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Baghdadee بغدادي

Texas Gentleman

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  1. We've Lost. Here's How To Handle It. More Middle East Madness "The Palestinian people will never forgive the Hamas gangs for looting the home of the Palestinian people's great leader, Yasser Arafat." So Palestinian Authority spokesman Abdel Rahman recently exclaimed. "This crime will remain a stain of disgrace on the forehead of Hamas and its despicable gangs." Looting? Crime? Despicable gangs? Excuse me. For years, Palestinian Authority-sanctioned gangs shot and tortured dissidents, glorified suicide bombing against Israel and in general thwarted any hopes of various "peace processes." Of course, this kind of behavior isn't limited to the Palestinian territories but is spread across the Middle East. The soon-to-be-nuclear theocracy in Iran is grotesque. Iraqis continue to discover innovative ways to extinguish each other. Syria assassinates democratic reformers in Lebanon. ABC News now reports that new teams of al-Qaida and Taliban suicide bombers have been ordered to the United States and Europe from Afghanistan. Here's why much of the region is so unhinged - and it's not because of our policy in Palestine or our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. First, thanks to Western inventions and Chinese manufactured goods, Middle Easterners can now access the non-Muslim world cheaply and vicariously. To millions of Muslims, the planet appears - on the Internet, DVDs and satellite television - to be growing rich as most of their world stays poor. Second, the Middle East either will not or cannot make the changes necessary to catch up with what they see in the rest of the world. Tribalism - loyalty only to kin rather than to society at large - impedes merit and thus progress. So does gender apartheid. Who knows how many would-be Margaret Thatchers or Sandra Day O'Connors remain veiled in the kitchen? Religious fundamentalism translates into rote prayers in madrassas while those outside the Middle East master science and engineering. Without a transparent capitalist system - antithetical to both sharia (Muslim law) and state-run economies - initiative is never rewarded. Corruption is. Meanwhile, mere discussion in much of the region of what is wrong can mean execution by a militia, government thug or religious vigilante. So, Middle Easterners are left with the old frustration of wanting the good life of Western society but lacking either the ability or willingness to change the status quo to get it. Instead, we get monotonous scapegoating. Blaming America or Israel - "Those sneaky Jews did it!" - has become a regional pastime. And after the multifarious failures of Yasser Arafat, the Assads in Syria, Muammar Gaddafi, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Saddam Hussein and other corrupt autocrats, many have, predictably, retreated to fundamentalist extremism. Almost daily, some fundamentalist claims that the killing of Westerners is justified - because of a cartoon, a Papal paragraph or, most recently, British knighthood awarded to novelist Salman Rushdie. The terrorism of Osama bin Laden, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban is as much about nihilist rage as it is about blackmailing Western governments to grant concessions. Meanwhile, millions of others simply flee the mess, immigrating to either Europe or the United States. These reactions to failure often lead to circumstances that can defy logic. The poor terrorists of Arafat's old party, Fatah, seem to shriek that they have been out-terrorized by Hamas, and desperately con more Western aid to make up for what has been squandered or stolen. Muslims flock to Europe to enjoy a level of freedom and opportunity long denied at home. But no sooner have many arrived than they castigate their adopted continent as decadent. The ungracious prefer intolerant sharia - denying to their own the very freedom of choice that was given to them by others. Our response in America to this perennial Middle East temper tantrum? In the last 20 years, we've sent billions in aid to the Arab world. We've saved Muslims from Bosnia to Kuwait. We've removed dangerous thugs in Afghanistan and Iraq, fostering democracies in their place. We've opened our borders to immigrants from the Middle East. We've paid billions of dollars in inflated oil prices. All the while, many in the West have wrongly blamed themselves for the conditions in the Middle East. It's past time for Middle Easterners to fix their own self-inflicted mess. In the meantime, the U.S. and its allies should help as we can - but first protect ourselves from them as we must.
  2. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/04/world/mi....html?th&emc=th ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ snipet ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The operation "is at a difficult point right now, to be sure," said Brig. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, the deputy commander of the First Cavalry Division, which has responsibility for Baghdad. In an interview, he said that while military planners had expected to make greater gains by now, that has not been possible in large part because Iraqi police and army units, which were expected to handle basic security tasks, like manning checkpoints and conducting patrols, have not provided all the forces promised, and in some cases have performed poorly. That is forcing American commanders to conduct operations to remove insurgents from some areas multiple times. The heavily Shiite security forces have also repeatedly failed to intervene in some areas when fighters, who fled or laid low when the American troops arrived, resumed sectarian killings. "Until you have the ability to have a presence on the street by people who are seen as honest and who are not letting things come back in," said General Brooks, referring to the Iraqi police units, "you can't shift into another area and expect that place to stay the way it was." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~snipit~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno .................. in order to meet that timetable, he added, the Iraqi Security Forces would have to make strides in coming months at maintaining security. "Ultimately the I.S.F., and specifically the police, are the key to holding an area," he said. "We have to within the next four months move them more toward holding the areas we have cleared." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ snipit~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ........ the security plan will increase the number of American troops in the city to around 30,000, up from 21,000 before the operation, an American officer said. In addition, around 30,000 Iraqi Army and national police forces and another 21,000 policemen have been deployed in Baghdad. Many of the Iraqi units have turned up at less than full strength and other units have been redeployed from the capital, General Brooks said, leaving fewer than expected. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ snipit ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In some parts of the city, commanders have yet to attempt large-scale clearing operations. For example, American forces have moved into only a small portion of Sadr City, the vast slum on the city's east side that is a Shiite stronghold. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ snipit ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sending large number of troops in there could incite heavy violence and opposition from Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki's largely Shiite government, several officers said. The problems facing American troops are illustrated in troubled western Baghdad. In the Rashid district there, the First Battalion, Fourth Brigade of the First Infantry Division has been working since March to carry out the security push. When the battalion, commanded by Lt. Col. Patrick Frank, moved in, it was replacing a lone American Army company of 125 soldiers. Yet even with three times as many soldiers patrolling the area, violence has worsened. Last month, 249 bodies were found in the sector, up from 98 the month Colonel Frank arrived, according to statistics compiled by the battalion. Lately, his troops have been hit by a wave of roadside bomb attacks that have killed five of them and wounded 13 others. "We have a tough fight ahead of us," he said. The district includes Ameel, Baya, Jihad and Furat, mostly mixed Sunni-Shiite neighborhoods abutting the road to the Baghdad airport where his troops have established three patrol bases. Before the new strategy, there were none. The area, a mixture of poorer urban slums and middle-class dwellings, once home to many retired professionals, has been troubled for years. Violence dipped there and across the city in the first months of the year, but has since worsened. Militants, many associated with the Mahdi Army of the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, have resumed a push to drive Sunnis from their few enclaves, American commanders said. One of the area's last Sunni mosques was bombed Wednesday. "This area used to be primarily Sunni, but in the last six months Jaish al-Mahdi has conducted essentially a cleansing campaign," said Colonel Frank, using the Arabic name for the Mahdi Army. In addition to carrying out sectarian killings, the Mahdi Army controls two of the area's three gas stations, which refuse to sell to most Sunnis. Gunmen regularly attacked trash trucks when they entered Sunni areas until the American military began providing security. Sunni homes are also the targets of arson attacks if their occupants fail to heed warnings to leave, he said. Sunni insurgents have fought back as well, with two large car bomb attacks in largely Shiite sections of Baya and Ameel that killed more than 60 people, officers said. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ snipit ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ American officers worry that many members of the largely Shiite police force sympathize or collaborate with the Mahdi Army. The local commander of the Iraqi national police, a force run by the Shiite-run Interior Ministry, has been replaced three times since March. One of those commanders, Col. Nadir al-Jabouri, a Shiite described by Colonel Frank as the most aggressive and even-handed Iraqi officer he had seen. But he was detained in late March by the Interior Ministry and accused of having ties to insurgents. "He was not a protector of the people; he was a terrorist," said Col. Vhafir Kader Jowda, his Shiite replacement. American patrols have been attacked in a wave of deadly bombings recently, sometimes within sight of police checkpoints, officers said. Ten soldiers under Colonel Frank's command have been killed since March. At least eight of the recent attacks in the area have used explosively formed penetrators, or E.F.P.'s, powerful bombs able to pierce armored Humvees. When Colonel Frank went to the Ameel police station recently accompanied by a reporter and asked for help in capturing a local Shiite sheik believed to be behind the bombings, the police official he was meeting with spoke in a whisper. "They listen to us," he said, pointing to a ventilation grill on his wall. "I am in danger just by meeting with you." A few weeks earlier, angered by the attacks on his soldiers, Colonel Frank ordered a video camera hidden near an abandoned swimming pool along a main road in Ameel, near a police checkpoint, where patrols had been hit repeatedly. When the video was examined after another attack, it showed two Iraqi policemen talking with companions, who were heard off-camera, apparently laying an explosive device. Minutes after the policemen were seen driving away, the camera showed a powerful bomb detonating as an American Humvee came into view. The video of the attack, which just missed the vehicle and caused no casualties, was shown to a reporter from The New York Times. After police commanders were confronted with the video in mid-May, six Iraqi officers were arrested, Colonel Frank said. But the episode has not been forgotten. At a weekly meeting where military commanders and police chiefs sit around a horseshoe-shaped conference table at one of the American bases, Capt. Adel Fakry, the Ameel police commander, complained that American soldiers on patrol were showing "distrust" toward his officers. "The reason there is distrust," Colonel Frank responded, his voice rising, "is because I have a video of six Iraqi officers placing a bomb against my soldiers, and they came from your station." There had been "some mistakes," Captain Fakry responded, looking taken aback by the confrontation. Not all of the six officers were from his station, he added before ending the conversation by flipping open his cellphone and making a call while the meeting continued. The same distrust has hampered relations throughout Baghdad since the strategy began. In Shula, a neighborhood just east of Kadhimiya, north of Rashid, American troops in March discovered a group of Iraqis in police uniforms setting up an E.F.P. near a bridge. They were using police vehicles to provide cover. The American soldiers killed two of the bomb planters. They later discovered that one had a badge granting him wide access to the Green Zone, the fortified area in central Baghdad where the American Embassy and most Iraqi government buildings are situated. "That's the level of penetration that these guys have," said Lt. Col. Steven M. Miska, deputy commander of the Second Brigade, First Infantry Division, which is charged with controlling northwestern Baghdad. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ End ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Yes sir, you sure gotta admire that mooky guy, ......you know that guy dont know what his militia is doing don't you? Imagine what a country Iraq could become if all Iraqis put that much energy in actually building something instead of tearing it down !!!
