HERAT: Taliban fighters have no choice but to hide among civilians while they fight foreign troops in Afghanistan, and accept that members of their family may become victims of their holy war, a Taliban commander said on Sunday.
O brave, brave Lions of Islam!
Mullah Mahmoud, a Taliban commander in the Golestan district of Afghanistan's Farah province, which borders Iran, also said most Taliban fighters in Afghanistan were foreigners. He said 60 percent were from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan's Punjab province and other countries.
I wonder how many claim to have fought the infidel in Iraq. I wonder what small percentage of the claimants actually did, given how very many got themselves killed in the honey-baited trap that Iraq became...
There's always a certain percentage who say they went to fight the infidels in the caves of Afghanistan but instead remained in the flesh-pots of Karachi ...
US and NATO-led forces in Afghanistan have accused Taliban insurgents of hiding in Afghan homes in a deliberate attempt to increase the number of civilian casualties caused by air strikes by foreign forces.
"When the Taliban are part of a community and live amongst the people, when the Americans arrive, they have to go the house where their brother is, where their family is ... so when [the Americans] come to our house to kill us, they will kill our families too," Mahmoud told Reuters in a telephone interview.
A teacher during the time of the Taliban government, Mahmoud said he joined the austere Sunni movement six years ago. "I was a teacher, I worked. During the Taliban [government], they even shot me in the shoulder but after the Afghan government was installed I was compelled to join the Taliban because of its treatment of the people," he said.
Common theme here between Saudi funding/Education and the mess Pakistan is in with their Saudi funded Madrasses!When will Barry confront the Saudis who are behind all the problems in Pakistan and beyond!
The dead bodies of seven foreign hostages abducted three days ago were found in Yemen on Monday. Local police in north-west Saada province (photo) confirmed that seven of the nine hostages had been found. At least three of the victims were reportedly German women and local officials said some bodies had been found with bullet wounds.
Yemeni authorities said the group included a German doctor, his wife and their three children, as well as a Briton and his South Korean wife and two other German nationals.
The foreigners were kidnapped while on a picnic in Saada on Friday.
The adults all worked at a hospital in Saada, the state news agency said.
So they weren't stupid vacationing foreigners, but unfortunate expats who weren't as protected by the relative sophistication of the "civilized" city as they thought, in a country populated by barbarians varying only in the level of their barbarity.
First they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I said nothing.
Then they came for the expats, and killed them on a whim, but I was not one of those taken...
According to Yemeni officials they were abducted by separatists rebels who have been fighting the government in Saada for five years.
Arab media said that Shia rebels belonging to the secessionist Huthi Zaidi group were responsible but the group has so far denied any involvement in the foreigners' deaths.
Local sources quoted by Al-Arabiya said the group was part of a Christian Baptist organisation that also has a medical team in the hospital in the south of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.
It is unclear what happened to the remaining two hostages, however, some unconfirmed reports say two of the children were found alive.
Most foreigners abducted by disgruntled tribesmen in impoverished Yemen in recent years have been released unharmed. The tribesmen kidnap foreigners as a means of bargaining with the government either to secure the release of jailed tribe members, for jobs or improved living conditions.
The Saada government and Huthi rebels signed a Qatari-brokered peace deal last June but there has been a dispute about its implementation.
More than 200 foreigners have been abducted in the past 15 years.
From an earlier report : Yemen official: 3 German women hostages found dead
SAN'A, Yemen (AP) - A Yemeni security official says three German women hostages have been found dead, their bodies mutilated.
The official says shepherds found the bodies Monday morning in the mountainous northern Saada province, near the town of el-Nashour, which is known as a hideout for al-Qaida militants.
A tribal leader in the area says al-Qaida was behind the killing. Both the official and the tribesman spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak to the press.
The three were among a group of nine foreigners, including seven Germans, abducted Friday in the remote area. The Interior Ministry said the foreigners, who were not identified, were kidnapped while on a picnic.
A group of European medical missionaries, working to relieve some of the pain and agony of Yemenis, are kidnapped and killed. These are true martyrs of their faith, whether anyone officially recognizes it or not. Those responsible for this are merely two-legged animals that need to be hunted down and killed. Hiding behind one's "faith" for committing such crimes indicates that faith isn't very deep, or very enlightening.
Posted by: Old Patriot ||
06/15/2009 14:40 Comments ||
Yemeni authorities say rebels have kidnapped nine foreigners, including women and children, in a mountainous northern region.
Government officials on Sunday accused a Shi'ite militant group of taking a group of seven Germans, a British engineer and a South Korean teacher hostage in the Saada region. The Germans are said to include three children, two nurses and an engineer and his wife. Yemeni officials say the hostages work for an international aid group at a hospital in Saada, where they say foreigners have been working for 35 years.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the kidnapping, but Yemen officials claimed that Houthi militants were responsible.
Terrorist act, criminal act, or immaterial since it's Yemen?
Tradition hoary with age, like going a-pirating along certain parts of the African coast.
But the rebel group denied any involvement and accused Yemen authorities of trying to tarnish its image.
Seoul confirmed only that a South Korean woman is missing and presumed kidnapped in Yemen. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier confirmed that seven Germans are missing in Yemen. Steinmeier said a government crisis group has been formed and is in touch with Yemeni authorities.
The reported kidnapping comes just days after tribesmen released 24 medical workers, including foreigners, who were abducted Thursday.
Tribesmen in Yemen often take foreigners hostage to pressure the government on a range of demands. The foreigners are generally released unharmed.
After a healthy ransom is paid, of course. Why else would anyone take up kidnapping, with the attendant expenses of feeding, sheltering and protecting from harm those foreign infidels who wander into one's clutches all unaware?
SAN'A, Yemen - Nine foreigners, including three children, abducted last week in Yemen were found dead early Monday, a Yemeni security official said.
The victims, including seven German nationals, disappeared last week while on a picnic in the restive northern Saada region of Yemen.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press, announced the discovery of the remaining six bodies Monday after three others were found earlier in the day.
The Yemen Tourism Board deplores this outcome as usual. So if you want to live the Adventures of Tin Tin make it Yemen for the Holiday of a Lifetime!
Don't know if the driver in the article below mentioned that bin Laden was a lousy tipper.
Newspaper story & fine art photographs by Brad Carlile
In the early hours of Friday October 13th, CNN.com reported that a bomb exploded on the USS Cole in Aden Yemen killing US sailors. They added " US officials call Yemen a safe haven for terrorists". Other articles use the term "medieval" to describe modern Yemen.
In our busy world, we quickly let our minds paint in all of the rest of the details of this country and its people. Time to be thankful for where we are and move on. But sometimes we should explore deeper. In those same early hours of Friday October 13th, I finish packing my backpack for a five week trip to Morocco, Jordan, and Yemen.
When I started planning my trip several months earlier, friends asked about Yemen. Where do I find it on a map? They learned that this country -- about four times the size of Illinois, is located to the southern tip of the Saudi peninsula. It is one of the oldest inhabited areas on the earth.
As I flew the Atlantic, I knew to expect to interesting contrasts in Yemen -- a country rich in history, culture, and scenery.
Historically, Yemen has come into significance at times only to fade into general obscurity. In the 10th century BC, the Queen of Sheba ruled her civilization in what is now Yemen. Latter in biblical times, Frankincense and Myrrh, the most valuable commodity of that time, originated in Yemen. Also then most goods from India and China passed through Yemen on their way to the Mediterranean. Then three hundred years ago, Yemen had the world's monopoly on coffee which was produced from the prized Arabica coffee bean. Much of the coffee was shipped from the old port town of Al-Makha -- where we now get the name "Mocca". Later this bean was carried to South America and Indonesia. Since then little has been heard about Yemen in the western world.
Religiously, Yemen is a Moslem nation. Five times a day the call to prayer is blasted from speakers mounted on minarets throughout every city and town. In strict Moslem tradition to preserve modesty, the women are dressed head to toe in black with only a tiny slit for their eyes. Very stylish shoes are the only thing that hint of non-traditionalism. The shoes are as modern as any seen on the streets of European capitals. Inside the house when around family and friends, the outer robes come off to reveal very modern outfits.
Geographically Yemen is very diverse. The 7000' mountains of the western half provide a perfect climate for growing some of the finest coffee in the world. Whereas, the northern desert that boarders Saudia Arabia is a barren flat dry hot rocky desert. On the southern coast the fine white sand beaches give way to the clear blue waters of the gulf of Aden.
