Thora Birch aka Jane Burnham in "American Beauty (1999)" aka Enid in "Ghost World (2001)" aka Liz Dunn in "The Hole (2001)" aka Sally Ryan in "Patriot Games (1992)" aka Empress Savina in "Dungeons & Dragons (2000)" aka Barbara Hoffman in "Winter of Frozen Dreams (2009)" (age 30)
American troops have been killed, 2 or more at a time, over and over during the past three weeks. The US Commander in Chief apologizies to the so called cause and says he diffused the situation as 2 by 2 at a time more American troops continue to be slaughtered. AND the ROE at the moment is to do nothing in retsaliation as 2 by 2, day by day, more of our guys get executed by the Afghans. What in the hell did the Hussein Regime expect. Regardless, the response will continue to be outrageous by the Hussein Regime.
Yes, DO PRAY for our young men and women in this hell hole being made worse by the Hussein Regimeam
Posted by: George Ebbeamp4828 ||
This sounds ugly. And not surprising.
A U.S. service member has been detained after shooting Afghan civilians in Kandahar province, the U.S. military said Sunday. The BBC reported that at least three people were killed.
A statement from the military in Kabul did not say how many casualties there were Reports are as high as 16
or what the circumstances were. It directed inquiries on the casualties to the Afghan Ministry of Interior.
"This is a deeply regrettable incident and we extend our thoughts and concerns to the families involved," the statement said.
The BBC report said the soldier shot the civilians after walking off his base, then surrendered to U.S. military authorities.
Bottom line: A SSG with severe PTSD, apparently, has a nervous breakdown, leaves his base, armed, and goes on a killing spree in an Afghan town. Then he returns to base and turns himself in.
If this is a typical case, I suspect that he has long been complaining of PTSD, which was ignored by his command, who likely accused him of malingering. Unless his command immediately destroys the evidence, I would hazard to guess that he had pending Article 15 or even more serious charges pending.
The real nightmare will be if he complained to a Chaplain or medical types who didn't destroy their records. That will be the SHTF court martial scenario.
Could be more to this story than we think. We've heard horror stories of what some of the "Enlightened" families do over there to family members. With us pulling out, the local governments positions, and the unwillingness to act in general against the locals on our part for whatever reason, one soldier may have had enough. This may be more Street Justice than PTSD.
16 dead, 5 more wounded, and it happened in TWO villages. Then he calmly strolls back to command and turns himself in?
Posted by: Charles ||
Reading between the lines on Yon's posts, I am suspecting this may have been a Special Forces soldier going off the deep end.
[Dawn] Five Taliban detainees held at the US Guantanamo Bay military prison have agreed to be transferred to Qatar, a move Afghanistan believes will boost a nascent grinding of the peace processor, President Hamid Maybe I'll join the Taliban Karzai ... A former Baltimore restaurateur, now 12th and current President of Afghanistan, displacing the legitimate president Rabbani in December 2004. He was installed as the dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001 in a vain attempt to put a Pashtun face on the successor state to the Taliban. After the 2004 presidential election, he was declared president regardless of what the actual vote count was. He won a second, even more dubious, five-year-term after the 2009 presidential election. His grip on reality has been slipping steadily since around 2007, probably from heavy drug use... 's front man said on Saturday.
The transfer idea is part of US efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table to avoid prolonged instability in Afghanistan after foreign combat troops leave the country at the end of 2014.
"We are hopeful this will be a positive step towards peace efforts," Karzai's front man Aimal Faizi told Rooters, adding the Taliban detainees would be re-united with their families in Qatar if the transfer takes place.
It would be one of a series of good-faith measures that could set in motion the first substantial political negotiations on the conflict in Afghanistan since the Taliban government was toppled in 2001 in a US-led invasion.
A year after it was unveiled, the B.O. regime's peace initiative may soon offer the United States a historic opportunity to broker an end to a war that began as the response to the Sept. 11, 2001, al Qaeda attacks on the United States.
But the peace drive also presents risks for President Barack Obama Because I won... . He faces the potential for political fallout months before a presidential election, as his government considers backing an arrangement that would give some degree of power to the Taliban.
Despite months of covert diplomacy, it remains unclear whether the prisoner transfer will go ahead.
Doubts are growing about whether the Taliban leadership is willing to weather possible opposition from junior and more hard-core members who appear to oppose negotiations.
KABUL: Five Taleban detainees held at the US Guantanamo Bay military prison have agreed to be transferred to Qatar, a move Afghanistan believes will boost a nascent peace process, President Hamid Karzai's spokesman said on Saturday.
Do we have to transfer them alive? Are we allowed put put the implants into their heads? Such important questions...
Can we use the 14-inch implants? Or are we stuck with the microchips?
Perhaps the microchip implants attached to the 14-inch spikes?
The transfer idea is part of US efforts to bring the Taleban to the negotiating table to avoid prolonged instability in Afghanistan after foreign combat troops leave the country at the end of 2014.
"We are hopeful this will be a positive step toward peace efforts," Karzai's spokesman Aimal Faizi said, adding the Taleban detainees would be re-united with their families in Qatar if the transfer takes place.
It would be one of a series of good-faith measures that could set in motion the first substantial political negotiations on the conflict in Afghanistan since the Taleban government was toppled in 2001 in a US-led invasion.
Ah yes, 'good-faith' measures. The Taliban of course will reply with good-faith measures of their own, such as .. as .. hmmm...
Despite months of covert diplomacy, it remains unclear whether the prisoner transfer will go ahead. Doubts are growing about whether the Taleban leadership is willing to weather possible opposition from junior and more hard-core members who appear to oppose negotiations.
Yes, the senior guys like Blinky are the souls of moderation. If it were up to them this whole thing would have been over years ago...
Karzai's top aide, Ibrahim Spinzada, visited the Guantanamo facility this week to secure approval from the five Taleban prisoners to be moved to Qatar. Karzai's government has demanded the five former senior members of the Taleban government, held at Guantanamo Bay for a decade, give their consent before they are transferred to the small Gulf state where they would be under Qatar's custody.
Wonder what Qatar says...
US officials hope the peace initiative will gain enough traction to enable Obama to announce the establishment of full-fledged political talks between the Karzai government and the Taleban at a NATO summit in May.
That would mark a major victory for the White House and might ease some of the anxiety created by NATO nations' plans to gradually pull out most of their troops by the end of 2014, leaving an inexperienced Afghan military and fragile government to face a still-formidable insurgency.
The Taleban detainees are seen by some US officials as among the most dangerous inmates at Guantanamo. Their possible transfer has drawn attack from US politicians from both parties even before the administration formally begins a required congressional notification process.
Among the prisoners who may be sent to Qatar is Mohammed Fazl, a "high-risk" detainee alleged to be responsible for the killing of thousands of minority Shiite Muslims between 1998 and 2001.
Release him in the Tajik or Uzbek regions of Aghanistan, and let him walk to Kandahar. Make sure Dostum knows beforehand...
