief of security for tribal areas in northwestern Pakistan, said the fierce fighting, heavy fortifications and other intelligence led authorities to believe al-Zawahri might be among the militants. He said authorities had gotten ``one or two reports'' that the al-Qaida No. 2 had been in the area in the recent past. An Afghan intelligence official with connections in Pakistan's tribal region also told AP that al-Zawarhi was believed in the area of the Pakistan operation, in South Waziristan. Osama bin Laden is believed farther north, in North Waziristan, across from the region of the Afghan border city of Khost, the official said. There was no firm intelligence on the terror chief's exact location, however.
The MMA, of course, is turning itself inside out, trying to get this whole thing turned off. But we knew which side they were on before, didn't we?
Loud explosions and gunfire could be heard early Saturday in Gangikhel village, a hamlet of simple mud dwellings just west of Wana. Previous fighting in Kaloosha, Azam Warsak and Shin Warsak was closer to the border with Afghanistan. Shah told AP that some of the prisoners had already been taken for interrogation to the provincial capital, Peshawar. Security officials said the men included Pakistanis, Arabs, Chechens, Uzbeks and ethnic Uighurs from China's predominantly Muslim Xinjiang province, where a separatist movement is simmering. No senior al-Qaida leaders were believed to be among them, but authorities hoped they would provide a better picture of the terrorists' heavily fortified lair. At least 80 ethnic Uzbek Islamic militants, led by Qari Tahir Yaldash, a Taliban ally and deputy of slain Uzbek leader Juma Namangani reportedly are in the Waziristan region. Namangani was killed during the U.S.-led coalition's assault on Afghanistan that began in late 2001.
Yaldash would be a nice trophy. I'd rather see him dead than alive, not that my preferences count...
``Our people are interrogating them to determine who these terrorists are,'' Shah said. ``Some of them are foreigners.''
Do tell? Thought there weren't any in Waziristan?
Fighting stopped Friday evening, but troops later began firing artillery guns, an intelligence official in Wana said. Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan said the Pakistani forces were joined by ``a dozen or so'' American intelligence agents in the ongoing operation. U.S. satellites, Predator drones and other surveillance equipment hovered overhead.
... just yearning for a bite of meat.
Sultan put the number of troops killed in the operation at 17, most in the disastrous initial assault on Tuesday. But other military and intelligence officials said many more had died in the heaviest fighting on Thursday and Friday, and about a dozen soldiers are missing and feared taken hostage.
... or joined Cousin Ahmed on the other side.
Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayyat told AP that authorities hoped to wrap up the operation by Sunday afternoon, but Shah said the going was slow, with soldiers proceeding cautiously from house to house. ``We are trying to avoid collateral damage to the civilian population. It might take some time,'' he said.
Keep an eye out for those wedding parties, okay?
At the Rehman Medical Complex in Wana, two sisters--Haseena, 10, and Asmeena, 2--received first aid after being struck by shrapnel. The girls' 12-year-old brother, Din Mohammed, was killed when a shell landed near their house in the village of Kaga Panga. ``We were eating lunch and all of a sudden the shelling began and it hit our courtyard,'' Haseena said, her face bandaged. ``I loved my brother a lot. What did we do to deserve this?''
Bet the mean old soldiers tromped their baby ducks, too...
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/20/2004 9:35:19 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [320 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Does jock itch ever go away on its own?
Posted by: Anonymous || 03/20/2004 10:00 Comments || Top||

#2  apparently not
Posted by: Frank G || 03/20/2004 10:46 Comments || Top||

US fears Ayman's escaped
Thousands of Pakistani troops poured heavy fire into the mountain stronghold where Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda's No. 2 leader, may be hiding, but American officials fretted he may have gotten away.
If he was there in the first place...
American Predator drones hovered over the battlefield and about a dozen U.S. intelligence officers were helping the Pakistanis as the battle raged for the fourth day. Thousands of civilians poured out of the 20-square-mile area surrounded by about 7,000 soldiers, but little else was known about what was going on in the remote region along the Afghanistan border. "I don't know the situation today," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on CNN. "Pakistan has caused a lot of press attention, and it's not clear to me who's there, if anybody."
Maybe Qari Tahir. He'd still be a good catch. One can always hope...
"I know that today there have been pitched battles...and a fair amount of people being killed on both sides," said an intelligence officer. But as for Al-Zawahiri's fate, the official said, "We still don't know." Another intelligence source said American officials grew "increasingly skeptical" about the operation when Pakistani forces, awaiting reinforcements Thursday night, gave the Al Qaeda fighters a deadline to surrender. The deadline passed without any surrenders and the fighting resumed. "It seems to be reminiscent of what we saw in Afghanistan at Tora Bora," said the source. "Hesitation, negotiation, deadlines being given, exceeded, given again. It doesn't look all that hopeful," the source added. "It looks a lot softer right now."
It looks typically Pakistani, doesn't it?
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/20/2004 9:32:27 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [304 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Unfortunately, The Paks are still blind at night, and there are difficulties in getting them timely information that western countries may have. That and they are damned stubborn about doing this themselves.
Posted by: OldSpook || 03/20/2004 9:38 Comments || Top||

#2  My understanding is that the deadline was given at night for surrender by the following dawn. If that's the case that would make sense given that they don't have night fighting capability... it sounded bad when I first heard it but maybe it was just because they knew they couldn't run operations during that time anyway.
Posted by: Damn_Proud_American || 03/20/2004 9:49 Comments || Top||

#3  I doubt there is anything but a concentration of angry, simple (tho well armed) shepards. Same old crap. Good news is I suspect it cost a good deal for the real baddies to vamoose.
Posted by: Shipman || 03/20/2004 16:38 Comments || Top||

High-value target likely Chechen or Uzbek, may have escaped
A suspected senior al Qaeda member whom the Pakistani army thought it had surrounded in a remote border region is probably a Chechen or Uzbek militant leader, a commander said Saturday. "He is most probably a Chechen or Uzbek because all the intercepts we have been receiving have been in the Chechen or Uzbek language," Lieutenant-General Safder Hussain told reporters, referring to intercepted radio messages. Asked if the Chechen or Uzbek militant leader had escaped, Hussain said: "Maybe."
"All depends on who they know, doesn't it?"
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/20/2004 9:31:04 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [312 views] Top|| File under:

Pakistani Officials Have Begun Rescuing Wives of Mujahideen Fighters
From Jihad Unspun
In a move of desperation, Pakistani officials have begun arresting wife’s of Mujahideen fighters in the region in the hopes that under pressure they will providing useful intelligence. If either the Americans or Mushareef’s henchmen had any real intelligence, they wouldn’t be arresting the wife’s of foot soldiers.
Posted by: Mike Sylwester || 03/20/2004 6:31:40 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [294 views] Top|| File under:

Ayman al-Zawahri slips the net
Pakistani forces believe al Qaeda’s second in command may have escaped despite arresting 100 suspects. Troops have carried out sustained artillery and mortar fire on suspected al Qaeda fighters near the Afghanistan border. At first it was thought Osama bin Laden’s second in command, Ayman al-Zawahri, was among up to 400 militants holding out in the South Waziristan tribal area.
If you want a job done well...
Posted by: Lux || 03/20/2004 5:33:43 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [299 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Keep in mind that sky news also reported he surrendered early on. I've been hearing so many rumors from so many sources that I think at this point it's wise to discount everything until you have multiple source confirmation...
Posted by: Damn_Proud_American || 03/20/2004 8:01 Comments || Top||

#2  All i can say is that the only way to know he is not there is to know that he is somewhere else.

