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Volunteer "human shields" flock to Iraq
Today's Headlines
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Afghanistan
Taliban chief calls for holy war
A statement attributed to fugitive Taliban chief Mullah Mohammed Omar has urged Afghans to wage a holy war against Americans and the U.S.-backed Afghan government, saying its supporters should be punished with death. ''We demand that Afghanistan's Muslims should immediately leave the ranks of America and the Crusaders, and start jihad against the Americans and its allies,'' the Pashtu-language message attributed to Omar said.
Don't his lips get tired? He keeps saying the same thing, over and over. Isn't that a sign of something, you know, mental?
The statement was sent to several newspaper offices in the Pakistani border town of Peshawar, and a copy was obtained by The Associated Press on Monday. The authenticity of the message could not be verified. The message quoted an Islamic edict, or fatwa, allegedly issued by about 1,600 Muslim scholars in Afghanistan, calling for the death of anyone who supports America and Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government. According to the message the fatwa said: ''The dignity of Islam has been attacked. Today America has attacked the oppressed Muslim nation of Afghanistan. Now jihad is obligatory for Muslims. Those cooperating with this infidel intruder and stand with it ... deserve to be killed.''
"Yes! We must kill them! That is the devout thing to do!"
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/17/2003 08:18 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [373 views] Top|| File under:

#1  How many scholars does it take to issue a fatwa? 1,600? Lawd have mercy! So, can we get a list of these fatwa folks in Afghanistan? We just want to chat with them, ya see...no harm in that...
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/17/2003 20:27 Comments || Top||

#2  One of these days they will realize that you cannot shoot off your mouth like this forever and without consequence.
Posted by: RW || 02/17/2003 21:38 Comments || Top||


Video shops banned in Kunduz
Northeastern Afghan province has ordered the closure of video shops after complaints that owners were showing "obscene movies". Residents and officials said on Monday the order, announced on state television in Kunduz province, had also warned video saloon owners against resuming operations. "A number of irresponsible people, by showing obscene movies, are encouraging youth (to commit) immoral acts," the order said. "They should stop...running films which are in contradiction with the Afghan culture and Islamic tradition."
Oh, shuddup.
The saloons mostly showed Western and Indian films with a mix of violence, melodrama and love stories. Some of the films featured scantily clad women.
Oh, no! Not scantily clad wimmin!
The saloons have re-emerged in many parts of conservative Muslim Afghanistan since the overthrow of the former Islamic Taliban movement in late 2001. The Taliban had also outlawed music, cinemas and television during its five-year rule.
They'll clamp down on them, too. Then we can pack up and go home and ignore them for another ten years. Maybe the Frenchies will save their sorry asses next time.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/17/2003 08:12 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [279 views] Top|| File under:


Arabia
Saudi Deputy Governor Shot Dead
An unidentified gunman shot dead the deputy governor of Saudi Arabia's northern Jouf province on Monday, a Saudi Interior Ministry official said. The official told the state-run Saudi Press Agency that Hamad bin Abdel Rahman al-Wardi was driving to work when his car was riddled with gunfire early in the morning. He said the authorities were investigating the incident. The motive for the shooting was not clear.
I think I'd start with the assumption that somebody didn't like him, and then see if I could add any detail...
In September, a judge was shot dead in the same province as he left a mosque following Friday prayers. A Saudi man was arrested for the assassination shortly afterwards but authorities did not reveal his motive.
"Excuse me, I think that's my parking place."
"Apostate! Heretic! Hypocrite! I will kill you!"
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/17/2003 01:18 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [276 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Trouble in paradise?
Posted by: RW || 02/17/2003 14:12 Comments || Top||

#2  Fatwa on the fast track.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/17/2003 15:24 Comments || Top||


Britain
Blair to defy anti-war protests
Tony Blair refused to blink last night in the face of the biggest anti-war demonstrations ever held in Britain and worldwide.
I'm surprised. Are you surprised?
Ministers and officials insisted the protests - which saw more than 1 million people march in London on Saturday - would not delay military preparations for war next month. One well-placed source said: "It changes nothing at all. The quicker it is done, the better. To back down now would be the worst result possible. We would have no credibility if Saddam Hussein was still in place."
I'm still agog over just how many level headed ministers and officials Tony Blair could find in the Labour party to run a government. Who knew?
Ministers were wheeled out yesterday to buttress Mr Blair, who on Saturday claimed that there was a moral case for military action against Iraq. In spite of their bullishness, there were signs that the scale of the protest, combined with the report by the UN chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, on Friday, has disrupted US and British diplomatic plans.
Disrupted? No. Annoyed no end? Yes.
A joint US-UK resolution authorising war that was to have been circulated at the UN security council at the weekend has been put on hold while Washington and London rethink their tactics. The US and Britain say they still intend to seek a second resolution but must decide on its wording and on whether to present it to a sceptical security council this week or next.
Depends on whether they want to certify the end of the UN as a useful world body this week or next.
The US national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, confirmed yesterday that Washington was reviewing how to go about securing the resolution but was not considering any significant delay with regard to military action. She stressed that President Saddam had "weeks, not months". Mr Blair will face calls to give the inspectors more time when he meets the German chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, and the French president, Jacques Chirac, at an EU summit on Iraq in Brussels tonight. The summit was called by Greece, which holds the EU presidency, to try to secure common ground but there was little optimism in London that it would achieve much more than a reiteration of support for existing UN resolutions. The London protest attracted people with an astonishing variety of kooky backgrounds and out-to-lunch political viewpoints. The numbers and diversity should be a cause of worry to a prime minister who prides himself on his awareness of public opinion.
He's aware, he's just showing leadership. That's what has the editors of the Guardian so confounded.
Mr Blair, speaking at the annual conference of the Labour party in Scotland, said that while he understood the moral concerns of the marchers, the balance of morality lay with ending a barbaric regime. While refusing to be dismayed by the scale of the protests, Downing Street aides took quiet satisfaction yesterday as cabinet members defended what the deputy prime minister, John Prescott, called Mr Blair's "courage, integrity and honesty" in the crisis. John Reid, the Labour party chairman, took the marchers head on, saying they recommended doing nothing, and that such a moral choice meant sustaining a status quo "under which there are people being murdered, tortured and dying and starving".
Unfortunately, there's about a million people out there in London who either don't know this or don't care.
Mr Blair's ministers insisted public opinion could flip in favour of war, provided there was a second UN resolution. They admitted it would be problematic for Mr Blair's relationship with his party if he failed to secure that. One minister said cabinet resignations were unlikely to extend beyond the leader of the house, Robin Cook, and that while ordinary members would leave the party, he doubted if it would amount to the predicted exodus. Yesterday, the gibbering leftwinger Alice Mahon spoke openly of a leadership threat if Mr Blair did not allow the UN's team more time: "Yes of course people are talking. There's no point in denying that."
And if the Guardian calls Alice a leftwinger, you just know how far she is to the left.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/17/2003 10:52 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [439 views] Top|| File under:

#1  People get aware: Jack Straw: 'War difficult without public backing'

There are however some anti-democrats who prefer to close their eyes for democracy and call people of different opinion "peacemongers".

Let peace survive hysteria

Regards,
Murat
Posted by: Murat || 02/17/2003 5:40 Comments || Top||

#2  Murat, 1.72% of the population cannot claim to be a majority, ever. A mob, yes, but fortunately we don't have a mob rule system. In Britain the government is elected through democratic elections and given a mandate to rule for a set period, during which time it acts as it sees fit. Only one member of the cabinet is likely to resign over this issue, and the main opposition party is foursquare behind the government over its stance towards Iraq. As no one's called for a vote of confidence in Tony yet, I think we can rest assured the mob will not be able to shout down parliament for the forseeable future.
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/17/2003 6:03 Comments || Top||

#3  Re Bulldog,

I don’t know where you’ve got the impression that the number is 1.72%, recent public opinion polls in Britain revealed that most British regard the US a bigger danger to the world than Saddam. One should take a minute to rethink how that could have happen.
Posted by: Murat || 02/17/2003 6:24 Comments || Top||

#4  Whether or not a majority, it is astounding that so many Brits have placed themselves squarely on the side of Sadam and thus, on the side of continued torture, rape and murder of Iraqis. Unless Voldemort really exists, it is difficult to explain this.
Posted by: mhw || 02/17/2003 7:13 Comments || Top||

#5  MHW
It is so easy to say if you are not pro warmongering you must be on the side of Saddam and thus, on the side of continued torture, rape and murder of Iraqis.

Well I hope you too recognise how laughable this cliché sounds, try to understand once that people don’t love Saddam, but horrify the war, bombing, killing and misery it brings upon so many people.
Posted by: Murat || 02/17/2003 7:34 Comments || Top||

#6  Murat, The topic's the anti-war protest. A lot of people turned out for that, but that doesn't give them the right to dictate to the government what to do. The government has a democratic mandate, and will do what it believes to be in the British interest based on the information available to it. It's the job they were put there for and their decisions don't have to be popular ones.

More people regard the US to be a threat to world peace because they are stupid, and I'm afraid that's a fact. It's also because Saddam is relatively weak. It's thanks to the coalition forces during and since the first gulf war that Saddam isn't more of a threat. Besides, when you read peace, read stability. When people think of "peace" too many are content to think of that as other people suffering rather than themselves.
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/17/2003 7:38 Comments || Top||

#7  not difficult to see how this can happen with the repeated anti-US prejudice of twits like you. To put the US on moral parity with Iraq as far as world threats goes speaks volumes for the radical nature of your position and tells me I should ignore it and stick to the facts.
Saddam is killing and terrorising his own people as we speak, but you don't give a dips*it about that, do you?
Killing is A-OK if a dictator does it, right Murat?
Posted by: anon || 02/17/2003 7:41 Comments || Top||

#8  Anon, don’t be childish of course it is not ok if a dictator kills. But do you want me to make me believe that the utter motivation is to get rid of a dictator? What about Khadaffi, Assad, the Saud family, the various dictators on the African continent and some Latin American nations? What’s their difference, compare it with your logic and tell me why only Iraq (if you can)?
Posted by: Murat || 02/17/2003 8:01 Comments || Top||

#9  Murat, Still defending Saddam? You don't want the US to act against him till they've got rid of someone else first? Who would you start with? I'd have thought that Saddam's one of the nastiest available. He has ususually strong penchants for invading his neighbours, lobbing chemical weapons around and persecuting his population, so he's about as close to a cartoon villain as you can get. This question comes up time after time from the pacifist camp, which is strange given that it's neither an argument against war nor of any relevance to the problem of Saddam.
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/17/2003 8:18 Comments || Top||

#10  ' cause a regime change in Irak is part of a global change of policies toward Middle East. WMD are something of a pretext, oil is important (as in "strategically", not as in "economically"). Irak is not a target by itself, it is a mean to a larger aim, set in a global "cold war" against reactionnary, antiwestern forces unleashed by islamic factions that has gained an incredible momentum and a an enormous weight in the muslim world in last 30 yrs. You can thanks the egyptian brotherhood(s), gulf money and madrasa system for that.
The USA are going to use the sadamite entity to step in the heart of darkness and change the regional statu quo to serve (in order) US, western, local reformists (?), and local joe-six-pack 's interests. At least, that's the general plan. I hope it will work out fine, but somehow I have doubts. Still, this time, as long as you don't look too closely on details or after-thoughts, the USA really are on the side of angels.
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/17/2003 8:35 Comments || Top||

#11  Bulldog,
Are you serious, until now you where giving rational answers, now you are bluntly accusing me of defending Saddam. Who is Saddam to hell with him, but I am against bombing a whole nation to kill one criminal. Besides the picture you paint is not realistic anymore, Iraq is a nation chopped into three, under heavy embargo since 1991. All of their military equipment is heavily obsolete. One thing you say is right he has become a cartoon villain personage, a paper tiger. If the US is really after Saddam to liberate the Iraqi people, which I doubt, why does the US not grant him a safe passage to another country like Yemen for instance. Getting rid of a dictator peacefully without the need of bombing thousands of innocent people to Walhalla.

I know some of you will call me peacemonger, Saddam aide or whatever, that’s what people do when they lack rational answers! (except anonymous)
Posted by: Murat || 02/17/2003 8:48 Comments || Top||

#12  I'm not that rational... Btw, comments are now longer than the original aricle, and none of you is going to convince your opponent. chill out, folks, you're just wasting space.
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/17/2003 8:52 Comments || Top||

#13  Murat, get real. The age of carpet bombing is over. The only way Iraqi civilians would die in massive numbers is when Saddam decides he wants to go out like Hitler, who ordered the complete destruction of Germany and the Germans because they were not able to bring him final victory. But remember that even Hitler's most loyal followers were not prepared to carry out that order.
Posted by: Peter || 02/17/2003 9:07 Comments || Top||

#14  Murat, ...A paper tiger only because he had the stuffing pulled out of him and burnt on the Basra highway, then was sat upon for a decade. But don't you see the UN will never sanction overt US-instigated regime change because, whatever it's about, the UN's not about improving governments. It would be terrific to be able to take out Saddam with a scalpel blade but the consequences of that would be more dire, ironically, for the US et al. than to go in with the whole military circus. For one thing removing the man himself would not, by any means, topple the regime (how many times do you think you could repeat that trick without international opinion getting a little hostile?). Assassination of foreign heads of states the size of Iraq are considered a diplomatic faux pas, for quite obvious reasons. It would make Saddam a Tomahawk Martyr and be the best possible way start WWIII. If you want Saddam to go, and to have confidence in his successors, you have to have force on the ground.
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/17/2003 9:13 Comments || Top||

#15  Actually I believe murat makes a good point, if not the one he wants to make. To quote "What about Khadaffi, Assad, the Saud family, the various dictators on the African continent and some Latin American nations?" He is right, they are all dictators, brutally oppressing the people they are supposed to govern. We cannot do all at once, but attacking Iraq and occupying it will in the long run release forces to free people in other parts of the world. Who knows, maybe the Saudis, Syrians, or Libyans will be the next people to enjoy our freedoms. Unless there is someone who believes that a Muslim or Arab is incapable of achieving freedom, which I believe is racist
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/17/2003 9:24 Comments || Top||

#16  When Murat speaks about the Europeans being more concerned with Bush than Saddam, it would behoove everyone to read Rober Kagan's great piece (piece hell, it's damn near a book) on the history and status of the European and American divide. the article can be found here at Policy Review. Kagan is a foriegn policy analyst and sometime columnist for the Washington Post.
Posted by: Bob Ballard || 02/17/2003 9:37 Comments || Top||

#17  Peter, I know the age of carpet bombing is over, but we have not reached the age of guided missiles with Saddam homing devices yet. Whatever technology is used, it cannot avoid thousands of civilian casualties.

