Occupying US forces showered about a dozen and a half oxygen sucking semi-nuclear bombs known as daisy cutters on the Spin Boldak area near Chaman suffocating to death several innocent civilians in the surrounding villages, reports reaching Pakistan said. Oh, dear! How sad! And they're "semi-nuclear," too! That makes it even worse!
The bombing started when some Afghan freedom fighters shot down a US helicopter in nearby hills killing about 10 US soldiers. In a pitched battle after the incident a few more American soldiers and their local supporters were reportedly killed. US forces called in air support which dropped daisy-cutters in the area. US sources said that the Afghan freedom fighters belonged to Taliban and Gulbadin Hekmatyar's Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan. A Taliban spokesman who requested not to be named told the sources 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. And they were just flesh wounds...
Khalid Pashtoon, a spokesman of the Kandahar governor, said that 18 Taliban and three Afghan troops were killed. He also claimed that the deputy of Taliban commander Hafiz Abdul Raheem, who is heading Taliban in the fighting, was also among the martyrs. Thought that was Raheem's brother? Could be the same guy, since it's a family business type thing. Yesterday he was captured, today he's dead, cut down in his prime... Could the two be connected?
Posted by: Fred Pruitt ||
01/31/2003 12:39 pm ||
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According to Ummah News, have we been completely annihillated over there yet? But it is nice to see that Daisy's back. Save some for the big show.
Ummah News is a cartoon factory. It is the snipers with the rifles that you and me are not allowed to buy, who are getting most of the terr' kills. Daisy Cutters are for very large troop concentrations.
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan â A massive bomb blast exploded on Rambasi Bridge near the Kandahar on Friday, killing 18 people on a bus, deputy police chief Ustad Nazir Jan said. Another brilliant move intended to convince the populace of Afghanistan of the inherit justice of the Taliban/al Qaeda cause...
While no group has taken responsibility for the explosion as of yet, Jan suspects fugitive members of the Taliban and Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network are responsible.
Only two people on the bus lived through the bridge blast, some six miles south of Kandahar, Jan added. Jan believes Afghan soldiers were the target of the explosion, which went off barely half a mile from an Afghan army post. Soldiers from that unit are loyal to Kandahar Governor Gul Agha Sherzai and routinely patrol the area, he said. "We believe they were the target, but we are investigating," he said.
Witnesses at the bridge said body parts lay on the ground around the bus, which was left a twisted and mangled hulk.
Posted by: Patrick Phillips ||
01/31/2003 11:43 am ||
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The Talibs and the Hezbis make much of their heroism in fighting against the Sovs, and their compatriots supported their efforts then - the Hezbis who were in the field, anyway. The Talibs were safe in their madrassahs. But now they've turned to blowing up their compatriots because they can't have their way.
Note that the tactics are the same ones used in Kashmir. I don't think the Paks have the imagination to do anything differently in Afghanistan, and I think we'll eventually find out it's the same people who're making life hell in Kashmir who're trying to keep it hell in Afghanistan.
WASHINGTON - Four U.S. soldiers were killed when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed during a training mission in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, U.S. officials said. The cause was being investigated. Damn.
The Black Hawk, with two pilots and two crew members aboard, crashed several miles east of Bagram air base in an area known as the East Training Range, said Jim Wilkinson, director of strategic communications at Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Fla. Wilkinson said there were no indications of hostile fire. He said it appeared to be an accident but no other details were available. Okay, if they say so, but let's hope no jihadis are sneaking past the security perimeter around Bagram.
Officials initially said the helicopter was the utility version of the Black Hawk known as the UH-60, but later they said it was the multi-mission variety known as the MH-60, which is used by Army special operations forces for long-range, low-level penetration of hostile territory at night. Workhorse helicopter for our operations there.
Details on the victims, including their names and Army unit affiliations, were not immediately released. Rest in peace, deep condolences to the families.
Posted by: Steve White ||
01/31/2003 01:22 am ||
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More than likely the bird suffered a brown out. I have experienced this often in dusty sandy dry areas. Its like the engines getting the hic-cups and if your to close to the ground you dont have time to recover control.
The State Department said Thursday it is authorizing the departure of family members and nonessential U.S. embassy personnel from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Two separate travel warnings with nearly identical language cited only "increased security concerns," as the reason for the decision to recommend departure. The statement on Kuwait said private American citizens currently in that country "should evaluate rigorously" their own security situation and are strongly urged to consider departing. The statement on Saudi Arabia also urged private Americans in the kingdom to consider departing, especially given decreased flight availability at a time of high demand related to school holidays and the Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. Americans in both countries who decide to remain were encouraged to register at the consular sections of the respective embassies and to enroll in the emergency alert networks that operate in both, the statements said. "Git while the gittings good!"
Source: Muslim News
A London-based Muslim lunatic cleric, accused of urging followers to kill non-believers in a holy war against the rest of the world, told police his teachings came straight from the Koran, a jury has been told. Jamaican-born Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal, 39, denies five charges of incitement to murder by encouraging others to kill "enemies of Islam". He could face life imprisonment if convicted. Faisal, based in central London, is also charged with stirring up racial hatred through use of threatening and abusive words and with video and audio tapes in the four years before his arrest by anti-terrorist police last year. Four years? Jumped right on him, didn't they?
On Thursday, the jury at London's Old Bailey court was played a tape of Faisal's interview with police officers after his arrest in which he said he was not a racist and only quoted from the Koran. "I'm not inciting them. My students have never harmed anyone. I cannot understand where you are coming from," Faisal said during the interview with Detective Sergeant Ray Durrant. "I'm obtuse. What're you?"
Durrant then quoted passages from some of Faisal's tapes and asked him about the content. "So you want to go to Jenna (paradise). It is easy just to kill a Kafer (non believer). You are encouraging people to kill," Durrant asked Faisal. "By you killing the Kafer, you have purchased your ticket to paradise. You are asking for people to put their hands up and volunteer?" Faisal replied that this was "only in a combat situation" and that his message was that people should only kill in self defence. "On the other hand, all situations are combat situations, and a Muslim killing somebody is self-defense by definition, 'cuz nobody gets persecuted like we do..."
When asked about a passage in one tape when he said the best way to terrorise a non-believer was to exterminate them, Faisal said again that he was only quoting from the Koran. He said that he preached what he had he learnt at university in Saudi Arabia while studying to become a religious leader and that his words had been taken out of context. Taken out of context by all concerned, it would appear. It's the Soddy education. It makes a man sharp, by golly. And they only make the smartest ones sheikhs...
Earlier in the trial, the prosecution said Faisal had encouraged young Muslims to kill Hindus, Jews and Americans, with chemical and nuclear weapons if necessary, through tapes entitled "No Peace with the Jews", "Declaration of War" and "Jihad". With titles like that, you can tell the originate from a devotee of a Religion of Peaceâ¢...
In one video tape played earlier, he could be heard saying: "You can use chemical weapons to exterminate the non-believer. If you have cockroaches in your house would you spray them? Yes, with chemicals. If you would spray the cockroach, spray the Hindu." He could also be heard promising young Muslim men that their martyrdom in the Jihad, or Holy War, would be rewarded in paradise with 72 virgins. "Not 70, not 71, but 72 flat-chested 12-year-olds, with zero, that's right, zero mileage..."
Posted by: Fred Pruitt ||
01/31/2003 01:00 pm ||
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Britain began extradition proceedings on Friday against a Chechen separatist wanted by Russia on charges of mass murder.
The Home Office said it had given the courts authority to hear Russia's case against Akhmed Zakayev, an aide to Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov. Russian Justice Minister Yuri Chaika said the decision showed "our message has got through." "Britain has understood that terrorists cannot be one's own or someone else's," he told the Interfax news agency in Moscow.
But the decision angered Zakayev's supporters, who include Oscar-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave. "A profound injustice has been done to the Chechen people. An injustice should not be done to their political representatives," said Redgrave, who attended Zakayev's hearing at a London court Friday.
Russian authorities have compared Zakayev to Osama bin Laden and say he was a senior Chechen rebel military commander who helped kill at least 300 Russian security personnel.
His supporters say Zakayev is a peace negotiator and a minister in the government of Maskhadov, who was elected president of Chechnya in 1997. Zakayev denies the charges against him.
"I would like to say how grateful I am to the British court system, the Home Office and the Russian prosecutors," Zakayev said through a translator outside Bow Street Magistrates Court Friday. "The case going through the courts gives us the opportunity to show people how things really stand."
At a brief court hearing, Judge Timothy Workman ordered Zakayev to attend a hearing on February 14, when the court will set a timetable for the extradition process, expected to last months. Britian beginning these hearings helps Tony Blair's relations with Russia. Hope they remember.
Where's Vanessa hanging out these days? If she is in Britain, shouldn't she be invited to a hearing of her own, or are they waiting for the results of Zakayev's hearing first? Inquiring minds want to know.
Posted by: Alaska Paul ||
01/31/2003 12:45 Comments ||
Twenty-eight Pakistani terrorism suspects have been arrested in the southern Italian city of Naples.
