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Eighteen hurt in Philippines blast
Today's Headlines
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Afghanistan
Afghan president changes interior minister
The Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, has replaced his Interior Minister, Taj Mohammad Wardak, with a former resistance leader. The new minister is Ali Ahmad Jalali, who was a senior military commander in the mujahideen rebellion against Soviet occupation in the 1980s. He has recently returned from the United States where he was head of the Pashto and Persian service for Voice of America. The ministerial change follows criticism of the way Mr Wardak handled student demonstrations in Kabul last year in which at least one person was killed. There were also complaints about the security situation in Afghanistan.
Good luck to him. Unless he's Darth Vader, he's gonna need it... There's more on this on the Ariana website.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 10:08 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [264 views] Top|| File under:


The Battle of Roberts Ridge: "Everybody working together and the good Lord is what got us home."
Sources: Newsday and Best of the Web.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Kevin Vance earned the Silver Star for his conduct in a firefight at Takur Ghar, elevation 10,200 feet, during Operation Anaconda last March. His after-action report has surfaced on the Internet, and it makes for compelling reading. Some excerpts:


At 0140z I had noticed we were flying in circles around the mountaintop because I had noticed the same terrain twice. As we were circling about the third time, we were hit with a rocket-propelled grenade [RPG] around 0145z. There were sparks on the right side of the aircraft and we started to shake violently. Then our helicopter just fell out of the sky about 15 feet to the ground. After the first RPG hit us to when the helicopter hit the ground, I do not remember specifics of what happened, it was a blur. . . .

By the time I was able to get off of the aircraft, three of our team members were already dead. . . . These three deceased members survived the initial crash without injury, but had died from enemy fire. Their names were Marc Anderson, Brad Crose, and Matt Commons.

. . .

I was shooting an M4. At first, my priority was to keep engaging the enemy to hold them back and then to seek assistance for close air support [CAS] on the radio. My radio, a PRC 117F, was still in my rucksack. There was a combat controller [CCT] with us named Gabe Brown who was behind me a bit. I turned around and yelled at him to work on getting communications running; he was already was working on it.

. . .

First, we shot M203 rounds at bunker. A M203 is a grenade launcher that fits on a M4/16. As the squad leader and team leader shot M203s, I stood up and provided covering fire. When he would stand up to fire a grenade at the bunker, I would standup and shoot at the bunker to cover him. I did the same when the crewmembers would run for more ammo.

We tried throwing fragment grenades at the enemy but it they were too far away and the bunker was on the backside of the hill. The enemy threw fragment grenades at us but they landed 5-10 feet in front of me, buried in the snow and blew up.

. . .

When the crewmembers would run back to the aircraft for more ammo, I would standup and shoot at the bunker to cover them. They were also taking M203 rounds and magazines off of the KIA and bringing it to us. The crew pulled off insulation from the aircraft to wrap the casualties in to keep them warm.

Then four of us (myself, the platoon leader, squad leader, and team leader) started to assault the tree area where the enemy was coming from while the M240 gunner suppressed it. The CPT Self, the platoon leader [PL], was in charge.

Once we realized that it was a bunker, a couple of enemy came out from behind a tree and took shots at us. We were moving slow because the snow was up to our knees and we were going uphill.

The platoon leader finally said let's back up and rethink this. We backed up because we could not afford to lose any more guys.

The combat controller yelled that we have F-15s on station. The Platoon Leader was next to me and we discussed it. Then F-15s were overhead and the combat controller was directing them to the enemy according to my instructions. I told the combat controller to have the F-15s to strafe the bunker and have them come in from our right to our left.

. . .

The fighters did some more gun runs and the enemy was still jumping up shooting at us. The enemy was moving on us from behind us (we didn't know this at the time) but the majority of enemy were firing at us were on the hill near the bunker area. We killed seven of them.

The last time I saw anyone move in the bunker, I was scanning the hilltop and I saw the upper half of an enemy behind some bushes. I shot three times, got down and stood back up. This was the last I had seen him. I never went over towards that bunker so I cannot confirm if I had killed him.

Then we shot some more bombs in the bunker area. I told CCT to direct them to shoot down the backside of the hill north of us. I thought it was better to have them shoot downhill with the first one so we could walk him in to the target. The first bomb hit the backside of the hill and then I told him to bring it up and hit the tree over the bunker. The second one hit the tree dead on and split it in half. The fire from the bunker area ceased.

Sgt. Vance and his team were evacuated after thirteen hours. The Newsday account carries this postscript:

Vance was to attend Tuesday's State of the Union speech, according to the Air Force, which turned down Associated Press requests to interview him.

The military has awarded two Air Force Crosses, nine Silver Stars, eight Bronze Stars for Valor, 19 Bronze Stars for support and other decorations to personnel who fought at Takur Ghar, [a spokesman for U.S. Special Operations Command] said.

The Silver Star awarded Jan. 16 to Vance, now stationed at Fort Benning, Ga., officially recognizes his "notable and unusual acts of singular bravery."

Thank you Sgt. Vance, and the members of your team, for putting it on the line for us.

Posted by: Mike || 01/28/2003 03:30 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [341 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Yes. Thank you.
Posted by: Ptah || 01/28/2003 17:27 Comments || Top||

#2  Proof positive that, interservice rivalry aside, there's tough sons-of-bitches in all branches
Posted by: Frank G || 01/28/2003 18:00 Comments || Top||

#3  meant that in a good way, btw, before I catch flak
Posted by: Frank G || 01/28/2003 18:01 Comments || Top||

#4  Next time,we take the safe route and carpet bomb them with the thing they fear the most:soap.
Posted by: Hugh Jorgan || 01/29/2003 0:10 Comments || Top||


Largest Afghanistan Battle in Months
U.S. and coalition forces were battling 80 rebels aligned to renegade leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar on Tuesday in the largest-scale fighting since Operation Anaconda nine months ago, the U.S. military said. At least 18 rebel fighters were killed in the fighting, which began Monday, the military said. There were no coalition casualties.
Yep. That sounds like Hek's boys...
"It's the largest concentration of enemy forces since Operation Anaconda," U.S. military spokesman Roger King said from Bagram Air Base. Another Bagram spokesman, Maj. Robert Hepner, said 200 U.S. Special Forces troops were engaged in the mountain battle and that the number of ground forces was likely to rise. "More soldiers are on their way," he said.
Implying what they've uncovered is more than just a handful...
American war planes were bombarding enemy positions, including some entrenched in deep caves, with B-1 bombers, F-16s and AC-130 gunships, King said. "We've had reports of various numbers of armed men, groups of people trying to gather in order to carry out attacks on the coalition," King said. "We've been actively engaged in trying to develop intelligence that would lead us to a precise location and yesterday (Monday) we did."
That's called a "bingo!" in the trade...
The fighting in mountains in southeastern Afghanistan -- about 15 miles north of Spin Boldak and near the border with Pakistan -- was triggered by a small shootout nearby between U.S. Special Forces and armed attackers as the Americans and their Afghan government allies were working to clear a compound. One of the attackers was killed, one injured and one detained, King said. He said the detained suspect said under questioning that a large group of armed men had massed in the mountain area.
"We'd like to ask you some questions, sonny..."
"I'll never talk, infidel!"
"Mahmoud, break his left knee."
"Ow! I'll talk! I'll talk!"
"Mahmoud, break his right knee."
"Ow! Ow! I'll tell the truth! I'll tell the truth!"

King said the military sent Apache helicopters to investigate, and they came under small arms fire. He said 82nd Airborne Division forces responded with a quick-reaction contingent of fighter aircraft that are continuing to pound the remote region with 500-pound and 2,000-pound bombs.
Hmmm... First rule of guerrilla warfare: When they send armed aircraft over to investigate, pretend you're not there...
"Our intelligence leads us to believe that they are most closely aligned with the Hezb-e-Islami movement, which is Hekmatyar's military arm," King said. "We've had reports over several months that he's been attempting to consolidate with remnants of Al Qaeda and Taliban."
Bad thing for Hek. First he gets kicked out of his own party, then his military force, such as it is, gets clobbered. Doesn't look like he's going to provide much help to the Ummah in resisting any attack on Iraq, so he won't be an Islamic hero. He'll remain a has-been...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 08:14 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [325 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I'd guess they fielded a QRC and called in fighters. For the most part, today's lot of journalists know nothing of the nuts and bolts of military operations. Can't really fault them that heavily, except when they don't pay attention. I was in the Army for 20 years, and there's lots I don't know, and more I've forgotten.
Posted by: Fred || 01/28/2003 17:52 Comments || Top||

#2  Interesting historical footnote: The Norwegian Air Force dropped its first bombs in almost 60 years in this battle.
Posted by: JAB || 01/28/2003 9:19 Comments || Top||

#3  Ufda!
Posted by: Chuck || 01/28/2003 10:23 Comments || Top||

#4  Jeepers, Fred. That new feature just scared the crap out of me!
Posted by: Chuck || 01/28/2003 10:24 Comments || Top||

#5  It aggravated the crap out of me yesterday.
Posted by: Fred || 01/28/2003 14:41 Comments || Top||

#6  Well, I wonder how the Norwegian Air Force action will play in Lake Wobegon. Probably some heated discussion in the Side Track Tap.
Posted by: Penguin || 01/28/2003 15:30 Comments || Top||

#7  "He said 82nd Airborne Division forces responded with a quick-reaction contingent of fighter aircraft..." It's more likely that the Quick Reaction Force was a platoon or more of infantry. The 82nd doesn't field fighter planes.
Posted by: phil || 01/28/2003 17:18 Comments || Top||

#8  I'd guess they fielded a QRC and called in fighters. For the most part, today's lot of journalists know nothing of the nuts and bolts of military operations. Can't really fault them that heavily, except when they don't pay attention. I was in the Army for 20 years, and there's lots I don't know, and more I've forgotten.
Posted by: Fred || 01/28/2003 17:52 Comments || Top||


