Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Changes in US policy in Iraq?

"The problem with most politicians is that they rarely declare their true objectives, particularly their ultimate objectives. This has unfortunately become a fact of life in today’s world. Smokescreens and curtains of secrecy are frequently used – allegedly to protect the interests of the State. These curtains prevent us from seeing their intentions and evaluating them objectively. We can only evaluate results – usually after it is too late.

My own personal view of this process, practicalities of life notwithstanding, is rather dismal, I’m afraid; Leaders of nations should be people of principle and honest statesmen. But I am realistic enough to know that that cannot be."
Iraqi Letters


"Anyone who knows anything about Turkish politics knows about Susurluk. If you don't know about it, you can check out this link and educate yourself because what we have here is a case of "the more things change, the more they stay the same."

On November, 9 of this year, a bomb was thrown into a bookstore in a little place called Şemdinli (Şemzîn in Kurdish), at the southeasten edge of the Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, where three infamous borders meet, Turkish border, Iranian border and Iraqi border . One person, with PKK sympathies, was killed in the bookstore and another wounded. The criminals, or should I say, terrorists, who threw the bomb were stopped by an angry crowd of Kurds. The terrorists fired at the crowd killing another person and wounding a few others. Eventually the crowd managed to apprehend the terrorists and, now here's where it gets really interesting, two of the terrorists were recognized by the populace as being members of Turkish military intelligence (JITEM) ."
This is the new kurdish blogger that Kurdo found, at least I think it was Kurdo.

Want to know which Iraqi party shares more political views with you?

"It’s kind of possible now, this website offers an interesting interactive “Electionnaire” that will ask you 25 questions on the top political topics in Iraq.

You answers will be compared to the answers of 10 top Iraqi parties and will give you in percentage which party you have more in common with."
These are my numbers:

Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) 52%
Iraqi Communist Party (ICP) 52%
Iraqi National Accord (INA) 40%
Islamic Virtue Party (Fadhila) 40%
Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) 36%
Iraqi National Congress (INC) 36%
Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) 32%
Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP) 32%
Islamic Dawa Party (IDP) 28%
Iraqi Turkman Front (ITF) 24%

You can now compare your answers with the positions of the Iraqi parties.

US Military Stages Media Offensive in Iraq

"Washington - As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the US military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the US mission in Iraq.

The articles, written by US military "information operations" troops, are translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defense contractor, according to US military officials and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists. The stories trumpet the work of US and Iraqi troops, denounce insurgents and tout US-led efforts to rebuild the country.

Though the articles are basically factual, they present only one side of events and omit information that might reflect poorly on the US or Iraqi governments, officials said. Records and interviews indicate that the US has paid Iraqi newspapers to run dozens of such articles, with headlines such as "Iraqis Insist on Living Despite Terrorism," since the effort began this year.

The operation is designed to mask any connection with the US military. The Pentagon has a contract with a small Washington-based firm called Lincoln Group, which helps translate and place the stories. The Lincoln Group's Iraqi staff, or its subcontractors, sometimes pose as freelance reporters or advertising executives when they deliver the stories to Baghdad media outlets.

The military's effort to disseminate propaganda in the Iraqi media is taking place even as US officials are pledging to promote democratic principles, political transparency and freedom of speech in a country emerging from decades of dictatorship and corruption."
Via Tell me a Secret

I heard this story today on Rush, a caller brought it up, she seemed to think that it could not be true, that the left wing media was making it all up, but Rush had to set her straight, he said something along the lines of "Al-jazeera does it".

New Campaign Vs. Iraq Insurgents Begins

"BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - U.S. and Iraqi troops launched an operation in western Iraq to clear insurgents from a suspected safe area used to make car and roadside bombs, the military said Wednesday.

The campaign came as President Bush defended his Iraq policy in a major speech, saying more Iraqi security forces are increasingly taking the lead in battle but that "this will take time and patience."

About 1,500 U.S. Marines from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 500 U.S. soldiers and 500 Iraqi soldiers were taking part in Operation Iron Hammer near Hit, 85 miles west of Baghdad, a U.S. Marine statement said. The forces would concentrate efforts in the Hai Al Becker region, where U.S. and Iraqi troops rarely patrol, it added."

Not Funny…Trivializing Saddam’s Horrors

"The Washington Post ran this cartoon by Tom Toles on its editorial page today. It has the ‘lawyer’ asking Saddam: “Tell us about your death squads and secret police and torture and executions…We need some tips on getting this country under control…[bottom-right] If you cooperate, we may let you off with the presidency.”

I got to thinking that the Washington Post would never run a flippant cartoon featuring Adolph Hitler, but somehow with Saddam—even with all the mass graves and chemical weapons attacks—it would be okay. Tolerable. Allowable. Uncontroversial."
The Talisman Gate

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


From Hugo J. Byrne

Dear President George W. Bush:

Have you ever read about the scandal that prompted Julius Caesar's divorce? It happened in ancient Rome at a time just before its dramatic transition from Republic to Empire. There was a Roman religious ceremony attended only by the wives of the Patricians. For that ritual no men were allowed inside the temple. Some of the wives succeeded in secretly sneaking in a man dressed as a woman. Their trivial action was only meant to be playful, if iconoclastic.

When the scandal became known, it was apparent that Caesar's wife was one of the pranksters. Caesar, who was a rising military and political star at the time, did not react immediately, but after the incident subsided from the public interest he repudiated his wife and sued for divorce. Surprised, Caesar's wife asked for her husband's reason. The future Emperor's response was: "Caesar's wife should not only act according to her status, but must appear to act in a like manner."

When Federal agents raided Santiago Alvarez's office and home, taking him into custody some days ago, everybody in the Cuban American community assumed this action was taken to placate Castro. Castro demanded Alvarez arrest, together with the many other items of his evil agenda vis-à-vis the U.S. government in a $136,000.00 worth New York Times advertisement page, and in a 6 hour long tirade from Havana.

Even if these events are not related -as may be the case- the suspicion of U.S. government being eager to please or being afraid of the international misbehavior of the most dangerous anti-American Tyrant in history is very hard to dismiss. If true, the long and hard series of inconsistencies and betrayals by the U.S. government to those among the most patriotic and loyal American citizens would have reached another shameful milestone. I for one do not want to believe it, otherwise I would not be wasting my time and ink writing this letter.

Let me remind you of certain very hard facts in recent history: For almost 47 years Cuba had been subjected to a most barbaric and cruel totalitarian regime. If you consider the size of the Cuban population, Castro has killed, imprisoned and exiled on a per capita basis more victims than Sadam Hussein. Using the same criteria, Castro is revealed as one among the worst tyrants of the Millennium, comparable to Hitler, Stalin or Mao. It is not necessary for you to take my word on that sad subject. Just review the historical record.

History demonstrated Castro's willingness to engage in terrorism without any respect or regard to frontiers or boundaries of sovereign nations. On this subject Castro is no different from Bin Laden. Had the United States ignored his duplicity in October 1962, this nation would have been at least partially destroyed by nuclear missiles deployed on Cuban soil at Castro's own request. His immense hatred of the U.S. and its political institutions is an absolute understatement.

Castro's totalitarian rule is backed by his continuous violence against the Cuban people. Against that backdrop, Mr. President, do the people have a right to self-defense? Are Cuban Americans lesser humans on this planet or do we have the right and the duty to help our brothers in Cuba to also enjoy certain inalienable rights, like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

Santiago Alvarez and Luis Posada are prisoners in this country because they chose to fight for the life, liberty and happiness of the Cuban people. Do you think the United States has a responsibility toward the Cuban nation created by historical and geographical ties? Was the U.S. Congress wrong when in 1898 decided that Cuba "is, and by right should be free and independent"?