  3. FROM ITM (Iraq The Model) and my view ......... a difference between Allawi's plan to walk away from the government and those of Sadr. Looks like some of our earlier specualtions BELOW were correct. Sadr ministers out, now what? [/size]In a sudden move, Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has pulled his ministers out of the Iraqi cabinet. Many people are asking me why. It's a good question, and I've being thinking about the reasons and implications. They aren't very easy to determine because of the jumpy, and often illogical, way that this political faction thinks and behaves. One possible theory being circulated is the six ministers were already on their way to be replaced according to PM Maliki's cabinet reshuffle plan. So the resignations were like quitting your job before your boss fires you in order to preserve your dignity and save face. But this explanation strikes me as overly simplistic. The faction's threat to leave the government, and the decision to go forward with it, took place while other developments elsewhere, in the country in which the Sadr group is a major player, were taking place and may have played a role in the decision.. What I think is that Sadr is making a decision in which he plans to switch from half-government-half-opposition status to all-out opposition. This has not been declared explicitly so far. Why? Because while Sadr's followers are still quite strong, whether in the political wing or in the Mehdi army, they haven't and appear incapable of achieving the level of exclusive dominance they aspire to. They can make serious trouble and occupy the streets for a while when they want, but those periods of time aren't enough for them anymore. Thus far, the results of the war between Sadr on one side and the government and the coalition on the other side - particularly in the southern part of the country- have been a disappointment for Sadr. It's likely that he's considering adopting a new approach by openly declaring his party in the opposition. In Diwaniya, his militiamen have been defeated and the Iraqi and coalition forces are back in control. In Hilla, the Mehdi army members are being dealt with as outlaws by the local security forces. At least one of Sadr's offices was burned a few weeks ago, and the statements by local officials during the last month or two clearly showed determination on not letting the militia take over the city. It's actually a complex situation because this approach will very likely be different from the one Sadr used back in 2003 and 2004 when his group was yet to become part of the political process. Back then, Sadr was the spiritual leader as well as the field commander of his militia, publicly endorsing his fighters and not hiding his involvement in the armed "resistance". In my opinion, Sadr and his political wing will now pretend to distance themselves from the armed wing, which is what they've been doing for some time now, while actually keeping -if not increasing- the support for armed operations against military and civilian targets. at the same time, they will try to drive more people into opposing the government and the presence of coalition troops with spectacular protests here and there. And they will find nothing wrong if those "peaceful protesters" occasionally decide to use force and shoot at Iraqi and US soldiers or eliminate those who collaborate with the government and the coalition, because "that's not us, not the Mehdi army. It's the people's reaction to an incompetent government and an illegal occupation". Now that they have left the government, they're going to take advantage of simple-minded people who will no longer blame them for lack of basic services, because the Sadrists are not part of this government anymore. They will redirect all the blame onto Maliki and the coalition, when in fact, it was the Sadr bloc ministers who were controlling three of the most important ministries in charge of basic services: Health, Education and Transportation, in addition to three others. That's a point dwarfed by the militia's direct role in Iraqi's suffering. Hints of this new policy are already in the air: the Sadrists organized large protests in Basra yesterday, in which reportedly thousands chanted against the local government in demand of better services and warning of an escalation if their demands are not met. Meanwhile the al-Fadheela Party, to which the governor belongs, said it was afraid some group might assassinate him. Of course, Sadr's aides denied any involvement in the planning of the protests and protestors were carrying Iraqi flags instead of Sadr's banners as usual. Still, not many people really bought the act. Sadr is of the kind of tyrant who would try all methods he can to either control the entire nation of Iraq or, if he fails, destroy it altogether. His inability to control the country from within the political process makes me think that he'll try for the latter. Finally, it's worth noting that the words which Sadr used to close his message to Maliki this week, were technically an open threat. In the Islamic culture, the expression "Assalam ala man Ittaba' al-Huda" (or "peace be upon those who follow the right path") includes more threats than wishes for peace: its implied meaning is "Follow the right path [our path] or face the consequences." Let's take a look at the explicit coup intentions that don't only want to return to the days of dictatorship but want to take us back to the dark ages: (Texas Gentleman's View) 23/05/2007 21:52 (توقيت غرينتش) أكدت مصادر مقربة من مقتدى الصدر زعيم التيار الصدري المتواري عن الانظار أن المرحلة المقبلة في العراق ستشهد سيطرة مؤيدي الصدر على الحكومة من خلال تجنب الاشتباك مع القوات الأميركية، واعتماد التصعيد الخطابي المطالب بخروج القوات الأجنبية وتعزيز المكاسب السياسية في بغداد والجنوب وتقوية العلاقات مع إيران. وأشار تقرير لوكالة الأسوشيتدبرس الأربعاء إلى ان الصدر يخطط لملء الفراغ الذي سيخلفه الانسحاب الاميركي من العراق ومرض منافسه عبد العزيز الحكيم الذي يعاني من سرطان الرئة. ونقل التقرير عن عدد من المسؤولين في التيار الصدري، رفضوا الكشف عن اسمائهم، أن استراتيجية الصدر تعتمد جزئيا على الاعتقاد السائد من أن الادارة الاميركية ستسحب قواتها من العراق قريبا أو انها ستخفض عددها هناك مخلفة فراغا امنيا وسياسيا كبيرين. وكان وزير الدفاع العراقي عبد القادر العبيدي صرح يوم الإثنين بأن الجيش العراقي يضع خططا استعدادا لاي انسحاب أميركي مفاجيء. وأضاف المسؤولون الصدريون أن الصدر يعتقد أن حكومة المالكي لن تصمد في حال خروج القوات الأميركية بسبب فشلها في الملف الأمني والخدمي والاقتصادي، مما سيقود إلى تشكيل تحالفات سياسية جديدة يكون فيها التيار الصدري الذي يشغل 30 مقعدا في البرلمان الرابح الأكبر. وأوضح أحد المسؤولين الصدريين الستة الذي تحدثوا لوكالة اسوشيتدبرس "أن التيار الصدري منح حكومة المالكي فرصة تاريخية، إلا أن رئيس الوزراء لم يستثمرها، لذا فإننا نعد العدة كي نشكل القيادة الجديدة للعراق". وأضاف أن العراق سيكون إسلاميا في ظل قيادة التيار الصدري. ويقول المسؤولون الأميركيون إن الصدر موجود في إيران منذ ثلاثة أشهر، فيما بدأ عدد من المقربين منه مؤخرا بالاعتراف بأن الصدر موجود فعلا في إيران، وليس كما أشيع في البداية من أنه عاد إلى النجف. وفي المقابل قام المجلس الأعلى للثورة الإسلامية سابقا والمجلس الأعلى الإسلامي العراقي حاليا، الحليف الشيعي الآخر لإيران، باعتماد بعض التغييرات السياسية من قبيل تغيير الاسم وإعلان التمسك بمبدئي حقوق الإنسان والديموقراطية، في خطوة فسرت على أنها محاولة حثيثة من قبل تيار الحكيم للاقتراب من أميركا بشكل أكبر. إلا أن إصابة الحكيم بمرض سرطان الرئة أبعده، ولو بصورة مؤقتة، عن الساحة السياسية، حسب تقرير الوكالة. وأشار التقرير الى أن الشيعة يعرفون ماذا تعني سيطرة التيار الصدري على الحكومة العراقية، من خلال التشدد الديني الذي يفرضه جيش المهدي في مدينة الصدر، حيث يفرض على البنات منذ سن السابعة ارتداء الحجاب الإسلامي، ويمنع بيع المشروبات الحكولية، ويطبق تشريعات إسلامية يعاقب فيها بعض الناس بالجلد. ونقل التقرير عن نصار الربيعي، عضو البرلمان عن التيار الصدري قوله انهم يريدون نظاما رئاسيا مشابها لحكم الخليفة الإسلامي. أما غفران الساعدي وصالح العكيلي عضوا مجلس النواب فأكدا أن التيار الصدري سيسعى إلى تصحيح خطأه عندما امتنع من المشاركة في انتخابات يناير/ كانون الثاني عام 2005 والتي أدت إلى هيمنة تيارات شيعية منافسه للتيار الصدري على مجالس محافظات الوسط والجنوب. One of the six Sadr movement officials told AP that "The Sadr movement offered Maliki a historic opportunity but the Prime Minister didn't use it. That's why we are planning to form the new leadership of Iraq" and added that Iraq will be Islamic under the leadership of the Sadr movement. Sources close to Moqtada Sadr affirmed that the coming stage in Iraq will witness the control of Sadr's followers over the government through avoiding confronting the American forces and using verbal escalation to demand the departure of foreign troops, improving political gains in Baghdad and the south and strengthening the relations with Iran. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ OR ( Salims view) from a reporter Texas Gentleman has some respect of. An Enemy We Can Work With ???By BARTLE BREESE BULLLondon WHEN the populist Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr emerged from 14 weeks of invisibility on May 25, it was hard not to focus on his typically passionate anti-Coalition rhetoric: "No, no to America; no, no to occupation," he thundered from the mosque at Kufa, Iraq, a ragged town a few miles north of rich holy city of Najaf. It reminded me of my first visit to the Kufa mosque, in August 2004. I had just walked and driven up from Najaf, where Mr. Sadr's second great uprising against Coalition troops was in its dying stages after more than three weeks. I was the only visible foreigner in the mosque for an unusually packed and angry Friday prayers.The mosque, which Mr. Sadr's Mahdi Army was using as a hospital of sorts, had just been hit by something that everyone said was an American rocket. The shoes of dead fighters lay in piles inside the entrance. Outside, thick, angry crowds milled around. That was almost three years ago. Mr. Sadr's re-emergence — American officials say he had been hiding in Iran, while his followers say he was lying low around Najaf — in such a suggestive place was undoubtedly meant to be a reminder of the young cleric's disruptive potential. But I think the real lesson about Mr. Sadr's return is subtler, and far more positive. It is no accident that he preaches from the Kufa mosque rather than the more prestigious one at Najaf. As the site of the tomb of Imam Ali, the great martyr of Shiism, Najaf is the center of the Shiite clerical hierarchy, a Vatican of sorts for the faith. It is a rich city. But Moktada al-Sadr leads a movement of the poor, inherited from his father, who inherited it from an uncle. His singsong exhortation in Kufa last week was a direct reference to the most famous cry from his father's epic, and ultimately suicidal, sermons under Saddam Hussein in the 1980s: "Yes, yes, to electricity. Yes, yes, to water." Young Mr. Sadr speaks not for the elites but for the biggest and most deprived group of people in Iraq: the Shiite lower orders. And this is why if he really wanted the Americans to leave tomorrow, we would know about it. He is the only Iraqi religious leader to have militarily stood up to the Coalition in the four years since the invasion (he did so twice, first in the spring and then in the late summer of 2004). When Mr. Sadr fights, he fights. His followers may continue to participate in a few freelance kidnappings and homemade bomb attacks, but a true Sadrist uprising is more like an earthquake. Fortunately, Mr. Sadr is supporting what remains of hope in Iraq far more actively than it appears. For example, when the current security plan began in Baghdad in January, one of the first moves was the setting up of a joint American-Iraqi outpost in the slum of Sadr City, the young cleric's "back yard." I remember being in Sadr City during one of the 2004 uprisings. I watched as Iraqis tied an American soldier's boot to a balcony, a gruesome trophy. A year later I saw the same boot in the same place. It was a warning symbol: the area was essentially no-go for the Americans. During the long spells of relative peace American platoons would roll through on quick patrols or stop on a street corner to oversee distribution of gasoline for maybe half a day. But they wouldn't linger. Sadr City is Moktada al-Sadr's place, and the Americans have never come close to subduing it. There would not be an American forward outpost permanently stationed there, with patrols going out every day, if Mr. Sadr didn't want it. The fact is that back in January, the whole thing was closely and specifically negotiated between the Americans, the Iraqi government and Mr. Sadr's people. Likewise, when Mr. Sadr withdrew all six ministers of his party from the cabinet in April, it was greeted by the press as a prelude to Iraq's next great cataclysm. Few recalled that he had done more or less the same last fall, in protest at Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's meeting in Jordan with President Bush. That gesture, greeted with similar alarmism, was followed two months later, as this one will be, by a return of the Sadrists to their posts. Nor did most commentators note that even as he pulled out of the cabinet, Mr. Sadr was keeping his 30 members in Parliament, or that the ministries he was given sway over in the power-sharing agreement were still being run by their Sadrist appointees. The Sadrists' cooperation with their own government gets ever deeper. An Iraqi friend of mine in Baghdad recently tagged along with a Mahdi Army element on a mission to Baghdad's Dora neighborhood, a particularly bloody place where the Mahdi Army used to play an active role in protecting Shiites from Sunni "cleansing." My friend and the Sadrists drove to Dora at midnight, confirmed that the Iraqi Army was there and keeping the Shiite families safe, and went home. There is also much concern in Washington and elsewhere that Mr. Sadr may be a pawn of the Iranians. This notion ignores the history of his movement and the essential nationalism underlying his project. By allying themselves with and speaking for the Shiite poor, Mr. Sadr and his father have long differentiated themselves from the traditional Shiite hierarchy in Najaf, with its great wealth and its ties to Iran. The Sadrist movement has always been about Iraq for the Iraqis. They might accept help from Iran — and I saw Iranian supplies in their compounds in Najaf in 2004 — but the movement is not for sale. Mr. Sadr gets his strength from the street. And the Arabs of the Iraqi street have no time for Persian bosses. Nor do they seem to want to foment an all-out civil war. For all the time I have spent with Sadrist death-squad leaders who focus on killing former Baathists and Al Qaeda's supporters (Sunnis all), I have spent just as much time with Mahdi men who have been sent by their leaders to protect Sunni mosques after Sunni provocations, lest Shiites retaliate too broadly. It was no coincidence that in February, a few weeks after the Baghdad security plan started, a Sunni mosque was reopened in Sadr City. Nor is it a coincidence that the current plan, while it has largely failed to stop car bombs, which are primarily a Sunni phenomenon, has for the moment more or less ended the type of violence in which the Mahdi Army participated most: roving death squads. Why would Mr. Sadr cooperate with the Americans and Mr. Maliki's government? While he runs the biggest popular movement in the country, his followers are far from a majority. He is doing exactly what any other rational actor would do: He keeps up the angry rhetoric, and he plays ball with the democratic project. For proof, look back to the key political event in post-invasion Iraq: the December 2005 elections. For months beforehand, Mr. Sadr railed against the legitimacy of elections held under foreign occupation. The press salivated over the coming apocalypse. But I spent several weeks at that time living with the Mahdi Army in Sadr City. Behind the scenes, they were committed to full, active and peaceful participation. Eventually Mr. Sadr joined the main Shiite coalition, the United Iraqi Alliance, and placed 29 of his candidates in Parliament, the second-largest among the Shiite bloc. The real story about Moktada al-Sadr is not his exciting sermons but his broad underwriting, both passive and active, of the official project in Iraq. Since he stood down his forces in August 2004, he has provided the same narrative time and again. It is what we should expect from the canniest politician in Iraq: the rhetoric of the dispossessed, and the actions of an heir to power.