Afghan foreign minister will visit Qatar in the "near future" for peace discussions with the Taleban, his spokesman said yesterday. The minister will hold talks on the relationship between the nations and also "discuss the Afghan peace process," including "the idea of establishing an office... in Qatar to facilitate the peace process," Mosazi said.
[Daily Nation (Kenya)] The military has warned that there are remnants of Al-Shabaab ... the Islamic version of the old Somali warlord... on Kenyan borders and urged members of the public to remain vigilant.
Speaking at a media briefing on Saturday, Colonel Cyrus Oguna said the KDF are more than 100 km into Somalia and will continue with pacification operations.
The military front man said the Al-Shabaab remnants were out to cause disharmony between the forces and the local community, and he urged local residents to notify security agents about suspicious people in their villages and those visiting refugee camps.
Deputy Police Spokesman Charles Owino also asked Kenyans to be vigilant as the threat from the remnants was real, but he added that security agents were alert.
Col Oguna said that no KDF casualties had been reported in the past week. He said the Somali forces of Evil were at their weakest point as characterised by their uncoordinated fights.
He said on Monday in the northern sector at Gerille, KDF killed three Al-Shabaab forces of Evil and recovered five AK-47 rifles and communications equipment.
The following day, there was an air strike on Hayo where four technical vehicles, food rations and an ammunition depot were destroyed and several fighters were believed to have been killed.
The following day, within the southern border town of Diff along the Somalia-Kenya border, two Al-Shabaab members were killed and three AK-47 rifles and several rounds of ammunition recovered.
On Thursday the KDF conducted an ambush at Agilbax, a logistics depot south of Afmadow, and killed six forces of Evil and maimed several others. On the same day, six members of Al-Shabaab within Gerille area defected, handing over their six rifles and three Pulemyot Kalashnikov machine guns (PKM).
On Friday, the KDF conducted a cordon and search operation in the process of pacification where four forces of Evil were tossed in the clink and nine AK-47 rifles, 16 AK-47 magazines, 381 rounds of ammunition, three PKMs and two pieces of communications equipment recovered.
Col Oguna also said KDF soldiers currently serving in Somalia will be replaced in the next three months to allow them to be with their families. "However, by candlelight every wench is handsome... within that period, we may have fresh troops injected into the mission area," he said.
He added that serious infighting between Al-Shabaab's Somali and imported muscle was ongoing and that KDF has cut off the lucrative but illegal trade that brought counterfeit goods to Nairobi and the Dadaab region.
[An Nahar] A grenade attack on a Nairobi bus station on Saturday killed at least four people and maimed nearly 60 others, in an assault Kenyan police blamed on the Islamist Shebab militia.
A hospital front man said at least eight people were in a critical condition following the attack, during which witnesses reported seeing grenades thrown from a car.
"This is a cowardly act by al-Shebab elements," police front man Charles Owino told news hounds at the site of the attack, the busy Machakos country bus station, near the city center.
"But we will not relent in the war. We will get them and we will continue with the war."
Initial reports spoke of three people being killed and more than 20 injured. But a front man at Kenyatta National Hospital, the city's main hospital, said a fourth person had since died of his wounds.
"We have 59 people who are admitted here, eight of them are in a critical condition," front man Simon Ithai said. "Unfortunately we have lost one person here."
Earlier, a senior police official who did not want to be named told Agence La Belle France Presse it was believed several grenades had been thrown at the bus station.
Witness Charles Njenga told AFP: "I just saw a vehicle pass and then someone just threw things that went kaboom!. Many people have been injured.
"I survived because I was in a bus that was still loading people," he added.
Other witnesses spoke of three or four grenades having been thrown in and around the bus station from out of a car.
Traces of blood were still visible on the floor of the bus station, where around 10 buses were still parked, and ambulances were still ferrying the maimed to hospital. Other, less seriously injured people were being treated on the spot.
About 500 meters from the bus station, the body of one of the victims, a young man, could be seen was stretched out in front of a petrol station
"I came to get petrol when I saw a man who was running and he collapsed, dead," said motorcyclist Reuben Otela. "When I got closer, I saw that he was covered in blood, he had decamped the kaboom."
It is the first such incident in the Kenyan capital since two grenade attacks carried out within 24 hours of each other last October killed one person and injured 30 others. The first of those attacks targeted a bar in the capital; the second was an attack on a particularly bus stop.
A Kenyan supporter of Somalia's Islamist Shebab fighters was placed in durance vile soon afterwards and was convicted after having confessed to the attacks.
No one has so far grabbed credit for Saturday's killings.
But the Shebab have on several occasions threatened reprisal attacks against Kenya since it sent its troops over the border into southern Somalia in mid-October to fight the group.
Kenya sent its soldiers, backed by planes and helicopters, into Somalia following the abduction of several foreigners on Kenyan soil -- although the Shebab have denied any involvement in the kidnappings. A month later, in November, Ethiopian troops and tanks entered Somalia to support the Somali transitional government against the Shebab.
Earlier Saturday Shebab fighters launched a major attack lasting several hours against positions held by Ethiopian forces in southwest Somalia. The battle left many fighters dead, witnesses and military sources on both sides told AFP.
As well as the Ethiopians and the Kenyans, the Shebab fighters are under pressure from an African Union ...a union consisting of 53 African states, most run by dictators of one flavor or another. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established in 2002, the AU is the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was even less successful... force of Ugandan and Burundian troops, which has forced them out of the Somali capital Mogadishu.
The Kenyan army has since last month been part of the African Union force.
[Daily Nation (Kenya)] Hundreds of Mohammedan women gathered near Tunis Saturday to call for the return of the caliphate, the defunct Islamic system of governance which they said was the only means of guaranteeing their rights.
The members of the Hizb ut-Tahrir party came from Islamic countries including Arab states, Indonesia and Turkey, as well as from Europe to debate the benefits of the system that disappeared nearly 90 years ago.
"This conference raises questions about the secular liberal way of life and asks whether it is a system that has succeed in securing the dignity and rights of women," chief spokeswoman Nasrin Nawaaz of the British branch of the party told AFP.
"Mohammedan women are gathering together saying that we no longer want to live under secular liberal democratic systems," she added.
"We want a new system, we want the khalifa system that historically has been tried and has succeeded in securing the rights of women."
Nawaz said that countries such as Soddy Arabia and Iran that promote themselves as Islamic states "in reality they implement nothing but the rules of dictatorship."
Men were banned from the conference, which opened with a film castigating Western political systems and calling for "patient and determined work to re-establish the law of Islam."
Founded in 1953, Hizb ut-Tahir has members and sympathisers in more than 50 countries. It seeks the return of the caliphate, based on Islamic charia law, by political means.
Reports of an early morning explosion have again rocked Jos with many feared dead. The explosion occurred at about 10:30 am at St. Finbars Catholic Church in Rayfield, an exclusive neighborhood. It is the first major attack in that area of town which is usually heavily guarded by soldiers and the Joint Task Force (JTF).