Police said that the Pakistanis were found during a routine check on illegal immigrants on Thursday. They accused them of being part of a cell that was planning an attack. Sounds familiar..
The suspects were reported to have had explosives and maps, including one of the town of Bagnoli outside the city, which houses Nato's southern headquarters. So all these guys just leave explosives around their apartments for months on end until they are ready to make their attack? They wouldn't want to smoke
Security sources say that the preliminary signs show these arrests are significant.
Police made the arrests after breaking into an apartment in the old part of Naples city centre known to have a strong mafia presence. The mafia and the Jihadis have a lot in common, right down to praying right before trying to wack someone
Inside, they found the Pakistanis living in a group of several apartments which had been knocked into one. Documents in Arabic found in the raid are being translated.
I wonder about the mafia mention. Sure, they'd be glad to work with, and make money off these guys. But, as happened in WW II, they also are realists and know what side their bread is buttered on. I suggest that they may have provided the intel for this roundup. "Yes, Luigi, this is a list of all the foreigners we have sold guns to."
"[Police found] 800 grams (28 ounces) of explosives, 230 feet of fuse and various electronic detonators crammed behind a false wall...Islamic religious texts, photos of 'jihad' (holy war) martyrs, piles of false documents..."
Yup, genuine Islamicists
"...maps of the Naples area, addresses of contacts around the world and more than 100 mobile telephones..."
Makes it harder to trace if you use a different phone every time you call
"A judicial source said the maps had various targets marked out on them including the headquarters of NATO's southern European command, the U.S. consulate in Naples and a U.S. naval base at Capodichino, just outside the port city."
Either someone got tipped/suspicious, or VERY lucky.
"Pakistan's ambassador to Italy, Zafar Hilali, denied the men were terrorists and said the arrests appeared to form part of a campaign of targeting innocent Pakistanis...
'According to my information none of (these men) had anything whatsoever to do with terrorism, none of them had anything like explosives,' he told Pakistan TV."
They were just... just... FISHERMEN! That's it, that's why all the explosives, fishermen! Sure!
Posted by: Old Grouch ||
01/31/2003 17:52 Comments ||
We know Paks are deeply involved in the international terror machine. Things like His Excellency, Mr Ambassador's, comments make me wonder how deeply involved Pak officialdom is.
The detention of suspects after last October's Bali nightclub attack stopped them from carrying out another atrocity, Australian police have claimed. Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty said the militant group Jemaah Islamiah, widely blamed for the Bali bombing, had plotted a second attack in Indonesia late last year. On the face of it, this seems obvious. If the jihadis murderers had gotten away with the first one, of course they would have tried again.
Thirty suspects have been arrested in connection with the twin bomb blasts on Kuta Beach, including the reputed mastermind Imam Samudra and Ali Imron, who police say drove one of the vans packed with explosives. Both of whom deserve a dance with a rope, just as soon as the giggle juice wears off.
Mr Keelty declined to say where in Indonesia the second attack was to have occurred. I'll bet I could narrow it down by looking at a map of popular tourist attractions.
"It's clear that they were not only sophisticated but they were very determined in what they were going to do," he said. Determined I'll buy. Sophisticated only in the most technical sense.
"If it wasn't for the work of the Indonesian national police, helped by Australian police, I think we would have probably had another event occur using the skills and the knowledge that Jemaah Islamiah has accumulated over time." "Hey mates, we're here to 'help' you. Now you blokes stand right over there -- stand still, mate, I'd hate to have to hurt you -- whilst we go to work. After we're done with 'em we'll give 'em to you for the press conference."
Mr Keelty added that there was growing evidence linking a senior Islamic cleric, Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, to the Bali bombing. Another one who should be dancing at the end of a rope.
But first the cleric will be tried or released on charges linked to a series of church bombings in Indonesia in December 2000 and an alleged assassination plot against Megawati Sukarnoputri before she became Indonesian president. One way or another, I don't think Abu will breathe the fresh air of the free world again.
Posted by: Steve White ||
01/31/2003 02:14 am ||
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January 31, 2003 Bear in mind while reading this the number of al-qaueda and taliban money laundering operations in the Seattle area that have been busted since 9/11. As recently as the last two months over 23 middle eastern illegal aliens have been deported from the greater seattle area, including an iraqi pilot.
By Tracy Vedder
A new criminal drug enterprise is sweeping into Puget Sound. It's organized, professional and deadly, and it's part of a money pipeline financing Middle East terrorists.
CLALLAM COUNTY - A new criminal drug enterprise is sweeping into Puget Sound. It's organized, professional and deadly.
As if that weren't frightening enough, it's part of a money pipeline financing Middle East terrorists. They are "super labs," and they leave behind a wide path of destruction.
There is a new tide sweeping from the tip of the Olympic Peninsula, through a garbage-strewn lot outside Port Angeles -- a tide that carries a wave of drug users and meth cookers.
It flows on to Mexican drug cartels and criminal organizations halfway around the world. The tide is money, and it fuels the terrorist armies of Hezbollah.
It begins with a man, who must remain anonymous to protect his safety:
"I started selling drugs when I was 15âŠ started making drugs when I was about 20," he said.
That's what the "Meth Man" told Clallam County Sheriff's detectives as he took them on a guided tour through a "super lab" -- a drug factory just outside Port Angeles. It's a piece of rural acreage littered with older trailers and campers.
Inside one trailer, he described the process: "Then you put it into the cooker, which usually sets right about here."
Meth Man feeds off the bottom, using, making, and selling methamphetamine. Last year, Meth Man went from small-time dealer to front man for a Mexican drug cartel. "I rode up here with a guy named Joel -- he's the main cook guy -- and showed him the place and they started cooking here."
What they started is a new breed of meth lab -- a "super lab". Instead of just a few ounces, the Mexicans cook up to 25 pounds of methamphetamine at a time. Wholesale, it's worth $150,000.
It's strictly business. A Clallam County Sheriff's investigator asks Meth Man, "the Mexicans that are making it, are they using it too?"
Meth Man answers, "no they don't, they don't use at all."
What Meth Man doesn't realize is that the organizations he's connected to don't just make drugs, they finance terrorists.
"These are the pseudo-phed bottles that we got an example of from the super lab," says Captain Ron Cameron. That connection comes in a plain white bottle.
"This is gold, there's no question, I mean this is the basic substance that they need," he said. Pseudo-ephedrine -- the "kick" in meth. It's illegal to buy a large quantity in the United States.
"We found that these likely had been smuggled in from Canada," says Captain Cameron. The Puget sound area is well know for drug smuggling out of British Columbia, the territory is perfect for small boats running in drugs.
The Drug Enforcement Agency says the trail starts in Canada, which imports 10 to 15 times more pseudo-ephedrine than that country can use. D'oh!
Enter the Mexican drug cartels from bases in California. They travel to the Midwest to meet brokers, who smuggle the cold tablets across the border. Those cold tablets are then used in super labs here in Washington State. The question is: Who are these shadowy smugglers?
"Iraqis, Jordanians, I believe Yemenis were also involved," says the DEA's Dave Rodriguez. The DEA traced the smugglers' millions to bank accounts in the Middle East. "They have traced that money... to terrorist organizations, principally Hezbollah," Rodriguez said.
Hezbollah, also known as Islamic Jihad, burst upon the American mindset nearly 20 years ago when it blew up the Marine barracks in Lebanon. It claims to be the creator of the suicide bomber.
In the past, the smuggling all happened in the Midwest. Now, with the discovery of several super labs in rural Washington, investigators believe if the terrorists aren't already smuggling pseudo-ephedrine through our state's backyard, they soon will be.
"They only thing that's in the way of these illegal activities is bad weather," says Clallam County Undersheriff Fred deFrang, "that's the only thing to stop them. Otherwise, it's just a boat ride."
Just a boat ride, and the cycle of drugs, money and terror is complete. Looks to me like the squeeze on their funding is having an effect, it looks like they are changing tactics and are showing signs of being starved for cash.
Posted by: Frank Martin ||
01/31/2003 10:06 pm ||
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British officials have presented evidence which they claim shows that al-Qaeda had been trying to assemble radioactive material to build a so-called dirty bomb. They have shown the BBC previously undisclosed material backing up their claim. It includes secret intelligence from agents sent by Britain into al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. Posing as recruits, they blended in and reported back. They revealed that Osama Bin Laden's weapons programme was further on than anyone thought. I'm glad that at least MI5 was able to infiltrate agents in, considering John Walker Lynd Et Al al-Qaeda doesn't seem to have had a very rigorous screening process, which means other countries could have sent in guys too
British officials said on Thursday Bin Laden now had gained the expertise and possibly the materials to build a crude radioactive bomb. The government says evidence suggests that by 1999, Bin Laden's priority was to develop a weapon of mass destruction. He had acquired radioactive isotopes from the Taleban to do this, officials said, adding that development work on the "dirty bomb" had been going on in a nuclear laboratory in the Afghan city of Herat. I wonder if those radioactive Isotopes came from those every friendly Paks?