Bulldog, the US intelligence knows exactly who are the regime members, there can be issued an ultimatum for these guys to leave Iraq, occupation and bombing would not be necessary then, the people would do the work.

Anonymus, I agree with you, the world would be a much finer place without those regimes.
Posted by: Murat || 02/17/2003 9:51 Comments || Top||

#18  Jack Kelly writes in today's Washington Times that Iraqi casualties have been wildly overstated: the real number appears to be "between 1,500 and 6,000, with the lower number being the more likely."

Higher numbers, the ones that Murat would seem to support, include the Iraqis that Saddam hisownself killed.
Posted by: The Kid || 02/17/2003 9:54 Comments || Top||

#19  Ooops! The casualties above are for Gulf War I.

(Premature "submit query" - need a safety for the mouse button.)
Posted by: The Kid || 02/17/2003 9:58 Comments || Top||

#20  Yes the bombing will kill people.

That was true in Afghanistan.

Any objective person would now say that we bombed them OUT of the stone age,
Posted by: mhw || 02/17/2003 10:20 Comments || Top||

#21  Murat, can't be done, for reasons I stated before, plus extras. Saddam wouldn't let anyone on that big red bus to Peaceful Exile. But even if they did, without occupation you'd likely get anarchy, a bloody power vacuum and, worse, possible French influence. Now THAT would be irresponsible. You can't simply ask an entire administration to walk out the door and not replace it. The UN - God forbid! - wouldn't want to be seen involved in such a flagrant coup d'etat, so you couldn't expect the Blue Berets to go running in. So all you're left with is those posing the ultimatum, and that'd be those girding their loins right now.

Saddam's had the ultimatum already, and if he won't show the international community his toys, he certainly won't show them a "Gone Fishin" sign on the gates of Baghdad. Not without exterminating anyone remotely capable of taking his place first, anyhow.

In a perfect world the criminals would go quietly into the sunset, but it just ain't practical.
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/17/2003 10:33 Comments || Top||

#22  Murat:
The cost-benefit analysis that Washington has done on going to war with Iraq will show that the benefits outweigh the "costs" (I know we are also talking about people). The problem is that some benefits are not immediately apparent to some people (you and the protesters), nor can they be overtly expressed by the administration.

Try to follow this reasoning:
1-In the past Saddam was actively seeking to develop weapons of mass destruction.
2-If left alone, his programs would be successful.
3-There is no guarantee that he would not sell these weapons to anyone who wants to buy them (you must assume this to be true)
4-The "cost" of protecting against the proliferation of these weapons in the future would be tremendously greater, resulting in another "Cold War" (developing weapons programs to try to keep one step ahead of the other guy)(the "cost" refers to not only the dollar amount)
5-The technology to develop these weapons will be more widely available with time (in other words, Saddam's scientists will only get smarter)
6-Saddam can be defeated without plunging the whole world into war.

You tell me which option is more "peaceful". The people in-the-know have learned from WW2 and the Cold War era.
And this doesn't even mention the other benefits for the region and the US.
Posted by: RW || 02/17/2003 11:19 Comments || Top||

#23  This is by no means a comparison of Tony Blair with Lincoln, but keep in mind the situation. Lincoln had tons of detractors in his situation in the war between the states, not just in the South, but in the North, including in his own government. So many were self serving, including his own generals. However, Lincoln knew that this was the big banana, and he had to make a stand on principles, and similarly Tony has put himself on the line. Our countries are in the greatest peril that they ever have been. Well, at least we know who our friends are and who the enemies and detractors are. Hats off to Blair and Bush who, though not perfect, are trying to do the right thing for everyone's sake.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/17/2003 12:16 Comments || Top||

#24  Blair would not be supportive of the war unless he agreed with the National Security Council's "pre-emption" doctrine, which Bush recited at West Point, last May. Bush's type of "pre-emption" involves diplomatic stumbling, purchasing unsavory alliances, rhetorical denial of Islamic "jihad" dogma ("islam is peace"), delivery of a Saudi veto viz the social development of post-Saddam Iraq, reliance on worthless civil policing methods (refusal to torture Guantanamo genocidists to gather evidence), sanitary or limited war (use of smart bombs, restrained carpet bombing), inordinate delays in face of enemy buildups, telegraphing targets ("axis of evil"), beligerent "peace" (viz forced armistice between Northern Alliance and Taliban), inducing Islam friendly "democratic" elections (Turkey, Pakistan, where the leaders of two major parties were in exile, and jihadis control the media), etc.

What does Bush's oil-patch, rainbow-coalition do when faced by a challenge? Last month, al-Azhar University, the authoritative center of Islamic opinion (fatwah). ordered production of nuclear weapons by the Islamic states. Bush chose not to respond to that challenge, which has policy implications for the 57 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. American troops will pay for the disorganization, ideological blindness, petro-orientation, and pathological irresolution of the Bush government. It is time to discard piecemeal notions, and think wholesale.

Think like this: Muslims are the mortal enemies of civilized peoples and they need to be placed under extreme constraints, and this must be done on a global scale.
Posted by: Anon || 02/17/2003 13:08 Comments || Top||

#25  "...the utter motivation is to get rid of a dictator? What about Khadaffi, Assad, the Saud family, the various dictators on the African continent and some Latin American nations? What’s their difference, compare it with your logic and tell me why only Iraq (if you can)?"

Not just Iraq, they happen to be first. I think the purpose of a National Security Advisor is to review threat assessments, and prioritize. A dictator such as Mugabe who has no WMD and no territorial aspiritions is a low priority. Saddam, Kim JongII rather higher priorities.

Arguably the biggest issue facing the UN is if they as a body single out Iraq for force sanction, they expose many member countries to a similar potential fate. Which is why we see such a heavy focus within the UN on Israel; keeps the pressure of Libya.
Posted by: john || 02/17/2003 13:15 Comments || Top||

#26  Peter, I know the age of carpet bombing is over, but we have not reached the age of guided missiles with Saddam homing devices yet. Whatever technology is used, it cannot avoid thousands of civilian casualties.

In the article pointed to right below this, John Heidenrich says, "The number of civilian deaths from bombing was less than 1,000". Given the fact that the upcoming conflict will see more use of precision munitions than before, then a reasonable assumption is that civilian casualty figures will be comparable to the previous installment.

If you still think there are going to be scores of civilian deaths due to a rain of high explosives from above, then you need to stop believing what the hysterical anti-war types are telling you.

What about Khadaffi, Assad, the Saud family..

Their turn may be coming up; it's wise to tackle things one thing at a time. Once Hussein is whacked, all the other despots will be on notice.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 02/17/2003 13:37 Comments || Top||

#27  Germans think Saddam has smallpox, Gerhard got the report before the election and suppressed it.
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/17/2003 20:08 Comments || Top||

#28  Saw that too Anon - good post! - How many lawsuits would it take to bankrupt Germany (nice name by the way) should it be proven they had notice Iraq had Bio agents they didn't tell the victimized populace?
Posted by: Frank G || 02/17/2003 20:16 Comments || Top||

#29  And how many lawsuits will the Kurds and the Shiites file after the war when they find out who sold Saddam the chemical goodies in the first place?

Just in case you wonder.. it was Rumsfeld

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,866942,00.html
Posted by: Greedy Lawyer || 02/17/2003 21:28 Comments || Top||

#30  "However, 25 days later, Ronald Reagan signed a secret order instructing the administration to do "whatever was necessary and legal" to prevent Iraq losing the war."

Don't get too greedy.
Posted by: Fred || 02/17/2003 23:33 Comments || Top||

#31  "A 1994 congressional inquiry also found that dozens of biological agents, including various strains of anthrax, had been shipped to Iraq by US companies, under licence from the commerce department."

That must have been "necessary and legal", too?
Posted by: Greedy Lawyer || 02/17/2003 23:48 Comments || Top||

#32  greedy lawyer, you're name is Murat, you can't fool me.

The logic? 3 dictators are better than 4, you twit! So yes, there are other dictators in the world but it is not valid logic to say 'if you can't get rid of all of them, you shouldn't get rid of any of them especially if it helps your own interests'

And lets not pretend that you would be in favour of the US removing the other dictators - you would be the first to raise your whiny voice about US imperialism.

Get real, what I said stands. You think violence and despotism is A-OK for people like Saddam: the real crime for you is that the US might act in self-interest on the international stage and interfere with another country. Even though that action would actually IMPROVE the lives of Iraqis - that doesn't interest you, you would sacrifice the lives of ordinary Iraqis at your temple of anti-Americanism so you could have the high moral ground and feel safe in your bourgeouis self-satisfied and pompous attitude.

You make me sick why don't you go and be a human sheild so we can bomb you?
Posted by: anon || 02/18/2003 4:42 Comments || Top||

#33  Murat,let try to explain it this way.
If you have 4 or 5 bad guys in your nieghborhood.The worst one is a crazy,sadistic,thieving rapist who will stop at nothing,kill anybody to get what he wants.
Legal Authorities do not have the will or courage to put a stop to the rape and slaughter.
1/2 your nieghbors say the maniacs live down the street and are no threat to the rest of the"hood"(not realizing in their nieve self- delusion that the criminals will soon be looking for fresh prey).The other 1/2 get tired of being victums,or see a clear and present danger and know getting rid of the thugs is the right thing to do.
What do you do?
You and your nieghbors get together load up the shotguns,and starting with badguy #1 on the list you take them out.
It is a pretty simple concept,really."All it takes for evil to win is for good people to do nothing".
Posted by: raptor || 02/18/2003 7:46 Comments || Top||


Europe
Chirac blasts eastern Europeans over pro-American stance
French President Jacques Chirac launched a withering attack Monday on eastern European nations who signed letters backing the U.S. position on Iraq, warning it could jeopardize their chances of joining the European Union.
You know Jacq, there is such a thing as over playing your hand.
"It is not really responsible behavior," he told a news conference. "It is not well brought up behavior. They missed a good opportunity to keep quiet."
oops, thats a dead giveaway isnt it.
Chirac was angered when EU candidates Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic joined pro-U.S. EU members such as Britain, Spain and Italy last month in a letter supporting Washington's line on Iraq against the more dovish stance of France and Germany. Paris was further upset when 10 other eastern European nations signed a similar letter a few days later.
Fair bunched their undies, didn't it?
France argued that the moves aggravated splits in the 15-nation EU and backed the ideas put forward by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld who had earlier spoke of France and Germany as "old Europe" in contrast to the easterners seeking to join the EU and NATO. "Concerning the candidate countries, honestly I felt they acted frivolously because entry into the European Union implies a minimum of understanding for the others," Chirac told reporters after an emergency EU summit on Iraq.
Right back atcha, froggy.
He warned the candidates the position could be "dangerous" because the parliaments of the 15 EU nations still have to ratify last December's decision for 10 new members to join the bloc on May 1, 2004.
Well thats a tough one, how do you effectively threaten countries that have been occupied by the soviet union for 40 years? Not a whole lot of arrows in that quiver, i'd think.
Chirac particularly warned Romania and Bulgaria, who are still negotiating to enter the bloc in 2007.
I think they just got a better offer from another team.
"Romania and Bulgaria were particularly irresponsible to sign the letter when their position is really delicate," Chirac said. "If they wanted to diminish their chances of joining Europe they could not have found a better way."
Join Europe or the "New World". Join "Winners" or "Perennial Losers", The "NY Yankees" or the "Paris Frogs", what to do, what to do, Decisions, Decisions....
Britain, Spain and other EU nations had suggested the candidate nations attend Monday's emergency summit on Iraq, but France and Germany opposed the idea. Although Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were the driving forces behind the letter backing America and EU members Italy, Denmark and Portugal also signed up, Chirac saved his wrath for the candidates. "When you're in the family you have more rights than when you're knocking on the door," he said.
But when its the "Addams Family", who wants to stand next to Uncle Fester.(Chirac and Fenster are clearly spearated-at-birth)
Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Cyprus and Malta are set to join in May 2004. Lagging behind economically, Romania and Bulgaria were told to wait three more years. Instead of attending the EU summit, the candidates are due to travel to Brussels Tuesday for a briefing on its outcome by Greece, which currently holds the EU presidency. Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis denied they had been excluded from the summit because of their backing for Washington, insisting rules require the treaties be signed first. "We will not discuss pro-American or anti-American positions," Simitis told a news conference. "The candidate countries will be members" soon, and "we have to proceed together."
First thing on the EU agenda should be to tell France to shut the hell up.

France seems to be of the opinion that everyone in Europe should be in the EU, but only people who speak French should have any say in what is done. Chirac is writing checks with his mouth that his ass can't cash.
Posted by: Frank Martin || 02/17/2003 06:09 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [380 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I hate to nit-pick, but the fat bald guy on "The Addams Family" was Uncle Fester. Y'know, as in "festering sore" or somesuch.
Posted by: Scooter McGruder || 02/17/2003 17:51 Comments || Top||

#2  Hoisting one up by one's own Petard takes special meaning here.
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/17/2003 17:53 Comments || Top||

#3  Lagging behind economically, Romania and Bulgaria were told to wait three more years....
and the French, morally bankrupt were sent to the penalty box for 4 years ...
This is nothing more than a temper tantrum by that corrupt piece of anti-american s$%t
BOYCOTT FRENCH PRODUCTS
Posted by: Frank G || 02/17/2003 17:58 Comments || Top||

#4  Is this f**khead serious??? I've got news for him, the ordinary people in eastern Europe aren't exactly beating down the door to the EU. In fact, they are fed fairy tales by their governments to get them to vote yes in the upcoming referendums. It's the hope of getting jobs in the west that compels them to join, and thats about the only advantage that allows Chirac to shoot off his mouth like this. F%ck Chirac.
Posted by: RW || 02/17/2003 18:00 Comments || Top||

#5  Chirac just must have turned up in his Darth Vader suit for this summit. Wouldn't have worked at all otherwise, would have sounded ridicuous...
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/17/2003 18:06 Comments || Top||

#6  Correct Scooter, it is Fester. And Chriac DOES look like he needs a lightbulb stuck in his gob.
Posted by: Frank Martin || 02/17/2003 19:04 Comments || Top||

#7  "The combination! How could you forget, old man? 2-10-11 - eyes, fingers, toes!"
Posted by: Fred || 02/17/2003 19:24 Comments || Top||

#8  And here I thought one of the reasons we're not seeing eye-to-eye is that the euros don't appreciate our tone of voice.

