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Americans already in northern Iraq
Today's Headlines
Headline Comments [Views]
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And still more, from the other side...
A Taliban spokesman who requested not to be named told The News [Pakistan] that one US helicopter was shot down, while seven US soldiers and 15 Afghan troops were killed in the fighting. He claimed that only five Taliban were injured. The Taliban spokesman rejected the claim by Khalid Pashtun, the spokesman of spokesman for the governor of Kandahar, who also said Hekmatyar's men were fighting alongside Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters, although most of those captured so far were "apparently Taliban". Other officials said a former Taliban police chief of Kandahar Hafiz Abdul Majeed was believed to be leading the rebels, along with another Taliban commander Hafiz Abdur Raheem.
Sounds like the Talibs and the Hezbis are thick as thieves, or maybe as murderers. They "shoot down" three or four helis a week, if you're a believer in Azzam or Taliban-on-Line. There's a problem with body counts, too. Presumably the U.S. and/or the gummint can lay out somewhere between 18 and 22 corpses, but the Talibs can't see more than five of them...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/29/2003 05:26 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [257 views] Top|| File under:

More on the battle with Hek's boyz...
Khalid Pashtun, spokesman for the governor of the southern city of Kandahar, said on Tuesday that Hekmatyar's men were fighting alongside Taliban and al Qaeda fighters. An Afghan security official in Spin Boldak said on Wednesday that Afghan troops returning from the mountains had seen 22 bodies. They also found what he called "secret documents" and lists of hundreds of names including people from Pakistani towns of Pishin and Kutchlak, both close to the Afghan-Pakistan border.
Probably more names on the Pak side of the border than on the Afghan side...
The U.S. military suspects hundreds of Taliban and al Qaeda supporters crossed from Afghanistan into neighboring Pakistan after the fall of the hard-line Islamic regime in late 2001.
They "suspect" it, do they? They ran like swarms of roaches when the lights were turned on...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/29/2003 04:27 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [259 views] Top|| File under:

US troops hunt Afghan rebels
Hundreds of US and coalition forces are scouring caves in southern Afghanistan for rebel survivors after fierce fighting on Tuesday. Up to 18 anti-government fighters were killed in what US military officials called the largest-scale fighting for nine months. American war planes were called in to bomb the mountainous region near the town of Spin Boldak, close to the Pakistan border. A US military spokesman said there had been no clashes since late on Tuesday. "At least 160 caves have been counted so far," Colonel Roger King told reporters.
He said 200-400 US troops were involved in combing the cave complex, 100 kilometres (62 miles) east of the city of Kandahar, and that enemy casualties were still being assessed.
A number of men have been detained and weapons destroyed.
US and Afghan officials say they believe the fighters are aligned to the warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former prime minister who has vowed to fight US forces on Afghan territory.
Tuesday's fighting was centred on rocky, unpopulated terrain around the Adi Ghar mountain, near the border with Pakistan.
The fighting was triggered by a small gun battle nearby between US Special Forces and armed attackers as the Americans and Afghan Government troops were working to clear a compound.
Checking a village and took fire from the hills.
The allied forces surrounded the group - which locals said had been threatening communities east of Spin Boldak - killing at least one man and wounding another.
Zapped a shooter
Apache helicopters sent to investigate came under fire,
Real bad move
prompting the deployment of American B-1 bombers, F-16s and AC-130 gunships.
"Hey guys, we got targets! Come on down!"
Colonel King said that intelligence suggested the rebel fighters were most closely aligned with faction leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. "The man who was detained talked about a link to Hezb-e-Islami, which is Hekmatyar's military group," he said. The US miltary also say they have reports that the warlord has been attempting to consolidate with remnants of al-Qaeda and Afghanistan's former Taleban rulers.
Because he said so
However, the BBC's Rahimullah Yusufzai, reporting across the border from Peshawar, says there is little evidence that Mr Hekmatyar has joined forces with the Taleban.
BBC must have been napping
Posted by: Steve || 01/29/2003 09:06 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [258 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Sounds like they're still working on that whole "a live guerrilla fights another day" thing, huh? Need to re-read Che's book, I guess.
Posted by: mojo || 01/29/2003 10:35 Comments || Top||

#2  Wash Post: While the military had estimated on Tuesday that as many as 80 fighters were hiding in the mountain, today they said the number could be significantly lower. The earlier estimate was based on information provided by a man captured following a firefight during a compound search near Spin Boldak. He led the Americans to the mountain site, where he said 80 militants from Hekmatyar's Hezbi Islami were grouped, and they encountered initial fire from a group of about 18 Afghans on the ground. "We never had eyes on anywhere near that many [enemy fighters]. The most that we ever saw at any one time was approximately 15 to 18, and most of those we believe didn't escape," King said.

"Sarge, is this a arm or a leg?"
Posted by: Steve || 01/29/2003 13:07 Comments || Top||

#3  And where's Hek? Over in Pakland sucking down a couple of Zam-Zams?
Posted by: tu3031 || 01/29/2003 15:04 Comments || Top||

#4  Naturally. You wouldn't expect him to be risking his own hide, wouldja?
Posted by: Fred || 01/29/2003 16:05 Comments || Top||

Arab street yaps in Yemen...
Source: Gulf News
Thousands of Yemenis yesterday staged a demonstration protesting against the possible U.S.-led war on Iraq and Israeli aggression against the Palestinians. Members of political parties and non-governmental organisations took to the streets of Sanaa carrying photos of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and placards which deplored the military build up in the region. The organisers termed the move as "a return of colonialism and means for taking the oil."
It's apparently a carefully guarded state secret that they get money in return for the oil...
They gathered in the Sabeen Square, the great parade square, where senior politicians spoke to the masses. The demonstrators carried placards saying: Aggression on Iraq is terrorism itself, war on Iraq is return of the colonialism, the attack targets the Ummah's resources and its faith, strike on Iraq is strike on one billion Muslims. They demanded that the Arab leaders open the doors of jihad. "Open the doors of jihad, rulers," they chanted.
"Let us be cannon fodder! Let us die in droves! We demand our right to decompose!"
The labour unions and the students unions also joined the demonstration which was organised by the country's political parties. Abdullah Al Ahmar, speaker of parliament, and Abudul Kareem AlIryani, Secretary General of the ruling People's General Congress party, were among the key speakers. Al Ahmar slammed the "the aggressive policy of the terrorist American administration. The U.S. has been building up its fleet in the region to eradicate the scientific and cognitive base of Iraq and take control of its oil and natural resources," Al Ahmar said. The demonstrators marched to the office of the UN representative and handed him a letter for the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The letter read: "If America alone attacks Iraq, the international institutions will become only a cover for occupying and interfering in other's affairs. Changing regimes of the peoples should be a national will and without external interference and aggression."
"And when Sammy dies of old age they'll do something like that, if Uday and Qusay let them..."
The letter warned of "uncontrollably dangerous consequences" if the UN and Security Council do not play their roles in imposing the international law.
Oh, hold me, Ethel!
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/29/2003 07:31 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [311 views] Top|| File under:

#1  There, there... It's ok, the nasty men are gone...

Oh, and BTW - it should be "cry havoc and let slip".
Henry the Fifth, IIRC.
Posted by: mojo || 01/29/2003 23:14 Comments || Top||

Europeans Warn of Terror Attacks
European investigators have evidence that over the past six months, Islamic militants have been recruiting hundreds of fellow Muslims to carry out attacks in the event of a war against Iraq, according to French and other European antiterrorism experts. A French expert said one threat to Europe came from radical groups who have links with Chechnya and have learned how to make chemical weapons, either at training camps in Afghanistan or while serving in the Soviet Army. He said Chechnya was now a kind of "neo-Afghanistan," a new training ground and staging area for anti-Western terrorists.
That's obviously not so. Just ask Vanessa...
What was just a working thesis a few months ago, he said, has been validated by new information about intense recruiting, training and a focus on chemical weapons. In both Spain and Britain, the police reported finding chemical protection suits during raids last week in Barcelona and London. In France, the police prevented "serious attacks" in Paris in December, probably including attacks using chemical weapons, the French expert said.
It sounds like the next successful major attack is going to be real dirty. I don't know if it'll be dirty enough to wake up Brussels, Paris and Berlin...
Western Europe is home to about 15 million Muslim immigrants and while a vast majority are peaceful citizens opposed to terrorism, their presence provides a recruiting ground and a cover for sleeper cells. Investigators said links between bases in Chechnya and cells in Europe had been known for some time. In recent days, some of the links have been publicized.
But not very loudly...
Last week, the Spanish police arrested 16 suspects, many of them Algerians, who they said had links to Chechnya, as well as radical Islamic cells in France and Britain. The police said the suspects were found with explosives and chemicals.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/29/2003 10:10 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [311 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I sure hope they're not counting on us to help 'em out if the turbans start whacking random civs...
Posted by: mojo || 01/29/2003 23:24 Comments || Top||