Did Washington and Madrid behave ethically when they excluded a Cuban delegation at the signing of the Paris Treaty ending the Spanish-American War of 1898? Did the Kennedy administration take the honorable path by denying the Cuban Brigade the promised air support at Bay of Pigs in April of 1961? Did the U.S. acted properly by extending a guarantee to the Soviets on Castro regime's safety in October 1962?

Mr. President, no nation in history has ever attained liberty without some degree of help from outside powers. This nation is not an exception to this rule. Without a French Army led by General Rochambeau and a French Fleet commanded by Admiral De Grasse, General George Washington could never have surrounded and defeated Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781. De Grasse defeated a British fleet -posed to evacuate Cornwallis- at the battle of Chesapeake Bay. Honoring that feat the U.S. Navy always has named one major active vessel as "Admiral De Grasse".

Ironically, De Grasse's Fleet's last port of call before the Battle of Chesapeake Bay was the port of Matanzas City, a wide bay in the north coast of Cuba, sixty five miles east of Havana and my hometown. France and Spain were at that point in history allies in helping the American Revolutionary War against Britain. It was the generous contribution of the people of Havana to the Marquis of Saint-Simon that allowed General Washington to pay his long neglected troops.

Saint-Simon, one of the captains of the French fleet was sent by De Grasse from Matanzas to Havana aboard the frigate "Aigrette" to request economic aid from then Spanish Colonial Governor Juan Cajigal. The help -raised from private donations- reached the incredible amount for that time of one million ducats (the equivalent of $25 million). The people of Havana had suffered over one year from British occupation during the Seven-Year War, and anti-British feelings were still running high. Thanks to the Cuban people of colonial times De Grasse's fleet was able to refurbish its munitions and supplies for the Battle of Chesapeake Bay and George Washington was able to pay his destitute soldiers.

Castro and his client Hugo Chávez are now openly and blatantly intervening and destabilizing almost every other nation in South and Central America. Their main objective at this time is to neutralize Colombia, besieged by the collusion between communist insurgency and the cocaine industry. President Alvaro Uribe, the only U.S. ally in the area, seems to be the last obstacle to the final conquest of Latin America by the totalitarian rabble they command. You Mr. President do not need to be reminded of the final objective of this nefarious couple.

With the background of this most unsettling scenario it is mind boggling to witness Federal agents engage in persecuting and imprisoning those Cuban exiles whose only crime is to wage an uphill struggle against America's Public Enemy #1. Luis Posada was twice judged by unfriendly Venezuelan Courts and found not guilty -for lack of evidence- of the fatal bombing of a passenger plane off the coast of Barbados in 1976. Then Venezuelan President Carlos Perez kept Posada in prison, bowing to Castro's pressure until Posada's escape.

There is absolutely nothing the American public would or should fear from men like Luis Posada or Santiago Alvarez. Posada is a little older than I am, but I have followed very close his heroic quest for freedom. Alvarez is from Matanzas, and I have been a friend of his family since my early childhood. Our parents were very close friends and we served in the same unit in the U.S. Army. I do not think Santiago would need me as a character witness any time soon -he has more notable friends- but I would gladly do just that.

If the accusation of "terrorist" by Castro and his like should be sufficient to order the arrest of anybody in the U.S., I should wait for the visit of federal agents at any time soon. In December of 2003 "Gramma International" accused me of "terrorism". Castro's despicable rag made that accusation because of a letter that I among half a dozen Cuban American activists in L. A. sent to then Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso. The letter, given to the Panamanian local Consulate, requested freedom for Luis Posada and three other Cuban patriots, then in a Panamanian prison, again victims of Castro's intrigue.

You see Mr. President, for tyrants like Castro or Chavez, anybody opposing their criminal rule is a "terrorist". For that reason alone I appeal to your sense of justice, as well as your best political judgement. The Cuban community was paramount on your election victory in Florida in 2000 and decidedly contributed greatly to your reelection in 2004. Persecution and incarceration of those defending freedom and offering the best of them to that noble cause during your watch is beyond absurdity.

There is no difference between U.S. soldiers or marines fighting for freedom in Iraq and Cubans facing death and braving terror and repression in their quest for liberty. Alienating freedom-loving Cuban-Americans could do great damage to the permanent interest of the U.S. and the cause of freedom.

That can only promote a dangerous division between the exiled community and your administration. Castro's tyranny would be the only party to gain by that action. I am afraid that is precisely what Santiago Alvarez's arrest could largely achieve.

In the name of freedom, dignity and Humanity release Santiago Alvarez and Luis Posada!

Hugo J. Byrne.

Via KillCastro

And don't miss “Where's the outrage?”

Imperial Stormtroopers or Does This Mean Something.

"Though I am a mean Star Wars geek I have become obsessed ('ish) with the form and meaning of the Imperial Stormtroopers. Clone or not what morality is there in being them or even killing them. Do you kill the insane man who's not wired right because he did a bad t hing."
Candle in the Dark
I have no idea what he's talking about?? But there's also a new blog About the history of the Combat Medical Badge and why we are all pissed that non-line medics receive it.

Awaiting the elections with worries, dreams and hope...

"Baghdad looks almost like one huge billboard now that one can easily get distracted by them from his original destination! As to drivers, these posters can cause serious troubles if a driver wanted to read each one (or set) of them while driving.

The noticed poster event today was that the United Alliance has begun to use the Ayatollah’s and other religious symbols in their posters again although they were instructed not to do that by other parties.
However, this time they didn’t claim their list to be blessed by the clergy instead they described the Alliance’s candidates as the “soldiers of the clergy”...

...There remains one big concern that is fraud and manipulation or intimidation of voters. These things-unfortunately-happen in almost any election process with varying levels and it would be naïve to claim that there was no fraud or intimidation back in January but we weren’t that worried about that then since the government was going to rule for only 6 months. This time the elections are about electing a government that will stay for four years, and this government will literally decide the direction where new Iraq will be heading.
The international community has to rise up to the level of the responsibility this time and has some guts to be actively involved in monitoring the elections…well, that’s if the world really cares about peace and democracy in this country."
I think that means You! I know its hard to believe but the international community seams more worried about saddams trail than the election process in Iraq

What year is it?

"It is the return of Realism in Washington foreign policy. You need the Iranians, as I maintain, for a soft landing in Iraq? So you do business with the Iranians. This opening may help explain why Ahmad Chalabi went to Tehran before he went to Washington, and why he was given such a high-level (if unphotographed) reception in Washington.

Likewise, it helps explain the Cairo Conference sponsored by the Arab League, the results of which were an effort to reach out to the Sunni Arab guerrillas. The Iraqi government even recognized that it was legitimate for the guerrillas to blow up US troops! This is a startling admission for a government under siege with very few allies. But it recategorizes the Sunni Arab leaders from being terrorists to being a national liberation force. You could imagine dealing with, and bringing in from the cold, mere nationalists. Terrorists are poison."
Juan Cole
The rumor mill is running full steam. There are rumors, on Rush today there is talk of Bush sounding the retreat, according to Rush it's not a retreat at all but the completion of the Bush plan. But it's not 1984, it's 2005. It's hard enough to believe that the Bush administration signed off on an agreement that legitimized the killing of US troops. I just can't bring myself to believe he would do such a thing, as at least to me, that would rise to the level of treason. Cole goes on to say
"But who cares? If the US dealing with them can get our troops home and prevent a regional war that screws up the whole world, it will be well worth it."
Worth it?