  4. Salim, Thanks for your reply and clarifications in the intention of your post. I apologize for shooting the messenger only reciting those views in the message. However, I offer no apology of what I said and relieved that you don't necessarily disagree with my view. What set me off in a rage (that included you) was the very last sentence you wrote. It appeared to me you indorsed his view by saying. "You wish it not to be true" which also can convey you are not sure?? Already in a rage I took that a little farther than perhaps I should. I literally took you to mean YOU "wished it were not true". If the English wording you used was misunderstood by me of what you meant, I offer my apology. Perhaps it was a slight language barrier (for me) ln understanding you, but I will concede up front, your English is several million times better than any written Arabic of mine or any English lesson I might offer you. Additionally you make some good points in this reply below which I will comment briefly below. I agree the Iraq border situation was and still is a disaster. What you describe as American (COALITION) Policy to open Iraq's borders (for anyone) was not policy. A policy means it was intentional. What the US COALITION had not anticipated was the whole of Iraq's military structure would abandon their post and melt back into the population before they were Identified, then monitored in the continuance of their duties (excluding fighting the Coalition). Of course we knew Saddams elite forces and fayhideen would not surrender in any great numbers or be of much use, but we did expect Iraqi regular military and border security type units would surrender in tact as complete units including your Iraqi border troops. Once disbursed (Run Away) it was no longer possible to remobilize them without an extreme vetting process. The US had no way of accurately knowing who they were or where they belonged or who their leaders were, to now function as units. If they had surrendered and been recorded by rank and military units they could have been vetted, most probably quickly released or remained under their middle and junior leadership to continue most of the everyday population protection duties as is convention at most wars conclusion. A great number of the Iraqi police did stay on and continued thier everyday duties with little interference until it became impossible for them (in many places) from the Saddamist, the religious militias and the criminals Saddamn had released. Those original brave policemen who stayed on post are some of your true hero's. Your borders would NOT have been near the problem had your basic military done the same as all Armies have done to some extent. America DID NOT anticipate having to police all of Iraq. The US was woefully undermanned to even attempt that, so it has very much so been a tragedy. As far as allowing a national Government to stand up immediately … You had no Government that came forward to stand up inside Iraq without the Baathist whom no one wanted at the time. The Coalition used what it had. It is very hard to take a bucket of cow dung and make custard pudding ! I agree mostly with the rest you said above in handling the Terrorist with the exception of assisting when called on by Iraq or when being attacked and pursuing the attackers be they Iraqi or al Qaeda types. There is far to much more detail to add to my responses above but I just don't have the time or inclination to go on now. There is also plenty that went wrong with the US plan and plenty of blame to go around for both the Americans and the Iraqi's. Tex
  5. Perhaps you didn't know SeeMore Hershy (the stinking stuff) is THE ultra leftwing idiotcrat writer whos works of fiction are legendary with the "Hate America First Crowd", although his real aim is at G W Bush and the Republicans he damages America with his deciet world wide. He is a moral coward and dispicable man. Thankyou for contributing that awful piece of Propaganda and fiction. (see below a disection of that article) To quote Garry Wills in the New York Review of Books, "in his mad zeal to destroy Camelot (the Bush Administration) . . . Hersh has with precision and method disassembled and obliterated his own career and reputation." Tony does a great job deconstructing Seymour Hersh's ridiculous piece in the New Yorker, which the world media is eating up like hot candy. Worse than a press that doesn't ask the right questions is a press that makes up its own facts. "Investigative reporter" Hersh combines both talents in his latest article, "The redirection". (see From Beirut to the Beltway )[/font] <H3 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in auto">The Sylight Zone </H3> That Seymour Hersh's reporting is shrill, hilariously conspiratorial, thin, ideologically skewed, and based on dubious sources is hardly news. His latest doesn't break with that shoddy tradition. It does, however, reflect a bonus trait to add to his pieces: seamless meshing with the propaganda and ideological agenda of the Syrian regime and Hezbollah -- the fruit of his recent trip and dinner parties, as well as his sources. There are several things I can rip apart in this typically ridiculous piece, but I will confine myself to Lebanon-related material. In order to fully understand the piece, you must read it with Hersh's comments to Wolf Blitzer earlier today, where Hersh offered the "interpretive key" so to speak, as well as an interview with the pro-Syrian as-Safir daily. It also gives you a sense of the unfiltered, wide-eyed lunacy that got edited out in the New Yorker piece, and shows just how ludicrous Hersh's "reporting" is, amounting to little more than wholesale, verbatim regurgitation of Hezbollah and Syrian propaganda. Hersh immediately presents the underlying, pathetically reductionist and silly premise: who is the "real" enemy and the "real" danger, Iran or the Sunnis? It was succinctly summarized in his as-Safir interview: "we are against Sunni jihadism, for it was responsible for 9/11, not the Shi'a." This was reflected in the article in a quote by Vali Nasr (who along with other Iranian analysts -- Ali Ansari, Kaveh Afrasiabi, Hossein Askari, Ray Takeyh, et al. -- has been pushing this line from that particular trench): "It seems there has been a debate inside the government over what's the biggest danger—Iran or Sunni radicals." It was also "confirmed" by the useless Flynt Leverett in a side-splitting comment dripping with conspiracism and Flynt's usual narrow, shallow nonsense: "The Administration is trying to make a case that Iran is more dangerous and more provocative than the Sunni insurgents to American interests in Iraq ... The idea is that at some point the Iranians will respond and then the Administration will have an open door to strike at them." The latter part is really the part that concerns Hersh the most. The next step in Hersh's mental construct -- guided by overt hatred of the Bush administration -- is how this is setting the stage for war with Iran. This translates into covert (naturally!) action by the US against Iran and its allies and interests in the region. The basic idea is that the United States (namely the NSC, the OVP, and the DoD) are going after Iran and the axis it leads in cooperation with the Saudis, namely Prince Bandar. How are they going about it? By funding and arming Sunni extremist groups to counter pro-Iranian Shiites and Iran's sidekick, Syria. And the fun begins! Again, Nasr provides the hook: "The Saudis have considerable financial means, and have deep relations with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis." We've almost reached the heart of the theory. The next step: How does this relate to Lebanon and Syria?[/size] Hershy says: Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that "they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was 'We've created this movement, and we can control it.' It's not that we don't want the Salafis to throw bombs; it's who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran." Now, you are entitled to wonder here who Hersh's source is on this. Who is the person privy to this sensitive information? Surely, an NSC or OVP official. Perhaps even a DoS official, or perhaps someone from the DoD. What about a Saudi source? No, it's even better than that! It's a "U.S. government consultant." It's air tight! But why stop there? Hersh insists on dazzling us with his -- and this "consultant's" -- superior knowledge of things relating to Lebanon. The "plan," known in its entirety to the "consultant," has "at least" four points. Might as well jump to the fourth! Hershy says: Fourth, the Saudi government, with Washington's approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria. The Israelis believe that putting such pressure on the Assad government will make it more conciliatory and open to negotiations. Syria is a major conduit of arms to Hezbollah. The Saudi government is also at odds with the Syrians over the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister, in Beirut in 2005, for which it believes the Assad government was responsible. Hariri, a billionaire Sunni, was closely associated with the Saudi regime and with Prince Bandar. (A U.N. inquiry strongly suggested that the Syrians were involved, but offered no direct evidence; there are plans for another investigation, by an international tribunal.) Um, Sy, if you want people to take your theories seriously for more than five seconds, it might help to actually get some basic facts rights, like perhaps Assad's name (Bashar), or that the international tribunal is not "another investigation," but, er, as its name suggests, an "international tribunal" as in "trying" suspects in the murder. If you're picky, you might want to discuss that issue a bit more, but you know, I'm sure it wasn't the topic of choice at Imad Moustapha's dinner table. But certainly tying Hariri to Prince Bandar (based on what information?) might be something Moustapha could pander to people. After all, his boss's internet propaganda tool, Cham Press, has been doing just that with Hariri's son, Saad. We'll get to that later. Also, perhaps you could've spent more time on the reason for Syrian-Saudi tension. After all, you are suggesting that Saudi Arabia is about to fund Salafis to take down Assad's regime. I'm sure there's more at stake there than Hariri's murder. Details, details... Who has time for that? But Hersh hasn't yet provided us with the juice. It's just a tease. The rest is coming: "The focus of the U.S.-Saudi relationship, after Iran, is Lebanon, where the Saudis have been deeply involved in efforts by the Administration to support the Lebanese government." Now, the hundreds of thousands of Lebanese Sunnis, Druze and Christians who took to the streets to support Seniora's government might be surprised to learn that "[m]any in the Arab world" view "Siniora as a weak politician who relies on America's support." And perhaps, King Abdullah (of KSA and of Jordan), Hosni Mubarak, France and a host of Paris III donor countries might also take issue with Hersh's contention that Seniora relies on "America's support" to survive. Furthermore, one could also argue that Nasrallah is also seen by "many in the Arab world" as a Shiite tool of Iran's Khamenei. But this (Nasrallah = supported by the Arab world vs. Seniora = propped by America) is part and parcel of what I described as pathetic reductionism and a penchant for facile dichotomies, which I will explore further below. But there's more than just the US supporting a democratically elected government. Here comes the heavy stuff, based on what "American, European and Arab officials" told Hersh. The basic idea was summarized in his CNN interview: Hershy says: My government, which arrests al Qaida every place it can find them and sends -- some of them are in Guantanamo and other places, is sitting back while the Lebanese government we support, the government of Prime Minister Siniora, is providing arms and sustenance to three jihadist groups whose sole function seems to me and to the people that talk to me in our government, to be there in case there is a real shoot-'em-up with Hezbollah and we really get into some sort of serious major conflict between the Sunni government and Hezbollah, which is largely Shia. Yes, "largely" Shia. But where were we? Ah. The Seniora government is "providing arms and sustenance" to jihadist groups! THE Evidence? Oh yes, "American, European, and Arab officials." Who exactly? Let's start with the "European" one, Hezbollah-hugger Alastair Crooke! Hershy says: "The Lebanese government is opening space for these people to come in. It could be very dangerous." Crooke said that one Sunni extremist group, Fatah al-Islam, had splintered from its pro-Syrian parent group, Fatah al-Intifada, in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, in northern Lebanon. Its membership at the time was less than two hundred. "I was told that within twenty-four hours they were being offered weapons and money by people presenting themselves as representatives of the Lebanese government's interests—presumably to take on Hezbollah," Crooke said. The largest of the groups, Asbat al-Ansar, is situated in the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp. Asbat al-Ansar has received arms and supplies from Lebanese internal-security forces and militias associated with the Siniora government. Come again!? The pro-Hezbollah Crooke "was told"?! OK, how about this. "It was reported" that in fact, members from Fateh al-Islam were arrested by the government and during interrogation, two of them (one of whom was Syrian) confessed to receiving orders from Syria to assassinate Lebanese figures associated with the anti-Syrian coalition, and also to plan operations against UNIFIL, as many a Syrian official, including "Bashir" Assad himself, have threatened (specifically about unleashing such groups in Lebanon). The other members of the group, "it was reported," were smuggled into Lebanon, via Syria, after participating in action (again, via Syria, who in Hersh's facile scheme is on the receiving end of Salafi attacks!) in Iraq. ّIn fact, about two weeks ago, the government forces clashed with Fateh al-Islam members who managed to capture three policemen (ISF) on patrol near the Nahr el-Bared camp and hold them for two