Posted by: Anonymous || 02/17/2003 20:13 Comments || Top||

#9  Chirac is basically saying: "Kiss my frog arse or you will never be an associate frog!" Keep talking, Kermit, it ain't hurtin' us!
Posted by: Tom || 02/17/2003 21:31 Comments || Top||


French public hardens opposition to Iraq war -poll
PARIS, Feb 17 (Reuters) - French public opinion has hardened against going to war on Iraq, according to a poll out on Monday.
By far the most common reason given for opposing the use of force was hostility to the United States' role in the crisis. A U.N.-mandated intervention would win majority support, however.
A meaningless distinction given that France can veto any UN vote.
Offered a choice of three reasons to best explain why they opposed going to war, 76 percent of the anti-war camp said they "dislike they way the United States is behaving in the crisis".
It is simply impossible to reason with people like this.
Just nine percent said they were mainly against military action because Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was not a threat to international security and 13 percent chose to explain their view by saying the crisis did not affect France's interests.
It would have been interesting if the poll had added 2 more choices to the survey: 1)Fear of 5m French turbans acting up and 2) I work for ELF.
Posted by: JAB || 02/17/2003 03:07 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [372 views] Top|| File under:

#1  That is incredible. Not only are they cold-hearted self-interested batardes, they're not even rational to go with it. The majority think war's a good thing, if it has UN approval, but don't want to fight before that happens because they think that's what the Americans want, yet they'll veto any Security Council resolution anyway, and many think it's not in France's interests, and that Saddam's not a threat.

Britain should pull out of the EU now.
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/17/2003 16:34 Comments || Top||

#2  Fine, France. That's your opinion and you're entiltled to it. Just STFU and stay out of our way now. We've got work to do.
Posted by: Parabellum || 02/17/2003 16:46 Comments || Top||

#3  ...Haven't finished yet...More appalled by this than anything I've read in a while...

They are effectively trying to use the Iraqi population as hostages here. "You want Monsieur Saddam gone, doo yeau? Yeau 'ave to play aaar leetle game first, Americain, we wont to see yeau beg us for permission. Wen yeau play by aar rules, we'll give yeau what yeau waaant..."

And this isn't the government, it's the people on the street.

Please excuse my accent, I admit it's a little rusty.
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/17/2003 16:46 Comments || Top||

#4  "the crisis [does] not affect France's interests" means you abstain and stop being such obstructionist a**holes. Of course it affects your interests, your stance betrays you.
Posted by: RW || 02/17/2003 17:31 Comments || Top||

#5  Bulldog, you're bringing back Monty Python memories - Holy Grail DVD flashback
Posted by: Frank G || 02/17/2003 18:02 Comments || Top||

#6  "Britain should pull out of the EU now." - I said that before, was a mistake. France should be kicked out of the EU. Give Germany their Mauser back and tell them all's forgiven, and there's a fight in the sandpit when the bell goes. I think someone's slipped truth drugs into the Perrier today, Europe's just become a lot easier to fathom.
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/17/2003 18:38 Comments || Top||

#7  Not that that's a bad thing LOL
Posted by: Frank G || 02/17/2003 20:18 Comments || Top||

#8  This will explain everything. The French think Jerry Lewis is a genius.
Posted by: Denny || 02/17/2003 21:40 Comments || Top||

#9  That poll was rigged, as there were only three choices. For example, there was no option to object to the war on moral grounds, or on the grounds that it would kill more people than otherwise.

A Frenchperson could object on any of these grounds, and still answer "yes" to the anti-American question.
Posted by: parallel || 02/17/2003 23:10 Comments || Top||


Chirac loves American junk food
President Jacques Chirac, a man so partial to good grub that he once sent an Elysée palace sous-chef to Spain to learn how to make a decent oxtail soup, yesterday admitted that he had a soft spot for American junk food.
Wonder if he likes pretzels?
Savaged across the Atlantic for his opposition to the US march to war in Iraq, Mr Chirac said in an interview with Time magazine that he was more saddened than angry when he heard people say that his stance was inspired by anti-Americanism. "I know the US perhaps better than most French people, and I really like the United States," he insisted, adding: "I've made many excellent friends there, I feel good there. I love junk food, and I always come home with a few extra pounds."
"Mon Dieu! You should see me when I'm having a Big Mac Attack!"
Mr Chirac has been a self-confessed fan of America since he spent a summer at Harvard in 1953, worked in a fast-food joint and enjoyed a passionate (if brief) love affair with a Carolina belle.
And you just have to wonder how she feels today.
He reminded the magazine that his personal involvement with the US went back a long time. "I've studied there, worked as a forklift operator for Anheuser-Busch in St Louis and as a soda jerk at Howard Johnson's," Mr Chirac said.
So what went wrong? We tried our best. The guy had honest work, good beer, cheeseburgers and was getting laid regularly. What else could we have done?
But his affection for the US way of life did not stop him feeling concerned about its ambitions. "Any community with only one dominant power is always a dangerous one and provokes reactions," he said. "That's why I favour a multipolar world."
"In which France is first among equals."
It is a sad irony that Mr Chirac, who made improving transatlantic ties one of the main planks of his foreign policy, should now be presiding over the current crisis.
It's just plain sad that Mr. Chirac is presiding over anything.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/17/2003 12:55 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [373 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "- Any community with only one dominant power is always a dangerous one and provokes reactions," he said. "That's why I favour a multipolar world."

Well,there you have it.France wants to prop up Saddam so he can be a "counterweight" to the U.S and Israel.You're still a disgusting frog,Jacques,but thanks for "coming clean".
Posted by: El Id || 02/17/2003 2:01 Comments || Top||

#2  "Any community with only one dominant power is always a dangerous one and provokes reactions," he said. "That's why I favour a multipolar world."

Point is, Chirac, you've made the western alliance look divided, corrupt and weak. The world's very much bipolar, and your waving the banner for despots and repression the world over puts you at odds with whose of us who are making the world a safer place.

Wonder what the frogs would have thought in '44 if the Iraqis had marched in Baghdad protesting allied plans for Normandy...
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/17/2003 3:37 Comments || Top||

#3  don't listen to him: it's a backhanded compliment saying 'i understand your culture and your food is sh*t'
Posted by: anon || 02/17/2003 7:49 Comments || Top||

#4  And I really like you guys too, Jacques...

Just between you and me... I secretly crave French horse meat, snails, and frogs every once and a while...

And don't forget... french wine, clarified with cow's blood...!
Posted by: -----------<<<<- || 02/17/2003 8:55 Comments || Top||

#5  Was it the French who first coined the term "americanization" after the Civil War? They saw what we would become then.
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/17/2003 9:59 Comments || Top||

#6  Chirac could always grow a spine and take the lead on things. The unipolar world run by the US could be led to do the right thing if Chirac had any brains. Instead of fighting the flow of history join up with it, guide it, as Tony Blaire got the US to go to the UN first Chirac could be the one pointing out targets and reasons.

ah, there is the nut because then people would question French rationals for everything instead of American rationals.
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/17/2003 10:35 Comments || Top||

#7  So I guess this makes him a "cheeseburger eating surrender monkey"?
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/17/2003 12:00 Comments || Top||

#8  Jacques used to be a St. Louisian. Worked at AB, probably knocked back a few in the bleachers at Cardinal games. I'll bet he made 4:00 in the morning White Castle runs too. Lovely. I don't think that little fact is going to turn up in our tourism brochures any time soon.
Posted by: Christopher Johnson || 02/17/2003 12:16 Comments || Top||

#9  Boy, is that condescending! That racist twit thinks America is about good old boys and junk food. That corrupt bastard forgets our people have won more Nobel prizes in the last five years than the French have in their entire history. And to make matters worse, Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon routinely beats the best Bourdeaux in blind tastings. Junk food, my ass! This guys living in some kind of neo-fascist dreamworld.
Posted by: Rodger Dodger || 02/17/2003 14:28 Comments || Top||

#10  Uncle Ho Chi Minh used to wash dishes when he lived in the U.S.A. He also went on to an illustrious career in his homeland.
Posted by: Tresho || 02/18/2003 0:03 Comments || Top||


Fifth Column
US Muslim campaign to foster understanding Islam
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today announced it will launch a year-long "Islam in America" advertising campaign designed to foster greater understanding of Islam and to counter what the group says is a rising tide of anti-Muslim rhetoric in the United States.
That looks like two antithetical goals. The more people understand Islamism, the less they like it...
The campaign will kick off with an ad, headlined "We're All Americans," in the New York Times editorial page on Sunday, February 16th. That ad features images of an African-American girl, an Asian man and another man of European heritage, and asks the question: "Which one of us is a Muslim?" The response: "We all are...we're American Muslims."
Hey, show some pictures of cannon fodder! That'd be pretty neat. Maybe you could ask, "Which one of us slaughtered the Hindoo pilgrims?" and "Which one of us blew up the Jews in the pizzaria?" Or how about, "Which one of us flew the plane into the WTC?"
CAIR's weekly ads, each explaining one aspect of Islam, will be distributed to Muslim communities around American for placement in local newspapers. As each ad is published in the New York Times, it will be available on a web site, www.americanmuslims.info, specifically designed to promote the campaign. "Without accurate and balanced information about mainstream Islam and Muslims, ordinary Americans are vulnerable to the purveyors of hate, in this country and around the world, who seek a perpetual religious and civilizational conflict," said CAIR Board Chairman Omar Ahmad.
Without an explicit admission that a large element of the Islamic world wants to see us infidels dead, our wives and daughters in their harems, and our children bowing down toward Mecca, and a plan to do something about it, I don't even want a postcard from CAIR.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/17/2003 02:41 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [374 views] Top|| File under:

#1  CAIR must have gotten another big grant from a fat cat in soddy arabia. However, the donors probably don't realize that CAIR has outlived its usefulness as apologists for Islam.
Posted by: mhw || 02/17/2003 14:50 Comments || Top||

#2  For some perspective on CAIR, may I refer readers to www.danielpipes.org. CAIR has been attacking Daniel Pipes for his publications(including: Militant Islam Reaches America, a must-read). Daniel Pipes exposes CAIR - its founders and funders. Don't be an ostrich. Check it out!
Posted by: Seattlite || 02/17/2003 16:17 Comments || Top||

#3  "...it will launch a year-long "Jihad Islam in America"...
"We're All Americans,"
Yeah? Institute the draft and we'll see who the real Americans are.
Posted by: RW || 02/17/2003 16:53 Comments || Top||

#4  You're an American Muslim. All over the world, your co-religionists are committing all murders and all sorts of other atrocities and using your holy book to justify their acts. People who called themselves good Muslims flew airplanes into New York skyscrapers and killed 3,000 people. And lots of other people who call themselves good Muslims want to kill every American they encounter.

You've got some money in the bank. One would think that you'd spend it on a world-wide ad campaign to tell those foreign Muslims how they are perverting the teachings of Mohammed and destroying Islam in the minds of the West. But if you're CAIR, you spend it on an ad campaign in America telling Americans, who lots and lots of foreign Muslims would like to kill, what jim dandy people Muslims are.

CAIR has got to be the most tone-deaf group of people in existence.
Posted by: Christopher Johnson || 02/17/2003 22:29 Comments || Top||

#5  I'm eagerly waiting to see the Photoshopped version of the NY Times ad, with the faces of the 911 hijackers substituted.
Posted by: Tresho || 02/18/2003 0:34 Comments || Top||


India-Pakistan
Music ban turns NWFP singers, dancers to prostitution
For many singers and dancers in North West Frontier Province (NWFP), an Islamist-led crackdown on musical performance has meant a humiliating return to prostitution. “The ban has forced me to become a prostitute again after 12 years,” lamented Mahjabeen, an accomplished singer of Pashtu-language ‘ghazals’ (classical ballads) in Peshawar, 40 kilometres from the Afghan border. “It has frightened my audience away. They are too scared to organise musical evenings. My sole source of income was singing, so now I have no option but to revert to prostitution to support my family.”

Since the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) swept NWFP in October polls and won control of the provincial parliament, police have been waging an anti-obscenity drive in accordance with the recommendations of the MMA’s Sharia (Islamic law) Council. But because no formal bans have been issued by the MMA, police have taken matters into their own hands. Since December they have arrested video store owners, locked up singers caught performing in public, arrested musicians for “loitering” and ordered others to conceal their instruments. They have torched posters of film stars, torn cassettes out of public buses and forced drivers to halt their vehicles for the five daily prayers. Hotels are forbidden to hold concerts, soirees and fashion shows.

While some singers have uprooted and headed to more liberal cities like Lahore the market for Mahjabeen’s Pashtu ghazals only exists here. Her crystal voice gave her a way out of prostitution at the age of 17, the trade her mother had introduced her to four years earlier. “In a very short time I became a polished vocalist and was able to make a reasonable living through public performances.”

Without the unwritten ban on music Mahjabeen estimates she could support herself for another 30 years by performing at weddings and concerts. But now she faces the grim prospect of whoring her own daughters.“Once I turn 35 I will have to become a pimp and groom my two daughters to become good whores,” she said.

Dancer Palwashay has met a similar fate. “I was part of a troupe of musicians and dancers who used to perform at weddings, birthday parties and other soirees. But this ban has snatched bread from my band’s mouth because now our clients fear a severe backlash from religious bigots if they celebrate anything with music or dance.” Penniless, she and four colleagues from the troupe opened a brothel in a house rented from a fervent supporter of the clerics. “He prays five times a day and fasts. But he exploits us and benefits from our ‘services’ by paying very little,” Palwashay said. She accused the clerics of banning music and dance to encourage prostitution in NWFP. “This way they save themselves the hassle of travelling to cities like Lahore and Karachi, where there are three brothels on every street.”

Music and dance are an integral part of Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage. These singers and dancers, popular among the masses, lived off the nominal fees they charged for performing at parties, making no more than 200 dollars a month.