Michel Aflaq is Smiling in His Grave

"The Ba'th Party is the brainchild of the Syrian-born Christian, Michel Aflaq.. This chauvinistic, utterly racist and corrupt ideology died in Iraq on April 9, 2003 but not before millions of Iraqis were killed in the hands of the Ba'thists between the years 1968-2003. The death of the Ba'th was mourned by many unconcerned parties such as the Arab street who, at the end of the day couldn't care less. But the death of this party was wholeheartedly celebrated by the people of Iraq for whom the Ba'th meant, among other things genocide, dictatorship, mass graves and chemical weapons."
The Iraqi Vote

Monday, November 28, 2005

Saddam Lashes Out at U.S. As Trial Resumes

"BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A combative Saddam Hussein lashed out Monday at his treatment by American "occupiers and invaders" and lectured the chief judge about leadership as his trial resumed in a rambling and unfocused session.

Two of the seven other defendants also spoke out during the 2 1/2-hour hearing, complaining of their treatment in detention or dissatisfaction with their court-appointed counsel.

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who has joined the defense team as an advisor, said it was "extremely difficult" to assure fairness in the trial "because the passions in the country are at a fever pitch."

"How can you ask a witness to come in when there's a death threat?" Clark told CNN. "Unless there's protection for the defense, I don't know how the trial can go forward.""
I hate trials, I never watch Court TV, or any of the Judge Judy type shows. This is sort of the obligatory trial news post.
The only interesting about these trails is that they are always on during the elections, if you ask me it a distraction, and all this should have been postponed till the permanent government and new high court was in place. Then the Iraqis could do with saddam as they please.

U.S. Envoy Warns Early Iraq Withdrawal Could Trigger Wider War

"Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) -- A premature U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq might trigger a regional conflict in the Middle East that could draw in predominately Shiite Iran and Sunni Arab states, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad warns in a television interview.

``A premature withdrawal could cause a bigger war in Iraq and perhaps even in the region with a Shiite-Sunni sectarian war that could bring Iran and other Sunni states on the side of the Sunnis,'' Khalilzad, responding to congressional calls for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, said in an interview with the ABC News program ``Nightline'' scheduled to air late today.

Khalilzad said such a war could jeopardize regional oil exports and ``destabilize a lot of regions that have a mixed Sunni-Shiite population.''"
Wouldn't it be funny if after all the antiwar hoopla, the US started to pull out and then all our "allies started to cry foul worried about a wider sectarian conflict. You never know maybe if we threatened to unilaterally pull out of the region completely all our "allies" would all of a sudden be more inclined to help. Just a thought.

Parting the Waters

" A little after the sun settled into its twilight cradle the radio in the CP hissed out a message from our tank platoon; apparently the Iraqi Army soldiers they were parked beside knew the location of a fresh IED. I told 1LT Mac to hold the element in place and put out a quick guidance to my NCOs. By time I suited up and stepped outside the vehicles were almost prepped, and a few minutes later we rolled towards the link up site. When we arrived1LT Mac jumped off his M1 and gave me a quick backbrief on the situation. Apparently a helpful local had reported that there was a newly emplaced IED lurking about a kilometer down the road, and the Iraqi police officers would be able to identify the exact location. As I walked over to the Iraqi officers it was apparent that they were more then a little agitated, and it took several minutes just to coax the story out of them."
365 and a Wakeup

Fatah Halts Primaries in Gaza

"GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - The Palestinians' ruling Fatah Party halted its primary election across the Gaza Strip on Monday after angry gunmen shot in the air at several polling stations, stole some ballot boxes and destroyed others.

Fatah officials said the votes cast Monday would be nullified, and the primary would have to be rescheduled. The election violence highlighted the ongoing lawlessness in Gaza's streets.

"The Fatah General Committee held an urgent meeting in Gaza this afternoon to evaluate the primary elections and the committee decided to freeze the election due to the serious violations that took place during the voting process today," the statement said."
Hey, we need these people to help in the next Iraqi election. I wonder what's really going down, could it be that Abbas is actually interested in a fair election! Can't be, right?

Sunni politicians said killed in Iraq

"BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Two Sunni Arab politicians and their bodyguard were shot dead while driving in western Baghdad on Monday, members of their party said.

Iyad Alizi and Ali Hussein died when gunmen opened fire on their car as they drove near Abu Ghraib in the west of the Iraqi capital, in what appeared to be a politically motivated attack ahead of December 15 elections.

Alizi and Hussein were both members of the Iraqi Islamic Party. Alizi was one of the party's candidates for next month's parliamentary polls.

There has been an upsurge in Iraq's bloody insurgency in the lead-up to the vote, in which voters will decide on Iraq's first full four-year parliament since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Sunni Arabs, who were dominant under Saddam, and foreign fighters are battling Iraq's Shi'ite and Kurdish-led government and its U.S. backers."
Funny title, what do they mean "said killed"? Maybe they dies of natural causes, running in an election.

In the name of the french riots

Iraq Hunting Season

"Just found this via The Cat's Blog, which is an open letter to Juan Cole about a post he made during the week regarding the illegality of the invasion and the legality of the war crimes in Fallujah.
Dear Mr. Cole,

On your website I read:

Monbiot accepts journalist and film maker Gabriele Zamparini's characterization of a US Defense Department document he discovered recording a conversation between Kurdish fighters that spoke of Saddam's own use of white phosphorus as "a chemical weapon." (1)"
Today in Iraq -Friendly Fire
Looks like Cole is taking fire from all sides.

Cole misinforms again

"The media's favourite Iraq commentator casually mentioned on his blog that the New York Times had a "super" article about Moktada Al Sadr.

The story, which tells readers that the "unrepentant guerrilla leader" had joined the Shiite slate in time for the December elections, says Al Sadr has a "zealous following." That could be true, that his followers are passionate about supporting the religious school flunkie. But the story gives the incorrect impression that a large part of the population supports Al Sadr, who the story says is becoming more powerful by the minute."

Abu Khaleel

"What's in a Name!

I have already discussed the 'Abu' part of the name in an earlier post.

Khaleel (sometimes written Khalil) is one word in Arabic, meaning 'close friend' – but also alludes to spending time together in companionship. Another form of the word is 'Khil', with almost the same meaning.

The letters “kh” refer to one letter in Arabic. The closest pronunciation is as in the Scottish “loch”."
A Glimpse of Iraq

US Air Power to Replace Infantry in Iraq;

"Veteran journalist Seymour Hersh is reporting in the New Yorker that the Bush administration has decided to draw down ground troops in Iraq. Knowledgeable observers strongly suspect that this step would produce a meltdown and possibly even civil war in Iraq (which could become a regional war). Bush's strategy may be to try to control the situation using air power.

Readers and colleagues often ask me why a Shiite majority and the Kurdish Peshmergas couldn't just take care of the largely Sunni Arab guerrillas. The answer is that the Sunni Arabs were the officer corps and military intelligence, and the more experienced NCOs, and they know how to do things that the Shiites and Kurds don't know how to do. The Sunni Arabs were also the country's elite and have enormous cultural capital and managerial know-how. Sunni Arab advantages will decline over time, but they are there for this generation, and no one should underestimate the guerrilla leadership. If the Americans weren't around, all those 77 Hungarian T-72 tanks that the new Iraqi military now has would be in guerrilla hands so fast it would make your head spin."
Juan Cole
Why is no one thinking or "redeploying" the troops to the border?

Basra In The News

"I haven't talked about Basra for a while. So, I tried to gather some news about what's going on there. Here's what I found.

AKI Italian news agency reported:"
Iraqi in America


"THE News of the World exposes the bullying culture of Britain's elite armed forces with a secret video documenting a sickening catalogue of abuse.