Tirade against Islam dismays Dutch Muslims
The Netherlands' one million-strong Muslim community has become embroiled in a furious row over free speech after its chief critic - a woman MP who has been dubbed the Dutch Salman Rushdie - called the prophet Mohammed a "perverse tyrant".
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a 33-year-old Somali-born immigrant to the Netherlands and a former Muslim, has received death threats and been forced to flee the country in the past because of her outspoken criticism of Islam, but her latest outburst threatens to dwarf previous rows. Writing in the daily Trouw newspaper, Ms Ali, who was recently elected an MP for the VVD liberal party and is constantly accompanied by bodyguards, said that, by western standards, Mohammed was a perverse man and a tyrant.
Adding insult to injury she also said that the seventh century prophet reminded her of "all those megalomaniac leaders in the Middle East: Bin Laden, Khomeini and Saddam". Mohammed's attitude had, she said, been "do it my way or there'll be trouble" and modern Muslim politicians were no different.
Now you've done it!
"Mohammed says that women must stay at home, wear a veil, cannot take part in certain activities, do not have the same inheritance rights as their husbands and can be stoned to death if they commit adultery," she wrote. "I want to show people that there is also another reality than the 'truth' that is spread all over the world with Saudi money."
This may be the only way you will see "Truth" and "Saudi money" in the same sentence.
Dutch Muslims have barely been able to conceal their anger. Her comments have been called "blasphemous" and "unacceptable" by an umbrella organisation of Dutch mosques and there have been calls for her to be barred from public office.
And stoned, don't forget the stoning!
Acting on complaints from Muslims, the Amsterdam public prosecutor's office has also initiated an official investigation into her outburst to see whether she is guilty of inciting hatred against Muslims. A ruling is expected within weeks. Ironically the same laws have been cited in past, unsuccessful, attempts to prosecute imams for preaching hatred against gays, Israel and the US.
Ms Ali's political party has also come under serious pressure to distance itself from her comments and its leader, Gerrit Zalm, has tried to do just that. Her remarks were, he said, personal and did not represent party policy. "The VVD has no standpoint on Jesus, Mohammed and Buddha," he said.
Trouw, the newspaper which ran the offending story in the first place, remains unrepentant. "In the 1960s and the 1970s we had similar criticism about Christianity and everyone got used to it and now Islam has become a target," said Koert Van der Velde, a religious affairs specialist on the paper.
Ah, but Christianity isn't a religion of peace.....Oh wait..
"In the short term Muslims will get angry and shout and say it damages integration but I think it will be good for integration in the long term and everyone will get used to it."
But the country's Muslims see things differently.
Christians haven't killed people for criticising them for a couple hundred years now.
Although they say they are anxious not to undermine the freedom of speech traditionally enjoyed by the Dutch they believe that Ms Ali has gone too far this time. "As a member of parliament and as someone involved in promoting integration she should not be making these remarks," Yassin Hartog, a spokesman for Islam and Citizenship, the country's main Muslim lobby, said.
"Her remarks were blasphemous and have been received with a great deal of pain by the Muslim community. She has crossed a line and this is where we want to draw the line." Freedom of speech is one thing for an ordinary citizen, he added, but MPs should not be allowed to say exactly what they wanted in public.
Wrong, Yassin. That's what makes us who we are!
Ms Ali, a self-styled champion of Muslim women's rights, has angered Muslim clerics in the past by claiming that orthodox Muslim men frequently indulge in domestic violence against women, as well as incest and child abuse.
Ms Ali, make sure you have real good bodyguards. Take care and keep up the fight.
Posted by: Steve || 01/29/2003 01:32 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [314 views] Top|| File under:

#1  This is the beginning of the Battle for Europe. Will it insidiously become an infiltrated theocracy, or will it become a land of freedom, tolerance and respect. I hope that Ms. Ali does better than the writer in the NWFP in her goals.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 01/29/2003 14:19 Comments || Top||

#2  A "former Muslim"? Didn't know that was allowed.
How many "fatwas" does she have on her ass?
Posted by: tu3031 || 01/29/2003 14:30 Comments || Top||

#3  "Her remarks were blasphemous and have been received with a great deal of pain by the Muslim community. She has crossed a line and this is where we want to draw the line."

I'm confused - you want to draw a line she's already crossed? Isn't that sort of a "horse <--> barn door" situation? Or are you just a babbling idiot? Oh....
Posted by: mojo || 01/29/2003 15:10 Comments || Top||

#4  The VVD has no standpoint on Jesus, Mohammed and Buddha
LMAO That should be printed on their brochures from now on.
For the record, I do have a standpoint on Jesus, Mohammed and Buddha.

BTW I feel sorry for Mohammed, he's not even here to defend himself.
Posted by: Rw || 01/29/2003 16:03 Comments || Top||

#5  mojo - Apparently they have no problem with ex post facto laws. What fascinates me is how they think they have the right to draw the lines everyone else has to avoid crossing.
Posted by: paj || 01/29/2003 16:08 Comments || Top||

#6  paj --- that is why they do not fit into modern secular western societies. "He that has the golden crayon draws the lines." Fatwas and death threats add emphasis to their points.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 01/29/2003 18:52 Comments || Top||

#7  So the Dutch authorities are going to investigate whether a Muslim woman is inciting hatred against Muslims.

Did I read that right? Or are the 'Yurp-peons getting downright loopy?
Posted by: Steve White || 01/29/2003 22:59 Comments || Top||

Russia dumps lunette for flirting with Bad Guys...
Russia on Wednesday deported an American woman suspected of having contacts with Islamic extremists, the Federal Security Service said. A duty officer at the service identified the woman as Megan McRee and said she was placed on a flight to Los Angeles.
"Get out and stay out!"
The Russian airline Aeroflot confirmed that a passenger by that name was en route to Los Angeles. Officials at the U.S. Embassy could not immediately be reached for comment.
"I dunno. I just came on. I'll leave a note for the night shift guy..."
According to the security service, the woman had lived in a neighborhood of Moscow for a long period without registering her visa as required by law. The FSB also said she had made contact via the internet with a number of Islamic extremist organizations and proposed various "scenarios" for terrorist actions in the United States. But the state-run TV Rossiya channel later broadcast a report saying that the woman had attempted to contact al-Qaida and the Islamic Brotherhood. The report did not specify what sort of responses she may have received.
"Thank you for your enquiry about assisting al-Qaeda in its plot to take over the world. At present we don't have any openings for someone with your qualifications, but we will keep your resume on file for six months, and if anything opens up we'll contact you..."
The Rossiya report also said the woman had told authorities she had left the United States several years ago because she was being persecuted by the CIA and that she had lived in Romania before coming to Russia.
I'll bet the Romanians were so-o-o-o-o sad when she left...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/29/2003 01:11 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [323 views] Top|| File under:

#1  There's more to this story...read this letter while I go look up more on Ms. McRee.

Guess where she lived in the States...that's right, Oklahoma City.

Posted by: seafarious || 01/29/2003 14:18 Comments || Top||

#2  Nice letter. I think Mensa girl better get an EXTRA LARGE tin foil hat...
Posted by: tu3031 || 01/29/2003 15:09 Comments || Top||

#3  ... and I read on. Amazing! Mensa girl actually needs a tin foil house. With the windows painted black. This is must reading for fans of American crazies.
Posted by: tu3031 || 01/29/2003 15:47 Comments || Top||

#4  A google search on Megan McRee turns up a bunch of links with an email in the .ru domain. They're mostly posts to a "vulnerability" mailing list. The ones I've seen were about safeguarding credit card payment info.

This site


has a link to


which was submitted by Megan McRee.

Well, this is ugly. I couldn't figure out how to embed the URLs. The normal method wouldn't work.
Posted by: Angie Schultz || 01/29/2003 16:56 Comments || Top||

#5  Is this the Bill Cowan she referred to in her letter?
Posted by: seafarious || 01/29/2003 17:27 Comments || Top||

#6  woooooboy! I bet Mr Cowan isn't really the one on Fox all the time? He was cleverly replaced by a clone after blowing his cover to Ms Mensa....
What a nutcase! I'm just not real happy we got her back - how many productive FBI/CIA/Secret Service people will be tied up responding to her frantic calls daily?
Posted by: Frank G || 01/30/2003 8:44 Comments || Top||

Chemical weapons suspect in court
A man charged with conspiring to develop or produce chemical weapons has appeared before magistrates in London.
Mouloud Bouhrama, 31, also known as Mohammed, from Enfield in north London, was at Bow Street Magistrates' Court on Wednesday. He is charged with conspiring with a 17-year-old youth and four others, to develop or produce a chemical weapon between 1 January last year and 22 January this year.
The hearing lasted 15 minutes and he spoke only to confirm his name and address and his date of birth. Listening through an interpreter, Mr Bouhrama heard his charge read to the court.
He was remanded in custody and is due to appear at the Old Bailey on 5 February. He was charged under the Criminal Law Act 1977.
Mr Bouhrama was arrested in north east London under the Terrorism Act 2000 on 22 January, two days after police searched Finsbury Park Mosque and adjacent buildings.
Seven people were arrested during the raid on 20 January, and one of them, Samir Asli has been charged with possessing articles for terrorist purposes. Four of the seven men are being dealt with by the Immigration Service. Another man was bailed to return pending police inquiries about possession of a CS canister. He was also referred to the authorities with regards alleged immigration offences. The seventh arrested man was released without charge. Trustees of the mosque say it will remain closed for at least three months following the raid.
Mr Bouhrama is charged with conspiring with a 17-year-old youth as well as Samir Feddag, 26, Mouloud Feddag, 18, Mustapha Taleb, 33, Nasreddine Fekhadji, 36, who were arrested in north east London on 5 January. They were charged under the Terrorism Act 2000 and the Chemical Weapons Act 1996.
Posted by: Steve || 01/29/2003 09:41 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [252 views] Top|| File under:

Pakistan Arrests 21 Suspected Militants
Police raided an office of an Islamic militant group in a town in remote western Pakistan, seizing weapons and detaining 21 suspects, authorities said Wednesday. Most of the men are believed to be members of Jamiat-ul-Ansar, a group previously known as Harkat-ul-Mujahadeen, police said. They were arrested Tuesday on a raid on an office in Dera Ismail Khan, 180 miles southwest of the capital, Islamabad. The suspects are believed to have gone underground to avoid arrest when Pakistan banned Harkat-ul-Mujahadeen and four other radical groups after a Dec. 13, 2001 attack on the Indian parliament, for which New Delhi blamed Pakistan-based militants. Dozens of men with ties to Harkat-ul-Mujahadeen were detained last year by Pakistan in an effort to ease tensions with India. However, most were freed after filing bonds pledging to steer clear of militancy.
"Promise to be good? Yes. Ok, you're free to go."
The group is one of the main factions fighting in Indian Kashmir for its merger with Pakistan. Members also fought alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan against U.S.-led coalition forces that overthrew the hardline Islamic militia.
Police have accused members of an offshoot of the group of targeting McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets in Pakistan. Members of another Harkat-ul-Mujahadeen splinter group are on trial for allegedly masterminding the June 14 car bomb attack outside the U.S. Consulate that killed 12 Pakistanis and injured 50 others. Those arrested Tuesday were planning to reorganize their activities in Indian Kashmir, Deputy Inspector General Police, Abid Saeed, told The Associated Press from Dera Ismail Khan. Some had received training at camps in Afghanistan and Kashmir, he said.
However, Saeed said it isn't clear whether any had links with terrorist activities in Pakistan.
That, of course, depends on how you define terrorist actions.
Once investigations are complete, investigators will assess "what was the motive of these militants and what they wanted to do," he said.
They want to kill people and break things. That clear enough?
Posted by: Steve || 01/29/2003 09:52 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [251 views] Top|| File under:

Pak wants Americans tested for HIV
Reflecting growing outrage against America, Pakistan's religious right presented the government with a new list of demands Tuesday, calling for the fingerprinting of Americans, a boycott of US products and compulsory AIDS testing of US visitors.
This could really cut back on the number of Americans who are considering emigrating to Pakistan
A coalition of Islamic parties, which gained considerable political clout after last October's general elections, is threatening nationwide demonstrations to press the demands.
Why not? It's not like Pakistan has any other problems that deserve more attention
But a government spokesman said it had no plans to either fingerprint Americans or impose mandatory HIV testing.
"Such demands cannot be accepted," Interior Ministry spokesman Iftikar Ahmad said, without elaborating. He accused the religious right of trying to make trouble for President Gen Pervez Musharraf and the pro-military government, a staunch ally of the United States in its war on terror.
"Religious leaders keep making such absurd demands. ... Such statements serve no cause except to create problems for the government," Ahmad said.
And allow the gov to say "Hey, you better keep writing off our debts or these guys will take over" or maybe I am just paranoid.
The demand for fingerprinting of Americans reflects Pakistanis' anger over new US rules requiring citizens of Pakistan, other predominantly Muslim countries and North Korea to be fingerprinted and photographed by immigration agents while staying in the United States
Posted by: Paul || 01/29/2003 03:16 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [314 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Fred --- Re: your comments:

1. You are paranoid.
2. Your paranoia is entirely justified.

I think that our little love fest with Pakistan is slowly and steadily coming to a close.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 01/29/2003 9:48 Comments || Top||

#2  There's a discussion on LGF about the US aligning with India. If the Pakis decide to go sour on us, the Indis will be more than happy to fill in the vaccuum.
Posted by: Ptah || 01/29/2003 9:56 Comments || Top||

#3  People, are you forgetting that they have nukes?
Posted by: Rw || 01/29/2003 11:04 Comments || Top||

#4  People, are you forgetting that they have nukes?

Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 01/29/2003 12:13 Comments || Top||

#5  And should the pro-military government ever lose power, with an Iran-type circus taking control, that would present some problems wouldn't it. I remember Perv doing a "ministerial shuffle" of his staff just before the intervention in Afghanistan. This seems to show even the military is susceptible. And who will come after Musharraf?
Posted by: Rw || 01/29/2003 13:04 Comments || Top||

#6  Hey, when one decides to play with the big boys, then there responsibilities that come with the position. So they have nukes. Does that mean that the U.S. has to keep coddling them on that basis? No.

If Islamofascist mullahs grab control of Pakistan and start throwing their weight around simply because they have a few nukes, then they are going to be burned to a crisp by India.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 01/29/2003 13:50 Comments || Top||

#7  Bomb-a-rama is right. If we let possession of nukes act as a "Get out of Jail" free card, there's gonna be a lot of crime in the world in a few years.
Posted by: paj || 01/29/2003 16:14 Comments || Top||

#8  Why on earth would any American want to go to that rat-hole of a country? Pakistan is the open sewer of Asia.
Posted by: Anonymous || 01/29/2003 21:01 Comments || Top||

Southeast Asia
Indonesian students mau-mau McDonald's outlet
Jakarta Post
A group of Indonesian hooligans students staging a rally on Wednesday sealed off a McDonald's restaurant and called on people to boycott U.S. products, Antara reported. Members of the Riau branch of the Indonesian Muslim Students Action Front (KAMMI) said that the move was aimed at irritating pestering making faces at protesting the U.S., which they say, often interferes in the domestic affairs of other countries, including Indonesia.
"Hi, Bob! Who you interfering with today?"
"Today's my day for meddling in Indonesia. How 'bout you?"
"Gabon, again. I always get Gabon, dammit!"
"Cheer up! Next year, when you get promoted, maybe they'll give you Luxembourg."

During the rally, they also regretted the attitude of President Megawati Soekarnoputri, who has not made a reaction to the possibility of a U.S.-led military attack on Iraq.
Well, damn her for maintaining a discreet silence!
The students distributed thousands of leaflets, calling for a total boycott of all U.S. products and companies.
"We don't want your Chicken McNuggets!"
Separately, the Riau Police said that they were prepared to protect all U.S. companies in the province.
"Except for McDonald's. If they can't get a simple thing like putting extra napkins in the bag right, then to hell with them."
"We have undertaken the necessary precautions to protect U.S. companies here, such as (oil giant) PT Caltex Pacific Indonesia, from people's moves to protest the U.S.," police spokesman Adj. Comr. S. Pandiangan said.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/29/2003 12:54 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [257 views] Top|| File under:

Muslim cleric linked to Bali bombing
Indonesian police have made the strongest link so far between Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, the suspected spiritual leader of regional militant group Jemaah Islamiah (JI), and the Bali bomb attacks in October. Mr Ba'asyir is not currently a suspect "but things will definitely head in that direction," Zainuri Lubis, spokesman for the Bali bombing investigative team, said on Wednesday. "Several suspects already in custody have said he knew of the bombings," Colonel Lubis said.
Ratted him out, did they?
Colonel Lubis said the Muslim cleric was likely to be charged in connection with the Bali attacks, but not before he is tried or released over two separate charges on which he is currently being detained. Mr Ba'asyir, a 64-year-old cleric who runs a religious boarding school on Java island, has repeatedly denied any involvement in terrorism or being a member of JI.
"Nope, not me, never heard of them."
His lawyer, Muhammad Assegaf, criticised the police for making the allegations. "During the investigation of all the Bali suspects there has not been the smallest bit of information from the police that links Abu Bakar Bashir," he said.
Statements from the Indonesian police show they are increasingly linking JI and Mr Ba'asyir with the Bali attacks, which killed nearly 200 people, mostly foreign tourists.
On Tuesday, police chief General Da'i Bachtiar said Mr Ba'asyir had given his "blessing" to the operation. He also formally blamed JI for the attacks for the first time. Mr Ba'asyir has been in police custody since October 2002. Last week detectives said they wanted him to face charges of treason, for an alleged plot to kill Megawati Sukarnoputri when she was still the country's vice president. The Muslim cleric is also due to stand trial later this year for his alleged involvement in a series of church bombings across Indonesia on Christmas Eve 2000.
Humm, better hard evidence on the first two charges?
Mr Lubis said that because Mr Ba'asyir was already being investigated in Jakarta in relation to these two charges, police have not yet been able to question him about the Bali bombings.
That sounds a little weak. But if you can convict him on the first two charges, there'll be plenty of time. Plus, something might turn up during the Bali boomers trial you can use.
But 30 other suspects are already in custody for the Bali attacks, including Mukhlas, who police say is JI's operations chief and was involved in planning the operation. The first court case could be held as early as next month.
We'll be watching.
Posted by: Steve || 01/29/2003 09:19 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [255 views] Top|| File under:

Axis of Evil
Modern airport pops up in Iraqi Kurdistan for no apparent reason
HARIR, Iraq (AP) - In a fertile plain in Kurdish northern Iraq, a black, paved air strip runs between a patchwork of fields dotted by dozens of new, white tents. The bustle at this remote airfield - controlled by people without any planes - has convinced many residents that U.S. forces are preparing to use it for a war against Saddam Hussein.
Once again we see a reporter not doing his homework. Everyone knows that the Kurdish air force has been operating out there in a variety of aircraft, including F-15E's, F-16's, and AC-130's.
At the Pentagon on Wednesday, Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked whether U.S. ground forces had entered Kurdish areas of northern Iraq. Myers said he did not want to discuss the disposition of U.S. forces, but then added, "There are not significant numbers of military forces in northern Iraq right now."
You weasels reporters first have to define significant, and I ain't playing "Twenty Questions" wit yas.
Over the past weeks, residents here have reported a sudden increase of movements, such as late-night convoys of trucks and Humvees, a vehicle preferred by the U.S. military.
Humvees are also preferred by the Kurdish army; they've been buying them by the hundreds over the last coupla years.
Officials of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, which runs the northwestern section of the autonomous Kurdish zone, denied knowledge of any U.S. military presence and say the Harir airstrip might be used for humanitarian flights.
The Kurdish air force is planning a major humanitarian effort. Sources private to Rantburg's Chicago intel apparatus report that the Kurds will have a variety of C-130's and C-5's involved flying in wheat from Kansas Fort Bragg Ethiopia. The Kurdish government currently is negotiating to lease a few C-17's from the French air force, which has no plans to use these giant planes any time in the near future.
Abdul Vahid Kheder, a local official of the Kurdish Democratic Party, said reports of new activity were overblown. "It's an international roadway," he said. "Trucks are free to come from Iran, Syria, Turkey. It's no big deal."
"Hell, it's a giant truck stop. We got truckers from Louisana, North Carolina, Georgia, even sum from Nevada. Wanna hear my CB?
"Everyone is waiting for the Americans to come," says Abdul Samad Ismail, a customer at the Shirwan restaurant in Harir. "We know they're coming."
"And they better bring their wallets, 'cause we got extra slot machines just arrived from the Ho Chunk casino!"
The reopening of the air base at Harir - less than 100 miles from the Iranian border - and other signs of military activity in the Kurdish region have already caused concern in Iran, whose state-controlled Arabic-language satellite television reports such operations with alarm. Iran, which President Bush designated a member of an "axis of evil," fears its territory could become the target of an American military assault following a possible attack on Iraq.
"Nonsense," replied Abdul Samad Ismail. "We got a big order for Barbie dolls and some Levis 501 jeans that are being brought by submarine-launched cruise missiles trucks from some hick town in the U.S. called Diego Garcia, bound for Tehran. Way I hear it, dem Iranians are suckers for 501 jeans. We plan on makin' a killing!"

Posted by: Steve White || 01/29/2003 11:22 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [312 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "What are all those Americans doing here with their M-16s?"