My trip started in Sana'a, the capital city, which is situated in a mountainous basin at about 7000 feet above sea level. At this elevation temperatures are moderate.
Most of the million residents live in the modern part of Sana'a. However the true charm of the city is in old city with its amazingly ornate 6- to 8-story tower houses.
Time moves at a slower pace even in capital of Yemen. Largely this is due to the importance of human relationships in every aspect of life. Time is always made for smiles, conversation, and news about families. At social gatherings the love of verbal banter & jokes is clear.
I was told that as a solo American traveling on local transport at this time I might run into bureaucratic hassles. To avoid hassles and not to waste any time, I hired a car & driver for less than renting a compact car in the US.
Sharaf, My Fantastic Driver in Yemen
My driver's name is Sharaf. He is a very nice man who enjoys life, loves his family, and knows all of the best places to go. I knew more Arabic than he knew English, which really meant we had fewer than 400 words between us, nevertheless we each learned many things from the otherand become friends.
As an attempt at being culturally sensitive-- beyond learning a bit of the language -- I grew the first beard of my life. Once in Yemen I wore a jacket and a kaffiyeh, or checkered head cloth, when traveling the country-side. Sharaf encouraged me to do this. These tiny attempts to fit in a bit were appreciated by many I met.
Yemini Western Highlands
As we drove around the towns nestled in the craggy peaks of the western highlands, we would listened to tapes of Yemeni songs. Vistas in this mountainous region are astounding and dramatic. Many mountain sides have hundreds of levels of terracing which allows all of the land to be used in this fertile region.
In addition, houses are built on the edges of cliffs and ridges to preserve all of the arable land. Throughout Yemen, great pride is taken in the old tradition of beautiful architecture. The outside of these brick and rock houses are covered intricate geometric white plaster designs that outline the windows and ring the top of the buildings. We would often give locals rides between villages, a nice thing to do on these steep mountain roads. Most main roads are some of the best I've seen anywhere in my third world travels. However to get to some more interesting spots we would travel stretches that would require years of improvement it even be considered a road hazard and many more years to be considered a road.
Yemini Food: Salta, coffee, and other delicious food
Lunch is the big meal of the day. The food was very different than the humus and shish kabobs of middle eastern cuisine. Salta is the national dish. It is a spiced fenugreek tomato potato stew containing lamb or chicken. It is eaten with a flavorful sorghum flat bread.
Typical lunch would include a lentil-lemon soup, cooked vegetables, a kind of fried rice, hot peppers, Salta,and grilled chicken. One left the table well fed. On special occasions the wonderful "Bint al Sahn" was served as dessert. It is a sweet bread that is dipped into honey and clarified butter.
Coffee is so highly regarded that it is reserved for use at home. But when one can get it in a restaurant, it is amazing -- even for a non coffee drinker.
After lunch, most men and woman spend several hours socially chewing Qat (pronounced khat). Qat is a shrub whose leaves act as are a mild stimulant that boosts one's mood when chewed. Qat is legal in Yemen and it is a national obsession. Unofficial estimates are that qat accounts for one-third of the domestic economy.
After traveling for several days we returned to Sana'a to have tea with Sharaf's family, where I met and played with his twin granddaughters. Early the next morning we would start a week-long trip that would take us to the southern coast at Bir Ali and Al-Mukalla, then to Wadi Hadramawt, and then into the eastern desert. We would then travel across the desert on the boarder with Saudia Arabia to Marib, which was home to the Queen of Sheba.
In order to travel outside the western highlands, one needs to file a travel itinerary with the government and carry lots of copies to give out at the police checkpoints. Given that Yemen wants safe tourists, there are a lot of police checkpoints. Often policeman will often ride in the vehicle between checkpoints. ( )
After seeing many of towns in Wadi Hadramawt we headed back across the desert, somewhat near the Saudi boarder, to Marib the ancient center of the Sheba Civilization. This civilization had amazing accomplishments including a dam that was 2,200 feet long and was 50 feet high at its midpoint that lasted for over 1,300 years. Remnants of the dam and two temples are in the process of being excavated.( .)
Yemeni authorities declared on Sunday arrest of a leading activist of the notorious Al-Qaeda organization saying he was in charge of securing funds for the clandestine group.
Website of the Yemeni Ministry of Defense quoted an official source as saying that the local security authorities arrested the financial official of Al-Qaeda in Yemen and Saudi Arabia a few days ago.
The detainee, named Hassan Hussein Bin Al-Alwan, is the main financier of the organization's operations in the two neighboring Gulf countries, it said, branding him as one of the most dangerous terrorists.
Very probably they'll wring as much info cash as they can out of him or his owners, then let him slip back into the pond...
Posted by: Redneck Jim ||
06/15/2009 13:33 Comments ||
I think the Yemeni government is getting pretty tired of Al-Qaida, and will probably slit his throat and dump him into the Gulf of Aden for the sharks to clean up. His disappearance will be a "mystery", never solved.
Posted by: Old Patriot ||
06/15/2009 14:43 Comments ||
Perhaps it's because they're bunch of lying Commie thug-weasels?
SEOUL, June 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea accused North Korea on Sunday of negating the June 15 inter-Korean summit agreement, as the two Koreas marked the ninth anniversary of the historic event amid chilled ties.
"North Korea is not abiding by the agreement in the June 15 Joint Declaration," the unification ministry said in a statement, adding the North's leader has yet to keep his promise to make a reciprocal trip to South Korea. "North Korea has also rejected dialogue with South Korea and suspended the reunion of separated families and scaled down inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation," the ministry said.
In 2000, then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung held a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang. They produced a joint declaration that paved the way for the two Koreas to ease military tensions and begin economic cooperation.
In return for lots and lots of blood money to the North ...
The Kaesong joint industrial complex, located just north of the inter-Korean border, was one of the summit's most fruitful results, although its future is now uncertain amid fraying relations. North Korea has demanded higher wages for some 40,000 workers at the complex and demanded drastic hikes in land fees. Kim's successor, the late Roh Moo-hyun, also held a summit with the North Korean leader in Pyongyang in 2007, in which they agreed to boost joint economic projects.
In return for more and more blood money ...
The ministry's statement was a counterpunch to the North's claim that inter-Korean relations have been strained due to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's "hostile policy" towards Pyongyang.
The conservative president has said he wants to implement the summit deals on a selective basis in accordance with progress in denuclearizing the North. North Korea and progressive activists in the South argue Lee is ignoring the accomplishments by his liberal predecessors for political reasons.
For example, he no longer pays blood money to the Norks ...
Also Sunday, a group of progressive civic activists here organized a ceremony to mark the inter-Korean summit deal on June 15 in 2000. More than 1,500 people attended, including leaders of major opposition parties.
ISLAMABAD (AP) Pakistan ordered its army to go after the country's top Taliban commander, a feared militant whose remote stronghold could prove a difficult test for troops but whose demise would be a major blow to the insurgencies here and in Afghanistan.
Bring out the drums! A tribal lashkar awaits!
The announcement Sunday of the operation in South Waziristan, rumored for weeks, came hours after a suspected U.S. missile strike killed five alleged militants there. The move will likely please Washington, which considers the tribal region a particularly troublesome hide-out for al-Qaida and Taliban fighters implicated in attacks on U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Owais Ghani, the governor of North West Frontier Province, told reporters in Islamabad late Sunday that the government felt it had no choice but to resort to force against Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud and his network. Past army action in the region had usually faltered or ended in truces, strengthening the militants.
"Baitullah Mehsud is the root cause of all evils," Ghani said, noting a slew of suicide bombings that have shaken Pakistan in recent days. "The government has decided that to secure the innocent citizens from terrorists, a meaningful, durable and complete action is to be taken."
Ghani suggested the operation has already begun, though the military has insisted its recent attacks on militants in South Waziristan were retaliatory, not the launch of a new offensive. Two intelligence officials said the army and Taliban were fighting in the Spinkai Raghzai area of South Waziristan as the governor made the announcement.
Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas told The Associated Press late Sunday: "The government has made the announcement. We will give a comment after evaluating the orders."
Mehsud is believed to pose a serious internal threat to the Pakistani government, and has been blamed for the killing of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, though he has denied that accusation. The Taliban chief also has been linked to bombings on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
In many ways, a full-scale battle in South Waziristan will be a harder fight than in Swat, where the army claims to have killed hundreds of militants over the past six weeks. One reason is that the tribal region's porous border with Afghanistan could make it easier for militants to escape to the other side. Because of the tribal belt's semiautonomous nature, the government has long had limited influence, allowing militants to become deeply entrenched.