A young Royal Marine is FORCED into a barbaric naked fight with another recruit and then KICKED unconscious by a superior in a brutal booze-fuelled initiation ceremony.

And the shocking ritual—covertly filmed by a commando—is alleged to be one of many imposed on recruits.

To watch the video, click on one of the links below."
News of the World
I have not actually seen the video, only the stills on the page, but these are Marines right, training to go out to the war?
I'm sure the terrorist in the back allies of Fallujah are going to give them as much, if not more.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The 400-pound Turbaned Gorilla Weighs In…

"It’s official: a source close to Sistani’s “political office” has confirmed to me in a phone interview from Baghdad this afternoon that Muhammad Ridha Sistani, the Grand Ayatollah’s son, has been putting out the word that the faithful should vote for the United Iraqi Alliance list no. 555.

His exact message—delivered over the course of last week to Sistani’s representatives across Iraq—was “tell the people to vote for Islamist lists, and then tell them not to vote for small or marginal lists, to forestall the fragmentation or dissipation of the Shia votes.”"
The Talisman gate
I think this is the second time I hear this, I believe the first was Cole but I could be wrong. but I heard it somewhere. What ever happened to staying out of politics and having all parties run on an even playing field? My ayatollah meter is quickly turning south.

Odom: Want stability in the Middle East? Get out of Iraq!

"As I have watched the reactions to my earlier piece on, "What’s wrong with cutting and running?”, I recognize that one critical point does not come through to many readers. The problem may stem from the words "cut and run" in the title. In the minds of some, that seems to imply leaving the region for good. My argument is fundamentally different.

I believe that stabilizing the region from the Eastern Mediterranean to Afghanistan is very much an American interest, one we share with all our allies as well as with several other countries, especially, China, Russia, and India."
Nieman Watchdog
Recommended by Saddam Hussein

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Iran President: Charge Bush for War Crimes

"TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran's hard-line president said Saturday the Bush administration should be tried on war crimes charges, and he denounced the West for pressuring Iran to curb its controversial nuclear program.

"You, who have used nuclear weapons against innocent people, who have used uranium ordnance in Iraq, should be tried as war criminals in courts," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in an apparent reference to the United States."
Boy if there was ever a good excuse to target a single individual with a cruise missile....

Iraq and Vietnam: Similarities and Differences

"I know this has been ground well trod before, but former Nixon defense secretary Melvin Laird put together an informative piece, juxtaposing the history of our past involvement in Vietnam with our present involvement in Iraq. Several factors caused me to take a second look at Laird. One, he was a primary architect of Vietnamization, and then this entry stands out:"
Presented for balance.

The way to the parliament: fighting with posters and sometimes bullets.

"As election day approaches close, electoral campaigning intensifies as well, these campaigns are taking several forms and unfortunately this includes violence which we were hoping we wouldn’t have to see emerge among the competing parties.

Probably the worst case of violence was the one when militia men attacked an office of the communist party (running as part of Allawi’s list) in Sdar city during an electoral event and resulted in killing two of the party members.
The incident is being strongly condemned and the accusation fingers are pointing at Sadr militia since they are the only militia in Sdar city and the government is supposed to take firmer actions against the perpetrators but it seems the government still wants to lose more of its credibility and reputation."

Tigris Salmon

"The weather in Iraq has cooled down considerably. Many of the winter resident birds have returned to Iraq. The huge flocks of rooks, the most social of the crows, have come back as well as the ducks and shorebirds. The nightly spectacle of thousands upon thousands of rooks returning to their roosts after a day of foraging in the surrounding farmland will treat both the residents of the surrounding villages and towns and some of the new troops at LSA Anaconda. Sometimes the rooks would gather in large groups and form a tight spinning column as they rode a thermal."
Birding Babylon

Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents

"Blogs get people excited. Or else they disturb and worry them. Some people distrust them. Others see them as the vanguard of a new information revolution. Because they allow and encourage ordinary people to speak up, they’re tremendous tools of freedom of expression.
Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure. Only they provide independent news, at the risk of displeasing the government and sometimes courting arrest.
Reporters Without Borders has produced this handbook to help them, with handy tips and technical advice on how to to remain anonymous and to get round censorship, by choosing the most suitable method for each situation. It also explains how to set up and make the most of a blog, to publicise it (getting it picked up efficiently by search-engines) and to establish its credibility through observing basic ethical and journalistic principles. "
Reporters sans frontieres
Just thought I would post this tonight, just in case someone out there needs to make sure thier safe. Safe blogging is always the way to go.

1,000 Days: Time to Unravel the Gordian Knot of Iraq

"Why are we still debating the wisdom of a timetable to withdraw from Iraq, when a meeting of Iraqi leaders in Cairo a few days ago - attended by Kurds, Sunnis, and Shi’ites, including president Jalal Talabani himself - called for precisely that?

Maybe they recognize, better than President Bush and Vice President Cheney do, that what their people need now is to be weaned from dependency on foreigners. Iraqis have become security queens, a concept welfare-bashing Republicans should be able to grasp.

Maybe they realize, as Democratic representative and Vietnam vet John Murtha realizes, that Americans have become the catalysts of violence, not safeguardians against it."
Free lance news
Well Moron?

Friday, November 25, 2005

"Locally Led Nascent Peace"

"Remember President Bush’s Inaugural Address last January? Remember when he said all those ‘lofty’ things about democracy and freedom? And how it is America’s mission to bring liberty to the Middle East?

Well, apparently, the State Department has decided that the ceiling for these goals is too high, and the U.S. government should aim lower as it tries to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan. The new term for this policy shift is ‘Locally Led Nascent Peace.’"
The Talisman Gate
Via The Iraqi Vote

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Record ice core reveals Earth's ancient atmosphere

"The longest ice-core record of climate history ever obtained has hugely extended the detailed history of Earth's atmosphere, and shows that levels of greenhouse gases really do march in lockstep with changes in temperature.

The frozen record of the Earth's atmosphere is 3270 metres long and covers the last 650,000 years – 50% longer than before. It was obtained from the tiny air bubbles trapped in a deep ice core from Antarctica."
New Scientist
OK now lets wait for what Rush has to say. We all know that you can not believe any evidence till the expert Rush qualifies it.

Some Iraq Insurgent Groups Want to Talk

"BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Several insurgents groups have contacted President Jalal Talabani's office in the past few days, with some saying they are ready to lay down their arms and join the political process, the presidential security adviser said Thursday.

Lt. Gen. Wafiq al-Samaraei told The Associated Press that "the calls we received were different. The calls were also from different groups."

Al-Samaraei, a former military intelligence chief under Saddam Hussein, did not say whether the groups were Muslim extremists or belonged to Saddam's Baath Party.

Talabani said last weekend in Egypt he was ready for talks with anti-government opposition figures as well as Baathists. He called the Sunni-led insurgents to lay down their weapons and join the political process.

"Many groups have called and some of them clearly expressed the readiness to join the political process," al-Samaraei said. This shows that "the initiative was welcomed by Iraqis.""

Sunni Sheik Calls for Unity After Bombing

"MAHMOUDIYA, Iraq (AP) - A day after 30 people died in a suicide bombing here, the preacher at a major Sunni Arab mosque Friday condemned the horrific attack and called for unity between Iraq's rival Muslim communities.

Still, resentment of the country's Shiite political parties runs high in this troubled town 20 miles south of Baghdad - along with anti-American sentiment.

"The targeting of innocent civilians yesterday cannot be accepted," sheik Murad al-Oujaili told the congregation at the 14th of Ramadan mosque, relating how a witness told him of an infant ripped from his mother's arm and hurled to his death by the force of the blast.

