KABUL - President Hamid Karzai has handed intelligence to Pakistan that indicates Mullah Mohammed Omar, supreme leader of the Taleban regime ousted by US-led forces, and key associates are hiding in Pakistan, a senior Afghan official said on Friday. The intelligence was shared during a visit by Karzai to Islamabad last week, and comes after a wave of suicide attacks that have fueled Afghan suspicions that militants are operating out of Pakistan. Afghanistan also provided information about the locations of alleged terrorist training camps along the border and in Pakistani cities, said the official, who is familiar with the information shared with Pakistan. He declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Omar has been at large since the Taleban was ousted by US-led forces in late 2001 for sheltering Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The US government has offered a US$10 million reward for information leading to Omars capture. Pakistan denies offering a haven for Taleban leaders or fighters.
"Nope, not us, wouldn't do it now, nope, nope."
Earlier this week, Pakistans interior minister, Aftab Khan Sherpao, confirmed that Afghanistan had handed over information about Taleban suspects. On Friday, he declined comment. He said, however, that Pakistan would capture them if they are here.
"We're a big country. They might be here. They might be elsewhere."
We have passed on the intelligence that we have about Mullah Omar and a number of his close associates to Pakistan, said the Afghan official. The intelligence is about those members of the Taleban leadership who we believe are in Pakistan. The official said other suspects believed to be in Pakistan included Mullah Dadullah, the Talebans head of operations in southern Afghanistan; and Ahktar Mohammed Usmani, a former commander in Kandahar. The official refused to give details about where in Pakistan they were thought to be hiding.
Not that it matters, the Paks aren't going to do anything about it anyway.
A Pakistani intelligence official said that during his visit, Karzai had mentioned that Omar could also be hiding somewhere in Pakistan as he keeps changing his location along the border. But he said Karzai gave no details on Omars whereabouts. A senior Pakistani Interior Ministry official said it was easy to make the allegation, but asked, Do they have any evidence?
"Because if so, we need to move these guys fast!"
Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah told The Associated Press that Afghanistan had shared with Pakistan whatever we considered was credible intelligence. They promised they would look into it. He declined to give details, other than that the information included the presence of Taleban leaders, the presence of training camps and other security-related issues. A senior Afghan counterterrorism official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because of the issues sensitivity, said Afghanistan had given Pakistan information about 150 suspects, including senior and second-tier Taleban commanders. A lot of Taleban are living in Quetta, Peshawar and Karachi, he said, referring to three major Pakistani cities. He said Afghanistan gave specific information to Pakistan, including some addresses.
How 'bout just giving the info to us and letting us take care of it?
EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) - A suspected militant has confessed to a role in planning deadly bombings in three tourist resorts in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, prosecutors said Saturday. Osama Abdel-Ghani el-Nakhlawi, who was arrested in September, told interrogators that he participated in planning and making preparations for October 2004 bombings at the resorts of Taba and Ras Shitan as well as a July attack in Sharm el-Sheik, the prosecutors told the court at the trial of two other suspects in the Taba attack.
El-Nakhlawi will be brought in as a third defendant in the trial, joining defendants Mohammed Gayez Sabbah and Mohammed Abdullah Rabaa, the prosecution said. The trial, before an emergency court, is the first in connection with the Oct. 7 car bombings in Taba on the Israeli-Egyptian border, in which 34 people were killed.
Egyptian security officials have long said the Taba blast was connected to the July 23 suicide bombings in Sharm el-Sheik, which killed at least 64 people. The two attacks prompted massive sweeps in the mountainous deserts of the Sinai Peninsula. Prosecutors said they would present new evidence in the trial based on testimony from 19 other suspects arrested in the wake of the Sharm attacks, some of whom prosecutors said have since confessed to helping hide militants behind the Taba bombings.
The trial, which began last year, was adjourned until March 25. Sabbah and Rabaa have pleaded not guilty on a number of terror-related charges.
DUBAI, Feb 25 (KUNA) -- UAE's Emaar Properties announced Saturday formation of an authority of Fatwa, tasked with monitoring the company's operations to see if they were compatible with Islamic Sharia.
The Fatwa Authority consists of four members: Dr. Hussein Hamed Hassan, Dr. Ajeel Jassem Al-Nashmi, Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Atram and Dr. Mohammad Abdulhakeem Zuair.
Emaar chairman Mohammad Al-Abbar said in a statement the formation of the Fatwa authority was to meet future challenges as part of the company's booming business in and outside the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This move, he added, would have a good impact on Emaar's reputation. Emaar will be compelled to abide by the authority's decisions. The Authority will be reviewed and approving financial agreements and to give religious opinion about services and products of Emaar.
I was reading LGF and he says that it is 21 ports, not 6 that are at stake here.
I don't know if this article was posted on rantburg previously, but I found this article about the UAE stunning. clark tipps of bin laden
Not because of this article.... I'm just posting it because its comment about Clark floored me...but I've changed my mind and decided I'm against this deal. Just a gut feeling. The only reason I was for it in the first place is because when the Dems start releasing press releases and use an issue to bash Bush, they are on the wrong side of right. I can't think of much they have been on the right side of in my life time. But even a broken clock can be right twice a day. I'm sure if they realize it really is a bad deal for America they will support it soon enough.
Don't bother to tell me why this is a good deal. It's just a gut reaction, and I trust my gut. So I don't want to be bothered with the facts. UAE isn't important enough in my mind to take the risk, no matter how small or right the cause.
These ass clowns are classic double dealers and money changers. Unfortunately, the Bush family thinks they can stay one step ahead of these jackals. Not hardly. Just another target for vaporization.
MI5 is facing an internal revolt by officers alarmed about intelligence failures and the lack of resources to fight Islamic terrorism.
To illustrate their concern, agents have leaked more topsecret documents to The Sunday Times because they want a public inquiry into the missed intelligence leading up to the July attacks in London.
They believe ministers have withheld information from the public about what the security services knew about the suspects before the bombing of July 7 and the abortive attacks of July 21.
The documents include an admission by John Scarlett, head of SIS, the secret intelligence service (also known as MI6), that one of the July 21 suspects was tracked on a trip to Pakistan just months before the attempted bombings.
Until now it was not known that any of the July 21 suspects, who are awaiting trial, were familiar to the intelligence services. It has been disclosed that MI5 had placed two of the July 7 bombers under surveillance before their attack, but judged them not to be a threat.
The new documents show that MI5, which is responsible for national security, allowed the July 21 suspect to travel to Pakistan after he was detained and interviewed at a British airport. Once in Pakistan he was monitored by SIS, which gathers intelligence overseas.
MI5 then conducted what the leaked memo says was a low-level short-term investigation into the suspect, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
It stopped monitoring him because it said the Pakistani authorities assessed that he was doing nothing of significance.
Scarlett revealed details of the operation to the parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC) last November. The committee, comprising MPs and peers picked by Tony Blair, is conducting a secret inquiry into the lessons learnt from the July attacks. It is due to be completed in April.
The Scarlett memo marked top secret was leaked by the dissident officers who want a public inquiry similar to that undertaken in America after the 9/11 attacks.
They believe it would highlight the need for MI5 and SIS to be given more resources to deal with Al-Qaeda. They are critical of Blair, who has ruled out an inquiry saying it would distract the security services from fighting terrorism.
The leaked memo refers to Scarlett as C the traditional codename for the head of SIS. It states: On the events of July itself, and the question of whether intelligence was missed, C noted that SIS had previously been involved in an earlier investigation of one of the July 21 (suspects) in Pakistan.
This had been at the Security Service (MI5)s behest and should be discussed with MI5.
Another document, MI5s November 2005 memo The July Bombings and the Agencies Response, has also been shown to The Sunday Times.
It names the suspect who was the subject of the 2004 investigation and shifts responsibility for the decision to stop monitoring him to the Pakistani intelligence authorities.
(The suspect) had been the subject of a low-level short-term investigation concerning a visit he made to Pakistan after he was interviewed on departure from the UK, it states.
However, the Pakistani authorities assessed that he was doing nothing of significance in a terrorist context.
The assessment echoes a decision by MI5 to halt surveillance on two of the July 7 bombers 16 months before the attacks. Both were filmed and taped by MI5 agents as they met two men allegedly plotting to carry out a terrorist attack in England.
After making what an official called a quick assessment, MI5 concluded Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer were not immediate threats. As the MI5 memo puts it: Intelligence at the time suggested Khans purpose was financial crime rather than terrorist activity.
David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: These leaks show that the need for an independent inquiry is incontrovertible.
There is a growing consensus in Whitehall that the intelligence services will be seen to have made critical errors in failing to assess adequately the threat from at least three of the July suspects.
Scarlett conceded to the ISC that his agency had reacted too slowly. Summing up the position before July 2005, C noted SIS were conscious of the size of the target, but equally conscious of what we did not know; we were thinly spread in North and East Africa; we were looking at new ways of increasing our reach; and we had sought funding to grow as fast as we thought feasible.
Turning to the lessons learnt, C noted that SIS had understood the nature of the threat and that there was a great deal that we did not know. SIS had developed strategies to meet this threat.
The attacks had shown that our strategies were correct, but needed to be implemented more extensively and more quickly, the memo noted.
Scarlett said that even before the attacks, SIS had planned to expand overseas. C concluded by explaining how post-July SIS were speeding up implementation of the pre-July strategy. He said the agency did not want more money for staff.
The dissident officers believe the buck-passing revealed in the memos demonstrates that there should be closer co-operation between the agencies.
They support calls for a unified department of homeland security, along the lines suggested by Gordon Brown, the chancellor, this month.
Efforts are under way to stage a counterprotest to Cindy Sheehans planned March 11 demonstration outside Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and Ramstein Air Base.
Sheehan, who is the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq and who protested the war last summer outside President Bushs Texas ranch, is scheduled to participate in a daylong war protest.
Stefan Prystawik, a German writer in Bonn, is working to stage a counterprotest. On his Web site, at www.stefan-prystawik.de, Prystawik characterizes Sheehan as the great-great grandmother of all Bush haters.
Sheehans planned protest is highly inappropriate, and her complaints are very much an internal U.S. matter, Prystawik said.
First of all, its completely inappropriate to instrumentalize the troops here particularly, and above all, those who have suffered severe injuries and are at the hospital, he said. They are coming here with an attitude to deliberately demoralize troops who just got back or are going to go back [to Iraq].
Also Friday, organizers of Sheehans protest said that they had obtained permission from German officials in Landstuhl and Ramstein to have their demonstration March 11.
On that morning, a press conference will take place in a Protestant parish hall in Landstuhl. After the press conference, Sheehan is scheduled to share her views, said Detlev Besier, a Protestant pastor in Landstuhl and an event organizer.
It is still possible that the group may try to take gifts and baked goods to troops in Landstuhl, the U.S. military hospital where wounded troops are treated before being flown from Ramstein to the United States.
After a break for lunch, protesters will walk from Landstuhl to a parking lot outside Ramsteins west gate where a Camp Casey will be set up to pay tribute to those who have died in the Iraq war.
Sheehans son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004.
Besier said his group does not like the high emotions stirred by news of Sheehans visit.