hours. Maybe they thought they were Hezbollah! But wait, I thought the ISF was "the Sunni militia" that the US was arming, as irresponsible reporters like Megan Stack and Michael Slackman propagated in recent months. Sultan Abul Ainein, the representative of Fateh (the original one) in Lebanon, strongly criticized this new phenomenon of Fateh al-Islam and gave support for the Lebanese Army to take the necessary measures to preserve stability. Maybe he didn't get the memo from Alastair Crooke. What about Asbat al-Ansar? ّIs Alastair Crooke the source for that claim as well? What is the evidence? Was he "told"!? This is flat out preposterous reporting. We have now gone from Stack's and Slackman's "the ISF -- an official institution -- is a Sunni militia" to "the ISF is arming Asbat al-Ansar and Fateh al-Islam." Simply pathetic. But Hersh added that not only is the ISF responsible for arming these groups, but also "militias associated with the Siniora government"! Apparently, what Hersh wanted to put here was edited out by the New Yorker. But never fear, he revealed it in all its hilarity to as-Safir. Who is this "militia associated with the Siniora government"? Samir Geagea's Lebanese Forces! Why, of course! They are known to arm and support Salafist groups in Palestinian camps! Naturally, Hersh's evidence and sources for such a preposterous claim are typically impeccable. Here's what he told as-Safir (emphasis mine): Hershy says: Samir Geagea was strongly opposed to Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and to his agreement with Michel Aoun. His Lebanese Forces were involved, I was told, in directly or indirectly helping a Sunni jihadi group that snuck in [to Lebanon.] The problem is that when my government distributes money to people in order to "take care of Hezbollah," we don't always know where it ends up. One of the theories of one of my sources, was that the money received by the security services and the Lebanese Forces comes from American aid un appropriated by Congress for this purpose. This is a very important point. AS: Is this aid simply money or arms also? SH: Money buys arms. There is a point I didn't write about. Money always flows in Lebanon, mainly from the Gulf states. Simply impeccable reporting. What utter garbage. "One of the theories" of one of my sources?! Un-appropriated funds sent to the Lebanese Forces?! Just what the badWord is this nonsense? Oh wait, Hersh has an irrefutable response to such criticism. He conveyed it to Wolf Blitzer: Hershy says: And a lot of this money, and I can't tell you with absolute assurance how, exactly when and how, but this money has gotten into the hands, among other places, in Lebanon, into the hands of three, at least three jihadist groups. There's three Sunni jihadist groups whose main claim to fame inside Lebanon right now is that they are very tough. These are people connected to al Qaida who want to take on Hezbollah. So this government, at the minimum, we may not directly be funneling money to them, but we certainly know that these groups exist. As Triumph the Insult Comic Dog would put it: "Oh Yes!" You gotta love Hersh. He starts with the assertion that the money "has gotten into the hands" of "at least" three jihadist groups, but he can't tell us with absolute certainty! Then asserts the purpose of these "funds" to these jihadist groups: to take on Hezbollah. And then, the coup de grace: the government, "at the minimum," we may not directly be funneling money to them, "but we certainly know these groups exist"! Oh Yes! That we know for sure! Such compelling Cartesian logic: I exist, therefore I am a jihadist funded by the Americans through the Seniora government! And people respect this guy?! OK, Hersh, give us another one. Who's the American "official" who told you these things? Oops! No one else is quoted to that effect aside from Crooke. But don't worry, we'll take your word on it. Or rather, we'll take your word on one of the theories of one of your anonymous sources who is not quoted on this issue. All joking aside, there is something incredibly disturbing about all this. For anyone familiar with the situation in Lebanon, and who follows the political discourse closely, as I do, will immediately realize that Hersh is internalizing and uncritically disseminating the propaganda of Hezbollah and its allies. There are unmistakable key words and claims used by Hersh that are a dead give away. The rest was supplied by Syria's ambassador to the US, Imad Moustapha, I'm sure. In fact, I bet you that the "Middle East ambassador" quoted in the piece is none other than Moustapha. That too might be discernible for those who follow the Syrian political discourse and official statements. For instance, the ambassador told Hersh: Hershy says: Bandar's mission—which the ambassador said was endorsed by the White House—also aimed "to create problems between the Iranians and Syria." There had been tensions between the two countries about Syrian talks with Israel, and the Saudis' goal was to encourage a breach. However, the ambassador said, "It did not work. Syria and Iran are not going to betray each other. Bandar's approach is very unlikely to succeed." Anyone who reads the official Syrian leaks, which usually are put out by the Syrian regime through their man in al-Hayat, Ibrahim Hamidi, would suspect that the speaker is probably Syrian, as the same exact line was put out by Hamidi. Syrian functionaries, like the hapless Moustapha, are hardly the "free thinkers" who make statements on their own. They are people who follow the official line and regurgitate it. This is a perfect example. My money is on Moustpaha. Therefore, all of Hersh's claims come either directly from Hezbollah, or from Hezbollah sympathizers, or functionaries of Hezbollah's regional allies. To give you an example of the kind of "information" Hersh got from his meeting with Nasrallah. In December, Walid Jumblat revealed in a press conference that when he met with Hersh, he [Hersh] told him that Nasrallah had told him [Hersh] that when Jumblat and Marwan Hamade went to the US in March (before the summer war, started by Hezbollah), they went there in order to plan the summer war with the Americans! The "information" put out by Hersh in this piece and in his interviews is of the same caliber, from the same sources, and is equally unprocessed. Take this other claim for instance, attributed to seemingly two people, who may actually be the same person: Hershy says: A former high-ranking C.I.A. officer told me, "The Americans have provided both political and financial support. The Saudis are taking the lead with financial support, but there is American involvement." He said that Khaddam, who now lives in Paris, was getting money from Saudi Arabia, with the knowledge of the White House. (In 2005, a delegation of the Front's members met with officials from the National Security Council, according to press reports.) A former White House official told me that the Saudis had provided members of the Front with travel documents. Let's start with the basics. The delegation of the NSF met with members of the NSC in 2006, not 2005 (it wasn't yet formed in 2005). Now, again, my hunch is that this "former" CIA officer and "former" White House official is none other than the above-mentioned Bashar cheerleader, Flynt Leverett. As for the information, Hersh needn't have talked to Leverett (oops, I meant the "former CIA officer" and the "former White House official") about it. He could've asked me, and I would've told him that Bashar's internet propaganda tool had put out the same exact "information" months ago! My feeling is that once again the source of this "information" is probably the same. As for the "travel documents," Khaddam doesn't need them. He holds Saudi citizenship. Did Hersh even try to confirm any of this "information," if not with someone from the NSF (Ammar Abdulhamid lives in the DC area), at least with a "current" official or CIA officer (they could even be two different people!)? Details, details... Speaking of Cham Press, that bit of unchecked "information" fed to Hersh by (who else) Narallah's aides about how "they believe he is a prime target of fellow-Arabs, primarily Jordanian intelligence operatives" was also available on Cham Press in the summer! Wouldn't you know it, Cham Press also claimed that Jordan was training Hariri and Geagea militias and had set up offices in Lebanon for such purposes! What a surprise! badWord, I believe I could've written Hersh's entire article myself -- including the Leverett and Moustapha quotes -- based on Cham Press and Hezbollah "reports" and official Syrian leaks! Although, I must admit, I can never make up the kind of stuff given to Hersh by Robert Baer. I mean who else could've provided this gem: "we've got Sunni Arabs preparing for cataclysmic conflict, and we will need somebody to protect the Christians in Lebanon. It used to be the French and the United States who would do it, and now it's going to be Nasrallah and the Shiites." Yeah, let the militant Khomeinist Islamist group -- who burned tires and blocked roads and attacked Christian neighborhoods after a program on a Christian TV station satirized their leader -- be the "protector" of the Christians! Why didn't I think of that one!? badWord, let's also make Moqtada Sadr's Mehdi Army the "protector" of Christians in Iraq too! Sometimes I wonder if Hersh's articles, and this type of quotes, isn't just dark humor, or The Onion-style writing. Yet it's not a joke. This too is part of the Syrian and Hezbollah propaganda. That the "crazies" are the Sunnis, who are the real threat to the Christians. Hezbollah, on the other hand, is disciplined, pure, not seeking an Islamic state, etc. This is how Michel Aoun is trying to sell his unnatural alliance with Hezbollah to the Christians as well. Moreover, this is the result of the facile dichotomies that I mentioned earlier and which underline the entire piece. The entire premise predicates that Iran and Syria are not themselves active supporters of Sunni Islamists and jihadists. That it's the exclusive realm of Saudi Arabia and the Lebanese Sunni Hariri! This approach is dangerously silly. For one, a recent report (and earlier ones) noted how Iran is in fact actively supporting both Shiite militias and Sunni jihadists in Iraq. As for Syria, well, its alliance with Sunni jihadists and Islamists needs no introduction. Just ask the Syrian regime's US-based flack. I quote: "The al-Qaeda type jihadist groups are not emerging in Syria because Syria encourages them in other countries." That they do, especially in Iraq, where Bashar actively aided jihadists, and his regime worked openly with recruiters. Also don't forget the above-mentioned Fateh al-Islam and other Palestinian Islamists, pace Mr. Alastair Crooke. This is not to mention Hamas, because we don't want to upset Mr. Crooke, who is also a Hamas cheerleader. There's also one other interesting Salafi Islamist allied with Hezbollah in Lebanon and who was received like royalty by Bashar Assad himself. He is one of the very few Sunnis in Lebanon who are openly allied with Hezbollah. He is also an open supporter of Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden. His name is Fathi Yakan. Check him out sometime, Sy. So you see, it's hardly the clear-cut scheme that Hersh and his one-sided sources want to make it out to be. But then again, without that neat configuration, how would we get the stellar conspiracism and all the "supportive" florilegium of priceless quotes!? I should also note though that some other quotes in there, like those by Patrick Clawson and the one by Leslie Gelb are rather interesting. I could go on and demolish other parts of this ridiculous piece, especially the section on Nasrallah, but I don't want to ruin the fun for you. Just make sure you can find your way back out of the Sylight Zone. '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' Tony has addressed most of the points I wanted to address, including the preposterous accusations that the Lebanese government is arming al-Qaeda affiliates in Lebanon with the aim to attack "largely" Shia Hizbullah. Hersh's sources consist of washed up former intelligence officials, "government consultants" and think tank dwellers with statements beginning with "it seems". Or guys like this one: Hershy says: A senior member of the House Appropriations Committee told me that he had heard about the new strategy, but felt that he and his colleagues had not been adequately briefed. "We haven't got any of this," he said. "We ask for anything going on, and they say there's nothing. And when we ask specific questions they say, 'We're going to get back to you.' It's so frustrating." Oh yeah, it's "so frustrating" to not know much about anything, isn't it… After a series of recycled political analysis that reminds us of the Arab states' fear of the Shias (what a revelation that is), Hersh resorts to the Council on Foreign Relations for some more guess work. Hershy says: "It seems there has been a debate inside the government over what's the biggest danger—Iran or Sunni radicals," Vali Nasr, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, who has written widely on Shiites, Iran, and Iraq, told me. All that evidence, Hersh says, proves that the alleged US strategy of clandestine activities against Syria and Iran is "bolstering ... Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda". Oh? So, according to Hersh, by (allegedly) waging clandestine operations against Syria and Iran, known to support and facilitate al-Qaeda operations in Iraq and Lebanon, the US is bolstering al-Qaeda? Al-Qaeda must be in happy place now. The US government, Iran and Syria are all supporting it. Hersh must think himself super smart and the administration stupid, for he thinks, and since "most of the insurgent violence directed at the American military has come from Sunni forces, and not from Shiites" (in a parachuting manner, mind you, Islamists are being dropped by the Sunni god from the sky), the administration is busy correcting an "unintended—strategic consequence of the Iraq war is the empowerment of Iran". So this administration is so dumb, that it's willing to bolster Sunni extremists to get back at Iran, which, to Hersh, has done nothing wrong in Iraq, not to mention Lebanon.