The government even has al-Qaeda training manuals which detail how to use a dirty bomb to maximum effect. For a second opinion, the BBC showed some of the material to an expert on al-Qaeda. "I think this is genuine," said Dr Mustafa Alani, of the Royal United Service Institute. "It is credible. This is proof that al-Qaeda put a lot of effort into collecting information and educating other members of the organisation. Why the British government would release such top secret information has been questioned by some commentators in the Arabic world. Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor of Al Quds al Arabi, said it was an attempt to revive fears in Britain and the US about 11 September. "They would like to prove their point that there are links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda," he said. And I am sure you would like the opposite
I'm not too sure where the surprise that seems to be associated with the "dirty bomb" idea is coming from. Making one wouldn't be a technological marvel. There are only two ingredients: the bomb and the dirt. Pashtuns in the NWFP and Paleostinians who're affiliated with Hamas keep bombs in their underwear drawers, just in case, so the only "real" problem in building one is getting the "dirt" - material sufficiently radioactive as to produce some sort of harm.
Qaeda was great friends with the Pak Ummah Tameer e-Nau, a "charity" run by Sultan Bashir-ud-Din Mehmood and Abdul Majid, who worked for Pakistan's Atomic Energy Commission until retiring in 1999. They're also good buddies with various Pak physicians, who would also have access to radioactive materials used in cancer treatments. There are also their close friends in or associated with the ISI, like retired Gen. Gen. Hamid ("It's not that difficult to obtain a SUITCASE-size nuclear weapon. Just the thing for retaliation against London or New York.") Gul, who would be glad to help in any exercise against the Great Satan. The only surprise is that they haven't managed to detonate one, if only in Pakland or Paleostine.
Perhaps the reason we haven't seen the hundreds of thousand Al Queda trainees attacking in droves is that most of them were secret agents from around the world checking out the training camps. Just a bizarre thought.
This story wanders around a bit before it gets to the point.
In January 2002, Driss bin Lakoul, a 38-year-old Moroccan committed to jihad, was arrested in Syria after unsuccessfully attempting to reach Afghanistan, where he wanted to fight against U.S. forces. For three months, the soft-spoken, bearded man with glasses recounted in an interview here, he was held in Damascus at the Far' Falastin detention center run by Syrian military intelligence.
In the prison, inmates spoke of a German citizen held in the rat-infested basement, a warren of lightless cells each barely three feet long, three feet wide and less than six feet in height, bin Lakoul said. The prisoner was taken out the cell only for interrogation and torture, according to prisoners.
That German, bin Lakoul said, was Mohammed Haydar Zammar, a Syrian-born naturalized citizen who had lived in Hamburg and, according to investigators, functioned as al Qaeda's prime recruiter there. Investigators believe Zammar, 41, played a key role in the formation of the Hamburg cell that led the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
snipped part of the article
Zammar was arrested in Morocco in November 2001, then flown secretly to Syria two weeks later. In Moroccan officials' view, his detention was a triumph of an international counterterrorism alliance, drawing on cooperation between the United States and Syria, a country that Washington officially condemns as a sponsor of terrorism.
But Zammar's fate also exposes the raw underside of the war on terrorism. Human rights groups condemn his transfer to Syria as a "rendition," an extra-legal deportation of a suspect against whom there is deep suspicion but insufficient evidence for a court of law. In some cases, the detainee is sent to countries where torture is common.
Sorry, but my sympathy meter for both bin Lakoul and Zammar is reading zero. I tried tapping it and everything...
Senior government sources here said that U.S. officials took part in the questioning of Zammar during his 15-day detention in Morocco. And U.S. officials knew Zammar was being flown to Damascus, the sources said.
snipped part of the article
Standing six feet tall and weighing 300 pounds, Zammar once cut a distinctive figure in radical Islamic circles, and according to German investigators, became al Qaeda's prime recruiter in Hamburg. He was a frequent visitor to the walk-up apartment where Mohamed Atta and other hijackers gathered.
Zammar is a loud and arrogant man, acquaintances and investigators said, and his sense of impunity after Sept. 11 cost him his freedom.
In the weeks after the attacks, Zammar was questioned by German police but refused to cooperate, according to documents filed in the Hamburg trial of Mounir Motassadeq, a suspected accomplice of the Hamburg cell who is charged with accessory to murder and membership in a terrorist organization. The lack of hard evidence allowed Zammar to freely leave Germany in October 2001 for Morocco.
In interviews here, Moroccan officials provided the first detailed account of Zammar's itinerary in Morocco and his statements under questioning .
Under interrogation in Morocco, they said, Zammar acknowledged playing a role in the formation and radicalization of the Hamburg cell, but held firm that after the hijackers went to Afghanistan for training and orders for a specific mission, he was shut out of their plans. He said he was as surprised as anyone else when he watched the attacks unfold on television.
Gee, if we were to ask Zammar if he'd like to stay in Syria of go to the living, screaming, hell that is Guantanamo, what to do you think his answer would be? I suppose sometime in the next decade or so somebody from our side should make the offer. Or maybe not. After all, we wouldn't want to suffer searing international criticism for violating Z's rights by exposing him to the ugly reality of Gitmo. No. Best to just let him stay in Syria.
Posted by: Patrick Phillips ||
01/31/2003 05:04 am ||
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You have to be a seriously bad character for the Syrians to hold you. Why do they have a major p.o. on for this guy? Did he organize a "Free Lebanon" movement or something?
The newly appointed prime minister of Ivory Coast has been forced to delay his return to the country because of unrest at the country's main airport. Seydou Diarra was obliged to remain in Senegal where West African leaders have been discussing the deal reached in Paris. "Hello, Mom?... Hi! I'm still in Senegal, so don't bother making dinner for me tonight... No, I'm not quite prime minster yet... Yes, Mom, I agree. The howling mobs can sometimes be very intimidating... Yeah. But we don't have to worry, 'cuz the Frenchies are on our side..."
Crowds of demonstrators opposed to a peace deal stormed the terminal building and runway in Abidjan on Friday. One French soldier was seriously hurt as forces intervened to contain stone-throwing crowds heckling some 300 French citizens waiting to leave the country. France - the main sponsor of the peace agreement designed to end the four-moth conflict - has advised all non-essential French nationals to leave Ivory Coast. "They're leaving? But, Mom! Why would they do that?"
On Saturday six West African leaders are due to meet President Laurent Gbagbo in Abidjan to urge him to implement the accord. Mr Diarra had been due to start forming his government in Abidjan on Friday. But the thousands of protestors at the airport made clear they did not want him. "Never come back!" young men supporting President Laurent Gbagbo shouted.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt ||
01/31/2003 04:02 pm ||
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Speaking of comebacks, D.C.O. Ojukwu, onetime leader of Nigeria's Biafra' seccessionists, is again floating the "Biafran idea." An all South union is building in the country, against the depraved, savage, Muslim North. And the South has the oil. The Brits and Ruskies won't gang up on you this time, Ojukwu. Go Biafra!
A court in the German city of Mannheim has convicted two businessmen of supplying weapons-making equipment to Iraq in violation of UN sanctions. Engineer Bernd Schompeter was sentenced to five years and three months for dealing in drills that can be used for boring tubes for long-range cannons, capable of launching nuclear, chemical or biological warheads. A second defendant, Willi Heinz Ribbeck, was given a two-year suspended sentence for failing to alert his superiors to the sale of the drills to Mr Schompeter by his Burgsmueller machine company. Both defendants, who are in their 50s, have confessed to the main charge of supplying the equipment. "But ve vere only following ordahs!"
Mr Schompeter admitted delivering the drills to an Iraqi-born US businessman in Jordan, from where they were sent on to Iraq. But he denied knowing the equipment could be used to make large guns. "We thought they were gonna make some really big whistles..."
Prosecutors are seeking extradition of the third man, Sahib Abd al-Amir al-Haddad, following his arrest in Bulgaria in November. Ohhh! He's a sahib and an amir! He must be important...
There are concerns that this may not be an isolated case and investigations into other companies are continuing. Last December, Tageszeitung newspaper reported that over 80 German companies were listed in Iraq's weapons report to the UN. Several of these were still involved in Iraq last year, thereby breaking the UN weapons embargo. Of further embarrassment to Germany is that - according to the newspaper article - German companies make up more than half of the total number of institutions listed in the report. I'm sure that five years from now that won't be the case...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt ||
01/31/2003 03:54 pm ||
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Ten forts' equipment eventually will be sent overseas to support the 4th Infantry Division, said Maj. Gen. Raymond Odierno, commanding general of the division. Odierno visited the Port of Corpus Christi briefly Thursday. Although the division is headquartered in Killeen, tanks, artillery and other equipment will come from bases across the country to support Task Force Iron Horse, an Army operation that will send troops overseas. Also, the original estimate of 12,500 of troops going overseas from the task force has risen to 30,000.