Singer Jameela, a 22-year-old widow supporting a son, has had no bookings since November. Her landlord waived her rent on condition she became his mistress. “Sometimes I have to entertain his friends. I have no choice but to accept this private humiliation.” Jameela is bitter at the ban and accuses the Islamists of fuelling prostitution. “The clerics are promoting a cottage industry of sex. They think that by imposing this ban they’re able to make people better Muslims. They don’t realise how they have vulgarised the society.”
I suspect the other lady — well, not really a lady, I guess — has it right: moving the nooky trade closer to home is convenient for the holy men and their cronies, saving them bus fare and increasing the supply of available mistresses. Being a Pak holy man is one hell of a racket. I think it's the infallibility that corrupts them so hideously.
Posted by: Paul || 02/17/2003 08:06 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [374 views] Top|| File under:

#1  (sarcasm on) How can there be prostitution when the locals are so holy to the Quran? (sarcasm off)
f*&kin' hypocritical a-holes
Posted by: Frank G || 02/17/2003 20:31 Comments || Top||

#2  The Religion of Piece (TM)---Fred was right: These guys are not wired up to code. They have been spouting this hypocritical garbage so long that they genuinely believe their own sh-t!
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/17/2003 20:42 Comments || Top||


Iraq
Iraqi defense minister under house arrest?
FoxNews reports Sammy's defense minister is under house arrest, as a coup prevention measure. No details...

Followup: Al-Guardian has it...
Saddam Hussein was last night reported to have placed his defence minister and close relative under house arrest in an extraordinary move apparently designed to prevent a coup. Iraqi opposition newspapers, citing sources in Baghdad, yesterday claimed that the head of the Iraqi military, Lieutenant-General Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Jabburi Tai, was now effectively a prisoner in his home in the capital.

The minister's apparent detention, also reported by Cairo-based al-Ahram newspaper, is surprising. He is not only a member of President Saddam's inner circle, but also a close relative by marriage. His daughter is married to Qusay Hussein, the dictator's 36-year-old younger son - considered by many as his heir apparent.

Reports of the general's arrest came amid signs of growing apprehension in Baghdad that the Iraqi army, including the elite Republican Guard, might desert in the event of an attack on Iraq.

Last night one independent source in Baghdad contacted by the Guardian confirmed that Gen Sultan was in custody. "He continues to attend cabinet meetings and appear on Iraqi TV, so that everything seems normal," said the source, a high-ranking official with connections to Iraq's ruling Ba'ath party. "But in reality his house and family are surrounded by Saddam's personal guards. They are there so he can't flee."

The source also claimed that several other high-ranking military and government officials had been arrested in the past few days. Any signs of dissent within Baghdad will be watched very closely by US and other intelligence services.
Then they change the subject, and add this, which I'd only seen on DEBKA:
The fear that Iraq's 700,000-strong regular army might refuse to fight invading American troops has prompted President Saddam to take drastic measures. Last week he reportedly deployed a ruthless militia of Iranian fighters to several key cities to crush any popular uprisings. The Mojahedin-e-Khalq - a violent Iranian opposition group based in Iraq - was sent to defend urban areas, including Baghdad, Kurdish newspapers reported. MEK fighters have also arrived at the border with Kuwait and Syria.

The MEK remains fanatically loyal to the president and is likely to lead any street fighting against US troops, Iraqi opposition sources believe.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/17/2003 11:17 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [373 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Is this a symptom of Saddam's disease, or is the CIA up to something, hmm?
Posted by: RW || 02/17/2003 22:41 Comments || Top||


"No question" of France's aircraft carrier going to Gulf: navy
France's only aircraft carrier, the nuclear-powered Charles de Gaulle, will return to its home port next week "as planned", after a tour of the east Mediterranean that included exercises with a US carrier, the French navy said Monday. "There is no question at all about us going to the Gulf," a spokesman for the Charles de Gaulle's battle group, Lieutenant Commander Bertrand Bonneau, told AFP by telephone.
"G'bye. Hope you had fun. We must do it again sometime..."
The aircraft carrier left its home port Toulon in southern France on February 4 for three weeks of exercises, including some last week with a US counterpart, USS Harry S. Truman, which has been deployed in the Mediterranean ahead of a possible US-led war on Iraq.
"Phew! Thought those suckers would never leave. Now, what were we doing?"
"As planned, we are leaving the 21st and we should arrive in Toulon the 25th," he said.
"Hey, Bob! I don't feel like there are eyes boring into my back anymore. Why do you suppose that is?"
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/17/2003 06:08 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [393 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Gosh, I guess the French didnt get as much Signals Intelligence as they thought they'd get on their last shadowing of the fleet. Ok Boys, you can turn the radios back on now, the frogs have gone home.

Betcha 10 to 1, she never leaves Toulon.
Posted by: Frank Martin || 02/17/2003 19:02 Comments || Top||

#2  There is always the "Mers al-Kabir" solution for the French fleet...
___________________borgboy

Posted by: borgboy || 02/17/2003 20:14 Comments || Top||

#3  I think the headline was in error.

Should have read:

No chance of carrier REACHING the Gulf
Posted by: Dreadnought || 02/17/2003 22:47 Comments || Top||


If this was a peace march, why did Saddam get no stick?
If this was a peace march, why did Saddam get no stick?
By Barbara Amiel

The most revealing aspect of the anti-war march in London was what you did not see. You did not see any messages to Saddam Hussein or criticism of Iraqi policy.

These earnest seekers of peace, with so many signs denouncing George W Bush and Tony Blair, had nothing to say to Saddam Hussein; no request to please co-operate with the UN inspectors. Not one small poster asking Saddam to disarm or destroy his weapons of mass destruction. Perhaps somewhere in that million people there were some bravely asking him to "Leave Iraq and prevent war", but I could not find them.

If this were a genuine anti-war demonstration, why, along with demands on the British and Americans, would there be no demands of the other party to the conflict - Iraq? Commentators on the march were taken by the good order of it. I was taken by the sheer wickedness or naivete.

All those nice middle-aged people from middle England with their children bundled up against the cold, marching for peace; did they have nothing to say to the party that had ignored 17 UN resolutions? A similar silence existed in all the anti-war marches in Europe. One either has to question the good faith of the marchers - or their brains.

Television gave us brief interviews with "ordinary" people marching. ITV's Mrs Noon on the peace train from Stockport had never marched before, but she had work experience dealing with "challenging" children and adults, which she compared with dealing with Saddam. "The first rule," she said, "is to be non-confrontational." The TV cameras cut to the "----ing Bush" and "Stuff Your Imperialism" signs stacked in the train compartment.

A colleague I met at the march said he had counted only two or three anti-Israeli signs. "Torture, Murder, Ethnic Cleansing!!! Welcome to Israel" was the wording of a large banner from the Muslim Association of Great Britain, but that was to be expected. The MAB, co-organiser of the London march, has a number of ideological and personal links with the Muslim Brotherhood, the oldest Islamist organisation, four of whose members assassinated Anwar Sadat and whose offshoot is Hamas.

In fact, there were hundreds of anti-Israeli signs. What disguised this was the activities of the Jewish establishment. The Board of Deputies of British Jews, well-meaning but dreadfully inept, had worried about all the hate signs against Israel in the last "peace" march. Not understanding that it is best not to help your enemy disguise itself, they had written to the Committee for Nuclear Disarmament asking it about its relationship with anti-Israel groups.

The Deputies were reassured to receive a letter promising them that CND was "working hard to ensure that this march would be free from inappropriate slogans and chants". The result was that apart from a few "Boycott Israel/Boycott Murder" banners, the MAB restrained itself to hundreds of posters with the coded anti-Israel message: "Freedom for Palestine".

Freedom for Palestine, of course, could come the day the Arab world accepts the existence of a Jewish state. There could have been an independent Palestinian state as early as the Peel Commission in 1937 or the UN partition plan in 1948, if only the Arabs had said yes to co-existence with Israel. But anyone who has read the literature of the MAB knows that now, as then, "Palestinian freedom" for the MAB is achieved only at the expense of eliminating a Jewish state in the Middle East. All that the complaints of the British Board of Deputies had done was to make the MAB respectable to the ignorant.

In the end, under the guise of peace, this march was essentially an anti-America, anti-free enterprise, anti-Israel display. A similar approach appeared to have taken hold in the various other "peace" marches in Tokyo, Athens, Paris, Berlin and Madrid.

Looking at the news clips of jubilant Europeans marching behind banners saying "Death to Uncle Sam" shows how much the zeitgeist towards America has changed. I can remember the good-natured humour of the film The Mouse That Roared. America was seen then as the generous saviour of Europe and the welcomed guarantor of freedom. In that 1959 film, a Ruritanian prime minister, played by Peter Sellers, declared war on the United States in order to get American aid. These days the mouse roars to scare or blackmail America.

The spirit towards Israel was different in those times too. After defeating the Arabs in the 1967 six-day war, Israel was seen as an incredible success story by virtually all observers - intellectually, morally and practically. The country was the recreation of a lost state, made all the more credible by its unique parentage - a democratic decision of the world through a UN vote.

One didn't have to be a Zionist in 1967 to list Israel's achievements. That small nation had revived a dead language for the first time in history, absorbed a million and a half people from both Europe and the Orient in 19 years and had made the desert fertile. It had no oil, its waters were insufficient and vulnerable to Arab diversion, and it had never had one day of peace.

Within five hours of its birth, it faced declarations of war by all its Arab neighbours. With no military background or weaponry to speak of, and facing the British-trained Jordanian army among others, it had defeated its enemies in 1948, 1956 and again in 1967. Israel was a classic success story.

Up to 1967, the Jews gave the impression of being the underdog against impossible odds, and the winner. Both those components are attractive to people and to nations. But the sheer weight of size and demographics on the Arab side and the willingness of Arabs to employ terrorism in the West began to eat away at this perception. Gradually, the tables turned. The sense that in the long run the Arabs would prevail gathered steam. It became the Arabs' turn to be carried on the double wings of underdog and winner status.

Israel is now seen as a surrogate for the United States and so destroying it has the added thrill of throwing sand in America's face. For centuries, the Arab world has faced the humiliation of punching below its weight. Given the value in its culture of the romantic masculine virtues of martial prowess and dominance, this realisation that its culture is regarded as backward and insignificant has created much resentment.

The Islamists have come along with the message that, if Islam's large population and wealth could be fused with its mystical fundamentalism, they would create the same fanatical strength that made rising empires from Christendom to Japan pre-eminent. In this climate, America and Israel are viewed as obstacles to an Arab renaissance.

Laying out the world's changing attitudes to Israel and America so barely, makes it sound like a conscious decision - which is absurd. But changes in the spirit of the times are as difficult to explain as those immense flocks of birds you see sitting on some great African lake, hundreds of thousands of them at a time, till all of a sudden, successively, they fly up and turn in a specific direction. One can never analyse which bird started it and how it became this incredible rush. All you see is the result.

One senses that the Islamists, with a billion Muslims in the world, and access to great riches (with some partial success in Iran and Afghanistan, where they defeated the Soviets, albeit with American help), now feel that they may be able to reassert themselves - and the Caliphate.

The world waits, unsure what to do as Muslims hesitate, poised on vast lakes of oil, ready to fly in some direction. The world hedges its bets by backing the Palestinians, who may benefit by any resurgence of Islam.

And one of the reasons many people sense how important it is for America and her allies to be successful against the regime of Saddam Hussein - quite apart from all other valid reasons - is that a perception that the side with the momentum, the winning side, is the Islamist-terrorist side, must be broken.

It is a dangerous and self-fulfilling prophecy that can cause untold bloodshed and tyranny in the world. There are infinitely better, more tolerant, less bloody ways forward for the Arab people. But the West is not yet a paper tiger, even if nearly one million of its inhabitants meekly followed behind those meretricious paper slogans held high in Hyde Park on Saturday afternoon.

From The Daily Telegraph, London (www.dailytelegraph.co.uk). More reliable but less extensive source of info than The Guardian or the BBC, from Britain.
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/17/2003 07:29 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [270 views] Top|| File under:


Aussie PM rejects protests, claims right to 'decide' on war
The Australian Prime Minister insists he will not be swayed by the human tide of protest against a war with Iraq - not by the more than 250,000 people who marched in Sydney yesterday, nor the 10 million who rallied worldwide. "This is a very difficult issue and I accept a lot of Australian people don't agree with me," John Howard said in an interview broadcast last night, after his return from overseas. "I also suspect there are a lot of Australians who do, and they are not perhaps as noisy about it. And there are a lot of people in between."
Squeaky wheels expect to be greased, but they're usually not the only ones on the buggy...
Sydney's peace march from Hyde Park was the biggest in the country's history. In all, 500,000 Australians rallied around the nation at the weekend, while anti-war protests swept 600 towns and cities worldwide. But Mr Howard, who has remained a steadfast ally of the United States and Britain in their push against Iraq, told Channel Nine's 60 Minutes last night: "In the end, while I respect people's opinions and I listen to them ... my charge as prime minister is to make whatever decisions are in the interest of this country. And I believe the way we are handling this is in the best interests of Australia."
Blair's doing the same thing. I was out shoveling snow while the discussion was raging. Since this is a similar topic, here are my thoughts.

If you don't believe that the antiwar movement is closely tied to Iraq, you haven't been paying attention. International ANSWER is the driver behind it, and ANSWER is Ramsey Clark's front organization. Clark not only has never met a dictator that he didn't like, he's been on Sammy's side for years and years. Last Gulf War ANSWER's alias was the Coalition to Stop U.S. Intervention in the Middle East, but it's message was precisely the same:
The “coalition” was described by The New Republic as being a front for the Workers World Party, a Trotskyite group distinguished by its support for the massacre in Tiananmen Square. Present were groups like the Hands Off Cuba Committee, Young Koreans United, and a few others, dubbed “bonkerists” by left-wing journalist Alexander Cockburn — who himself was once described by George Will as “the last Stalinist, who should be put in a case in the Smithsonian.”

To warm up the crowd, the organizers played John Lennon’s “Imagine” and “Revolution” over the PA system, along with the new movement’s unofficial theme song, “Give Peace a Chance.” A succession of speakers denounced U.S. imperialism in Central America and the Middle East. Daniel Ellsberg addressed the group. A speaker named Dacajeweah, from the American Indian Movement, told the crowd that the entire history of the U.S. was one of racism and oppression and demanded Amerika’s withdrawal from Saudi Arabia, Panama and Arizona. Mwalimu Keita of the All African People’s Revolutionary Party denounced the “illegal state of Israel” and shouted “Down with Zionism.” Jesse Jackson addressed not only the Coalition’s rally, but also that of the National Campaign for Peace in the Middle East, which held its demonstration a week later.
The naive believe all this is spontaneous. Those a little more sophisticated believe it's being nudged along by professional revolutionaries for their own ends — and there is a certain amount of spontaneity to it, drawing people like the lady yesterday who doesn't read the papers but knows she's against war an' stuff. There's a lot more truth to the professional revolutionary idea. All the anti-Globo nutcakes are part and parcel of The Movement™, and they're making as much of it as they can.