Pakistan's decision comes as public opinion has shifted against the Taliban, who have been blamed or have claimed responsibility for a series of bloody attacks in recent weeks, including one that killed a prominent anti-Taliban cleric and another that devastated a luxury hotel in Peshawar.
LAHORE: For a Rs 50 bill, Ishaq Khan, a 12-year-old schoolboy was asked to carry a bag to a busy bazaar in Kohat. As he proceeded, the bag exploded, throwing him to the ground, shattering one of his feet and leaving shoppers dead and injured all around him.
Under a new strategy, the Taliban have begun paying children to plant lethal bombs across Pakistan, a report in The Sunday Times said.
Rat bastards ...
Ishaq, who hails from a family that barely survives on the money his father earns painting houses, worked at the Orakzai bus stop to earn a few rupees a day by helping people to load buses. Two weeks ago a man approached him and offered him the money to leave the blue plastic bag in a crowded area between several shops.
I was excited to get 50 rupees, Ishaq said. Thats more than I earn the whole week, he told the paper. Pocketing the money, he proceeded to place the bag, thinking of ways to spend the bounty.
LAHORE: The major military operation in Swat and other areas of Malakand division has been completed and only small, partial offensives are still being carried out, Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar said on Sunday.
In an interview with a private TV channel, Mukhtar said militants were losing strength and were attacking religious scholars after being cornered. He said a military operation would be conducted in any part of the country where there was a need to eliminate militancy and terrorism.
He said it was too early comment on the termination of any high-profile targets in the Swat operation. Mukhtar said some mass graves had been discovered in areas where the operation was still underway.
PAKISTANI DEFENCE FORUM > GOVT. OF BALOCHISTAN DEMANDS CONTROL OF GWADAR DEEP SEAPORT [+ cancellation of agreement wid SINGAPORE PORT AUTHORITY, + construx of 2 ea. new deep seaports at ORMARA and GADANI].
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Zainuddin declared that Mehsud had betrayed both his religion and his tribe. Zainuddin told the paper that Islam did not allow these bombings in mosques, in markets, in hospitals. Ha said he did not agree with Mehsud, responsible for sending out hundreds of suicide bombers and staging attacks across the country.
PESHAWAR: At least nine people were killed and 36 injured in a remote-controlled bombing in the Dera Ismail Khan district on Sunday, police and locals have said.
A police official told Daily Times by telephone that a remote-controlled bomb had been planted in a cart in the Tijarat Gunj area. He said it detonated at around 12:15pm, adding most of the deceased were civilians. The bomb was planted in a cycle-rickshaw and it was rush hour in the bazaar at the time of the blast, Syed Mohsin Shah, the district commissioner officer (DCO) of DI Khan, told AFP.
Government official Inayatullah said five to six kilogrammes of explosives were planted in a fruit vendors pushcart. Police official Muhammad Iqbal put the death toll at eight, with 20 wounded, the Associated Press reported. He claimed the attack had to be in response to the Swat operation.
At a hospital where some of the wounded were taken, wails and cries filled the air. It was crowded there when something big exploded, said 30-year-old Ilyas Ahmad, whose legs were wounded. It was a big noise. Everybody was crying. Bodies were lying there. People were lying around in blood.
A total of seven shops were destroyed as a result of the blast. A police official confirmed that two of the deceased were Afghans. The DCO told APP that one suspect had been arrested from the site of the explosion.
Meanwhile, sources told Daily Times the blast occurred in the Landa Bazaar area. They said a local had seen a man parking the pushcart and had tried to stop him but the bomb had exploded, killing both of them.
RAWALPINDI: Security forces said on Sunday they killed 65 Taliban, including foreigners, and injured 50 in various army operations in South Waziristan and Bannu during the last 24 hours.
Thirty terrorists were killed, including a few foreigners, and 50 were injured at Makeen, South Waziristan due to the airstrike on Saturday, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) claimed in a statement.
It said the offensive was partially in response to the suicide attack on Dr Mufti Sarfaraz Naeemis madrassa, in which seven civilians were killed, and the suicide attack on the Nowshera mosque in which four security forces personnel were martyred.
Another 35 Taliban were killed in fresh action by security forces in Bannu, a private TV channel reported. It said the security forces, continuing the operation against the Taliban, had bombarded suspected Taliban hideouts from Janikhel Fort.
The ISPR also said one soldier had been martyred and three injured in exchange of fire with Taliban in Kabal. Taliban in Kala Kale injured another soldier. A cordon-and-search operation is continuing in Loe Namal, Kuz Shaur and Matta, the statement added.
After a week of bloody suicide and bomb attacks across the country, Pakistan Sunday night announced operation against Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud, who also masterminded the 2007 killing of Pakistans former Prime Minister.
Awais Ghani, Governor North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), addressing a press conference here said that the government has decided to launch operation against Baitullah Mehsud and the military was already conducting it.
Baitullah Mehsud is the head of Tehriki Taliban Pakistan (TTP)-South Wazoo chapter. Though he claims leadership of all Pakistan Taliban, the TTP is divided into three factions with two others led by Mullah Nazir and Commander Gul Bahadur of North Wazoo tribal agencies. While the North Wazoo chapters of TTP are believed to be linked to Pakistans military intelligence agency ISI, Baitullah, according to the intelligence authorities, has links to anti-Pakistan foreign elements. His force largely comprises foreign militants of Central Asian origin and locals from Southern Punjab.
He claimed responsibility for Friday's suicide attacks in Lahore and Naushehra that killed over 20 including renowned anti-Taliban scholar Allama Sarfraz Naqvi and wounded over 130 others. He also was held responsible for the 2007 killing of Benazir Bhutto.
The security in a Pakistani eastern city was given red alert Sunday night amid intelligence reports of a Tajik suicide bomber, said police.
After authorities received that a Tajik suicide bomber has entered in city of Lahore, capital of eastern Punjab province, and was planning to attack some crowded place, security was beefed up, police sources told KUNA.
Journalists from Lahore told this correspondent that all busy and crowded bazaars of Lahore, which remain open throughout the night, were immediately closed and heavy police deployment was made at all entry and exit points of the city.
The latest development came a day after anti-Taliban Allama Sarfraz Naqvi was killed in a suicide attack.
An effort to get five Britons, kidnapped two years ago by pro-Iranian Shia terrorists, freed has apparently failed. The government freed one of the terrorist group (Asaib ahl al Haq, or AAH, or League of the Righteous) leaders, as a goodwill gesture towards getting the five Britons cut free. The man released, was also believed responsible for killing five American soldiers. The hostage exchange effort didn't work, as AAH demanded that all Shia terrorists be freed. The government will not do that, and threatens to come after all the Shia terrorist groups, even if this gets the five British hostages killed. Some believe that the five are already dead.
Two explosions on Monday killed at least two people and injured six others in Baghdad's predominantly Shia Shaab neighbourhood, according to security officials. The bombs were attached to two vehicles - a car and a minibus - near a crowded market in the Iraqi capital, officials told the Voices of Iraq news agency.
However, officials said the casualties were expected to rise.
"An improvised explosive device (IED) targeted a civilian vehicle in the al-Shaab area, killing a woman and wounding a man," the source told VOI.
A second bomb attached to a bus blew up in a bus station in al-Shaab, killing one and wounding five others, the source noted.
The attacks came ahead of the planned 30 June withdrawal of American troops from Iraqi cities and major towns.
Last Thursday, Iraq's prime minister Nouri al-Maliki warned of increased sectarian violence in the country. Al-Maliki said there will be attempts to undermine Iraqi security forces as US troops complete their withdrawal from Iraqi cities by the end of the month and ahead of upcoming national elections.
Despite sporadic bombings, the lowest number of Iraqi deaths were recorded last month since the US-led invasion in 2003. A total of 124 civilians, six soldiers and 25 policemen died in attacks in May, according to official figures.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called on Palestinian leaders to restart Middle East peace negotiations without preconditions, in a highly anticipated foreign policy address at Bar Ilan University.
"I call on you, our Palestinian neighbors, and to the leadership of the Palestinian Authority: Let us begin peace negotiations immediately, without preconditions," he said. "Israel is committed to international agreements and expects all the other parties to fulfill their obligations as well."