We want to bring the emotion down, he said.
We dont want to have emotional conflict. Its not our aim to come too close to somebody. We want to have discussion, and we know Cindy Sheehan wants to open the minds of mothers who have sons, children around the world. "It's not like we care. It's just politics."
I know that highway quite well. There's a fence on the left (as you head toward the gate) that is the fence around Ramstein AB. There's ANOTHER fence on the right that's around an ammunition storage area. Both are guarded by the Bundeswehr, the German Army. Anybody messing with either fence will find themselves ventilated by a 7.62 HV round VERY quickly.
The road's beautiful! Tall trees rise on both sides, and it's straight for almost 90% of the way. I'm sure there will be armored cars at both sides of the rail line into the airbase, and another one or two at the one side road. I'm sure Cindy will be quite surprised at how COLD it can get in March in that part of Germany. I've got a friend at Ramstein - I'll ask her if there's any snow on the ground.
Cindy Sheehan is an arrogant moron. I hope she finds out just how unpopular she is, not only to the American GIs, but to the people of Rheinland-Pfalz.
Posted by: Old Patriot ||
02/26/2006 22:15 Comments ||
The raucous reception by some members of Germany's 2.5 million-strong Turkish community to "Valley of the Wolves," a movie depicting crazed U.S. troops in Iraq massacring a wedding party and a Jewish doctor removing organs from prisoners, has German politicians worried so worried, Bavaria's interior minister sent intelligence service agents to theaters showing the film to "gauge" audience reaction and identify potential radicals. The $10 million dollar film, by Turkish director Serdan Akar, has already been wildly successful in Turkey, where its debut was attended by the wife of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "It is an extraordinary film that will go down in history," Turkish Parliament speaker Bulent Arinc, president of the Turkish National Assembly told the Anatolia press agency. Triumph of the Will went down in history, too.
But that's not the way German officials see it. Edmund Stoiber, Bavaria's conservative prime minister, asked theater owners to not show "this racist and anti-Western hate film." Bernd Neumann, Germany's expressed concern that the film "raises serious questions about the values of our society and our ability to instill them". This week, Cinemaxx, Germany's largest theater chain, announced the movie would be pulled from its offerings. "These kinds of hate messages aren't what we need in a society filled with immigrants and mixed ethnic and religious groups," said Michael Kohlstruck, a political scientist at Berlin's Technical University. "All it takes is a few people mobilized by the film to become a danger by carrying out attacks."
The movie, which began showings in Germany three weeks ago, has played to sold out audiences since. Over 130,000 people, mostly young Muslims, saw the film in its first five days. The London Telegraph reports Berlin audiences, made up mostly of Turkish young men, clapping furiously when the building housing the U.S. military commander in northern Iraq is blown up and a standing ovation accompanied by shouts of "Allah is great!" when the movie's American antagonist, played by Billy Zane, is stabbed in the chest. "The Americans always behave like this," one 18-year-old viewer said. "They slaughtered the Red Indians and killed thousands in Vietnam. I was not shocked by the film, I see this on the news every day." Someone who reads the Euro press, I see.
While the film could be dismissed as an action film in which Muslims turn the tables on Rambo, the anti-Semitic element has drawn some of the most serious criticism. The villain of the movie is an American Jewish doctor, played by Gary Busey, who selects Iraqi prisoners, in a manner reminiscent of Nazi concentration camp doctor Joseph Mengele, and removes their organs to sell to rich buyers in the U.S. and Israel. "Wolves" director Akar employed Soner Yalcin, a journalist who has popularized the Islamist notion that many of Turkey's leaders are descended from Jews, as an adviser on the film.
While some German politicians and Jewish leaders have called for a ban on the film, that seems unlikely since it is no more violent than other action films. Ahlin Sahdin, the film's distributor in Germany, sees the conflict in broader terms: "When a cartoonist insults two billion Muslims it is considered freedom of opinion, but when an action film takes on the Americans it is considered demagoguery. Something is wrong." Right. Are we supposed to start seething and perhaps burning down embassies now?
The film begins by recounting an actual event that occurred in northern Iraq in July 2003, according to the Forward, when U.S. troops arrested and held 11 Turkish soldiers who were later released. The fictional Turkish hero seeks revenge for the humiliation of his fellow Turks and sets the scene for American troops to massacre innocent guests at a wedding party, firebomb a mosque during evening prayers and conduct summary executions.
"The Americans always behave like this," one 18-year-old viewer said. "They slaughtered the Red Indians and killed thousands in Vietnam. I was not shocked by the film, I see this on the news every day."
As opposed to the oh-so-civilized and benign Turks? Just ask the Armenians.
As opposed to the oh-so-civilized and benign Turks? Just ask the Armenians.
But that's different. They were dhimmi who violated the pact.
Posted by: Robert Crawford ||
02/26/2006 21:09 Comments ||
I think it's safe to say Billy Zane and Gary Busey have no career left in Hollywood.
Both will have major motion pictures next year. Their failures will be blamed on the pig-ignorance and lack of sophistication of the American movie-goer.
Posted by: Robert Crawford ||
02/26/2006 21:11 Comments ||
It'd be nice to see a hollywood director from the 1940's come back to do a film about 9-11 and the war against jihad. where is our modern day frank capra, john houston, or alfred hitchcock? we could use a good shot in the arm, don't you thnk?
Posted by: Mark Z ||
02/26/2006 21:28 Comments ||
And when Marie-Beatrice thought about the young Jewish man tortured to death by her neighbors during 24 days of squalid captivity in the basement a few floors below her apartment, she could not stop crying.
"I try not to blame myself, but I can't avoid it," said the weary 46-year-old, wrapped in a purple bathrobe after work Friday. "It happened next door, and I can't believe it happened. I would want to tell Ilan that if we'd heard his suffering, we would have reported it. I tell myself that Ilan surely must have thought there was noise, people lived upstairs. And he hoped someone would hear. I imagine him in the boiler room, and I want to ask him to forgive me."
Marie-Beatrice sat alone with her guilt in the aging, 11-story apartment block on Prokofiev Street in this working-class immigrant enclave on the southern edge of Paris. On a table was a summons from the police, who are canvassing neighbors to have them testify about anything they witnessed during Halimi's recent ordeal.
Slow Joe Biden didn't mention this in his Fox News blather appearance
Posted by: Frank G ||
02/26/2006 11:41 Comments ||
None of the demogogues will acknowledge this, just as they have ignored other inconvenient facts in the steady trickle of info which moves the DPW buyout of the Brit firm to non-issue status. They'll just move on to the next BDS [impeachment] meme.
Instead of wasting time re-explaining the facts on these memes for the 10th100th 1000th time, I'm looking forward to when they are reduced to claiming [screeching] Bush has a secret NeoCon Halliburton Martian Love Child. Then we can enjoy the show, too. Just imagine the Giant Phallic Puppets and the "Bush Fucked! Shoulda Sucked!" T-shirts.
The Talibans former spokesman, Rahmatullah Hashemi, is now an undergraduate at Yale University here.
It was largely for his children's sake that he was pursuing an education on the other side of the earth for their future and, in some inchoate hope-filled way, for his country's future too. What he often said was that he wanted to be a bridge between the Islamic world and the West. None of the summer students in New Haven knew much about his personal circumstances; of his history they knew nothing at all. He had discussed it with the Yale admissions office, and with an administrator in the provost's office who during a dinner with him seemed concerned that he might be a spy.
He did not like to dwell on the past, much less advertise it. To avoid alarming eavesdroppers, he referred to his former compatriots as "the Tangoes." But sometimes the past had a way of finding him. At the start of the fall semester, he made his way to the Henry R. Luce Hall at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies. He had a 1 o'clock class PLSC 145, Terrorism: Past, Present and Future, with Prof. Douglas Woodwell. It was a popular new offering; hardly a seat was open. As he stood in the back hunting for a place to sit, he realized that he had been in Luce Hall before. Four years earlier. March 2001. The university saved a seat for him that afternoon, down on the stage. He was the featured speaker, a "roving ambassador" from the Islamic emirate of Afghanistan. He was 22 years old. The newspapers said 24, but he had been misrepresenting his age for a long time.
Twenty-two years old and a member of the Taliban at that moment, in fact, the very face and voice of the regime in America. Per decree, his beard was full, his head swaddled in a turban. He was dressed in an Afghan tunic and loose-fitting pants. Neither he nor anyone else in Luce Hall that day could have foreseen the catastrophe approaching or what peculiar fate was in store for him.
not so sure about the former - the Taliban were cruisin for a bruisin before 9/11
He could remember looking out at the faces of the Yale students in the audience. They were his age, his generation after a fashion they were taliban, too, talib being the Arabic word for seeker or student but they sat on the far side of an abyss, and not in his wildest dreams could he have imagined himself as one of them....
A few weeks after our visit, aching for his family, Rahmatullah hit a low point. The semester was ending. Everyone was heading home to see his family but him. He could not leave the country on his visa with any assurance of its being renewed in time for class. The future, his vague hopes of returning to Afghanistan to work in education, seemed remote. He said to Ahmed one day, "What is the meaning of life?" and answered for himself: "Family." And then out poured reasons that he should abandon his education and go home. He was neglecting his duties as a father and husband. His children were pining for him; his wife was upset. He missed his parents. And all the young minds around him were so fresh, it was daunting sometimes, people who looked as if they were hardly paying attention in class blazed through their exams. What was he really learning? When you studied political science, you were always focused on how messed up the world was. He wished he could study the stars, but as Hoover had sensibly said, "The world doesn't need an Afghan astrophysicist." He had been raised in a faith, buoyed at every turn by the certainty of a higher order, a purposeful universe, and now here in this shrine of critical thinking he was learning to doubt, not to believe.
If he was an Afghanistan educated astro-physicist, we probably wouldn't have the Taliban. They still need translaters, and it sounds like the idealogy has lost its luster, so I'd say we may have another asset in the WoT.
The Marine Corps formally entered the world of military special operations Friday by establishing a separate command devoted to small-unit tactics and stealthy reconnaissance.
It's work they've done as far back as World War II, but never before as part of the U.S. Special Operations Command. The change means battalions of Marines will be focused on special ops work just as Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets and Rangers are.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made the change official after arriving at Camp Lejeune aboard an Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. He said special ops Marines will help "seek new and innovative ways to take the fight to the enemy."
Demand for highly trained special operations forces has increased as the U.S. war against terrorists continues.
"We face a ruthless enemy that lurks in shadows," Rumsfeld said. "It has become vital the Department of Defense and armed forces arrange ourselves in new and unconventional ways to succeed in meeting the peril of our age."
The Marines plan to establish their first special operations company in May and have the command fully staffed with about 2,500 troops by 2010. The command will recruit corporals, sergeants and officers with reconnaissance experience and language training.
As part of the change, the Marine anti-terrorism brigade headquartered at Lejeune will go out of business and shift some of its troops to the special operations command. The command will have combat battalions on both U.S. coasts, along with support units and schools to teach special operations skills to U.S. and foreign troops.
Units to train foreign military officers will deploy within months, Marine Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee said. A special operations company will deploy with an expeditionary unit aboard ships by the end of the year, other military officials said.