  6. Let me see if I understand you correctly here Salim..... Some of you think this guy is SO brave now because he rejects al Qaeda, but still hates the U.S.? It doesn't matter to you that his tribes WELCOMED al Qaeda IN his house to fight the Americans AND SHIA does it? And it doesn't seem to matter that he NOW calls on the AMERICANS to HELP HIM fight al Qaeda after his people have been brutalized and savaged by al Qaeda. Nor do you object to his having (before his al Qaeda awakening) fought side by side with al Qaeda ln the sole purpose of killing the Infidel American Invaders, Shiites and a Shia majority controlled government. It all seems to have been in YOUR opinions a vast conspiracy of the Americans to expand al Qaeda's presence and strength by intentionally jailing those impressionable tribal youths fighting along side by side (under his direction) with al Qaeda and actually jailing them with their al Qaeda comrades when captured. Heaven forbid, we turn them loose to kill more American soldiers instead. Yes Sir, they need more al Qaeda training being when jailed with al Qaeda first. Yes sir, that's the ticket !! God forbid the U.S. was fighting back when attacked against those hiding among your women and children trying to kill them. Yes sir, hide behind your children and the U.S. should just lay down and die for you. Only look closely at how many (women and children) the US killed fighting back when you hide behind them honestly. I don't think I have read any "Iraqi Conspiracy Theory" of U. S. intentions in Iraq more asinine or ridiculous than this post Salim. Yes sir, that is entirely the U.S.A's motive in Iraq. Yes sir, that is the U.S. PLAN … make al Qaeda STRONGER so we can defeat them EASIER ON A LARGER SCALE (all for Bush's propaganda purposes)…… who cares about those Iraqi's anyway!!! SARCASIM ON HIGH THERE It is easy to always blame someone else but what IS the TRUTH here? You only find half truths in your post here Salim. The honeymoon IS over between the al Anbar Sunni and al Qaeda and that is welcome by the U/S., that seems to be some of the REAL truth. The unspeakable truth with this Shiek is he is ONLY NOW disgusted with al Qaeda, still hates the U.S. for HIS becoming a minority out of power over ALL of Iraq and even though he might love his Shia sister in law what does he really think of a Shia Governemnt vs a Sunni one?. HE Refused to participate in the new Iraqi Government, but has now finally seen it didnt work out and was stupid. Not because he believes in a (Democratic) Government, but only to keep his share of Iraq's potential wealth. (the food is better inside the tent instead of starving outside it) And that's a good thing even for those ghastly Americans who conspired against you. Your post and comments reek of street naivety and would be damn right humorous to most Americans if we didn't have a huge stake in your success. It seems (to me) Iraqi's prove less worthy each day of U. S. PAST sacrifices. Most here are beginning to say SCREW IRAQ, exactly because of the above mindless ignorance stated in your post, An Iraq where everyone is out for His/Herself or his tribal loyalties (even against their neighbors) any everything bad happening (because of it) is the USA's fault. You just have to admire how perfect the Iraqi's are I quess. Now the Iraqi 'Blood for Oil conspiracy' ? Now this is an original stuck on stupid !…. The Oil hungry US cares more about protecting Saudi Oil than getting oil from IRAQ because they like the Saudis and want to pay higher prices when Iraqi oil is not competitively available on world markets. Why not, Americans Love higher prices right?? It cuts out those poor Chinamen and Russians too. This dickhead is probagating propaganda for his own selfish reasons. But even so America supports him killing al Qaeda. You can mark my word it aint over till the fat girl sings (Mooky's Boys should join him for that one and die) That is HIS PLAN also. . I am so sorry the Americans saddled the whole Middle East with a culture so clueless that you believe (as you are taught) in your supremacy and superiority over all others (inside or outside your tribes). Unfortunately when your eyes open you actually see the truth of how abominable the best of all 22 Muslim countries are. Again all America's fault because they like JEWS. What is the ONLY common denominator here? Forgive me for answering ! ……. your undisputed HATRED OF ISRAEL . Until those views are extremely moderated by Muslims everywhere, none of you are likely to do anything but summon Armageddon. Your anger allows no rational thinking on a world scale from any and produces the most substandard living conditions on earth amongst most of you. Your wealth is sqaundered against you, railing you in hatred, instead of building prosperous futures for youselfs. I am Angry and Disgusted myself in Texas
  7. Salim, Thanks for the CSPAN link for Iraqi Deputy P.M. Barham Salih and your follow-up comments next. I am listening to D.P.M. Salih again now and he seems pretty impressive. I agree with most I've heard from him but I was distracted during most of it and inattentive listening to him this first time. It Is Long, but important what he says, so I will listen more carefully in a quiter time. Your follow-up comments are hard to respond to after having read them a couple times now, I am not sure if I understand all you mean there. I will try coming to grips with what I think you meant before responding completely here. But, for now my first response is that Mooky first got his "bones" "bonafieds" credentials for MURDERERING his religious opponents didn't he? I appreciate your optimism that MAYBE al sadist can be turned into a learned politician to Iraq and Alsadrees benefit through diplomacy, but I don't think he is ANYTHING more than an uneducated murdering thug whose visions of his own grandeur will eventually send him to hellsfire. The sooner the better for Iraq and everyone. I was reading this earlier, ( it is not complementary to mooky's goon squads) even coming from an uber-liberal publication; City of vengeance[/size] A Mahdi Army official admits his group runs secret courts and executes prisoners An Iraqi policeman says the police are powerless to stop Sadr's death squads
  8. Salim' Thank you for your thoughtful reply. As usual you provide insight which I have great respect for. But I think I should have made something clear upfront in our debate over al-Sadr and his followers: I do not put the blame for Iraq's terrorist "insurgency" problems on al-Sadr (mookey the murderer) alone, nor do I disagree that there are OTHERS equally as obnoxious and murderous who threaten Iraqi's security and welfare. I do question why you continue to defend Mooky as a necessary evil. I have major problems with other of Iraq's so called "resistance" TERROR SUPPORTING parties including those you point out, however (Mooky Murder Boy) does NOT get a free ride (from me) because of the problems with others.They were not the subject of my post. You say; Alsader party might be responsible for all those allegations, though I doubt it, but that doesn't answer my core question.. Alsadrees are n't different than any other radical political group that are participating in the current political process such as the Islam Iraqi party of vice president Alhashimee. Both have almost same radical attitude , both got militias that were accused of factionist killings. But why are all doors, including Bush's, open to the Muslim Brotherhood party with teachings that are considered as the nurturing theology to Neo Salphists of Qaeda. Salim, al-Sadr doesn't participate in your Government.... he obstructs it given any opportunity to disrupt it when he is safe enough to do so. The ministries he controled were A TOTAL JOKE until Malaki finally fired them. He has killed hundreds if not thousands of Non al-qaeda sunni's and MNF whose only sin was to be Sunni living in mixed neighborhoods mostly near his or in his opposition to the "occupiers". That has been proven time and time again. Again for the record, I DID NOT previously defend any radical (extremist / terrorist) or other groups in Iraq with my criticism of Mooky Boy. And personally to me, it seems ALL the political party's in Iraq are somewhat radical. However they DO NOT ALL commit or support the extremist terrorism by aiding or assisting al-Qaeda style terror against other ethnic, religious, sectarian, Iraqis or political Party's and the MNF. I did and I do point out that it is Mooky's murder goon's causing havoc on MNF down BASRA way TODAY, all of which is damn near 100% Shia. (it also infects Karbala, Najif and OTHER predominately Shia areas.) You may not believe it's Mooky's murder goons as I do , but one thing is clear, it IS NOT Sunni murder goons or al-Qaeda..... that leaves: 1. Mooky's "resistance" "insurgency" murderer goons (where the evidence leads) or2. the SCRI militias or3. the Locals. I don't believe it is 2. or 3. ...do you ? you say: One might think the Sunni party itself tried to reach the Americans while the Alsadrees are not easy to go that way. The reply is why this is the case . Any how there is a question that need to be answered first. Why it is important to win the hearts of Sadrees , or at least their minds. Salim, As long as you have mooky stirring up the Sadrees it is IMPOSSIBLE to win their hearts and minds. Simply because it is the strongest single party and the Americans have no more appetite to scarify more personals and money fighting much worse war that the last four years one. Salim, You are certainly correct here and this has MUCH to do with why it does, concerning Hashimi and the Iraqi Islamic Party who NOW see the future they prefer: In December 2006, the Iraq Study Group Report described him in this way: "Hashimi is one of two vice presidents of Iraq and the head of the Iraqi Islamic Party, the largest Sunni Muslim bloc in parliament. Hashimi opposes the formation of autonomous regions and has advocated the distribution of oil revenues based on population, a reversal of de-:Baathification, and the removal of Shiite militia fighters from the Iraqi security forces. Shiite death squads had recently killed three of his siblings." (was that SCRI? was it MOOKY? or was it al Qaeda?) If the Iraqi Islamic Party has a militia still, it should be disbanded and militia members allowed to join a Iraq Government sponsored security service (Army or Police) if qualified, vetted and determined NOT to be stone cold murderers, ALL political party militias MUST be disbanded with the same opportunity to join the Government Security forces. I recall nothing of this particular one having death squads and am NOT SURE about any known ties to AQI. You say: There are two groups who are working on making such war possibility, first the Iranian and second the Sadamists and their Qaeda affiliates. Each one for a different reason though. The Iranians, knowing the real balance of power in current Iraq, would gain a lot with any conflict between the Americans on Alsadrees that force the later to lean more toward the Iranians asking for help. The Iranians already lost their strong ties with SRCI. Today's announcement by Alkhakim's group of changing their name removing the "revolution" reference and by declaring Alsystani as their spiritual religious authority.. An announcement that might be received within the Iranian religious authorities circles as very alarming. This is just like some old Russian's allies declare Trotsky rather than Stalin as their Communist teacher.. Salim, From an earlier post you say don't blame Iraq for the ongoing US problems with Iran, "Don't punish Iraq and Iraqis because of Iran conflict issues." and "Any one who is primitive in Iraqi dynamics would know that Iranian regime can't go a long with Alsadrees." yet the C-4 plastic explosives used to make lethal bombs that the military calls explosively formed projectiles are Identified to have come ONLY from IRAN manufactured there as late as 2006. You can see a video of the weapons cache here with the descriptions and Iranian Manufacturing markings. I think the old Arabic saying "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" when it comes to IRAN'S support of ANYONE against the MNF. I appreciate that SRCI is now choosing to stand up to Iran by backing Sistani. You say; The Sadamists and Qaeda are also looking for Alsadree's conflict with Americans to go more violent. They know that the current balance of power doesn't allow them to retune to power after the expected American withdraw. They want the Americans do the dirty job that they are no longer able to do. Also they are looking for opening another front so as to break the current ring that the Government and Iraqi people are applying on them by mixing papers. The successes of making the two Sunni and Shia groups of islamic party and SRCI were not possible without the deep understanding by the American administration to the micro dynamics of Iraqi affairs and the great all sacrifieces. Unfortunately I don't see same level of efforts toward Sadrees. Salim, When mooky's gang of murderers decide to talk to the MFN and co-operate instead of trying to kill them it might become worthwhile for his mislead followers. you say: I completely not in agreement with blaming Alsadrees for the current violence . They are playing a critical rule in security applying plans, their presence in many regions of Baghdad had reflected a good level of stability and evaporation of Qaeda and Sadamists terrorists. In Albayaa discrete of west Baghdad, the Kurds Beshmerka were ruling the discrete . Sadrees withdrew their presence. Couple of days ago, the Kurds went back to Suliamania before other trrops get in, leaving the mixed residential region un protected . Immediately terrorist stroke slaughtering Shia residents in public in what many resident claimed as orchetrated scenario.The Sadrees were obliged to protect themselves and reappear to clean out the discrete before the American and Government forces appeared back. Salim. Mooky the murderer cant have it both ways "kill the MNF kafirs" predominately now down south Basra way. If he wants legitimacy his gang members who are NOT murderers can join the Iraqi Government Security Forces if the can pass the murderer smell test. You say; Making the Sadrees in one category as the terrorist is all what the Iranians and Qaeda dream of, that what all brave Iraqi politicians working not to have happen. We need to remember that four years ago, the SRCI was part of Iranian circle of power. The Sadrees , being their rivals, were considered as defected group with their rejection to considering Khamenie as their religous authority. Today, there are a lot of calls by Americans to make this happening .. Is n't that ironic? Salim, IT IS Ironic that one SRCI can change and mooky remains loyal to IRAN because of THEIR IRANIAN SUPPORT to kill MNF "occupiers" vs. what is in the best for a free IRAQ. I DO appreciate your insight and the contribution of your views on Iraq's political party's and their support/non support of the "insurgency" "resistance" or other TERRORIST ACTS against humanity (mostly Iraqi's) and the MNF. The party militias feed gas to the fires of badWord !! I agree that we disagree on mooky's value as a human being ! May god burn his soul. He certainly DOES NOT deserve this praise you give him: You said in earlier post: "After all , we need to admit that if there is a reason that makes any one believes that Qeada and it's affiliates had failed in Iraq, then it is Alsader and his Alsadree poor people." If that is true, then the Democrats here might be right, my country has wasted over 3,000 of our most treasured men and women, four years and several billions $.