India-Pakistan
Kashmiri Muslim group angry over Khatami visit
A pro-Pakistani Muslim rebel group in Kashmir on Tuesday blasted President Mohammad Khatami for taking part in India's Republic Day celebrations, which included a massive show of arms."Khatami weakened Iranian dignity by watching the exhibition of arms in New Delhi that are meant to be used against Muslims only," Jameel Ahmed, the spokesman for Jamiat-ul-Mujahedin, said in a statement Tuesday.
"They might use them against me!"
Khatami was the chief guest during Republic Day on Sunday, during which the Indian army paraded its new tanks and missiles along New Delhi's main boulevard. "His being in India has hurt the sentiments of Kashmiris, as Kashmiri Muslims consider Iran a friend of oppressed Muslims," Ahmed said. He accused the president of Iran's Islamic republic of ignoring what Jamiat considers anti-Muslim campaigns in Kashmir and Gujarat.
Khatami visited Pakistan in December, where he said Iran stood "against any kind of brutalities," particularly those against Muslims "in Palestine, in India or other parts of the world." But in India, Khatami has steered clear of making any direct statements about Kashmir or Gujarat.
Business comes first.
His talks have mostly focused on economic issues, such as a long-stalled plan to build a multibillion-dollar pipeline between India and Iran which would go through Pakistan.
Now that is going to be a neat trick! Wonder how they plan on securing that from the boom boyz? Guess that's why it has been stalled.
Posted by: Steve || 01/28/2003 03:36 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [303 views] Top|| File under:


Pak undies bunched over U.S.-Indian exercise...
The U.S. and Indian militaries are planning to conduct their first joint exercise with fighter aircraft, U.S. defense officials said, a move that has aroused concern among senior Pakistani officials because it is likely to teach India how to blunt the ability of Pakistan to use fighter jets to launch nuclear weapons.
Gwacious! We wouldn't want that!
The planned training, which is likely to take place later this year or early in 2004, has not previously been disclosed. It represents an intensification of the new relationship between the U.S. and Indian armed forces, which until recent years tended to regard each other with suspicion.
"Yar! You ain't that bad..."
"Yar! You ain't that bad, neither..."
"Wanna exercise?"
"Hokay."

The exercise could strain relations between Pakistan and the United States, said Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri. "We would not be happy at all" if the exercise takes place, he told reporters and editors yesterday at The Washington Post. "I don't think it is politically advisable at all for the military and the United States government to do anything which would further complicate matters for the government of Pakistan."
Y'don't suppose... Y'don't suppose that's why they're doing it, do you?
He added that he expects the exercise to produce "negative fallout" and said he planned to raise the issue with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.
"I shall complain to the management!"
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 01:11 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [314 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Nancy! Get out the acupuncture needles!
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 01/28/2003 13:26 Comments || Top||

#2  Nancy! Get out the acupuncture needles!
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 01/28/2003 13:26 Comments || Top||

#3  And the smelling salts!
Posted by: Seafarious || 01/28/2003 13:36 Comments || Top||

#4  You made me snort coffee out of my nose today with your "Hokey." STOP IT!
Posted by: angua || 01/28/2003 15:12 Comments || Top||


Doc treated Qaeda bigs' wives...
Mohammad Imran for Daily Times (Pakistan)
The top Pakistani doctor Ahmed Khawaja and his companions currently being interrogated by FBI and Pakistani intelligence officials have confessed that they provided medical treatment to close relatives of Osama Bin Laden and Abu Zubaida, intelligence sources told Daily Times. “Dr Khawaja and his accomplices provided medical treatment to a wife of Osama Bin Laden and also to the wife of another key Al Qaida leader, Abu Zubaida, in Lahore in 2002”, said the intelligence source. The source also said that Dr Khawaja has pleaded that he provided medical treatment to the wives of these two prominent Qaeda leaders because of his “professional responsibility and duty” and that there was no other link with his patients’ relatives.
He might have a point there, which is what the fundos are pushing. On the other hand, if he's the Qaeda house physician, that's a different story...
“Abu Zubaida was arrested in March last year from Faisalabad only after a call was traced to Dr Khawaja’s number,” the source said, “it was later disclosed that the call was made by Zubaida to thank the doctor for providing treatment to his pregnant wife.”
"You're welcome. Duck."
The source said that initially the intelligence agencies confused the voice of Abu Zubaida with the voice of Osama, but after the raid on the place of the origin of the call in Faisalabad, Zubaida was arrested.
Since Binny's likely toes-up, it wasn't much of a mistake...
The arrest of Abu Hamza from Karachi has also been based on the information provided by Dr Khawaja during his interrogation, it is learnt.
Sounds like he's the Qaeda house physician, rather than just taking a few walk-ins. Be interesting to see where he mails his bills...
Sources said that the raids are conducted “as and when” fresh information is available from every interrogation session. “Every fresh raid provides new clues for another raid to a place where an alleged member of Al Qaeda has stayed previously and the chain of arrests and raids continues to move like this”.
That's basic intel work. You build your network on a chart. If you get two joins, you've got a possible. If you get more than two you've got a probable. This guy's got three, at least. If he's treated Zubaydah's little woman for pregnancy, he's probably treating Khalid Sheikh's hemorrhoids, and prescribing Viagra for Ayman Zawahiri, too...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 11:00 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [337 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Bills? Cash on the barrelhead, if he has any brains, which it doesn't sound like he has...
Posted by: mojo || 01/28/2003 12:35 Comments || Top||

#2  Bills? Cash on the barrelhead, if he has any brains, which it doesn't sound like he has...
Posted by: mojo || 01/28/2003 12:35 Comments || Top||

#3  Ayman's a doc; he can write his own Viagra prescription.
Posted by: Herman || 01/28/2003 16:12 Comments || Top||

#4  Viagra?These camel humping Islamomaggots prolly just look at a picture of Otis Sistrunk
Posted by: Hugh Jorgan || 01/29/2003 0:47 Comments || Top||


Gas supply to Punjab, NWFP affected by yokels
The main gas pipeline to the Punjab and the NWFP from Sui was blown up again on Sunday night as the blast completely damaged two supply pipes of 30 inch and 20 inch diameter. The incident took place inside Balochistan, a few kilometres away from Sui. Initial reports suggested the terrorists dug out the subsurface supply line and blew it up with a bomb. This main supply line catered to around 45 per cent needs of the total gas requirement of Punjab and the NWFP. The channels supply 600 million cubic/feet from the total of 1000 mc/ft of gas every day to Punjab and the NWFP. Soon after the explosion, the pressure in the pipes started decreasing and complete suspension of gas supply was expected by early Monday.
This looks like a little more than just the Bugtis and Mazaris potting each other, even if they are in the habit of using heavy weapons in their feud...
The big explosion was followed by a huge fireball, which could be seen from miles. The SNGPL teams were despatched to the spot and the restoration work was underway. The SNGPL officials believed the gas supply could be restored within a day or so. The extent of the on-the-spot damage could not be estimated as the restoration operations were on. However, the dried pipes will cause loss in millions as the entire gas-dependant industry in Punjab and the NWFP would be affected.
"Hey, Mahmoud! Y'know what'd be really neat?"
"Whut, Ahmed?"
"We should blow that pipeline."
"Wow! Bet that'll make a fireball!"
"Yeah. Then we can pop across the border and pot some infidels."
"You said 'pot.' Huh huh!"
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 10:43 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [333 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Is Mahmoud and Ahmed the Pak equivalent of Beavis and Butthead?
Posted by: Anonymous || 01/28/2003 15:17 Comments || Top||

#2  And it can be just the result of bad maintenance.

A pipeline blew up last year or the year before in New Mexico taking some civies out along with it. Happen to be having a picnic in the area, just a raw deal of fate. The fed investigation showed the pipes were corroding from the inside. Think the Paks spend more on maintenance than us?
It got enough attention to cause the feds to direct more frequent inspections of these lines which criss cross the US.
Posted by: Don || 01/28/2003 16:40 Comments || Top||

#3  This one's the result of fighting between the Bugtis and the Mazaris, a couple tribes of Baluchi primitives.
Posted by: Fred || 01/28/2003 21:24 Comments || Top||


Balochistan Post discovers insidious crusade against Islam...
From the front page, no less...
The Second Crusade against Islam is more insidious, yet more ominous, like a silent cancer spreading through the body or ummah of Muslims. It is an Internal Crusade by Muslims themselves against Islam through their ignorance of faith, its teachings and practices, widespread illiteracy, loss of self respect and dignity, a demoralized and defeatist existence, acceptance of corrupt dictators, and centuries of silence in the face of threats to their land, property, self, and even faith."
"If the entire Muslim world doesn't start killing infidels soon, it's curtains!"
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 10:13 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [329 views] Top|| File under:

#1  hey,it sounds like at least some of 'em realized they are sitting in shit:now we just gotta get 'em to realize that it came out of their ass,not ours.
Posted by: Hugh Jorgan || 01/29/2003 0:50 Comments || Top||


Southeast Asia
Umno Youth was obligated to act, says wing's editorial
Last week, Malaysiakini was shut down and its servers confiscated...
In an editorial published o­n its official website today, Umno Youth explained why it had to lodge a police report against malaysiakini and denied that it was a move to attract publicity. The editorial, 'Police report: Was Umno Youth's action uncouth?' dismissed as "shallow" allegations that Umno Youth was driven to act so to gain popularity. It pointed out that police action against malaysiakini "will o­nly give enormous publicity to the website through local and international media coverage".
Which it's done. So why would Umno Youth do such a thing?
Acknowledging that while certain quarters felt that the wing's action was hasty and wrong, it added that Umno Youth was o­nly executing its responsibility as a party that defends "race, religion and country" within the boundaries of the nation's laws, "period".
Bold added... Yep. That's the important stuff, isn't it, Adolph?
"Anyone who thinks rationally, without following their emotions and having a narrow understanding, will agree that the article [sic] published by malaysiakini under the heading 'Similarities between 'new Americans' and bumiputera' by Petrof (a pseudonym) is a lie, seditious and full of hatred towards a social contract agreed upon since 1957". The editorial added that those who studied the "article" carefully and recollect historical facts will not doubt [thank] the wing for lodging the police report. "This is because the special privileges accorded to the Malays and bumiputera is not an issue that needs debating. They are absolute and final."
I don't always agree with the content on Malaysiakini, but they showed a lot of guts running that particular article. "Petrof" fried the race-religion-nation Brownshirts. It's worth a read in itself...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 10:06 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [255 views] Top|| File under:


Eighteen hurt in Philippines blast
A bomb has exploded in the southern Philippines, injuring at least 18 people. Police in Kidapawan city, a largely Christian town on the island of Mindanao, said the bomb was placed in front of a three-storey commercial complex.
Because that's where the targets are.
Several of those hurt were caught in a huge fire that the bomb sparked in the office block. The incident is the latest in a series of bomb attacks in the south of the country.
In October 2002, a bomb at a bus station in Kidapawan city killed seven people and injured 24 others. Tuesday's bomb went off at around 1300 local time (0500 GMT) as police worked to defuse it. One police officer reportedly lost his hand as a result. "It was a powerful blast," police chief Casimiro Medes told the Associated Press news agency. "We still don't know if it was a grenade or a mortar, but the explosive had shrapnel."
Police said that witnesses saw three men plant the bomb outside the building, hidden in a plastic bag.
The governor of North Cotaboto province, Emmanuel Pinol, said he believed a regional Muslim extremist group may have been responsible. "It is possible that this is the work of elements linked to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)," Emmanuel Pinol told Reuters news agency.
Let's see, bomb, mostly christian town, civilian casulties, yup, sounds like them.
The MILF has been linked to several attacks in the area, including a blast in the southern town of Datu Piang which killed at least 13 people in December. The group, which operates on central Mindanao island, has signed a ceasefire with the government and peace talks are expected to resume in Malaysia next month.
Not any more.
Posted by: Steve || 01/28/2003 09:24 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [632 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Easiest call we've made this week. See the post on talks below...
Posted by: Fred || 01/28/2003 9:35 Comments || Top||


Indonesian police pursue Bali bombing bomb maker
Jakarta Post
Indonesian police have launched a manhunt for a fugitive accused of assembling bombs used in the deadly Bali blasts last October and a series of attacks on churches across the country in 2000, national police chief General Da'i Bachtiar said Tuesday. Based on statements given by some key suspects in the Bali bombings, the police were convinced that Dulmatin, whose real name is Joko Pitono, built the bombs that were used in a series of terroristattacks, including the Bali blasts, Da'i said. "We are eager to immediately capture him. We have put Dulmatin on our list of prime targets," he said, which was quoted by dpa as saying.
You never know when he's going to build a few more, do you?
Earlier, police had accused the alleged mastermind of the Bali blasts, Imam Samudra, of ordering the Christmas Eve attacks on churches in Jakarta, Batam and West Nusa Tenggara, which killed at least 18 people two years ago. Da'i added that Abdul Jabar, a suspect in the church bombings on Christmas Eve 2000 who recently turned himself in to the police, also identified Dulmatin as the bomb assembler. Jabar, however, has not been linked to the Bali blasts.
Seems like everybody else was, though...
Dulmatin is among at least 10 more suspects in the Bali bombings still at large, although investigators believe he is still in the country.
Hambali, on the other hand, is probably in Pakistan, yukking it up with his peers in Karachi or Quetta...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 09:26 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [258 views] Top|| File under:


Indonesian military pledges to protect western interests
Jakarta Post
Indonesian security authorities vowed to protect foreign interests in the country amid increasing fears of anti-Western violence should the United States and its allies attack Iraq. Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Gen. Endriartono Sutarto and National Police Chief Gen. Da'i Bachtiar said they were prepared to handle any unrest.
That's a nice switch. They stood by browning their thumbs while the goon squads went looking for infidels when we went into Afghanistan...
They conceded unrest was likely in the event of an attack. "We have an obligation to protect all things, including foreign interests, if the Iraqi war brings negative impacts and raises a negative response to the situation at home," Endriartono said. Thousands of Muslims have marched near the United States and British embassies in Jakarta over the last few days to protest against the likely attack on the sovereignty of the predominantly Muslim country. Indonesia saw a wave of anti-U.S. demonstrations and many extreme groups sought to expel American citizens from Indonesia following the U.S.-led attack on Afghanistan in 2001.
That's a good sign. It means they're still taking the Bali bombings seriously. Since it's been three months, I was sure they'd be forgetting by now...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 09:19 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [273 views] Top|| File under:


Muslim militants formally linked to Bali bomb
Indonesia's police chief has formally blamed the regional Muslim militant group Jemaah Islamiah for the bombings in Bali last October. General Da'i Bachtiar told Indonesia's parliament that Jemaah Islamiah (JI) leaders decided to attack the holiday island as part of a plan to hit US interests in Indonesia and Singapore. The decision to target US operations was made at a meeting in Bangkok last February, Mr Bachtiar said. At least 193 people died in the bomb attacks on two nightclubs in Bali. Several people are under arrest on suspicion of involvement and police have said the first court case could be held next month.
Mr Bachtiar has previously hinted that JI could have been involved in the attacks and linked some of the alleged perpetrators with the group, but he has never before formally blamed JI as a whole.
He's got the evidence now.
The police chief also said that Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, who has been arrested on suspicion of treason and involvement in a separate bombing case, gave his "blessing" to the anti-US operation.
Can we charge him now?
Mr Bachtiar told a parliamentary security committee that a Malaysian explosives expert called Azahari designed and supervised the making of a car bomb that exploded in front of the Sari nightclub. Police have said they are hunting Azahari, along with about nine other suspects who are still at large.
Mr Bachtiar said that another Malaysian - Wan Min Wan Mat - acted as an intermediary in the exchange of $35,000 used to finance the attack. He said this money came from Hambali, who is believed to be JI's former operations chief and is wanted for a string of bomb attacks across the region. The US and other governments have linked JI with Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.
Not a franchise, but a partner.
Posted by: Steve || 01/28/2003 09:13 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [249 views] Top|| File under:


Peace talks between Manila and Muslim fighters postponed next month
BINA
The already stalled peace talks between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippine government has been reset to February this year, a high-ranking official of the MILF told the Bangsamoro Islamic News Agency (BINA) today. Al Haj Murad Ibrahim, chief MILF negotiator, told BINA that the main reason for the delay is the inability of both parties to wind up their preparation for the talks.
MILF needs to be on top militarily to talk. The Philippine government needs to be on top militarily to talk. So no talks...
The talks are also marred by accusations from both the MILF and government of violations of the ceasefire agreement signed in 2001. Recently, however, Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), an international non-government organization, has conducted a fact-finding mission regarding the ceasefire between the government and MILF. Its initial findings showed that both parties were guilty of violating the truce, but the greater blame has been put on the former.
Oh, dear, yes. Damn them, for acting like a government...
Murad is also the current MILF chair for military affairs and chief of staff of the MILF's Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF). He told BINA that the MILF negotiating panel has in its position the comprehensive peace package proposal that will be presented to the government and in likewise manner receive the latter's proposal when the two parties would meet in Kuala Lumpur next month.
Assuming they can cause the gummint enough casualties to want to try and avoid more...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 09:13 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [257 views] Top|| File under:


Terror Networks
New book provides an ‘inside look’ of Al-Qaeda
Mohamed Sifaoui, an Algerian journalist who claims to have infiltrated one of France’s most important extremist networks, has just published a book detailing his accomplishments, and has taken to the airwaves to promote his feat, which has just led to the incarceration of several alleged French Al-Qaeda kingpins.

The book, “Mes ‘Freres’ Assassins. Comment j’ai infiltre une cellule d’Al-Qaeda” (My ‘Brothers’ in Assassination. How I infiltrated an Al-Qaeda network), published this week by Editions du Cherche-Midi in Paris, coincides with the decision by a French tribunal to charge a supposedly prominent member of French Al-Qaeda, Karim Bourti, with “association de malfaiteurs,” that is, association of wrong-doers, a rather euphemistic catch-all categorization that has usually in the past been used to justify the rounding up of alleged French Mafiosi.

According to Sifaoui, the point of departure for his book goes back many years ago to Algiers where he and Karim Bourti attended the same high school, Lycee Emir-Abdelkader, located at Bab-El-Oued. In October 2002, making use of an assumed name, Sifaoui says that he decided to introduce himself to Bourti, who’d been accused of having played a key role in the several terrorist attacks in the French subway system that occurred in the summer and fall of 1995.

“I decided then,” notes Sifaoui, “to introduce myself as being a sympathizer of Al-Qaeda, and was surprised to see how easily they believed me. It’s then, after a month and a half of initial contacts, that I began to learn how Bourti and his confederates had been to Afghanistan, and had indeed prepared an attack on the Stade de France for the 1998 World Football Cup (won by France), this under the direction of Omar Saiki.”

“If they accepted me so easily,” he continued, “it was largely, they told me, because they needed somebody of confidence who would be able to provide them with detailed information on persons who would figure eventually on a hit list, among them were Dalil Boubakeur, the rector of the Grande Mosquee of Paris (and the new president of the just-named Conseil francais du culte musulman), as well as the Mufti of Marseille, Soheib Bencheikh. Sooner or later, moreover, they confided to me, they would also be hitting at major targets throughout Europe.”

And, he adds, “when, last December, Osama Bin Laden conveyed a message by way of the Al-Jazeera TV network, Karim Bourti confided to me: ‘The sheikh has given us the order to go into action in the countries referred to in the message: Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain and Italy.’”