The Tampa, Fla.-based U.S. Special Operations Command will control the Marines' special forces.
Special operations will give the Marines "a role they otherwise would not be able to get, to do counterterrorism," said military analyst John Pike of Washington-based Globalsecurity.org.
"The struggle against evil doers is a growth industry and the Marines want a piece of that," Pike said. "The special operations community is getting a lot larger and they need more people."
The FBI informant who befriended a Lodi man charged with attending an Al Qaeda training camp said Thursday that the defendant took an interest in terrorist groups and spoke admiringly about jihad.
A federal prosecutor asked the informant, Naseem Khan, how defendant Hamid Hayat saw himself in relation to the Taliban, Al Qaeda and other such groups. "He never, ever considered himself American," said Khan, who was on the witness stand during the fourth day of testimony in Hayat's terrorism trial in U.S. District Court.
We don't either.
During long conversations at Hayat's home, Khan said, Hayat praised Al Qaeda, expressed support for religious governments in Pakistan and Afghanistan and talked about issues surrounding jihad.
Hayat, 23, is charged with three counts of making false statements to the FBI about attending an Al Qaeda camp in Pakistan in 2003 and with providing material support to terrorists. He faces up to 39 years in prison if convicted. His father, 48-year-old Umer Hayat, faces two counts of making false statements to the FBI about whether his son attended the camp. Both have pleaded not guilty.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Laura Ferris questioned Khan on Thursday about conversations he had with Hamid Hayat, many of which were secretly recorded and are contained in hundreds of hours of audiotape. Hayat, a U.S. citizen who has been in custody since June, listened without expressing any emotion as the man he'd considered a close friend described conversations they had had over cups of tea.
The focus of one conversation was a scrapbook Hayat had filled with newspaper articles he had collected during previous trips to Pakistan. The articles described political figures and developments in that country and Afghanistan. One photograph appeared to show a mounted machine gun that was described as a weapon of the Taliban. At one point, according to Khan, Hayat praised Al Qaeda as "a tough group," adding, "They're even smarter than the FBI, friend."
Transcripts of the conversations show Hayat eager to tell his new friend about what he learned in Pakistan and the people he met there. Khan encouraged the discussions, at one point telling Hayat, "You see, I know you're better than me when it comes to Islam. You know a lot more . That's why I respect you, and that's why I like you, because I learned a lot of good things from you."
Pentagon officials are preparing to release the names of several hundred detainees at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the first time the government will publicly link names to previously revealed information about many captives at the island prison.
The change came when the government decided this week not to appeal a federal judge's order to provide names that were redacted from documents released under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Associated Press. Although the government has previously released thousands of pages related to hearings on whether individual detainees are "enemy combatants," it has always withheld the names of the prisoners who participated in those hearings.
The names of hundreds of detainees have become public since the Supreme Court in June 2004 allowed them to file federal court cases contesting their imprisonment. Others have been identified in the media and by advocacy groups, some after they were released. But the Pentagon has refused to discuss individual detainees in its custody.
The document release could include information gleaned from International Committee of the Red Thingy Cross letters that detainees used to defend themselves in "combatant status review tribunals," meaning the names of detainees' family members could also be a part of the disclosure.
"The Department of Defense will comply with the judge's decision in this matter," Navy Lt. Cmdr. J.D. Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman, said yesterday.
Defense officials made it clear yesterday that the release will not be a roster of the approximately 490 detainees now held at Guantanamo Bay. Instead it will contain names associated with about 390 hearing transcripts. Some detainees did not participate in the hearings.
Bill Goodman, legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said yesterday that the ruling is a step in the right direction but will not quell concerns about the U.S. detention system. The center oversees federal cases filed on behalf of hundreds of the detainees in Cuba. "The government has detained prisoners without due process; lied about who these people are; concealed their treatment from the public and denied basic information to the very people who are authorized to represent the detainees," Goodman said in a written statement. "This administration prefers to operate in the shadows, but Judge Rakoff's ruling helps shine a light that can make this process more open and democratic."
They're illegal combatants; they don't have due process rights. And they laugh at our 'open and democratic' system.
The Defense Department, however, has given the ICRTC access to detainees at Guantanamo Bay, escorted news media representatives and members of Congress through the facility, and allowed international human rights officials to visit. But department officials have strictly limited contact with detainees.
Pentagon officials are preparing to release the names of several hundred detainees at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the first time the government will publicly link names to previously revealed information about many captives at the island prison.
The International Red Cross has had the name for quite a while. To maintain access, they've had to agree to end leaks of info and play by the rules. Maybe, just maybe, there's a hint there on how to treat the MSM. The CNN groveling to the Saddam regime and their cowardice over the cartoons demonstrates that's how they want to be treated.
The Indian security establishment is having a harrowing time providing support to the American personnel responsible for United States President George W Bush's security in India. The Americans make their own arrangements wherever their president travels. They have a simple dictum: Trust no one. They transfer tons of equipment, almost-science-fiction technology and highly trained manpower to protect the most powerful man in the world.
President Bush arrives on March 1. And yet, as of now, plans of his visit are almost a secret. Massive security arrangements are being made, keeping in view the threat from Osama bin Laden's terror network. Even though you would naturally expect the security concerns, the sheer scale, sophistication and budget of it boggles the mind.
Besides Air Force One -- in which the President travels -- more than a dozen aircraft will arrive in New Delhi from the US and different parts of world. More than 700 personnel -- including American security forces -- are being flown in. Some with Bush, and some even from other countries. Three presidential helicopters - which are equipped with cutting edge landing systems that help them operate in near zero visibility - have been flown in by cargo carriers in a disassembled state. They are being put together piece by piece. Indian security officials were stunned to see the packaging and the sophisticated transportation of the helicopters.
The kind of communication equipment being brought to fit into Bush's vehicle would not look out of place in a Star Wars film. A special window is being set up at Delhi airport to clear American equipment for the Bush visit. Special permissions are being given for the huge quantities of arms and ammunition being flown in by the American 'advance teams.' Bush has about eight official engagements scheduled in India. And eight special teams have been constituted to protect Bush - one for each programme.
A closely guarded strategy is being worked out for the landing of the President's aircraft. A full security drill is likely to take place at the Palam Air Force Base after February 27. On Monday, February 20, at about 10 am, two senior US embassy security officials visited the Central Hall of the Parliament carrying a sketch of the security arrangements made for Bill Clinton when he addressed a joint session six years ago. Since the Communist parties have opposed Bush's proposed address to a joint session of Parliament, the Americans didn't spend much time inside Parliament. So far, there is no confirmation of the American president's speech to Parliament. Sources said Petroleum Minister Murli Deora has been asked to cajole Communist leaders opposed to the Bush speech.
When President Bush lands in Islamabad later this week, it may be the closest he ever comes to being in the same neighborhood as Osama bin Laden. His nemesis is probably only a few hours drive away in Pakistan's Pashtun belt, now considered to be al Qaeda Central and one of the world's most dangerous regions.
During the past 12 months or so, CIA and Pentagon officials have quietly modified the line they employed for three years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks -- that bin Laden was hiding out "in the tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border." Now the same officials say with some confidence that he is "not based in Afghanistan." Whatever ambiguity there was in the past is gone: Bin Laden is in Pakistan.
What's left is the question: What are the United States and its ally, Pakistan, doing about it?
US President George W. Bush said Friday he would push Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf during an upcoming visit to Islamabad to close terrorist training camps.
On my trip to Pakistan, I will, of course, talk about the terrorist activities, the need to dismantle terrorist training camps and to protect innocent life, Bush told Doordarshan state-run television of India.
The US president had been asked about the terrorist training camps and training infrastructure in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
One of the real dangers of the terrorist movement is that theyll kill innocent people to achieve an objective. And India and president Musharraf, as well as our country, cares deeply about innocent life, Bush added.
The South Asian nuclear rivals both claim the scenic Himalayan region in its entirety but administer it in part. They have fought two of their three wars over the territory.
India accuses Pakistan of helping the insurgency in Kashmir. Pakistan denies the charge but admits extending moral, political and diplomatic support to Kashmiris waging what it terms a freedom struggle.
Bush leaves late February 28 for India, and from there will travel to Pakistan. It will be his first visit to either country.
LAHORE: Muslims around the world are in a precarious condition not because of their beliefs but because of lack of them, said former pop star Junaid Jamshed during a lecture on Youth and their Future at the College of Home Economics on Saturday.
From the picture, Junaid musta been quite a pop star ...
"Yup. Yup. We need more shariah!"
He said the controversial cartoons had been dealt with in the most shameful way. Our love for our Prophet (may his gummas heal) (PBUH) is not shown by how we react to others, but by how we act. He said such cartoons were of no consequence and what mattered was how Prophet Muhammads (may his testicular atrophy stop) (PBUH) followers behaved. Despite all slander and reprimands, he never let his fellow Muslims avenge him or raise objection, his only concern was how Muslims behaved.
Especially with swords in hand ...
Why should we assume that we love him any more than his companions (RA) did? he asked. We should act the way he would expect true Muslims to, instead of acting like barbarians.
There's a difference? Who knew?
He said there were no grey areas in religion. We conveniently blur boundaries to allow us to follow whatever we wish. He prayed for Muslims to overcome their reservations and selfish pursuits. He said the only way Muslims could prove themselves worthy of respect was by turning towards religion and giving up the constant meaningless struggle towards worldly pursuits.
And as JFM pointed out here a couple of years ago, they are prime targets for terror cell recruiters: "You've been eating the kaffir's pork, drinking his whiskey, and fornicating with his wimmin. The only way that you're getting to Jannah, by Allah, is by reading this here Quran and doing everything I, um, I mean it tells you." This is very similar to the guilt trip the "Karla's" of the 30's and 40's used to recruit well-to-do young university students for the Comintern.
Great photo montage, John. I met a psychaitrist once who told me that most of her job consisted of deprogramming people from bad memes their parents/teachers/playmates/etc filled their little minds with when children. To me, Islamic memes seem to be the most enduring and the most difficult to eradicate.
I think that it goes without saying that the older the society, the greater the degree of social control it must exert over its members. While not as old as some, Islam coupled with Arab tribal law, and now it seems Leninist terror and cell structure and Facist government, seems to constitute perhaps the most effective form of social control ever devised. The post-enlightenment memes of individualism, equality before the law, rule of law, individual property rights, etc., are penetrating every society on earth. However, they are least successful in penetrating Muslim society and Arab society stands out as especially impenetrable even in that sea of backwardness. Based on this, I feel pretty safe in concluding that Islam is the most effective form of social control ever devised. Even the Confucian (and its even more highly effective Japanese branch) and Hindu social control mechanisms have been completely unable to block the infiltration of Enlightenment memes. Another bit of evidence: fewer books have been translated into Arabic during its entire history than books translated into Spanish in just one year.
use their backwardness against them. What do we have, 30-40 yrs of oil dependence, at most? They'll be nothing but a boil to be lanced on the ass of historyt after their oil runs out. Time to play 4 corners, identify the cells, eradicate them, and develop the future fuels over a 20-30 yr span. Think short AND longterm strategy. If they can't find a monopoly on dirt, Islam is cooked
Posted by: Frank G ||
02/26/2006 16:50 Comments ||
They know that too, Frank G. That's why they lust so mightily after Europe. They're in the same situation as the Soviets were after Stalin. The leadership knew that they had one to two generations before stagnation and lack of growth killed them. Even the dissidents knew. There was a book entitled Will the Soviet Union Survive until 1984? (Also read Solzhenitsyn's Letter to the Soviet Leaders.) The Soviets had to succeed in some imperialist adventure in order to survive. Europe was the best prospect because of its proximity, industrial base, and relative pacifism.