A combination of troops and equipment are coming from these bases: Forts Hood and Bliss in Texas; Fort Sill, Okla.; Fort Riley, Kan.; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Lewis, Wash., Fort Campbell, Ky., Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Fort Carson, Colo.; and Fort Polk, La. Not all of the equipment from the other bases will go through the Port of Corpus Christi, said Lt. Col. Dan Baggio, Fort Hood spokesman. Even so, about 15 to 20 ships of the "ready reserve" fleet are expected to be loaded during the next couple weeks. So far, the Cape Texas, Cape Trinity and Cape Taylor have left the port with full loads. Two new ones have arrived - the Cape Decision and Cape Rise.
Military officials have declined to identify exactly how many ships or pieces of artillery are arriving, or when they will arrive and pass through the port. Trainloads of equipment began arriving at the port throughout the last week, and on Thursday large trucks carrying equipment could be seen arriving and waiting in line to get through the security entrance. Word is the 4th is headed to Turkey. Figure a couple of weeks transit time for the heavy equipment, then mate up with the crews, form up and get organized, and we are looking at end of February for these ground troops to be ready.
U.S. troops in Germany that would form part of a northern front in a war against Iraq have received orders to pack up and prepare to head to Turkey as the Turkish government nears a crucial decision on whether to accept the forces. Turkey's National Security Council, which is dominated by powerful senior generals, has scheduled a meeting Friday to consider a recommendation to the Turkish parliament, which has the final say on a U.S. petition to base troops in Turkey for a possible invasion. The NSC today asked for US troops and to allow Turkish troops to deploy outside Turkey.
U.S. military officials said today that nearly 2,000 troops from the 1st Infantry Division in Germany were preparing to depart for Turkey. That deployment would largely involve headquarters staff, intelligence, communications and other support units -- lead elements of a larger, armored force, the bulk of which will likely come from the 4th Infantry Division in Texas, military officials said. Some of it's heavy equipment is already on ships and has left Texas, the rest will leave shortly.
Surveys show that more than 80 percent of Turks oppose a war in Iraq, largely because of concerns about the potential damage to the economy, especially to the crucial tourism industry. Losses associated with the 1991 Gulf War topped $50 billion by some estimates, and Turkey's economy already is in recession. Turkey's biggest concern is that a new war may revive separatist sentiments among its Kurdish minority if Iraq's Kurds are allowed to form a new republic , and especially if they seize the northern Iraqi oil centers of Kirkuk and Mosul. It always comes back to the Kurds.
But on questions of national security, the Turkish public grants great deference to its military establishment. When opinion polls ask Turks whom they trust most, the general staff finishes behind only President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who also sits on the Security Council. No Turkish parliament has failed to endorse a council recommendation. Didn't know that. Should be a done deal then, I hope.
That calculation has anchored the Bush administration's dealings with Turkey from the earliest stages of planning for a campaign in Iraq. From the start, U.S. officials have bet that however much Turkey opposes the idea of a war, in the end it cannot afford to stay on the sidelines. Turkish generals have moved forward with plans to move a substantial force several dozen miles into northern Iraq to prevent incursions by Kurdish separatists and to manage the flow of refugees seeking to escape fighting. The general staff announced Wednesday that it was sending fresh equipment and materiel to Turkish troops on the Iraqi border "to prepare them ahead of possible security developments in the region."
Turkey has also prepared a plan to appeal to NATO for help in defending against any retaliatory attack by Iraq. The alliance has twice in two weeks deferred a U.S. request for such aid, which would include deploying Patriot anti-missile systems and AWACS radar planes. NATO is stalling, but if Turkey asks, will most likely agree. If not, NATO is dead.
Turkey's top military and civilian leaders called on the government Friday to ask parliament for approval for the basing of foreign troops in Turkey or the deployment of Turkish troops abroad. The decision by the powerful National Security Council comes as Washington has been pressing Turkey to allow U.S. troops to be based in the country for a possible strike on Iraq. Turkish generals have repeatedly said that they want to deploy soldiers in northern Iraq if there is a war to maintain stability. The Council, which groups the top Cabinet members and generals, issued its recommendation after a 6 1/2 hour meeting. This is an important step. It means the senior civilian and military leaders have agreed that war is most likely coming.
"The National Security Council recommends ... that peaceful means continue to be sought, and on the other hand that parliament take steps in accordance with Article 92 against unwanted developments and activate military measures necessary to protect Turkey's national interests," the Council said in a statement. Article 92 of the Turkish constitution says that any decision to send Turkish troops abroad or host foreign troops in Turkey must be approved by parliament. Council members did not speak after the meeting. The council traditionally issues short statements after its meetings and does not elaborate. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
Freed after five years of house arrest, Iran's most senior dissident cleric has vowed to continue his struggle for justice and freedom in the Islamic republic. Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri celebrated his freedom by visiting a mosque near his house in the city of Qum where he used to make speeches before his political activities were curtailed.
"God, who is the master, gave all believers a power of religious authority," he told a crowd of about 600 supporters, including some senior clerics. "But this power is not absolute, it is limited. Just as I did during my detention, I will continue to talk about issues and to act. It is my religious duty." OK, how long before they lock him up again? Or is it to late?
Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, who had been in failing health and suffering from depression in recent months, used a cane when he stepped out on Thursday. But he looked healthy, smiled broadly and joked with well-wishers. "I am very well and I have not lost my memory, as some have hinted," he said. He said he had made no deal to win his release from house arrest. There had been rumours that in return for his release he would tone down his political stance, but in an interview with the BBC he denied this and called on President Mohammad Khatami to be more proactive in his reform efforts.
"The people were very hopeful when Khatami took office, but if he continues like this they will be very disappointed," he said.
He echoes the feelings of many Iranians who are fed up with the deadlock between the reforming parliamentary majority and the hardliners who control the executive branches of government.
The grand ayatollah's release will be considered a victory for reformers after more than 100 MPs signed a petition on his behalf. However, the police booth outside his home and the cameras trained on his front door remained, and his son said all the doors of the house except the main one were still padlocked. Despite his revolutionary credentials, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, 80, has become increasingly critical of the regime over the past decade and continued to be influential in the debate over national reform, issuing appeals for greater democracy from the confines of his home. He is one of Iran's most senior and respected religious authorities and was once in line to succeed Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as Iran's supreme leader. But he began criticising the excesses of the Islamic republic and Khomeini stripped him of his position as his successor in 1989. He might yet get a chance to become leader.
They let him out so he wouldn't die on their (the ultra conservatives') watch, as he's old and ill with a variety of problems. We'll have to wait and see exactly what the conservatives, who control everything in government except the presidency, will let him do. But Tu's right, it's going to get real interesting. Especially post-Saddam.
Someone REALLY interested in the purity of their relgion would treat secular power like a poison: The non-believers, hypocrites, and power-seekers would pretend to holiness just to get their hands on the levers of power. Once there, the religion becomes secondary, with any fervor just for show except where perverting the religion serves their purposes. All the Bishops of Rome were good and pious men until Constantine put him in charge of the Western Roman Empire, at which time it all began to go downhill...
These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on January 31, 2003. The Anadolu Agency does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
Senior staff of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) spent four days in the underground center of the First Air Control Group Command near Karacasehir village of central province of Eskisehir and assessed priorities of the TSK and schedule of a possible war in Iraq. Tactical plans were prepared according to two critical estimations about the war schedule.
February possibility: the United States and its allies will launch an air strike against Iraq in the second half of February following the Feast of Sacrifice. After a two or three weeks of bombardment, defense system of Iraqi army will be razed to ground, and supplying facilities will be exhausted. Following the air attacks, land operation will start from Jordan and Kuwait in March. The Turkish military has come to the same conclusion as I have.
April possibility: the war can be delayed to April. The United States aims at causing mass desertions from the Iraqi army by increasing pressure and tension on Baghdad. Maybe, but I doubt it.
The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has approved the summit meeting in which Jewish and Muslim scientists will come together. Dr. Michel Friedman, the head of the European Jewish Congress, said that the summit meeting was of great importance in regard to efforts that aim to prevent fundamentalism. Friedman who held contacts with AK Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu and National Education Minister Erkan Mumcu, said that they had reached a compromise on bringing Jewish and Muslim worlds together at an international conference biyearly. Bravo!
Turkey will request NATO to establish a 'defense shield' against attacks in a possible war in Iraq. Unofficial contacts have begun between Turkey and NATO to this end. National Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul stated that Turkey would make an official application next week. ''We will request NATO to invoke Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty which envisages collective defense and solidarity in case of an attack on any of allies. Although France and Germany are opposed to a possible war, they are positive about Article 5.'' We'll see. The next story shows that Turkey has a serious drug problem.