In the attack, a suicide bomber detonated his vehicle at the entrance to a hospital compound as American soldiers were there inspecting the facility and handing out candy to children. Four U.S. soldiers were slightly wounded. The dead included three women and two children."
Finally the Sunni are coming to their senses. I only hope this guy survives the night.


"after a long negotiation I have come to an agreement with this Kurdish website and we have come up with some plans to improve Kurdish blogs and news reporting."
Kurdo's World
We wish The Kurdistani and Kurd's World much success in this new venture.

Barzani Remains Resolute on "Reconciliation"

"According to al-Hayat, Massoud Barzani, in a speech before the Kurdish parliament rejected the idea of inviting the "resistance" to the Baghdad reconciliation conference next February saying:

Whoever kills a civilian or an Iraqi or American soldier is a terrorist and not a resistant.

The only good terrorists are dead ones and Iraqis should vote for those who will make sure that there never ever will be a time when elected Iraqi officials will sit down with those who have orphaned tens of thousands of Iraqi children in the past two years."
The Iraqi Vote

Happy Thanksgiving

"Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

I had an early special Thanksgiving lunch with a group of "Native Americans" from the Alabama-Coushatta Indian reservation in Southeast Texas. I felt very special accompanying Mark during his assignment to cover Indian Day at the Indian Village Assembly of God church near the Alabama-Coushatta Indian reservation in Southeast Texas on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2005."
Iraqi in America

A tribute for service members and families

"Many people say this is the most important photograph of the Iraq war. Some have called it "a national treasure." The image most completely embodies my experience throughout Iraq."
Micheal Yon
I would have to agree with that statement. Go read the post and find out how to get your very own copy.
Show and Tell: A Photo Essay

These children and their families are our allies."
Michael Yon

Announcing a contest!

"Don’t you think this blog needs a real banner in the title area and possibly a nice logo too?
Well if you think you can design that sort of things consider yourself invited to this design contest!"

Introducing a Kurdish Blogger Heroine

"Avin, has been one of the best Kurdish bloggers which I love to read her posts for over a few months. Avin lives in Hawler and just like any other ordinary Kurd, is upset about the current lack of democracy situation in Kurdistan.
Avin has been working for one of Kurdistan Democratic Party's television stations and she has some inside information about the situation.

The way that she writes is extraordinary.....Her blog is part of the German initiated (Niqash is Arabic for Discussion) which encourages Iraqis to have dialgoues with each other."

Happy Thanksgiving, It's November's Part II of the Largest Iraqi-Kurdish Bloggers Update in the Blogosphere

Fay has not departed the Blogosphere. She's still posting at Iraqi in America and recently
had Thanksgiving Dinner (lots of photos) with the Alabama-Coushatta Indians, a tribe of Indians that
originally lived in Baghdad under Saddam's Big Wigwam and moved to Texas, when Saddam revoked their Gambling and Gaming licence to run the Big Ziggaraut Casino on the Tigris. Well, maybe not."
Iraqi Bloggers Central
This a post from "a rival blog" with a nice roundup of Iraqi blogging. And yes I do mean it when I say "RIVAL" Jeffrey can expect a whole flue of angry flaming e-mails from now on. Of course if you know Jeffrey, you know there is nothing he would like more than to start a flame war. Oh and you'll have to read the post to get the joke.

Al mahmodia - hospital tragedy

"Why would any one dare to kill innocent patients , children ,doctors in a hospital ? That what happened in Al- mahmodia hospital where at least 50 Iraqis died. My cousin is a doctor in Mahmodia she fortunately survived ,but her colleagues and patients did not. She was picked out from the wreckage ,one of the national guards took her out with one of the nurses, during her way out she saw the died bodies of her friends and her patient who had just gave birth & was taken out of the delivery room …….."

With all transperancy and clarity brother...

"I never had doubts in the hidden intentions of those in Iraq who keep saying that multinational troops must leave Iraq soon; they say their demands are essential for national sovereignty coming out of their patriotic feelings for Iraq while I see them as far as they could be from patriotism.

If those people put Iraq’s and Iraqis’ interests first, they wouldn’t have asked the US to leave Iraq while the troops missions are yet to be accomplished and the Iraqi national forces are still not capable of protecting the country and the citizens."
And this on election laws
The new election law.

We received several e mails from readers inquiring about the laws that are going to be used in the December elections and whether these laws have changed from what was used back in January or not. So, here I’ll share the little information I know in this regard."

Syrian border

"There are news of at least 12 American soldiers have been killed and wounded near the Al-Bo-Kamal area when they followed insurgents escaped to Syria. Fighting then broke down with the Syrians who had at least 3 casualties.

A buffer zone as deep as 30-50 km is needed inside the Syrian border along the Iraqi borders to allow the Iraqi-American forces to penetrate to kill or arrest the insurgent terrorists."

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Rice Says Iraq Troop Levels May Draw Down

"Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the United States will probably not need to maintain its current troop levels in Iraq "very much longer," though she declined to provide a precise timetable for reduction in U.S. forces.

Rice appeared to set the stage for such a reduction, saying the Iraqi forces are doing a better job of holding their own against insurgents.

"I do not think that American forces need to be there in the numbers that they are now because _ for very much longer _ because Iraqis are stepping up," Rice told Fox News in an interview Tuesday. "This is not just a matter of training numbers of Iraqi forces, but actually seeing them hold territory."

The Bush administration has been under fire in Congress to set a timetable for a withdrawal from Iraq. President Bush has steadfastly declined to set such a timetable and has said the U.S. will stay in Iraq as long as it takes to ensure the country's stability and democracy. Iraq holds parliamentary elections Dec. 15. Rice said Bush will take his guidance from commanders in the field."
Now what's the difference between this and the Democratic proposal that was called treason last week?

News Ticker

Well it looks like the Republicans in Congress are so happy with the new Iraqi constitution that they want to try and amend the US constitution to match

Some U.S. legislators are talking about ending birthright citizenship by amending the U.S. Constitution — which says a baby born on U.S. soil, even to an undocumented mother, is a U.S. citizen.
The Monitor

Sources tell us that one of factors behind this move was the high turnout in the Iraqi referendum and overwhelming approval of the document, sources say members of congress are eager to bring many of the most successful aspects of the new Iraqi constitution to their constituent back home. "If the Iraqis liked it so much maybe we can make our people just as happy with us" sources said. Story developing...

Israel hits the right nerve in Lebanon

"After striking inside of Lebanon in retalliation to a Hezballah attack-which the latter used- mortars and rockets toward the Israeli-Lebanese border andwounding 11 Israeli soldiers- Israel planes went all the way to Beirut and dropped leaflets denouncing Hezballah."

US wraps up Iraq border assault

"US forces have concluded a major counter-insurgency operation near the Syrian border, the US military said.
A spokesman said 139 insurgents and 10 US marines died in the 17-day assault targeting al-Qaeda-linked militants.

Operation Steel Curtain marked the first major deployment of the Iraqi army in the restive western province of Anbar, the US military said.

Sunni Arab politicians have criticised the operation, saying its impact on civilians has been disastrous.

According to the US, the border towns of Husayba, Karabila and Ubaydi have been rid of insurgents."

Get paid up to $800 for blogging from Iraq/Kurdistan

"Salam Pax, sent this to emigre :

Channel 4 Documentaries are making an Iraq season for the new year, and they're thinking of promoting the diary of an Iraqi on the website for a week. (This has nothing to do with Channel 4 News, they're just asking me as a favour to pass this on to Iraqis I know)."
Kurdo's World

One Soldier's Opinion

"The media hasn’t really gotten on board with the whole Global War on Terrorism issue. What they seem to not understand is that this isn’t an “Iraq War.” It is a front in a global war. People think that if we just up and go that we’ll be happy and safe at home and the reality is that that’s probably not true. These psycho’s are everywhere in the world."
Blogs of War


"FOB Salerno, Afghanistan
-I’m thankful for the ubiquitous Afghan dirt and dust that clogs my nostrils each and every morning. When what comes out of your nose is more disgusting than what comes out of your ass, something is very wrong.