As a result, he notes, “Karim Bourti sent me to London in December 2002, to meet his former chief, Omar Saiki, who was headquartered at the Finsbury Park mosque. It was there that I was able to learn that London had become the hub of international Islamic extremism, indeed I was able to make acquaintance with some of the key players of the Al-Qaeda movement, among them members of the Algerian GIA, and the Salafist group Algerian combat.”
In December, 2000, Saiki was sentenced to four years in jug for his involvement in the attempted atrocity at the World Cup. He was released in August, 2002. (Don't ask me. I didn't take French arithmetic...) Finsbury Park is, of course, the place to be, if you're a crazed killer. I have no idea where the in crowd will congregate now that it's boarded up — I presume MI5 either has an idea, or will be keeping an eye on where Abu Hamza goes... I'd also imagine there's going to be a contract fatwa issued on Sifaoui.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 11:06 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [273 views] Top|| File under:


Heh heh...
Nostradumbass. It's gotta be good, if only for the name...
Via Aaron's Rantblog (Hey! Nice title!), via the Lovely and Talented Meryl, who has been visited by a plague of cat hair...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 11:15 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [252 views] Top|| File under:


Axis of Evil
Sammy shakes his fist at Kuwait...
Iraq yesterday warned its tiny neighbor Kuwait of harsh retaliation in the event of a war in the Gulf as Britain said Baghdad had clearly ignored UN disarmament demands. "Kuwait is a battlefield and American troops are in Kuwait and preparing themselves to attack Iraq," said Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz late Monday in an interview with Canada’s CBC television. "If there is an attack from Kuwait, I cannot say that we will not retaliate. We will of course retaliate against the American troops wherever they start their aggression on Iraq. This is legitimate."
He's just going out of his way to cheese off everybody in sight, isn't he?
Asked whether Iraq would launch an attack on US territory, Aziz said: "No, because we don’t have the means and we don’t have the wish to make any mischief inside the United States."
"We would if we did, though..."
Kuwait reacted angrily to Baghdad’s threat. "The Iraqi regime will pay a high price if it makes a move that threatens the security and sovereignty and territorial sanctity of Kuwait," Defense Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah said in a statement to the official KUNA news agency. "This is yet another proof that reveals the hostile nature (of the Iraqi regime) and affirms that Kuwait has taken the correct choice of seeking aid of sisterly and friendly states for maintaining the sovereignty, stability and security of Kuwait," Sheikh Jaber said.
That's us... I feel so... so... so multilateral.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 10:15 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [259 views] Top|| File under:


East/Subsaharan Africa
Somali peace talks degenerate into fist fights...
A Somali professor says that his arm was broken by thugs hired by warlords at the ongoing peace talks in the Kenyan town of Eldoret. Professor Mohammed Abdi Gandhi told the BBC that he was beaten up after he and other representatives of civil society, including women, stormed a meeting of warlords.
They beat up Gandhi, ferchrissake?
They were arguing about how many delegates each side should have when the talks attempt to draw up a new constitution and end 12 years of anarchy in Somalia. Three months of talks have produced an agreement to stop fighting while discussions continue but have been bogged down in arguments about numbers.
Doesn't sound like they're doing very well on the part about stopping fighting, either...
Over 1,000 delegates turned up when but donors have said they will only continue to pay the hotel bills for the 300 they originally invited.
"Hey! Free eats! It's on them!"
The BBC's Hassan Barise in Nairobi says that civil society groups have now agreed to have 16 delegates, compared to 284 for the warlords. This would enable the warlords to determine the outcome of any talks, provided they can agree amongst themselves.
Figger the odds on that...
He says that about 50 people burst into the meeting, chanting "Down with warlords".
That was pretty bright...
The United Nations' Irin news agency reports that during the confrontation, there was a fist fight between warlord Mawlid Maane and Id Badal from the civil society. Mr Maane and four of his supporters were subsequently arrested and spent the night in prison, Irin reports.
Gosh, I love civil, well-reasoned discourse...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 09:47 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [263 views] Top|| File under:


Ivory Coast army torpedoes peace deal
Ivory Coast's army has rejected a key part of the peace agreement aimed at ending the country's four-month-old civil war. The deal, signed in France on Saturday, stipulates that supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo should share power with rebels within a unity government. But in a letter to the president, the army says it will not accept the rebels taking over the defence and interior ministries under the accord.
Guess the army's not insane...
Mr Gbagbo has not yet addressed the nation to explain the deal - which sparked fresh violent protests on Tuesday.
Still trying to think up an explanation... I'd go with "too much wine," myself, and try and forget it...
Senior military officers met Mr Gbagbo to express their objections. "We told him officially that the army does not agree with certain elements of the peace agreement," army spokesman Jules Yao Yao said.
Fairly definite statement there...
The BBC's Tom McKinley in Ivory Coast says the army's opposition puts the president in a seemingly impossible position. On Saturday he agreed to share power with the rebels - but without the support of his army he cannot keep his word. The French Government, for its part, again urged Mr Gbagbo to sell the agreement to those of his supporters who say too many concessions to the rebels have been made. "It is up to President Gbagbo to explain to the extremists of his camp the spirit in which (the agreement) was made," French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said on Tuesday.
Gbagbo's the elected president. If it was this country, I'd be one of Villepin's "extremists," wanting to keep the government I'd voted for.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 09:36 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [261 views] Top|| File under:


Home Front
Bush tears 'em up...
Excepts:
Before September 11, 2001, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. But chemical agents and lethal viruses and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained. Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons, and other plans - this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take just one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known. We will do everything in our power to make sure that day never comes.

Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

This dictator, who is assembling the world's most dangerous weapons, has already used them on whole villages - leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind, or disfigured. Iraqi refugees tell us how forced confessions are obtained - by torturing children while their parents are made to watch. International human rights groups have catalogued other methods used in the torture chambers of Iraq: electric shock, burning with hot irons, dripping acid on the skin, mutilation with electric drills, cutting out tongues, and rape.

If this is not evil, then evil has no meaning. And tonight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: Your enemy is not surrounding your country - your enemy is ruling your country. And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation.

The world has waited 12 years for Iraq to disarm. Americawill not accept a serious and mounting threat to our country, our friends, and our allies. The United Stateswill ask the UN Security Council to convene on February 5th to consider the facts of Iraq's ongoing defiance of the world. Secretary of State Powell will present information and intelligence about Iraq's illegal weapons programs; its attempts to hide those weapons from inspectors; and its links to terrorist groups. We will consult, but let there be no misunderstanding: If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm, for the safety of our people, and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him...

We seek peace. We strive for peace. And sometimes peace must be defended. A future lived at the mercy of terrible threats is no peace at all. If war is forced upon us, we will fight in a just cause and by just means - sparing, in every way we can, the innocent. And if war is forced upon us, we will fight with the full force and might of the United Statesmilitary - and we will prevail. And as we and our coalition partners are doing in Afghanistan, we will bring to the Iraqi people food, and medicines, and supplies 
 and freedom...

Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity.
Gosh, I like that guy... And he made Daschle's and Pelosi's "prebuttal" seem just as cheap as it was.

Along the same line as the bolded comment by Mr Bush, there's a rather pleasant article by an Australian ex-anti-American here. Why's he an ex-anti-American?
I found, amid the grandeur of the great cities of Moscow and Leningrad, young people desperate for a taste of the West. Try to talk to them about Dostoevsky, or the Hermitage, and they wanted to talk you into selling your shoes. I received a serious offer for my tattered sloppy joe.

It should have struck me as desperately sad, and sadly desperate. But it was not enough to dampen my feelings that the socialist system, being so much fairer than all others, would eventually triumph. The US, that greedy behemoth that wanted to lord it over the rest of the world by putting weapons in space, was surely doomed by its gluttony and rapaciousness.

Well, on reflection, it still might be. But who is seriously offering a better vision of the way the world could be? America, for all its flaws, still offers its citizens that shining vision - liberty - that is not matched by its enemies.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 10:41 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [265 views] Top|| File under:


Middle East
Secular Shinui holds key to coalition
Israel's Shinui party, a secular, centrist grouping, has emerged as perhaps the single biggest winner in Tuesday's general election. From just six seats in the outgoing Knesset, or parliament, the party is predicted to have taken between 15 and 17. It will be difficult for Ariel Sharon - who looks certain to remain as prime minister - to form a stable coalition government without them. But the aggressively secular party has vowed not to join a coalition that also includes religious parties - and it looks unlikely that a government could be built without them, either. The apparently inflexible positions of Mr Lapid and Mr Mitzna may make it very difficult for Mr Sharon to build a coalition despite his apparently sweeping victory at the polls.
Hmmm... Rock... Hard place...
In a speech shortly after exit poll results were announced on Tuesday night, party leader Yosef "Tommy" Lapid called on Mr Sharon to form a secular government of Likud, Shinui and the centre-left Labour party. Minutes later, Labour party leader Amram Mitzna said he would not join such a government and urged Mr Lapid to refuse to do so as well.
Ewww! These grapes are really sour. Labour, of course, got tromped...
Mr Lapid, the man of the hour, is 71, a Holocaust survivor and former talk-show host. His party's key policies centre on:
  • reducing the influence of the Jewish religious right in Israeli society;
  • cutting welfare payments to ultra-Orthodox Jewish families;
  • removing the exemption that means religious young men do not have to join the army while their secular countrymen are drafted and obliged to serve in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Mr Lapid is characteristically direct about his attitude towards the Orthodox community. "I don't mind them carrying on their religion but I do mind when they try to impose their views on the secular majority in this country," he says. "I think Israel should be a modern, Western civilisation and not a medieval ghetto."
It's likely Labour will torpedo a deal, which is going to leave things hung. That's a bad thing for Israel. It also puts Tommy in the position of being the one who has to compromise if he wants to be in the government. I think the goverment will be the better for a change from Labour.

I don't know much about Shinui — in addition to being secular, they could also be pacifists, for all I do know. But they're what I thought of when I read on somebody's blog — sorry, I forgot which one — that when people say they don't agree with something Israel does they're really, deep down, being anti-Semitic. I don't think the religious parties should have as much influence in Israel as they do, much less more. That's the sort of thing we point the finger at in the Islamist states, so why should it be a good thing in Israel? So when Tommy says "I think Israel should be a modern, Western civilisation and not a medieval ghetto," I agree with him.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 08:06 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [254 views] Top|| File under:


Axis of Evil
Sammy sends death certs to nuke jockeys...
Saddam Hussein has ordered official death certificates sent to Iraqi scientists' families as a chilling warning against aiding U.N. inspectors, The Post has learned. Word of the death certificates containing prominent scientists' names has reached Iraqi exile groups. "The message is, they will die a terrible death if they cooperate - and the death will be legally listed as an accident or result of an illness," said one exile. Iraqi scientists have refused to speak to U.N. weapons inspectors without government minders present.
If this is a true story — and who am I to doubt the NY Post? — it's the smoking gun, the smell of cordite, the hole in the wall, and the ventilated corpse on the floor.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 03:17 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [245 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Or, a really, really good psyop.
Posted by: Chuck || 01/28/2003 15:38 Comments || Top||