The United States officially informed Turkey that it had armed nearly eighty thousand Peshmerga fighters led by Jalal Talabani and Massoud Barzani in Northern Iraq in order to send them to military front. In order not to face any reaction of Turkey, Pentagon sent the list of all light and heavy weapons that it had given to Kurds, to the General Staff. Sources said that General Staff Chief General Hilmi Ozkok had conveyed this critical information to Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and National Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul. Weapons in the list were described as ''light weapons most of which are automatic pistols and rifles and heavy weapons like anti-aircraft guns''. The U.S. officials informed the General Staff on the operation plan and this plan will be discussed in today's National Security Council meeting. The ''Kurdish card'' in this plan is described as: ''a- Turkish soldiers are not wanted in Northern Iraq. Forty thousand U.S. soldiers will be deployed there. If Turkey permits, also fifteen thousand U.S. soldiers will be deployed in southeast of Turkey. b- Almost five or six thousand U.S. soldiers will join the war as advance force in northern front. Forty thousand U.S. soldiers will join hot clash together with nearly eighty thousand peshmerga fighters led by Talabani and Barzani. c- Kurdish groups won't flee to mountains as they did in 1991. They will join the war. However, Kurdish groups limited number of RPG, Dochka, BKC, mortars and anti-aircraft weapons and a few number of tanks. d- Nearly eight thousand peshmerga fighters who were organized through nearly 150 CIA agents were given weapons in order to increase battle force.'' Eighty Thousand Peshmerga Fighters? Either the CIA has pulled off the greatest coup ever or this is a very good year for Turkish Hashish!
According to ''confidential'' information given to the government by the General Staff, the United States will form a federal structure in Iraq following the war, and Talabani and Barzani will have equal political rights in this federal Iraq. Sources said that the General Staff and U.S. military officials were discussing what would happen to those weapons given to Kurdish groups following the war. U.S. officials said the new administration model in Iraq would not threaten Turkey, on the contrary it would strengthen Turkey. Meanwhile, National Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul who briefed the Parliamentary Defense Commission yesterday defined possible U.S.-led operation against Iraq as ''Kosovo model''. He said, ''the United States will firstly form an international coalition and later it will launch air strike. Land operation will start if Saddam does not accept to go into exile during this process'' I think some form of the Federal model, kind of like the Swiss Cantons, is the way to go.
National Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul said that the United States planned to launch a military operation against Iraq by opening a front in Northern Iraq. ''We are not positive about opening of a front in Northern Iraq. However, if Turkey does not permit and the United States opens a front in Southern Iraq, Turkey can lose its influence in efforts to rebuild the area following the war. In that case, Talabani and Barzani can be influential,'' he stressed. Still worried about the Kurds.
The leader of a radical Islamic group based in northern Iraq has denied United States allegations that his group provides a possible link between President Saddam Hussein and the al-Qaeda network. Speaking to the BBC in Norway where he has refugee status, Mullah Krekar, who is an Iraqi Kurd, said he was opposed to the Iraqi leader and that his group had no links with al-Qaeda. Ansar al-Islam is a small, but radical, Islamic organisation which operates from a string of villages it controls in Kurdish-administered northern Iraq, close to the Iranian border. Ansar al-Islam is a violent group which has denounced the secular nature of Iraqi Kurdish society. "There's too much secular stuff going on!"
It has a Taleban type of outlook, imposing strict Islamic rule in the villages it controls. It is alleged to have tried to assassinate senior officials of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the Iraqi Kurdish party which controls the region it operates from. There have also been allegations that its members include more than 100 al-Qaeda fighters. But it is American suggestions that Ansar could represent the missing link between Baghdad and al-Qaeda which have created the most interest. Suggestions like this seem to make them nervous. Wonder why?
Mullah Krekar categorically denies this: "I never had links with Saddam Hussein's family, Saddam Hussein's government, Saddam Hussein's party, not in the past, not now, not in the future, and not inside Iraq or outside, not directly, not indirectly. "I never had sex with that man, Saddam Hussein!"
"As a Kurdish man, I believe that he is our enemy, and as an Orthodox Muslim also, I believe that Saddam Hussein and his group are outside of Islam's zone." "And I'm a mullah, so ya gotta to believe me!"
Rohan Gunaratna, author of Inside al-Qaeda, agrees with sceptics who say that Washington has yet to present concrete evidence of links between Ansar and the Iraqi Government. But he says Mullah Krekar's denials that his group has any al-Qaeda links are another matter. "Ansar al-Islam has links with al-Qaeda - in fact it is an associate group of al-Qaeda. The group has had a significant presence in Afghanistan. The group did have relations with the Taleban." Rohan Gunaratna believes that, so far, Ansar al-Islam represents only a local threat. For now, Mullah Krekar is living freely in Norway after spending four months in jail in Holland. But his future does not look entirely secure. The Norwegian Government has launched a process which may lead to him being stripped of his refugee status and expelled. Just hang on to him for a while. I'm sure the Kurd's in post Saddam Iraq will like to talk with him.
This article appears in the Middle East Online.
Arabs fear a US-led war on Iraq would spread chaos across the region but seem unable to take serious action to avert it, analysts said Friday. Contrary to the 1991 Gulf war, when leading Arab states such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria joined the US-led coalition to free Kuwait from Iraqi invasion, none has said it would take part this time. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a solid ally of the United States, has been repeating that war would spread "regional chaos." A similar warning was issued by Jordan, which has important economic ties with neighbouring Iraq. Egyptian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Fayza Abul Naga said in December a war on Iraq would cost her country between six and eight billion dollars in lost revenues from tourism, exports and other sectors.
But beyond economic concern, Arabs fear that a destabilisation or partition of Iraq would have a knock-on effect on the rest of the volatile region that includes a mix of ethnic and religious communities. Arab regimes thus suspect a hidden US agenda to remodel the region: who's next after Iraq? Figured it out, did you? Heh heh
Egyptian analyst Anis Mansur wrote in Wednesday's Al-Ahram daily that the whole region is on Uncle Sam's hit list, a widespread opinion in Arab media. And here's the list!
He said Israel's accusations that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction are hidden in Syria aimed at making Damascus "the next victim, after Iraq." Check
"Things then will move on to (Muslim but non-Arab) Iran, as it supports Syria, the Lebanese militia Hezbollah and Palestinian group Hamas which are accused of attacking 'innocent people' in Israel," he added. Check
Saudi Arabia is also well positioned in the US firing line, said Lebanese-born analyst Antoine Basbous, who directs the Observatory of Arab Countries in Paris. "The September 11 2001 attacks are the founding event of the new century. The Americans search for terror mastermind Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, but they don't find him," he said. Didn't find what's left of him, but continue.
"They find out that the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia" who uphold a rigorous interpretation of Islam "are behind all that," he added, pointing out that 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers came from the conservative kingdom. "Their Saudi ally for 60 years stabbed them in the back. They ask the Saudis to crack down on the Wahhabis, but the kingdom doesn't because of fears of civil war." So "the United States decides to reactivate the world's second oil reserve (Iraq) to replace the first (Saudi Arabia)," he said, estimating that the kingdom would also come at some time under US threat. Double check!
"The Americans think that the Arab world is backward, suffering from Islamist intellectual terrorism and that its institutions, whether it's the Arab League or the Gulf Cooperation Council, are obsolete," said Basbous. Triple check, he's on a roll!
Arab allies and of the United States have become wary of Washington's designs, according to diplomats. Asked why the Arab leaders have adamantly denied exerting pressure on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to go into exile, an Arab diplomat said "this is out of question, it would be an upsetting precedent." NOTE: He said "precedent" and he knows what it means!
Lebanon called Thursday for a meeting of Arab foreign ministers before mid-February to discuss the situation in Iraq, which could pave the way for a full-blown emergency summit before the regular one set for March in Bahrain. But observers expect little from the Arab League, which has become a symbol of the Arabs' failure to act decisively. Check again!
"The Arab regimes have said nothing since war-talk started six months ago," charged Egyptian analyst Wahid Abdel Meguid. "They behave as oldtimers who prefer the devil they know to the devil they don't." Light dawns, clue found, etc.
About time someone said publicly what is really going on. I had to reread the piece in disbelief. Exile is not an option. It will just get too crowded in Libya for all the crowds of exiles. Also would make a very tempting target.
Posted by: Alaska Paul ||
01/31/2003 10:51 Comments ||
Invading Iraq would "spread 'regional chaos!'"
"Arabs fear that a destabilisation or partition of Iraq would have a knock-on effect on the rest of the volatile region!"
To borrow a phrase from Steve Den Beste, "that's not a bug, it's a feature."
The UN's top nuclear inspector, Mohamed ElBaradei, said Friday Iraq would have to show more commitment to arms inspections for him to return before his next report to the world body in mid-February. "We need to make sure there will be progress when we go there," ElBaradei said, adding that UN inspectors must have the right to meet privately with Iraqi scientists and that inspectors must be able to use surveillance aircraft, including American U2 spy planes. Well, so much for that meeting
He said Iraq must satisfy the international community both on nuclear inspections and on the chemical, biological and missile inspections overseen by chief UN inspector Hans Blix. "We need to make sure before we go that they are ready to move forward on many of these issues," ElBaradei said. "We are exploring what is the purpose of their invitation. If we go, we would expect concrete results," ElBaradei said. Sounds like he's finally had enough.