-I’m thankful for the short amount of time it takes for me to break into a sweat when standing outside in the shade in NOVEMBER."
American Citizen Soldier

Need Something To Be Grateful For?

"In the US tomorrow, everyone traditionally gets together to knock off a turkey and be grateful for what they have. Well, this post is devoted to some things Americans have to be grateful for. Here are some reasons to say "thank you."

Also, next time you hear on the news that "X number of soldiers or Marines or Iraqi forces were killed today", ask yourself a question that the TV and print media will never answer:

What were they doing when they were killed? What was their mission? What were trying to accomplish?

The following are little windows to the answer to that quesiton:"
Iraqi Bloggers central -CMAR II

Introducing "Talisman Gate"

"Here's a blog, Talisman Gate written by a not-so-avergae Iraqi writer, but rather an excellent scholar, Nibras Kazimi. Mr. Kazimi, works as a visiting scholar at the Hudson Institute and also writes a weekly column for the New York Sun."
The Iraqi Vote
OK I just went and took a look at this blog, and if your a fan of TRP as I am, then you will like this guy. He's witty funny and seems to know all the characters very well. I recommend him highly.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Nice picture

"Who Appologized to whom and why???"
A Citizen of Mosul
It's is unfortunate that we can no longer comment over at this blog, but it's nice to know that TT does have a sense of humor.

Phantoms of Fallujah

"We are pre-positioned in the desert scrub on the northern outskirts of the city. It's November 2004.

As members of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment's Combined Anti-Armor Team and India Company dig in for the night, I listen to their pre-battle talk.

In the Humvee, Lance Cpl. Brandon Burns sits in the canvas sling of his Mark19 turret (a weapon that launches 40 mm grenades like a machine gun), scanning ahead and discussing the Old Testament with Cpl. Steven Wolf, the squad leader.

Wolf, reading his Bible, remarks on how strong a warrior and leader King David had been. But Burns reminds him of David's sins -- sending Bathsheba's husband into battle to be killed so he could take her as his wife.

"It was pride," Burns says, from inside his steel perch. "His pride made him turn away from God."

Their talk is interrupted for a moment by explosions, followed by black and white smoke plumes drifting up from the horizon several kilometers in front of us. Artillery units are registering their mortars in the late afternoon, using both explosive and white phosphorous rounds."
Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone

Bring a tall ladder

Damn and I thought it was just me, but today I was going through my list in the favorites and noticed I had not been to Back to Iraq 3.0 in a long time.
So there you have it. You can never please everyone, but when was the last time that you could not please no one.
I guess it's the times and the situation. Lucky for me I'm an unknown anonymous nobody, and I think it's going to stay that way. And people can justify Burning on Sites. What's that old saying watch out what you ask for you just might get it. there is going to come a day when there will be no reporters in Iraq at all. I just hope someone has a ladder, so we can clime out of the hole we are digging ourselves into.

Shame !!!! Treasure of Baghdad's Diary

"On Al-Arabiya, the news bulletin came out at 10 p.m. while I was having dinner last night. “High tension has marked the first day of a meeting of Iraq's political and religious leaders to discuss plans for a future reconciliation conference,” the anchor said. In a speech at the conference, Hareth Aldhari, head of the Muslim Scholars Association showed up and said, "Armed resistance arose as a reaction to occupation. It is legitimate and is not an innovation.”

I chocked. Drinking water, I said to myself what the hell he is talking about? Which resistance is he mentioning, the one that collapsed an apartment building over its residents few days ago? The one he did not even feel sad or condemn. Oh! Of course not, he considers it resistance, I forgot."
Treasure in Baghdad

An Interview with the Ambassador

"I read an article in the Saudi Gazette recently, reporting the words of our Ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki Al-Faisal. And those words were:

Reacting to negative statements released by members of the US Senate at the hearing held Tuesday to discuss Saudi Arabia's cooperation in fighting terrorism and extremism, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the Saudi Ambassador to the US, said that these statements promote false impressions and partial facts.

So, we are all on the edge of our seats, waiting to hear what these "negative statements" were, and why they "promote false impressions and partial facts". Unfortunately, this is the Saudi press, and when it comes to princely pronouncements, they do not believe in taxing their readers with too much detail, or indeed any at all.

So I thought I would call him up on the phone and probe this further. Now Prince Turki may come across on US TV as quite suave, the "acceptable face" of absolute monarchy and religious tyranny. However, he is a Saudi Prince. Ever heard the term, "Little Princess"? That's usually applied to the spoilt daughter of a well-off Western family. Imagine instead, a "Little Prince", the spoilt son of an obscenely beyond-your-wildest-dreams rich Saudi family. The sort of man who, although supposedly adult, tells his family that he wants an Action Man, and gets an entire army brigade to play with. That's what we're dealing with here."
Thanks Gorge

Taking Mattie's Advise

"Last year, Mattie left our world to higher skies and adventures. I'm a big fan of this young poet, peacemaker, and philosopher who played. That's how he liked to describe himself.

I check Iraq's news first thing each morning. This week was full of unpleasant news. I wanted to write but couldn't because Mattie's words kept ringing in my head. Today, I collected my energy and decided to take Mattie's advise while writing this post."
Iraqi In America


"Tehran, 22 Nov. (AKI) - Iran's religious authorities in the holy Shiite city of Qom have officially invited Cuba's revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, to convert to Islam, according to Hojatolislam Mohammad Reza Hakimi, quoted by Iran's Farda news agency. "I met Castro together with the Iranian foreign minister, Saiid Salili, and gave him some sacred Islamic texts translated into Spanish," said Hakimi, who recently returned from a government visit to Cuba.

"We spoke with Castro for several hours, and I think I almost managed to convince him to become a Muslim," Hakimi added. "Castro certain that Cuba is suffering from a lack of spirituality, and seems very interested in Islam, above all in the writing of Iran's revolutionary leader, Ayatallah Khomeini," Hakimi continued.

Khomeini in 1989 invited Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union, to renounce Communism and to convert to Islam. Gorbachev's political and economic reforms in the mid-1980s triggered the non-violent transition from authoritarian to democratic forms of government in Eastern Europe, and from state-controlled to more free-market economies."
Via RantBurg

I guess he's already got the beard for it.

Are we going to see a timetable?

"Iraqi leaders, politicians and Sunni clerics agreed on asking the US to define a timetable for pulling the troops, this is all over the news websites so I’m not going to add further details here but I’d like to discuss the development with you.
No government in this world acts 100% independently and there are always internal and/or external factors and pressures that affect the decisions of any given government.

That’s why I think that Iraqi officials wouldn’t have agreed to the opposition’s demands if not for pressure from the US administration and I have a strong feeling that the US will announce a timetable for withdrawing the troops soon.
I think the US administration kind of drove the Sunni insurgency leaders to ask for this in a way that allowed the Iraqi and US government the chance to win a good deal of time while they can reach a reasonable progress in building Iraq’s army and police forces."

Ideology change in Kurdistan

"So remember all these hyper pro-independence minded opinions out of Kurdistan ? Well, there has been a very sharp obvious change in ideologies in Kurdistan, perhaps more important than that of Ariel Sharon's.