  9. from Basra; Michele Yon (excerpt) my comments on the bottom of this to Salims earlier post : A young British soldier named Simon expected to be driving logistics trucks into Iraq, and so adopted the dusty old hit "Convoy" as his fight-song and personal anthem. A man doesn't have to wait long to hear Simon play it again, yet instead of barreling up Iraqi highways, Simon finds himself at Basra Air Station, shuttling occasional journalists, and performing base duties, including escorting Iraqis hired for manual labor. Asked for his take on that task, Simon opined with tones of befuddlement and wonder, as when a person sees what appears to be intensely conflicting signals. To Simon, the Iraqis are a box of unrelated puzzles thrown together, with pieces missing. He couldn't seem to reconcile scenes of Iraqis murdering Iraqis by the busload, using bombs, knives, power drills, corrosive acid, even dragging each other behind cars, with scenes of the endearing behavior he's witnessed between grown Iraqi men, taking time out from their work on base to play. They would stop working, Simon said, to play hide and seek, laughing like children. And when the Iraqi workers argued among themselves, they yelled emotionally while picking up small pebbles to hurl at each other. For Simon, these puzzle pieces did not fit with the rockets and mortars that rain down on this base, and the thousands of dead Coalition troops and workers. That part I followed, because during the writing of this dispatch, the base was attacked more than a dozen times, then a dozen times again. Parts have been written while wearing a helmet and body armor, lying prone on the ground. Any perception that British forces have it easy down here in Basra is wrong. In the nearly three weeks I've been here, I've seen more mortar and rocket attacks than during my cumulative time in Iraq. The rate of British soldiers getting killed in combat during April 2007 seemed to far exceed that for our troops up north in the same period; and was the most for the British since the first month of the war back in 2003. Last night, while answering email, we twice all hit the ground and at least two Brits and a pizza delivery man on base were wounded. I was told later that the Pizza Hut delivery man was sent back to India missing a leg. By all yardsticks, the situation in Basra seems to be deteriorating rapidly. According to British Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Stratford-Wright, British forces were attacked about twenty times per week in January 2006. Nine months later, in September 2006, attacks began to skyrocket, reaching about one hundred per week by February of 2007. Nobody has an explanation for the storm, but once British forces ramped up offensive operations, attacks decreased to the current level of about fifty per week. Unlike some other parts of Iraq, little if any compelling evidence of civil war is present in Basra. In Baghdad, by contrast, suicide bombers commonly strike several times per day, often into the very heart of guarded areas and scores of innocent victims are killed daily by bombs, guns and knives. Meanwhile in Basra, seemingly random, wholesale attacks are by comparison uncommon. There have been few suicide attacks. While the overwhelming majority of attacks in Baghdad, or in provinces such as Nineveh and Diyala, are against Iraqis, down here in Basra, 90% of the attacks are against British soldiers. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ [/font] Salim, Do you think it's Mooky's murder gangs or al Quaeda or Sunni's down Basra way ? It is simply amazing to me how you find ANY value in this murderous IDIOTs contribution to IRAQ ! You say; "Linking Alsadre to Iran is just like linking Chinese Mawitsi Tong to Russia, not for any reason but for both being communists. Yes Alsader is radical, he hate the American policy, he thinks that all of Iraq problems are caused by Americans. But this is also what the Islamic party of Muslim brotherhood of Iraq. So why dealing with Sader differently". Salim, I don't for a second think the MFN checks Iraqi Identity cards before they are engaged committing their terrorist acts!!!! Mooky is NO MORE SINGLED OUT than al-Queada or a Saddamist or ANY OTHER IDIOTS doing IRAQ harm !!!! You say; "Any one who is primitive in Iraqi dynamics would know that Iranian regime can't go a long with Alsadrees. I don't want to go further in details, but my advice to the writer and to all those who are looking into Iraq from way high elevation : Don't punish Iraq and Iraqis because of Iran conflict issues.". Salim, Those EFP's come from ONE SOURCE …………. IRAN !!! It IS Mooky's murder gang using them !!! It is Mooky's murder gang supplied with them by IRAN including money to operate with Iraqi's who support him !! You say; After all , we need to admit that if there is a reason that makes any one believes that Qeada and it's affiliates had failed in Iraq, then it is Alsader and his Alsadree poor people HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN ABOUT ANBAR PROVINCE LATELY? Salim, "Alsadree poor people" would have been better served and still would WITH OUT HIS INFLUENCE and resistance to MFN forces and especially his interference in IRAQ'S Government and his pursuit of VENGENCE against ANY and ALL Sunni. (Indiscriminate)
  10. Iraq, and the Truth We Dare Not Speak We must win American hearts and minds. by Victor Davis Hanson National Review Online Not long ago I talked to a right-wing hardnosed fellow in a conservative central California town about the need to stay and finish the task of stabilizing the democracy in Iraq and rectifying the disastrous aftermath of 1991. He wasn't buying. Instead he kept ranting about the war in the 'more rubble, less trouble' vein. And his anger wasn't only over our costs in lives and treasure. So I finally asked him exactly why the venom over Iraq. He shouted, "I don't like them sons of bitches over there — any of 'em." His was a sort of echo of Bismarck's oft-quoted "The whole of the Balkans is not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier." There are dozens of tragic ironies in Iraq. The fostering of democracy by a Republican president only alienated his dour realist base. Yet his idealism did not even win as recompense faint sympathy from supposedly Wilsonian Democratic opponents. Indeed, they now sound like Bob Taft isolationists. The fiercest critics of the brave struggling Iraqi elected government remain liberal Senate Democrats, not Republicans. The Iraqi oil fields were liberated from Russian, French, and Baathist extortion. Then subsequent sky-rocketing oil prices further enriched the Middle East — only to earn the slur "No Blood for Oil." Liberation of the downtrodden Shiite from a largely oppressive Sunni minority only won the U.S. disdain from Shiite Iran and assorted Shiites from Lebanon to the Gulf — and resentment from nearby Sunni monarchies. President Bush stayed on after victory to offer consensual government, unlike his father in 1991. As a reward, he won criticism from the critics of Bush I for now attempting what they once so loudly advocated. Perhaps strangest of all is the tragicomic spectacle of Middle East "reformers" and democracy advocates. They vehemently criticized American efforts in Iraq from their autocratic masters' state-run censored megaphones in Cairo, Riyadh, and Amman. All that and the dreary narrative from the battlefield help to explain plummeting public support for the war at a time when empathy for brave Iraqis is critical to the continuance of the effort. But there is another, more worrisome dynamic at work here. I would call it the "them sons of bitches" sentiment that is usually better left unspoken. By any honest assessment, the great majority of Iraqis are brave citizens who voted en masse for change, at great risk to their safety. Kurdistan is a stunning success. It belies stereotypes that Muslims can't govern themselves peacefully, practice consensual government, or create vibrant economies. Tribal sheiks and clerics in Iraq hate al Qaeda as much as we do. They suffer far more losses in trying to rid their country of such killers. American soldiers testify to the friendliness and support of the Iraqi people. But that American alliance with freedom-loving Arabs is not what is reported. Instead the public hears and sees two quite different things. The two are antithetical to each other. First, we are now well accustomed to the administration talking of "freedom" and "democracy," and of providing an "opportunity" for the Arab world "to embrace" liberty. Indeed, the 3,000 plus Americans killed in action in Iraq and the hundreds of billions spent so far are often explained as being for the sake of offering a chance for something better than the non-choice between a Saddam or an Assad and the theocratic alternative of the Taliban or the Iranian ayatollahs. But such a legitimate and necessary rationale depends also upon general empathy for the Middle East. We are embarking on this new course in the hopes that the American lives sacrificed and our treasure spent are for a friendly people that appreciates our efforts. I think they do, and that the record of brave Iraqi reformers is worth the effort — both for the sake of our future security and so as to adopt a new moral posture that respects Arab self-determination. But, again, most Americans now don't think it is worth it — and not just because of the cost we pay, but because of what we get in return. Turn on the television and the reporting is all hate: a Middle Eastern Muslim is blowing up someone in Israel, shooting a rocket from Gaza, chanting death to America in Beirut, stoning an adulterer in Tehran, losing a hand for thievery in Saudi Arabia, threatening to take back Spain, gassing someone in Iraq, or promising to wipe out Israel. An unhinged, secular Khadafi rants; a decrepit Saudi royal lectures; a wild-eyed Lebanese cleric threatens — whatever the country, whatever the political ideology, the American television viewer draws the same conclusion: we are always blamed for their own self-inflicted misery. Fostering democracy in Iraq is called imperialism. But then so is the opposite of backing a strongman in Pakistan or Egypt. Billions sent to Egypt, Jordan, and Palestine goes unmentioned or is considered too paltry. Millions of Muslims saved in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Indonesia, Kosovo, Kuwait, and Somalia means nothing. One Koran wrongly said to be flushed is everything. A sense of imbalance is everywhere. Imams call Jews "pigs and apes." The Pope is threatened for his dry recitation of history. Cartoonists, novelists, filmmakers, and opera producers are all promised death or beheading, while the worst sort of racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Christian hatred is broadcast and published in state-run Arab media. Worse follows. Just when one surmises from all this that the Arab Muslim world despises the United States, the American public is exasperated that, in fact, it really doesn't — at least, in the sense that Muslims from the Middle East clamor to enter the United States. Everything Western, from iPods to the Internet to cellphones, spreads like wildfire in the Arab world. Family members of those in the Assad government, in the Shiite militias in Lebanon, in the Pakistani dictatorship, and in the Iranian theocracy live in safety and security in the land of the Great Satan, from Washington to Michigan. Yet the Muslim community in the Untied States, at least if defined by its self-appointed collective leadership, is mostly heard and seen decrying "Islamophobia" inside America, suing on allegations of discrimination, and damning the effort in Iraq. Rarely are voiced furor and anger at the illiberal regimes that drove Arabs out. Even rarer is expressed some sort of gratitude for the liberal regime that welcomed them in. Or, at least, that is the impression imparted to Americans by their media that provides them with sounds bites and live video streams in lieu of travel to and study of the Middle East. The net result is the American voter is tired and saturated with negative imagery. Public opinion polls are notoriously fickle. But most show a sharp increase in negative views of Muslims in general. A 2006 Washington Post poll suggested that nearly half of all Americans had a negative view of Muslims — far higher even than was even found shortly after September 11. The Council on American-Islamic Relations claims that one American in four surveyed said Islam was a religion of hatred and violence and held extreme anti-Muslim views. Yet other less partisan surveys agree that one in three Americans believe that Islam encourages violence. And various other polls reveal that only about 20% of Americans are in sympathy with the Palestinians. Egypt alone of the major Arab countries rates a favorable impression; most others — Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia — evoke high levels of American negativity. This popular sentiment, to the extent it is ever voiced openly, is, of course, attributed to "intolerance" and "prejudice." But the real catalysts are the endemic violence and hypocrisy that appear nightly on millions of television screens. When the liberal Left says of the war, "It isn't worth it," that message resonates, as the American public rightly suspects that it really means "They aren't worth it." Voters may not like particularly a Harry Reid, but in frustration at the violence, they sense now that, just like them, he also doesn't like a vague somebody over there. So here we are in our eleventh hour. A controversial and costly war continues, in part so as to give Arab Muslims the sort of freedom the West takes for granted; but at precisely the time that the public increasingly is tired of Middle Eastern madness. In short, America believes that the entire region is not worth the bones of a single Marine. To counteract this, we need more clarity both here and abroad. First, the administration must articulate how our idealism is stark realism as well. Americans daily have to be reminded that consensual government in Iraq — not just plebiscites — is in our long-term strategic interest. Second, we should hear far more of Iraqi cooperation and joint operations, both military and civilian, that in fact do characterize this war and reveal an Arab desire to be free of the past. And third, far more long-suffering members of the Iraqi government need to express some appreciation for the American sacrifice — and express such gratitude to the American people directly. We worry rightly about anti-Americanism and winning over the people of Iraq. But the greater problem, at least as we now witness it in the Senate and House, is winning back those here at home. Seeing more of the purple finger, and less of the shaking fist, is the key to regaining the hearts and minds of Americans — who in the end alone can win or lose this war. ©2007 Victor Davis Hanson