"It's rabbit season . . . er, duck season."
Posted by: Mike || 01/30/2003 5:39 Comments || Top||

North Korea seeks Namibia's support against 'US hostility'
Sharon sent me this, along with a reminder that The Namibian is not an alias for The Onion...
NORTH Korea is seeking Namibia's support against the United States of America in a dispute over its contentious nuclear facilities.
Oh, hell. We're in trouble now...
The Ambassador-designate of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Pak Kun Gwang, briefed Foreign Affairs Minister Hidipo Hamutenya on developments around the nuclear issue when he presented his credentials in Windhoek on Monday. Gwang accused the US of wanting to internationalise the nuclear issue with an eye to United Nations-imposed sanctions against the DPRK, instead of joining the Koreans in discussions to find an amicable solution. "We want Namibia to join South Africa in exposing and denouncing the US's intention to impose sanctions against the DPRK, and the people of that country's right to use their nuclear facilities for the production of energy," Gwang told Hamutenya.
"So get right on it, wouldja?"
He said his country's decision to re-activate nuclear facilities, which were frozen under a 1994 accord, is in direct response to the US's suspension of an annual supply of 500 000 tonnes of heavy crude oil to North Korea in December. "The DPRK decided to re-activate the nuclear programme to generate electricity for the country. But the US recently started to instigate the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to adopt resolutions against that development, terming it criminal," said Gwang.
"Y'see, they're pickin' on us, an' we dint do nuttin'! Nuttin', I tell ya!"
According to the North Korean diplomat, the resolutions are ultimately aimed at ensuring that the IAEA stops "the nuclear programme at once in a verifiable way" - a move which, he charged, "only goes to show that the IAEA remains a mouthpiece for the US... It is just being used as [an] implementation tool for US hostility against North Korea."
"I mean, if they don't take our side, they're not disinterested parties, are they?"
Hamutenya said Namibia will formulate its opinion on the issue as it gains greater understanding of the complexities involved.
"Ummm... Yeah. We'll get back to you on that..."
"Once we understand the issues better, you will be able to count on our support," Hamutenya said.
"We should have a statement of support ready for you in, say, 2008... No, make that 2012..."
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/29/2003 09:30 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [308 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I must not be getting enough sleep...for a moment there, I read that as "North Korea seeks NAMBLA's support".

...wouldn't be a stretch to believe, either.
Posted by: Tripartite || 01/29/2003 21:38 Comments || Top||

We'll fight with pistols if we have to, vows Sammy
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein vowed today that Iraqis would battle a US-led invasion with pistols and rifles if they had to and would ultimately "break the neck" of their enemies.
"Yar! We'll murderlize 'em!"
"Our determination is solid, even if it comes to pistols and rifles to battle and defeat the enemy," Saddam told a meeting of top army officers, later broadcast by state television. "If (the enemy) keeps wanting to attack us, we are going to break its neck," he told the meeting, which included Defence Minister Sultan Hashem and Saddam's younger son Qussay, who directs the elite Republican Guard.
It's part of his training to take over the family business...
Saddam said the army was preparing for the threat of a US invasion "with successive lines of defence ... and the greatest possible amount of equipment". In the past month, Saddam has upped his meetings with military officials and traded verbal jabs with US President George W Bush who has threatened to invade Iraq unless it rids itself of alleged weapons of mass destruction.
I notice he hasn't been ridding himself of weapons of mass destruction, though.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/29/2003 07:57 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [249 views] Top|| File under:

Home Front
Jeffords sez Bush ''just wants a war''...
While some Americans viewed U.S. President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address Tuesday, January 29, as a declaration of war on Iraq, France and Russia welcomed his offer to reveal evidence incriminating Iraq.
That's their "out" after their Neville rhetoric...
U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords, an independent from Vermont, remained seated shaking his head late Tuesday as lawmakers around him stood to applaud Bush’s speech. “As far as I’m concerned he declared war on Iraq tonight,” said Jeffords, who stands politically with Sammy opposition Democrats. “He left himself no out other than going to war. It sounds like he’s not listening to anyone. He wants war. He just wants a war.”
"Why would he want something like that? So Sammy's got a few weapons of mass destruction? So he slaughters Kurds and political opponents? So he invaded Kuwait? I mean, if he was to do something, it probably wouldn't be anybody I knew who got killed or maimed. It can't happen here, after all..."
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/29/2003 06:53 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [323 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Jumpin' Jim" is just another noisy bubble associated with the sinking of the SS Dashle-Pelosi.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 01/29/2003 20:16 Comments || Top||

#2  Just remember one thing folks. Before Pearl Harbor, there was a loud and vocal anti-war contingent in this country including large numbers who demanded complete neutrality between Britain and Hitler. It vanished on Dec. 7. Unfortunately, these fools don't understand the reality we face. The country will rally though when they get a look at Sammy's secret lair.
Posted by: Doug || 01/29/2003 21:13 Comments || Top||

#3  It should have vanished on September 11th, a year and a half ago. Instead, we see large numbers of people openly allying themselves with Evil while protesting their "patriotism."

It's a law of politix that the public has a short attention span. If Jeffords could keep his mouth shut, he could be a Publican and have his milk subsidies back in a year. Apparently he thinks his bread's buttered on the Dem side, and he could be right. The Second Law of politix is that it's cyclic.
Posted by: Fred || 01/29/2003 22:00 Comments || Top||

#4  Hey, who the hell unlocked Jim's closet...er, I mean his new office...
Posted by: mojo || 01/29/2003 23:28 Comments || Top||

#5  Haven't heard much from this clown in awhile. Jim, the Republicans are back in charge. You're irrelevant again. Please try to stay that way. Go back to the Peoples Republic of Vermont and milk a cow or something.
Posted by: tu3031 || 01/30/2003 8:04 Comments || Top||

Axis of Evil
Muslim killed in military operation aimed at expelling U.S. forces from the Gulf is ''martyr''
Prominent Islamic scholar Sheikh Youssef Al-Qaradawi said this week that anybody killed in a military operation aimed at expelling U.S. forces from the Gulf is a martyr due to his good intention.
No doubt our guys will keep that in mind as they help them on their way to those 72 flat-chested 12-year-olds...
However, according to Al Quds Press, Al-Qaradawi noted that a difference should be struck between U.S. civilians and its government and military which are nothing more than a colonizing force and enemy stepping into the land of Muslims without their own agreement. “Those killed fighting the American forces are martyrs given their good intentions since they consider these invading troops an enemy within their territories but without their will,” Al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian-born cleric based in Qatar, has told Al-Quds Press Agency. But he stopped short of calling for fighting the U.S. army, in what seems to be a concerted effort not to trigger a clash of the Arab nations with their governments as he repeatedly asserted before.
Y'see, the governments say we can be there. It's some of the locals that demand they have their way, which doesn't include us...
“Although they are seen by some as being wrong, those defending against attempts to control Islamic countries have the intention of Jihad and bear a spirit of the defense of their homeland.”
So even if they're crazy as loons, nutty as fruitcakes, it's the thought — if any — that counts...
The Muslim cleric pointed a finger at the United States for launching a fierce war against the Islam and its believers and showing an interest “to be a god worshipped away from Allah... The U.S administration wants to maintain a grip and keep an eye on everything in an attempt to be a god... In this perspective, we refuse, resist and disbelieve these invading power."
"That's something reserved for God-fearing holy men, with turbans and automatic weapons..."
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/29/2003 05:06 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [321 views] Top|| File under:

#1  ...disbelieve these invading power

Youssef's next act will be to click the heels of his ruby red slippers together and chant, "There are no Merkins. There are no merkins..."
Posted by: Ptah || 01/29/2003 18:35 Comments || Top||

#2  a prominent Islamic scholar? with both eyes? riiigghhhtt
Posted by: Frank G || 01/29/2003 19:02 Comments || Top||

#3  Islamic scholar. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA......
Posted by: tu3031 || 01/30/2003 7:50 Comments || Top||

Iran will never allow interference in its affairs
Government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh said on Wednesday that Iran will not let any one, in whatever rank or position, interfere in its domestic affairs, IRNA said. Responding to a question on recent allegations by US President George W. Bush against Iran, he said the Iranians are a courageous, freedom seeking, cultured nation with historical civilization who can determine their own destiny.
We agree. They'll do it, too, as soon as they get rid of those ayatollahs...
Ramezanzadeh's remarks was in response to claims by the US president who had said that the Iranian government continues to suppress its citizens.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/29/2003 04:35 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [256 views] Top|| File under:

Montazeri to be sprung Wednesay...
Dissident cleric Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, one-time chosen successor of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, is to be freed from five-years of house arrest Wednesday, President Mohammed Khatami said. The decision to free the 80-year-old cleric was taken days ago by the conservative-dominated Supreme Council of National Security, chaired by Khatami, and grouping Iran's top leaders, senior army officials and the ministers of intelligence, foreign affairs, interior and defence.
They're trying to throw a sop to the reformers, figuring that since the guy's 80 years old he can't cause much more trouble...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 01/29/2003 04:32 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [245 views] Top|| File under:

Middle East
IDF arrests Fatah leader allegedly involved in shooting attacks
Operating in the West Bank town of Daharieh, south of Hebron Wednesday evening, the IDF arrested Jamal Kissiyeh, a local leader of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement. Kissiyeh, who is suspected of involvement in numerous shooting attacks against Israelis in the area, was apprehended by the elite Duvdevan unit.
Posted by: Steve || 01/29/2003 02:43 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [257 views] Top|| File under:

Axis of Evil
Powell: US to help find refuge for Saddam
The United States would try to find a refuge for Saddam Hussein and members of his inner circle if the Iraqi leader decides to go into exile, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Wednesday.
Addressing a joint news conference with visiting Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Qasuri at the State Department, Powell said if Saddam were to "leave the country and take some members of his family and some of the elite (with him), we will try to find a place for him to go."
"And we will be happy to send him straight to .....there, soon!"
Asked if the United States would also grant amnesty to Saddam if he decides to leave Iraq, Powell said: "It is not up to us to offer him that kind of protection. It has to be discussed with others."
Posted by: Steve || 01/29/2003 02:23 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [323 views] Top|| File under:

#1  He'll never bite. He didn't bite when fellow Muslims made the offer, and he sure as hell ain't gonna bite if it looks as if he's giving in to the Merkins. Guys like him have a desperate need to win, and so they tend to stay in the game instead of folding.
Posted by: Ptah || 01/29/2003 14:48 Comments || Top||

#2  Perhaps we could build an Executive Wing in Gitmo.
Posted by: Hermetic || 01/29/2003 14:50 Comments || Top||

#3  Oh, I don't know guys... I think we could find him a nice spot in, say, Marion, Illinois. I bet we could find him a loving roommate, too!
Posted by: jrosevear || 01/29/2003 16:53 Comments || Top||

#4  I recommend Marin County; nice soothing scenery, good amenities, friendly neighbors. We might have to buy him a suitable mansion (lots of those there) but, judging from recent demonstrations there, the local peaceniks would be willing to donate a harem. This would have to make up in quantity what it lacks in quality, but the guy's 65, IIRC; how picky can he be?
Those rich hippy bimbos would really dig Uday.
Posted by: Atomic Conspiracy || 01/29/2003 19:05 Comments || Top||

#5  There's a nice big house up in Chappaqua, New York that he can live in. After all, the residents are against the war with Iraq, so they should offer Sammy some hospitality
Posted by: Denny || 01/29/2003 19:18 Comments || Top||

Middle East
Iraq to chair U.N. disarmament conference
Not 'the Onion' this time, but CNN.