Early eyewitness accounts say that the nubmer of casualties is extremely high with the blast occurring during Sunday mass. Mayhem ensued as soldiers began to fire indiscriminately at supposed attackers with many onlookers fleeing and ducking for cover.
The scene at St. Finbars remains out of control as emergency services are yet to arrive on the scene and sporadic shots are still being reported.
[Daily Nation (Kenya)] Nigeria on Saturday quizzed the alleged kidnappers of two Westerners killed during a failed British-Nigerian rescue bid amid a diplomatic row between London and Rome over the operation.
A Nigerian security source said one had confessed to killing Italian engineer La Belle Francesco Molinara, 48, and his British colleague Chris McManus, 28, during the assault authorised by British Prime Minister David Cameron ... has stated that he is certainly a big Thatcher fan, but I don't know whether that makes me a Thatcherite, which means he's not. Since he is not deeply ideological he lacks core principles and is easily led. He has been described as certainly not a Pitt, Elder or Younger, but he does wear a nice suit so maybe he's Beau Brummel ... on Thursday.
The radical Islamist Boko Haram ... not to be confused with Procol Harum, Harum Scarum, possibly to be confused with Helter Skelter. Currently wearing a false nose and moustache and answering to Jama'atu Ahlus-Sunnah Lidda'Awati Wal Jihad, or Big Louie... sect, blamed for scores of gun and kabooms mainly in the country's northeast in recent months, has denied responsibility Nope. Wudn't us. for the kidnappings.
Nigerian security sources told AFP eight suspects had been flown to the capital Abuja following the joint military operation in the northern town of Sokoto to free the hostages after almost a year in captivity.
"Those that were tossed in the slammer in connection with the incident were brought to the SSS (secret police) headquarters, Abuja, yesterday(Friday)," a security source said.
"In the course of interrogation one of them said they killed the two guys on sighting the coppers because they were not sure they, too, will survive the attack," he said.
Another security source said: "They are being interrogated to have a complete picture of the whole episode."
"A lot of substantial information is beginning to emerge from the suspects."
Italia has condemned Britannia's failure to warn it ahead of the failed rescue operation, but London said it had been forced by the situation to act swiftly.
"The behaviour of the British government, which did not inform or consult with Italia on the operation that it was planning, really is inexplicable," President Giorgio Napolitano told news hounds on Friday.
At an EU foreign ministers' meeting in Copenhagen later Friday, Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi di Sant'Agata said he made Italia's feelings clear during talks with British Foreign Secretary William Hague.
Cameron said the two hostages had been held by "terrorists" who had made "very clear threats to take their lives", and the captives had been in "imminent and growing danger".
Both countries have however agreed to cooperate on the issue.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan ... 14th President of Nigeria. He was Governor of Bayelsa State from 9 December 2005 to 28 May 2007, and was sworn in as Vice President on 29 May 2007. Jonathan is a member of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP). He is a lover of nifty hats, which makes him easily recognizable unless someone else in the room is wearing a neat chapeau... has sent his condolences to the British and Italian premiers over the incident.
"In two separate letters of condolence to David Cameron and Mario Monti... President Jonathan said that the hearts of the people and government of Nigeria go out to the members of the immediate families of the victims in their moment of grief," his office said Saturday.
US drones bombed suspected Al-Qaeda arms caches in a hilly region in Yemen's restive southern province of Abyan on Sunday, witnesses told AFP.
Six missiles targeted the suspected weapons hideouts in Jabal Khanfar, a hill overlooking the Abyan town of Jaar, which is controlled by Al-Qaeda militants, the witnesses said.
"Two American drones fired four missiles at Jabal Khanfar while two others were fired from the sea" in the Gulf of Aden, a local official told AFP. He did not provide further details.
Witnesses reported seeing columns of smoke billowing into the sky from the targeted locations and said that government buildings, now controlled by Al-Qaeda fighters, had been damaged. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
The air strikes were carried out in the early evening, the witnesses said.
Posted by: Frank G ||
"Suspected Al-Qaeda arms caches" would indicate a probable planned and approved target. Intelligence gained from persistent surveillance or other means would have elevated the hidey holes to the top of the targeting priority list. Same platform that did the bombing could also conduct post blast analysis or what we used to call the Bomb Damage Assessment (BDA).
Two men were killed in southern Yemen when a bomb they planned to use in an attack on government forces exploded accidentally late on Saturday, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
"The bodies of the two were ripped apart in the explosion, which happened before they were able to execute their attack," the ministry said in the statement posted on its website.
Yemeni security forces, fighting a growing Islamist insurgency, said they had also detained four Somali men suspected of belonging to the al Shabaab militant group near the site of the explosion. There was no indication that they were linked to the bomb plot, the statement said.
The al Qaeda-allied Somali group had sent 300 armed men to fight alongside the Yemen-based wing of the militant network, it said. The four Somalis were captured on the road between the southern provinces of Lahej and Abyan.
SANAA: Air strikes launched by the Yemeni air force on positions of Al-Qaeda-linked fighters in the south killed 10 terrorists militants including some number threes of their leaders, a government source said on Saturday.
The raids against the terrorists militants, who have expanded their base in southern Yemen during the months of turmoil that eventually ousted the president, targeted Bayda, about 130 km (80 miles) southeast of the capital Sanaa, late on Friday.
The source said: Ten Al-Qaeda terrorists elements, including leading number threes members, were killed in three raids by warplanes during a gathering of these elements in the governorate of Bayda.
A number of vehicles and cars used by Al-Qaeda were also destroyed, the source said, adding the terrorists militants gathered were carrying equipment and weapons to launch attacks in the governorate.
Residents in Bayda said the fighter planes had raided the western outskirts of the town, where the Ansar Al-Shariaterrorists militants, who have been fighting army forces since mid-2011, had been based.
Flames and smoke could be seen rising from the area, one resident told Reuters by telephone.
[An Nahar] At least 39 gunnies and four soldiers were killed Saturday in a day-long shootout in Pakistain's troubled northwestern tribal region, officials said.
The fighting took place as Pak troops, backed by helicopter gunships, carried out a search operation around the town of Bara in the lawless Khyber tribal district bordering Afghanistan.
"Four paramilitary soldiers were martyred and seven others were maimed in today's fighting," a security bigshot told Agence La Belle France Presse.
"At least 39 gunnies were also killed," he said.
Four civilians also died when a mortar shell hit a house, a government official said.
"Four non-combatants were killed in the day-long shootout when a mortar shell hit their house," Khyber's deputy administration chief Syed Ahmed Jan told AFP.
It was not immediately clear who fired the mortar shell, he said.