In an apparent reveral of Israeli policy, Netanyahu also declared that he was prepared to see the creation of a Palestinian state, so long as the international community can guarantee that it not have any military capabilities.
"Israel cannot agree to a Palestinian state unless it gets guarantees it is demilitarized," Netanyahu said. He also said that Jerusalem must remain the unified capital of Israel.
That is indeed an 'apparent' reversal: Israel has long said it will keep all of Jerusalem and has long said that a Paleo state had to be demilitarized. This is old wine in a new bottle; apparently he's borrowing a trick from the Paleos ...
The Drudge headline sums it up nicely: Yes in a no kind of way.
The address at Bar Ilan came in the wake of the Obama administration's insistence that Israel impose a complete freeze on West Bank settlement construction and recognize the two-state solution.
During the speech, Netanyahu vowed that Israel would not build any new settlements and would refrain from expanding existing Israeli communities in the West Bank. Still, he said the government must be allowed to accommodate natural growth in these settlements. Netanyahu has until now been adamant that a settlement freeze is unfeasible and that he would concentrate on strengthening the Palestinian economy, rather than agreeing to their statehood.
Wait til you see how much 'natural growth' these settlements have ...
The prime minister said he was prepared to meet with the leaders of neighboring Arab countries at any time, to promote regional peace and to gain their contribution to the Palestinian economy.
Nice offer since they'll never agree afraid of Juice cooties ...
Netanyahu reiterated that Israel has no desire to control the Palestinian people, and declared that both nations should be able to live side by side in peace. "We want both Israeli and Palestinian children to live without war," Netanyahu said, but added: "We must ask ourselves - why has peace not yet arrived after 60 years?"
Because the Paleos love death more than they love their children?
Israel would not accept any situation in which it was forced to exist beside a terrorist state. Every withdrawal from settlement territories would contribute to such terror, said Netanyahu.
The prime minister also said that Palestinians must accept Israel as a Jewish state, and cited the root of the regional conflict to "even moderate" Palestinian elements' refusal to do so. "When Palestinians are ready to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, we will be ready for a true final settlement," the prime minister said.
Another nice one: Hamas will never agree, and Bibi turns the issue back to them ...
He emphasized that the Jewish people have been linked to the land of Israel for over 3,000 years and ruled out the option of granting Palestinians refugees the right to settle within Israeli borders.
So no 'right-of-return' which makes this a dead issue for the Paleos.
Netanyahu said that Israel would not negotiate with terrorist who wish to destroy it, and said that Palestinians must choose between path of peace and Hamas.
The prime minister opened his address by saying that he had formed his new government earlier this year with three major challenges facing Israel: the economic crisis, the Iranian threat, and the Middle East peace process. He stressed that the greatest threat to the world today was the link between Islamist extremism and nuclear weapons.
Netanyahu, who until now had not endorsed U.S. President Barack Obama's goal of Palestinian statehood, used this policy speech as an opportunity to reverse course and try to narrow a rare rift between Israel and its closest ally.
The prime minister met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and President Shimon Peres over the weekend for consultations about his speech. Peres and Barak reportedly pressed Netanyahu to announce in the speech his acceptance of the road map and willingness to recognize a Palestinian state with security limitations.
"Look, Bibi, nothing's happened the last fifteen years. Give the Americans what they want, and nothing will happen for the next fifteen years."
Talk about a savvy political move. He says yes, but in terms the Paleos will NEVER, EVER accept. Now they will start looking like the bad guy. He can even look like he is cutting things away at negotiations, and the Paleos will still say no. He can walk away and say, "Meh, at least I tried in good faith."
SW - A pal state, subject to the cavearts in the speech is a long standing Israeli positions. It is a NOT long standing Bibi position. Basically (Jerusalem aside) Bibi has adopted the position of Kadima and its last three leaders (Sharon, Olmert, and Livni). It is also the position of Ehud Barak, Bibi's coalition partner. It has never been Likud policy (if, unlike US leftists, you don't count Sharon as Likud after he founded Kadima)
This is a big change, in that sense. And a wise and pragmatic one. Whether Bibi in his heart of hearts really wants a Pal state, or is hoping the Pals will refuse a compromise, this lays out the isues more clearly. This is not about settlements, land hunger, or water rights, since under the peace that would follow Bibis plan, Israel would lose access to land and resources in the WB. It is about the security of Israel "proper". Period. End of story. That changes the debate in the West, and is a wise chess move in response to Obamas speech, which purports to acknowledge Israels security concerns. This speech divides those less sympathetic to Israel, and perhaps more importantly, reunites Israels supporters, and its own citizens.
Posted by: liberal hawk ||
06/15/2009 11:21 Comments ||
ISRAELI MIL FORUM > [heavy machine gun] DISPUTE HALTS APC TRANSFER FROM JORDAN TO PA. Installation of same on approxi 50 Russ-supplied, Jordanian BTR-70 APC's.
Terrorists suspected separatists beheaded a rubber tapper and shot dead a school janitor, both Buddhists, in the latest violence in Thailand's Muslim south, police said on Monday. The attacks took place in Yala and Pattani, two of the three Malay Muslim provinces where 29 people have been killed and more than 50 injured in the past 10 days, among them soldiers, teachers and Buddhist monks.
The body and severed head of the rubber tapper was found in a house next to a plantation in Yala's Than To district. That added to more than 40 beheadings in the region since violence erupted in 2004. The school janitor was shot dead by unknown gunmen while travelling to work on his motorcycle in Pattani, police said.
Attacks on Buddhists have increased since a shooting last week at a Narathiwat mosque, where unknown gunmen killed 10 Muslims at prayer and wounded 12 more. Residents blamed security forces for the bloody attack, which the military said was the work of shadowy rebels seeking to cause sectarian rifts. A labourer from northeastern Thailand was shot dead two days later and a note left at the scene said: 'You kill our innocents, so we kill your people.' A Buddhist monk was killed and another critically injured on Friday when they were gunned down as they collected alms in Yala.
A report by Washington-based Nonviolence International released on Monday said the government's decision to arm Buddhist civilians and deregulate gun sales was deepening rifts between Muslims and the region's Buddhist minority. The study said the policy had 'heightened resentment among the Malay Muslim population towards the Thai state and raised the feeling of injustice and discrimination'.
In a weekly televised address on Sunday, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajvia said development aid rather than tough security measures would be used to tackle the unrest, with increased investment in the region's fisheries and rubber and palm oil industries.
Small investors in the troubled southern province of Yala have already exited the province because of frequent attacks carried out by insurgents while buses in the provincial seat have stopped services for an indefinite period after Saturdays incident in which a passenger was killed and 14 others wounded.
A Senate committee responsible for resolving issues and carrying out development of the southern border provinces Sunday met with private business operators in Yala and were briefed on the current situation in the province. Nivet Sirichai, who heads the Yala Tourism Club, told the meeting that the current economic situation in the province is very bad due to the high risks resulting from daily violence. Most small investors have already left the province, leaving the major ones to continue doing businesses.
In another development, Yalas passenger pickup trucks songtaos -- on Sunday opted to suspend services to a village where a bomb was thrown into a bus on Saturday, killing one passenger and wounding 14. Police said the bomb was thrown into the bus by an unidentified passenger on a motorcycle. Witnesses said the duo fled to a nearby Muslim religious school after the incident. As of Sunday, five bomb victims, including a 12-year-old girl, continue receiving treatment at a hospital in the province.
Gunfire from a pro-government militia killed one man and wounded several others Monday after hundreds of thousands of chanting opponents of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad marched in central Tehran, supporting their pro-reform leader in his first public appearance since disputed elections. Security forces watched quietly, with shields and batons at their sides.
The outpouring in Azadi, or Freedom, Square for reformist leader Mir Hossein Mousavi followed a decision by Iran's most powerful figure for an sham investigation into the vote-rigging allegations.
Later, a group of demonstrators with fuel canisters set a small fire at a compound of a volunteer militia linked to Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard as the crowd dispersed from the square. As some tried to storm the building, people on the roof could be seen firing directly at the demonstrators at the northern edge of the square, away from the heart of the rally.
An Associated Press photographer saw one person fatally shot and several others who appeared to be seriously wounded.
Witnesses told The Associated Press that protests and some violence had broken out in several cities across Iran, including some traditionally seen as more conservative.
The United States was "deeply troubled" by reports of violence and arrests in Iran, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said, but he added that the U.S. knows too little about the conduct of the election to say for sure whether there was fraud.