Islam is in the same boat as the Soviets. If the sheikhs and mullahs don't conquer Europe in the time frame you identify, they're hosed as you correctly point out. Which, as much as Europe disgusts me and pisses me off, is why we can't afford to walk away from it. To use American military jargon, it is the strategic decisive point in the war against Islamism. Another NATO isn't going to be the answer, but we need to come up with the ways and means to win there.
When I exit my geo-political frame of mind, I feel sorry for the bastards. When we win this thing, the cultural implosion in Dar al Islam is going to make what happened in the former USSR look like a picnic. Some of the sheikhs and mullahs will be hurt, but most will have their Swiss bank accounts. As usual, it will be Mahmoud on the block that will bear the brunt of the pain.
all the more reason to start exposing every theiving mullah, Imam, Iranian president, et al and their financial holdings and net worth. This broadcast and net posting would have more incendiary (and I choose that term purposely) results than anything else. The faithful can be the most outraged when they are confronted with evidence they've been hosed for a decade or two of non-islamic decadence
Posted by: Frank G ||
02/26/2006 17:46 Comments ||
We could do it in 10 years or less by imposing an oil import fee to keep the price of imported oil at $50 per barrel.
it'll stay higher than that due to armed conflict in Nigeria, Venezuela (yes, you Hugo), and the temporary loss of Iran's fields
Posted by: Frank G ||
02/26/2006 18:17 Comments ||
Frank G: That's precisely the kind of thing that we need to do to win the informational aspect of this war. Ralph Peters talks a lot about going after the kleptocrats. We'd probably piss off a lot of bankers, but so what. We gotta convince the masses that it's the holy men, generals and princes that are keeping them poor, not the Joos and their American mercenaries.
NS: In principle, I think that such a tax is a good idea. In reality, I fear that our distinguished elected representatives would use the proceeds to fund social programs, pork and other guaranteeed vote getters instead of investing it in new energy sources.
LAHORE: Some 150 people have been arrested on the eve of a major protest in Lahore over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed said on Saturday. The police denied his claims.
"He's been drinking again!"
The police have arrested some 150 of our workers from mosques, madrassas and homes after raids ahead of Sundays protest rally in Lahore, he was quoted as saying by AFP. Police contested the figure and said that only seven to eight people had been detained in connection with rioting last week.
Anjum Herlad Gill and Qamar Jabbar add: However, government officials told Daily Times that the police had arrested 50 MMA activists, and had already detained 76 activists, mostly of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance before last Sundays protests. A few Jamaat Dawatul Irshad activists were among those arrested.
A drop in the bucket, but welcome all the same ...
Ahmed said todays rally in Lahore would go ahead despite a government ban on protests and that he would lead the rally. I will go out despite heavy police siege and lead the rally in person, he told reporters at the headquarters of his Jamaat-e-Islami party in Mansura.
However, the government sources said that Ahmed was under house arrest while the entry into Lahore of the other MMA heavyweight, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, had been banned for seven days. The entry of other opposition leaders, including Raja Zafarul Haq, Imran Khan, Sajid Mir and Sajjid Naqvi, has also been banned, Online reported. We will not allow them to stage a procession on any main road. They are free to hold rallies at Minar-e-Pakistan, one official said.
A senior government official told AFP that Ahmed had refused to receive his detention orders on Friday which had been pasted on a wall near the main gate of his party headquarters. If he defies the detention order of ban on rallies, police will have to arrest him, he said.
I can only hope he resists arrest ...
The Punjab government has imposed Section 144 in Lahore and vowed to crack down on any violent protestors. Twenty companies of the Rangers have been deployed in the city along with contingents of regular and reserve Punjab Police.
Police fired warning shots and used teargas against 2,000 demonstrators outside a mosque in Indian Kashmir's main city, Srinagar, yesterday, during protests at the killing of four boys in a shootout between soldiers and separatist militants last weekend.
Five protesters and two police officers were hurt in yesterday's clash. A strike called across Srinagar closed shops and businesses. Buses and cars stayed off the roads after mobs stoned vehicles. Separately, crowds protesting at the bombing of the Shia shrine in Iraq burned effigies of President George Bush and chanted: "Down with America!"
The "Alliance of Civilizations Conference," held in the Qatari capital on Saturday, issued a statement prohibiting acts of abuse against religions and called for respecting religious symbols.
Sounds good, except that it conflicts fundamentally with the concept of a free press, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and probably freedom from unreasonable search and siezure.
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, who arrived here earlier today to take part in the conference, read a statement on behalf of the conferees, expressing deep regret at the grave harm inflicted with the recently-published cartoons against Prophet Mohammed (PTUI PBUH), voiced sorrow at the victims who had fallen and damage inflicted in ensuing protests in Islamic countries.
Kofi has no concept of what "freedom" actually is. And I have zippo sympathy for the dead rioters.
The statement said participants in the conference pledged to adopt a "common strategy to prevent recurrence of the crisis of the cartoons," alluding to the caricatures that were published by some European newspapers, infuriating millions of Muslims throughout the world. The news conference was attended by the foreign ministers of Qatar, Turkey, Spain, the Secretary General of the Arab League and the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). The conference was aimed at promoting greater understanding between Muslim countries and Western societies, and was organized in response to an initiative by Turkey and Spain.
You won't promote greater understanding between Muslim countries and the civilized world by pushing for blasphemy laws.
All we have to do is give them what they want, to the letter, and everything will be fine. Short of that we're going to have to deal with this disease we call islam. Oops! gotta go, time to feed my pet pig Allah.
I'm sure they (and Koffi) made damn suse Islam had an exemption in the fine print.
Probably something along the line that practicing religion (i.e. Islam) trumps it - and since murder, rape, killing infidels, slavery, pedophilia, etc.. are all an integeral part of Islam --- Its exempt.
"The statement said participants in the conference pledged to adopt a "common strategy to prevent recurrence of the crisis of the cartoons..."
Plain talk-a prohibition on religious cartoons.
Once this "Alliance" takes the pledge from the conference and insinuates it into politcal bodies like the UN, I have a real question whether our government will take the stand it must against this prohibition.
I suspect Roberts, Scalia, Alito and Thomas could convince at least one other justice to agree that nothing the UN does trumps the first amendment. Scalia especially would love to tell the UN and Euro helpers where to put it.
Kofi has no concept of what "freedom" actually is.
Sure he does. So long as he's free to skim from the UN, collect bribes, and abuse his position, all's right with the world.
Posted by: Robert Crawford ||
02/26/2006 12:10 Comments ||
"Nothing the UN does has no bearing on the Bill of Rights, much less trumps it."
Except perhaps one thing-accommodation from our leaders, using words like "respecting others' religions". Nimble and 6, when "respecting others' religions" means oblique approval of silencing views critical of religion, instead of accomodating those critical views, we have yielded.
Perhaps the muslims should quit being hypocrites and practice what they preach by stopping the daily religious vilification of non-muslims. Also it's heartening to know Andalusia was the only non-muslim country to participate. But then I am sure the muslims would dispute my contention that Andalusia is non-muslim.
Jules, governmental cooperation and government stopping the private printing of something are two different things. While the press has self-censored, I'd bet if the Bush Administration had asked them not to print the cartoons, they would have done so before the request was finished. And the SC would stand with the press if a case was brought.
"While the press has self-censored, I'd bet if the Bush Administration had asked them not to print the cartoons, they would have done so before the request was finished. And the SC would stand with the press if a case was brought."
I agree. The left are lily-livered and deranged.
But I go further. I think the US has an obligation to ensure free speech is protected and to fill its shoes of leadership in the world on this. That Muslims' self image has been hurt in the cartoon rows is no reason for free speech to be discouraged. This self-examination in the Muslim community MUST take place, and the way it happens is likely to be "hurtful" and "disrespectful". Sadly I think Australia and Denmark are taking bolder stances for freedom and the preservation of the Western way of life than the US government is currently doing. That does not discount in any way the courage it took Bush to meet this challenge in the early days, when it was very difficult to do so, or the sacrifices and efforts of our armed forces.
I hope history will show that Bush was pulling his punch a bit in anticipation of forming another alliance to take on Iran or some such comparable action. Otherwise Bush's performance on the cartoons was disappointing.
Fear of informants turning in neighbors to police or militia groups has deeply undermined community trust in many parts of Baghdad.
Ahmed Ali, a 34-year-old barber in the ethnically mixed and violent Baghdad neighborhood of Dora, walked away from his business last month because he worried that his chitchat with customers would lead neighbors to suspect that he was informing on them to police -- or militias, or whoever -- and that he would be marked for a retaliatory killing.
That's been happening a lot in Dora.
A word to the police can result in uniformed security officers or even private soldiers in fake uniforms dragging residents from their homes in the middle of the night -- without legitimate cause, the victims complain. Angry and confused, their families suspect that neighborhood informants are feeding lies to the security forces to settle personal scores. The raids also have sown doubts that government security forces can protect the people.
Much of the suspicion is breaking down along ethnic lines, with Sunni and Shiite Muslims blaming each other. The progressive erosion of trust is one reason for the violent response to Wednesday's mosque bombing in Samarra, after which private militias roamed the streets. It underscores the failure so far to build public institutions that earn confidence and that could stand in the way of open civil war.
``The Shiites are afraid of threats and assassinations, while Sunnis are afraid of raids. The kidnappings or assassinations take place during the daylight hours and the raids happen at night,'' Ali said. ``Dora has become hell for both Shiite and Sunni residents.''
Some shop owners say they try not to ask customers questions that they once considered innocuous. Behind closed doors, residents suspect their own relatives of bringing raids to their home.
Working-class neighborhoods that are still ethnically mixed -- many others have segregated -- are the most vulnerable, said Ihsan Mohammed al-Hassan, a sociologist at Baghdad University.
``These people are taken away, and no one knows why,'' Hassan said. ``When other people see that one person's life has been destroyed by a report, the whole community is in fear. They can't trust the police, and they can't trust their neighbor.''
Najeeb Abdel Wahab said that when police commandos came to his home in August they dragged away the four Sunnis there, including him. Two Shiite technicians who were working on his generator were left behind, he said.
Wahab thinks they came to his home because Shiite informants in his western Baghdad neighborhood of Jihad accuse Sunni residents of working with the insurgency. He said he was held for 18 days. After he was released, he fled his home and has not returned.
``If I go home, they will arrest and torture me again,'' said Wahab, who filed a complaint with the Sunni-dominated Iraqi Islamic Party. ``The person who told the commandos that we are Sunni is a neighbor who is a part of the Shiite militia. I will not do anything to him. I will leave that to God.''