A senior paramilitary official said the gunnies belonged to the Taliban-linked Laskhar-e-Islam group that is led by warlord Mangal Bagh. ...a former bus driver, now head of the Deobandi bandido group Lashkar-e-Islam and the Terror of Khyber Agency... Independent verification of the incident is not possible as access to the area is restricted by the military.
At this point, if the Paks want to put an end to this b.s., they should "clear out the brothel", just driving everyone who lives there out, giving their land to settlers who will defend it when the recalcitrants try to return.
It's not ethnic cleansing if everybody is of the same general ethnic group.
[Dawn] Six members of a pro-government tribal militia (Aman Lashkar) were killed when they were ambushed by gun-hung tough guys in the Dera Bugti area of Balochistan ...the Pak province bordering Kandahar and Uruzgun provinces in Afghanistan and Sistan Baluchistan in Iran. Its native Baloch propulation is being displaced by Pashtuns and Punjabis and they aren't happy about it... on Saturday, security officials said.
According to sources, volunteers of the militia were travelling to Phelaogh from Sui when attacked by the armed gun-hung tough guys positioned on the hills. Six volunteers were struck down in their prime while several got injured, who were taken to a nearby hospital later.
Security forces cordoned off the area and initiated a search operation after the attack. However, today is that tomorrow you were thinking about yesterday... no arrests have been reported so far.
The Baloch separatists and Talibs are active in the province, and have been blamed for such violence in the past.
[Dawn] At least six people were killed Saturday in a day-long shootout between Death Eaters and government troops in Pakistain's troubled northwestern tribal region, officials said.
The fighting took place as Pak troops, backed by helicopter gunships, carried out a search operation around the town of Bara in the lawless Khyber tribal district bordering Afghanistan.
"At least two paramilitary soldiers were martyred and four non-combatants were killed in the day-long shootout," Khyber's deputy administration chief Syed Ahmed Jan told AFP. He added that seven Death Eaters were killed in the fighting.
A senior paramilitary official said the Death Eaters belonged to the Taliban-linked Laskhar-e-Islam group that is led by warlord Mangal Bagh ...a former bus driver, now head of the Deobandi bandido group Lashkar-e-Islam and the Terror of Khyber Agency... .
Independent verification of the incident is not possible as access to the area is restricted by the military.
Some 18,000 people decamped their homes in Khyber in October last year amid fears of a fresh onslaught of fighting between the army and Islamist Death Eaters linked to the Pak Taliban.
Pakistain's seven tribal districts near the Afghan border are rife with homegrown Islamic fascistiand are strongholds of Taliban and al Qaeda operatives.
Militants have killed more than 4,800 people across Pakistain since government troops raided an krazed killer mosque in Islamabad in July 2007.
[Dawn] According to a document dated February 15, the Government of Pakistain has banned the Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat (ASWJ), the religious organization known previously to be operating as the Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP), the BBC reported early on Saturday.
The document, which the BBC describes as a notification issued by the Interior Ministry that was not publicly announced, claims that the ASWJ was suspected to be involved in acts of terrorism in the country, therefore it was being added to the first schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
The notification by the federal ministry was sent to all provincial governments and concerned departments, claims the report.
The report further claims that Interior Minister Rehman Malik's Pak politician, current Interior Minister under the Gilani administration. Malik is a former Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) intelligence officer who rose to head the FIA during Benazir Bhutto's second tenure. He later joined the Pak Peoples Party and was chief security officer to Bhutto. Malik was tossed from his FIA job in 1998 after documenting the breath-taking corruption of the Sharif family. By unhappy coincidence Nawaz Sharif became PM at just that moment and Malik moved to London one step ahead of the button men. office had been contacted for a comment on the ban, but to no avail.
The ASWJ is led by its president Maulana Mohammad Ahmed Ludhianvi, and is a key part of the Difa-e-Pakistain, or Defence of Pakistain, Council (DPC), a coalition of around 40 religious and ultra-nationalist parties.
Shouting "death to America" at a rally in Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It may be the largest city in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... last month, members of the DPC condemned US drone attacks and military operations in tribal areas, and warned the government against restoring NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A collection of multinational and multilingual and multicultural armed forces, all of differing capabilities, working toward a common goal by pulling in different directions... supply routes and granting MFN (most favoured nation) status to India.
Ludhianvi, when contacted, said that he was unaware of any such ban, adds the report.
"We are a peaceful organization," Ludhianvi was quoted as saying. "If anyone places a ban on us...they are trying to place a ban on Pakistain."
The ASWJ was formed after the government of former president General (retd) Pervez Perv Musharraf ... former dictator of Pakistain, who was less dictatorial and corrupt than any Pak civilian government to date ... banned a handful of religious parties, including the Sipah-e-Sahaba in 2002.
The Lashkar-e-Jhangwi (LeJ), another splinter group of the Sipah-e-Sahaba led by Hafiz Saeed ...founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and its false-mustache offshoot Jamaat-ud-Dawa. The United Nations declared the JuD a terrorist organization in 2008 and Hafiz Saeed a terrorist as its leader. Hafiz, JuD and LeT are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Pak intel apparatus, so that amounted to squat... , has also allegedly been involved in terrorist acts, and is reported to have links with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) as well.
[Dawn] Many people who resisted militancy in their native areas mainly in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa ... formerly NWFP, still Terrorism Central... over the years and then moved to other cities, particularly Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It may be the largest city in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... , for security reasons are still the target of banned jihad boy outfits, it emerged on Saturday.
While police authorities and some senior Sherlocks partially agree that some people had been killed in the city for their or their families' proactive role against militancy back in their hometowns, most such cases have to date remained unsolved, fuelling speculation over the exact motive.
"In a year or so, at least seven people who hailed from rural parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa or tribal areas were killed in Bloody Karachi," said a senior investigator.
"The incidents were mostly reported in the east and west districts of the police organizational structure where many communities from other parts of the country are mostly settled."To back up his claim about the trend, he recalled a recent
killing in a Landhi Town area.
"The victim was allegedly targeted for his family's proactive role against militancy in Malakand over the past few years."
Another murder said to have been committed due to this reason was reported in Baldia Town last month, he said.
The victim hailing from Khyber Agency had been settled here in Bloody Karachi for the past several years but his family in his hometown had played a key role in the formation of a community group to fight militancy, the investigator explained.
Police said the victims also included Awami National Party workers who had supported the migrant families and arranged accommodation for them in Bloody Karachi.
The ruling party in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, which claims to have suffered more losses than any other political group in the province for its 'outspoken stand against the banned outfits', agrees, only partially, to police findings. It raises a few questions challenging the authenticity of the investigation.
"It can be a reason for a few killings in Bloody Karachi," said Bashir Jan, ANP general secretary in Sindh, while speaking to Dawn.
"We are the only party which is being targeted for its stand against terrorism and brutality mainly in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Our people stand against that injustice and pay the price as well."
He said some individuals here in the city were targeted only for their or their families' anti-militancy struggle.
"But there is another point to ponder. When the police fail to undertake a credible investigation of the murder, it is an easy way out for them to blame jihad boy outfits for the killing," said Mr Jan.