Posted by: Rawsnacks || 03/20/2004 12:35 Comments || Top||

#3  rawsnacks....say no more :-)
Posted by: B || 03/20/2004 12:48 Comments || Top||

#4  Same old BS. Paki trying to get in good with the US. Never mind. Not good enough. No F-16s for you.
Posted by: Shipman || 03/20/2004 16:40 Comments || Top||

#5  No F-16s for the Pakis EVER--Perv keeps launching nuke-capable ballistic missiles with longer and longer range and then there's AQ Khan...
The Paks must never have the planes to drop those nukes, no matter how much of an ally they are to us.
Posted by: Jen || 03/20/2004 17:08 Comments || Top||

Analysis of Sth Waziristan operations
Initially, the Government of Gen. Pervez Musharraf deployed mainly para-military forces, but of late, more and more regular troops have joined. This is partly under US pressure and partly on their own volition after the two attempts to assassinate Musharraf last year. The investigation into the assassination attempts has not made much progress except to identify the two suicide bombers who participated in the second attempt. The Pakistani authorities seem to suspect that the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) carried out the unsuccessful attempts at the instance of Al Qaeda. In a recent statement, Musharraf has claimed that the investigation so far has turned the needle of suspicion on an absconding Libyan member of Al Qaeda. As a result, there is now a realisation that unless these dregs are smoked out and killed or captured, they could make another attempt to kill Musharraf. Musharraf’s anger is particularly directed at Ayman al-Zawahiri, the No.2 to bin Laden, because of his anti-Musharraf message of last year.

As I had stated in my previous articles, there are two separate, but closely co-ordinated operations. One is on the Afghan side by a large number of US troops (estimated at about 2,000) aided by a small number of British and Afghan troops. The number of British involved is estimated to be around 500. No estimate is available of the number of Afghan troops involved. The other operation is on the Pakistani side with a total of 7,000 plus Army troops and para-military forces. There is no evidence so far of the entry into Pakistani territory of any American or British or Afghan troops. While there is no common military command and control, there is definitely a common intelligence command and control. The intelligence component of the hunt is led by the National Security Agency (NSA), the technical intelligence (TECHINT) agency of the US, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the USA’s Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA). The flow of human intelligence (HUMINT) has been very poor due to the following reasons:
* Lack of a well-trained professional police in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), of which South Waziristan is a part. In counter-terrorism operations, much of HUMINT comes from the police which has its ears closer to the ground than the Army and has better relations with the community than the Army. The hunt for bin Laden and other Al Qaeda dregs in this area does not have the benefit of such police back-up.

* While the Army units deployed in the area consist largely of recruits from outside FATA, the para-military units consist largely of local recruits, whose sympathies are with the local tribal communities.
Mahmud the Weasel’s comrades
Entire battalions of Mahmoud the Weasel clones...
* The local terrain offers very little scope for covert operations by intelligence agencies and special forces. The kind of unnoticed and unannounced operations that one can launch in built-up cities such as Karachi or Peshawar or elsewhere, one cannot in South Waziristan or anywhere else in the FATA.
If bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri are hiding in the South Waziristan area as is generally speculated about, there has to be a sizable number of Arabs--mainly Saudis, Yemenis and Egyptians---meant for their protection from the so-called 055 Brigade of Al Qaeda in the area. there are so far no reports of the presence of such a large number of Arabs in that area. According to available information, the foreigners present there (about 100, but Pakistani officials say 400) are mainly Chechens led by one Daniar, Uzbeks, led by Tahir Yuldesh, head of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and Uighurs from the Xinjiang province of China and the Central Asian Republics. Amongst the local tribal chiefs, Nek Mohammad, Sharif Khan, Nur Islam, Maulvi Abbas and Maulvi Aziz, have been in the forefront of the anti-Pakistani and anti-US resistance. While the Arabs of Al Qaeda, particularly those meant for the protection of bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri, have been discouraged by their supervisors from marrying local women, many of the Chechens, Uzbecks and Uighurs have married local women and produced children. The local tribals do not look upon them as foreigners. Instead, they look upon them as their own and are not prepared to co-operate with the Pakistani forces by handing them over. The widespread anti-American anger not only amongst the local people, but also amongst the personnel of the para-military forces and even in the lower and middle levels of the Army has also come in the way of effective action.

The Pakistani component of the operation has passed through the following stages: In the first stage, it was directed against specific tribals suspected of giving shelter to the dregs of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. In the second, it was directed against tribal chiefs who were not co-operating with the security forces in their hunt for foreign terrorists. In the third and present stage, it is directed against the foreign terrorists, the local tribals giving them shelter as well as against the non-cooperative tribal chiefs. Instead of creating a divide between the foreign terrorists and the locals, the high-minded manner [sic] in which the Pakistanis have been carrying out their operations has resulted in further strengthening the bonds of solidarity amongst the terrorists and their local supporters. There have been ferocious attacks on the Pakistani security forces, resulting in heavy casualties. The official figures of fatal casualties since March 16 are 15 members of the security forces and 26 suspected terrorists. Only two of the dead bodies of the suspected terrorists have been recovered, both Chechens. On the contrary, according to the local observers, the security forces have suffered more fatal casualties than the terrorists and their supporters. Moreover, at least 20 members of the security forces and some civilian officials have been taken hostage by the tribals.
Posted by: Paul Moloney || 03/20/2004 5:22:27 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [307 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "the para-military units consist largely of local recruits, whose sympathies are with the local tribal communities"