Sometimes families find the bodies of loved ones in the middle of the street with notes taped on their foreheads, saying, for example, ``This is for being an informant.'' One police officer in Al-Fallujah, Saad al-Dulaimi, said he had found at least 50 bodies with similar labels in the past two years and that all of them had been tortured.
Al-Qaida has shown online videos of captured people accused of being informants working on American bases. In Al-Qaida ``trials,'' the accused offer confessions of how they work and how much they are paid. They are invariably found guilty and beheaded.
Miriam Ali, who is unrelated to Ahmed Ali, said her father had been home only a few days after a long absence when a group of American soldiers charged into the family's house in the southern Baghdad neighborhood of Dora.
With them was a man who wore a dark ski mask. He said nothing. His eyes searched the room, looked past her uncle and stopped at her father. The man pointed at the elderly man, and with that, the soldiers dragged her father away, she said.
After a fruitless yearlong search at jails, American bases and police stations, she is resigned that she won't find her father. But as she walks through the neighborhood, she keeps looking for the informant.
Lt. Col. Guy Rudisill, a press officer for U.S. military detentions, said the military had no record of arresting anyone with Ali's father's name. The facts in the case remain unclear, and some Iraqis say they are relieved when they see American forces because they know the soldiers are legitimate.
U.S. military and Iraqi government officials say they use informants but that they double-check the information that is provided. They say they have a responsibility to follow tips in order to find kidnap victims or possible car bombers. And they say they pay informants.
``If we get information, we have to search,'' said Abd al-Karim al-Anzy, the state minister of national security affairs. Their actions are justified ``because we are defending our country.''
Miriam Ali thinks that the disguised man -- whom she can describe only as thin -- didn't talk because he's from her neighborhood and didn't want the family to recognize his voice.
Who else, she reasons, would have known that her father had returned home days earlier after being away for months in the southern city of An-Nasiriyah. He had hidden there because he had feared being charged with being a member of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party after his work in the military during Saddam's time.
``Since that incident, we lost confidence in everyone. We suspect everybody, especially any thin persons among our relatives or neighbors,'' Ali said in a telephone interview.
The Iraqi Islamic Party told supporters last month that they should defend their homes against suspicious raids.
Omar al-Jubouri, the head of the party's human rights section, said police forces had taken at least 300 mostly Sunni residents in raids in just two neighborhoods since the Dec. 15 elections for a new government, according to information reported to his party. He plans to complain to the government.
Residents of many Baghdad neighborhoods have prepared their homes for possible raids. They have buried valuables in their back yards and put loaded guns near their beds, and parents sleep with their children between them. Some families keep someone awake at night to greet any raiders and try to defuse the situation.
Wahab said he had come to expect such raids. In December, commandos returned to his house and took his older brother, he said.
In the Hay al-Salam neighborhood in central Baghdad -- an older mixed area that the government built 50 years ago -- in which raids and retaliatory killings are among the highest in the capital, neighborhood leaders complained that when they confront the government the day after a raid, officials deny everything, even though residents describe men who use police vehicles and wear bulletproof vests.
Often the raiders' identities are unclear, because they usually don't identify themselves and police uniforms can be bought easily on the black market.
That uncertainty has stoked a climate of fear and distrust.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - In an unusual round of telephone diplomacy, President Bush spoke with seven leaders of Shiite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish political parties in a bid to defuse the sectarian crisis unleashed by the bombing of the Shiites' Askariya shrine in Samarra. Bush "encouraged them to continue to work together to thwart the efforts of the perpetrators of the violence to sow discord among Iraq's communities," said Frederick Jones, a spokesman for the White House's National Security Council.
The U.S. president's personal intervention appeared to ease Sunni fears and give new impetus to political moves to resolve the crisis. During a late night meeting at Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari's residence, representatives of Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish parties agreed to renew efforts to form a national unity government. "I am very happy and very optimistic," al-Jaafari said. "Our people are very far from civil war and everyone asserted that the first enemy of Iraqis is terrorism and there isn't a Sunni who is against a Shiite or a Shiite who is against a Sunni."
Sunni leaders did not explicitly say they would end their boycott of coalition talks, announced Thursday after a wave of Shiite reprisal attacks on Sunni mosques. But a Sunni leader, Tariq al-Hashimi, said all sides agreement that one of the solutions to the sectarian crisis "is to form the government as soon as possible."
"(Friday) they were fighting each other," Kurdish politician Mahmoud Othman told The Associated Press. "Until noon (Saturday) there were no improvements but suddenly after Bush called them, they all went to the meeting. There is strong American pressure because they are very much concerned about Iraq."
A second straight day of curfew in Baghdad and three surrounding provinces kept the city relatively calm, raising hopes the worst of the crisis was past. Authorities lifted the curfew in the areas outside Baghdad but decreed an all-day vehicle ban Sunday for the capital and its suburbs. "I think the danger of civil war as a result of this attack has diminished, although I do not believe we are completely out of danger yet," U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told reporters Saturday night.
Faced with one of the gravest threats of the turbulent U.S. presence in Iraq, American officials mounted a furious effort to get the political process back on track while Iraqi authorities defended their handling of the crisis.
Defense Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi, a Sunni Arab, told reporters the government had one army division and one Interior Ministry armored brigade ready to move in case of a new outbreak of violence around the capital. "All honorable Iraqis are asked today to do all they can to preserve Iraqi blood and avoid strife, which in case it breaks out will burn everyone," al-Dulaimi said. "We do not want to burden the public with our security measures but the more we take, the more we can control acts of violence. If we have to, we are ready to fill the streets with (armored) vehicles."
Violence began to recede following calls for restraint from Islamic religious leaders, including radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose own militia was blamed for many of the attacks on Sunnis. On Saturday, al-Sadr's movement joined Sunni clerics in agreeing to prohibit killing members of the two sects and banning attacks on each other's mosques. The clerics issued a statement blaming "the occupiers," meaning the Americans and their coalition partners, for stirring up sectarian unrest. "We demand that the occupiers leave or set a timetable for the withdrawal," the statement said. al-Sadr is an idiot Bush is a hell of lot more intelligent than the liberals give him credit for.
Fearing arrest, Brig.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi decided Sunday to cancel plans to travel and study in England over the summer after the IDF Judge Advocate General recommended he refrain from entering the United Kingdom where he could be charged with committing war crimes. Kochavi, the Gaza Division Commander, was enrolled for studies at the Royal College of Defense Studies. thanks EU/Jack Straw/ Italian and Spanish Uber-Judges
Kochavi has held several senior field positions including head of the Paratrooper's Brigade and was supposed to be the only IDF officer to attend the prestigious academy this summer. think they'd arrest Barghouti? Me neither, which makes them cowards and pussies and moral equivalents to the Arab anti-semites
But following a recommendation by Judge Advocate General Brig.-Gen. Avi Mandelblit, Kochavi canceled his trip and decided not to risk the chance of being arrested upon his arrival and tried for war crimes. Mandelblit based his recommendation on the near-arrest half-a-year-ago of former OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. (res.) Doron Almog who landed in London but refrained from disembarking after he was warned that detectives were waiting to take him into custody on suspicion of war crimes.
The warrant, which had been issued per the request of a pro-Palestinian Muslim group, accused Almog of illegally ordering the demolition of 59 Palestinian homes in Rafiah in 2002.
Senior officers expressed concern with Kochavi's decision to cancel his trip to London warning that unless the issue was resolved on a diplomatic level Mendilblit might decide to recommend that senior officers who served during the Intifada refrain from traveling to England, Spain and other countries in Western Europe.
"This problem needs to be solved on a diplomatic level and with those European countries passing new legislation which doesn't allow them to arrest and try foreign military officers," one senior security official said. "Until then, IDF officers might just not be allowed to travel to specific countries."
Try Israelis or totally isolate them, either suits the anti-Israel crowd just fine.
FrankG the UK is full of anti-semites. To be of the left is by default to accept anti-semitism as a positive meme. It's the same story all over Europe too. Why do you think they have to have laws on the books over there that we can live with out in realtionship to the "Holocaust" and National Socailism?
Chief of Staff Dan Halutz yesterday asked top Israel Defense Forces brass to exercise caution in their public declarations. Halutz convened a forum of senior officers in the wake of Jordanian protests against GOC Central Command Yair Naveh's comments about the stability of the Jordanian regime and an assessment by deputy chief of staff Moshe Kaplinsky that there are "early signs of the undermining of Mubarak's presidential regime".
Halutz told the generals they must exercise "great caution and sensitivity" in public statements, as careless comments by senior officers can be incorrectly interpreted and taken out of context. He warned against the military's being dragged into public debate, through misleading representation of military and government positions on sensitive issues.
"You guys! Shaddup!"
The General Staff waited yesterday for the results of talks between the acting prime minister, foreign minister and minister of defense and Jordanian King Abdullah and senior Jordanian government officials, hoping for a quick resolution to the Naveh affair. Military sources believe how the affair ends is dependent mostly on the Jordanians. "if Jordan suffices with Israel's clarification and expression of regret, the crisis will be behind us," they said.
However, if Jordan continues to demand sanctions against the general, it is possible there will be no way to avoid disciplinary measures such as censure by Halutz.
Naveh and Kaplinsky's comments, particularly Naveh's, were very embarrassing for the General Staff, both because of the diplomatic tensions they created with Jordan and because they opened the door for political figures to attack senior military figures for running off at the mouth. Even if no immediate measures against Naveh are implemented, the affair could impact his career.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged Israel and the international community to avoid pushing Hamas "into a corner", and to give it time to moderate its stances, the Irish Independent reported Saturday on its Website.
Abbas said that Hamas would make its position in power "compatible with international policies," and praised the faction's "wise and rational" Prime Minister designate Ismail Haniyeh as "flexible and diplomatic." "They will listen to many things that will make them think about their political position. I think that in order to assume responsibility, their policies have to be compatible with international policies," Abbas said.
"Please don't let them kill me!"
He added that Hamas' tour of Arab states and Russia is likely to be influential in persuading Hamas to renounce violence and recognize Israel.
When asked if he will resign from power if he can't deliver what he wants in terms of the peace process, Abbas replied: "We could reach a point where I cannot perform my duty - then I will not continue sitting in this place, against and in spite of my convictions. If I can do something I will continue, otherwise I won't."
The United Nations is urging donors to provide funds to keep the Palestinian Authority running after Israel starts withholding tax revenues next week, rebuffing Israel's appeal for a suspension of aid, diplomats said on Friday.
Meanwhile, the European Union is expected to approve the release of around $107,000 next week to help PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' caretaker administration.
That's walking around money for Suha.
The UN stand has put a spotlight on disagreements over Israeli and Western efforts to put pressure on a Hamas-led Palestinian government to renounce violence, recognize Israel and abide by interim peace deals with it. The UN's special envoy to the Middle East, Alvaro de Soto, will brief the Security Council on Tuesday on his talks in the region, aides said. He has expressed concern in recent days that an aid cut-off could lead to the collapse of the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority.
Why yes, yes it would, wouldn't it. Darned shame.