He cited the example of Said Khan who was rubbed out by a group of gunnies in the Metroville area of SITE last month. One of the attackers was also killed when a guard opened fire on them, he said. "We were then told that the attackers were associated
with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain."
But the claim by Sherlocks was not followed by any arrest or corroborated by evidence, he added.
The police authorities said 'links and traces' lead to the motive and people behind a crime. Since Bloody Karachi had witnessed a number of terrorist activities from suicide kabooms to sectarian attacks, the role of banned outfits in assassinations could not be
ruled out, they said.
"Those incidents did happen," said Akhtar Hussain Ghorchani, additional inspector general of police.
"The ANP people and other individuals obviously faced the reaction. So you can't rule it out, but one should understand that it's not a trend but a few incidents over the period."
I can well imagine an Indian Special Forces manned almost exclusively by Sikhs. Eek. Maybe they could do like Britain, and create a regiment of Gurkha SF. That would show the Pakis a little of the old ultraviolence.
ION DEFENCE.PK/FORUMS > INDIA/MUSLIMS: MUSLIMS LAD BEHIND OTHER MINORITIES [Castes] IN INDIA ACCORDING TO A REPORT [NYT].
ARTIC = ...
> "Reservation" is important for Musims.
> Muslims believe they have been treated as pariahs despite their historical support for India's independence from Great Britain back in 1947.
> Activists desire Muslim-only/specific GOVT.JOBS + EDUCATION in order to help uplift their prestige + achieve long-sought "social justice".
Maulana selling Islam
Quoted in Jinnah Imran Khan ... aka Taliban Khan, who is the lightweight's lightweight... said that while Nawaz Sharif ... served two non-consecutive terms as prime minister, heads the Pakistain Moslem League (Nawaz). Noted for his spectacular corruption, the 1998 Pak nuclear test, border war with India, and for being tossed by General Musharraf... Continued on Page 49
Israel: Jihad Islami will pay dear if Fajr missiles fired. US, Egypt seek ceasefire
Israel has passed a stern warning to the Palestinian Jihad Islami shooting missiles from Gaza for the third day to expect Israel punishment on a different scale from the current surgical air strikes if they dare fire the Fajr surface missiles supplied them by Iran, DEBKAfile reports. The warning was relayed Sunday, March 11, through Egyptian Intelligence Chief Gen. Murad Muwafi who is working with Washington to halt the Gaza violence.
The Iran-backed Jihad has in its arsenal Fajr 5 missiles whose range is 110 kilometers and Fajr 3 which has a 60-kilometer reach. They bring into range Israels urban, commercial and population hub cities between Tel Aviv and Rehovoth, which are outside the range of the Grads and Qassams, more 110 of which were fired from Gaza since Friday.
Military sources told DEBKAfile that the Jihad terrorists are aiming for a spectacular, multi-fatality strike in a major Israeli city before ending this round of violence on order to strut as victors in Palestinian and Middle East public eyes. This ambition has been frustrated for three days by the Israeli invention, the Iron Dome interceptor of short-range missiles, which has saved important towns like Beersheba and the ports of Ashdod and Ashkelon from casualties and serious damage by intercepting the Grads before they land.
Islami Jihad tacticians are thought to be wracking their brains for some gadget capable of disarming the Iron Dome batteries.
They efforts of Gen. Muwafi to negotiate a ceasefire are complicated by not knowing whether Jihad Islami went into action against Israel on its own initiative although the victim of Israels targeted killing Friday, March 9, was not one of its members, only the Popular Resistance Committees chief Zuheir al-Qaisi or on instructions from its masters in Tehran and Damascus to promote their own interests.
The general assumption in Cairo and Washington is that the Jihad chiefs jumped in at first without asking for permission. But after 110 missiles pounded Israeli without incurring serious retribution, the decision about carrying on passed to Iran and Syria.
Both have an interest in a relatively low-intensity Palestinian missile offensive continuing against Israel.
Tehran sees it as a card to play at the nuclear talks with the six powers opening in Istanbul next month. It would show them that Iran is capable of generating a war situation in the Middle East without risk of a confrontation with the United States.
The Assad regime would typically use the Gaza Strip violence to turn the glare of international and Arab publicity away from its savage crackdown on the opposition and show the Israeli military to be the real persecutors of Arab civilians.
Gen. Muwafis queries have brought no responses from the Palestinian side and so it is hard for the American and Egyptian mediators to judge which way the wind is blowing in Damascus and Tehran.
Amid the uncertainty about the players behind the Gaza violence and their motives, DEBKAfiles military sources foresee a Palestinian war of attrition stretching out into the next couple of months. Unless halted by a ceasefire, it could escalate sharply if Jihad introduces Fajr missiles to its operations and./or if Israel decides to send its army into the Gaza Strip and finally root out the missile threat Palestinian extremists have been wielding against Israeli civilians for a decade.
Over 100 rockets and mortar shells fall on Israel since Friday; school canceled in all towns between 7-40 km from Gazoo Strip; 16 Paleostinians killed in IDF responses; Barak expects several days of violence.
Over 100 rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel from the Gazoo Strip over the weekend and 16 Paleostinians were killed after violence broke out Friday following Israel's assassination of a top terrorist.
Rockets maimed eight people on Friday evening. In the Eshkol region, a 40-year-old man was maimed by shrapnel, a second man was moderately maimed by shrapnel in his stomach, and a third was lightly injured..
The IDF Home Front Command along with the heads of a number of local authorities in the South decided on Saturday night to cancel school in all towns and cities located between 7 km. and 40 km. of the Gazoo Strip.
Due to the decision, approximately 200,000 children will stay home on Sunday. The ban applies to Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheba, Netivot, Sderot, Kiryat Malachi, Gedera, Rahat, Yavne, Lakiya and the Gan Yavne Regional Council.
The IAF successfully struck 10 terrorist cells as they were planning to fire rockets into Israel as well as eight other targets throughout Gazoo. All of the dead were known terrorists, the IDF said.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak predicted that the round of violence would last another couple of days.
Schools in the western Negev that are within 7 km. of the Gazoo Strip will hold class as usual, as they have the necessary reinforcement to protect against rockets, the Home Front Command said.
The violence started on Friday afternoon when Israel Air Force craft bombed a car in Gazoo, killing Zuhair Qaisi, the leader of the Popular Resistance Committees, and another top terrorist in the organization who was recently released in the Gilad Schalit prisoner exchange.
The IDF said it decided to bomb Qaisi's car due to intelligence that he was plotting a large terrorist attack along the border with Egypt, similar to the one the PRC carried out last August that killed eight Israelis. The IDF decided on Friday to close Route 12 -- which runs along the border with Egypt -- due to fears that the planned attack might still take place.