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- Iraq will chair the United Nations' most important disarmament negotiating forum during the panel's May session. Hello Dumbass UN! - Will there even BE an Iraq in May?

At the rules-minded United Nations, it's not a country's status with international weapons inspectors, but the letters in its name that determine which member state chairs the Conference on Disarmament.

"The irony is overwhelming," a U.S. diplomat said.

Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Monday delivered their 60-day report on the status of weapons inspections in Iraq. It was a less-than-glowing summary, with both men saying Baghdad is not cooperating with inspectors and is not being forthcoming on disclosing information about its weapons programs.

Iraq will take its turn as the head of the conference, a U.N. spokesman said, because of a "purely automatic rotation by alphabetical order."

Therefore, joining Iraq as co-chair for the session in Geneva, Switzerland, will be Iran. Oh, this should be good!

The conference chair helps organize the work of the conference and assists in setting the agenda.

The May 12-June 27 conference will be the 25th anniversary session since the conference was established in 1979 after a special U.N. General Assembly session.

The conference is made up of 66 countries who have been divided in recent years on several issues, including the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

The conference and its predecessors have negotiated such major multilateral arms limitation and disarmament agreements as:

• Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
Success Level - Zero
• Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques
What the hell is this? Someone wake Mr. Orwell and have him translate this double-talkish nonsense.
• Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction
Success Level - Zero
• Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction
Success level - Zero
• Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
I assume to be chaired by Pakistan and India respectively

Surprisingly little on the Committee and convention on the prohibition of selling ice skates and snowshoes to Satan.
Posted by: Frank Martin || 01/29/2003 01:36 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [310 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques

That would be the remote controlled hurricanes and tornados we've been testing. Those need more work, but Project Ice Age 2003 seems to be coming along nicely.
Posted by: Steve || 01/29/2003 13:53 Comments || Top||

#2  The UN. We don't do much...but we're very good at it.
Posted by: tu3031 || 01/29/2003 15:03 Comments || Top||

#3  Iraq chairs a disarmament forum,
Syria on the Security Council,
Lybia to head the U.N.Council on Human Rights.
Sounds like the U.N.is no longer a viable orginazation,and should be place on the a shelf next to the League of Nations.
Posted by: Raptor || 01/30/2003 8:37 Comments || Top||

Axis of Evil
Japan Urged to Behave Itself
From our friends at KCNA
Pyongyang, January 28 (KCNA) -- Japan has neither a justification nor a qualification to interfere in such an important matter as the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, says Minju Joson today in a signed commentary. The Japanese authorities groundlessly pulled up the DPRK over its withdrawal from the NPT, the commentary notes, and continues:
It was the U.S. and the IAEA, its cat's paw, which compelled the DPRK to withdraw from the treaty.
...it's "cat's paw"? That's a new one.
The Japanese authorities, however, are faulting the DPRK, a victim.
...awwwwwww.Poor North Koreans.
The same is true for the issues related to the DPRK-Japan Pyongyang Declaration. Japan is totally to blame for the non-compliance with the declaration.
Japan linked the already settled issue and unimportant issues which carry no great significance in improving the bilateral relations to the issue of compensating for its past crimes, thus deliberately hamstringing the process of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Jeez, no diplomatic relations with the NK? How could any nation survive that?
It is persistent in its moves to isolate the DPRK, taking advantage of the U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK.
The nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula is not an issue which admits of Japan's meddling.
Hey, if I'm in nuke range, which they are, I'm meddling.
The issue can be settled satisfactorily only if the U.S. totally drops its hostile policy toward the DPRK and respects its sovereignty and vital rights. The DPRK and the U.S. are, therefore, the direct parties concerned to the settlement of the nuclear issue. It is foolhardy of Japan not to understand this simple reason and go reckless.
Yes, I think we all remember the last time Japan went "reckless".
Japan will have to pay a very high price if it continues running wild, ignorant of the true nature of the nuclear issue.
Yeah, what what would Japan know about nukes? Besides what it's like to be under 2 of them....
Posted by: tu3031 || 01/29/2003 04:08 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [322 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Now that is a true rant! It is like reading "China Reconstructs" magazine in Berkeley during the 60s. We used to just for the syntax. One would be absolutely looney to want to have diplomatic relations with these guys.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 01/29/2003 14:02 Comments || Top||

#2  I think we should have a** kicking relations with NK soon after Iraq folds.
Posted by: Anonymous || 01/29/2003 14:50 Comments || Top||

#3  One word - Manchukuo
Posted by: mojo || 01/29/2003 16:15 Comments || Top||

#4  That whole missing Japanese plutonium thing is starting to make more sense...
Posted by: Yank || 01/29/2003 17:16 Comments || Top||

#5  Juche this a*&holes!
Posted by: Frank G || 01/29/2003 19:05 Comments || Top||

Marines in Desert Marshal the Tools of War
At a vast desert supply depot with columns of armored vehicles stretching across the horizon, newly arrived troops from the 1st Marine Division today began drawing the gear they would use if ordered to invade Iraq. For the past week, about 500 Marine logistics specialists have worked around the clock, unloading, repairing and assembling enough equipment to supply a division of 17,000 for a month-long operation. This phase of the U.S. military buildup in Kuwait, although unglamorous, is among the most important should the troops be sent to war, Marines here said. "We have a saying that amateurs talk tactics and professionals talk logistics," said Maj. David Nathanson, 33, of Newark, a logistics officer for the 7th Marine Regiment who is supervising the equipment assembly line. "The work often falls outside the spotlight, but behind the scenes is a huge effort that can make all the difference. Without all the right parts, a tank is just 70 tons of steel."
Hundreds of Marines, many of whom arrived in Kuwait just three days ago, spent the day testing their gear and taking inventory to make sure everything they will need is in place. They are joining several thousand Marines already in Kuwait from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
The Marines have staged thousands of tons of equipment in areas where it can be more quickly transported to deploying troops than if it were stored at bases in the United States. Civilian container ships loaded with such pre-positioned gear steamed into the Persian Gulf from the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean and arrived at a port near Kuwait City early last week. Marine logistics specialists met the ships and hauled away the cargo, which included: stuffed shipping containers and steel mesh "shark cages" for bundling in smaller equipment, Abrams tanks, Amtrak Amphibious Assault Vehicles, seven-ton trucks, M-198 howitzer artillery pieces and hundreds of Humvee four-wheel drive vehicles. They brought the equipment to this staging area, called the Arrival Assembly Operations Element, in the northern Kuwaiti desert. The Marines had dipped deeply enough into their stores to include green camouflage gear, better suited for use in Europe or Africa, in addition to desert tans more appropriate for the Persian Gulf region. By the time units arrived today to pick up their gear, most of the vehicles had been inspected and marked with chalk as "good to go" or, in a few cases, as needing new parts.
This marks the first time the Marines have made use of pre-positioned equipment in a non-training operation since the invasion of Somalia in 1993, Nathanson said. Under a program started in the early 1980s to make them more mobile, the Marines maintain three pre-positioned squadrons, numbering four to six vessels each. One squadron is based in the Indian Ocean on the island of Diego Garcia, one in the Mediterranean and the other in the Pacific Ocean at Guam. The gear goes to Marines deploying far from their main bases on the East and West coasts of the United States and in Okinawa, Japan. Logistics specialists have unloaded equipment from one squadron and have begun work on a second. Logistics officers said that because the pre-positioned equipment is regularly upgraded but less frequently used than gear that Marines train with at home, it is generally in impeccable condition. Nathanson said that of the gear that has been offloaded over the past week, more than 96 percent was found to be in full working order.
As the new troops arrived, the assembly point was among their first stops and a precursor to any major training. Today, two companies from the 1st Tank Battalion, comprising 64 Abrams tanks, carefully inspected their armored behemoths and swapped parts before driving them off to their posts in the desert.
During the Gulf War, U.S. forces spent months in the desert preparing to expel Iraqi soldiers from Kuwait. But many of the Marines drawing gear today said the massive offloading of equipment was a sign that this time they might see action sooner, rather than later. "The Marines don't uncoil all their gear lightly," said Alpha tank company Staff Sgt. Alfonso Davis, 41, of Mobile, Ala. "Once we lay it all out like this, things tend to get going pretty quick. We're hoping a decision is made soon, so we know our course of action."
Soon, very soon. Take care.
Posted by: Steve || 01/29/2003 01:10 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [252 views] Top|| File under:

Cold feet get warmer in Europe
Dead set in public against a strike on Iraq, veto-wielding Security Council members France and Russia are showing signs that they will go with the flow if it comes to war -- but Germany may have to stick with its "no". Surveys show public opposition to war against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has hardened in Europe, including in Britain, Washington's closest ally. But analysts say there is an impetus pushing the waverers towards a conflict which is being generated, ironically, by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441, the very mechanism they hoped would stall the march to war.
Don't you love it when a plan comes together?
"Those who had doubts about this war are now constrained by the process which was launched in the Security Council," said Barry Posen at the Transatlantic Center in Brussels. "The Americans are essentially arguing law now: 'this was the resolution...we all agreed to it, we set up a series of hoops Saddam has to jump through and he's not doing it'."
Just a dumb cowboy....
Resolution 1441 warns of "serious consequences" if Saddam does not give up alleged weapons of mass destruction. While France, Russia and Germany say U.N. weapons inspectors should have more time, Washington and London argue that since chief weapons inspectors Hans Blix has faulted Iraq for failing to cooperate actively with his mission it is already in breach of the resolution. In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, U.S. President George W. Bush promised to deliver new intelligence on Iraq's alleged weapons programmes. It was an offer America's allies immediately welcomed because, analysts say, it might provide the "smoking gun" to justify a change of mind at home.
Since it's now sunk in Bush isn't going to back down, they are desperately trying to find a way to save face.
Russian President Vladimir Putin adopted a markedly sharper tone this week after Blix's report to the Security Council, warning that it could toughen its stance towards Iraq unless Baghdad allowed the inspectors to do their work.
The Kommersant daily, in a commentary printed before Bush's address, said those comments showed Russia was prepared to bring its position closer in line with Washington.
"This was yet more indirect evidence that in the event of a new vote on Iraq (authorising force), Moscow, as one of the Security Council's permanent five, has no intention of using its veto," it said. Didn't think so.
Alexander Pikayev, an analyst at the Moscow office of the Carnegie Endowment think-tank, said Putin had confirmed Russia's position that it will not defend Saddam at any price and that he must fulfil the provisions of resolution 1441.
"I think dialogue will go on within the Security Council, with a decision being taken next week. What will probably result will be a half-way resolution on military action which neither France nor Russia will block."
China will abstain. The US and Britian vote yes.
If France is gearing itself for the inevitable, though, it is doing it very carefully. Certainly it does not appear to be taking steps to join any attack. But it is widely believed that Paris would line up behind an unavoidable war in the end to protect both its interests in Iraq and the region and its ties with Washington. "In their statements, they always leave the back door a bit open, so they can swing around when and if they have to," one European diplomat in Paris said. The assumption among diplomats watching the French position evolve is that Paris will insist on a second resolution in the Security Council specifically authorising military force, but find a way of wording it to claim it has achieved its goals. Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin was careful to include the time element last week when he declared: "We believe that, today, nothing justifies envisaging military action".
"Tomorrow, who knows?"
French officials reject suggestions that Paris is keeping its options open, but Villepin seemed to go further on Wednesday when he spoke for the first time about what would come after the possible defeat of Saddam Hussein.
Most likely yes on a half-hearted vote of force. Abstain on a strong one.
But German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, whose vocal opposition to a war with Iraq was credited with helping him narrowly win a second term in a general election last September, would find it hard to change course. He has toned down his anti-war rhetoric, but with his Social Democrats well behind in polls ahead of two important regional elections on Sunday, he has ruled out supporting any new Security Council resolution for a war.
While Germany, which chairs the Security Council next month, could still theoretically abstain on any vote on military action, analysts say Schroeder has backed himself into a corner unless new U.S. evidence on Iraq's weapons is very convincing.
"The only way out is if lots of weapons are discovered or links to a terror network," said Gero Neugebauer, a politics professor from Berlin's Free University. "The evidence must be watertight that Iraq is dangerous and has weapons that could threaten central Europe." "Schroeder has a credibility problem. His performance has not been good on the economy or creating jobs, so if he gives way on the peace question, he'd be finished," he said.
He's finished anyway. Ignore him.
Posted by: Steve || 01/29/2003 12:40 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [316 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Note that we need 9 votes on the UNSC even if nobody vetoes. if france russia china abstain, germany, syria, pakistan vote no, we cant afford to lose a single remaining vote.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 01/29/2003 13:55 Comments || Top||