Israel argues that a 2001 Security Council resolution obliging member states to cut off funds to "terrorist" groups applies to the Palestinian Authority starting on February 18, when Hamas was sworn in as the majority bloc in the parliament. De Soto countered that Israel's decision to withhold the tax money it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority ran counter to the position taken last month by the Quartet of major peace mediators - the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday that Hamas is trying to halt rocket fire on Israel and is trying to calm Palestinian streets. Abbas, speaking to Israel's Channel 10 TV, also said that he is the one who sets Palestinian policy, and is willing to talk to Israel at any time and about any subject. "The president decides policy," Abbas said, noting that past agreements with Israel, including a February 2005 cease-fire, were reached under the auspices of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which he also heads.
Earlier, Abbas appealed to the Security Council and international mediators to pressure Israel after its acting premier vowed to press on attacks against the Palestinians. After the killing of five Palestinians in an Israeli Army operation in the West Bank city of Nablus on Thursday, Israeli troops shot dead two more in the Gaza Strip overnight. The two included a civilian who was trying to sneak across into Israel to find work as well as a member of an umbrella organization, the Popular Resistance Committees.
United States State Department official David Welch promised Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday that the United States will not cut off humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, even after a Hamas government takes over.
Funding just delays what eventually has to happen.
During the first high-level meeting between the two sides since the election victory of the Islamic militant group last month, Welch assured Abbas that the United States supports the chairman and his policies, and praised his speech during the opening Palestinian parliament session earlier this month, according Israel Radio reported. "The United States has long been a supporter of the Palestinian people, through a substantial contribution of our foreign assistance funds... we continue to be devoted to the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people and it shall remain so," Welch said.
"It is our belief that it is important for the people in the Palestinian territories ... to have a good life in safety and security with economic wellbeing," Welch added.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that Abbas told Welch the United States must respect the Palestinians' election of Hamas last month. He noted that tens of millions of dollars in U.S. aid flow directly into infrastructure projects every year, not to the Palestinian government, which by next month will be controlled by Hamas. "We urged the U.S. administration to continue helping the Palestinian people, as it did in previous years," Erekat said after the meeting. "They have never transferred a single dollar to the Palestinian Authority directly. The money was being transferred via non-governmental organizations."
They have had 58 years for finding jobns and building an economy. INstead thety are still living of international dole. It is utterly immoral to send humanitarian aid to Palestinians when people are starving in Darfur and getting MUCH lower aid if any.
Not a single cent of Western aid should go to Paleonistan. Let them eat bombbelts.
Aid money which goes directly to the individual/agency rather through the blackhole hands of the PA or Hamas is still aid. Wonder how long it will take the idiots to connect the dots when the real hand providing assistance is US and not a terrorist go between. Particularly when the aid is cut off just at the appropriate moment. Teaching cause and effect at the most basic level.
What means does the average American have to verify that any future aid is only humanitarian aid? Or are we just supposed to trust that the State Department will identify and stop other projects/aid? Who is carrying out America's will that no money go to fund terrorists and how can regular folks verify it?
Hamas' candidate for Palestinian Authority prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, told the Washington Post that Hamas will examine all of the agreements signed with Israel, and will honor those that are in the best interest of the Palestinians.
Points for honesty.
Haniyeh's comments, made in an interview with the Washington daily, will be published in full on Sunday. Haniyeh, seen as a leader of the apparently more pragmatic wing compared to the real whack-jobs of Hamas, also told the interviewer Hamas would honor agreements that guarantee the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital, and those that pledge the release of Palestinian prisoners.
When asked if Hamas would be willing to recognize Israel should it agree to withdraw to the 1967 borders, Haniyeh told the Washingon Post that Hamas would agree to a peace deal in stages, the first of which would call for stability and longterm ceasefire. He also said, "We have no hostile feelings toward Jews and we don't want to throw them into the sea. All we want is to get our land back and not to hurt anyone."
Junior army officers who were recruited to take part in a coup against Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo have turned themselves in, a senior general said on Saturday. "Many young officers have started surrendering for fear of getting arrested," the general told Reuters, saying the army was expanding its investigation to pin down the masterminds and financiers of the plot. Arroyo, who survived a crisis last year over allegations of vote-rigging and corruption, invoked emergency rule on Friday, citing a "systematic conspiracy" against her by members of the opposition, communists and "military adventurists". The officers were apparently the first to admit the existence of a plan to destabilise the Arroyo government.
In addition to a modest number of seagoing warships, including submarines, frigates, and large patrol vessels, as well a some amphibious ships and mine warfare vessels, the Iranian Navy, and the maritime wing of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, owns a substantial number small vessels. Not just the "official" small craft, but lots and lots of small boats that regularly carry guys with guns. No official numbers are given, but it appears that the Iranians have several thousand such small craft. These range in size from 23 foot long, motorized "Boston whalers," up to 65 feet long, 28-ton MIG-G-1900 patrol boats, with a few old American "Swift" boats thrown in.
These vessels are armed in various ways. The tiniest craft usually carry small arms, and personnel aboard have been observed wielding hand-held anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. The larger ones usually have heavy machine guns and light cannon. Many of these boats are fast, some able to make as much as 60 kilometers an hour. These craft are ideally suited to "guerrilla warfare at sea" in the constrained waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, particularly since major navies lack much capability to oppose "swarm" attacks by large numbers of fast surface craft.
A destroyer escort won't be able to take out 200 high speed boats without having their Aegis radars shredded by RPGs, HMGs and cannon. Then they become vulnerable to antiship missiles. The helicopters will run out of ammo before they could destroy but a small fraction. Hope the ship's decks are lined are lined with HMGs like the WWII destroyers against Kamikazies.
OHP doesn't have a phased array radar.... doesn't have much at all. 3 inch gun, CIWS and a pair of helicopters a few 20 mm tacked on usually. I doubt they could explain using a Harpoon against a $20,000 target. Still, I figure 3 cannon could likely kill 60 boats before running out of ammunition, the 20mm another 5, don't know about the helicopters. Might be able to run over a few too.
Now listen to me, all of you. You are all condemned men. We keep you alive to serve this ship. So row well, and live.
Posted by: Quintus Arrius ||
02/26/2006 23:02 Comments ||
Folks, the A-10 is carrier-capable. It's not designed for it, it's pilots aren't trained to operate from a carrier, but it CAN do it - and has. I'd like to see any of these "small craft" stand up to one pass by an A-10.
In addition, the Marines aboard LHAs have Cobra helicopters and AV-8B Harriers. These can also operate off of regular carriers, and in a pinch, even off the helipads of Arleigh Burke DDGs.
Then there's always the old fall-back: catch them in port with a ton of iron bombs. I don't think Iran's "guerilla fleet" is a serious, long-term threat. It's a one-time shot, followed by a long list of "next of kin" messages to Iranian mommas.
Posted by: Old Patriot ||
02/26/2006 23:37 Comments ||
IRAN is believed to have begun small-scale enrichment of uranium, raising the stakes in its dispute with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over the extent of its nuclear ambitions. A report to be published by the United Nations nuclear watchdog tomorrow is expected to claim that scientists at Irans plant in Natanz have set up a cascade of 10 centrifuges to produce enriched uranium the fuel for nuclear power plants or bombs.
Iran is a long way from the 50,000 centrifuges it would need for full-scale enrichment, but experts said that getting a small number of them to work together meant it had overcome some technical hurdles.
The report, by Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the IAEA, will also accuse Tehran of continuing to deny inspectors access to crucial people and sites linked to its 20-year-old nuclear programme. ElBaradeis findings will set the tone for discussions at the UN security council next month which American officials believe could lead to sanctions against Iran this summer.
International concerns over Irans intentions have been increased by the emergence in recent weeks of documents that for the first time appear to provide scraps of evidence of a covert weapons programme. Attention is focusing on the so-called Green Salt Project, a previously undeclared scheme to process uranium. The project was linked to tests on high explosives and missile design, suggesting a military nuclear dimension, the IAEA said. Inspectors travelled to Tehran this weekend to obtain more information.
It is thought that some of the clandestine work was done at a plant in Lavisan, near Tehran, under the auspices of a body known as the Physics Research Centre. Iran denied IAEA inspectors access to Lavisan until 2004 by which time the buildings had been demolished.
Posted by: Captain America ||
02/26/2006 00:00 ||
Top|| File under:
Don't we "know" that they have a great many more centrifuges than just the 10 ElBaradei admits to being aware of?
Terje Roed-Larsen, the UN special envoy for the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559, said the UN is examining a petition signed by former and present MPs who claimed they were pressured to support the 2004 extension of President Emile Lahoud's mandate.
Larsen said UN Secretary General Kofi Annan had informed the Security Council that there was a general feeling in Lebanon that "the election (of Lahoud) was implemented with the direct interference of Syria." He stressed that "this is a Lebanese issue that should be solved in Beirut through the existing democratic institutions."
A new petition demanding that President Emile Lahoud step down was put out for the public to sign yesterday, with March 14 ministers and MPs being the first to sign. Signing the petition at the Freedom Tent in Downtown's Martyrs' Square, Acting Interior Minister Ahmad Fatfat said he hoped that "not one million, or one million and a half, but more than three million" would sign the petition. "This is a petition open to all the Lebanese who want to see a free and independent president," Fatfat said.
Talking to The Daily Star, Minister of State for Administrative Development Jean Hogaspian said the petition will eventually be raised to the United Nations, in order to reassert to the international community that the Lebanese public opinion refuses Lahoud as a president. "This petition is another step in our moves to oust Lahoud," he said. "We know that it has no legal effect, but it has a moral one and it goes to show that the Lebanese people refuse to be ruled by the likes of Lahoud," he added.
In an attempt to reach an agreement over who will succeed President Emile Lahoud to Lebanon's top post, leaders of March 14 Forces held a meeting Friday in the house of former President Amin Gemayel. Talking following the meeting, Gemayel said: "We are living in a crisis where the national and constitutional life is passive because the presidency, which is supposed to be symbol to all Lebanese, is passive."
Lahoud to Lahoud, huh? Doesn't sound like a good idea to me.
"The beginning of a solution for our crisis is through electing a new president, who can give back the presidency its true international and local value," Gemayel said. He added: "The positive thing about what is happening is that all political factions agree on the need for President Emile Lahoud to resign, but the problem lies in the way to topple Lahoud and who will replace him."
At this point, it looks like the only ones who don't agree are Emile and Hezbollah.
Asked whether the March 14 Forces were in contact with Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, Gemayel said: "I personally spoke with Aoun on the phone yesterday in addition to sending a delegation headed by Karim Pakradouni to visit him over this issue." He added: "We will be in constant coordination with the FPM."
Aoun doesn't seem really eager to give Emile the toss. I'm not sure why not... Let me rephrase that: I'm not sure how sordid the deal is.
Gemayel also said that after consultations, March 14 Forces decided Lahoud could be ousted through securing a two-thirds majority in Parliament. However, Aoun, who is also a strong presidential candidate, told The Daily Star over the phone that he opposed ousting Lahoud in the way March 14 Forces were proposing. Aoun said: "If they think they can oust Lahoud through providing a majority of two thirds, we can arrange a mechanism to prevent them from having the two-third majority to topple the president. Where would they bring the two-thirds from, the moon?"