  11. Saddam's death throes [Victor Davis Hanson] One of the most depressing sights of the entire Saddam postmortem were the clips shown ad nauseam of all the dignitaries, diplomats, and obsequious reporters who in years past trekked to Baghdad to flatter or to pay homage to this creepy mass murderer. Watching a younger Kofi Annan, Lindberg like, pump Saddam's hand, smiling and offering blandishments was sickening. Surely the world can learn from this sordid spectacle, and not repeat the same mistake with Ahmadinejad and Assad. Their demise will come soon enough, and only the clips and outtakes of the appeasers will remain. It is getting so that the cheap anti-American rhetoric from Europe and the Middle East about our purported complicity in killing a mass murderer should be worn as a badge of honor. We caught him, turned him over for a transparent trial, and ensured he would never murder again. So the question remains: where is the true morality-building this killer's bunkers, selling him weapons, taking his oil-or putting him in a noose? Nothing was more evident of the moral impoverishment of the Palestinians than their collective lamentation over the fate of this mass killer of the Kurds and Arabs. We gave the Palestinian Authority hundreds of millions of dollars for housing, schools, and security and they hate us; Saddam gave them a few thousand dollars as bounty for suicide murderers and they loved him. That says it all.
  12. "They Are Coming for Our Children." Professor Resid Hafizovic of the Faculty of Islamic Studies of the University of Sarajevo is an outstanding Balkan scholar of Sufism or Islamic spirituality, Hafizovic dramatically warned, "They Are Coming for Our Children." He accused the Wahhabis forthrightly: "They are among us. By marrying related folk in our villages, towns, and cities, they have already infected our traditional social system. They are already present in our media, state administration and religious institutions: in our mosques, medresas, and academia, everywhere." Oslobodjenje [sarajevo], November 25, 2006 Every civilization has its tragedies, declines, and failures, including the Muslim world, but the very nadir of the tragedy that happened to the Muslim world occurred in 1746, when a lunatic from Najd in eastern Arabia, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, with his phalanx of Bedouins and people willing to pillage, spill blood, and murder, declared an official jihad on all Muslims, just because the latter persisted in following and understanding Islam in accordance with the basic tenets of Islamic faith, following the example set by the Prophet of Islam, whom God praised and held in high regard, more than fourteen centuries ago. The fact that the declaration of official jihad by Wahhabis wasn't just a formal and insignificant act, would be reinforced by ensuing horrible slaughters perpetrated by Wahhabi raiding groups, first in Karbala in 1802, where thousands of Muslims were slain, their property plundered, without sparing mosques, tombs, and cemeteries. It was followed by a massacre of Ta'if in 1803, Mecca, and then Medina in 1805, and throughout the cradle of Islam, without sparing the children, elderly, and weak. The raging Wahhabi sword left the Muslim cities and settlements in ruins, while thousands of Muslims died lying in their own blood (see Wahhabism: A Critical Essay, Hamid Algar, Zagreb, 2004; also The Two Faces of Islam, Bosnian edition: Dva Lica Islama, Stephen Sulejman Schwartz, Tugra, Sarajevo, 2005). These events would be nothing special if they only represented a turbulent period in a long history of Islam and Muslims. Unfortunately, they are also a terrible scourge of our time and life. Just when the European Muslims in Bosnia, Bosniaks, as a native European ethnic group, thought that the worst had passed, having withstood a horrifying and bloody assault waged against their lands, a new nightmare beset them, more wicked, noxious, detrimental, and dangerous than any other one in the bloody history suffered by these Muslims. At the point at which their numbers are reduced to the level below which an ethnic group can't sustain itself, Bosnian Muslims were contaminated by a new, fatal virus, as a relic of the recently finished war, whereas the virus embodies itself in an arrogant, disapproving, aggressive, and, for this region, anachronistic phenomenon called Wahhabism. It is the most effective weapon of the ideology and conspiracy intending the same as the Serb criminals like Mladić and Karadžić, that is, our destruction, yet it appears as an idea that shares our home and identity, while aimed against it and committed to the project left incomplete by this evil duo and their mentors. Sure enough, it was not only their idea, but also an idea of the diabolic Wahhabi mentors from the East and the West, from Saudi Arabia, but also from some centers of political power in Europe, the same ones whose dishonest role in the assault on Bosnia is well remembered and easily recognized. It is the same political triangle spanning Moscow, London and Paris, which was tightening the plot of Judas, pressing Bosnia with it, leaving very little air for it to breathe. They first deprived us of the right to self defense, and then they tied our hands making us sacrificial lambs. Today, they are sending Wahhabis to Bosnia and otherwise encouraging them, as their last secret weapon and a deadly virus designed to dissolve the very substance of Bosnian Muslims. That is supposed to be a good prelude to a scenario devised to solve the Muslim question in Western Europe, which is more Islamophobic than before (see Unfinest Hour – Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia, Brendan Simms, Penguin Books, 2002).* The conspiracy of Wahhabi mentors from the East and some power centers in the West is not uncommon and doesn't demonstrate its first occurrence in the history of Muslims. As far back as 1865, we can see the first encounters and conspiratory, anti-Muslim alliances established between the British and already well structured Saudi-Wahhabi legions of Najd. Both parties to this disreputable anti-Muslim alliance had their precisely defined objectives: Saudi-Wahhabi gangs drew the borders of their state in the very heart of the Muslim world, while the British strengthened their dominance in the Persian Gulf and hammered plans out for breaking up the Ottoman Empire. As a sign of gratitude for dedication in the realization of the aforementioned British-Wahhabi anti-Muslim alliance, the British crown later decorated the Saudi ruler, Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud, with the Knight's Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire. The Saudi monarch wore the very same decoration for a joint picture with British Queen Eliabeth, during a visit to Her Majesty. In addition to Chechen Muslims, as traditional Muslims with a proud legacy of Muslim spirituality and literature, Bosnian Muslims represent the second significant target of Wahhabism in this part of the world. Without tolerating our traditional and authentic values of Islam, which encourage coexistence, and which are intertwined with the most sophisticated spiritual aspects of Sufism, illuminated by Quranic interpretation (tafsir) and judicious, Gnostic, Irfan literature, the Wahhabis arrived in Bosnia, where they are now further aided by some followers from among the local Muslims, with an exclusive aim of rooting out all the traces of traditional Islam in Bosnia, to wipe out all visible elements of Ottoman culture that are easily recognized in abundant monuments, in our mosques, tombs, Sufi tekkes, cemeteries, fortresses, and the like. They attack everything that is fundamentally different from their primitive, monotonous, Bedouin culture and tradition. They have already done it in the cradle of Islam, having destroyed the most precious historic traces of Islam from the times of Prophet (pbuh); they also have done it in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Iraq; wherever else they arrived, they grow like an uncontrollable weed. Having come under the pretext of aiding the Muslims, they, actually, similar to unwelcome emissaries, have left a bloody trail, with violence, death, and unprecedented horror. That's exactly what they have in plan for this country, for its Muslims, and not only for them. They have come to get our children, they came for their devshirme (CIP Note: a levy of youth imposed by the former Ottoman authorities), to steal our hearts and souls as a payment for the trifles supplied to us by dubious humanitarians with dishonest intentions. They are among us. By marrying related folk in our villages, towns, and cities, they have already infected our traditional social system. They are already present in our media, state administration and religious institutions: in our mosques, madrasahs, and academia, everywhere. The Secretariat of the Islamic community in Bosnia (Rijaset) appears to have just awakened, and to be slowly grasping the magnitude of the plague threatening the European Muslims in Bosnia. Finally, a Resolution with an Addendum was issued, and a Commission was established to ensure the implementation thereof. How insufficient this is, and how shockingly belated it is! Furthermore, when one considers it, the scope of the Resolution will be no better than that of the already forgotten "Declaration of European Muslims," [ www.islamicpluralism.org/texts/2006t/bosnianclericsdeclaration.htm] which was published by the Rijaset of the Islamic Community in Bosnia. However, the pinnacle of the irony is that the text of the new Resolution does not offer any mechanisms to keep the scourge in check, but it rather encourages the Wahhabis, and takes great care to protect their civil rights. Some of the closest associates of the head of the Islamic Community in Bosnia go as far as stating that those are "good people from good congregations." If such essentially inconsequential documents as the Resolution of the Rijaset had not been published, one could easily think that Muslim religious institutions in Bosnia are friendly towards the Wahhabis. It is worse because these institutions do not object to the Wahhabi emissaries' blatant and brazen lies about the Prophet of Islam: namely, their shallow spiritual teaching about him as a shepherd, a camel herder, and a Bedouin, although all accounts about his life, from Ibn Hisham's Sira, to Martin Ling's Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, bear witness to him as an aristocrat par excellence, and a noble from the Meccan society of the time. Wahhabis say that the Prophet of Islam (pbuh) wore an untidy, untrimmed, and messy beard, whereas all accounts of his life state that his culture of living was on the level that a good number of Muslims haven't reached even today. They say that the Prophet of Islam (pbuh) wore women's dress rolled up; therefore, they also wear short pants, although everyone knows today that the galabiyya used to be and still is traditional clothing in that part of the Muslim world, so the Prophet himself (pbuh) proudly wore it, as it is most comfortable for those climatic conditions. We will leave further details for another time. However, everybody keeps quiet in the face of the notorious lies about Islam and the Prophet of Islam (pbuh), in the face of insults to our traditional Islamic values, vociferously spread by the Wahhabi emissaries every day, and it looks as though everybody likes having a barbaric Prophet and a backwards and outmoded Islamic faith. While the responsible people of this country keep silent and pretend nothing uncommon is happening in our society, the Wahhabi caravan is moving along, placing an uncalled-for burden on this distressed country and its people… Recognizing it as a continuation of the inferno in Iraq, Chechnya, Afghanistan, and Palestine, the most responsible civil and religious authorities of this country should immediately take responsibility for preventing the badWord Wahhabis are constructing in this country. *CIP Note: the British Foreign Office sponsored a tour by British Muslim fundamentalists to Bosnia-Hercegovina in recent weeks. Translation, slightly edited, by Faruk Bogučanin and Center for Islamic Pluralism