Dan darling reported a rumor the other day that the pro-AQ tribals were smashing the paramilitaries. Youd question if going to the trouble of conscripting them was worth it.OTOH, they apparently needed warm bodies for the cordon. One hopes that this wont result in high value individuals passing through the cordon. Report yesterday that 10 hostiles captured or killed attempting to escape, and report this AM of 100 captured. Presumably the hostiles cant tell who's a wavering para, and who's a Pak regular, till its too late.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 03/20/2004 6:37 Comments || Top||

#2  looking more and more like a bungled op unless the Paks are willing to let America step in and step in properly,not just a few US ground advisers but the full combined arms team style of ops.
Posted by: Jon Shep U.K || 03/20/2004 7:03 Comments || Top||

#3  I'll bet Perv is sweating artillery rounds. He knows that he has to produce, or the US, growing tired of the crap, will take unilateral action to end this farce. We cannot build a stable Afghanistan unless we can end the cross-border incursions. If that means standing back and blowing the hell out of both North and South Waziristan with JDAMS and iron bombs, so be it. This is war. It's time to step up the pressure on those that want to play around the edges, and stomp those that want to play hide-and-seek games. Three or four fully-loaded B-1s with JDAM munitions could turn those mud fortresses into dustpiles in just a LITTLE while. I think eventually Perv will have to ok their use, or find himself in an untenable position - between a rock (US military) and a hard place (militant muslims). Once we start, we need to finish the job, which includes shutting down all the madrassas and hanging the 'teachers' outside the front door.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 03/20/2004 13:06 Comments || Top||

#4  OP is right. This would require 1 forward air controller with GPS gear a few B-1s and this would be over. No prisoners, but no worry about anyone escaping.
Posted by: Anonymous || 03/20/2004 17:43 Comments || Top||

Africa: North
Saifi slipped the Chadian dragnet. Damn.
The second in command of Algeria's Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), Amari Saifi, has escaped a Chadian army dragnet and fled to Algeria's southern Sahara desert. Saifi, better known as Abderrezak the Para, who was said by diplomats to have fought alongside GSPC fighters in clashes with Chadian soldiers in Chad's northern Tibesti region last week, "survived the fighting, but one of his lieutenants, named Bilal, was killed," an African diplomat in Mali said. A Western military source in Bamako confirmed the report, saying that Abderrezak had been able to "return to the Algerian Sahara with a small group of followers".
He's short 43 flunkies, by all accounts. Any word on his kiddy bride?
The military source said he was surprised at the toll given by the Chadian government for the clashes in Tibesti. Last week, the government in Ndjamena said in a statement that 43 GSPC fighters -"nine Algerians, with the rest from Nigeria, Niger and Mali" - had been killed in the clashes with Chadian forces, which lost three men and had 18 injured. "According to us, no more than 15 Islamists were killed. And we want to see pictures of the prisoners allegedly taken by Chad," the military source said.
Think they might be exaggerating a bit, huh?
The radical Islamic group, the larger of two movements that have been fighting Algeria's secular government since 1992, has been hunted in at least three countries, but "that doesn't mean it has been eliminated, as some people tend to believe," said the African diplomat.
I'm not one of them. If Sahraoui and Saifi have started recruiting northern Nigerians, they have an awful lot of cannon fodder to draw on.
"We have to be very careful. The GSPC is in the process of reorganising, recruiting in the sub-region among poor people," he said. Niger government sources said last week the army had "driven the extremists out" of northern Niger in late February after they attacked a convoy of tourists.
But they'll be back. You can bet on that. This is only round one...
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/20/2004 12:52:38 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [318 views] Top|| File under:

Africa: Horn
UN sez Janjaweed's involved in war crimes
Mukesh Kapila, the United Nations' top official in Sudan, issued yesterday the strongest international warning yet about the conflict in the west of the country, saying government-allied militia were responsible for "war crimes" and acts akin to ethnic cleansing.
Wowsers. Bet he gagged when he said that.
At the same time Senator John Danforth, the US envoy to Sudan, warned the Khartoum government could not expect to normalise relations with the US until the conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan was settled. Mr Kapila, the outgoing UN humanitarian co-ordinator in Sudan, compared the situation in Darfur with that during the genocide in Rwanda 10 years ago, when UN member states failed to act on information confirming the targeting of one ethnic group by another. "All the warning signs are there," he said, accusing Arab militia allied to the government army and known as janjawiet, of carrying out systematic rape, murder, abductions and torture. He said the government in Khartoum was not doing enough to bring these militias to heel, and that "humanitarian staff on the ground have observed attacks on civilians while state and military authorities have been in close attendance". Villages were also being attacked by helicopters and other aircraft.
"Not doing enough to bring them to heel"? They're the government's policy!
"This is more than just a conflict. It is an organised attempt to do away with a group of people," said Mr Kapila. "Some people use the term 'ethnic cleansing'. I would say that is not far off the mark."
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/20/2004 12:50:52 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [320 views] Top|| File under:

Fighting escalates in Shilluk Kingdom
Clashes involving a number of government-backed militias and government forces in the Shilluk Kingdom region of southern Sudan are resulting in an increasing number of deaths and displacements. On 11 March, militias and government forces from Malakal attacked villages west of Awajwok including Alaki, the village of the Shilluk king, according to the Fashoda Relief and Rehabilitation Association (FRRA). The FRRA is the humanitarian wing of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-United (SPLM/U) which realigned with the SPLM/Army (SPLM/A) in October 2003. In Alaki, houses were set on fire and cattle driven away by attacking forces, Gabriel Otor Marko, the FRRA executive director, said on Thursday. The militias were reinforced by government forces in gunboats on the River Nile, who then attacked Nyilwak, where they dispersed a large civilian population. "An unknown number of people were killed or wounded, houses set on fire and properties looted," he said. On 10 March militias had also attacked the villages of Adodo, displacing its civilians.
Sounds like the same tactics they're using in Darfur...
Since the SPLM-U, led by Lam Akol - who split from the SPLM/A in 1991 - realigned with the SPLM/A last October, tensions and violence in the region have been flaring up. A regional analyst told IRIN that some of Akol's Shilluk forces had rejected the merger and were involved in the recent violence, but that it was unclear how many. Other government-backed militia leaders operating in the region include Gabriel Tang Ginye from Fangak, Simon Gatwic Gwal from Waat, Reth Gai Tual from Nasir, Paulino Matib from Bentiu, and Thomas Mabor Dhol, the FRRA stated. Government soldiers are based nearby in Malakal, Fashoda and Tonga. The reasons for the in-fighting and Shilluk forces attacking their own people remain unclear. Personal enrichment was a key factor, an analyst told IRIN, as well as Khartoum's keenness to control areas along the White Nile. Since the beginning of March, there has been an increasing number of incidences in the region. Between 5 and 7 March civilians in Dinyo and Nyijwado were reportedly attacked by militias and government forces. Many of them had already been displaced to the area in January from Nyibanyo in similar attacks. About 3,000 fled to Nyilwak, while others were killed and wounded, the FRRA reported.