While most of the rockets fired from Gazoo were shortrange Kassams, some were long-range Grad-model Katyushas that succeeded in hitting 40 km. from the Gazoo Strip. The short-range rockets were mostly fired by the PRC and the long-range rockets by Islamic Jihad ...created after many members of the Egyptian Moslem Brotherhood decided the organization was becoming too moderate. Operations were conducted out of Egypt until 1981 when the group was exiled after the liquidation of President Anwar Sadat. They worked out of Gaza until they were exiled to Lebanon in 1987, where they clove tightly to Hezbollah. In 1989 they moved to Damascus, where they remain a subsidiary of Hezbollah... The three Iron Dome batteries deployed in Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beersheba succeeded in interpreting 27 rockets fired from Gazoo out of 30 that they tried to shoot down, marking a record-high interception rate of 90 percent.
The IAF successfully struck 10 terrorist cells as they were planning to fire rockets into Israel as well as eight other targets throughout Gazoo. All of the dead were known terrorists, the IDF said.
Touring an Iron Dome battery on Saturday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak predicted that the round of violence would last another couple of days.
"We will not allow people to attack Israeli citizens," Barak said. "We will take action against anyone who tries to launch a rocket or an attack and they will pay a price. No one has immunity."
The flareup in Gazoo is the worst since October. The escalating violence drew appeals for a cease-fire from the European Union ...the successor to the Holy Roman Empire, only without the Hapsburgs and the nifty uniforms and the dancing... , the West Bankbased Paleostinian Authority and Egypt. IDF sources said that Israel was in constant touch with Egypt.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton expressed concern ...meaning the brow was mildly wrinkled, the eyebrows drawn slightly together, and a thoughtful expression assumed, not that anything was actually done or indeed that any thought was actually expended... . "I urge all sides to reestablish calm," she said in a statement.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Muhammad Kamal Amr told state news agency MENA that his government was "making crucial calls for an immediate end to this Israeli escalation, to end bloodshed of our brothers."
Hamas, always the voice of sweet reason,front manSami Abu Zuhri ...a senior front man for Hamas. Zuhri gained notoriety in 2006 when he dropped his money belt containing somewhere between 640,000 and 900,000 euros, which was confiscated by Paleostinian security and customs officials at a routine border crossing from Egypt to Gazoo. The news brought competing Hamas and Fatah forces to the crossing checkpoint for an epic face-making and hollering contest... called for Egyptian aid, saying Gazoo was "sinking in darkness and in blood."
In the Gazoo Strip, thousands attended funerals for the dead gunnies on Saturday, listening to speeches calling for Dire Revenge.
Gazoo officials said Israeli troops opened fire on mourners at a burial for an Islamic Jihad gunman attended by hundreds at a cemetery near the Israeli frontier fence, wounding four. The IDF did not have an immediate comment on the incident.
Nabil Abu Rdainah, a front man for PA President the ineffectual Mahmoud Abbas ... a graduate of the prestigious unaccredited Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow with a doctorate in Holocaust Denial... , blamed Israel for the violence and called for Western pressure to halt it.
"This Israeli escalation in Gazoo is completely condemned and we urge the world community, and the Quartet ... The Quartet are the UN (xylophone), the United States (alto), the European Union (soprano), and Russia (shortstop). The group was established in Madrid in 2002 by former Spanish Prime Minister Aznar, as a result of the escalating conflict in the Middle East. Tony Blair is the Quartet's current Special Envoy.... [of Middle East power brokers], especially the United States, to put enough pressure on the Israeli government to stop this escalation," Rdainah told Rooters Television.
An IDF front man said that the IAF has hit a weapons storage facility in the Gazoo Strip. The strike came in response to rockets fired from Gazoo. According to the statement, the target was hit directly.
"Hamas, which uses the other groups to carry out acts of terror against the State of Israel, will be held responsible for any future operation that the IDF choose to launch in order to eliminate the threat of terror and restore relative calm to the region," the IDF added.
The IDF finally gets a field day for testing the Iron Dome system under real batlefield conditions.
not to trifle with the nice target practice the IAF gets.
Both very useful in preparation for the upcoming war in the ME.
Posted by: Elder of Zion ||
I like how the strike occurred right after Bibi came to visit the USA.
My question is whether Zuhair Qaisi was the Iranians guy in Gaza, and thisis all about taking Iranian sponsored cells out. A major FU to the Iranian intelligence service.
Then, to top it off, an excellent counter missile demonstration by Iron Dome. That should bring in some sales.
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli warplanes continued to strike several targets across the Gazoo Strip overnight and early Saturday morning for the second day bringing the corpse count to 12, and injuries to 20.
Islamic Jihad ...created after many members of the Egyptian Moslem Brotherhood decided the organization was becoming too moderate. Operations were conducted out of Egypt until 1981 when the group was exiled after the liquidation of President Anwar Sadat. They worked out of Gaza until they were exiled to Lebanon in 1987, where they clove tightly to Hezbollah. In 1989 they moved to Damascus, where they remain a subsidiary of Hezbollah... 's military wing the Al-Quds Brigades said in a statement that 10 of their fighters were killed since Friday. It said the group launched 41 Grad missiles, 20 homemade projectiles, six mortar shells, and three 107-mm rockets at Israeli targets.
So then the rest of the 100 thingies launched at Israel must have been put up in the air by the PRC. See? Math isn't so hard.
A Ma'an news hound identified the 12 dead as Muhammad al-Ghamry, Fayiq Saad, Muatasim Hajjaj, Ubeid Gharabli, Muhammad Hararah, Hazim Qureiqi, Shadi Sayqali, Zuheir al-Qaysi, Mahmoud Hanani, Muhammad Maghari, Mahmoud Najim, and Ahmad Hajjaj.
Medical sources, meanwhile, said 26-year-old Muhammad al-Ghamry succumbed to wounds he sustained Saturday morning as Israeli warplanes targeted a car on Salah Ad-Din Street off the coast in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gazoo Strip.
They said Islamic Jihad operatives Ahmad Hajjaj, Fayiq Saad, and Muatasim Hajjaj were targeted by fighter jets early Saturday as they were walking near the building of the Paleostinian Legislative Council in the Shujaiyyah neighborhood in Gazoo City. Fayiq Saad and Muatasim Hajjaj were killed immediately, while Ahmad Hajjaj sustained mortal wounds and was pronounced dead shortly after he was evacuated.
In Beit Lahiya in the northern Gazoo Strip, an Israeli Arclight airstrike killed Muhammad Maghari and Mahmoud Najim on Hutayba street early Saturday.
Another Israeli raid injured four Paleostinians from the same family as a rocket hit a basement on Yarmouk Street in Gazoo City, according to medical sources.
Warplanes also targeted a military base used by Hamas, always the voice of sweet reason,' military wing the al-Qassam Brigades in western Gazoo City. The base was hit twice. No injuries have been reported, however, the attack resulted in power cuts in several neighborhoods.
Another Arclight airstrike hit a security base west of Rafah in the southern Gazoo Strip.