People are on edge, waiting for a string of Iraqi-sponsored terrorist atrocities in support of Sammy. But Sammy's never done terrorism well. The best he's been able to do is sponsor other groups who do — Abu Nidal's organization, for instance, and the PLF, and now Ansar al-Islam. Running secret police is a different proposition from running terrorism. Secret policemen are party men; they're there to control the population. They go home at night, wash off the blood, and spend pleasant evenings at home with the wife and kiddies. Terrorists are a different proposition; they're there to subvert an existing political structure. People like Sammy don't want them in their countries, no matter how much they try to foster them, because they already have a political structure and they don't want anybody getting any ideas. So Sammy doesn't have a terror organization to throw at us. The best he can do is secret agents, virtually all of whom were nabbed as soon as they got off the planes last time around. Not a very good record. When we're hit with terrorist attacks, it will be by sympathizers, not agents, and there is a difference.

ANSWER's a different proposition. I don't know if Ramsey's running it for love or money, but we should be thinking of it as the foreign legion of the Iraqi political corps. The war is under way already, with a slashing attack from the left flank on the political front, and a second, spearheaded by the Frenchies, on the diplomatic front. At this point it looks like we're going to lose the Battle of the UN, which is going to leave our diplomatic flank exposed for subsequent attacks when we actually start to thump on Sammy. And if Bush doesn't move quickly, we're going to have our political flank exposed as well. If Dr Rice were to call me for advice this afternoon, I'd tell her to make it days, not weeks.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/17/2003 03:04 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [268 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I think you are right on the money. Picture a French nuke and security force delivered to Bagdad to "keep the peace"
Posted by: john || 02/17/2003 14:50 Comments || Top||


Volunteer ’human shields’ flock to Iraq
Convoys of foreign peace activists are arriving in Iraq to act as "human shields", hoping to deter a US-led bombardment of the country. About 75 multinational activists, led by former US marine and Gulf War veteran Ken Nichols O'Keefe, arrived in Baghdad on Sunday after a marathon land and sea journey from London. Dozens more are on their way, planning to spread themselves in strategic positions across the country.
Some might be finding themselves spread a little bit further than they wished for when it kicks off...
"We're talking about making it politically impossible for them to bomb," Torben Franck, a spokesman for the group, told BBC News Online.
Wouldn't bet you life on that...
The US has already declared that the deployment of human shields is a crime, warning there is no guarantee that they will not be bombed. Those activists who arrived on Sunday were delayed when their convoy's lead vehicle - a double-decker bus - broke down in Italy earlier this month. Members of the group - which goes under the unwieldy name of Truth Justice Peace Human Shields Action Iraq - spent Monday viewing civilian sites bombed during the 1991 Gulf War.
"We're they boys from TJPHSAI! Don't worry, you're safe now!"
They will soon be joined by more than 100 volunteers, some of whom are due to fly from London's Heathrow airport to the Jordanian capital Amman on Monday, before making their way to Baghdad.
Hope the lads with the SAMs aren't planning any fireworks on Monday - that would be embarassing.
Those on board have paid their own fares and are said to include students, a mother of three and a businessman who has given up his job. They signed up to the cause despite the clear risks. The Human Shields website warns those considering taking part in this action: "There are significant risks for all of us taking part... But if you're like many of us, you recognise a greater danger lies in our acquiescence in the face of injustice."
Now there's logic for you - we're safer in Baghdad than Birmingham
A further flight of volunteers is scheduled to leave London on Friday. Mr Franck said the volunteers were being welcomed by the people of Iraq, but added that they had had their mobile and satellite phones confiscated by the Iraqi authorities.
Wonder why they'd do that?
He said the aim was to have up to 20,000 Western "human shields" in place.
Now why didn't some of those marches last weekend terminate here, I wonder...
He also denied that the presence of these activists was a propaganda coup for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's regime. "The people there are not there to support Saddam," he said. "They are there to show support and solidarity with the people of Iraq - and share their fate."
Coincidence. Just coincidence...
Other peace organisations - including the US-based Iraq Peace Team, Italian-based Bridges to Baghdad and a Japanese pacifist group - are also sending volunteers to Iraq.
We're sure they'll be very happy there. Briefly.
The term "human shields" became common currency ahead of the last Gulf War, when Saddam Hussein threatened to place Westerners detained in Iraq at sites deemed likely to be attacked by the US-led coalition. He did not carry out this threat, and most of the detainees were released before hostilities began.
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/17/2003 06:20 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [684 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Can I nominate Robert Fisk?
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/17/2003 14:16 Comments || Top||

#2  Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Mike Farrell, Rob Reiner, Barbra Streisand, Sean Penn. Now those would be good human shields.
Posted by: Denny || 02/17/2003 14:28 Comments || Top||

#3  It raises an interesting question. Who decides what needs to be shielded. Do they get to choose? If so they will most likely pick the obvious spots, like mosques, hospitals, that sort of thing; places where even their dull intellects know we will not attack without extreme provocation.

Will Saddam pick the locations? Well if he does then they have a pretty good chance of getting bombed. Maybe. I mean, on studying on it would you place these people at places you do not want bombed? It seems counter productive from his perspective.

It appears to me that that people are idiots.

Saddam will just have to come up with innocous places to park these people and hope they get bombed by accident.

Oh the problems of a Leader.
Posted by: Michael || 02/17/2003 14:34 Comments || Top||

#4  One might be tempted to delay the invasion of Iraq unitl as many of these Saddam supporters are in place. However, delaying also gives Saddam more days to torture, rape and murder.
Posted by: mhw || 02/17/2003 15:25 Comments || Top||

#5  Darwinism at work.
So we invade and these people, who survive, are standing around. How are they going to get home? Won't be able to fly. Don't think any of the liberated Iraqis are going to offer them a lift. They may actually be treated like collaboraters were in WWII. Which border do they walk to?
And while on the thought, any American found/captured on the battlefield faces the very real possibility of the charge of Treason. This action is not protected free speech.
Posted by: Don || 02/17/2003 16:21 Comments || Top||

#6  Gosh, me thinks in the post-Saddam world, a human shield might be synonymous with COLLABORATOR.

If I were them, I'd be a lot more worried about an angry mob of Iraqis than a JDAM.
Posted by: Dreadnought || 02/17/2003 16:37 Comments || Top||

#7  There was quite the stink raised when the Kuwaitis dealt with their domestic (read Paleostinian) collaborators last time around. The wringing of hands and the rending of garments was pathetic to behold.

I don't think I'd like to be a Sammy supporter in Iraq when Sammy is gone. I'd like being an imported supporter even less. If the bombs don't get them, the populace might. They had a good chance of being toast, unless they scoot at the last moment.
Posted by: Fred || 02/17/2003 17:46 Comments || Top||


Jacques: France Would Oppose Second U.N. Vote
French President Jacques Chirac said on Monday there was no need for a second United Nations resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq at present while arms inspections continue and France would oppose it. Arriving for an emergency EU summit on the Iraq crisis, Chirac said the international community was pursuing the aim of the peaceful disarmament of Iraq through weapons inspections. "We consider that war is always, always, the worst solution."
"If they'd just left Vichy alone, everything would have been fine..."
"That is our position which leads us to conclude that it is not necessary today to have a second resolution, which France could only oppose," he told reporters.
No surprise here, but I need a new disgust meter. The needle on this one bent when it pegged.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/17/2003 11:13 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [270 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Danger, Will Robinon! Danger, Will Robinson! ALL resolutions are all irrelevant! ALL resolutions are all irrelevant. Prepare to abandon ship!
Posted by: Tom || 02/17/2003 12:43 Comments || Top||

#2  If "war" is such a bad solution, why are the french using it in the Ivory Coast?

Posted by: Frank Martin || 02/17/2003 13:17 Comments || Top||

#3  Vote? We don't need no steenkin' vote! Let's roll!
Posted by: Denny || 02/17/2003 14:29 Comments || Top||


First Defection from Top Rank of Saddam Regime
Adib Shaaban, the right hand of Saddam Hussein’s powerful son Uday, has defected. DEBKA-Net-Weekly reports exclusively that this key member of Saddam Hussein’s administration, who was charged with his son’s most sensitive missions, traveled to Jeddah at the beginning of this week, saying he needed to put through some gold transactions ahead of the war. From Jeddah, he flew to Beirut and
 disappeared.

US intelligence sources report that Shaaban never really went to Beirut. He made his way under cover to Damascus Monday and was picked up by an unmarked plane for an unknown destination. As Uday’s closest aide, he also managed a chain of official publications, including the authoritative Babel, and was in on the Saddam regime’s deepest secrets.

Uday commands the secret army known as Saddam’s Fedayeen, the backbone of Baghdad’s defenses and custodian of the weapons of mass destruction that were not smuggled out to Lebanon. Uday is also the chief of the ruling Baath Party’s covert service. Shaaban must therefore be a veritable treasury of Saddam Hussein’s secrets. In American hands, Uday’s chef de bureau would be even more valuable than the proverbial smoking gun.

Okay. I'm confused. I don't know if it's a defection, a false alarm, or Mahmoud the Weasel trying to avoid getting smoked. From the Independent:
Mr Shaaban, who has intimate knowledge of the Iraqi regime's sanctions-busting operations, had been sent to Lebanon by Uday to buy jewellery, according to Iraqi exiles in Damascus and London. They say that members of Saddam's family have been converting dollars into valuables as the threat of war comes closer.

Mr Shaaban and his colleagues had arrived in Beirut after attending a football competition in Saudi Arabia in their guise as a sports delegation. He is understood to have been travelling with several million dollars in cash to buy diamonds and jewellery.

"Uday cannot put the family's black money in the bank and he does not want huge hoards of cash, so he converts it into portable valuables," said Mashaan Jebouri, the Syria-based leader of the Homeland party, an Iraqi opposition group.

Mr Shaaban has been involved at the highest level in the lucrative business dealings that Saddam has entrusted to Uday. He knows first-hand how the regime flouts United Nations sanctions to fund Saddam's illegal weapons programmes and amass fortunes for the country's ruling elite.

"He knows all the secrets about the smuggling operations, the illegal oil sales, the front companies, all the black money business," said Abbas al-Janabi, a former senior Baghdad official now based in London.

According to the reports from exile groups, Mr Shaaban had been waiting with colleagues in a Beirut hotel car park for a vehicle to drive them back to Baghdad on Monday. He reportedly told them he had left his mobile phone charger in his room, went back into the building and vanished through another exit.

The account of his disappearance was given by Mr Jebouri, who said that the details were secretly provided to him by another member of Mr Shaaban's group. Other Iraqi exile factions gave similar versions of events.

Mr Shaaban is understood to have feared punishment after mishandling a recent business deal for Uday, who is notoriously cruel. Afeel Tavra, another senior official on the Olympics committee, recently had his hands and legs broken after falling foul of him.

Nothing was heard of Mr Shaaban for several days before he emerged in Damascus last night, blaming the Iraqi opposition for "making up information about my disappearance and defection to a Western embassy in Beirut" and describing himself as "one of Saddam's soldiers".

There was no explanation, however, of his whereabouts in the meantime. Iraqi intelligence agents attached to the embassies in Beirut and Damascus had been ordered to search for him.
Posted by: Anders (Norway) || 02/17/2003 09:34 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [267 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Although Adib could have some good information I am really suspicious about the way this story has come together. Adib could be an important piece to the puzzle that the world is trying to put together on the Fedayeen and other parts of Saddams war machine. But being quite the skeptic, I think this guy could be a Plant. Would Saddam actually let top officials with important information to leave the country on such a medial reason. And imagine this, an individual that would posess important information defects and then comes forward and says, aw no Iraq has none of those bad things we are a nation of peace. I only defected to save my life from the American Bombs. If Saddam has arranged this scenerio it could make us all look very foolish and feed France and Germanys stance. I look forward to following this story as it pans out, and I do hope this guy spills the dirt on Saddam..
Posted by: bobbing4kittens || 02/17/2003 8:39 Comments || Top||

#2  If Saddam wanted to put out a plant,I don't think he'd send anyone who really knew about stuff - the lure of turning a fake defection into a real one is too great right now.One thing we know about Saddam is that he has a paranoid personality - he trusts nobody.
Posted by: El Id || 02/17/2003 9:57 Comments || Top||

#3  This is a re-run on this story. It was posted on the 14th. I haven't heard any further details since then.
Posted by: Fred || 02/17/2003 10:02 Comments || Top||

#4  "Welcome to Giggle Island, Mr. Shaaban. I'll be interrogating you for the next four to eight weeks..."
Posted by: mojo || 02/17/2003 18:58 Comments || Top||


Big test for pride of Iraqi arsenal
The first major test of the United Nations route to the peaceful disarmament of Iraq could come this week if UN inspectors demand the destruction of the country's most prized weapon - its arsenal of Al-Samoud 2 missiles.
Sammy's going to love this.
The US is expected to insist that the Al-Samouds be surrendered and destroyed as a test of Iraqi compliance after UN experts found last week that the missile was capable of flying beyond the 150km (93-mile) limit imposed on Baghdad's missile programme after the 1991 Gulf war. However, Iraq's deputy prime war criminal minister, Tariq Aziz, told journalists that dismantling the missiles would be "unacceptable", arguing that the Al-Samoud 2 were "practically within the range we are allowed to have".
"Heck, their range is about 90 klicks, give or take a 100 or so."
In his report to the security council on Friday, the chief UN inspector, Hans Blix, declared the Al-Samoud 2 "proscribed", as well as 380 engines Iraq had imported for the missile, but he did not say whether the weapons had to be destroyed.
Of course he didn't say. That would have been mighty bold for our courageous Blixie.
He also banned casting chambers for motors which he said could be used for missiles of a much longer range.
Wonder where those came from?
A report in the New York Times said that Washington would demand the destruction of the offending weapons as part of a "final round of tests" to gauge Iraq's willingness to disarm voluntarily. However, US officials said at the weekend that the Bush administration had yet to decide whether to pursue the UN route to disarmament in the face of clear resistance in the security council to a resolution backing military action. If the US did demand the missiles' destruction, it is likely to win support from a majority on the security council, which is anxious to show that peaceful disarmament can work.
From a majority? Let me guess who's on the other side.
Declassified CIA intelligence reports have singled out the liquid-fuel Al-Samoud as a possible means of delivering chemical or biological weapons. It is also thought that four Al-Samoud missiles could be clustered together to produce a single improvised missile which could threaten Iraq's neighbours.
They can't get one of them to fly straight, how in the world are they going to "cluster" four of them?
Posted by: Steve White || 02/17/2003 09:56 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [269 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Sammy thinks he's won already.
Think he'll comply?
Posted by: Dishman || 02/17/2003 1:16 Comments || Top||

#2  Wonder where those came from?