Saddam aide: U.N. report skewed
An aide to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has accused U.N. weapons inspectors of skewing the facts in their report to the Security Council and said Iraq has accounted for its stocks of nerve gas and anthrax. Iraqi presidential adviser Gen. Amer Rasheed said Tuesday that Iraq has provided "complete cooperation in every aspect" but is willing to do more to help weapons inspectors. "We are ready to explain all of these issues. But we have to do it in a cooperative manner -- not as if we are a suspect," Rasheed said.
That's the problem, Rasheed, you are a suspect, you just won't admit it. It's called denial.
Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix told the Security Council Monday that Iraq had not fully accounted for its chemical and biological weapons programs and had not fully accepted the inspection regime mandated by U.N. resolutions.
Rasheed called the report unfair. "There was no proportionate presentation of the facts," he said. "Some parts have been amplified and magnified to what are called problems, so it gives a (negative) impact, while important issues have been abbreviated and sometimes even fully ignored."
Rasheed said Iraq's stocks of the nerve agent VX were never pure enough to last more than a few years and have deteriorated, and that the shelf life of the liquid anthrax it produced "would be only so few years."
"And we poured them down the toilet. Why don't you believe us?"
Rasheed said the only disputes that remain between Iraq and the inspectors concern overflights by a U.S. spy plane on loan to the United Nations, and the interviewing of Iraqi scientists.
"The Iraqi point of view was not presented at all regarding the U-2 and also regarding the interviews," Rasheed said.
We know your point of view on these already.
Blix said no Iraqis have agreed to private interviews so far.
Tuesday, he said Iraq had demanded to be allowed to import radar systems capable of tracking the aircraft from sites in northern and southern Iraq. Iraqi air defense radar systems have been battered by U.S. and British warplanes enforcing the "no-fly" zones imposed over northern and southern Iraq after the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
"No,you can't have any more radar systems. You broke all the ones you got for your birthday. Now, shut up and sit down."
Posted by: Steve || 01/28/2003 03:01 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [331 views] Top|| File under:

#1  and your command and control fiber optic cable system in Al Kut? Too bad, you should've thought about missing HBO before you targetted planes broke it
Posted by: Frank G || 01/28/2003 18:15 Comments || Top||


Iraq sought UN help to buy special radars-Blix
Iraq demanded U.N. help in buying sophisticated radars for two airfields as a condition for safe overflights by a U-2 spy plane loaned to U.N. arms inspectors, chief inspector Hans Blix said on Tuesday. U.N. inspectors have set up regional offices in Mosul to the north of Baghdad and in the southern city of Basra to help them in their work, and rely on nearby airfields in both cities. "They wanted us to support permission for them to import special radars for Basra and Mosul," said Blix, who is responsible for accounting for Iraq's ballistic missiles and chemical and biological weapons. U.S. and British coalition warplanes patrolling "no-fly" zones over Iraq have regularly targeted radar facilities and other strategic sites in recent months as the U.S. military builds up forces in the Gulf region to prepare for a possible war with Iraq.
Humm, I wondered when they were going to run out of radars.
Blix said he rejected the condition as inappropriate as the Iraqis had made no such demand on U-2 overflights under a previous U.N. inspection regime. "This was not anything like they had in the past," Blix told CNN.
Blix's comments came a day after he briefed the U.N. Security Council, giving a tough recital of gaps in Iraqi data on weapons of mass destruction and saying Baghdad had not come to a "genuine acceptance" of its disarmament obligations.
During the closed-door portion of his briefing, Blix spelled out three conditions set by Iraq before his inspectors could begin the U-2 overflights, council members told Reuters.
In addition to help in buying the radar equipment, Iraq wanted to be notified in advance of every U-2 flight and asked that the no-fly zones be suspended during those flights.
Ah, no. Anthing else?
The U.S. military is also using low-flying unmanned Predator spy planes in the southern no-fly zone.Piloted U-2s -- veterans of Cold War flights over the Soviet Union -- fly very high.
The United States has offered Predators to the U.N. inspectors as well, but the United Nations has apparently turned down the offer. Blix has repeatedly criticized Baghdad in recent weeks for imposing unacceptable conditions on U-2 flights, but Iraq has not backed down. "Satellites can't loiter over an area. If you have inspections in an area, a U-2 can hover over it," Blix said last week.
Which is why the Iraqis don't want them there.
Posted by: Steve || 01/28/2003 12:48 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [255 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Blix has repeatedly criticized Baghdad in recent weeks for imposing unacceptable conditions on U-2 flights, but Iraq has not backed down.

Someone, ANYONE, needs to get it through those thick Iraqi/Saddam heads that they are in no position to negotiate ANYTHING. Time after time it comes out in some piece on the evening news or some article in some paper that some Iraqi official is demanding concessions, conditions, or negotiations on something.

These jerks need to be told in no uncertain terms to KNOCK OFF THE DEMANDS, and that if there are any FURTHER demands, then time will be UP.

Damn it all to hell, this continuing game of footsie just makes the anger level keep on rising.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 01/28/2003 16:06 Comments || Top||


North Africa
Algerian Qaeda?
Glenn Reynolds points to this piece from Christian Science Monitor...
Over the past six weeks, European investigators in four countries have arrested more than 50 people with suspected links to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network. Police have uncovered explosives, chemicals, fake passports, and documents, including maps of the London Underground.

Algerians are consistently among those detained - a fact that Western intelligence officials say points to the formation of a North African network of Al Qaeda that is preparing to act.

Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar, referring to the arrests Friday of 15 Algerians and a Moroccan in northeastern Spain, said police had broken up a "major terrorist network" linked to the Algerian Salafist group, a splinter of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), which he said had clear links with Al Qaeda. He said the network also had connections with suspects recently arrested in France and Britain.
Now, I wonder if the rise of the Salafists as European operators could have something to do with the appearance of two al-Qaeda emissaries in Algeria three weeks ago? Inquiring minds want to know... I'd doubt that it points to the formation of the group, but to the activation of its sleepers. It wouldn't have been put together that quickly, and probably the majority of those rounded up have been in place in Italy, Spain and Britain for longer than three weeks.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 01:14 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [256 views] Top|| File under:


Axis of Evil
Preparations for the likely American attack against Iraq
The Turkish daily Radical has stated that the Turkish military preparations along the borders with Iraq have been increasing on a daily basis, noting that the Turkish armed forces have installed a moving bridge on Hazeel bridge along the borders with Iraq.
I guess they mean a portable bridging unit.
The paper added that the said bridge is of great strategic value that ensures Logistic support for the Turkish units in North Iraq and will also facilitate a direct passage for the Iraqi territories instead of walking for 15 Km.
Logistics win wars.
Posted by: Steve || 01/28/2003 12:35 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [264 views] Top|| File under:


U.S. Carrier in Albanian Joint Exercise
The American aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman is in the Adriatic Sea for maneuvers with the Albanian military, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday. The guided missile cruiser USS San Jacinto also is participating in the exercise, which began Saturday and is set to end Feb. 10, a ministry statement said.
Feb 10th, huh.
The exercise, held near the Albanian port of Vlora, 85 miles southwest of Tirana, is intended to help Albania's military reach NATO standards.
Also helps to get our flyers ready.
The two U.S. warships are in the Mediterranean to be within striking distance of Iraq in the event of war.
Across Israel and Jordan to western Iraq.
Posted by: Steve || 01/28/2003 12:13 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [419 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The Albanian military? WTF!

OTOH, maybe tomorrow's headline will read "Albanian Air Force Bombs Afghan Rebels"

And, whatever happened to King Zog, easily the winner of the "Great Royal Name" contest?
Posted by: Chuck || 01/28/2003 12:31 Comments || Top||

#2  The Albanian military? WTF!

OTOH, maybe tomorrow's headline will read "Albanian Air Force Bombs Afghan Rebels"

And, whatever happened to King Zog, easily the winner of the "Great Royal Name" contest?
Posted by: Chuck || 01/28/2003 12:31 Comments || Top||

#3  Interesting factiod: The 'San Jacinto' fired the first TLAM at Iraq in the last dust-up. I hope they get a repeat performance, and soon!
Posted by: BrewingFrog || 01/28/2003 15:54 Comments || Top||

#4  OK,Albanian and Iraqi officer mustache tug pull for all the marbles:one catch,all chicks.
Posted by: Hugh Jorgan || 01/29/2003 0:21 Comments || Top||


(Sub)title of the Day...
Christopher Hitchens in Slate:
"Cowboy"
Bush challenged by bovines

Just an excerpt...
In the present case of Iraq, a cowboy would have overruled the numerous wimps and faint hearts who he somehow appointed to his administration and would have evinced loud scorn for the assemblage of sissies and toadies who compose the majority of the United Nations. Instead, Bush has rejoined UNESCO, paid most of the U.S. dues to the U.N., and returned repeatedly to the podium of the organization in order to recall it to its responsibility for existing resolutions. While every amateur expert knows that weather conditions for an intervention in the Gulf will start to turn adverse by the end of next month, he has extended deadline after deadline. He has not commented on the eagerness of the media to print every injunction of caution and misgiving from State Department sources. The Saudis don't want the United States to use the base it built for the protection of "the Kingdom"? Very well, build another one in a state that welcomes the idea. Do the Turks and Jordanians want to have their palms greased before discovering what principles may be at stake? Greased they will be. In a way, this can be described as "a drive to war." But only in a way. It would be as well described as a decided insistence that confrontation with Saddam Hussein is inevitable—a proposition that is relatively hard to dispute from any standpoint. It's true that Bush was somewhat brusque with Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, but then Schröder is a man so sensitive that he recently sought an injunction against a London newspaper for printing speculation about his hair color and his notoriously volatile domestic life. What we are really seeing, in this and other tantrums, is not a Texan cowboy on the loose but the even less elevating spectacle of European elites having a cow.
Wish I could drip scorn like that...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 11:42 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [338 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Hitchens doesn't even mention the other meaning of "cowboy", though he's doubtless aware of it: in mob hits, when the Brotherhood is especially cranky, they'll order a "cowboy" hit, meaning the assasins are to make the target very messily and publicly dead, and not worry too much if a couple of bystanders go down along with him.
Posted by: mojo || 01/28/2003 12:22 Comments || Top||

#2  You are pretty adept at dripping scorn yourself, Fred! Though I'll admit Hitchens also leaves me in awe. Best I can do is dry irony.
Posted by: Kathy K || 01/28/2003 19:58 Comments || Top||

#3  Nah. I ooze scorn. But no matter how hard I try, I just can't make it drip...
Posted by: Fred || 01/28/2003 23:58 Comments || Top||


Axis of Evil
Russia supports ‘tougher’ Iraq options
The screws were tightened on Iraq on Tuesday as Russia, for the first time, suggested it might back a war if Baghdad fails to cooperate with U.N. inspectors. Russian leader Vladimir Putin said he might support "different, tougher" options as the United States agreed to disclose intelligence information about Iraq’s weapons program and alleged links between Saddam Hussein’s regime and al-Qaida.