Israel's military says over 45 rockets have struck sites in the south, injuring four people, one severely, one moderately and two lightly.
It's "Iron Dome" missile defense system has intercepted over 10 Grad rockets ...Soviet-developed 122-mm rockets, usually launched from trucks. Newer versions are reported to have a range of up to 30 km.... which the army says which were fired at the cities of Beer Sheva, Ashdod and Ashkelon.
Israel said its aircraft targeted two weapon manufacturing facilities and two rocket launching sites in northern Gazoo, a weapon manufacturing facility in central Gazoo and a "terror activity site" in southern Gazoo.
Aircraft targeted a fighter in central Gazoo and six additional squads who were in the final stages of preparing to fire rockets at Israel from separate locations in northern and central Gazoo, the army said.
Israel used to have a clear policy of killing 10 Paleos for every Israeli the Paleos killed. They need to expand on this policy about the use of rockets. For every rocket the Paleos send, Israel should respond with 10 rockets.
I personally would prefer that they give training to 105mm Howitzer gunners at a rate of 10 to 1.
They could even give the Paleos a freebie every now and then, firing a smoke barrage instead of HE, just to keep them on their toes.
Why not 155mm howitzers ? ( we dont have 105 mm any more).
I used to serve in a 175mm mobile guns unit, these shells were real whoppers. Unfortunately the IDF does not have them any more.
Posted by: Elder of Zion ||
Some of the comments at the article are... disturbing.
But not unexpected considering the article itself.
I just sort of have a soft spot for 105mm Howitzers, and it sort of seems right for plinking into Gaza. For example, get a few, used, and issue them and a hundred rounds out to Sderot, and anyone else pestered by Gazan rockets.
Officially, they could say that they were trying to "shoot down" the incoming rockets, so it's not their fault that misses cause damage where they land.
The Israel Air Force's Iron Dome counter rocket defense system intercepted 27 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip over the weekend, raising the interception rate from 75 percent last year to over 90%.
Israel currently has three Iron Dome batteries in operation -- in Ashkelon, Ashdod and Beersheba - and plans to deploy the fourth in the coming months. Its plan is to deploy a total of nine batteries by mid-2013.
The battery in Ashdod intercepted 11 rockets out of 13 fired into the city; the battery in Ashkelon intercepted one rocket and purposely did not intercept four others since they were heading to open fields; and the battery in Beersheba intercepted 15 and allowed two others to land in open fields. The radar enables Iron Dome operators to predict the landing site of the enemy rocket and decide not to intercept it if it is slated to fall in an open field. Each interceptor costs around $50,000 and usually two are fired at rockets slated for interception.
I would rather like to see a "counter battery" system where as soon as the missile launch is detected, a return missile is launched in the general direction of the launch location.
The inbound missile's trajectory is calculated back to its origination point and this location is loaded in the return missile while it is in flight. You should be able to put return fire on the originating locations within seconds of firing a missile at Israel.
If the return missile never gets a good target load, it self-destructs.
The point is to make the shooter pay a consequence for their action. With Iron Dome as it is today, the shooter wins with every round they fire. They do $100,000 worth of "damage" to the economy of Israel for every $100 they spend with no direct consequence to themselves.
27 rockets intercepted over the weekend means the Gazoos spent $2.7 thousand and Israel $2.7 million. A few more "successes" like that for Israel and the country goes broke.
X-patch's calculations leave out two important things:
1) the cost of damage that paleo-rockets would do if they were NOT intercepted. I would also factor in the cost of induced terror from a successful missile strike.
2) the Paleos have recently upgunned and are launching heavier, more effective ordinance than their previous pitiful but still annoying bottle rockets.
Terror has always been a cheap way to wage unconventional war, but it is not without it's own unique costs as a glance at the Gaza-related topics here at the Burg shows. CIA World Factbook puts the Israeli economy at 235 billion. I suspect the Paleos will run out of Gaza before the Israelis run out of money.
As these rockets are unguided, any damage they might do is pretty much random. They can only fire a missile in the general direction of a town, they can't target a specific building. MOST of them do very little if any actual damage and what is done is MOSTLY superficial cosmetic damage costing much less than $50,000 to repair.
It is a political / psychological thing. It makes the political leadership appear to be "doing something" about it. But what they are doing about it really means that the missiles will keep up forever.
What I would rather see is Israel announce that for every missing that flies from Gazoo, 100 of the same type ... cheap unguided rockets hitting pretty much at random ... will fly back.
27 rockets at Israel, 2700 rockets back.
Announce the policy in advance, don't do it in secret. Once they have to pay in spades for what they dish out, it will probably stop after only a few such return volleys. Return fire should happen in seconds of the launch of a rocket from Gazoo. People should get a clear realization that a rocket going out is going to result in a hundred coming in.
Right now the terrorists in Gaza and the population that supports them pay no consequence for their actions. Israel takes out some high level commander so some organization pays some kind of price, but the people of Gaza don't pay the sort of price the people if Israel do.
[An Nahar] Five people were maimed on Saturday when festivities broke out on Saturday between security forces and students from the Phalange Party The Kataeb (Phalange) party was founded by Pierre Gemayel in 1936, who modeled the party after Spanish and Italian Fascist parties he had observed as an Olympic athlete during the 1936 Summer Olympics held in Berlin, then Nazi Germany. The movement's uniforms originally included brown shirts and members used the Nazi salute. Despite the party's uniform, its strong sense of nationalism and dedication to a single charismatic leader, the Lebanese Kataeb was not and never became a fascist party nor did it espouse a totalitarian ideology. and National Liberal Party, reported Voice of Leb radio.
The students were protesting the new official history book that is being prepared to be taught at schools throughout Leb.
Phalange Party MP Sami Gemayel condemned to MTV "the brutality against a peaceful student demonstration."
The demonstration began from the Phalange Party headquarters in downtown Beirut and made its way to the Grand Serail, also in downtown.
As they reached Bank Street, security forces prevented them from reaching their final destination.
A scuffle ensued and five people, including security forces, were maimed in the incident, said VDL.
It explained that the festivities broke out when the security forces thwarted the demonstrators from driving a car towards the Grand Serail.
It later reported that the demonstrators returned to the Phalange headquarters to meet with party leaderships to take a position from the day's developments.
Phalange politburo member Albert Kostanian later told LBC television that the demonstrators were protesting peacefully, accusing the security forces of assaulting the students for no reason.
"It is well-known that the Phalange Party is very disciplined, but the state rejects freedom of expression," he added.
Gemayel said: "This is only the beginning and a lot more protests will take place in the future over this issue."
"We hoped that the students would have been left alone to demonstrate peacefully," he added.
"We hold the executive authority responsible for the assault," continued the MP.
Gemayel had criticized recently the new history book, deeming its selective and subjective in recounting historic events.
Prime Minister Najib Miqati followed up on Saturday the incident.