The motors came from Ukraine.
Posted by: John || 02/17/2003 2:27 Comments || Top||

#3  The rest probably from North Korea.
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/17/2003 14:21 Comments || Top||


Kurdish air force readying air strips for offensive
Engineers in the Kurdish self-rule area of northern Iraq are upgrading airstrips to make them key elements in the logistical and emergency support network for the planned US air and ground offensive against Iraqi forces to the south. As part of US preparations for the campaign to oust Saddam Hussein, American military observers in Iraqi Kurdistan, which has been free from Baghdad's control since 1991, have been taking a close interest in the work at three airstrips: Bermani in the north of the autonomous region, Harir in the centre, and Sulaymaniyah to the east.
They'll be working in collaboration with the Iraqi Kurdish air force out of these bases. Kurdish F-16s provide combat air patrol while their Tornadoes have been practicing low-altitude bombing runs over the northern mountainous region. The US and Brits don't let them help out in the northern no-fly zone yet, but that's only for political reasons.
The runways, which were visited by the Guardian last week, form part of a rudimentary aviation infrastructure in Kurdistan, some of which dates back to the British mandate in Iraq in the 1920s. Sources close to the Kurdish leadership said the US would also move soon to install Patriot missile systems to protect the runways at Harir and Sulaymaniyah.
That will supplement the Kurdish Air Forces' recent purchase of a turnkey system of Arrows from Israel.
The Americans' main focus revolves around the Bani Harir airstrip, 25 miles north of Irbil, and the Bakrajo runway near the city of Sulaymaniyah. The airstrip at Harir is expected to play a role in the distribution of humanitarian aid, but it could also act as a major staging post for incoming US ground troops.
They'll link up with the Iraqi Kurdish army which will get them to the front lines in the new Hummvees they've been buying.
The airstrip is clearly visible from the road. The asphalt runway has been cleaned and markings have been painted on it. Two weeks ago, one eyewitness said, a C-130 transport plane landed and offloaded 30 vehicles. There have also been numerous unconfirmed sightings of American troops.
Yep, the Kurdish Transport Air Command has been busy. They've been flying C-123s in and out of there as well. Busy place.
The airstrip at Bermani, nine miles from the Turkish border, is controlled by Turkish forces monitoring the movement of 5,000 guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers' party who fled into the Kurdish mountains from Turkey after the arrest of their leader, Abdullah Ocalan. Built by the Iraqis, the runway is in poor condition.
Damn, the camoflauge is better than I thought. Kurds have always been good at that kind of stuff.
It was last used by fixed-wing aircraft in 1991 and is now thought to be fit for use only by helicopters. Its chief function is likely to be to provide support for the Turkish army in its plan to establish a "buffer zone" along its border with Iraq. There is so far no sign of any allied military presence at the airstrip in Sulaymaniyah. The two-mile-long runway is less than 35 miles from the frontline with Iraqi troops, and a short flying distance from the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
Kurdish army has been coordinating their Gazelle and Lynx helicopter squadrons with both the Turks and the US forces. It's a delicate situation, you see.
Forces of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan secured the base three weeks ago. Since then there has been little sign of activity, though Kurdish soldiers have recently refurbished the runway and installed landing lights. The strip is long enough to allow Hercules troop carriers to land, as well as Jaguar and Tornado aircraft.
It's only apparently deserted; most of the activity occurs at night, since that's when the Kurds like to operate. They upgraded the Gazelles with new night-flying gear and have been training hard.
But its position is within comfortable range of Iraqi field guns. Military experts believe the strip will not be used for offensive operations but mainly as a forward supply base. Once the American-led invasion of Iraq begins, allied troops are likely to be rapidly deployed by helicopter to secure the northern cities of Mosul and Kirkuk.
Like I was just saying. The Kurdish air force will provide the heavy lift capacity to get the troops to the front. Wonder if Saddam knows about the 1st Paratroop Regiment the Kurds have?
Posted by: Steve White || 02/17/2003 09:54 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [516 views] Top|| File under:

#1  If I were Saddam, I'd be more concerned about their new aircraft carriers. "We don't have a port for them yet, but we expect to remedy that shortly."
Posted by: Dishman || 02/17/2003 1:41 Comments || Top||


Southeast Asia
Military: MILF set up camps, planted landmines in Buliok
MALACAÑANG yesterday justified the military assault on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Pikit, North Cotabato, saying the rebel group had set up camps and planted landmines in Buliok Complex, an MILF stronghold. According to Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Eduardo Ermita, government troops had discovered bunkers, landmines and running trenches in Buliok. “Why would they place landmines if they do not expect trouble?” Ermita said.
Because they're Islamists. They're into things that go "boom."
Ermita explained that during talks with MILF leaders in 2001 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the reestablishment of camps was never discussed. But despite these violations, the government will still continue to talk peace with the separatist rebel group even if it announced it was backing out of the negotiations. Presidential Spokesperson Ignacio Bunye said the government has no intention of abandoning the peace processor process. “We are always open to talking peace,” Bunye said.
"We can yack about it for years, in fact..."
MILF spokesman Ustadz Eid Kabalu had said there was no use entering into a peace accord with a government who had no control over its military.
It would seem to be more important that the government gain some control over rebellions, wouldn't it? But then, I'm not an Islamist, so I probably don't understand.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/17/2003 08:38 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [279 views] Top|| File under:


Korea
N Korea threatens to scrap Korean War armistice
Communist North Korea threatened on Tuesday to abandon its commitment to the entire 1953 Korean War armistice if sanctions such as a naval blockade are imposed on it because of its suspected nuclear weapons ambitions. War warnings and comments the United States is poised to attack the North have been almost daily fare in Pyongyang's official media since the nuclear crisis flared up late last year. Washington wants multilateral talks on the crisis.
North Korea has hooted, hollered, made faces, bitten itself in the small of the back, and in general acted like it usually does...
It was not immediately clear whether the latest statement, from the North's Korean People's Army (KPA) broke that pattern or was more of the same. Many people in South Korea — which has lived with the threat of a potential Northern invasion for half a century — simply ignore the rhetoric and focus on everyday concerns.
It's like living next door to the nut house. Eventually you get used to the howling.
"The KPA side will be left with no option but to take a decisive step to abandon its commitment to implement the Armistice Agreement as a signatory to it and free itself from the binding force of all its provisions, regarding the possible sanctions to be taken by the US side against the DPRK (North Korea)," said the North's army in a statement. "If the US side continues violating and misusing the Armistice Agreement as it pleases, there will be no need for the DPRK to remain bound to the AA uncomfortably."
My interpretation of this is that the army has decided it needs a war because there's no other way of keeping NKor from going under. I hope that U.S. troops have been withdrawn by the time they work themselves up to it, though I suspect it will come in the process of that withdrawl. Quite apart from my feeling that the SKors, or at least the younger generation of Skors, are ingrates on the same order as the Frenchies, I also think that the South Korean army, unless it's changed from the time I had anything to do with it, is perfectly capable of defending the country.The U.S. is a magic feather, and we have more important things to do. It it's not, we've wasted 50 years and uncountable dollars and a lot of precious time that could have been spent drinking beer or watching television. SKor has the advantage of population (approximately twice that of the north), economy, and industrial base, and it should have the advantage of force readiness and training.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/17/2003 09:09 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [376 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Plus the South has gallons and gallons of go-juice and the north probably has enough for one push and that's it.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/17/2003 22:24 Comments || Top||


Iran
US "savages" not allowed to dominate Iran: Khamenei
Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei said Monday Iran would not allow the "American highway robbers and savages in civilised clothing" to dominate the country. The Iranian people showed in their demonstration on the February 11 anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution which toppled the shah that they would never allow the Americans, who are "highway robbers and savages in civilised clothes to dominate our country again", he said.
We can't? Awww. Please? Just for a little while...
In a televised speech, Khamenei also hit out at US policy on Iraq, saying Washington "wants to change the political map of the Middle East but the nations in the region will stand against such greedy acts".
Translated: They're scared spitless we will...
"[The] US intends to appoint an American as the Iraqi ruler and this shows that the US government wants the big Zionist companies and the oppression centers of the world to swallow Iraq's human and material resources", he charged. "Even if the US government appears to rule Iraq, the Iraqi people will finally topple" such a regime.
Working on the planning for it right this moment, I'll bet...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/17/2003 08:32 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [374 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Man, they can't get over this Zionist thing, can they? Of course the closer their Bushehr reactor gets toward completion, the more vulnerable it is to Zionist (and/or American highway robbers and savages) gravity assist devices.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/17/2003 20:48 Comments || Top||


Central Asia
2 terrorists from Tajikistan detained in Novosibirsk
Two men suspected of carrying out terrorist activity in Tajikistan have been detained in Novosibirsk. The detainees, born in Tajikistan in 1967 and 1972, were on the international wanted list on terrorism charges of killing Russian soldiers on Tajik territory in mid-1990s, the Russian Interior Ministry's Main Department for the Siberian federal district reports. Lately, they had taken refuge in Novosibirsk where they worked as labourers at a local market.
Tough, when people don't forget, ain't it?
In the early 1990s (the beginning of the civil war in Tajikistan), in Iran the detainees were trained to carry out terrorist attacks in the republic, the Tajik law-enforcement bodies report. They are suspected of having been among the Islamist group that killed Russian Defence Ministry personnel and members of their families in Tajikistan in 1995-96. The criminals are also suspected of attacking local statesmen. The Tajik law-enforcement bodies will now have to submit documentary proof of the detainee's alleged crimes to the Russian Prosecutor General's office to decide on their extradition to Russia.
Just Iran's little present, to help with the stability of her neighbors.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/17/2003 08:28 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [289 views] Top|| File under:


Korea
Roh Says South Korea Stands By U.S. Side in Nuclear Standoff
President-elect Roh Moo-hyun said South Korea stands by the U.S. side in its nuclear standoff with North Korea and wants to contribute to a peaceful resolution of the dispute, according to Roh's aides Friday. "Our government is not trying to mediate between North Korea and the United States," Roh was quoted as saying recently in an written interview with BusinessWeek. "but we're trying to contribute to peacefully resolving the issue, standing by the U.S. side based on the close Korea-U.S. alliance." In the interview, Roh also presented several "principles" he sticks to in resolving the nuclear issue, including not allowing the North to go nuclear, peacefully resolving the issue and working closely with the United States and Japan as well as Seoul playing a greater role.
As far as a lot of us are concerned, you can play the entire role. Let the Frenchies know if you need anything, okay?
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/17/2003 08:24 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [274 views] Top|| File under:


The money quotes...
Christopher Johnson has the money quotes from Blair's speech. I'm not going to bother quoting them, but I'll say that Tony words were Churchillian and they were correct. Sometimes doing what's right is more important than doing what's nice.
But there are also consequences of "stop the war".

If I took that advice, and did not insist on disarmament, yes, there would be no war. But there would still be Saddam. Many of the people marching will say they hate Saddam. But the consequences of taking their advice is that he stays in charge of Iraq, ruling the Iraqi people. A country that in 1978, the year before he seized power, was richer than Malaysia or Portugal. A country where today, 135 out of every 1000 Iraqi children die before the age of five - 70% of these deaths are from diarrhoea and respiratory infections that are easily preventable. Where almost a third of children born in the centre and south of Iraq have chronic malnutrition.

Where 60% of the people depend on Food Aid.

Where half the population of rural areas have no safe water.

Where every year and now, as we speak, tens of thousands of political prisoners languish in appalling conditions in Saddam's jails and are routinely executed.

Where in the past 15 years over 150,000 Shia Moslems in Southern Iraq and Moslem Kurds in Northern Iraq have been butchered; with up to four million Iraqis in exile round the world, including 350,000 now in Britain.

This isn't a regime with Weapons of Mass Destruction that is otherwise benign. This is a regime that contravenes every single principle or value anyone of our politics believes in.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/17/2003 02:56 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [270 views] Top|| File under:


Middle East
Drone bad guys planted...
Lemmings Mourners shouted "revenge, revenge" and masked Hamas gunmen looked grim as they carried the bodies of the six on stretchers around four km to Gaza City's Dump Martyrs Cemetery. "We will not rest and our eyes will see no sleep before we avenge the deaths of our brothers," said one crazed killer militant, clutching a U.S.-made an M-16 assault rifle. Other Hamas men wept silently.
"It's just too painful. I can't utter dire threats of revenge yet..."
Vows of revenge sounding through loudspeakers also came from activists of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the less influential Islamic Jihad. The three groups have led militant violence against Israel in the uprising for independence in Gaza and the West Bank.
"Hey! We want in on this, too!"
As the bodies were brought for burial, women wailed and ululated. "Allahu Akbar (God is greatest)!" they cried. "Death for Israel and for the collaborators." Gaza City stores closed down for a day of mourning. "I think a bombing attack inside Israel is just a question of time now," said one store owner. "Israel has done its best to provoke Hamas and all Palestinians."
"Yeah. They do that stuff for no reason at all..."
Mourners urged Hamas to fire rockets and mortar bombs into Jewish settlements and Israel — tactics that have provoked harsh Israeli retaliation including raids and house demolitions. Rantissi said the death of the six members of Hamas's Izz el-Deen al-Qassam military wing was a "big loss" but one that would only increase their determination to fight Israel.
"I mean, it ain't like we don't have more cannon fodder than we can use, y'know?"
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/17/2003 11:20 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [288 views] Top|| File under:

#1  How did this clown get hold of an M-16, the black market? I thought they liked the AK-47, the preferred weapon of our enemy, which makes a distinctive sound when used for gun sex fired.
Posted by: Raj || 02/17/2003 18:47 Comments || Top||

#2  Hell of a note whan you can't even trust your local black-market drone dealer, eh boys?
Posted by: mojo || 02/17/2003 19:08 Comments || Top||