Currently, and especially after the end of the transitional period in Iraq following the approval of the Iraqi constitution, there have been more calls by Kurds for equality and democracy."
Kurdo's World

Where there’s a will … there’s a Cuban fucking up KaSStro's economy

"I have been getting some very strange emails lately of people selling me PC products at rock bottom prices. Nothing new about these EXCEPT.. The sellers are in CUBA?!

I hadn’t paid much attention to them until I saw an actual price posted today selling a modem for 35 CUC ! . The CUC REALLY cought my interest, Internet commerce WITHIN KaSStro’s Kuba ?

So I did some digging and I came up to this place:"
Fear is your worst enemy, but anyway I guess we can thank the Kerrys, and the Clintons for paying to wire Cuba for Internet service, but why bother even mentioning it.


"Today the US military is offically handing over FOB Danger to the Iraqis. That's a great step in getting Iraq on her own feet. I was struck by the last paragraph in the article:

It was a bittersweet year for the Big Red One, with more than 100 soldiers killed and 1,000 wounded but great advances in combined operations with new, better-led Iraqi army units and 2,000 reconstruction projects worth about $1 billion."
Trying to grok

Shiite Leader Says He Wants Federal Region

"BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A leading Shiite lawmaker suggested Monday that he will pursue a federal region in southern Iraq after next month's elections, pushing forward demands for Shiite autonomy that Sunni leaders fear could tear the country apart.

"We have major missions ahead," Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who heads the largest bloc in the interim parliament, told a gathering of tribal leaders. "The central and southern regions should be achieved after the elections" set for Dec. 15.

According to Iraq's new constitution, the country's 18 provinces - except for Baghdad - can combine to create self-ruled areas. Kurds have such a region in the north and Sunni Arabs fear that a similar Shiite-run mini-state in the south would deprive them of a share of the nation's oil wealth - concentrated in those two areas."

Iraqis ask for Withdrawal Timetable

"AP reports on the results of the Cairo national reconciliation conference, attended by the major Iraqi political factions, including Sunni Arabs.

Al-Hayat gives the orginal Arabic wording of some articles of the agreement. One provision says, "We demand the withdrawal of foreign forces in accordance with a timetable, and the establishment of a national and immediate program for rebuilding the armed forces through drills, preparation and being armed, on a sound basis that will allow it to guard Iraq's borders and to get control of the security situation . . ."

Sources at the conference told al-Hayat that they envisaged the withdrawal of foreign military forces from the cities within 6 months (i.e. mid-May?). They said that the withdrawal would be completed over a period of two years (i.e. November 2007). This timetable, al-Hayat says, appears actually to have been put forward by the Americans themselves. If that is true, we finally know exactly what George W. Bush means by "staying the course." It is a course that takes us to withdrawal."
Juan Cole

Washington calls for Denmark to shut down Kurdish TV station

"COPENHAGEN (AFP) - Washington has asked Denmark to shut down a local Kurdish television station which is under investigation for links to separatist Kurdish rebels in Turkey, Danish media reported Monday.

"We strongly urge the Danish government to shut down and freeez the assets of Roj TV, Mesopotamia TV and MBMG," the United States said in a confidential request to the ministry of foreign affairs, according to Danish daily Berlingske Tidende."
The Kurdistani
Like I was just saying, this administration is it's worst enemy. So Al-jazeera gets away with murder, literally, but the Kurds fighting for respect, freedom, and equality, should have their voice stifled. I'm starting to think that the only way we will ever win the WoT is by a regime change here at home. How do we start one of those petitions to support the Kurdish station and the rights of the Kurds stuck in Turkey. The bloggers should raise their voice of discontent with this stupidity.

Heroism Part II

"Kidnapping is a cottage industry here in Iraq, especially in Baghdad. With the combination of common criminals using it as a way of shaking down the local rich and middle class and the arhabi using it as a means of fundraising, it has been a serious problem. It keeps the IP's very busy. Today the good guys won one."
Major K.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Staying the Course

"After some discussion and recent events the authors of this site have decided to continue posting on the Fight to Survive blog. It has gained in popularity after Heckle choose to expose his identity. And, now more than ever there is a need for veterans who fought to express themselves.

I view America differently after I survived through war in Iraq and my life may forever be defined by that one year. It is kind of like seeing a home movie and realizing how foolish you act or sound. Also I no longer take for granted some of the things I viewed as minor, and minimize things I thought were a big deal. These key perceptions might be intriguing and useful to many readers. In the end it seems that writing is still therapeutic for my stress and anger management issues."
Fight to Survive

The Blood Just Won't Come Off Sites's Hands

"Nothing has angered me more than Kevin Sites's cheap-shot reporting of the shooting of the terrorist in the mosque during Operation Phantom Fury (Fallujah II, November 2004). Several times now Sites has tried to explain himself while everyone can plainly see what kind of person he is. Sites was willing to play judge and jury against a Marine in the middle of a bloody battle. He sold his soul for his 15 minutes of fame."
Iraqi bloggers Central
My comment follows:

I don't think people are being fair, I was a long time reader of Site's and anyone can see the last report and come to any conclusion they want. I for one will continue to see him as a good reporter, one that does not hide in a hotel to get the story second hand. If you ask me there was nothing wrong with his last report, sure people freaked, but those are simple minded people that don't like to see a kill live on TV. I find it hard to believe that of all people, you here at IBC would join in on the Burn on Site crowd. Where will it end.

On the Cairo conference and its final statement...

"The preparatory Cairo conference for reconciliation ended with a final statement that came at the last minutes after there were doubts an agreement on one could be reached if not for the Arabic language that is pretty good at twisting and playing on the meanings of texts.

The conference itself is viewed as an accomplishment for the Arab League let alone reaching a final statement that satisfied all parties without much troubles.
In my opinion, the Iraqi parties had originally joined the meeting to show that they’re not against a national reconciliation or against what can solve the crisis in Iraq. Of course this does not apply to all the parties as with the presence of extreme trends on both ends of the spectrum, it was natural that a middle trend will emerge to approximate the extremes and this middle trend was born in Iraq and found its place in this conference and tried to deter the rivals from marginalizing each other in order to find a middle way."
I just hope the next election is nothing like the last!

Zarqawi as victim

"The New York Times has a curious report from the Associated Press about the earlier days of Abu Musab Zarqawi. The story quotes the terrorist's former cellmate who says that when Zarqawi was in prison, he was tortured. The story says:

"Offering possible partial clues as to why the Jordanian-born al-Qaida leader chose Amman for triple hotel bombings earlier this month, the former cellmate, Yousef Rababaa, said: ''He hated the intelligence services intensely, and the authorities didn't know how to deal with his new ideology.''

Okay, he might well have reason to hate the intelligence services, but what about the wedding party? I wish journalists would stop this nonsense."

Power to the People

"Written by Sgt. Jason Mikeworth, 207th MPAD

Power to the people. For the Soldiers of the 30th Engineer Brigade and the Air Force’s Design Team 15 (DET 15), 732nd Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron, this is a mission, not a slogan, as they work to improve the flow of electricity for military bases stretching from Talafar to Taji.

“The mission of our team is to support the 30th with engineer projects in the northern-half of Iraq,” said Air Force Capt. Jon Wahlgren, an electrical engineer with DET 15. “We do design plans and specifications for projects for troop construction and contractor work.”