On 7 March Obay and Pakang were also reportedly attacked by army and militias, killing nine civilians and wounding nine others. A dispensary and school were looted, a headmaster killed, cattle driven away and civilian houses set on fire. The populations of the two villages reportedly fled. On 4 March government and militias abducted eight women from Dinyo, taking them to New Fangak, where they are still being held; some of them were lactating and had left behind their babies. Humanitarian agencies working in the region have had to evacuate their staff several times since the SPLM-United split in October 2003. According to the FRRA, about 50 percent of the population in an area known as Zone 1 has been destabilised as a result. "It is very unfortunate that this man-made human disaster occurs while the agreement on the cessation of hostilities between the SPLM/A and government is still in force and when the two parties are on the threshold of a peace agreement, making it very difficult for the communities to contemplate the advent of a lasting peace," said the statement.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/20/2004 12:49:09 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [337 views] Top|| File under:

Africa: Subsaharan
60 dead in cattle fight
You know, if you toss in a little religious extremism this story could easily be set in Pakland ...
More than 60 people were killed last weekend when a group of cattle rustlers from Sudan raided villages in northeastern Uganda to steal livestock, local officials said on Thursday. "A group of ethnic Toposa from Sudan fought with members of Uganda's Jie community when the Sudanese attacked Kurawo in Kapedo sub-county of Kotido district on Saturday and well over 60 people were killed," Kotido council chair Lokwi Adome told AFP. Adome said that the Jie, a sub-tribe of Uganda's Karamojong ethnic group, attacked the Toposa who had crossed the border from Sudan to look for pastureland and stole over 160 heads of cattle from them. "We have yet to ascertain the exact number of people killed," Adome said, adding that bodies were still lying in the bushes in the Kidepo National Park where the two groups clashed, about 580km northeast of Kampala. Adome said the Toposas, although resident in southern Sudan, are related to the Jies and other Karamojong sub-tribes living in northeast Uganda, who traditionally don't bury their dead after a battle but abandon them at the scene.

A military spokesperson in the area, Lieutenant David Kazoola, confirmed the incident, but could not say how many people died. He said the army had arrested some local militias in the area who were trained to guard against raids, but are themselves suspected of engaging in cattle rustling. A spokesperson of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Lillian Nsubuga, said the battles had taken place far from the tourism zone in Kidepo park. "The Kidepo National Park is rich in rare animals and because such battles between cattle raiders occur in that part of the country, we normally fly tourists to the park," Nsubuga said.

Karamoja, referred to as Uganda's "wild west" for its cattle rustling violence that has killed thousands of people, is in the middle of a region which has a steady supply of small arms coming from the Turkana pastoralists in Kenya and also from southern Sudan, where a series of civil wars has raged since independence in 1956. It is one of Uganda's least developed regions. Cattle are a major item in the Karamojongs' value system, and they often carry out bloody raids against rival tribes for cattle. Raiders believe that a male attains real manhood if he participates in cattle raids, and that anyone killed during such attacks has died "a sacred death". A government exercise to disarm the Karamojong has managed to recover slightly over ten thousands guns, but many are believed to still remain in the hands of the warriors.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/20/2004 12:47:02 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [334 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I dunno. Sounds like Rawhide caught in a time warp with Marlin Perkins.
Posted by: Mr. Davis || 03/20/2004 0:54 Comments || Top||

We have yet to ascertain the exact number of people killed
What, you can't count that high?
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 03/20/2004 1:02 Comments || Top||

#3  Kurawo in Kapedo sub-county of Kotido

And with that, folks, I'm going to bed.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/20/2004 1:02 Comments || Top||

#4  Cattle rustlers: Why do they hate us?
Posted by: Dar || 03/20/2004 11:45 Comments || Top||

#5  Religons important but you don't want to be messing with a man's cattle, that's worth killing over.
Posted by: Shipman || 03/20/2004 20:17 Comments || Top||

Africa: Horn
3 dead in Sudanese refugee camp riot
At least three people were killed and about 18 people injured in a riot which witnesses said on Thursday was sparked by a government attempt to remove people from an informal camp for internal refugees. A police statement said a man and two women were killed during the riot on Wednesday at the camp at Mayo, about 20 kilometers south of the centre of Khartoum, for those displaced by conflict in the west of Sudan. Eyewitnesses said police fired tear gas to disperse large crowds of people who mobilised to protect students who have been providing food and sanitation services to the displaced. They said the situation in the camp was quiet but tense on Thursday with a heavy police presence. The witnesses said at least three police and 15 civilians were injured.

A police officer on the scene, who asked not to be named, also said two police men were killed. But an Interior Ministry official said there were no police deaths and the police statement only said some police were injured. The statement said a group of displaced people attacked a police station and police responded by trying to disperse the crowd. "But they (the rioters) regrouped and stormed the camp which created a state of chaos as a result of which the rioters used hand weapons which led to the death of three citizens, a man and two women," the statement said without describing the weapons. The witnesses said rioters had used sticks and stones.

Ezzeddin Marbua, head of the Jabal Marra Students Union, said police had gone to the Mayo camp to remove a group of about 40 students who have been trying to protect and assist the displaced people. Roger Winter, assistant administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, told a congressional committee in Washington last week Sudanese authorities were restricting humanitarian assistance to the displaced. "Even those who have mobilised assistance to help them have been threatened by Government of Sudan officials and told not to report the 'untrue' stories they heard from the displaced," he told the Africa subcommittee of the House of Representatives International Relations Committee.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/20/2004 12:36:43 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [311 views] Top|| File under:

2 cops iced in Chechnya
Two policemen were killed in an ambush in Chechnya on Friday, ITAR-TASS news agency reported. The incident occurred in the area of the Samashki and Novy Sharoi localities. The rebels opened fire from an ambush at the vehicles of an energy services team from Russia’s Stavropol Territory, who are working in Chechnya, the regional department of interior affairs was quoted by the agency as saying. Three workers were wounded. Two policemen who arrived at the location in a car were also fired at by the rebels. They were killed at the scene.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/20/2004 12:26:33 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [298 views] Top|| File under:

Afghanistan/South Asia
Al-Qaeda being aided by tribals, Ayman may not be there
Several thousand Pakistani army troops have surrounded between 150 and 400 tribal fighters and foreign Islamic guerrillas, some of them associated with al Qaeda, as heavy fighting continued in a remote area near the border with Afghanistan, military officials said Friday. Senior officials said Friday that the foreigners include Chechens, Uzbeks and some Arabs, but they said they had no specific evidence that either bin Laden or Zawahiri was in the area. "Most recent intelligence inputs do not support the perception that either Osama or Ayman are holed up in that vicinity," said a senior military intelligence officer in Peshawar, the capital of the province in northwestern Pakistan that includes the semi-autonomous tribal area of South Waziristan. "The idea is to send the strongest message yet to the al Qaeda supporters, but who knows? We may hit the jackpot in the process," the official added.