IDF commandos kill Hamas millitary commander in Gaza
The head of the Hamas military wing in the Gaza Strip was shot, seriously wounded and captured by IDF commandos in the Gaza Strip on Monday morning, He later died in the Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva.
He will be missed. Not much, but he'll be missed. By his Mom. Maybe...
According to the army Riad Abu-Zeid was caught by troops in the El Bureij refugee camp. The soldiers set up a surprise roadblock and tried to pull Abu Zeid out of his vehicle. Abu-Zeid whipped out a rod pulled out a weapon and was shot in the head by the troops. The Army said their intention had been to capture Abu-Zeid, not kill him.
"Oops. My bad!"
Abu Zeid took over from Muhammad Deif who was seriously wounded by an IAF missile raid on the Gaza Strip a few months ago.
Cute. When his car was zapped, the Paleos said Deif wasn't seriously wounded, only umpteen bystanders. Seems they don't regard a extensive maiming as serious. Being the military head of Hamas is getting to be a dangerous job. Heh heh.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/17/2003 11:09 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [381 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Only his fleas will mourn him.
Posted by: seafarious || 02/17/2003 22:07 Comments || Top||


Arafat aide says he would consider prime minister's post
A senior aide to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said Monday he would seriously consider taking on a newly established prime ministerial post in the Palestinian Authority, if it was offered. Mahmoud Abbas, who holds the No. 2 position in Arafat's Palestinian Liberation Organization, also said Palestinian factions would resume talks in Egypt later this month to discuss an Egyptian proposal to halt attacks on Israelis.
Yasser's getting old, and his mind's going a little more every day. Might as well get into position to try for the Seat of All Power when he pegs out...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/17/2003 11:02 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [281 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Mahmoud better check out the benefits package for the position before he takes on the job. Also bodyguard and personal protection provisions should be looked at carefully before signing his death warrant contract.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/17/2003 15:52 Comments || Top||


Korea
S. Korean Brings Internet to North
Despite political hurdles on both sides of the border, businessman Kim Beom Hoon has a Pyongyang cyber-cafe and plans to expand.
SEOUL -- Its people lack food. Prices are soaring. Electricity is scarce, and the rest of the world is alarmed by its murky nuclear ambitions.
Thanks, Dear Leader...
What North Korea needs in these difficult, troubling times, says Kim Beom Hoon, is simple: the Internet. Kim, a successful South Korean businessman, is on a quest to bring cyberspace to the isolated North, a country where the basic infrastructure is barely functioning, let alone able to support construction of an information superhighway. But against all probability, and despite run-ins with South Korean authorities suspicious of his activities, Kim has managed to push ahead with what might seem an impossible dream. Nine months ago, he opened North Korea's first Internet cafe, in downtown Pyongyang, complete with high-speed connections and attendants serving free drinks. Forget, for now, that the facility is frequented only by foreigners, the diplomats and journalists and aid workers who were starved for a place where they could send e-mail back home and hear news from the outside world. And forget that the cost of logging on, at $10 an hour, is a princely sum to most North Koreans, who earn less than $50 a month and can hardly afford to eat.
This topic never seems to comes up on KCNA...
"Beginning is half done," says Kim of his new venture, although he acknowledges that it has yet to make a cent. Still, he harbors visions of grandeur, of an explosion in Internet access that will one day revitalize North Korea's basket-case economy and even, Kim says earnestly, pave the way for eventual reunification between the two Koreas. If there is any logic to bringing the world of super connectivity to so hermetic and poor a place as communist North Korea, it makes sense that the South would be the country to do it. Not just because of its proximity -- across a heavily armed border -- but because South Korea is one of the most wired nations on Earth, where the Internet reaches 70% of the populace. Around Seoul, Internet cafes, known as "PC bangs," are as ubiquitous as Starbucks in the U.S., low-cost hangouts where young people gather to play networked video games or just surf the Web.

Kim's PC bang in central Pyongyang made its debut in May, on the ground floor of a nondescript three-story building owned by his North Korean partner, Jangsaeng Trading Co. The facility boasts several state-of-the-art computers.
It wasn't the primary aim of Kim's firm, Hoonnet.com, to set up an Internet cafe in the North Korean capital. "If you say you're going to North Korea to open a PC bang, people will think you're crazy," Kim says. But it seemed a logical byproduct of the original Internet business that he went to establish, which might sound even more ridiculous in poverty-stricken North Korea: an online lottery, the kind that Kim's company had already developed in the South.
Maybe add a couple of porn sites too?
Kim says that the online lottery is aimed not at North Koreans -- most of whom don't have computers -- but at international gamblers, who can log on to the Web site from anywhere in the world with the click of a mouse.
How addicted do you have to be to gamble on a North Korean lottery? What's the grand prize? Tree bark and moss sandwiches?
It took Kim more than a dozen trips to China to meet with North Korean officials before he finally sealed a deal. Under the agreement, Jangsaeng, a state-owned entity, put up $1 million and Hoonnet.com $200,000. For North Korea, the deal was part of an effort to carve a niche in the international high-tech arena, to market itself as an unlikely magnet for investment in information technology.
Bring your shakedown money,and some blond hookers for Kimmie.
This is the same country where hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have died of starvation a few years ago.
Again, something the KCNA investigative reports unit seems to have missed.
Yet the computer software industry is one in which North Korea is known to excel.
Really?
"There are a lot of bright people there. They've developed quite a lot of software that could be sold on the world market," says Jean-Jacques Grauhar, who spent seven years in Pyongyang as a business consultant. He is now secretary-general of the EU Chamber of Commerce in Seoul. "What they need are better business networks to go to the outside."
A-ha! The EU! I can already see the No votes on the resolution on how to deal with North Korea.
Even more important in North Korea's Stalinist system, the high-tech industry has the backing of leader Kim Jong Il, who is rumored to be something of a computer junkie.
Think he's checked out Rantburg? Maybe you'll get an interesting post someday. Or maybe you'll think it's just Murat.
"It is not North Korea that's closed to the Internet," says entrepreneur Kim. "It's international opinion, dogma and prejudice that says that North Korea is not open to the Internet." So he seized on the opportunity and scored a victory when the government in Seoul, which must approve all contacts between North and South, gave the initial go-ahead.

But in the highly charged political atmosphere between the Koreas, things are rarely straightforward. The South Korean government eventually retracted its permission, saying that Kim -- who was already in Pyongyang setting up shop -- hadn't secured the proper approvals for a gambling business. For its part, Pyongyang refused to let Kim back out after it had already invested $1 million; it barred him from leaving the country for several months.
Sounds like everybody's got their hand out over there...
The future of Kim's Pyongyang-based online lottery is now in some doubt. His anger, however, is reserved solely for the South Korean government. "It made me look like a scoundrel, someone who went to North Korea to set up this business without the proper government approvals," he says, fuming.
Shoulda paid the money...
Some analysts question not so much the entrepreneur's skill in navigating the minefield of North-South relations as his business acumen.
In other words, shoulda paid the money...
"I don't think there's enough market in the Internet business in North Korea for a payoff in the near future," says Chung Yun, an economist with the Korea Development Institute. Chung predicts that it will be 20 more years before the North -- which is having enough trouble keeping the lights on in its cities -- is ready for commercially viable investment in the Internet. Be that as it may, Kim's PC bang in downtown Pyongyang is still up and running, and pulling in grateful foreigners, despite the difficulties of the gambling side of Hoonnet.com's venture.
Not a lot of customers? I'm not shocked.
The next step, Kim says, is to get embassies, and then Pyongyang's hotels, connected to the Internet. Kim says he hopes that as the infrastructure grows, cyberspace can eventually reach wider North Korean society, and that Hoonnet.com will be in a position to start cashing in on its early foothold in the industry.
...and they'll call it NKOL. And eventually they merge with KCNA and create a communications collossus.
He suggests that an even greater disaster might be averted.
"If left alone, North Korea will collapse in three years," Kim says.
Let's hope.Sooner.
"I as a Korean want to contribute whatever I can to stop this, and I thought the Internet would be the best way."
This opinion is subject to change if Dear Leader decides to lob a nuke at Seoul. What is their obsession with propping up that maniac?
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/17/2003 11:28 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [291 views] Top|| File under:

#1  He'll have to have 4 chairs per terminal: one for the user and 3 for the minders
Posted by: Frank G || 02/17/2003 10:45 Comments || Top||

#2  And if you're really hungry, you can eat the keyboard!
Posted by: Dreadnought || 02/17/2003 16:39 Comments || Top||

#3  "The facility boasts several state-of-the-art computers."

I was wondering what happened to my old 486-66...
Posted by: Raj || 02/17/2003 18:39 Comments || Top||


Latin America
American Executed in Columbia

FARC Terrorists Have Executed an American Civilian

FARC Terrorists in Columbia have kidnapped four Americans. Three of them are still being held and tortured. The fourth has been murdered.

‘The bodies of a fourth American and a Colombian soldier, identified today as army intelligence Sgt. Luis Alcides Cruz, were discovered near the wreckage with gunshot wounds. Colombian officials said the two were executed, and forensics experts from the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, the capital, began examining the bodies today to make a formal determination.’

As I had speculated, the plane did not simply "go down". It was shot down.

When is Dubya going to concentrate a meaningful portion of the War on Terror against the Terrorists in our own back yard? When will he at least send in Delta Force to free our people? That's what they're for, dammit.

Yankee Jihad

Posted by: Tom Schaller || 02/17/2003 03:02 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [306 views] Top|| File under:

#1  uh, how is an army intelligence sgt a "civilian?"
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/17/2003 11:03 Comments || Top||

#2  Uh, the Sgt was Columbian, the four Americans are all civilian contractors.
Posted by: Tom || 02/17/2003 14:19 Comments || Top||


Time polling: The Biggest Threat To Peace
Which country really poses the greatest danger to world peace in 2003?
A striking poll action by Time magazine
Who really poses the greatest danger to world peace? Iraq and North Korea are certainly high on President Bush's list though Iraq is still working hard to deny him a reason to attack. A 12,000-page report on its nuclear, chemical and biological programs has been given to the United Nations but Bush and his dependable friend Tony Blair say they have "solid evidence" that Saddam is lying and have called for weapons inspection teams to step up their work.

Meanwhile, as the fuel rods go in and UN inspectors go away, the specter of a nuclear-armed North Korea is keeping the reclusive regime on everybody's radar. Washington and Pyongyang are talking tough but is the biggest danger to peace closer to home? European antagonism towards Bush's robust stance is now being mirrored in the U.S., with even those he might normally consider his allies now urging caution.

So TIME asks you: which country poses the greatest danger to world peace in 2003?

North Korea, Iraq, or the USA
Posted by: Murat || 02/17/2003 03:02 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [363 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Typical TIME poll...i.e. RUBBISH !!
Posted by: MommaBear || 02/17/2003 9:05 Comments || Top||

#2  I took a look at the poll.
There was no option to vote for France.
Posted by: Dishman || 02/17/2003 9:11 Comments || Top||

#3  So, here's a question for all the Euro-sophisticates out there:

If the U.S. is the greatest threat to peace (and I have no doubt that Time's poll will come back with that result), why isn't France hurriedly laying down aircraft carrier keels? Why isn't Germany ratcheting up fighter aircraft production? Why isn't Sweden ringing Stockholm with layer upon layer of anti-aircraft defenses? Oh, that's right. The United States isn't actually going to invade France or Germany or Sweden.

Never listen to what a man (or nation) says. Watch how they spend their money.
Posted by: Dreadnought || 02/17/2003 11:36 Comments || Top||

#4  I voted for Minnesota.
Posted by: Fred || 02/17/2003 15:01 Comments || Top||

#5  Germans might get a little worried though...

US to punish German treachery, The Observer reports.

"America is to punish Germany for leading international opposition to a war against Iraq. The US will withdraw all its troops and bases from there and end military and industrial co-operation between the two countries - moves that could cost the Germans billions of euros."

Smart Americans. Don't invade, anti-invade!

Posted by: Anonymous || 02/17/2003 18:55 Comments || Top||

#6  It is nonsensical to ask about a country already at war being a danger to world peace.
Posted by: Tresho || 02/17/2003 23:48 Comments || Top||


Korea
N.Korea Says Sure of Winning Nuclear War with U.S.
Sun February 16, 2003 10:57 PM ET SEOUL (Reuters) -
North Korea said on Monday that victory would be certain for the communist state in any nuclear war with the United States thanks to Pyongyang's "army-first" political system.
Oh obviously
"Victory in a nuclear conflict will be ours and the red flag of army-first politics will flutter ever more vigorously," state radio said, reported by South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
hurrah for the dear leader who cares so for his countrymen that he lets them starve
"Our victory is certain and the future ever more radiant," it said, touting the dominance of the army in the world's most heavily militarized society.
radiant like a mushroom cloud
The million-strong Korean People's Army is the world's fifth-largest, with nearly one in 20 North Koreans in uniform and spending on defense consuming as much as a quarter of the impoverished state's annual budget.
Yeah, but the US must be to blame, somehow...
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/17/2003 09:53 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [267 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Mad Max:Beyond Blusterdome
Posted by: John || 02/17/2003 2:31 Comments || Top||

#2  Army first, in this case, means the army gets scragged first.
Posted by: Chuck || 02/17/2003 7:34 Comments || Top||

#3  Look at me, look at me! Quit paying attention that other guy.
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/17/2003 10:07 Comments || Top||

#4  Maybe the starvation/juche idea is strategy - keep em so thin that there's little surface area for radiation to affect
Posted by: Frank G || 02/17/2003 10:44 Comments || Top||

#5  The thunderdome society, if I recall correctly, was powered by methane generated by pigshit. Since the NKors are running out of oil, what will their powerplants be fueled with in the very near future?
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/17/2003 15:57 Comments || Top||