Sung to the tune by Dr. Demento's Delights, 1975:

They're coming to take you away, Saddam!
They're coming to take you away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa!
To the FUNERAL HOME! SO IRAQ CAN BE RICH, HAPPY, AND FREE!
THEY'RE COMING TO TAKE YOU SADDAM!!!
Posted by: Patrick Phillips || 01/28/2003 10:53 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [315 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Despite the general media spin that suggests the world is turning away from the Americans, the reality is quite different.

Russia still wants a deal. A UNSC vote should be worth $X billion, and if they can drag France along, maybe $XX billion more.
Posted by: john || 01/28/2003 14:40 Comments || Top||

#2  Saddam,at meeting with generals,subtitle:"Hey,this room smells like ASS,man!"
Posted by: Hugh Jorgan || 01/29/2003 0:23 Comments || Top||


Powell hasn’t changed his tune
On Monday afternoon on his home turf at the State Department, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell answered the question that has been on many minds since his speech in Davos -- when exactly did President Bush's peacemaker join his administration's hawks in pushing for war?
Snicker, they still haven't figured it out.
At a press conference only hours after chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix presented his first formal assessment of Iraqi cooperation on disarmament, Powell was asked, "Up until a week ago yesterday, you were a strong advocate for a diplomatic solution to the Iraqi situation ... what changed your mind?"
The secretary responded on the offensive, claiming credit for the Nov. 8 U.N. resolution mandating Iraqi disarmament and insisting his position had never changed. He then told the gathered audience that Saddam Hussein had failed to take the "diplomatic exit ramps" the resolution afforded him missing chances to build confidence among the weapons inspectors and the international community. Finally, Powell summed up his view as follows: "I'm a great believer in diplomacy and a great believer in finding a peaceful solution, but I also recognize that when somebody will not accept a peaceful solution by doing their part of creating a peaceful solution, one must never rule out the use of force."
Bwahahahaha!
In that phrase Powell separated himself from the doves in European capitals and elsewhere who had hoped his counsel would help avert a war the president has pushed for since his "Axis of Evil" State of the Union speech almost exactly a year ago.
Look for the attacks on him to begin.
Last week his counterparts in Germany and France said Iraq's level of cooperation did not warrant the use of force, a position the secretary characterized as accepting Iraq's passive acceptance of weapons inspections. The weekend before, close to 400,000 people marched in Washington to protest the coming war. In the last week, Democratic Party leaders have called on the president not to exercise the authority their party granted him in their votes last fall to declare war on Iraq without consent of the United Nations. For these diverse constituencies, Powell's insistence back in August that the president work with and through the United Nations to draft a resolution to return inspectors in lieu of soldiers to Iraq was seen as a victory for peace. But Powell was never against a war with Iraq a priori, he has always held out the possibility that war may be necessary in order to disarm Saddam Hussein. The United Nations resolution was not for the State Department a way to head off a war with Iraq, but rather a way to move toward one through a process that would not be diplomatically costly to the United States. In this respect, the only difference in the secretary's message last week and before has been his emphasis.
On Dec. 19 at a press conference responding to Iraq's initial report to the United Nations only 12 days earlier, Powell said, "It should be obvious that the pattern of systematic holes and gaps in Iraq's declaration is not the result of accidents or editing oversights or technical mistakes. These are material omissions that, in our view, constitute another material breach."
Before that, his Nov. 10 Washington Post commentary on the new U.N. inspections regime ended in these ominous words: "The Security Council has confronted Saddam Hussein and his regime with a moment of truth. If they meet it with more lies, they will not escape the consequences." Those consequences appear to be coming soon.
Colin Powell was always the "Good Cop" to Donald Rumsfeld's "Bad Cop". You make a deal with the good cop or the bad cop takes you in the back room and busts your head. Sammy wouldn't or couldn't make a deal. Now Colin sighs, gets up from the table, picks up his coffee cup, looks over at Rummy and says "I need a refill. You take over."
Posted by: Steve || 01/28/2003 10:29 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [351 views] Top|| File under:

#1  And Rummy sez..."Get me some doughnuts while yer out"
Posted by: Seafarious || 01/28/2003 13:41 Comments || Top||

#2  Colin Powell has NOT changed his tune...he is merely singing the 2nd verse...the 1st verse was about the resolution, now on to Saddam's rejection of same.
Posted by: MommaBear || 01/28/2003 20:42 Comments || Top||

#3  Ever get the feeling Saddam prolly had prison sex;those Afghanis were notorious pickle puffers weren't they.Got a feeling Saddams gonna find out pretty soon that George Costanza was right:fugitive sex is the best kind.
Posted by: Hugh Jorgan || 01/29/2003 0:28 Comments || Top||


Home Front
Democrats demand ‘proof’ of alleged Iraqi weapons from Bush
On the eve of President Bush’s State of the Union address, congressional Democratic leaders challenged the president to show “proof to the world” that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. In what was billed as a “pre-buttal” to Bush’s address to Congress and the nation Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET, Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the party’s leader in the House, sharply criticized Bush for taking what they said was a “hurry-up approach on Iraq” and charged that he was creating a “credibility gap” by saying one thing and doing another across a range of issues. “If we have proof of nuclear and biological weapons, why don’t we show that proof to the world — as President Kennedy did 40 years ago when he sent Adlai Stevenson to the United Nations to show the world U.S. photographs of offensive missiles in Cuba,” Daschle said at the National Press Club news conference. “At a time when we have only just begun to fight the war on terror, the American people deserve to hear why we should put hundreds of thousands of American troops at risk, spend perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars, risk our alliances, and inflame our adversaries to attack Iraq,” said Daschle, D-S.D.
I think all the reasons have been laid out already. Only somebody who's not paying attention — which I'll admit includes a large part of the short attention span public — doesn't know the details. If you've been asleep, or in Congress, you can catch up by reading this. Now, both Daschle and Pelosi know all these things, unless they've been on an extended bender or indulging in heavy usage of recreational medication. But they're going for political points, not having any concept of national interest that doesn't involve one or both of them, or at the very least a (D), in the White House.

My hope is that Bush is merely giving them enough rope to hang themselves, and that there is an "Adlai Stevenson moment" in the offing. But even without it, the case has been made, the troops are in place, and unless Sammy absconds with the Iraqi treasury in the next four weeks he's toast. Having shot themselves in the mouths, Tom and Nancy should be toast at that point, too, looking like idiots. But since we live in a short attention span world (never forget that half of everyone you meet will be below average) six months later they won't be toast anymore. It'll all be in the past and we'll be expected to "Move On."

And the followup...

The Bush administration has assembled what it believes to be significant intelligence showing that Iraq has been actively moving and concealing banned weapons systems and related equipment from United Nations inspectors, according to informed sources. After a lengthy debate over what and how much of the intelligence to disclose, President Bush and his national security advisers have decided to declassify some of the information and make it public, perhaps as early as next week, in an effort to garner more domestic and international support for confronting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein with military force, officials said.
Why not let Orrin Hatch review it before you do?
"The United States possesses several pieces of information which come from the work of our intelligence that show Iraq maintains prohibited weapons," Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said in an interview published yesterday in an Italian newspaper. "Once we have made sure it can be done safely, I think that in the next week or soon after we can make public a good part of this material."
The hard part's protecting the sources and methods. It's not going to matter to Sammy in a month or so, but if we're collecting from Iraq, we're also collecting from Syria and Iran — and Arabia. Wouldn't want 'em to shut down the pipeline.

Daschle and Pelosi, as the minority leaders (they hate it when we say that!) have access to the data, by the way, as do the members of the two Intel committees. They're betting Bush won't release the good stuff, so they can continue gnawing his ankles.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 11:25 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [247 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Shouldn't this be under "Fifth Column"?
Posted by: tu3031 || 01/28/2003 10:37 Comments || Top||

#2  The problem seems to be that there are so many good reasons for taking down saddam that the anti-war folks get confused. They want a single reason they can argue against so they claim the message is mixed and the reasons keep changing.

The Democrats are pandering to the anti-war folks. They misread the November elections really badly.
Posted by: Yank || 01/28/2003 10:44 Comments || Top||

#3  Don't most countries have rules and regulations about proper disposal of rotting carcasses? Surely those two belong in that category.
Posted by: MommaBear || 01/28/2003 10:49 Comments || Top||

#4  Maybe that's why I always think of Tom as not quite sanitary...
Posted by: Fred || 01/28/2003 11:02 Comments || Top||

#5  "Once we have made sure it can be done safely, I think that in the next week or soon after we can make public a good part of this material."


Hmmm... Interesting timetable...

Posted by: mojo || 01/28/2003 12:32 Comments || Top||

#6  Mojo --- It's on, it's on, if Bush can keep focused on the horizon (big picture) and ignore the pygmies gnawing at his ankles.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 01/28/2003 13:23 Comments || Top||

#7  Those who demand new evidence have denied all the previous evidence. There is nothing that Bush could present tonight that will change that denial. To those folks, Bush is not credible, period.

The only way to address the critics is to move forward and get the deed done. The truth will come out, and reasonable people will recognize what was the right thing to do. For the critics, they will continue to decry the massacres in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Panama, Grenada, Oakland...
Posted by: john || 01/28/2003 15:03 Comments || Top||

#8  Are the Dems taking a lesson from the Great Leader, C-NK? No real power, so just make lots of noise.

One of the reasons in the past for politics to end at the water's edge, was because the guy in power has all the intel and the party out of power doesn't. So if the party out of power make all sorts of incredible stupid statements, it only gives the party in power lots of sound bits to play against them in the next election. In politics as in war, you don't have to be the smartest person on earth, just smarter than your opponent.
Posted by: Don || 01/28/2003 16:32 Comments || Top||

#9  For the critics, they will continue to decry the massacres in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Panama, Grenada, Oakland...