  13. Confronting the Wahhabis An interesting side note from Stephen Schwartz, who converted to Islam as a result of his experiences in Bosnia. He says that Muslims in Bosnia and Serbia are rejecting the Wahhabi activists Saudi Arabia has sent there and that King Abdullah is trying, with the help of Prince Turki, who on December 15 suddenly and mysteriously resigned as Ambassador to the United States, to end Wahhabi proselytization around the world. "Many leading clerics and intellectuals among Sunni Muslims indicate that King Abdullah has effectively told the Wahhabis that they will no longer receive official subsidies and must end their violent jihad around the world." His final conclusion: "Given these developments, global eradication of the Wahhabi virus may be in sight." Good news if true. ………………………………………………………………………………. By Stephen Schwartz : BIO| 19 Dec 2006 [/size] "The dogs bark, the caravan moves on." That Middle Eastern proverb could well describe the events surrounding production of the world's most-hyped dud firecracker, the Iraq Study Group Report. After immense agonies in the mainstream media (MSM), those like myself who predicted the report, once released, would largely be ignored by President George W. Bush, are being proven right and neoconservatives who support a continued commitment to the transformation of Iraq have exhibited renewed influence. Only a couple of lines in the report were worthy of comment. One appears on page 29 of the printed version: "Funding for the Sunni insurgency (sic) comes from private individuals within Saudi Arabia." This was the first time anybody connected to the U.S. government acknowledged something known throughout the Muslim world. That is, Sunni terrorism in Iraq is not an insurgency, but an invasion; the "foreign fighters" are mainly Saudi, as revealed when their deaths are covered in Saudi media, replete with photographs of the "martyrs." But this obscure comment was overlooked by most of the MSM, which is also befuddled by the recent sudden departure of Ambassador Turki al-Faisal from his post in the Royal Saudi Embassy in Washington. The MSM and a large part of the American government scratch their heads, barely capable of imagining that the revelation of the Saudi financing of Sunni terrorists in Iraq and the resignation of the kingdom's man in the U.S. would have anything in common. Yet they are linked. Liberal reformers in the milieu of Saudi King Abdullah point out that Abdullah has called for an end to sectarian fighting in Iraq and has demanded that Shia Muslims no longer be called unbelievers by the Wahhabi clerics that still function, unfortunately, as the official interpreters of Islam in the Saudi kingdom. Abdullah has promised to spend $450 million on an ultra-modern security fence along the Saudi-Iraqi border. Ambassador Turki, it is said, supports Abdullah in these worthy goals. But King Abdullah and the overwhelming Saudi majority, who want to live in a normal country, are opposed by the Wahhabi-line faction in the royal family. The pro-Wahhabi clique is led by three individuals: Prince Sultan Ibn Abd al-Aziz, minister of defense; Prince Bandar, predecessor of Turki as ambassador to Washington; and Sultan's brother, Prince Nayef. Nayef is notorious for having been the first prominent figure in the Muslim world to try to blame the atrocities of September 11, 2001 on Israel. He is deeply feared both inside and outside Saudi Arabia for his extremism. Saudi sources indicate that King Abdullah is assembling his forces for a decisive confrontation with the reactionaries. Part of the Wahhabi-line strategy is to depict a U.S. leadership in conflict with King Abdullah, to undermine the monarch's credibility. That is why different versions of a meeting between U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and King Abdullah, late last month, circulate in the MSM and the blogosphere. According to credible reports, Cheney urged Abdullah to stiffen action against Saudi-Wahhabi involvement in the Iraqi bloodletting. According to unreliable gadflies, King Abdullah commanded Cheney's presence, to demand that the U.S. immediately attack Iran. But the claim that King Abdullah summoned and berated Cheney does not ring true. King Abdullah is too polite, and Cheney does not take such orders, according to those who know both men. Many leading clerics and intellectuals among Sunni Muslims indicate that King Abdullah has effectively told the Wahhabis that they will no longer receive official subsidies, and must end their violent jihad around the world. The greatest impact of this development may be seen in Iraq, but Wahhabis everywhere have begun to worry about their future. In a totalitarian system like Wahhabism, the weakest links snap first. And the beginning of the end for them may now be visible in the Muslim Balkans. That the crisis of Wahhabi credibility would become manifest simultaneously in Washington, Baghdad, and Sarajevo might seem counter-intuitive to many Westerners, especially given that the former Yugoslavia is considered by foreigners to be marginal and insignificant. But for those who know the Islamic world, it makes perfect sense. The Saudis have tried for almost 15 years to use the difficulties of Bosnian and other local Islamic folk to drive the Balkan Muslims away from their traditional, spiritual, and peaceful form of Islam into Wahhabi radicalism. But Wahhabi agitators who went to ex-Yugoslavia to sow discord and reap recruits for terror have begun to show deep anxiety about the loss of their Saudi support, and now act in an ever more provocative and aggressive manner. For their part, the Balkan Muslims are demonstrating an attitude of disgust and repudiation toward their alleged Saudi patrons, such that the Muslim Balkans may become the first "Wahhabi-free zone" in the global Islamic community, or umma. Months ago, Bosnian chief Islamic cleric Mustafa Ceric issued a document readable here, stating, "the most perilous force destabilizing the umma presently is from the inside." The Bosnians, according to Ceric, are "determined in [their] intention to protect the originality of the centuries-long tradition of the Islamic Community in Bosnia-Hercegovina." In October 2006, imam Dzemo Redzematovic, leader of the Slavic Muslim minority in newly-independent Montenegro denounced the Wahhabis for "introducing a new approach to Islamic rules [that] is unnecessary and negative because it creates a rift among the believers" and "claims some exclusive right to interpret Islamic rules." The Wahhabis had lost their chance in Bosnia-Hercegovina but were under close scrutiny in Montenegro. They were also active over the border, in southern Serbia. On November 3, as described here, a group of fanatics disrupted Friday prayers at a mosque in the town of Novipazar, assailing the imam for refusing to follow their "guidance." In the ensuing affray, two local Muslims allegedly replaced "the weapons of criticism" with "the criticism of weapons," and the Wahhabis were met with gunfire. Iraq, it seemed, had come to ex-Yugoslavia. I was in Sarajevo when this incident occurred, and the outrage of the local Muslims against the Wahhabi interlopers was palpable then and has grown more aggravated since. Bosnian Muslim intellectuals became more militant in their anti-Wahhabi idiom. On November 18, a distinguished professor of Arabic at the University of Sarajevo, Esad Durakovic, wrote, "The snowball called Wahhabism has been rolling down the Bosnian hill, but it is still not certain which side is going to be struck by the avalanche.... Wahhabi efforts are extremely decisive and resolute... the response has to be more appropriate and urgent... Wahhabis are wrong when they think that they can act as a Taliban in Europe (just as they are wrong about everything else)... We have to act immediately." (translation here) A week later, on November 25, Professor Resid Hafizovic of the Faculty of Islamic Studies of the University of Sarajevo was even bolder. An outstanding Balkan scholar of Sufism or Islamic spirituality, Hafizovic dramatically warned, "They Are Coming for Our Children." He accused the Wahhabis forthrightly: "They are among us. By marrying related folk in our villages, towns, and cities, they have already infected our traditional social system. They are already present in our media, state administration and religious institutions: in our mosques, medresas, and academia, everywhere." Hafizovic identified the Wahhabi trail of blood traced through the past decade "Recognizing it as a continuation of the inferno in Iraq, Chechnya, Afghanistan, and Palestine, the most powerful civil and religious authorities... should immediately take responsibility for preventing the badWord Wahhabis are constructing in this country." Questioned on Bosnian television about the country's receipt of aid from Saudi Arabia during the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, Hafizovic said: "I would be very pleased if a full stop were put once and for all to the talk of the great and fabulous aid that Saudi Arabia has given [us]... Because we have to pay. The Saudis and their envoys keep asking us to pay... the price is such that we have to sell our people, our religion, our 500 years of religious and cultural tradition and legacy. And this is precisely what they want: our minds, our hearts, our souls... Let us put an end to this story once and for all and say: Dear [saudi] gentlemen, if you keep rubbing our noses in the aid - and you are - we will give it back to you." Hafizovic and other Bosnian Muslim clerics and intellectuals call Wahhabism a virus. Given these developments, global eradication of the Wahhabi virus may be in sight.
  14. Senior-Level Ansar al Sunna Emirs Captured by Coalition Forces Dec. 6, 2006 Release A061206d FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Capture of Terrorist Emirs Gives al-Qaida in Iraq Nowhere to Turn BAGHDAD, Iraq – On Wednesday, the Government of Iraq released the names and photos of several suspected senior-level Ansar al Sunna emirs who were captured by Coalition Forces during a series of raids in mid-November. The AAS network is responsible for improvised explosive device attacks and suicide attacks on Iraqi government, Coalition Forces and Iraqi civilians. The AAS network is also responsible for multiple kidnappings, small arms attacks and other crimes in the central and northern part of Iraq. One terrorist emir, Abu Mohammed aka Ismail, AAS Emir of Yusifiyah was killed during a raid late November. The suspected Ansar al Sunna emirs who were captured are: National level - Ramadan Muhammad Salih Ahmad ((Bilbas)) aka Abu Mustafa, AAS Emir of Iraq. Abu Mustafa is a founding member of AAS. - Taha Ahmad Pir-Dawud Ahmad ((Surchi)), aka Hajji Sa'id, Senior AAS representative and al-Qaida facilitator. - 'Adnan 'Abdallah 'Alaywi Muhammad ((al-'Ithawi)), aka Abu Jaffar, AAS Secretary. He was Abu Mustafa's personal assistant and he was responsible for arranging AAS senior-level meetings. Regional level - Hatim Abd-al-Ghafar Muslim Muhammad ((al Shimar)), aka Abu Taha, AAS Emir of Al Qa'im and Western al Anbar. He allegedly was a Colonel in the Iraqi Army before the war. - 'Abd-al-Basit 'Abd-al-Razzaq Hasan 'Ali ((al-'Abbasi)), aka Abu Asim, AAS Emir of Tikrit. - 'Ali Hasayn 'Ali "Abdallah ((Zandi)), aka Abu Bandar, AAS Emir of Baqubah. - Amjad 'Abd-al-Sattar Muhammad 'Ali ((al-Ta'i)), aka Abu Najila, AAS Emir of Ramadi and Eastern al Anbar. - Sa'id Jasim Muhammad Khudayyir al-Jadid ((al-Juwaynat)), aka Abu Sayf, AAS Emir of Bayji. - Husayn Khudayyir 'Abbas Majid ((al-Zubaydi)), aka Abu Husayn, AAS Emir of Bazayiz. - Salih Khudayyir Salman Jadi ((al-Juburi)), aka Sajad, AAS Emir of Fallujah. This is another step closer to defeating al-Qaida in Iraq and helping establish a safe and peaceful Iraq. Coalition Forces will continue to target not only senior al-Qaida in Iraq leaders, but all associated terrorist movements like Ansar Al Sunna. They will be identified, captured and prosecuted for their crimes.
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