Gee, Mr. Kelly, what do you think?
The chanting demonstrators had defied an Interior Ministry ban and streamed into central Tehran - an outpouring for reformist leader Mir Hossein Mousavi that swelled as more poured from buildings and side streets. The chanting crowd - many wearing the trademark green color of Mousavi's campaign - was more than five miles long, and based on previous demonstrations in the square and surrounding streets, its size was estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands.
For the bulk of the day, the riot police and soldiers lining the protest were peaceful, reports CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer from Tehran.
"I am ready to pay any price to materialize the ideals of you dear people," he said, speaking though a portable loudspeaker. "People feel their wisdom has been insulted. We have to pursue legal channels to regain our trampled rights and stop this last lie, and stand up to fraud and this astonishing charade."
Mousavi, wearing a gray striped shirt, said his solution was "canceling the result of this disputed election. This will have the least cost for our nation. Otherwise, nothing will remain of people's trust in the government and ruling system."
The crowd roared back: "Long live Mousavi."
According to a Twitter account bearing Mousavi's name, the opposition leader declared he was ready to stand in another election.
"This is not election. This is selection," read one English-language placard at the demonstration. Other marchers held signs proclaiming "We want our vote!" and raising their fingers in a V-for-victory salute.
"We want our president, not the one who was forced on us," said 28-year-old Sara, who gave only her first name because of fears of reprisals from authorities.
Hours earlier, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei directed one of Iran's most influential bodies, the Guardian Council, to examine the claims. But the move by Khamenei - who had earlier welcomed the election results - had no guarantee it would satisfy those challenging Ahmadinejad's re-election or quell days of rioting after Friday's election that left parts of Tehran scarred by flames and shattered store fronts.
The 12-member Guardian Council, made up of clerics and experts in Islamic law and closely allied to Khamenei, must certify election results and has the apparent authority to nullify an election. But it would be an unprecedented step. Claims of voting irregularities went before the council after Ahmadinejad's upset victory in 2005, but there was no official word on the outcome of the investigation and the vote stood.
More likely, the dramatic intervention by Khamenei could be an attempt to buy time in hopes of reducing the anti-Ahmadinejad anger. The prospect of spiraling protests and clashes is the ultimate nightmare for the Islamic establishment, which could be forced into back-and-forth confrontations and risks having the dissidents move past the elected officials and directly target the ruling theocracy.
The display of opposition unity Monday suggested a possible shift in tactics by authorities after cracking down hard during days of rioting. Although any rallies were outlawed earlier, security forces were not ordered to move against the sea of protesters - allowing them to vent their frustration and wave the green banners and ribbons of the symbolic color of Mousavi's movement.
State TV quoted Khamenei as ordering the Guardian Council to "carefully probe" the allegations of fraud, which were contained in a letter Mousavi submitted Sunday.
On Saturday, however, Khamenei urged the nation to unite behind Ahmadinejad and called the result a "divine assessment."
Palmer reports that Mousavi hadn't been seen in public since election day. He has been under house arrest and several other prominent opposition figures have been taken into custody.
The Iranian regime has cracked down on the flow information inside the country, blocking most social networking sites, many phone lines and Internet services. Foreign journalists have been urged to leave the country, reports Palmer.
Mousavi and his supporters have shown no sign of backing down against an expanding security clampdown - bringing their outrage to the streets for the third straight day over claims that Ahmadinejad stole last week's election with vote rigging and fraud.
Ahmadinejad claims to have won by a landslide - with more than 60 percent of the vote. The results came as a surprise to many Iranians and external observers who watched days of raucous street rallies by Mousavi's mostly young supporters in the days before the vote.
Palmer reported that as those supporters learned from state media on Friday night, just hours after voting, that Ahmadinejad had won, their frustration boiled over into angry street protests. More than 100 were arrested as protesters clashed in the streets with police, who fought back with tear gas, rubber bullets and batons.
Ahmadinejad dismissed the demonstrations as "not important from my point of view" and likened it to the intensity after a soccer game. "Some believed they would win, and then they got angry," he said at a news conference on Sunday. "It has no legal credibility. It is like the passions after a soccer match. ... The margin between my votes and the others is too much and no one can question it."
"In Iran, the election was a real and free one," he told a room packed with Iranian and foreign media.
Ahmadinejad was scheduled to attend a regional summit in Russia Monday, but the visit was canceled at the last minute. The Iranian Embassy in Moscow said the president's visit had been postponed and could not say whether it would be rescheduled.
Mohsen Mirdamadi, an opposition strategist, was one of several people arrested during the weekend rioting, reported Palmer who had to hide in a shop with her cameraman during the protests to avoid beating and possible arrest at the hands of the police. Four days ago, Mirdamadi told CBS News there would be trouble if Mousavi lost.
"The main problem is that the people can't accept this is a real result," he told Palmer. "They won't believe it."
The re-election of Iran's hard-line president, meanwhile, signaled an increasingly difficult road ahead for President Obama's hopes for ending Tehran's nuclear threat.
The accusations also have brought growing international concern. On Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden raised questions about whether the vote reflected the wishes of the Iranian people.
Britain and Germany joined the calls of alarm over the rising confrontations in Iran. In Paris, the Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador to discuss the allegations of vote tampering and the violence.
Overnight, police and hard-line militia stormed the campus at the city's biggest university, ransacking dormitories and arresting dozens of students angry over what they say was mass election fraud. The nighttime gathering of about 3,000 students at dormitories of Tehran University started with students chanting "Death to the dictator," but it quickly erupted into clashes as students threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at the police, who fought back with tear gas and plastic bullets, said a 25-year-old student at the university who witnessed the fighting. He would only give one name, Akbar, out of fears for his safety.
The students set a truck and other vehicles on fire and hurled stones and bricks at the police, he said. Hard-line militia volunteers loyal to the Revolutionary Guard stormed the dormitories, ransacking student rooms and smashing computers and furniture with axes and wooden sticks, Akbar said.
Before leaving around 4 a.m., the police took away memory cards and computer software material, Akbar said, adding that dozens of students were arrested.
He said many students suffered bruises, cuts and broken bones in the scuffling and that there was still smoldering garbage on the campus by midmorning but that the situation had calmed down. "Many students are now leaving to go home to their families, they are scared," he said. "But others are staying. The police and militia say they will be back and arrest any students they see."
"I want to stay because they beat us and we won't retreat," he added.
One of Mousavi's Web sites, said a student protester was killed early Monday during clashes with plainclothes hard-liners in Shiraz, southern Iran. But there was no independent confirmation of the report. There also have been unconfirmed reports of unrest breaking out in other cities across Iran.
"Update | 5:10 p.m. A reader named Farzad writes to say:
I was on the streets of Mashhad city today. Security forces and riot police had been dispatched to every corner of the city. All shopping stores, supermarkets were ordered to close before 8:00 PM. Police did not let even two individuals to walk or talk together and asking people not to be on the streets and go home, otherwise would be arrested.Some parts of the city were in complete blackout but many people were simultaneously shouting God is great from rooftops, a slogan showing that people are united and determined to take action against those who had stolen their votes."
Posted by: liberal hawk ||
06/15/2009 19:06 Comments ||
it's cool. They had to unclench their fist to shoot
Posted by: Frank G ||
06/15/2009 19:49 Comments ||
It shall be interesting to see Big Zero attempt to explain the meaning of "unconditional" ala Bill Clinton and "is"....
"From revolution to freedom" -- that was the message that spread among supporters of Iranian opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi today. The phrase refers to the two main squares in midtown Tehran, where a large demonstration took place to protest what millions of Iranians believe was a rigged presidential election. And although the Interior Ministry kept broadcasting a communiqué warning that no permit had been issued for the rally, 2 million to 3 million Iranians from a broad cross section of society converged on Freedom Square to demand a recount.
"Until you return my vote, I won't be going home tonight" was one of the chants at the demonstration, which was organized on the Internet and by word of mouth. While the police and special security forces have dealt harshly with demonstrators over the past few days, today's rally was held peacefully with an almost total absence of any crowd-control forces, at least until dark. After sunset, there were reports of government militia firing on demonstrators, purportedly killing at least one.
The size of the demonstration today came as a surprise. After the first day of heavy rioting and street clashes on Saturday, Sunday saw relative calm as special forces officers took up positions on main streets and squares by the hundreds, breaking up any sizable gathering immediately, leading to assumptions that the protests were dealt and done with.