No no, you mean San Diego. Oakland was massacred in San Diego..... :)
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 01/28/2003 16:52 Comments || Top||


Axis of Evil
Saddam Warns Iraqis Against Treason
President Saddam Hussein, addressing a meeting of Iraq's military commanders, warned against treason at time of war but said traitors would never triumph over ``the people of faith and belief,'' state television reported Tuesday.
Saddam issued his warning on Monday, when chief United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix told the Security Council that Iraq had failed to fully comply Resolution 1441 requiring he give up all chemical, nuclear and biological weapons. The United States has threatened to disarm Saddam by force if he does not give up his weapons voluntarily.
``You should not worry, but just be alert,'' Saddam told the commanders, ``otherwise treason, wherever it may be, is a state of weakness, it is the most extreme state of weakness in man.''
Saddam's remarks were in answer to a commander who asked about the possibility that the ``enemy'' would enlist the help of traitors.
Bet this was staged so Saddam could make this little speech, normally no one would dare ask Sammy a question like this.
In recent weeks, unconfirmed news reports have circulated that Saddam's lieutenants were being encouraged to overthrow him.
Sammy noticed.
``Treason is an unmanly act,'' he said. ``It does not frighten. However, in times of inattention, it may produce a treacherous act. Otherwise, how can an effeminate man, a traitor, face the people in whose chests honesty, faith and zealotry are embedded?'' ``You should demonstrate vigilance, the legitimate and appropriate vigilance. Treason everywhere is a state of weakness, it is the height of human weakness. ... The basic prerequisites of proper humanity are sincerity and loyalty, and not treason.''
I bet a few "traitor's" will be made examples of soon.
Posted by: Steve || 01/28/2003 10:05 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [337 views] Top|| File under:

#1  at times like these a few overt cash deposits into the bank accounts of the military leaders can do wonders at thinning out the capable generals - sow suspicion and let Sammy's paranoia do the work for you
Posted by: Frank G || 01/28/2003 10:25 Comments || Top||

#2  at times like these a few overt cash deposits into the bank accounts of the military leaders can do wonders at thinning out the capable generals - sow suspicion and let Sammy's paranoia do the work for you
Posted by: Frank G || 01/28/2003 10:25 Comments || Top||

#3  No, no! Not overt. But clumsy...
Posted by: Fred || 01/28/2003 10:35 Comments || Top||

#4  I stand corrected...how about a poorly encrypted email confirmation of funds deposited ;-)
Posted by: Frank G || 01/28/2003 10:59 Comments || Top||

#5  and the beauty is, you don't even have to deposit any money, just play with their heads.
Posted by: john || 01/28/2003 14:46 Comments || Top||

#6  No no. THEIR heads are a-okay. It's saddam's head from which the rattling is coming...
Posted by: Ptah || 01/28/2003 17:32 Comments || Top||

#7  life's a bitch when you don't know who you can trust
Posted by: john || 01/28/2003 18:58 Comments || Top||

#8  Wow,one story above,I said Saddams prolly had prison sex and the next story he';s talking about effeminate guys......heh heh heh
Posted by: Hugh Jorgan || 01/29/2003 0:32 Comments || Top||


Britain: Iraq in Breach of Resolution
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Tuesday that a ``damning and disturbing'' report by United Nations weapons inspectors proved Iraq was in ``material breach'' of a U.N. disarmament resolution and made war more likely. Straw said Monday's report by chief weapons inspector Hans Blix, claiming Iraq had not genuinely accepted the need to disarm, revealed Saddam Hussein's ``pattern of noncooperation by which he hides his weapons, his poisons, his diseases.''
``The conclusion that Iraq is in material breach is an incontrovertible one,'' Straw told a news conference.
``The chances of this being resolved by peaceful means are less than they were,'' Straw told the British Broadcasting Corp. Tuesday. Earlier this month, he had said the chances of a war with Iraq taking place were 40 for, 60 against.
90 - 10 now.
U.N. resolution 1441 requires that Baghdad make no false statements or omissions in a declaration on its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and cooperate with steps to disarm. Straw said Saddam's regime has failed in both respects. Iraq insists it has no banned weapons. Inspectors are due to update the Security Council again on Feb. 14, but Straw said that date should not be taken as a deadline for Iraq to comply. A finding by the Security Council that Iraq was in ``material breach'' of its resolutions could open the way to war.
Straw said the Iraqi regime ``does not have long to change its behavior fundamentally'' or face war, but he would not ``put a precise figure on the time'' Baghdad had left to show it was complying with the U.N. resolution. ``There aren't ultimatums being talked about at the moment,'' he said. ``However, Iraq would be making the most profound mistake if it thought it could go on with its game-playing any longer.'' He added: ``We want to see this matter resolved by peaceful means, but the responsibility to avoid conflict rests with Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi regime.''
While Britain has been firm in supporting the U.S. stance on Iraq, other Security Council members - most importantly Russia, China and France, which hold the same veto power as Washington and London - have said the inspections should continue for several weeks, if not months. However, Straw said all 15 members of the Security Council agreed that Saddam must comply fully with the U.N. resolution. ``We are in the same position as the United States and the other 13 members of the security council'' in enforcing an ``international consensus,'' he said. ``We're all on the same side.''
British Prime Minister Tony Blair will fly to Madrid, Spain, on Thursday for talks with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, a strong supporter of the Anglo-American stance on Iraq.
Blair's office said he then will travel to Washington to meet with President Bush before returning home on Saturday.
Final face-to-face war council
Blair will go to France on Monday and meet President Jacques Chirac the next day, most likely to discuss Iraq.
Giving Chirac one last chance as well?
Posted by: Steve || 01/28/2003 09:56 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [339 views] Top|| File under:

#1  John, I heard that Blix said later that, "We don't need more time. We need more cooperation."
Posted by: Ptah || 01/28/2003 17:33 Comments || Top||

#2  On the domestic side: Yahoo! News reports that Sen. Joe Biden (D-Delaware) said today that he's seen some of the evidence that the Administration has on Iraq and (a) says that there are good reasons to be careful about releasing it and (b) says that the circumstantial evidence he's seen is so damning that he could take it into court and get a conviction with it. (Of course, being a Democrat, he took some time to beat up on Bush, but all the same, he's really put one through the Daschle/Pelosi hull.)
Posted by: Joe || 01/28/2003 17:41 Comments || Top||

#3  Hans should be congratulated on his UN report. I suspect it has actually started to put the onus on the French and Russians to explain why more time would actually resolve the situation. Just exactly how much more time will they need to find the disposition of The VX, rocket motors, anthrax, mustard gas?
Posted by: john || 01/28/2003 15:15 Comments || Top||

#4  John --- take an "8" and lay it on its side...if the Frenchies et. al., have their way.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 01/28/2003 16:43 Comments || Top||

#5  John, I heard that Blix said later that, "We don't need more time. We need more cooperation."
Posted by: Ptah || 01/28/2003 17:33 Comments || Top||

#6  On the domestic side: Yahoo! News reports that Sen. Joe Biden (D-Delaware) said today that he's seen some of the evidence that the Administration has on Iraq and (a) says that there are good reasons to be careful about releasing it and (b) says that the circumstantial evidence he's seen is so damning that he could take it into court and get a conviction with it. (Of course, being a Democrat, he took some time to beat up on Bush, but all the same, he's really put one through the Daschle/Pelosi hull.)
Posted by: Joe || 01/28/2003 17:41 Comments || Top||

#7  Yes, we certainly need someone or something to open the seacocks of the SS Dashle-Pelosi so they will quit blocking the channel.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 01/28/2003 20:45 Comments || Top||


Iraq to chair Conference on Disarmament
Later this year, the U.N.-established Conference on Disarmament will seat a new president: Iraq.
OK, stop laughing all of you, it's true.
The nation under scrutiny by the world body for weapons of mass destruction will have control – for nearly four weeks – of the agenda of a committee established in 1979 as "the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community." The conference was formed as a result of the United Nations General Assembly's first Special Session on Disarmament, held in 1978. U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq, at first, was unaware that Iraq's turn was coming up. After further inquiry, however, he found that Baghdad will serve as chair, beginning at the end of May, according to a rotating schedule of the 75 member nations done in alphabetical order.
Haq said the role of conference presidency is a matter of "organizing the work and setting the agenda."
Does Iraq's defiance of U.N. disarmament resolutions damage the group's credibility?
They have credibility to damage?
"All the members at some point sit briefly as the chair of its work," Haq replied. "And that includes countries that are party to disarmament treaties and those that aren't." The chair holds the position for half of each session. There are three sessions scheduled for this year. India and Indonesia each have a turn at the presidency during the current session, which runs from Jan. 21 through March 20.
Iran and Iraq Couldn't manage to fit North Korea in there? are slated for the top spot during the May 12-June 27 session, and Ireland and Israel are scheduled for the final July 20-Sept. 10 meetings.
Not to worry, though
Haq insisted that Iraq's upcoming position with the conference is not an issue because the group has not managed to establish an agenda. "I think the main public relations concern is, What does it do substantively?" Haq said. "Since it's not exactly a body that has been meeting to deal with issues substantively for several years, the main worry is not about a procedural issue such as who is the chair; it's about what it can do."
Even the UN thinks their Disarmament Conference is useless.
Posted by: Steve || 01/28/2003 09:40 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [304 views] Top|| File under:

#1  End of May? I wouldn't be too worried about it...
Posted by: tu3031 || 01/28/2003 10:19 Comments || Top||

#2  The UN has gone from irrelevant to a top competitor of Comedy Central. Love the quote:

"Haq insisted that Iraq's upcoming position with the conference is not an issue because the group has not managed to establish an agenda."

Posted by: Alaska Paul || 01/28/2003 10:41 Comments || Top||

#3  So the U.S. will be head of this Disarmament Conference, eh? I think everyone will be punctual and attentive if that is the case.
Posted by: Vea Vicits || 01/28/2003 16:55 Comments || Top||

#4  The chairmanship of the May 12 session should be a bone we can toss to the leader of the Iraqi opposition faction who's been the most cooperative in the first 30 days of the interim administration of Iraq.