Pakistan's military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, told reporters at a news conference in Islamabad that the guerrillas "are surrounded and they are trying to break the cordon and get away." Based on "an assessment from the fire we are receiving," Sultan said, military commanders estimated guerrillas' strength at 300 to 400. A military officer in Peshawar put the number at about 150. Besides ridding the area of al Qaeda and Taliban fighters, the immediate goal of Friday's operation was to free about a dozen Pakistani paramilitary solders and two civilian officials who had been taken hostage by the foreign fighters on Tuesday, when the army launched its sweep in South Waziristan, according to the two military officers in Peshawar. "The Chechens basically want free passage and an immediate end of the military operation in exchange for the release of the hostages," the intelligence officer said. Although he said there would be "no bargaining," he noted that Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president, has already pledged that any foreign fighters who surrender to Pakistani security forces will not be handed over to U.S. custody.

On Friday, Pakistani forces surrounded guerrillas who had taken refuge in mud-walled compounds scattered among several villages west of Wana, the main town in South Waziristan. The operation is centered on an area a few miles from the border with Afghanistan, the officials said. Helicopters attacked the guerrillas' compounds with rockets while ground troops pounded the besieged fighters with artillery. A Pakistani army officer said there was "considerable coordination" with U.S. ground forces operating nearby in Afghanistan. Witnesses in Wana reported that artillery fire continued through the night and that fighter aircraft were visible overhead as the fighting spread on Friday, the Associated Press reported. Families in the village of Shin Warsak, five miles southeast of Wana, fled in overloaded pickup trucks after helicopter gunships fired rockets at houses. Army trucks loaded with soldiers and weapons rolled out of Wana in the direction of the fighting. Pakistani army officials and a senior civilian official in Peshawar said Friday night that some influential tribal leaders of South Waziristan were active throughout the day trying to broker an agreement between security forces and the trapped guerrillas. "The terrorists have been given an unambiguous message that their failure to surrender would invite wrath of the army," according to the aide to the governor of North-West Frontier Province.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/20/2004 12:23:10 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [323 views] Top|| File under:

#1  should AQ get reprieves if Ayman's not home? I think not.....Kill.Them.
Posted by: Frank G || 03/20/2004 0:29 Comments || Top||

The Chechens basically want free passage and an immediate end of the military operation in exchange for the release of the hostages

Kidnapping is the Chechens' major economic activity.
Posted by: Mike Sylwester || 03/20/2004 0:34 Comments || Top||

#3  Dumb question with an obvious answer, but..
What the hell are the Chechens doing all the way over in Pakistan??!
Posted by: Jen || 03/20/2004 0:38 Comments || Top||

#4  Kill them, Kill them good!

Jen, Living. Time to end that!
Posted by: Lucky || 03/20/2004 0:41 Comments || Top||

#5  Is Perv's promise not to hand prisoners over to the Americans supposed to be an incentive to surrender? Apparently these guys have not heard the truth about the Havanah Hilton or the Karachi Gulag.
Posted by: Mr. Davis || 03/20/2004 0:44 Comments || Top||

#6  What the hell are the Chechens doing all the way over in Pakistan??!

It's the all-you-can-eat Halal Roast Goat fest.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/20/2004 0:46 Comments || Top||

#7  What the hell are the Chechens doing all the way over in Pakistan??!

After the Taliban, the thousands of foreigners their crossed over the border to Pakistan. The South East Asians, Bangladeshis, and Arabs made their way back to their own countries, and the Pakistanis melted back into society.
But the Chechens have nowhere to go home too, and since many of them speak Pashtun, they decided to stay. Although some of them have been reported as going to Iraq.
Posted by: Paul Moloney || 03/20/2004 1:05 Comments || Top||

#8  Thanks, Paul! Sounds like a good, informed answer.
Posted by: Jen || 03/20/2004 2:55 Comments || Top||

#9  Thanks for the info PM, it is starting to look like the pashtun are the sunni's of paki-land.

Everybody keep an eye out for this:

"11:31 USA Today fires reporter for faking stories, including firsthand account of settlers shooting on Palestinian taxi in Hebron"

story please (I cant myself, the next 32 hours will mostly be working in a doka,drinking or riding my horse :-):-)
Posted by: Evert Visser in NL || 03/20/2004 4:49 Comments || Top||

#10  there must be a pretty much unpoliced route all across the middle east for these fuckers to travel about on.Bet theres alot of these bastards constantly shuttling to and fro from chechenia to pak land and Afgan not to mention through to Iraq and Palistine.Wonder what other nationalities of scumbag they'll bag in the hills,my bets are on a few indianision or simlar fellow scumbags also up there. Wouldn't mind betting a few more 'British' backpackers will be innoceltly caught up in it to as they travel through the idilic scenary.Sounds like America needs to C-17 a few bradleys and abrams armoured vehicles to speed things up
Posted by: Jon Shep U.K || 03/20/2004 6:31 Comments || Top||

#11  CNN showed some (presumably Pakistani?) armor, but i doubt thats ideal weapon system for attacking a surrounded and fortified position. Infantry and artillery sound like best mix. What they WOULD benefit from would be US (or UK) infantry, presumably more efficient and reliable, and coalition helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, in addition to their own.

Dont count on it though. Perv is taking a huge step politically in sending a force of 70,000 regulars into this region. Something Pakistan has never done before, and I dont think you Brits did it very often, either. As it is the MMA is "seething". If Perv can get a good bag, either a senior leader, or at least several hundred cannon fodder plus some midlevels, the pressure to let in coalition forces is off.