Miqati telephoned Interior Minister Marwan Charbel and inquired about the festivities, he also contacted MP Gemayel expressing regret over what happened.
The premier and Gemayel agreed on sending a delegation from the Phalange Party The Kataeb (Phalange) party was founded by Pierre Gemayel in 1936, who modeled the party after Spanish and Italian Fascist parties he had observed as an Olympic athlete during the 1936 Summer Olympics held in Berlin, then Nazi Germany. The movement's uniforms originally included brown shirts and members used the Nazi salute. Despite the party's uniform, its strong sense of nationalism and dedication to a single charismatic leader, the Lebanese Kataeb was not and never became a fascist party nor did it espouse a totalitarian ideology. to state their demands regarding the new History book.
For its part, Free Patriotic Movement Despite its name a Christian party allied with Hizbullah, neither free nor particularly patriotic... students department issued a statement condemning the incident.
The statement stressed that "the new History book will not be approved as FPM leader MP Michel Aoun ...a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hizbullah... promised."
UN envoy Kofi Annan Former Secretary General of the UN, father and benefactor of Kojo...
met with Syrian Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad The Scourge of Hama... on Saturday in Damascus ...Home to a staggering array of terrorist organizations... during a high-profile international mission to mediate an end to the country's yearlong conflict, even as activists reported fresh shelling by regime forces that sent families fleeing for safety in the northern province of Idlib. Thick black smoke billowed over the area.
The state-run news agency ...and if you can't believe the state-run news agency who can you believe?... SANA reported that talks between Assad and Annan had begun but there were no further details on the meeting, aimed at a halting violence that began with crackdowns on mostly peaceful protests but appears to be transforming into a civil war.
The Britannia-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the government was shelling the Idlib region after tanks moved toward the area in recent days.
There was no independent confirmation, but smoke rose into the sky behind some apartment buildings, according to an News Agency that Dare Not be Named team in the area.
Some families were seen fleeing the violence, clutching their belongings, or taking shelter.
Military reinforcements have been pouring into Idlib for days, including dozens of tanks and armored personnel carriers, activists said. There have been concerns Idlib would be the focus of an offensive following the government recapture of the rebel-held district of Baba Amr in Homs after a bloody, monthlong siege.
The latest diplomatic mission to end the Syrian crisis has faced stumbling blocks even before it began, as the opposition rejected Annan's calls for dialogue with Assad's regime Friday as pointless and out of touch after a year of bloodshed.
The dispute exposes the widening gap between opposition leaders who say only military aid can stop President Bashir al-Assad's regime, and Western powers who fear more weapons will exacerbate the conflict.
Annan's visit marks a new international push for peace nearly a year after protesters erupted into the streets to demand Assad's ouster, inspired by Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.
Since then, the regime has dispatched snipers, tanks and civilian gunnies to crush dissent.
He continues to contribute, but frankly, is operating outside of his comfort zone. Internatinal politics and global confilct are bereft of challenge and a bore to him. His real love and expertise is found in lunar modeling and differential equations.
His manager rates him a 90 on potential, but a mere 50 on execution of his current project. A lateral transfer is recommended, preferably a project of a more technical nature with less intensive interaction required.
I don't know if that's what you had in mind, Besoeker, but it sounded like a management rating to me.
[An Nahar] Syrian troops stormed the rebel stronghold of Idlib on Saturday after shelling the city for several days, confirming fears of an assault after another rebel redoubt was overrun last week, monitors said.
The attack came as peace envoy Kofi Annan was in Damascus ...Capital of the last remaining Baathist regime in the world... seeking an end to a year-long crackdown on dissent that has cost an estimated more than 8,500 lives, holding "positive" talks with Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Oppressor of the Syrians and the Lebs...
"Troop carriers entered the city of Idlib as festivities raged" between the army and rebels, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, Rami Abdel Rahman, told Agence La Belle France Presse.
The army heavily shelled Idlib before sweeping into the city, where 15 non-combatants were killed, Abdel Rahman said, adding that dozens were maimed and 150 locked away by regime forces.
Earlier, he said 16 rebels were killed in an army ambush as they headed for Idlib and that four regime soldiers died in a separate incident in the province.
The Observatory said 62 persons -- mostly soldiers and rebels -- were killed across Syria, 55 of them in Idlib province.
Local activist Milad Fadl said Saturday's "bombardment began at 5 am (03:00 GMT). The shelling is very, very heavy."
Abdel Rahman said "it's the heaviest bombardment since troop reinforcements were sent to Idlib earlier this week."
Regime forces have been massing around the city for days to root out rebel Free Syrian Army fighters who are entrenched in the province of the same name.
On Friday, armored units surrounded the hilly district of Jabal al-Zawiya in the province, stormed one village and attacked others, reportedly killing scores of people.
Abdel Rahman said the army was hunting down rebels because "the largest number of deserters is in Jabal al-Zawiya."
Activists had expressed fear that Idlib could suffer the same fate as the Homs neighborhood of Baba Amr, which was stormed by government troops on March 1 after a month of shelling and in which an estimated 700 people died.
Just hours before the assault, President Bashir al-Assad promised Annan that he would back any "honest" peace bid but warned dialogue would fail if "terrorist groups" remained.
And in Cairo, Russian and Arab foreign ministers called for an end to the violence "whatever its source."
Syrian state television ... and if you can't believe state television who can you believe?
said there was a "positive atmosphere" to the meeting between Assad and the former U.N. chief, on his first visit since being named United Nations ...aka the Oyster Bay Chowder and Marching Society... -Arab League ...an organization of Arabic-speaking states with 22 member countries and four observers. The League tries to achieve Arab consensus on issues, which usually leaves them doing nothing but a bit of grimacing and mustache cursing... envoy on the conflict.
"Syria is ready to bring success to any honest bid to find a solution," the official SANA news agency quoted Assad as telling Annan.
But "no dialogue or political process can succeed as long as there are terrorist groups that are working to sow chaos and destabilize the country by attacking civilians and soldiers," he added.
A U.N. statement said Annan had expressed "grave concern" to Assad over the crackdown and "urged the president to take concrete steps to end the current crisis."
The former U.N. secretary general "put several proposals on the table regarding stopping the violence and the killing, access for humanitarian agencies and the ICRC, release of detainees and the start of an inclusive political dialogue," said a U.N. statement.
It gave no details, but said Annan, who will meet Assad again on Sunday, had described his first talks as "candid and comprehensive."
Annan has the support of Damascus allies Beijing and Moscow and his mission has been welcomed by both the Syrian government and the opposition.
Hama - sandwiched between Idlib in the north and Homs in the south - with over 4x the population of Idlib, and the traditional home base of the Muslim Brothers, is the real stronghold. It's possible that the Syrian government is trying to cut off reinforcements and supplies from Idlib, just before government troops storm Hama. I would expect a vigorous defense of Idlib by the rebels, with reinforcements coming from both Aleppo and Hama.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.