But many people participating in the rally Monday said the scale of it was understandable. "Of course people would show up en masse. They know who they voted for," said 44-year-old Ahmad, who pulled out his wallet to show an ID to prove that he was a war veteran. "I was on the war front for eight years. This is not what we had a revolution for, so that they would lie to us."
All three opposition candidates attended the rally, though only Mousavi spoke. Difficult to hear above the noise of the crowd, Mousavi said the size of the demonstration made it clear that the election had been rigged.
Although the Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei initially congratulated incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his re-election and called the elections a "divine assessment," he took a surprising step Monday by asking the Guardian Council to investigate Mousavi's allegations "with precision," and called on Mousavi to follow existing concerns through "legal means." The move, an attempt to assuage concerns over the alleged fraud, was unprecedented.
Ahmadinejad, who won re-election with two-thirds of the vote according to the Interior Ministry, held a large rally on Sunday in one of the town's main squares. Speaking to a sea of supporters waving green flags -- in what appeared to be an appropriation of the color used by Mousavi -- Ahmadinejad compared the elections to a football game and said those in the streets did not represent a majority of Iranians but were people upset at having lost the game, referring to them as "weeds and dirt."
While Ahmadinejad's supporters hailed from a variety of backgrounds, the majority were visibly conservative and included large numbers of basiji paramilitary members, many of whom had driven into Tehran on their motorbikes from surrounding towns and cities to help the special forces control street clashes. Many wielded sticks and chains, and still others were outfitted with what seemed to be police shields, helmets and batons.
At the rally Monday, Mousavi supporters referred to the President's speech derisively, chanting, "Ahmadi, just keep saying it's a game of football." Marching past a Revolutionary Guard station full of uniformed men in position, the demonstrators chanted, "We are no weeds and dirt. We are the people of Iran."
One demonstrator looked to the guy by his side and yelled, "That drove me crazy. When he said that yesterday, calling the protesters weeds and dirt." A 26-year-old mechanic from Hashemiye, in the south of Tehran, said he had left his garage to come to the protest.
As a helicopter hovered overhead, the chants grew louder and arms were raised in the air: "This 63% that they say -- where is it?"
But while the demonstrations show broad discontent with perceived fraud, there are also many who believe Ahmadinejad actually won those votes. "Ahmadinejad is a man of the people. He dresses like them, talks like them, and isn't resented for having too much money," said Massoud, a 31-year-old supporter at the President's rally Sunday. "Those TV debates, in which he, for the first time, broke the taboo on old-guard revolutionaries stealing the people's money won him at least another 5 million votes."
Those charging election fraud base their claim on several main arguments. They say the results were released too quickly and were given out as a single number rather than broken down by province, as in previous elections. They also charge that some numbers simply don't make sense, such as Ahmadinejad's higher count in Mousavi's hometown of Tabriz and the other moderate challenger Mehdi Karroubi's less than 1% vote count, despite his relative popularity among ethnic Lors, Kurds and Sufis, as well as women's and students' rights activists.
People who believe in the veracity of the numbers say it is possible to get those election results fairly quickly because each polling booth could count its own votes in a matter of a few hours. As to the other charges, they chime in with the President, who said at a press conference yesterday that those who had lost were just upset because the elections did not turn out as expected.
But Mousavi supporters are incredulous. "They have stolen our vote, and now they're showing off with it," went one of the main chants at the rally Monday. After the demonstrations, loud cries of "Allahu akbar" could be heard from rooftops and windows until late into the night.
Now the Guardian Council has invited Mousavi as well as Karroubi to a meeting Tuesday to discuss their concerns. The Supreme Leader has expressed hope that the dispute can be resolved peacefully.
Dinner Jacket would look even better with a third eye just below his hairline. I'd suggest .45 caliber.
Posted by: Old Patriot ||
06/15/2009 18:02 Comments ||
ION WORLD MIL FORUM > IIUC IN THE IMAGE/LIKENESS OF CHAIRMAN MAO:IRAN'S "MAGIC FIGURE" PRESIDENT MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD HAS CREATED A POWERFUL IRAN! Moud has induced the USA + Europe to joing hands in trying to stop Iran's manifest destiny???
OTOH SAME > RADICALIST/ISLAMIST IRAN LIKES TO PROCLAIM ITS "INDEPENDENT" AGENDA FROM OTHER WORLD POWERS. IN REALITY, IRAN UNDER THE MULLAHS WILL MOVE TOWARDS COMMUNISM!?
HMMMM, HMMMM, lest we fergit CLINTON 1990'S > WTC 1 + OKLAMHOMOA CITY + USS COLE Attacks > GOD-BASED LEFTIES = ISLAM/ISLAMISM-BASED LEFTIES???
Posted by: Bill Sheren ||
06/15/2009 12:50 Comments ||
note Andrew Sullivan is liveblogging this fairly intensively. The "tweets" he is quoting indicate, if I read them correctly, that a big crackdown is happening at the demonstration.
Posted by: liberal hawk ||
06/15/2009 13:51 Comments ||
or maybe not.
"More on todays rally from eyewitnesses we trust: The rally was scheduled to be from 4-6 pm, going from Englab Sq. to Azadi Sq. The Ministry of Interior did not provide a permit for the rally according to our source, and the first 3,000-4,000 people were met by armed forces in full riot gear and a number of Basij officials in street attire. By 4 pm, there were 100,000-200,000 people ready to attend the rally, and Mousavi, Karroubi, Khatami, Khatamis brother, and Karbassji (former mayor of Tehran and affiliate of Rafsanjani) all showed up.
The armed forces did not engage the crowd and the crowd started to chant arm forces, support support i.e nuroyeh entzammy: hemayat hemayat. According to the source, there will be a rally tomorrow for Mousvi tomorrow at 5 pm in Vali Asr Sq. and there will be a national strike by all of Mousavis supporters.
He says Mousavis supporters are outraged by Ahmadinejads rhetoric towards them, calling them a bunch of yahoos and no-gooders, whose aims is to disrupt the nation and its security"
Posted by: liberal hawk ||
06/15/2009 13:53 Comments ||
calling them a "bunch of yahoos and no-gooders, whose aims is to disrupt the nation and its security
Sounds like Janet Napolitano talking about veterans and conservatives...
Posted by: M. Murcek ||
06/15/2009 14:22 Comments ||
calling them a "bunch of yahoos and no-gooders, whose aims is to disrupt the nation and its security
Sounds like Janet Napolitano talking about veterans and conservatives...
Well, yeah Murcek. That or most of us here at Rantburg describing Congress. . . .
Wall Street Journal report; it's much as other articles in the news but does provide some on-site descriptions. I'm just posting the protest details here.
The violence in the streets ratcheted up the stakes in the most contentious election since the founding of the Islamic republic 30 years ago. Prolonged strife or a political standoff would heighten the uncertainty hanging over a country that is one of the world's biggest oil producers and Washington's main irritant in the volatile Middle East.
As night descended on Tehran Saturday, supporters of main challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi clashed with anti-riot police and plain-clothed militia. The city resembled a military zone as thousands of Special Forces units and anti-riot police stormed streets waving their electric batons and hitting rioters and onlookers.
So far no news on whether people in other Iranian cities are also protesting. If not, this is going to be short-lived.
Military cars blocked large swaths of main throughways and instead of traffic police, the para-military Basijis--trained volunteers in plain-clothes--were directing traffic. Vali Asr, the long Tehran avenue where Mousavi supporters last week formed a giant human chain during presidential campaigning, was covered in smoldered black ash--from burnt campaign posters that had been ripped from walls--and shattered glass. Dark smoke hung in the air from garbage dumpsters that were set ablaze on many streets.
On Motahari Avenue, one of the major streets in central Tehran, three public buses were set afire by demonstrators. Syamak Izadi, 62 years old, said he was riding on the bus in central Tehran when a group of men, dressed in Mr. Mousavi's trademark green, stopped the bus and told passengers to get off. They then doused it with gasoline and set it afire, he said.
Protestors played cat and mouse with the police. They gathered on corners throwing their fists in the air, then ran away when riot police descended. On Hafteh Tir square, several hundred people, including men and women, young and old, marched blocking traffic shouting "God is Great" and asking the public to join them. People gathered on pedestrian bridges and encouraged the protestors while drivers honked their horns.
There was unconfirmed shooting reported in northern Tehran with reports of one woman injured from stray bullets.
"The results are not acceptable to us, Mousavi needs to lead the crowd and depose this government," said a 37-year-old biologist who gave his name only as Kasra.