Reports this AM suggest a bag of 100 prisoners, not counting all the dead hostiles. It will be a big disappointment if they dont get Ayman, but I think they'll still be happy with 200-300 hostile dead or captured, an AQ base destroyed (for the first time in Pakistan?) and a major demonstration to the locals of the states ability to send forces there with impunity.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 03/20/2004 6:48 Comments || Top||

#12  i'd use A-10's and AC-130 as loitering killers,have 3 or 4 tactical forward air control parties on the ground, perhaps set up a forward operating base for attack helo ops,wow just thinking about everything thats needed is a hell of a task.Basically use go all out on the bastards with full air cover and fire support.B1B's flat out down on the deck,think Mach 1.2 250 feet above the ground,even if they didn't drop the any weapons they may well scare some out not to mention permanently deafen them.. :)
Posted by: Jon Shep U.K || 03/20/2004 6:59 Comments || Top||

#13  Doka???
Sounds like they would rather die in place than try to escape across the border.
Posted by: Raptor || 03/20/2004 7:12 Comments || Top||

#14  They left Pakis in lurch with few F16s and nothing else in military might on insistance from the indies. Shud they hv supported their staunch ally then things would hv been a bit different. Anyway never too late to appreciate a friend in need. Might as well give them few extras in brad/abrahms for keep.
Posted by: sakattack || 03/20/2004 7:34 Comments || Top||

#15  Sorry Raptor, I was talking about a photo-lab (because of the Homo-erotic nuance, i don't like to use the word: "Dark-room" (doka is the dutch abbreviation of the word) ( nothing against gays but i think it better to eradicate any doubt about my sexuality beforehand )))
Posted by: Evert Visser in NL || 03/20/2004 10:40 Comments || Top||

#16  Evert - that's more than I needed to know...
Posted by: Frank G || 03/20/2004 12:14 Comments || Top||

#17  Methinks he doth protest...
Posted by: Bulldog || 03/20/2004 12:37 Comments || Top||

#18  loan 'em a MOAB. Flush the rotten turds to hell.
Posted by: anymouse || 03/20/2004 13:08 Comments || Top||

#19  quote from fox news...

Briefing reporters, Hussain (Pakistani Lt. Gen.) said a Chechen fighter was arrested Friday with a book on chemistry and explosives. He said he suspected many of the militants were foreigners but others were members of the Pakistani Yargul Khel tribe.

"I'm determined to punish this tribe and make them an example for the entire South Waziristan agency," Hussain said, adding that operations would continue in the area even after the current crackdown.

Weren't they just yesterday talking about avoiding collateral damage to the tribe?... I think the Pakistanis are pissed now.
Posted by: Damn_Proud_American || 03/20/2004 16:41 Comments || Top||

#20  Nobody goes to the doka anymore, it's too crowded with nuances.
Posted by: Shipman || 03/20/2004 20:11 Comments || Top||

Africa: North
Madrid probe turns to Tangiers cell
The investigation of last week's bombings in Madrid is focusing on a member of an Islamic cell in Tangier, Morocco, who is believed to have had contact with the lead suspect in the attacks and with at least one senior member of the al Qaeda network, senior Moroccan officials said Friday. The officials said the militant at the center of the investigation, Abdelaziz Benyaich, a naturalized French citizen from Morocco who is in prison in Spain, met in April 2003 in Tangier with Jamal Zougam, a Moroccan who has been arrested in connection with the train bombings in Madrid on March 11 that killed 202 people and wounded almost 1,500. The investigators also said Benyaich met on several occasions with Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian al Qaeda leader who is a prime suspect in several recent bombings directed at U.S. occupation targets in Iraq.
Surprise meter didn't budge a skilliwhizmeter...
Benyaich first came to the attention of Moroccan investigators after attacks in Casablanca last May 16, in which suicide bombers killed 33 people at five locations, including a restaurant, a hotel and Jewish-affiliated targets. While Benyaich was not involved in the Casablanca bombings, the officials said he had been working in northern Morocco with a group of Islamic militants that was planning attacks on a movie theater and synagogue in Fez and a casino and synagogue in Tangier. The network of contacts emanating from Tangier, spreading into immigrant communities in Europe and reaching al Qaeda's senior leadership is now at the center of the international inquiry into the Madrid bombings. Shortly after the Casablanca attacks, Benyaich was arrested in Spain on charges of membership in a terrorist organization. When he was detained, he had an airline ticket to Tehran, where he had traveled a number of times over the previous two years, officials said. He had left Morocco the day after the Casablanca attacks, fearing a clampdown on Islamic militants.
Ain't it interesting that every surviving member of an al-Qaeda cell these days is trying to beat it to Tehran? Almost makes you think there might be a connection there ...
The investigation of the Moroccan cells also showed that Benyaich met with an electronics expert in Morocco and that the two tested the use of cell phones as detonation triggers. That mechanism was used to prepare 13 bombs in the Madrid rail system, 10 of which exploded. Officials said Benyaich also met with Zougam in Tangier last April. Investigators are still unraveling the precise plotting of the Madrid bombings and have not yet found direct evidence of orders or financing from al Qaeda's senior leadership. Nor are they certain that Zougam participated in Benyaich's testing of cell phones in Tangier. Zougam is not cooperating with his interrogators, officials said. But investigators suspect that the roots of the Madrid attacks lie in the Tangier experiments and that Zougam moved forward after Benyaich and other expatriate Islamic militants he knew were arrested in Spain. Before the Casablanca attacks, Zougam associated with Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, known as Abu Dahdah, who is in prison in Spain accused of heading an al Qaeda cell that may have provided logistical support to Mohamed Atta, who is believed to have been the lead hijacker in the attacks in New York and at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. "I don't know yet how central Zougam is," said one Moroccan official. "But you cut off one head, another grows. It doesn't end. And it's notable that many of those involved are immigrants who left here a long time ago."
But the new head that grows back is usually smaller than the one you cut off. That's important...
Zougam, born in a Tangier slum, moved to Spain in 1983, when he was 10, the official said. Benyaich moved as a young man, to continue his studies. He married a Frenchwoman, enabling him to get a French passport. Benyaich came from a family of al Qaeda operatives. His brother Abudullah died at Tora Bora during the U.S.-led assault on the group's stronghold in Afghanistan. Another brother, Salaheddin, who lost an eye fighting in Bosnia, was also in Afghanistan but returned to Morocco after the fall of the Taliban, officials said. Salaheddin was sentenced to 18 years in prison last September for involvement with the Tangier plotters. But officials regard Benyaich as a critical figure who was involved in recruiting, financing and planning largely because his Western passport allowed him to travel with ease. "He was in Britain, Turkey, Spain, France and Iran," said an official here. "And he was more sophisticated than his brothers."
More important, too. That's why he's not dead or maimed...
Moroccan officials said they have evidence Benyaich met with Zarqawi a number of times in 2002. Zarqawi is head of al-Tawhid, a group that intelligence analysts said was once only allied with al Qaeda but that in the wake of Sept. 11 appears to be increasingly indistinguishable from bin Laden's group.
We've noted that ourselves. Must be that chat he had with Saif al-Adel a year or so ago or all of that money he gets from Binny. Perhaps someone should tell all the folks currently trying to split hairs so thin you can see right through 'em ...
Zarqawi is tied to the Casablanca attacks through another Moroccan operative, Malak Andalusi, who is now in custody here. With Benyaich, Zarqawi was orchestrating separate attacks in northern Morocco. And officials now believe, although they do not yet have proof, that he was involved in the Madrid bombings as well, through Benyaich and Zougam. In Madrid on Friday, Zougam was charged along with his half brother, Mohamed Chaoui, and another Moroccan, Mohamed Bekkali, with belonging to a terrorist organization, four acts of terrorism for each of the four trains bombed, 190 counts of murder, 1,400 counts of attempted murder and auto theft. The murder count was set at 190 because 12 of the dead from the blasts remain unidentified. Two Indians, Vinay Kohly and Suresh Kumar, were charged with assisting a terrorist organization and falsifying sales documents. The men were ordered held without bail and placed in isolation for another five days at Madrid's Soto del Real prison. The charges came at about 4 a.m., after a six-hour hearing that began Thursday night before National Court Judge Juan del Olmo. Under the Spanish system, the charges amount to preliminary accusations, allowing the suspects to remain in custody pending the filing of a formal indictment. In court, the Moroccans declared their innocence. Zougam's half brother, Chaoui, said that on the morning of the attack he woke up at 9:45 with his brother Jamal, who was sleeping beside him.
That doesn't sound appetizing at all...
He said he has no relationship with Jamal because they are very different and because Jamal is "very religious." The third detained Moroccan, Bekkali, repeatedly screamed his innocence. He explained that on March 11, a roommate woke him at 10:55 a.m. and told him there had been an attack at the Atocha train station. At 11:05, he said, he was working at his business. Zougam, the last to appear, answered questions from the magistrate without lifting his eyes from the floor, and finished by blubbering weeping before the judge, according to a court official. Asked about his ties with Yarkas, Zougam explained that he knew him from his neighborhood and his cell phone shop, but said he had lost contact with him when Yarkas went to prison.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/20/2004 12:16:56 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [318 views] Top|| File under:

He married a Frenchwoman, enabling him to get a French passport.

This is something that the Europeans ought to change if they want to fight terrorism.
Posted by: Mike Sylwester || 03/20/2004 0:44 Comments || Top||

#2  When he was detained, he had an airline ticket to Tehran, where he had traveled a number of times over the previous two years, officials said.

Myself, I think THIS is what they ought to change.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 03/20/2004 7:06 Comments || Top||

Afghanistan/South Asia
Local population still being held hostage
Maj-Gen Shaukat Sultan, Director-General, Inter Services Public Relations, said at a media briefing on Wana at the GHQ that a 'couple of thousand' Pakistani troops were engaged in Wana and had cordoned off an area of 50 square kilometres.
The cordon zone keeps growing. First it was 15-20, then 20, and now 50.
Explaining the high casualties suffered by Pakistani paramilitary forces, the spokesman said the Frontier Constabulary underestimated the level of resistance and "barged into the den of hardened terrorists on March 16". He said when the Frontier Constabulary started the search operation, it came under fire from trained terrorists. These hardened terrorists used the local population as human shield, and the Pakistani forces, in order to keep the collateral damage to the minimum, applied maximum restraint.
That may explain why they've been so eager to negotiate here. Usual caveats about Pakistani duplicity aside, if they're holding anywhere near the 250 hostages that have been attributed to them it's gonna be bad news if the troops go in shooting. Isn't holding the whole town hostage originally a tactic from the first Chechen war?
In the area of Razmak, four people were apprehended on Friday. Of them, one is an Arab and the remaining are possibly locals. A huge cache of weapons had been recovered from them, he said. He said the local people in Wana were sympathetic to these terrorists, and the government was trying to make them realize that the environment had changed. "If they want to live in the past, the government is left with no option but to use force and flush out the terrorists."
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/20/2004 12:12:30 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [293 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Dan, interesting post.
What is going on over there?
Re: the locals
Read another story on this which included the locals bitching and moaning about the firefight and basically whining to "make it go away."
Surely these people knew the terrorists were there all along...I hear that Waziristan is a very chummy place--Everyone knows (or is related to) everyone else.
I'm impressed with the attitude of the Pakistani government that there's a "new sheriff in town"--is my delight misplaced?
Was Perv so impressed by President Bush naming Pakistan a key U.S. non-NATO ally this week that he decided to prove it in a big way, as this was concurrent with the beginning of this siege?
(I think Pakistan was just granted a huge aid package from us, too but they still didn't get their F-16s.)
Posted by: Jen || 03/20/2004 0:33 Comments || Top||

#2  Hi Pakistan obviously doesn't get it. They keep using the term terorists, with no sneer quotes. Everyone knows that the guys in the forts are "militants", resisting the "invaders" and "occupiers" the only way they have available. Sheesh.
Posted by: Seafarious || 03/20/2004 2:46 Comments || Top||

#3  I think Perv was mainly impressed that Zawahiri et al were trying to kill him. Worth risking alot to kill Zawahiri before he tries again.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 03/20/2004 6:58 Comments || Top||

#4  I think the local population is beginning to realize that if you lie down with dogs you are liable to wake up with fleas....
Posted by: CrazyFool || 03/20/2004 10:51 Comments || Top||

2 Americans, 5 Taliban dead in Uruzgan
US forces called in air strikes against suspected Taliban positions on Friday after two US soldiers and at least five militants were killed in a clash in central Afghanistan, the US military said. The fighting in Uruzgan province, south of the capital Kabul, occurred amid a stepped up hunt by US forces for Taliban and al Qaeda militants, including Osama Bin Laden. US and Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers came under fire on Thursday while on patrol in a village in Uruzgan’s Tarin Kot district, U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Bryan Hilferty told a news briefing. The soldiers returned fire, killing at least five attackers. Two US soldiers were wounded, one of whom was evacuated to Germany for treatment, he said. Hilferty said the US soldiers were from the 10th Mountain Division, but did not identify them. “Coalition and ANA operations continue in this area,” he said. ‘Early this morning we re-engaged the enemy with direct fire and fire support from US aircraft.” Hilferty did not give details of the latest engagement or say whether it had inflicted any casualties. He said the area was one in which Taliban guerrillas were active.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/20/2004 12:10:09 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [320 views] Top|| File under:

Fight rages on in Waziristan
Thousands of Pakistani soldiers backed by artillery and helicopter gunships made limited progress on Friday advancing into a 10-square-mile pocket of farming villages where 300 to 600 suspected militants have been surrounded near the border with Afghanistan, Pakistani officials said. Senior Pakistani officials said they continued to believe that a senior figure, possibly Al Qaeda's No. 2 leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, may be trapped with the group in the South Waziristan tribal area. But it appeared Friday that blasting the militants out of the fortified positions they have occupied in hundreds of fortress-like family compounds could take days, and dozens of lives. Brig. Mehmood Shah, director of security in Pakistan's tribal areas, said that firing from the militants decreased somewhat on Friday, but suggested that they could be simply conserving ammunition. He said Pakistani paramilitary forces were advancing in two groups, from the east and west, house by house. "They made little progress, they are still facing resistance," said Brigadier Shah, who described the Pakistani advance as "very slow. I think it's going to take time. At least tomorrow, maybe more."