East/Subsaharan Africa
Ivory Coast rebels seek backing for war threat
Rebels controlling the north of Ivory Coast yesterday shuttled between West African capitals to rally support for their midnight ultimatum to launch all-out war today unless they are given seats in the government.
After they get the seats, they'll launch an all-out war and use the inside position to make it easier to win.
An offensive by the rebels to capture the government-held south of the country would place France, the former colonial power, in an untenable position. France has deployed 3,000 troops to Ivory Coast and their role so far has been to push back the rebels threatening the government of President Laurent Gbagbo. But France has grown impatient with the Ivorian leader since he signed a French-brokered plan for peace, which envisages power-sharing, last month, then blatantly ignored it.
Probably because he woke up the next morning and realized what he had done.
A spokesman for the main rebel group, the Patriotic Movement of the Ivory Coast (MPCI), said its leader, Guillaume Soro, would visit the capitals of Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Benin and Burkina Faso, with the message that unless the MPCI is invited to join the government by today it will – with the support of two other rebel groups – launch an offensive on the biggest city, government-held Abidjan.
We all know how important it is to have Burkina Faso on your side.
Ivory Coast is the world's leading cocoa producer and because of its position and infrastructure it acts as a trading centre for the West African region. The rebellion that started on 19 September has cut the country in two and damaged the economies of landlocked neighbours such as Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. So far the mission of the French deployment – based on a years-old bilateral agreement – has been to protect the elected government. But since signing the Marcoussis plan for peace on 24 January, President Gbagbo has proved himself to be an ungrateful protégé.
The French certainly would recognize ingratitude when they see it.
Under the Marcoussis plan, the rebels were given the Interior and Defence portfolios. But since signing the plan and travelling home, Mr Gbagbo has claimed such a power-sharing formula would be unconstitutional. He now refers to the Marcoussis agreement as a "working framework'' and it took him until last Monday to install Seydou Diarra, a northerner chosen under the plan, as Prime Minister. The MPCI's ultimatum and hasty round of shuttle diplomacy comes before a two-day Franco-African summit in Paris on Wednesday, which Mr Gbagbo says he will attend. The rebels have tried to gain an invitation but have been turned down, prompting elements of the MPCI to fear that France will use the summit to bolster support for President Gbagbo.
You mean the French are playing both sides?
Until the first coup in Ivory Coast in 1999, France nursed and spoiled the country's leaders to maintain economic stability in the country. It tolerated a north-south divide which was economic as well as tribal and religious. President Gbagbo himself came to power after a coup but he was condoned by the then French government because of his years as a socialist activist while living in France.
You always have to look after your ward heelers when they step out to make it big on their own. It's a political formula we know well here in Chicago.
He was elected after drawing on southern Ivorian resentment against the north and by barring his challenger, the northern Muslim Alassane Ouattara.
The latter strategy being the more important one.
Mr Gbagbo said Mr Ouattara was not a legitimate Ivorian because he was born in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso). It has become widely accepted that the well-equipped MPCI – and to a lesser extent the two other rebel groups – are financed by Burkina Faso.
As I said earlier about Burkina Faso ...
Posted by: Steve White || 02/17/2003 10:49 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [277 views] Top|| File under:

#1  It's simply astonishing that in almost all coverage of the civil war in the Ivory Coast, reporters and editors seem to omit from the lead that the northern rebels are radical Islamists (Islamo-Fascists who want to impose and Islamic state based Sharia law), and that the southern government represents the Christian and animists of the south (the vast majority). The Islamic population in the north has mushroomed over the last 15 years by the migration of Muslim refugees from the civil war in Burkina Faso, artificially inflating the Muslim percentage in the Ivorian population. But they are foreigners, from another country (hence the resentment against Ouattara). France, in all its nuttiness, brokered a "peace deal" to give the army and the police to the radical Islamists! That is, the real apparatuses of state power. This is France actively HELPING allies of al Qaeda win state power.
Posted by: joeh || 02/17/2003 10:33 Comments || Top||

#2  Joe:
Yes, Muslims are aggressing everywhere. Knowledge of the Islamic concept of "gharabaa" is essential to an understanding of this "final jihad." (see: www.as-sahwah.com)

Good sources on the aggression in Africa:
www.algeriadaily.com
www.vanguardngr.com
www.aipj.net (French)
www.odili.net/nigeria.html (the writers - including Nobel laureate Woye Soyinka - welcome e-mail)
Posted by: Anon || 02/17/2003 13:19 Comments || Top||


Korea
US, South Korea to hold joint military exercises
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - The U.S. military said Monday it will conduct two joint military exercises with South Korea next month, but added the annual maneuvers are not related to the nuclear dispute with North Korea.
Nope, nuttin' to see here.
The joint drills are designed to improve the joint U.S.-South Korea forces' ability to defend South Korea against ``external aggression,'' the U.S. military command in Seoul said.
Nope, don't have nobody in mind.
The exercises coincide with a standoff over North Korea's nuclear weapons development. The United States and its allies have urged the North to give up its nuclear ambitions, while Pyongyang has accused Washington of planning a pre-emptive military attack. There was no immediate response from North Korea over the upcoming exercises, but the communist country has routinely denounced past joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises as preparations for an invasion.
Keep yer dial tuned to KCNA for the latest spittle. We return now to our broadcast of the peoples' favorite, "General Kim Jong-il, Please Don't Travel the Snowy Road, Take the Short-Cut Through the Minefield Instead".
One of the exercises - called ``Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration,'' or RSOI - will take place March 19-26. A second exercise, Foal Eagle, is scheduled for March 4-April 2, the military statement said. Foal Eagle, the largest joint U.S.-South Korea field training exercise, has been held since 1961. The RSOI began in 1994.
Keep your powder dry, guys.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/17/2003 09:49 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [266 views] Top|| File under:

#1  These exercises take place every year. A couple of units at my reserve center are always involved with them.
Posted by: Dreadnought || 02/17/2003 11:29 Comments || Top||


East/Subsaharan Africa
Liberian refugees leave frying pan, enter broiler
A woman and three small children emerge from gloomy bush at a sunlit river bank marking Ivory Coast's western border. On the far shore - 50 metres of swirling brown water away - is Liberia's dark rainforest, and long-running civil war.
Behind Rose Eshun and her family is another war, a new one, in which they and thousands of Liberian refugees like them are targets.
Some people just can't win for losing.
"This used to be a good place, we had no troubles," says Rose, 34, in the soft accent of America's deep south, brought to Liberia by freed American slaves. "Now, they're beating us, killing us. Even our neighbours, people we lived with for years."
Welcome to West Africa. The Guardian writes this like the American blacks were brought to Liberia a few years ago, instead of 150 years ago. The country was a good idea that worked moderately well until Samuel Doe.
The change came three months ago, when rebels rose up in western Ivory Coast, backed by fighters from Liberia. "When Ivorians see us, they see rebels," says Rose, as nearby a gang of Ivorian youths watches in silence.
She's referring to the bad boys Charles Taylor has been sending to assist with the festivities...
Their faces are smeared with charcoal in the belief that this will protect them against bullets; in their hands, they carry shotguns and clubs. According to refugee reports, local militias such as theirs have murdered hundreds of Liberians in recent weeks, as Ivory Coast, formerly one of the Africa's most harmonious countries, fractures along tribal lines.
At some point African leaders might wise up and let each tribe have their own nation. I don't think we'll live to see it, though.
"They have to leave," says one 21-year-old warrior, Lucien Sery, of the hundred-odd Liberian refugees preparing to recross the Kavali river. "They came to Ivory Coast to kill our people."
In Rose's case he's probably wrong, in most cases he's probably right...
A lurching canoe ride later, and Rose clambers back into the country she fled a decade ago. "It feels good," she smiles, brushing down her blue polka-dot dress. But her eldest daughter, Grace, 13, looks troubled. She remembers nothing about Liberia; prefers French - Ivory Coast's main language - to English; and says she will miss her friends. "Just say you're happy," Rose teases her, "because we're staying."
And nobody's hacking you to death with machetes, as long as you keep your head down. For awhile.
Rose and her children face a few weeks in a transit centre run by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), while she tries to locate her mother and seven sisters. Her husband, Francis, faces greater danger: stuck 100 miles into Ivory Coast, surrounded by roadblocks mounted by charcoal-coated fighters. "By the grace of God, he'll make it, and we'll be together again," says Rose. "Then we'll be happy."
Until Charlie Taylor comes a'visiting.
Five months into Ivory Coast's war, which began with a rebellion in the north by longstanding migrants from Burkina Faso, the government is making no obvious effort to end it. In the west, the extent of the disaster is unknown because most of the area is considered too dangerous for aid workers to enter. "But we know there are 8,000 Liberian refugees missing in Grabo zone," says Anne Dolan, UNHCR's field officer for western Ivory Coast of a district just 40 miles north of her headquarters in Tabou, close by the Kavali river. "We're assuming they're being killed up there."
Probably a good assumption. Taylor's not the one who feels the effects of his meddling, is he?
In a crowd of desperate Liberians outside Ms Dolan's office, Christopher Sankon, 21, has a missing right hand to justify her fears. Two weeks ago, militiamen in nearby Tarariye accused him and seven other Liberians of being rebels, and bundled them into the forest. Four were shot dead; three were wounded and left for dead. Christopher was badly beaten and his right hand blown off. "What can I do now?" he mutters, hunched over his bandaged stump. "I can't go back to Liberia; there was no work there when I had two hands."
Automatic weapons are more important than jobs in Liberia...
Even as he limped towards Tabou, Christopher was attacked by the militiamen again, he says, showing a fresh stab-wound in his shoulder-blade. Asked where he will go now, he simply shrugs. Other refugees, several thousand of them according to Ms Dolan, cannot return to Liberia because they would be killed there. Atolphus Ivy, 38, is one. His father and two uncles were murdered by fighters loyal to Charles Taylor, the former rebel who is now Liberia's besieged president, for being senior officials in the previous administration. "The minute I'm in Liberia, I'm dead," he says. Last week, Atolphus left his wife and seven children hidden in the forest outside Tabou, to visit the American embassy in Ivory Coast to discuss resettlement. Now he is too scared to travel the 200 miles to Abidjan, Ivory Coast's commercial capital. "My appointment was last week," he says, showing a letter from the US immigration agency to prove it. "But with all these militiamen, the roads aren't safe for Liberians. I'm fearing for my life."

Meanwhile, across the swirling Kavali river, Rose and her three children take up their pathetically few possessions, to venture further into violent Liberia. "There's war here too, but I thank God," she says. "At least we're home."
Am I ever glad I was not born in Africa.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/17/2003 10:16 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [281 views] Top|| File under:


Home Front
Rice warns time is short for UN option
President Bush's national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice, said yesterday the US was still willing to seek United Nations authority for military action in Iraq, but insisted that the "diplomatic window" would not stay open very long. Ms Rice would not say how long the US was prepared to wait, other than to repeat the president's mantra that it was a matter of weeks, not months. The US has made similar walkout threats before, ever since Mr Bush reluctantly agreed last September to pursue the UN route in its confrontation with Iraq. The president declared "the game is over" earlier this month. And on Friday, after the UN weapons inspectors' generally positive report on Iraqi compliance, a US official was telling journalists that Washington would take the weekend to reconsider whether it was worth trying to find international support for an attack, "or pursue another option".
That certainly sounds like a buzz-phrase.
Ms Rice repeated the threat yesterday, saying: "It is time for this to end, enough is enough." But in almost the same breath she said the US was "in a diplomatic window to look for ways to move forward".
"We'd like to work with the weasels, really we would, but time's short and I gotta date with history."
Despite Washington's history of bluster, there are reasons to believe the "window" is narrowing, and amounts to between two and four weeks.
When's the next new moon again?
American diplomats said on Friday that Washington was prepared to wait at least for another report by UN inspectors at the end of this month. To mount an attack earlier, having made that commitment, would deepen the anti-American outrage at the UN.
I didn't see Ms. Rice on the TV, but somehow I don't imagine her to be shaking in her socks at this thought.
But US officials did not commit themselves to another meeting of security council foreign ministers on March 14, as proposed by France.
That's past the new moon, guys, and our Secretary of State is going to be busy that, ah, other things.
Security council officials suggested on Friday that the US might back a mid-March meeting, if Paris was prepared to support a new resolution authorising the use of force should Iraq not comply by that date. There was no sign over the weekend that such a commitment had been offered.
And there won't be. France is completely committed to the current plan of 'non'.
The report in yesterday's New York Times that the US was considering a "final round" of tests for Iraqi behaviour appeared to confirm the two-to-four-week timetable. US armed forces are expected to reach peak readiness on about March 8, as helicopters from the leading American air assault force, the 101st Airborne Division, reach the Gulf.
Unless they get there earlier, eh Saddam?
Preparations to open a northern front from Turkey are also been bogged down. The Turkish parliament only allowed renovation work on ports and air bases to start last week, and is due to vote next week on allowing 40,000 or more US troops into the country.
We might not need the whole 40,000 there at once.
A report in today's Newsweek magazine says that Turkey had only agreed to provide bases if the US allowed it to send up to 80,000 of its own troops into northern Iraq, under separate command - a move which would be fiercely opposed by the region's Kurdish minority. It was unclear yesterday whether a deal had been struck.
Ouch. Fred, Steve, Frank, any word on this?
There will be more than 200,000 US and British troops in the Gulf by the end of February, giving General Tommy Franks, who would lead any US invasion, plenty of options. However, analysts said the Pentagon would prefer to have a large force in Turkey, and the 101st Airborne at Gen Franks' disposal, before any attack. Militarily, this would make the optimum times for an attack either early in the second week of March, as soon as US forces are fully in place and when the nights will still be relatively dark, or in the last ten days of the month as the moon begins to fade again. After that, rising temperatures will make fighting increasingly difficult for US troops. The Pentagon insists it could fight in any conditions, but its uniformed officers have made it plain they would rather not wait until the summer.
I don't think we'll be fighting in the summer.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/17/2003 10:05 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [265 views] Top|| File under:

#1  If Turkey is a muslim country, and muslims don't kill muslims, no raisins for them, then why does Turkey need a defense, she writes w/tongue in cheek).
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/17/2003 0:35 Comments || Top||

#2  When the price is right we'll have access - sigh
Posted by: Frank G || 02/17/2003 10:20 Comments || Top||

#3  America will move into Iraq within two weeks. The day after the ground campaign starts, Powell will offer a new resolution to the UNSC; join or dissolve.
Posted by: john || 02/17/2003 14:45 Comments || Top||



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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.

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Two weeks of WOT
Mon 2003-02-17
  Volunteer "human shields" flock to Iraq
Sun 2003-02-16
  Iraqis: "We will fight to the last drop of our blood"
Sat 2003-02-15
  Israeli sources say war imminent; Iran and Syria next
Fri 2003-02-14
  Brits nab grenade artist at airport
Thu 2003-02-13
  Brits hunting anti-aircraft missile smugglers
Wed 2003-02-12
  UN declares N Korea in nuclear breach
Tue 2003-02-11
  'Bin Laden' tape calls for Iraqi suicide attacks
Mon 2003-02-10
  Germany in bid to block war on Iraq
Sun 2003-02-09
  Belgium to Block Turkey Plan
Sat 2003-02-08
  Grandest of Muftis prays for Muslims' victory
Fri 2003-02-07
  Hamas Urges Muslims to Hit Back
Thu 2003-02-06
  NKors warns US of pre-emptive action
Wed 2003-02-05
  Powell speaks...
Tue 2003-02-04
  Big Parade in Mosul; US urges citizens to leave Gulf
Mon 2003-02-03
  Sammy issues blood-curdling threats...

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