Tueni, who answered questions by the media following the meeting, also stressed the need to topple Lahoud, saying: "The prolongation of Lahoud's mandate was forced on us by a foreign country." Asked by The Daily Star about Hizbullah's Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah's warning of using public demonstrations as a tool to topple Lahoud, Tueni said the March 14 Forces rejected any threats over this issue, and added: "Nobody wants to use the street as a tool, but if we go on demonstrations, they will be peaceful. We never used weapons in our demonstrations."
Well, of course it's our fault. Everything's our fault.
Iran's foreign minister denounced the United States Friday for creating terror groups like Al-Qaeda and reaffirmed Tehran's support for a united Iraq following escalating violence there between Shiites and Sunnis. Manouchehr Mottaki, reacting to Wednesday's bombing of a key Shiite mosque in the Iraqi city of Samarra, said "some hands" were working to stoke ethnic and religious unrest "not only in Iraq but in the Islamic world."
"We believe that there are some hands working to create ethnic war, religious war, between Shiite, Sunnis or any other groups," he said without naming any specific groups or countries. Mottaki condemned the surge in sectarian killings in Iraq where at least 140 people have been killed in recent riots sparked by the bombing of the mosque.
And check out the pic of Mahmoud in the 'Kerry' bunny suit.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Russia's top nuclear official expressed confidence Saturday that the U.N. atomic watchdog agency still could resolve the international standoff over Iran's program, Russian news agencies reported. Sergei Kiriyenko, head of the state atomic energy agency, said resolving the persistent questions about the intent of Iran's nuclear program "within the framework of the IAEA is absolutely realistic," Russian news agencies reported.
A resolution involving the International Atomic Energy Agency could avert U.N. Security Council sanctions against the Islamic republic. Still, Iran's hard-line president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, insisted his country could endure international sanctions for the sake of their nuclear program. "The Iranian people have chosen their own way and they can withstand problems and secure their own interests," he was quoted by Iranian state television as saying after talks with China's deputy foreign minister, Lu Guozheng, over the nuclear issue.
Moscow is struggling to persuade Tehran to return to a moratorium on uranium enrichment and agree to shift its enrichment program to Russian territory to ease world concerns it could divert enriched uranium to a weapons program. Kiriyenko, who met Saturday with Atomic Energy Organization of Iran chief Gholamreza Aghazadeh, suggested Tehran must act to assure the world it is not seeking nuclear weapons.
He stressed that Iran has the right to a peaceful nuclear program but also said that "the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is unacceptable and the international community must be certain that it does not occur under any circumstances," ITAR-Tass reported.
"It is no doubt possible to satisfy these two demands," it quoted him as saying.
Kiriyenko made the comments at a news conference with Iranian Economy Minister Davoud Danesh-Jafari. Iranian media did not carry his comments.
BEIRUT - Lebanon has refused to extradite to the United States four suspected Shia Hezbollah members believed to have carried out attacks against Americans in Beirut during the 1980s, judicial sources said on Saturday. They said Lebanese authorities refused to extradite four Lebanese: Imad Moughaniyeh, Hassan Ezzeddine, Ali Atwe and Mohammed ali Hamadeh.
Local media said that during her visit to Beirut earlier this week US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had made the demand to Prime Minister Foaud Seniora.
Three of the four wanted Lebanese - Moughaniyeh, Ezzeddine and Atwe - are accused of participation in a 1983 attack on US Marines headquarter in Beirut in which more than 100 Marines were killed. The fourth Mohammed Hamadeh, who returned to Lebanon in December after he finished serving his jail sentence in Germany for possessing explosives, is accused by the United States of the 1985 highjacking of a TWA airliner during which a US Navy diver was killed.
Rat bastards the four of them. If we can't extradite them they might just have to have an accident ...
Authorities have also rejected a US request to hand over Wassef Hassoun, an American of Lebanese origin who deserted the Marines in 2004 and left Iraq for Lebanon and then left the southern port city of Tripoli for the US. It was reported later that Hassoun has left the US and headed back to Lebanon.
Thought we had forgotten him, huh?
The judicial sources said the general amnesty law which was adopted in 1991 after the 1975-1990 civil war ended in Lebanon covered incidents of which the four were accused. As for Hassoun, the sources gave no reason for rejecting his extradition.
Osama Bin Laden, who had been sitting cross-legged on a carpet, placed his Kalashnikov rifle on the ground and got up. He came towards me with a warm smile that turned into barely repressed laughter as he took in the way I was dressed.
I had been kitted out in baggy trousers, a long shirt and a turban for my clandestine journey to his hideout in southern Afghanistan. The turban in particular made me feel self-conscious, as I had never worn such a thing in my life.
I spent three days with Bin Laden in Tora Bora, the only western-based journalist to spend such a significant amount of time with him, before or since. I talked at length to him, slept next to him in his cave and shared his modest food.
Listening to him during that visit 10 years ago I realised he was no ordinary figure, but it didnt occur to me for one moment that this polite, soft-spoken, smiling and apparently gentle person would become the worlds most dangerous man, terrorising western capitals, inflicting hundreds of billions of dollars worth of damage on the United States, threatening its economic stability and embroiling it in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
As I had been eating so badly since coming to Afghanistan I was looking forward to our first meal. Id imagined we would feast on roast deer or goat. When I saw what was available at the Eagles Nest, as his base was called, I thought chicken was perhaps a more likely dish.
It was still a great surprise to discover that dinner on the first night consisted of Arab-style potato chips soaking in cottonseed oil; a plate of fried eggs; salty cheese of a variety long extinct even in the villages of upper Egypt; and a bread bun that must have been kneaded with sand, as my teeth screeched and ground whenever I chewed it.
After a few bites I pretended that I did not usually eat dinner for health reasons.
Another meal featured Bin Ladens favourite, bread with yogurt and rice, served with potatoes cooked in tomato sauce. Animal fat floated on the surface, and I could hardly force it down my throat. Afterwards I was sick under a pine tree outside the cave.
I was puzzled by Bin Ladens chosen path. What motivates this man, from a well-known and honourable family in possession of billions, to lead such a comfortless life in these inhospitable and dangerous mountains, awaiting attack, capture or death at any moment, hunted by so many regimes?
We spoke about his wealth, and while he avoided saying exactly how much he was worth he acknowledged he still managed an extensive investment portfolio through a complex network of secret contacts. But this wealth, he said, was for the umma (the global Islamic community).
It is the duty of the umma as a whole to commit its wealth to the struggle, he said. The umma is connected like an electric current. (Surprising imagery for a man who would wish to take us back 1,500 years.) I discovered that, in contrast with the primitive accommodation, the base was well equipped with computers and up-to-the-minute communications equipment. Bin Laden had access to the internet, which was not then ubiquitous as it is now, and said: These days the world is becoming like a small village.
This modernity was quite at odds with the austerity recommended by the more extreme forms of Islamic fundamentalism and in particular that of his hosts, the Taliban. One of his aides laughed and said the base was a republic within a republic.
The next day Bin Laden took me on a guided tour, sporting the Kalashnikov so dear to him. (He told me it had belonged to a Soviet general killed in one of the Afghan jihad battles.) We walked through the trees and he explained that he loved mountains. I would rather die than live in a European state, he declared.
He told me about past Al-Qaeda attacks on the Americans including the 1993 ambush on American troops in Mogadishu, which he said had been wrongly blamed on the Somali warlord Mohamed Farah Aidid.
More attacks were in the planning stages, he said, and he emphasised that these operations took a long time to prepare. He hinted at a strike at the Americans on their home territory, but I confess I did not register the enormity of what he implied when he came out with an unforgettable statement: We hope to reach ignition point in the not-too-distant future.
Bin Laden also explained his long-term anti-American strategy. He told me he knew he would never be able to defeat America on its own soil using conventional weapons. He had another plan, one that would take years to reach fruition.
We want to bring the Americans to fight us on Muslim land, he said as we walked through the woods in the high mountains at Tora Bora. If we can fight them on our own territory we will beat them, because the battle will be on our terms in a land they neither know nor understand.
We are witnessing part of that plan now, in the battlefields of Iraq, which has become a breeding ground for the most ruthless and militant Al-Qaeda fighters we have seen. In the process we are discovering the new face of Al-Qaeda, as a movement involved in bloody sectarian strife against fellow Muslims.
PARADOXICALLY, the strike on American home territory in September 2001 was a setback to Bin Ladens long-term plan. Al-Qaeda lost support among more moderate Muslims, who sympathised with the victims. It lost its safe haven and training camps in Afghanistan. And, crucially, there was dissent within the movement itself.
Some inner-circle Al-Qaeda members left as a result of what they considered to be a catastrophic decision, according to Abu Qatada, a radical cleric believed to be Al-Qaedas spiritual leader in Europe. (He is currently fighting a deportation order in Britain.) They predicted the US would respond with unparalleled ferocity.
Abu Qatada told me that the September 11 attacks were also opposed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who in 2001 was still a relatively obscure Jordanian associate of Al-Qaeda. Zarqawi was soon to shoot into the limelight as the central figure in this story. For, two years on, the arrival of 150,000 US troops in Iraq in March 2003 created exactly the turning point in Al-Qaedas history that Bin Laden had dreamt of.
Iraq is in many ways a better base for Al-Qaeda than Afghanistan. It provides an Arabic-speaking environment and culture. Geographically it is the heart of the region. In Islamic terms it is as important as Saudi Arabia and Palestine.
Furthermore, Al-Qaedas supporters in Iraq are the minority Sunni Arabs who have been marginalised by the aftermath of the occupation, isolated from the state institutions in a rather humiliating manner, and are eager for revenge and the resumption of power.
With chilling beheadings, Zarqawi rapidly emerged as the most ferocious insurgent chieftain though he only became the official leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq after a long wrangle with Bin Laden over attacks on the Shiite majority.
Militarily, Al-Qaeda has since been increasingly hardline and ruthless in Iraq, demonstrating indifference to collateral damage. Zarqawi has long been waging an anti-Shiite campaign with the express intention of fomenting the sectarian strife we are now witnessing.
Last Wednesdays bombing of the Shiite golden mosque at Samarra was in all probability the work of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. The Shiite majority have most to gain from maintaining stability, but by bombing their most sacred shrine Zarqawi has finally unleashed the threat of civil war. Previous attacks had failed to provoke the retaliatory Shiite violence that has claimed more than 130 mostly Sunni lives since the mosque attack.
Zarqawis rationale is threefold.
First, civil war will prevent the Sunni minority from joining the current political process. He has denounced democracy as heretical on the grounds that it makes man obedient to man instead of Allah.
Second, civil war will unseat the heretic Shiite leaders, render the country ungovernable and ensure the failure of the US project.
Third, Zarqawi is mindful of the huge reserves of Sunni military support in neighbouring countries both on a national level and among the individual mujaheddin pouring into Iraq to aid their beleaguered brethren struggling against the Iran-backed Shiite militias.
Civil war in Iraq could rapidly spread through the region. Many Sunni leaders are already unnerved by the growing influence of Iran in Iraqi internal affairs, and sectarian tensions have been brewing in several countries including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.