Shouts of "Allah o Akbar" rocked Tehran, reminiscent of the revolution where residents take to their rooftops and shout God is Great in order to show their protest.
Mobile phone service was suspended across the capital. BBC's Persian language service, which many Iranians listen to for news, was jammed. Social networking site Facebook, used by Mr. Mousavi's young supporters to organize, was blocked. On Vali Asr, a pedestrian bridge was set ablaze near Mellat Park.
Supporters of Mr. Mousavi had begun gathering outside the interior ministry and outside his campaign headquarter in central Tehran early in the morning. At that time, uniformed police and plain-clothes security officials broke up groups of protesters, chasing some away from the buildings.
At one point, groups of supporters near Mr. Mousavi's headquarters shouted "death to the dictator," a chant borrowed from the Iranian revolution. Security forces responded by bludgeoning several with batons.
Several journalists were beaten badly, and a female protester was beaten unconscious by uniformed police. As the police battled the protesters, demonstrators and onlookers from windows and from the sides of the streets shouted, "security forces, shame on you."
"Is this democracy?" said Ali Reza, a 30-year-old Mousavi campaign worker, whose eyes were red from tear gas and his white pants torn and bloodied. "We don't have any power to fight these people, but what they are doing is unfair," he said.
Security forces also used pepper spray and tear gas against workers inside the campaign headquarters, throwing canisters through the front door.
Most shopkeepers had closed their stores along the street. But several also opened their doors to provide refuge to protesters. At a traditional Persian restaurant, security forces knocked down the front door, and dragged out dozens of young men and women.
Iranian universities--in the middle of final exams--suspended classes for a week as of today, students said.
The problem is that these people continue to have faith in a method of change that is inapplicable to their enemies. They look at the peaceful resistance methods of Ghandi and King and think that they are magic wands applicable to all peoople, not realizing that those methods were carefully adapted to trigger change processes built into Western culture by Judaeo/Christianity, and thus do not work in Muslim or Communistic contexts explicitly designed without those influences.
Iran has a young population that doesn't remember life before the '79 revolution but they are tech savvy. Dinnerjacket cut off the news media and Facebook so Twitter became the means of communication. Too bad they didn't have a real choice in the elections or they might have overthrown the mullahtocracy.
I have seen reports in standard MSM sources of disturbances in Resht (a Caspian sea resort) and in Shiraz, on Sunday. It has definitely spread beyond Teheran, but not clear how big those protests are, as MSM has no people (AFAIK) outside Teheran and seems to be relying on phone interviews. Nothing about the Azeri region, that I know of (recall many Azeris live in Teheran, and they are generally more assimilated and more pro-regime than their ethnic cousins in NW Iran)
All in all, this is a great time. Even if this is not THE revolution, it rips the mask off the Khameni-Ahmadinajid-Rev Guards regime.
Posted by: liberal hawk ||
06/15/2009 11:07 Comments ||
Last news is that more than a million people have gathered to protest in Tehran.
Reminds me of Leipzig 1989. This could be big.
Posted by: European Conservative ||
06/15/2009 11:07 Comments ||
Ptah - clearly some Iranians are quite open to non-Gandhian means, as shown by the videos of rock throwing students, burning cars, and, IIUC, molotov cocktails. Of course the conventional narrative of the history of India leaves out a lot of history of non-Gandhian tactics as well. It was far more violent than you would know watching the Attenboro film.
It is not at all clear to me that using massive violence on the protestors wont have serious costs for the regime. Both in further alienating fence sitters in the population, and in embarassing the regimes friends in the arab world. Even if you discount that, alienating the regimes sympathizers in the West would still be no small thing.
Posted by: liberal hawk ||
06/15/2009 11:12 Comments ||
The important thing about the million is that people feel their power.
You can't gun down a million. When I saw a million people demonstrating in Leipzig against the Communist regime they feared weeks ago, I knew this was over.
If the mullah do not get this under control very soon they could face a real revolution.
If Khamenei faces a Mussolini fate that of course would be the max
Posted by: European Conservative ||
06/15/2009 11:14 Comments ||
See how powerful my words are?
Another victory for Marxism me!
Posted by: The One ||
06/15/2009 12:14 Comments ||
One of Mousavi's Web sites said a student protester was killed early Monday in clashes with plainclothes hard-liners in Shiraz, southern Iran. But there was no independent confirmation of the report. There also have been unconfirmed reports of unrest in other cities.
Most media are not allowed to travel beyond Tehran and thus can not independently confirm protests in other cities.
Posted by: liberal hawk ||
06/15/2009 13:10 Comments ||
You don't need to gun down a million. A million can be dispersed with enough tear gas & rubber bullets. Then you just need to gun down a couple thousand. The recent Burmese illustration suggests that about eight thousand bodies will break any non-military uprising.
This comes to nothing unless military units mutiny.
Posted by: Mitch H. ||
06/15/2009 13:13 Comments ||
Size of course. A million protestors in Iran is a lot more than a million in China, proportionately.
stability of the regime. Not only had china been ruled by the CCP for 40 years, but in 1989 had it little in the way of civil society. Iran has some non gov political organizations. Much more widespread comm technology.
Regional goals. China in 1989 did not care about its regional influence. Today it exercises influence based purely on its economic clout. Iran, OTOH, has since the Islamists came to power attempted to influence the region using its ideological appeal to disaffected muslim, sunnis as well as Shias.
In China in 89, such divisions within the regime as there were hushed up. The elite feared disorder, based on their exp of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. In Iran, apparently elements of the regime are quite willing to use the street against their own enemies IE the Khameni-Ahmadinajad-IRGC factions against the Rafsanjani-Moussavi faction. The actual antiregime reformers on the streets are a third force - they are trying to use Raf-Moussav while Raf-Mousav are trying to use them.
Posted by: liberal hawk ||
06/15/2009 15:05 Comments ||
thank you Steve, you are most gracious. expect me here only occasionaly. This is an example of the kind of time when I most want to be here.
Posted by: liberal hawk ||
06/15/2009 15:06 Comments ||
"The actual antiregime reformers on the streets are a third force - they are trying to use Raf-Moussav while Raf-Mousav are trying to use them."
This is a critical point.
What is missing is how we are using the factions and recent developments to achieve our own goals. Iran has factions and internal contradictions to how it is structured and how it operates economically. Our desired end state should be an Iran (or what is left of it when we are done) that:
a) does not threaten freedom of navigation in the Gulf
b) is not aggressive towards its neighbors (this includes supporting terrorism and proxies, not just nukes).
c)Ideally they also become an ally contributing to real peace and stability in which the US is the balancing force between Arab and Persian and Sunni and Shia blocs in the region as well as a bulwark against Russia's ambitions.
We badly want to avoid war, which might help us reach a and b (at high cost and risk) but would come at the cost of c. So we have been patient in dealing with the corrupt mullarchy even as they have fanned the flames of conflict in Lebanon and vs. Israel and killed Americans in Iraq. We hope somehow the regime will reform as younger Iranians and different ethnic groups demand more liberty and less corruption as well as better relations with the west.
This election 'crisis' is probably our last best opportunity for this to happen so we can avoid war. We should be supporting opposition groups materially (and covertly, so maybe it is happening), conducting info and psyops, calling BS in the UN and other fora, asking for international observers, open communications, etc.
Despite my initial hope that the President's Cairo speech was part of an initiative to re-set things in Iran ahead of the 'elections', it appears that our policy is to consider events there an internal matter between the secret police and the voters. Although this policy is more likely to lead to war down the road, it is proudly referred to as 'realism' by the Obama administration which has reversed our evil neocon democracy speading regime changing Bush policy so that people will stop hating us.
I liked it better when we helped -- to the extent -- possible folks taking to the streets to demand liberty to the extent possible. We don't appear to be lifting a finger.
Big irony here. Obama admin seems nervous that ANY US support for the protestors would taint the protestors. BUT the very presence of BHO in the WH, arguably, should go a long way to "untainting" that support, compared to the situation under W. Is BHO being SO realist, he is underestimating his own impact on the perception of the US? I am not sure myself. I dont know if the admin has thought this out, or if they have, have done so clearheadedly.
It seems to me this is NOT what they expected. What they expected and hoped for was a clean Mousavi win, which would have enabled them to start their engagement campaign with the Raf-Moussav faction, without the costs and difficulties of dealing with dinnerjacket. The other situation they were prepared for was a clean dinnerjacket win, which would have meant the pain of dealing with dinnerjacket, but they at least had a course to follow.