#2  liberalhawk, you think that's going to stop us? If its voted down, that's the end of the UN.
Posted by: Steve || 01/29/2003 14:34 Comments || Top||

#3  What it will all come down to is this. On Feb 5 Powell will do his Adlai Stephenson imitation, show everybody the pictures and the intelligence, and then they all have an excuse to get with the program with their asses firmly covered.
Posted by: tu3031 || 01/29/2003 15:25 Comments || Top||

#4  We just bought Angola, Cameroon and Guinea's vote with the African AIDs program.
Posted by: Steve || 01/29/2003 15:43 Comments || Top||

#5  well of course we can go without the UNSC, as bush said last night; as long as UK is along thats probably multilateral enough to go ahead. But if we are discussing resolutions and UNSC votes, it is well to remember that avoiding a veto may not be enough to pass a resolution - if we want a resolution we may have to settle for a relativaly weak one, or else release alot of inof Feb 5 - at cost to sources and methods.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 01/29/2003 16:00 Comments || Top||

#6  Syria and Pakistan may worry about US military action against them and vote yes. If the US cares, we can twist arms to get the votes.
Posted by: paj || 01/29/2003 16:01 Comments || Top||

#7  If the stakes are high enough, and evidently Bush believes they are, they'll release the info on Feb 5th.
Posted by: tu3031 || 01/29/2003 16:15 Comments || Top||

#8  Proposing financing and contracts is more efficient than twisting the arms.
Posted by: Sacha || 01/29/2003 16:16 Comments || Top||

#9  LiberalHawk, I'm hard-pressed to seeing Pakistan vote anything other than "yes". Perv is in up to his neck with us, and if he votes "no" on this, he's done for at home. The jihadis will become emboldened and he won't have us to turn to anymore. I think Perv will writhe some and vote "yes".

Syria is lost. Germany is probably a "no" EVEN if we come in with the smoking gun -- Schroeder needs to keep the Greens and they're reflexively against the war.

So we get U.S., U.K., Angola, Cameroon, Guinea, Spain, Italy, Pakistan, ...

... and the wild card is Mexico. And they're making all sorts of worrying noises.
Posted by: Steve White || 01/29/2003 22:49 Comments || Top||

#10  mexico????
Posted by: Raptor || 01/30/2003 6:57 Comments || Top||

Unilateral action in Iraq ’would violate international law’
Australia would unquestionably be breaching international law if it followed the United States into a war in Iraq without United Nations backing, and could be sued in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), a leading constitutional expert has warned. Professor George Williams, of the University of NSW, said yesterday it was "very concerning" that there had been so little debate on the legality of Australia's potential involvement in Iraq without the sanction of the UN Security Council. He said the position under international law was clear.
"If you ask is Australia justified as a matter of law in joining unilateral action in Iraq, the answer is clearly and unequivocally no. "It's no because there has not been a Security Council resolution that could justify such a conflict, and clearly self-defence of Australia is not at stake."
Unlike the US, which has never submitted itself to the jurisdiction of the ICJ, Australia could potentially be sued by Iraq or "some other country that's been affected", he said.
"And that could be a messy, long-running battle ..."
However, such a scenario was unlikely because of the difficulties in bringing a case to the ICJ and the possibility that Iraq might not, after any US-led war, want to take such a matter to the world court.
Yes, there is that one little point. Those dammed Iraqi's will most likely be too busy stringing up Sammy's crowd to notice that the US and Australia broke international law by setting them free. Don't they see the big picture?
Posted by: Steve || 01/29/2003 12:24 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [326 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Funny how "unilateral action' is against international law, but a dictator killing thousands of his own countryman, and threating the peace of the world is A-OK.

Until the UN starts requiring some form of standards to its membership, its waste of time in my opinion.

oh, and buy the way, is it 'unilateral' if we have the following ready to go into action:

S. Korea
It doesnt look very "uni" to me!
Posted by: Frank Martin || 01/29/2003 12:43 Comments || Top||

#2  "If you ask is Australia justified as a matter of law in joining unilateral action in Iraq, the answer is clearly and unequivocally no."

Why do these airheads keep bringing up this crap?

If the U.S. were poised to go into Iraq alone, and Australia signed on as a partner in military action before things got underway, such a war would no longer be a "UNILATERAL" action.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 01/29/2003 13:35 Comments || Top||

#3  It's "uni" if "uni" stands for U.N. independent!
Posted by: Anonymous-TN || 01/29/2003 13:38 Comments || Top||

#4  Ooooooh! SUED in the ICJ!

What're they gonna do, impound Queensland?
Posted by: mojo || 01/29/2003 13:40 Comments || Top||

#5  These "Uni's" that are complaining are really Euni's" which is a compound pun.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 01/29/2003 14:12 Comments || Top||

#6  Yes,launching a war is illegal but if you get UK,France,Russia and China,those paragons of morality, to agree then it's A-O-K.I guess you need to be a professor to understand that.
Posted by: El Id || 01/29/2003 15:59 Comments || Top||

#7  You have to consider the source. The Sydney Morning Herald is like the New York Times of Australia. "World Ends...Women, Minorities Hardest Hit". Get the picture?
Posted by: tu3031 || 01/29/2003 16:21 Comments || Top||

#8  "unilateral" is defined in French as "Without the approval of France."
Posted by: Doug || 01/29/2003 21:05 Comments || Top||

#9  International law? The sharia says we kufr aggress against the munimen (believers). Gotta do what the sharia says. Allah knows best.
Posted by: Anonymous || 01/29/2003 21:09 Comments || Top||

Middle East
Air-defensive missiles for Israel
German Patriot air-defence missiles sought by Israel are being loaded on board ship at the German harbour of Nordenham. A Bundeswehr spokesman said the 128 missiles and associated components would probably arrive in Israel in two weeks time. Israel requested the Patriots last year to protect it against potential attacks by Iraq, which during the 1991 Gulf war, fired Scuds. Germany's government is providing the missiles on loan for two years.
Two weeks, that's about right.
Posted by: Steve || 01/29/2003 12:18 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [260 views] Top|| File under:

#1  What is Germany doing with Patriot missiles? If they are unwilling to get involved in Iraq, then there isn't any reason for anyone to attack them, no?
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 01/29/2003 13:54 Comments || Top||

#2  Back in 1985, the then West German MOD spent a pretty sum of money at the US Army's missile development command, Huntsville, AL, for a study on employing the Patriot anti-aircraft missile as an anti-theater ballistic missile system. With funding secured by then Indiana Senator Quayle, the US Army and the West German governments then funded the developement of what you see today as the Patriot in the anti-missile role.
Posted by: Don || 01/29/2003 16:49 Comments || Top||

Axis of Evil
Americans already in northern Iraq
American soldiers are already operating in northern Iraq, according to Kurdish sources quoted by a Deutsche Welle correspondent. One logistics unit - not combat troops - was located about 100 kilometres north of the city of Arbil; another was in the province of Suleimaniya. They were apparently setting up radar facilities.
Humm, now why would they be setting up radar? AWACS will be covering this region better than ground based systems. More likely they saw them setting up a satellite communications antenna, they look alike to a untrained eye.
Posted by: Steve || 01/29/2003 12:11 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [680 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Maybe they're setting up those radars Saddam wanted? You know, already registered on the GPS and all.
Posted by: Chuck || 01/29/2003 12:37 Comments || Top||

#2  PAC-3? THEL? or Air Traffic control?
Posted by: Anonymous || 01/30/2003 2:45 Comments || Top||

Mauritania Bans Anti-U.S. Protests
The Arab-dominated West African nation of Mauritania has banned anti-U.S. protests and deployed hundreds of security forces in the capital to enforce the prohibition. Opposition political parties and civil organizations had planned to demonstrate Tuesday against the U.S. preparations for a possible invasion of Iraq. Participants instead received a notice from the Interior Ministry informing them of the ban, said Mohamed Ould Mawloud, leader of the opposition Union of Progressive Forces.
"Policemen demonstrated instead of us," Ould Mawloud said, referring to the police deployed to make sure the march did not occur. "We're obliged now to limit our actions against the war to inside our headquarters." There was no immediate comment from the government. Straddling Arab and black Africa on the edge of the Sahara Desert, Mauritania's government since the 1990s increasingly has looked westward, despite ties of some leading figures to the Baath Party of Saddam Hussein.
The government is anxious to avoid a repeat of the reaction to the Persian Gulf War, when relations with the United States and Arab Gulf states deteriorated after what were seen as pro-Iraq demonstrations. Mauritania cut ties to Iraq in 1999 after Iraq criticized its decision to open diplomatic relations with Israel. Mauritania is one of only three nations in the Arab League to have full diplomatic ties with Israel.
The government didn't have to do this, no one outside of Mauritania would have even noticed another demonstration against the US. Thank you, very much.
Posted by: Steve || 01/29/2003 11:44 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [256 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Maybe they're hoping for a little help from us on the Morocco / Spanish Sahara front?
Posted by: Chuck || 01/29/2003 12:40 Comments || Top||

#2  I figured Fred would settle that when he assumed the Moroccan throne.
Posted by: Steve || 01/29/2003 13:00 Comments || Top||

#3  more likely they just get nervous about having demonstrations of any kind - you can nver tell when they'll get out of hand.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 01/29/2003 16:06 Comments || Top||

#4  Isn't Mauritania one of the two remaining countries (with Sudan )that have legal slavery?F**k'em.
Posted by: El Id || 01/29/2003 16:25 Comments || Top||

Home Front
U.N. Orders Wonka To Submit to Inspections
UNITED NATIONS—Responding to pressure from the international community, the U.N. ordered enigmatic candy maker William "Willy" Wonka to submit to chocolate-factory inspections Monday.