No folks, you'll have to do the math yourselves :-)
Posted by: Steve White || 01/28/2003 18:34 Comments || Top||

#5  the U.N.-established Conference on Disarmament
Or another way to put it, an opportunity to find out who's got what and how much it costs.
Posted by: Rw || 01/28/2003 18:47 Comments || Top||


East/Subsaharan Africa
French Peace Plan For Ivory Coast Invalid: Report
A French-backed peace deal to end Ivory Coast’s four-month conflict is invalid because it panders to rebels, a newspaper close to the ruling party of President Laurent Gbagbo said Tuesday, January 28.
So why'd you sign it?
The report followed comments by Gbagbo that the accord he agreed to in Paris -- which provides for a unity government with rebels holding the defense and interior portfolios - were just “propositions,” Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
Hmmm... A Frenchie formula for staying in business: give the defense and interior portfolios to the bad guys. Yup. That'll work. Not very well, but it'll work...
“Total failure! The accord is inapplicable,” said the Notre Voie daily, close to the ruling Ivorian Popular Front ruling party. It accused France of “offering” its former star colony in west Africa to rebels and accused Paris of “not wanting peace in Ivory Coast.”
I'd say they're right on that first charge. The second could probably be better worded as "don't give a merde" about peace in Ivory Coast...
“Without openly backing the rebellion, France has hatched a plan to remove the democratically elected president,” it said. The daily also defended massive, often violent anti-French protests that have rocked the main city of Abidjan since Saturday, January 25, with attacks on French symbols and institutions including the embassy, schools, the Air France office and businesses. “Ivorians should remain mobilized,” it said, adding that “only struggle pays.” And in a more directly inflammatory tone, it called 2003 “the year of resistance,” adding: “Ivorians know what they need to do ... remain in the streets.”
I'd say they don't like the agreement. Is that egg on the Frenchies' faces? And take a look at the sign that guy's holding! And the flag that's not on fire. We were wondering which side we were on a couple days ago...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 09:44 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [262 views] Top|| File under:

#1  From the Guardian:
Thousands of government loyalists surrounded the U.S Embassy in Ivory Coast Tuesday to demand that Washington oppose a peace deal they say concedes too much to rebel forces. Waving U.S. flags, the 6,000 people appealed to Washington to block the French-brokered power-sharing accord with rebels who control about half of Ivory Coast, once the economic engine of West Africa. Cheering crowds mobbed the car of a few Americans who ventured out, chanting, ``U.S.A.! U.S.A.!'' and pleading for American support. Heavily armed U.S. soldiers looked on. Organizers passed out lyrics of the ``Star-Spangled Banner'' for the crowd to sing. One protester carried a sign that read, ``Our freedom is in your hands, U.S.A.''
Save us from French opression!
The U.S. State Department already has said it supports the accord and has urged both sides to comply with it. That stance appears not to have sunk in with the loyalists.
Save them from the State Department!
Posted by: Steve || 01/28/2003 10:18 Comments || Top||

#2  I would tell them that we would like to help them achieve their goals, but we first have to work down our backlog. Maybe they can help us in the meantime on our WOT.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 01/28/2003 10:50 Comments || Top||

#3  I don't remember whether the French criticized the US when we considered supporthing the Venezualan coup to overthrow Chavez, but there were many loud critics. I don't hear anybody (except here) criticizing the French for actually using troops to do the same thing. I'd say we ought to help em out, we should take the chance to make some new friends.
Posted by: B. Ralphie || 01/28/2003 15:16 Comments || Top||

#4  The thing is, I can't figure out who the bad guys are. I read this as a bunch of folks all wanting power and not willing to work together. Typical Balkan mess. Glad it's the French and not us. We had Rangers in there last year for a short time.
Posted by: Chuck || 01/28/2003 15:42 Comments || Top||


Middle East
Paleos finish yapping in Cairo...
After four days of talks in the Egyptian capital, Palestinian factions from across the political spectrum failed to reach an agreement on a common formula satisfying to all parties concerned as differences on the demarcation of the hoped-for Palestinian state and halting Palestinian operations against Israeli targets grew higher. In exclusive statements to IslamOnline on Tuesday, January 28, sources attending the talks said that the talks collapsed when the podium opened on the limits of the proposed Palestinian state.
They collapsed because they couldn't agree on a chicken count? With all those eggs, just waiting to hatch?
The Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) FLP and the Damascus-based Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) agreed to the establishment of a Palestinian state with Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as its capital, since the international legitimacy laws stipulated that the occupied Palestinian territories are the pre-1967 bordered land.
They're talking about the western edge of Jordan...
But the Fatah delegation objected to such a proposal at the last moment. While Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups insisted no international resolutions should be cited in any joint formula that might come out of the talks.
Thinking they'll be able to get an even better deal if they blow enough people to hamburger...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 09:31 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [271 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Yet, Abdullah has asked to address the Israeli people.

Are we watching "Wizards Chess(?)?"
Posted by: Anonymous || 01/28/2003 10:26 Comments || Top||

#2  keep talking yahoos... Ariel will have his hands untied in a couple weeks. As far as Al-Quds being their capital? Bwahhhahhhaa
Posted by: Frank G || 01/28/2003 11:01 Comments || Top||

#3  Everytime I see a list of the Paleostinian organizations: PFLP, FLP, DFLP, Hamas, etc all I can think of is the Life Of Brian with all the resistance groups they had against the Romans. And they wouldn't cooperate with each other in the movie either.
Posted by: Denny || 01/28/2003 13:29 Comments || Top||


Axis of Evil
Mubarak Warns Iraq to Cooperate
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak warned the Iraqi government to avoid any missteps in cooperating with U.N. inspectors or expect war, but he said he's not sure Saddam Hussein comprehends advice offered him.
I don't think Sammy quite gets the concept of "cooperating"...
"The strike is coming — coming unless Iraq abides by the resolutions of international legitimacy and ceases to put obstacles in front of the international inspection operations," Mubarak said in an interview published Tuesday with Al-Itihad newspaper of the United Arab Emirates. Egypt has stepped up it's criticism of Saddam and his government lately, with Egyptian officials and pro-government media openly blaming Saddam for the crisis — moves apparently meant to prepare the overwhelmingly anti-war Arab public for the possibility of a U.S.-led war on Iraq.
"Mahmoud, I think the butter's on that side of the bread. Prepare an article criticizing Sammy."
"Yes, Effendi!"
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 08:14 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [246 views] Top|| File under:


Aziz pledges more Iraqi cooperation
Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz on Monday promised that Iraq will try to cooperate more with U.N. weapons inspectors but said he could not rule out a strike on Kuwait in the event of a U.S.-led military attack. In addition, he denied Iraq possesses banned weapons and predicted the Iraqi people would not quickly surrender to a U.S. invasion.
It'll probably take 'em a week or so...
"They are asking Iraq to provide more cooperation, and, OK, let them say that, you see, we are doing that," Aziz replied impatiently when asked about the inspections. He went on to say that only two items of disagreement existed between Iraq and the inspectors: private interviews of Iraqi scientists by inspectors, and Iraq's allowing overflights of U-2 spy planes flown by U.S. pilots, in support of the inspectors. "All other aspects of cooperation have been met," he said, "and we promise to be more forthcoming in the future replying to all their needs in a way that will satisfy them."
That's not what full compliance is, is it? I heard a rumor this morning that Sammy mailed out death certificates to his nuke jockeys, for them and their families, as a warning not to talk. If that turns out to be true, I'd say the time for talk is over...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/28/2003 08:14 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [312 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I think that we should go in if only for the purpose to shut Aziz up.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 01/28/2003 10:44 Comments || Top||

#2  "Look, Tariq, you're not allowed ANY goddam 'disagreements', you stupid shit. You drop your drawers or we drop you. Clear?"
Posted by: mojo || 01/28/2003 12:31 Comments || Top||

#3  Hmmm... The rumor I heard this morning seems to have made the NY Post... Or more likely originated there. So much for my Top Secret Sources™...
Posted by: Fred || 01/28/2003 15:35 Comments || Top||

#4  Hans Blix put it best in his own report; it's not enough just to say that the doors are open, so to speak. You have to actually _cooperate_, and Mr. Blix has really nailed Iraq's hide to the wall on that score. (Good for him, by the way. I really didn't think he had it in him, but it's obvious that his backbone is made of stronger stuff than blancmange after all.)
Posted by: Joe || 01/28/2003 17:44 Comments || Top||

#5  Blix is smart enough to realize that if his report was not tough on Iraq, the American response would destroy his and Kofi's credibility (Colin Powell was making that broad hint at Davos on the weekend). But it looks like the French misanticipated what Blix was planning to report. And Colin won't ever let them forget.
Posted by: john || 01/28/2003 19:25 Comments || Top||



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A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.

Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.

Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has dominated Mexico for six years.
Click here for more information

Meet the Mods
In no particular order...
Steve White
Seafarious
Pappy
lotp
Scooter McGruder
john frum
tu3031
badanov
sherry
ryuge
GolfBravoUSMC
Bright Pebbles
trailing wife
Gloria
Fred
Besoeker
Glenmore
Frank G
3dc
Skidmark
Alaska Paul

Two weeks of WOT
Tue 2003-01-28
  Eighteen hurt in Philippines blast
Mon 2003-01-27
  Blix Speax!
Sun 2003-01-26
  Poison warfare suits found in mosque raid
Sat 2003-01-25
  Shots fired at convoy in Kuwait...
Fri 2003-01-24
  Japan urges citizens to evacuate Iraq
Thu 2003-01-23
  IDF arrests Palestinian gunman disguised as woman
Wed 2003-01-22
  Human Shields to Head for Iraq
Tue 2003-01-21
  Ambush Kills American, Wounds Another in Kuwait
Mon 2003-01-20
  Iran to be named in 1994 Argentinian Bombing
Sun 2003-01-19
  Finsbury mosque raided -- finally!
Sat 2003-01-18
  Protestors flood Arab, Islamic Capitals, Slam U.S. War Plans
Fri 2003-01-17
  10,000 Palestinians take to streets of Gaza in support of Saddam
Thu 2003-01-16
  Ricin Plotters Linked to al-Qaida Network
Wed 2003-01-15
  Germany bans Hizb-ut-Tahrir
Tue 2003-01-14
  U.S. Sending Huge Armadas to Persian Gulf

Better than the average link...



Rantburg was assembled from recycled algorithms in the United States of America. No trees were destroyed in the production of this weblog. We did hurt some, though. Sorry.
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