A Pakistani official said 17 Pakistani soldiers had been killed in fighting on Thursday and Friday, bringing the government death toll to at least 34 in four days. At least 20 militants died Tuesday, the first day of clashes, according to Pakistani officials. They have not given militant casualty figures since then, but said 18 militants had been detained Tuesday and 8 Friday. Brigadier Shah said the largest number of militants were believed to be Uzbeks, followed by Chechens, Afghans allied with the hard-line Islamist Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Arabs and ethnic Uighurs from Xinjiang Province in western China. He confirmed that Pakistani officials had received reports before the clashes that Dr. Zawahiri was moving through the region. In Washington, by late Friday senior American officials were distancing themselves from Pakistan's assertions that its troops had Dr. Zawahiri trapped. "It's not clear to me who's there, if anybody," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said on CNN's "Larry King Live."

Pakistani officials said militants made two attempts to break out of the cordon Thursday night, but had been forced back. Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, chief spokesman for the Pakistani military, said at a news briefing Friday that two groups of suspected fighters, one heavily armed, had been apprehended. But he said none of those apprehended appeared to be high-level Qaeda members, and he gave no definite information on the possible whereabouts of Dr. Zawahiri. At least 7,000 Pakistani Army and paramilitary troops have established a double cordon around clusters of farmhouses 10 miles west of Wana, according to Pakistani officials. Fighting has centered around the houses of several local tribesman at Kaloosha, and in another area near Shin Warsak a few miles away. Brigadier Shah said the region where fighters were putting up the toughest resistance shifted from Shin Warsak on Thursday to Kaloosha on Friday. General Sultan said American forces were not involved in the fighting, but were assisting with intelligence and surveillance. Pakistani forces, he added, were communicating with the militants through loudspeakers and sending emissaries to tell them to surrender. "The security forces will try to overcome them with minimum use of force," General Sultan said. "We would like to capture them without large-scale destruction, but we have the force available if need be." Earlier in the week, General Musharraf offered an amnesty to anyone who surrendered peacefully, he added. But the militants showed few signs of capitulating. Brigadier Shah said they curse General Musharraf and President Bush over their radios.
Oooch! Ouch! Those verbal brickbats hurt!
Army officials vowed to rout the militants, and their forces continued shelling through the night and into the morning on Friday, General Sultan said. In Kabul, a senior Afghan official said Friday night that significant numbers of Afghan and American forces had been sent to Paktika Province to intercept militants fleeing the onslaught in Pakistan, only 12 miles from the border. In a telephone interview, an Afghan security official with connections in South Waziristan said he had received reports that Dr. Zawahiri was safe in a place some 5 to 10 miles from the actual fighting. The official said Mr. bin Laden was also in the area of South Waziristan but not in the region under attack. Qari Tahir, a leader of Islamic fighters from Uzbekistan and other Russian-speaking republics and a strong ally of the Taliban movement, was leading the fighting against the Pakistanis, he said.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/20/2004 12:07:18 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [326 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Mr. bin Laden??? Good grief.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/20/2004 0:31 Comments || Top||

#2  Brigadier Shah said they curse General Musharraf and President Bush over their radios.
Someone needs to have some radio-homing missiles standing by. When these guys come on-air, fire them - preferably the kind that establish a target location, then continue to that location even if the radio is turned off. I'd prefer LARGE warheads - say in the 3-4Kt range.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 03/20/2004 13:22 Comments || Top||

#3  You know - I have to wonder.. If we had this group pinned down, it would probably be over now. I don't know if I should think lowly of the Pakis or not - anyone have input on what I should think?
Posted by: Yosemite Sam || 03/20/2004 18:59 Comments || Top||

#4  I suggest there is a lack of desire to close with these simple (tho well armed) woodcutters.
Posted by: Shipman || 03/20/2004 20:13 Comments || Top||

SAS joins hunt for Osama
Britain has sent 100 SAS soldiers to Afghanistan and the Americans have asked it to send hundreds more elite troops to support an intensified push to capture Osama bin Laden, defence sources said yesterday. The SAS force was seen passing through Bagram air base, north of Kabul. An official at the base, the headquarters of allied special forces in Afghanistan, said it was on its way to the mountainous border with Pakistan to take part in Operation Mountain Storm against al-Qa'eda and Taliban militants. Defence chiefs are considering the request to send paratroops or commandos to reinforce the American and British special forces hunting bin Laden, the head of al-Qa'eda, and his lieutenants, the defence sources said.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/20/2004 12:04:06 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [302 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Not to sure about this one,would have to be a whole squadron of the guys to number 100 odd.The SAS are also a very small unit and are known to have serious man power problems hence the need to expand it with the worry of substuting quality for quantity. Could these guys not be SBS, after all there just as important and i think are actually more suited to this whole binny hunt thing.There are also other lesser known shadey groups of whom i can't remember the name too.
Posted by: Jon Shep U.K || 03/20/2004 5:59 Comments || Top||

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Two weeks of WOT
Sat 2004-03-20
  Annan proposes investigation of oil-for-food program
Fri 2004-03-19
  Aymen cornered in Waziristan. Or not.
Thu 2004-03-18
  "The conquest of Madrid"
Wed 2004-03-17
  Baghdad Hotel Boomed - At least 10 dead
Tue 2004-03-16
  Troops and Tanks Poised on Gaza Border
Mon 2004-03-15
  Spain will withdraw troops from Iraq
Sun 2004-03-14
  Iran bans nuke inspectors
Sat 2004-03-13
  Syrian security forces kill 30 people during clashes
Fri 2004-03-12
  Conflicting clues on Madrid booms
Thu 2004-03-11
  Over 170 dead in Madrid booms
Wed 2004-03-10
  Maskhadov may surrender soon - Kadyrov
Tue 2004-03-09
  Rigor mortis for Abu Abbas
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