"For years, Wonka has hidden the ominous doings of his research and development facility from the outside world," U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said. "Given the reports of child disappearances, technological advances in glass-elevator transport, and Wonka-run Oompa-Loompa forced-labor camps, the time has come to put an end to three decades of secrecy in the Wonka Empire."

The chocolate-making capabilities of Wonka's heavily fortified compound have long been a source of speculation. Wonka, defying international calls for full disclosure, has maintained his silence regarding his factory's suspected capacity to manufacture confections of mass deliciousness.

Secretary of State Colin Powell praised the U.N. announcement.

"No more will this sinister figure be free to pursue his nefarious endeavors without fear of reprisal, protected by loopholes in international candy-making law," Powell said. "With this ruling, the U.N. has issued the global community a 'golden ticket' to draw back the curtain behind which this mysterious confectioner hides."

According to CIA psychological profilers, Wonka has retreated from the outside world entirely, withdrawing into "a world of pure imagination." An anonymous tinker stationed near the infamous, long-locked Wonka factory gate corroborated the claim, saying, "Nobody ever goes in, nobody ever comes out."

Rival candy makers, long worried that Wonka's advanced capabilities have created an imbalance of power within the volatile global chocolate marketplace, also applauded the U.N. move.
No comment from former inspector Charlie Bucket, but testimony from Veruca Salt and Augustus Gloop are expected later today.....
"Wonka exerts a powerful psychological grip over the world's children," said Arthur Slugworth, president of Slugworth Confections. "They are devoted to him with a loyalty that borders on the fanatical, eagerly lapping up Scrumdiddlyumptious Bars by the millions at his command. But when we found evidence that Wonka was developing so-called 'everlasting gobstopper' technology—'the mother of all gobstoppers'—we knew it was time to act."

To date, all efforts to peer inside the Wonka inner sanctum have met with failure. Armies of legal experts retained by Wonka have kept visitors to his chocolate-making facilities effectively gagged with elaborate non-disclosure agreements. His in-house staff of high-contrast Technicolor dwarves carefully monitors what information flows in or out of the heavily guarded compound. And the few scraps of information that have come to light—vague reports of terrifying river-barge rides, razor-sharp ceiling fans, and human-sized pneumatic tubes of indeterminate purpose—have been obscured by layers of darkly comic, psychedelic symbolism, making them virtually impossible to interpret.

"Wonka has shown himself to be a man who cannot be trusted," Annan said. "Whether misrepresenting himself as a limping cripple, only to drop at the last moment into an agile somersault, or exploiting the deepest and most personal character flaws of misbehaving children, Wonka has been a man of shifty, undetermined motives and baffling ends. He must be stopped."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a longtime advocate of regime change in the Wonka Empire, is urging President Bush to consider military intervention should Wonka refuse to cooperate.

"The world can no longer turn a blind eye to Wonka's deception and misdirection," Rumsfeld said. "Without full inspections, there's no earthly way of knowing which direction Wonka's going. Not a speck of light is showing, so the danger must be growing. And he's certainly not showing any signs that he is slowing. Are the fires of Hell a-glowing? Is the grisly reaper mowing? Who can provide the world with the answer to these pressing questions?"

"The candy man can," Rumsfeld added grimly.

Bush said he is leaning toward the use of force, undeterred by the prospect of the candy maker using his rumored "Wonkavision" technology to turn would-be attackers into millions of tiny pieces, beaming them through the air and shrinking them to tiny, dollhouse-accessory size.

"We are talking about a man who is able to take a rainbow and cover it with dew," Bush told reporters during a press conference Monday. "Who knows what else he is capable of? Left to his own devices, he could, in a worst-case scenario, make the world taste very bad, indeed."

Sorry guys, We needed a little "Tension Break" before the war begins, what with Mauldin being gone, we just have to resort to "The Onion"....(Smoke 'em if you got em).
Posted by: Frank Martin || 01/29/2003 11:22 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [322 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Got that whole creepy Oompa-Loompa thing goin'...
Posted by: mojo || 01/29/2003 13:43 Comments || Top||

#2  And somebody needs to take a close, suspicious look at that Great Glass Elevator of Wonka's, too.
Posted by: Joe || 01/29/2003 19:39 Comments || Top||

Japan can’t seem to find 206 kg of plutonium
This is from the "Financial Times" via Drudge

Japan on Tuesday admitted that 206kg of its plutonium - enough to make about 25 nuclear bombs - is unaccounted for.

Government scientists said that 6,890kg of plutonium had been extracted since 1977 from spent nuclear fuel at a processing plant about 120km north east of Tokyo. But that is 3 per cent short of the amount the plant was estimated to have produced.

About 5kg to 8kg of plutonium are needed to make a 20-kiloton atomic bomb similar to the one that destroyed Nagasaki in 1945.

Experts said the missing amount was surprisingly large.

There is normally a margin of error of 1 per cent or less when measuring liquid plutonium, which can dissolve into other elements.

Japan's admission comes at a time of acute sensitivity because of the threat of nuclear proliferation in north-east Asia following North Korea's revival of its mothballed nuclear programme.

However, there is no evidence that North Korea was linked to the missing plutonium even though it is known to smuggle goods in and out of Japan.

"This is an unusually large amount of plutonium to be unaccounted for, which makes me uncomfortable, although I think it's highly unlikely that it was stolen," said Tatsujiro Suzuki, senior research scientist at the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry.

The science ministry, which reported the discrepancy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), dismissed the idea that the plutonium had been stolen. It said about 90kg was probably diluted into waste-water and about 30kg probably dissolved into other elements.

It admitted it was baffled by the remaining 86kg but said initial output projections may have been too high and the plutonium may not have been produced.

Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the IAEA, said: "The Agency [is] confident that no nuclear material has been diverted from the facility."

The IAEA, the United Nations nuclear watchdog, has urged Japan to strengthen its procedures for measuring nuclear material since it first noted discrepancies in 1998.

Here's an interesting possibility, the Japanese have diverted some plutonium for a bomb program of their own. Then why let this information out? Because a nuclear weapon is at it's best when it's a deterrent. However, Japan would have a lot of internal political problems with maintaining an open stockpile of nuclear weapons. So instead they leak some information about some missing plutonium and let everyone else wonder.

Of course, I'm sometimes too devious for my own good.
Posted by: Patrick Phillips || 01/29/2003 10:56 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [245 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I wonder if the amount of missing plutonium from American reactors is on the net. I seem to recall it's in the hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds. The process produces these errors, as the Japanese claim.

However, Tom Clancy, right on so many other occasions, did predict...
Posted by: Chuck || 01/29/2003 11:52 Comments || Top||

#2  Inscutable. Do you think the Great Leader[tm], C-NK reads this stuff?
Posted by: Don || 01/29/2003 16:41 Comments || Top||

Axis of Evil
U.S. expected to attack Iraq within weeks
A U.S.-led military force is likely to strike Iraq within three weeks, and will aim to secure victory by the end of March, military analysts predicted yesterday. Following Monday's critical report by United Nations weapons inspectors, military experts said their best guess now is that an attack will begin shortly after Feb. 14, the date of the inspectors' next report.
As far as I can tell, that's about when most all the forces enroute will be in place.
Many experts believe a large ground force would have to sweep through Iraq before the beginning of April, when the oppressive summer weather sets in. They also see the intense diplomatic manoeuvring and the U.S. military buildup in the Persian Gulf area as pointing strongly toward an imminent war. Pentagon planners are mindful that Feb. 15 marks the end of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha. Attacking during this important festival would further offend Iraq's neighbours and supporters in the Muslim world.
I had forgotten about Eid al-Adha. That's the journey to Mecca all muslims are supposed to make at least once. It makes some sense to wait until that's over.
Rosemary Hollis of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London sees war coming shortly after that, and believes the conflict will quickly expand beyond Iraq, with a devastating Israeli attack against the Palestinian Hamas group and on Lebanon-based Hezbollah.
We can only hope.
In the meantime, the U.S. administration is still trying to line up its diplomatic blocks. Part of that process will entail some serious arm-twisting at the Security Council, where Washington still hopes to push through a new resolution authorizing the use of force. Yesterday, Russia appeared to move closer to the U.S. stand, with Russian President Vladimir Putin warning that Moscow "may change its position" if Iraq is hampering inspectors.
Moscow may not vote "Yes", but I don't think they'll veto.
Next week, in a final effort to portray Iraq as an imminent threat, Washington is expected to disclose long-promised evidence of Baghdad's hidden weapons of mass destruction. It is also expected to apply yet more pressure on Turkey and Saudi Arabia to secure tacit but full co-operation in an attack. Washington has been shipping troops and military hardware to the region for weeks, and roughly 100,000 U.S. and British troops are either in place or on their way. The Pentagon clearly wants more: Its stated goal is to have about 150,000 soldiers ready for battle by mid-February. A prime consideration will preclude Washington from sitting on its heels much beyond the end of February: the weather.
Ahhhhh! The Dreaded Iraqi Summer! It comes right after that brutal Afghan Winter. What will we do?
U.S. officials have sought to play down that factor as the Pentagon draws up plans to attack and occupy one of the hottest countries in the world. "Many battles have been fought in the heat of summer," Secretary of State Colin Powell said recently.
Nonetheless, any assault would be greatly complicated if left too late. From December until about mid-March, temperatures in Iraq usually range between 7 and 24 degrees. But as April approaches, the heat begins building, often reaching the low 40s by June, along with raging, machinery-clogging dust storms. Even in a conventional war, that would be a daunting environment. The U.S. assumption is that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein still has chemical weapons, and would deploy them. That means that many of the invaders will be kitted out in sealed chemical-warfare suits that are all but impossible to use in fierce heat. "What's driving the timetable for war is not diplomacy but military readiness," energy-sector consultant Roger Diwan told Reuters News Agency. "If the U.S. needs more time to get the military in place, it will use that time to seek diplomatic backing, but whether it gets that backing or not, we still expect war to start some time between the middle of February and early March."
I think it's always been driven by military needs.
Key dates in the runup to war on Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
-* Jan. 29: The United Nations Security Council convenes to discuss the newest assessment of its weapons-inspection team.
-* Jan. 31: U.S. President George W. Bush meets British Prime Minister Tony Blair in what has been dubbed a council of war.
-* Feb. 5: Colin Powell presents evidence on Iraq to the United Nations Security Council.
-* Feb. 14: Chief weapon inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei deliver their next inspections report.
-* Feb. 15: The Eid al-Adha Muslim festival ends.
-* March: Mideast winter ends. Temperature averages 22C with only about four days of rain, making good conditions for ground forces.
-* April: Summer begins. Temperatures continue to rise with near-ideal conditions for troops. By mid-June, temperatures often surpass 40C. No rain expected.
My prediction: The 5 Feb presentation by Colin Powell will be the key to the UN's survival. We're going to attack, with or without them. Attack looks likely any time after Feb 15th. February 16th is the full moon, if those people who say we would want no moon to optimise stealth are right, the next new moon is 3 March.