This OTOH, I think has thrown them completely offguard, which is why it has taken them days to formulate a response (assuming that is forthcoming this evening)
Posted by: liberal hawk ||
06/15/2009 16:03 Comments ||
And taking those days, is hurting The One with the Iranian people --
I spent a goodly amount of time yesterday (too hot in Texas to do anything) reading the Tweeters coming out of Iran -- lots and lots and lots and lots of comments like "Obama where are you? Obama, help us... we love you.... Obama, we need you..."
And like Doc Steve, good to see you back Liberal Hawk.
The mullahs know that they can't alienate the well educated urban class. Actually they had certain freedoms (look at the headscarves), their life's not too bad.
If they get disillusioned they will vote with their feet and the mullahs can't stop them.
Dinnerjacket is expendable
Posted by: European Conservative ||
06/15/2009 16:23 Comments ||
They certainly are counting on the scientists and engineers to build them their atom bomb, among other things.
I am not sure Dinnerjacket is expendable though - 4 years ago Khameni was more worried about the poor masses overthrowing a corrupt Rafsanjani led regime, and that is still a threat.
Posted by: liberal hawk ||
06/15/2009 16:28 Comments ||
I've been doing some checking around the web. Here's a link to the Times of London's weblog, showing additional links to stories coming out of Iran. Michael Totten's link also shows much of what's going on inside the country. Here is a link to the National Council of Resistance for Iran's website, with some very good articles and links.
Posted by: Old Patriot ||
06/15/2009 16:56 Comments ||
I agree that they probably expected a Mousavi win, maybe in a runoff and we could then use that as an excuse to improve relations. However, this was probably naive as elections there are highly suspect given the role of the Guardian counsel and how they are conducted. A 'clean' win is hard to define let alone plan for.
Stratfor said A'jad in fact won because he is trusted on key issues of corruption, piety and national security and that we're all clueless because we base our assessemnt of Iran on English speaking, pro Western Iranians.
I disagree on the fraud issue, from what I've read. But it really does not matter: we have a chance to destablize an enemy regime and help liberty seeking people by exploiting the post election crisis and we're not doing it.
I too noted that many of the protestors were begging Obama to help. Obama, in turn, seems unlikely to underestimate his mystical power to 'untaint.' I can only, therefore, conclude that a) he prefers deailing with A'jed vs. taking chance going after the regime or b) he is just not on his game as you say.
Any statements and actions by us would have to have happened already to have an impact.
Mousavi is no reformer, the educated Iranian population just wants somebody, anybody, other than Dinnerjacket. As noted above, he's still popular in the uneducated countryside. There's a good campaign slogan: "The ignorant support me overwhelmingly!".... almost Bidenesqe
Posted by: Frank G ||
06/14/2009 8:34 Comments ||
Although a Regular Joe, Very Stately. Also, Comforting, Down to Earth, Trustworthy(by politician standards), Articulate, Likable, Intelligent.
Bidenesque is the opposite of Palinesque.
[T]hrough the guardianship [Velayat] that I have from the holy lawgiver [the Prophet], I hereby pronounce Bazargan as the Ruler, and since I have appointed him, he must be obeyed. The nation must obey him. This is not an ordinary government. It is a government based on the sharia. Opposing this government means opposing the sharia of Islam ... Revolt against God's government is a revolt against God. Revolt against God is blasphemy.
Ayatollah Khomeini February 1979
I saw this Khomeini quote on Daily Pundit today.
It's probably something like the Founding Statement of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Iran does not even pretend to be a democracy, it's a Sharia theocracy, by its own admission.
Why the surprise among the commentariat (especially the "experts on Iran")?
These theocratic crazies are going to take the country to the brink and maybe beyond to fulfill some religious apocalyptic notion. The people in Iran must sense that. They also sense theirs votes don't mean anything in a rigged election.
Posted by: Frank G ||
06/14/2009 16:33 Comments ||
Let's assume, for the moment, that the "protesters" (whoever they are) manage to overthrow the government and execute Ahmadawhatever. What next? Do they have any actual ideology, or plan, or ideas? Or is it some sort of Tiananmen-style "we have no idea what we're doing but we're against you" stink-up?
gromky -- I think that has been the problem all along -- there doesn't seem to be that person to step up -- folks I've read have indicated it isn't Mousavi -- although, he may be the only one right now.
Maybe his wife! An interview she did with VoA, being replayed right now --
(read from the bottom up)
# NEWS: The correct votes were 19,7M Mousavi, Karoubi 7M, Rezaei 3M, Ahmadinejad 7-8M less than a minute ago from Seesmic Desktop
# NEWS: Mousavi got a phone call from election dept. at 1am on election night, they told him "You won, prepare your victory speech"2 minutes ago from Seesmic Desktop
# I am listening and writing down all the news, plz stay tuned... #iranelection 9 minutes ago from Seesmic Desktop
# NEWS: Alireza Noorizadeh from VoA has some crazy info.. very trustworthy source #iranelection 11 minutes ago from Seesmic Desktop
Reading items like the piece you excerpted from the New Republic reminds me of the strategic opportunities that Obama has squandered by demonizing Bush and the Iraq war for years.
Imagine how powerful it would be for Obama (or, more likely, a surrogate) to be able to stand up and say to the Iranian protesters, Under the USA, your neighbor Iraq held free and fair elections. The government of Iran went out of its way to demonize the US and undermine those elections. We are now seeing the results of that mindset come home to Iran as you are denied a voice by your government in your own elections. The US government stands behind all who seek free and fair elections.
Of course, he cant say that with any legitimacy because he has spent years putting down Bush and Iraq. This is a classic example of why partisan bickering needs to be toned down; it hamstrings the new Administration. So frustrating to watch.
Here's 2:44 of Iran -- Riot Control Officers surrounded they were two , both captured and beaten , the other one had lost conciousness and this one gave up
Those guys got out of that situation really good, in other locales, they would have been stomped to death or burned alive (heck, even in France, Youths would do just that, or short of it, to any caught riot cop), here, one of them is apparently protected by some fellows and given water.
Eventually, someone will do something stupid, and there will be outright war. One of the worst things that DinnerJacket can do is to attack a ship in the Persian Gulf. If the Iranians actually SANK a ship, especially an American ship, we would HAVE to respond, whether Obambi wanted to or not. Otherwise, the entire world will ignite. I'm not sure who - or how many - would survive.
Posted by: Old Patriot ||
06/14/2009 17:39 Comments ||
ION WAFF > VIDEO: SOUTH AZERBAIJANIS ROCKING IRAN, WANTIING THEIR FREEDOM.
The key here is the Kurds, Abzerjanis and SW Arabs. If they are rioting (and there is little access to them), then the regime may fall, especially if the Mullahs are stupid enough to use Arab Baseej (Alewites from Syria and Lebanon) in Farsi areas like Tehran.
The people have spoken! Turn cell phone and State Run Media towers back up to full power please. The appointment and re-appointment of cabinent Zsars, ambassadors, and postings of other campaign contributors can now begin anew.
Sherry__ your posts remind me of the Phillipine elections years ago when Marcos tried to steal the vote. It took the IT vote tabulators leaving their offices en masse in protest of announced results that didn't match what they actually saw to finally topple the regime.
No, it took an attempted military coup that the rest of the military then declined to put down in the face of millions in the streets. When the dictator saw that he had lost military support he fled.
The vote-tabulators walkout may have helped swing the US government (Sen Lugar in particular) decisively against Marcos though; the US did have a substantial effect on encouraging the coup and the non-response of the military.
On this day in history: June 15th.
1389 Battle of Kosovo: The Ottoman Empire defeats Serbs and Bosnians.
1752 Benjamin Franklin proves that lightning is electricity.
1775 George Washington is appointed commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.
1844 Charles Goodyear receives a patent for vulcanization, a process to strengthen rubber.
1864 Arlington National Cemetery is established when 200 acres around Arlington Mansion (formerly owned by Confederate General Robert E. Lee) are officially set aside as a military cemetery by U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.
1911 Tabulating Computing Recording Corporation (IBM) is incorporated.
1916 U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signs a bill incorporating the Boy Scouts of America, making them the only American youth organization with a federal charter.
1955 The Eisenhower administration stages the first annual "Operation Alert" (OPAL) exercise, an attempt to assess the USA's preparations for a nuclear attack.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.