Zarqawis language towards the Shiites is vitriolic. In a letter to Bin Laden dated June 15 2004 he describes them as the lurking serpent, claiming that they can inflict more damage on the umma than the Americans.
He elaborates: These are people who have added to their heresy and atheism with political cunning and a burning zeal to seize upon the crisis of governance and the balance of power in the state . . . whose new lines they are trying to establish through their political organisations in collaboration with their secret allies, the Americans . . . they have been a sect of treachery and betrayal through all history and all ages.
Initially Bin Laden was opposed to attacks on Shiites and urged Zarqawi to avoid civilian deaths. Zarqawi baldly states in his letter that if Bin Laden will not endorse an anti-Shiite campaign, he will not join Al-Qaeda.
Bin Laden apparently changed his mind. Any doubts he might have had about the legitimacy of targeting Shiite Muslims or the collateral deaths of Iraqi citizens have since been swept away in the relentless flood of bloody attacks unleashed by his latest ally.
HOW did Zarqawi become such a powerful and pivotal figure? He is a former street thug from a ghetto in the Jordanian city of Zarqa, 15 miles northeast of Amman. He was nicknamed the Green Man because of his tattoos. His real name is Ahmad Fadil al-Khalayilah Zarqawi simply means the one from Zarqa.
The turnaround in his character seems to have happened towards the end of the 1980s, when he developed an interest in radical Islam perhaps through contact with Palestinian refugees living near his home and set off for the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan.
There he fell under the spell of a Palestinian religious scholar known as Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi. Back in Jordan following the Afghan wars, both men were jailed after Jordanian police found them in possession of weapons.
Zarqawi became a prison Islamist leader, meting out violent punishments to anyone who dared disobey him. He gathered a following of hundreds of the most hardened criminals in Jordan.
Many sources testify to Zarqawis physical and mental resilience. He lost all his toenails under torture and endured 8œ months of solitary confinement.
Released under an amnesty in 1999, he resurfaced in Afghanistan, where he led his own movement, separate from Al-Qaeda. He fled with his men in late 2001 to avoid the American reprisals for September 11.
To understand what happened next, and to see how this obscure figure has emerged to such prominence, we have to look at the strange world of pre-invasion Iraq.
In enclaves in the Kurdish north, close to the Turkish and Iranian borders and beyond Saddam Husseins jurisdiction, several Sunni organisations opposed to Saddams secular regime had set up base. Jordanian contacts in one of these, Ansar al-Islam (Supporters of Islam), smoothed the way for Zarqawi to establish his own camp.
Ansar al-Islam is an important footnote to the invasion of Iraq. Much has been made of a possible connection between it and Al-Qaeda in the course of US intelligence efforts to link Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden.
I met its leader, Mullah Krekar, in Oslo last year and he vigorously denied Al-Qaeda had helped it in any way. He said he had personally asked Bin Laden for financial help and had been turned down. (It must be added that many sources dispute this was their last meeting.)
Like Zarqawi, many Arabs fleeing American retaliation in Afghanistan after 9/11 found refuge with Ansar al-Islam. But then came an unexpected development. According to Dr Muhammad al-Masari, a Saudi specialist on Al-Qaedas ideology, Saddam established contact with the Afghan Arabs as early as 2001, believing he would be targeted by the US once the Taliban was routed.
In this version, disputed by other commentators, Saddam funded Al-Qaeda operatives to move into Iraq with the proviso that they would not undermine his regime. Sources close to the Baath regime have told me that Saddam also used to send messengers to buy small plots of land from farmers in Sunni areas. In the middle of the night soldiers would bury arms and money caches for later use by the resistance.
According to Masari, Saddam saw that Islam would be key to a cohesive resistance in the event of invasion. Iraqi army commanders were ordered to become practising Muslims and to adopt the language and spirit of the jihadis.
On arrival in Iraq, Al-Qaeda operatives were put in touch with these commanders, who later facilitated the distribution of arms and money from Saddams caches.
Most commentators agree that Al-Qaeda was present in Iraq before the US invasion. The question is for how long and to what extent. What is known is that Zarqawi took a direct role in Al-Qaedas infiltration. In March 2003 it is not clear whether this was before or after the invasion began he met Al-Qaedas military strategist, an Egyptian called Muhammad Ibrahim Makkawi, and agreed to assist Al-Qaeda operatives entering Iraq.
Makkawi is a shadowy figure. Little is known about him except that he used to be a war strategies expert in the Egyptian army. His greater strategy for Al-Qaeda, revealed on a jihadist website, is to expand the (Iraqi) conflict throughout the region and engage the US in a long war of attrition . . . create a jihad Triangle of Horror starting in Aghanistan, running through Iran and southern Iraq then via southern Turkey and south Lebanon to Syria.
With his new role as Al-Qaeda facilitator Zarqawi rapidly gained importance. Newly arrived Arab recruits were dependent on him for contacts and local knowledge, and as the anti-American insurgency developed after the invasion he provided the intelligence for co-ordinated attacks that were instantly more effective than random independent operations. As a result he effectively became the emir of the foreign jihadis in Iraq.
I believe that his aim was to drag the Shiites into a civil war. His choice of provocative targets bears this out: he was almost certainly behind the massacre of 185 Shiite pilgrims who were killed in Karbala and Baghdad in March 2004.
Zarqawi was in negotiations with the Al-Qaeda leadership for nearly a year before they finally announced an alliance and created Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers (Iraq) in 2004. Already established as a formidable leader, he waited to negotiate from a position of strength over his insistence on an anti-Shiite campaign.
Perhaps he would have preferred to usurp Bin Laden as leader of Al-Qaeda, but he had the strategic sense to realise this was not going to be possible and therefore decided to submit. He needed Bin Ladens blessing and the Al-Qaeda name to bring him thousands of new recruits from all over the world (not just from Arab countries).
Al-Qaeda needed him, too. At the time of the new alliance its fortunes were lagging. The attacks on Afghanistan and increased security measures the world over had seen its numbers dwindle; its 2003 attacks in Saudi Arabia had hit its popularity in the kingdom.
A new presence in Iraq, especially with such a high-profile, magnetic (if terrifying) leader as Zarqawi, promised a new lease on life. The Al-Qaeda leadership was not to be disappointed.
Zarqawis agenda was to prove even more radical than that of the Al-Qaeda leadership; in May 2005, firmly under the Al-Qaeda banner, Zarqawi declared that collateral killing of Muslims was justified under overriding necessity. He brought a new level of psychological terror to operations with his ferocious reputation.
In July last year his old spiritual mentor, Maqdisi still in jail in Jordan questioned Zarqawis attacks on civilians, especially women and children, and his targeting of Shiites. Zarqawi responded with an internet posting asserting that al-Maqdisi is being lured into the path of Satan.
WHAT of the future? Bin Laden remains unchallenged as Al-Qaedas spiritual leader, but his fugitive status has created a vacancy for an overall military commander. This will almost certainly be filled by Zarqawi: a recent communiqué from Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers referred to him as the most likely emir of the organisation in the Middle East and North Africa.
Here I would like to introduce just one more name. When I first walked alone into Bin Ladens dimly lit cave 10 years ago, a man was there to meet me; I was astonished to recognise him as a red-bearded Syrian writer I knew quite well from London, Omar Abdel Hakim, also known as Abu Musab al-Suri, a specialist on jihad and Islam.
We spoke for a few moments and I learnt that he had left Spain, where he had both citizenship and a wife, to join Al-Qaeda. Later he was to join the Taliban, and became its leader Mullah Omars media adviser. Come, he said, leading the way into another cave. The sheikh is waiting for you.
I heard from him again in 1998 when he gave me a detailed account by telephone of an angry confrontation between Mullah Omar and a Saudi delegation, which asked the Taliban leader to cede Bin Laden to the United States because he was a terrorist.
The visitors, led by Prince Turki of Saudi intelligence, flew to Kandahar in a private jet. They were heatedly ordered to leave by Omar, who was enraged by their request that a Muslim government would seek to deliver a fellow Muslim to an infidel state.
Suri was one of the key figures who, like Zarqawi, opposed the 9/ll attacks. They have since become close collaborators. The Syrian is said to be an Al-Qaeda recruiter.
Zarqawi has maintained connections in Europe for many years, and these are nurtured by Suri, who is believed to control several Al-Qaeda groups in the West. Both men are suspected of involvement in the attacks on Madrid and London claimed by Al-Qaeda in Europe.
The new generation of Al-Qaeda leaders is in place with Zarqawi and the Suri among them and the organisation has become even more hardline as a result. The new ruthlessness about relentless violence directed at a wide range of targets in Iraq is clearly designed to shock and terrorise their enemies. But Iraq has now become a platform from which to launch international operations.
Al-Qaeda is not only attempting to destabilise the western world, but the whole of the stagnated Middle East.
I forgot to add that Muhammad Ibrahim Makkawi is the real name of a former Egyptian special forces colonel who is known far better on Rantburg as Saif al-Adel.
Posted by: Dan Darling ||
02/26/2006 5:54 Comments ||
I smell bullshit. Read it again, this is nothing more than an Al Qaeda puff piece.
All of Bin Laden's mistakes weren't mistakes, he planned for them all along. His greatest success, the one that most motivates us to fight, 911, it wasn't his idea, just a lapse of judgement.
Zarqawi is a "powerful and pivotal figure". Not just a blood thirsty thug willing whose total lack of humanity allows him to accomplish what anyone of us could accomplish if we were also so inclined, kill a large number of unarmed people minding their daily business. No according to this article he too is a brilliant military planner with a rationale that is "three-fold".
And of course the idea that Saddam had links to terrorists is debunked here as well.
This is pure bullshit from someone who has been an Al Qaeda mouthpiece since 1996. The only reason we got the puking scene at the beginning of this article was to help negate that obvious fact.
Eagle's Nest? Wasn't that the name of Hitler's lair? Maybe this was part of Binny's planned deceit and he's no where near Tora Bora anymore. He may boast, but what's he gonna do when the Great Eagle shows up? For what is is worth Jeremiah 49:16-20 came to mind:
(Teman is in Arabia, not Afghanistan,Bozrah, and the Edomites native inhabitants of the hills of Jordan)
Jeremiah 49:16-20: The terror you inspire and the pride of your heart have deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks,who occupy the heights of the hill.
Though you build your nest as high as the eagles,
from there I will bring you down, declares the LORD.
Edom will become an object of horror; all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff because of all its wounds.
As Sodom and Gomorrah were overthrown, along with their neighboring towns, says the LORD,so no one will live there;man will dwell in it.
Like a lion coming up from Jordans thickets to a rich pastureland,I will chase Edom from its land in an instant.
Who is the chosen one I will appoint for this? Who is like me and who can challenge me? And what shepherd can stand against me? Therefore, hear what the LORD has planned against Edom,what he has purposed against those who live in Teman:
The young of the flock will be dragged away; he will completely destroy their pasture because of them. At the sound of their fall the earth will tremble; their cry will resound to the Red Sea. Look! An eagle will soar and swoop down,
spreading its wings over Bozrah.
In that day the hearts of Edoms warriors
will be like the heart of a woman in labor.
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