He said the purpose of the inspectors was "to do everything possible to move the file forward and avoid a war."
ElBaradei said he and Blix would be talking to the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations in New York. "It is important that when we do go, we meet at the highest level of leadership and hear from them a clear commitment that they are ready to be fully transparent," he said. "Private interviews are very important to create confidence," ElBaradei said, adding that this should be no problem if Iraq has nothing to hide. The problem is that they do have stuff to hide.
He said Iraqi authorities should make clear to scientists that "it is in their own national interest to speak to us directly in private." Iraq announced Thursday it was inviting ElBaradei and Blix to return to Baghdad before February 10 to hold fresh talks on cooperation with the UN mission.
ElBaradei said if he were to return to Iraq, he would like to do so before February 10, four days before the International Atomic Energy Agency inspections team's next report to the UN Security Council. Wants to get his notes in order
He said the purpose of the inspectors was "to do everything possible to move the file forward and avoid a war."
Wrong. The purpose of the inspectors is to verify that declared weapons have been destroyed, not to go wandering into the Iraq countryside looking for things that the Iraqi authorities aren't going to let them see, in a vain attempt to prevent an attack.
Bomb-a-rama --- I wish that the mainstream press would state that purpose. Oh, well. I don't think that ElBaradei and Blix really want to go back to Iraq. Being human shields are not not in their job descriptions.
Posted by: Alaska Paul ||
01/31/2003 10:56 Comments ||
One hopes there has been a bit of thought given to extracting the inspectors before the fun starts. Bug out time nears.
ElBaradei's comment "it is in their own national interest to speak to us directly in private." is transparently obtuse (also transparently transparent). It is in the private interest of the scientists not to be tortured, not to have their family tortured, etc. Frankly it is also in the national interest for Iraq to be conquered by the US military as soon as possible.
What was with the IAEA public "B" grade headline on nuke disarmament? That was played out by the NYT, et al like a proud parent showing off his kid's grades....Seem to have a change in tone now, hmm?
Posted by: Frank G ||
01/31/2003 16:02 Comments ||
He probably got a clue from Blix and realized he's gotten even less cooperation than the Chem/Bio inspectors.
As American troops move into the Gulf and George W. Bush wags an angry finger at Saddam Hussain, a nervous euphoria is descending on the Kurds-controlled areas in northern Iraqi, the enclave protected by the "no-fly" zone and governed by Iraq's rebel Kurdistan Regional Government. The feeling is very different from that in Europe, where the American president is constantly being admonished for his "cowboy" tendencies. "Occupy us - please!" a Kurdish man on the street demands of an American visitor.
Indeed, the main fear of Iraqi Kurds I spoke to is that Washington will not attack. "Iraqi officials warn us that Bush is all talk, that America will not invade," says Ismet Aguid, a former Iraqi foreign service officer. "But we remain optimistic."
During their 12 years of freedom, the Kurdish, Turkmen and Assyrian inhabitants of this land have rebuilt most of the 4,000 villages Saddam's troops bombed and bulldozed into oblivion. They have also created at least the semblance of democracy, complete with elections and a representative parliament. They have laced the country with highways and transformed Sulaymaniya, Arbil and Dohuk into modern cities with multiple newspapers, traffic jams and omnipresent Internet cafes. The people are warm and well fed, thanks to the Iraqi-UN oil-for-food programme.
But with Turkish tanks hovering above Dohuk, a militant group shelling Halabja and Saddam's troops patrolling their southern border, residents realise all too well how fragile their beautiful new world is. That's why they hope that the airstrip near Sulaymaniya will be put to use soon. The Kurds, world-class survivors, are planning for worst-case scenarios and working to stock emergency camps inside their borders. But they lack protective materials, medical supplies and the trained doctors who would be needed in case of chemical attack. We better maintain a tight air cap over this area because Sammy is just the kind of guy to drop chemical weapons on them before he goes down.
As war looms, let's not forget what the Turks did to the Armenians and the Greeks between 1915 and 1922: they exterminated nearly 2 million people in total to meet the genocidal criteria of "New Turkey." They won't hesitate to do the same to the Kurds in northern Iraq, whom they see as a potential "destabilizing" threat. Under no circumstances this should be allowed to occur while U.S. troops are around. I am well aware of the strategic stakes involved, but the U.S. must not involve itself, even tacitly, to massive ethnic cleansing to accomodate our "friends," the Turkish generals. Let's not make Iraq a bigger, bloody mess than what it already is... If we allow the Turks to put the Kurds to the sword, we won't be all that far from Saddam's own "philosophy" of criminal power... The U.S. MUST NOT tolerate massacres.
Kurds are our allies today. However, they have a history too. Part of that history includes persecution of the Assyrian Christian minority in their territory. Nothwithstanding this, the Kurds deserve nationhood far, far more than do the Palestinians. I'm told they would be happy with a federated state within the reformed Iraq nation.
And let's not forget what the Turks did to Cyprus in 1974. They invaded, killed thousands, pushed 250,000 Greek Cypriots out of their homeland, and still occupy nearly 40 percent of the island. If we have such "allies," our enemies look paler by the day!!
Posted by: Brandon D. ||
01/31/2003 13:16 Comments ||
They have reason to be nervous: The Merkins led them on, then left them out to dry after GW I. I will be highly annoyed if we let these people get shafted again.
Iraq has begun expelling families from a 20-mile-long strip of land between the autonomous Kurdish north and the rest of the country, leading to speculation Saddam Hussein is creating a buffer to defend against a U.S. invasion. The Iraqi government has also placed forces of Mujahedeen Khalq, a militant Iranian opposition group under Saddam's control, near the Kurdish boundary, said Rasool Razgai, an official of the Kurdistan Democratic Party. ``It seems like they're clearing a buffer zone,'' said Fawzi Hariri, a party spokesman. ``It may be a new method or strategy, and it could well be part of a military maneuver.'' Finally a military move that makes sense. Clear civilian personnel out (who might support any invasion) and move in expendable militants from Iran to act as a cannon fodder while keeping your army at arms length. Not bad.
Officials with the Kurdish Ministry of Interior estimated 50 Kurdish families living near the border zone have been expelled in the past two weeks. The 20-mile section is part of a frontier that runs hundreds of miles. Villagers who were hustled out of their homes in the border region say they were ordered to move deeper into Baghdad-controlled Iraq and managed to slip into the Gushtapa area in the Kurdish zone only after bribing Iraqi officials. The Kurdistan Democratic Party governs the northwest section of the self-rule area set up by oppressed Kurds after the 1991 Gulf War. The autonomous region operates under the protection of U.S. and British warplanes that patrol a northern no-fly zone. The United States, which believes Saddam is hiding banned weapons despite Baghdad's denials, is threatening to disarm Saddam by force and wants neighboring Turkey to agree to accept American troops. If Turkey does not allow American troops to use its bases, the United States plans to airlift troops to the Kurdish zone in northern Iraq, the private Turkish television station NTV reported Wednesday. Recent activity at newly reopened Harir air base, in the autonomous region 30 miles north of the town of Irbil, has led to speculation it is being readied for American troops. Now who would think a thing like that?
As the threat of war looms, tensions have grown along the border between the Kurdish region and the rest of the nation governed by Baghdad. In stretches along the frontier, some already fear being snatched by Baghdad's soldiers, who make incursions across the front into the Kurdish region. Goli Gerdi Amin, a 40-year-old mother of five, wept as she described how the family was turned out of its home in Makhshooma, 15 miles southeast of Irbil, where they herded sheep and goats and did some planting. She said five Iraqi soldiers went to her house on Jan. 16 just before the evening call to prayer and ordered them to head for the Iraqi city of Kirkuk because their farm lay within the no-man's-land that separates the Kurdish- and Baghdad-ruled parts of Iraq. The family said they tried to move their belongings, including an expensive water pump and other agricultural equipment, into the home of a friend, but the soldiers returned and ordered them to move out immediately. Amin said the soldiers at first refused to allow them to cross into Kurdish-controlled Iraq, but after several days of haggling let them go after the family handed over $100 and several sheep and goats. It's lonely on the border, and those sheep were kind of cute.
I saw the article before I got here: The cannon fodder insisted they weren't Saddam's lackeys, even as they moved AWAY from the country for whose "liberation" they are supposedly fighting.
Let's give them an IQ test. Drop pamphlets on them, telling them not to fire on the aircraft patrolling the no-fly-zone, and to calmly, but quickly, run east when they hear bombs dropping on Baghdad. Otherwise, we WILL make sure the Iranian Students DON'T have to worry about them when the Iranian revolution kicks into high gear.
The official statment, in all it's rabid glory
Pyongyang, January 30 (KCNA) -- A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea today issued a statement accusing U.S. President Bush of committing such a very grave provocation as malignantly slandering the DPRK in a "state of union address" at congress on January 29. The statement said:
Bush said an oppressive regime rules a people. He further said we now know that the regime was deceiving the world, and developing those weapons all along, and today the North Korean regime is using its nuclear program to incite fear and seek concessions.