Posted by: Steve || 01/29/2003 10:27 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [255 views] Top|| File under:

NATO further delays decision on help in Iraq war
NATO delivered another setback to the United States on Wednesday as four allies delayed plans for the alliance to send planes and missiles to defend Turkey if there is war with Iraq.
Officials said the U.S. proposals for NATO to start preparing to support Turkey were not even discussed at a meeting of the alliance's policy-making North Atlantic Council, after the 19 allies failed to agree in private talks on Tuesday. France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg say they do not oppose the U.S. proposals as such. But they feel it is too early to start the military planning while there is hope of avoiding a war through diplomacy and the UN weapons inspections process.
Seems that the Axis of Weasels has expanded to four members.
The U.S. proposals include sending AWACS surveillance planes and Patriot missile systems to Turkey, intensifying naval patrols in the Mediterranean, filling in for European-based U.S. troops sent to the Persian Gulf and an eventual role for NATO in humanitarian or peacekeeping operations in a postwar Iraq. The decision was first blocked last week. Officials at NATO headquarters said it now could come after Feb. 5, when U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is scheduled to present the UN Security Council with intelligence about Iraqi weapons programs and alleged links to terrorist groups.
This is going to be the last chance for the UN, not one more chance for Sammy to disarm.
Although NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson insisted this week that there was "no bust up" over the issue, diplomats said the debate had become tense. On Monday, Lord Robertson said the alliance must consider the request for "prudent, deterrent and defensive measures" to be ready to help Turkey.
"If you have a neighbour like Saddam Hussein, you're wise to get involved in at least prudent defensive measures for your own safety, and as member of an alliance it has a right to ask for and expect support," he told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
"And if you don't get that support, it's time to leave."
U.S. officials said they had been hoping for movement after Monday's report by the UN weapons inspectors, which was sharply critical of Iraq for failing to offer full co-operation.
Reaction to the report, however, underscored differences between the allies, with Britain and the United States stressing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's failure to comply with a UN resolution, while Germany and France took up the call for the inspectors to be given more time. The dispute is raising doubts about NATO's role just two months after alliance leaders at a summit in Prague proclaimed the Cold War alliance was reinventing itself to tackle modern threats from terrorism and rogue states.
Unless it means doing something
"NATO is on the sidelines, and that's no surprise," said Sir Timothy Garden, of London's Royal Institute of International Affairs. Sir Timothy said NATO's military role was decreasing as the United States increasingly looked to build tailor-made coalitions to meet its foreign policy goals rather than rely on NATO, where all decisions need unanimous support from the 19 members.
NATO may not be dead, but it's on life support. Time to either pull the plug or cut out the sick parts.
Posted by: Steve || 01/29/2003 10:17 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [323 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Seems that the Axis of Weasels has expanded to four members."

Nah. Belgium is pretty much an appendage to France. And Luxembourg is like a walk-in closet...
Posted by: mojo || 01/29/2003 10:37 Comments || Top||

#2  When you need unanimous agreement, that means everybody has a veto.

I sure am glad the Soviets never attacked. These wienerheads would still be sitting around, debating how to word their (possibly) strong letter of disapproval, while the rest of us were either marching in May Day parades or mining salt.
Posted by: Fred || 01/29/2003 12:38 Comments || Top||

#3  Too early to start PLANNING???? How absurd. Think about it.
Posted by: Malcolm || 01/29/2003 18:59 Comments || Top||

#4  Is Luxembourg still a country? My God when will this European horror end!!!!
Posted by: Doug || 01/29/2003 21:09 Comments || Top||

Saddam: Iraqi soldiers should learn from Palestinians
Iraqi troops should learn from Palestinian suicide bombers and al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan and be willing to lay down their lives in resisting any US-led attack, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said Tuesday. "Look at your Palestinian brothers, they made a link with their ancestors ... and have transformed themselves into rockets against invaders," Saddam told a meeting of top military aides, including younger son Qusay, commander of the elite Republican Guard.
Well, they did join their ancestors
The Iraqi leader also pointed to the resistance of al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan in late 2001, citing the example of "seven wounded Arabs ... who prevented (US-led forces) from invading a hospital for days and days, with whole armies all around them. "And the heavy machineguns and tanks (and) cannons that were turned towards the hospital could not do anything. They (US) had to resort to planes in order to turn the hospital into rubble and (the seven) died as martyrs.
I don't remember much about this action, but I believe we waited until they got the wounded out of the hospital before we took out the bad guys. Anyone got the details?
"They were only seven, but they were an example for all the people who believe ... that the invaders should be resisted in the right manner," Saddam said, according to AFP.
Anyone out there ready to die for Saddam? Hello? Anyone?
Posted by: Steve || 01/29/2003 10:03 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [251 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Hokay, Fearless Leader, Here's a bomb belt. Show us your courage.
Posted by: Denny || 01/29/2003 10:27 Comments || Top||

#2  "Look at your Palestinian brothers, they made a link with their ancestors ..."
Yeah, Piltdown Man
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 01/29/2003 10:56 Comments || Top||

#3  "Look at your Palestinian brothers..." And look very carefully at how much their actions advanced their cause.
Posted by: Pink & Fluffy || 01/29/2003 11:48 Comments || Top||

#4  "...meanwhile, I will be 200 feet underground in the Playboy bunker watching porn on the satellite dish...."
Posted by: tu3031 || 01/29/2003 13:11 Comments || Top||

#5  My undies remain remarkably unbunched. The Talibs were organizing suicide squads in November, 2001, too - just before Konduz fell...

The hospital gunnies were originally 13 in number. Four of them escaped, and are probably still running. The remaining nine were holding the other patients hostage, a tactic that Sammy apparently considers perfectly legit. One was captured, and one blew himself up rather than be captured, which I consider a perfectly desirable tactic for the Iraqi army to adopt. The remaining thugs were held under siege for about three weeks, at which time U.S. Special Forces raided the place and killed them all, which I also consider an acceptable outcome for the Iraqi army.
Posted by: Fred || 01/29/2003 17:38 Comments || Top||

refugee camps are being established in north Iraq
Turkey and the US have agreed upon the stationing of refugee camps inside northern Iraq, note that the US Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Migration and Refugees, Mr. Richard Green and the foreign ministry of Turkey have agreed with being prepared for up to 1 mln refugees (in 1991 450.000 kurdish refugees fled to Turkey).

The plan does contain three lines of refugee camps:
Line 1: between the 36th and 37th parallel, between Erbil, Selahaddin, ªaklava, Dohuk, Atruº and Mosul 6 refugee camps with a capacity of 3000 each

Line 2: Between the 37th parallel and the Turkish border, between Zaho, Kanimasi, Amadiya, Bamerni and Sersing 6 refugee camps with a capacity of 3000 each

Line 3: Turkish border region 6 refugee camps with a capacity of 3000 each

A total capacity of 54.000 people will be provided by Turkey, up to 30.000 soldiers will form a barrier inside north Iraq to stop the wafe of refugees.

A senior Iranian official responsible for refugees, Ahmad Hussaini, said the country's interior ministry had set up a national crisis centre to cope with a possible influx of refugees.
Mr Hussaini says his country has already put in place relief facilities to deal with up to 50,000 Iraqi refugees.
He added that Iran could provide accommodation and other facilities for up to 900,000 people.
United Nations:
UNICEF spokesman Alfred Ironside said the organization, which boasts a staff of around 300 inside Iraq, is in good shape ahead of any conflict. “We have topped up our supplies even in neighboring countries,” he said.
While declining to go into details, Khaled Mansour of the U.N.-mandated World Food Program said that contingency plan for Iraq have been drawn up, “as we do for many other countries.”
Red Cross spokeswoman Marie-Francois Borel said the charity has speeded up emergency preparedness in Iraq. This has included stockpiling emergency relief items, such as tents, blankets and first aid kits as well as improving its telecommunications equipment.
According to the Red Cross, the immediate objective is to cater for the essential needs of 100,000 people during a period of 10 days.

I wonder where the rest of the refugees will go when Turkey, Iran and the UN are only prepared for a total of 200.000 refugees
Posted by: Murat || 01/29/2003 04:20 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [255 views] Top|| File under:

#1  by the time the refugees get to those camps, it could be all over, so they don't need more preparation.
Posted by: Rw || 01/29/2003 11:07 Comments || Top||

#2  Ugh, whoever made that ugly-ass map should be strung up and given twenty lashes.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 01/29/2003 13:56 Comments || Top||

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Wed 2003-01-29
  Americans already in northern Iraq
Tue 2003-01-28
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Mon 2003-01-27
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Sun 2003-01-26
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Sat 2003-01-25
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Fri 2003-01-24
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Thu 2003-01-23
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Wed 2003-01-22
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Tue 2003-01-21
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Mon 2003-01-20
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Sun 2003-01-19
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