Bush has so far earned an ill-fame as an emotional backbiter, but his recent address clearly proves that he is a shameless charlatan reversing black and white under the eyes of the world and the incarnation of misanthropy as he rejects the people out of his favor for no reason. I think they just pick words out of the air and throw them around...
No sooner had he come to power than he, prompted by the deep-rooted hostility toward the socialist system in the DPRK, described the DPRK as part of an "axis of evil" only to invite worldwide criticism and condemnation and retract his remarks in less than one year. I never saw the retraction. Anyone else?
When the international community expressed deep apprehensions in the wake of his remarks listing the DPRK as a target of preemptive nuclear attacks, Bush, commander-in-chief, said in great haste that the U.S. had no intention to invade North Korea. But, in actuality, he sent an aircraft carrier to the East Sea of Korea. Otherwise known to the rest of the world as the Sea of Japan.How egocentric are these people?
The Korean people is a peace-loving people who never had their eyes on other country,...except for that minor episode in the 50's. a nation whose history began thousands of years ago when the U.S. did not exist in the world. Before even Kim Il Sung dragged his knuckles across the ground
The demands of the DPRK still remain simple.
The DPRK does not seek to gain concessions from the U.S. by threatening it as Bush claimed, but urges the U.S. to stop its intervention and threat so that the Korean people may live in peace for themselves as they did when such a country as the U.S. did not exist. You know, back in the Bronze Age.
From this purport the DPRK proposed the U.S. to legally assure each other of non-aggression.
The U.S. has deployed nuclear weapons in one part of Korea which has nothing to do with it and posed a nuclear threat to the DPRK, causing the nuclear issue to surface on the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. was the first to have nuclear weapons and emerged as the world's largest possessor of weapons of mass destruction. Yet it is trying to mislead the public opinion by spreading the rumor that the DPRK is chiefly to blame for the nuclear issue. This is the height of shamelessness. OUT-rageous! as Tom Dashcle would say.
The reckless remarks made by Bush in his official speech dealing with the year's national policy cannot but reflect the stand and policy of the present U.S. administration.
This policy speech is, in essence, an undisguised declaration of aggression to topple the DPRK system.
The U.S. ulterior motive in having persistently dodged the DPRK's proposal for concluding a non-aggression treaty between the DPRK and the U.S. has now been brought to daylight.
The U.S. is seriously mistaken if it thinks the DPRK will remain a passive onlooker to the U.S. reckless moves to dare topple the DPRK system which was chosen and built by the Korean people themselves and is considered by them as their life and soul. That's why we have those special camps
We will never allow the U.S. to wantonly encroach upon the sovereignty and dignity of the DPRK and destroy its system. We will do our utmost to defend our system in view of the U.S. declaration of aggression. Nobody can spit it out like KCNA
As to how arrogant and out of touch these guys are go read the piece in The New York Times Review of Books(Did I get that name right?) about a Korean-American's visit to N. Korea in 2001. I believe it is the current issue. It was during the current head thug's 2001 birthday bash and a propaganda visit by S.Koreans and craven (not the writer) Korean-Americans. The N.Korean officials tried to recruit the author to say the "truth" about N.Korea to the world. They dangled the possibility of finding her great-uncle last seen as a prisoner at the beginning of the Korean war! Scumbags. Incompetent ones too, they couldn't even provide heat in the guest apartments....
My wife is a clinical psychologist. I'll give her the article and see what she makes of it. We need some more rigorous terms than "fruitcake" to describe these guys.
Posted by: Alaska Paul ||
01/31/2003 11:02 Comments ||
After reading this, I have come to the conclusion that it's high time for U.S. forces to leave South Korea for good and let them fend for themselves. If in the process of playing footsie with the North Koreans they get fried, wll, as the old saying goes, tough shit.
Posted by: Frank G ||
01/31/2003 16:24 Comments ||
Dang tu3031! You made me laugh out loud in the work place. Rifle301, that article was a good one and should have been linked more in the blogosphere. Author says nothing about policy and shows sympathy for the collaborationists (families torn apart, etc.) but is ultimately damning of the regime.
Posted by: Tokyo Taro ||
01/31/2003 21:01 Comments ||
In a dramatic climax to the two-hour proceeding, Reid was muscled out of the courtroom in handcuffs by four federal marshals after shouting at U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young. Young had concluded the sentencing with a stern defense of his decision to put Reid behind bars for life. Prison should be an educational and broadening experience for Mr. Reid. They'll probably have to toss him into a supermax just to keep him alive.
"We are not afraid of any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before," the judge said. "You are not an enemy combatant -- you are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war -- you are a terrorist." Who is this judge? And how do we promote him?
Young asked Reid to take note of an American flag above their heads, saying it would fly for many years to come. Then, ordering a marshal to take Reid away, the judge said, "Custody, Mr. Officer. Stand him down." According to Fox News, the judge's words were: "You see that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America. That flag will fly there long after this is long forgotten."
Reid, partially shaven with straggly hair falling to his shoulders and a goatee, stood up immediately to his full, imposing height of 6-foot-4 and pointed at the judge. Several of the crew members and passengers who were on the flight looked stunned, glancing at each other and shaking their heads. One woman cried. "That flag will be brought down on the day of judgment and you will see in front of your Lord and my Lord and then we will know," Reid said, in a heavily accented, rapid-fire cadence. "You will be judged by Allah." I'm not a religious man, but it seems to me that on Judgement Day the Lord will be concerned with matters other than national flags.
Posted by: Patrick Phillips ||
01/31/2003 12:01 pm ||
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This guy was just a loser that the biggies recruited. "Oh, hell, maybe he can pull it off" sort of thing. And he managed to screw it up.
Reid is not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. In fact, he's the one at the bottom, dangling, after you ran out of branches, that the dog chews on or the cat batts at.
Prison will be the best living conditions he's had in a very long while.
Parts of it read like the Gettysburg Address...this judge thought long and hard about his speech and I wish the transcript would get a larger distribution in the mass media...or at least an Instapundit link.
Too long and too much speculation in this one, so here's the meat:
The Turkish army has announced that it is sending additional military weapons and equipment to its south-eastern border with Iraq. "The level of readiness of our units should be raised... for possible developments on the issue of regional security," the army general staff statement said. "To this end, equipment and material reinforcements will be dispatched to the 2nd Army Command as of today [Wednesday]." Possible developments should occur real soon now.
The 2nd Army is based in the south-eastern city of Malatya and is responsible for maintaining order along Turkey's 330-kilometre (200-mile) border with Iraq. They're going to be busy.
The Turkish newspaper Zaman published a front-page picture on Thursday of trucks crossing the Turkey-Iraq border at Harbur. It said its photographer had counted 110 trucks on Tuesday. That sounds modest, actually, except that the trucks will return on Wednesday and make another trip Thursday.
... a retired general told the UK's Guardian newspaper that Turkish troops would send troops into Iraq whether or not Turkey joins the invasion, to "protect refugees and prevent the Kurds getting their hands on Mosul and Kirkuk [oilfields]". A few hundred truckloads of men and material would be a good start on this.
Several thousand Turkish troops have been stationed in northern Iraq since 1996, but Kurdish groups have warned that any new Turkish forces entering northern Iraq without the specific goal of ousting Saddam Hussein will meet with armed resistance. This is what we don't want, fighting between the Turks and the Kurds. The Kurds on the Turkish side might then rise up. That would be a major distraction for us and might keep us from using Turkey at all.
Posted by: Steve White ||
01/31/2003 02:03 am ||
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Okay, some of this is a bit out there, as for 'ethnic troops' I doubt there are many of them even if they exist. It is just as likely sightings of Brits who have grown breads and are well tanned after being in that area so long.
The AWACS is a flying radar, to carry jamming gear would require a lot of modification and would interfere with its main job of surveilance. We only have so many of these. Any jammimng work would be done by specialized aircraft of which we do have.
It is no surprize we have SF among the Kurds aready, the war will come in the next couple of weeks, but some of our forces are still onroute. My concern is that we do not have enough ground troops to keep some order in Iraq. Things are heating up in Afganistan while in Iraq the US will have a big job keeping the lid on any extreme elements of the Kurds and south Shiite so as to keep Iraq a single state and not give Turkey problems. I worry that even with a 'big' scale victory we will face low level insurgency problems from Afganistan to Iraq and many other places. The local gov'ts will not necessarily have the ability to deal with these. We are still short of 'leg'infantry and the readiness problems of the Army left over from Clinton have not all been fixed. This may account for a perhaps over reliance on the small number of SF troops. Meanwhile, across a continent N. Korea seems to be readying production of more nukes and even closer Pakistan-India are growling at each other again. Plus the Red Chinese are probably watching the US activities as they ponder their plans for the South China Sea area, Far East Russia, and SE Asia in general. The old Chinese Curse is upon us I fear:"May you live in interesting times".
The Pentagon has admitted that it has troops in Iraq, although somewhat lamely, claimed that there were not many. We're not sure, but it's less than 90,000, at least right now.
General Richard Myers, Chief of Staff of the US Armed Forces, admitted on Wednesday that âthere are a few soldiers in the north of Iraqâ. "Easily fewer than 90,000. Today."
These are special forces and CIA operationals, engaged in training the Kurds for an incursion into areas outside their geographical homeland which will in turn create an ethnic nightmare in a post-Saddam pro-Washington Iraq. Let's not get our panties bunched here, Pravda. The Kurds will give us a hand with security and roadside assistance, and return home when we're done. They aren't settling south where they aren't wanted.
âReconnaissance missionsâ are being carried out, admits Washington. These missions probably also involve the British SAS (Special Air Service), which customarily begin their activity in a war weeks, or even months, before hostilities are declared. These Pravda guys are dolts good, eh?
Pravda.Ru contacts within the SAS confirm that reconnaissance activities can easily be termed as sabotage, murder or vandalism. "Nigel?"
"Seems we have a leak somewhere in the SAS."
"Not bloody likely, sir. Perhaps a reporter just trying to sound important?"
"Oh, yes, quite, there's a good fellow. Let's remember his name, just in case."
"Jolly good, sir."
The operationals operate deep inside enemy territory. The operationals operate? Who'd they get to translate this, Alec Baldwin?
They are trained to be invisible, often working by night and often under disguise. Many are chosen on an ethnic basis, for instance, Arabs are used in Arabic-speaking countries. Why of course, the Brits are using their English Foreign Legion for these operations. No wonder the operationals look Arab. Gads.
Nearer to the starting of hostilities, they cut power lines, interrupt distribution processes and if possible, murder key figures, while AWACS spread havoc among the communications of the target. Such are acts of terrorism. Or, it could be part of a good operational plan. Gotta be Alec Baldwin translating this.
Posted by: Steve White ||
01/31/2003 01:42 am ||
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In one sense, they DO have a point: SOME of the Afghans we trained to fight the commie imperialists certainly used those same skills to try and fight us. I wouldn't be surprised if the majority, if not all, of our Afghan combat casualties were caused by people we trained. Going Off topic, but that's why Turkey is worried: We not only know how to fight, but we know how to train people to fight.
In that note, I have to register my cautious, my-eyes-wide-open agreement: We not only gotta train the Kurds to be meaner SOBs, but we gotta make sure they stay OUR meaner SOBs.
Invisible special operations and AWACS, the two keys to the Spanish Inquisition American military. Er, invisible special operations, ethnic soldiers and AWACS, the three keys to the Spanish Inquisition American military. Er, ...
Oy...when will this blowback theorizing end? Hey, Ptah...ever been to Pakistan? Afghanistan? Jeez...let me spell it out. Arabs, plus Pak ISI and assorted western crackpots=Al Qa'eda. Taliban=some former American trained/supported mujahideen, but vast majority 'students' We didn't train any Al Qa'eda...I know, I worked in the 80s for the US government with the mujahideen. And recently came back from Afghanistan again. Al Qa'eda were and are hated with a passion by the Afghans--they are troublesome interlopers and never accepted by the population...only by SOME Taliban. Al Qa'eda and Bin Laden never fought with the mujahideen til it was safe...i.e. the war with Soviets was over. Afghans thought them cowards for sitting out the war in villas and hotels in Peshawar; waiting for their main chance with the emerging Taliban. No blowback...except from our 'friends' the Pakistanis. Those we did support, like Hekmatyar, weren't welcome by the Taliban either...he went into exile in Iran. The vast majority--in fact, nearly all--of the mujahideen did not make common cause with even the Taliban. They continued to take the fight to the Taliban throughout a protracted civil war. The Taliban were not a factor in the Soviet war, fact is, they didn't exist til long after the war was over...they were children during that war, busily preparing in madrassas...funded by our other 'friends' the Saudis.
Hek's mujaheddin were virtually all Pashtuns. The Pandjiris, under Massoud, were the ones who did most of the fighting, and virtually all the effective fighting. They were (are) an alliance of Tadjiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras, what have you.
Hek spent a lot of time plotting against Massoud, and because he was tight with Qazi and the JI he got the lion's share of the money. Matters were complicated further by the presence of Sayyaf, who was the Soddies' stooge man on the scene, and whose alignment could shift from one day to the next. Ismail Khan had a separate organization from both the Pandjiris and Hek, which is why he's still maintaining his autonomy in Herat.
The Talibs were almost all Pashtuns, and quite a few of them were Paks (with "dual citizenship," of course). They got their start in the Pak madrassahs. Samiul Haq was their mentor, though Fazl and Qazi were also very, very close friends with them.
The U.S. "aided" the muj through ISI, and the amount of money that stuck to the fingers of the Peshawar-Quetta fundo axis is probably a significant factor in its present financial health. I believe that most of our guys on the ground were either in the Peshawar-Quetta area on the Pak side of the border, or with the Pandjiris, with whom we had much better relations than we had with Hek and Sayyaf.
JERUSALEM - Israeli undercover troops killed two Palestinians, including a militia leader, after a car chase Thursday through the West Bank town of Tulkarem, and army bulldozers flattened more than 100 stalls in a Palestinian market in the city of Hebron. Bet that was a sight to see.
In the military operations Thursday, undercover Israeli soldiers, disguised as Palestinians, chased a car with four members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade militia across Tulkarem. Undercover is good, but something gave them away -- why else was there a chase?
The car stopped in the center of town, Palestinians said, and the four ran toward a candy store. Always a bad move. Suckers prolly ran up the stairs too so as to trap themselves on the roof. I saw that in an old "Cannon" TV episode once. Didn't work then, either.
The soldiers followed them and opened fire, killing Fayez Jaber, 32, the local leader of the militia, which is linked to Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement. Local militia, doesn't sound like he was too high up on the food chain. But the undercover guys were after him; assuming resources are some limited, Jaber had to know something.
A Palestinian working in the store was also killed. "Ok, Mr. Jaber, that's three penny candies, four shekels worth of babywipes and ... OWWWWWW"
The Israeli military confirmed that only one of the two men was armed, adding that 10 others were arrested. No word on whether they were armed, but what are the odds?
In Hebron, soldiers bulldozed about 100 stalls in the vegetable market, the largest operation in the divided city for months. Looks like some Paleos will get to reflect on the errors of their ways on an empty stomach.
Posted by: Steve White ||
01/31/2003 01:27 am ||
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You shure that was bulldozers, not the 'gyptians chasing Indiana Jones?
Nice video on Fox yesterday - the Paleo teens and children were running right up to the IDF tanks and dozers and standing there throwing rocks and gasoline bombs, trying to provoke another "Jenin". Looked like better restraint than I would've shown to the Paleos
Posted by: Frank G ||
01/31/2003 16:38 Comments ||
SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea on Thursday said President Bush's State of the Union address was an "undisguised declaration of aggression." It was an undisguised act of rationality, but don't let us slow you down.
In its first reaction to the speech, North Korea said it "will never allow the U.S. to wantonly encroach upon the sovereignty and dignity of the (North) and destroy its system." The NKors are doing a good job of encroaching their dignity all by themselves.
"This policy speech is, in essence, an undisguised declaration of aggression to topple the DPRK system," an unidentified spokesman of the North's Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the North's official news agency, KCMNA. DPRK is the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea. Memo to GWB: work on the subtle thing next time.
Bush said in his address that North Korea was "an oppressive regime" ruling "a people living in fear and starvation." See, like that, George. Subtle!
"The North Korean regime is using its nuclear program to incite fear and seek concessions. America and the world will not be blackmailed," Bush said. One would think somebody in NK-land would be getting the idea, seeing what happened to the Taliban and what's about to happen to Sammy.
Striking back, the North said Bush was a "shameless charlatan." "Bush has so far earned an ill fame as an emotional backbiter, but his recent address clearly proves that he is a shameless charlatan reversing black and white under the eyes of the world and the incarnation of the misanthropy as he rejects the people out of his favor for no reason," the North Korean spokesman said. Ya gotta love the command of the language. Nobody does paranoid ranting better than an NKor spokesman!
The North Korean official accused Bush of "trying to mislead the public opinion by spreading the rumor that the (North) is chiefly to blame for the nuclear issue." "This is the height of shamelessness," he was quoted as saying. "We will do our utmost to defend our system in view of the U.S. declaration of aggression." Though they seem to have a limited vocabulary.
North Korea is demanding a nonaggression treaty with the United States before it gives up its nuclear programs. Washington has ruled out a formal treaty, but said it can provide a written security guarantee. I think we should give them a guarantee, allright: your time is coming, and we guarantee it.
Posted by: Steve White ||
01/31/2003 11:55 am ||
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Nobody does paranoid ranting better than an NKor spokesman!
Pertinent observation. We indeed ceded world leadership in paranoid ranting to the NKors. Nobody does it better, longer, or with as great feeling. I suppose they have a graduate degree program in it.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.