Wahlgren and his Army counterpart Maj. Anthony Centore focus their energy on providing energy to customer units, working on projects from the electrical source at power sub-stations right down to the individual light switches servicemembers use.“I’ve done everything from small things like rewiring a room that was being remodeled, rewiring whole buildings, all the way up to the design of power grids for some of these enduring bases,” Wahlgren said."
In Iraq for 365

Babalu Blog

This is a comment I left over at Val's

Hey I saw Humberto Fontova, author of "Fidel: Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant" interviewed this weekend on C-SPAN book TV in their coverage of the Miami Book Festival. And he was wearing a "Che buster" t-shirt. And the first thing that came to mind was Val and Babalu blog, who I think is the inventor of the Che buster shirt, unfortunately it did not say anything about babalu blog. But who cares we all know where this shirt comes from, and we are proud to have been here to see it happen in real time, even those of us that are on the shit list around here, you can take the Cuban out of Cuba, but you'll never take Cuban from our soul.

Barzani: If I was in Hewler I would have “slapped Amrou Mussa in the mouth”

"London ( – Upon his arrival to Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, the president of southern Kurdistan (Iraqi Kurdistan), told reporters that he would have “slapped” the head of the Arab League, Amrou Mussa “in the mouth” if he was present during the latter’s speech at the Kurdistani parliament in October, in which Amrou Mussa described “Kurdistan” as part of the “Arabic nation”, reported the Kurdish newspaper, Aso.

According to the Suleimani-based Kurdish newspaper, Aso, Massoud Barzani was asked by a journalist about his reaction on Amrou Mussa’s comment in which he described “Kurdistan as an important part of the Arab nation” in the Kurdistani capital of Hewler in October. The Kurdistani president has replied “During my press conference with Amrou Mussa, he did not dare to mention such a thing, and if I was at the Kurdistani parliament in Hewler during his comment I would have slapped him in the mouth”."
The Kurdistani

Iraq President Says He'd Talk to Baathists

"CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Iraq's president said Sunday he was willing to talk with opposition figures and members of Saddam Hussein's outlawed Baath Party, and he called on the Sunni-led insurgency to lay down its arms and join the political process.

However, President Jalal Talabani insisted at a reconciliation conference that the Shiite- and Kurdish-dominated government would not meet with Baath Party members who are participating in the Sunni-led insurgency attacking Iraqi and U.S.-led forces in the country.

"I am the president of Iraq and I am responsible for all Iraqis. If those who describe themselves as Iraqi resistance want to contact me, they are welcome," Talabani told reporters at the U.S.-backed and Arab League-sponsored conference. "I am committed to listen to them, even those who are criminals and are on trial.""

Id al-Fitr

"One of the last missions CPT Mackinnon talked about was a goodwill mission to help the shantytowns celebrate Id al-Fitr, the closing days of Ramadan. Id al-Fitr is a joyous celebration that roughly approximates Christmas in both festivity and mirth, and CPT Mackinnon wanted to help the poorest of the poor celebrate in grand fashion.

And so on the day of ID al-Fitr we found ourselves loading our HMMWVs with boxes of dates, stuffed animals, soccer balls and candy. Loading up all these presents should have been a carefree process - but the wounds we had suffered were still suppurating. Our recent losses still boomed in our collective memory, and the constant hammering on our heart’s door seemed to poison the joy we should have felt."
365 and a Wakeup

U.S. Stomps on a cockroach?

"Looks like we might have killed Zarqawi again.

Now, that was the first report. And first reports are almost always wrong. But it's unusual for garden-variety scumbags to resist like this when cornered. The fact that three of these guys apparently blew themselves up to avoid capture tells me that if we didn't catch Zarqawi, we caught somebody big.

I hope it's Zarqawi. See you in Hell, motherfucker."

The Long View

"I was reading some comments over at Sami's blog -- An Iraqi's Thoughts -- when I saw that one of our regular commenters Louise had stopped by to comment. After reading Sami's somber blog entry called Not in My Lifetime, Louise wrote this:

Sami, you are still young. Take it from someone who is in her 56th year. Sometimes you'll be amazed at what can be accomplished and how much change can sweep through a society in one person's lifetime."
Iraqi Bloggers Central

Video: Rob Pongi's North Korean Genius Kids

"Perhaps its time to rethink our educational system. North Korea seems to get a lot of mileage out of training huge groups of children at gunpoint."
Blog of War


"Before the war, these Mullahs, these secular politicians, these Kurds and even these Americans promised us a democratic, pluralistic, secular and federal Iraq. We have since seen the following:

A corrupt, Islamist, sectarian and weak governmne under "Dr" Ibrahim al-Ja'afari.

A corrupt, Ba'thist, arrogant, puppet, weak government under "Dr" Ayad Allawi.

So when I heard today that Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government saying that Kurdistan can only be a part of a democratic, pluralistic and fedearl Iraq, I said that's the only way."
The Iraqi Vote

Zarqawi's Family Finally Disown Him

"Over the past two years, Zarqawi has caused thousands of Iraqi deaths, he has personaly beheaded people in Iraq, yet his family never disowned him. The Amman terrorist bombings led his family to denounce him and cut all connections with him, reportedly until doomsday!"
The Iraqi Vote

My Iraq - This is where I want to die

"These stories and anecdotes I have been writing for a while are indeed a Glimpse of Iraq. A country that is more than 6000 years old that has given so much to humanity – and yet, it is largely unaccredited for it and unrecognized - a country that presents a harsh and a scruffy picture to the casual onlooker and to the observer with no penetrating mind or with a dead soul. But they are not really just a Glimpse of Iraq. They are in fact a glimpse of my Iraq and a glimpse of me.

Most people I know think, and sometimes say, that there is something wrong with me, staying in the unbearable hell-hole while being fully capable of leaving this sinking boat and making a good life elsewhere. I will not talk about duty. I will not talk about making a stand in the face of adversity and the forces of darkness. I will not talk about the many rational reasons that I feel I have. In this post, I will mention one ‘minor’ reason that I rarely state."
A Glimpse of Iraq

Zarqawi probably killed!

"According to these two sources, Iraqi and US military forces in Mosul think that Zarqawi, al-Qaeda leader in Iraq was possibly killed in a raid on a house where members of al-Qaeda were holding a meeting.
Al-Mada paper said that terrorists hiding in a house fired back at American and Iraqi troops that were surrounding the house in a battle that lasted from dawn to noon on Saturday (Jerusalem Post said it was Sunday)`after receiving intelligence about a meeting for senior al-Qaeda members."
OK I know that this is like the 100th time that we hear about his death, this guy would seem to have more lived than a cat, but one day it will be true.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Cut off in Najaf

"Good footage from a Blackwater security team here.

Interesting background from an anonymous and third-hand source (I cannot vouch for its provenance but maybe a reader can somewhere):

''The 5-man Blackwater crew that was assinged to CPA Najaf were coming under heavy small arms and mortar fire, the city was being taken over by insurgents. The police stations and hospitals were taken over as well, after a day of fighting off hundreds of insurgents the city had been completely overrun, with the CPA in the heart of the city and no way out."

"See You in Rubble"

"I’ve been working continuously for the last couple of months on some projects concerning the Iraqi marshlands and their environmental management, and I seriously looked like a caveman today when I looked at my face in the mirror, I didn’t shave my beard for a couple of weeks, and didn’t cut my hair for the last three months!

I finished one of the projects this morning, and sent the CDs off. Then I had a very short haircut by my favorite barber: Niki! Then I was planning to spend this night relaxing and taking a break from my exhausting work. I took my telescope to our patio, turned off the lights and started watching the moon and searching for some planets. Watching the moon at this time of the month is the best, you can actually see the craters very clearly because of the shadows. The worst time for watching the moon, ironically, is when it’s full because it looks too plain.

The long story short, I had an unexpected visit by a big raccoon while I was “telescoping”! This is the first time in my life that I see a raccoon! The poor thing freaked out and thought I was hiding to attack it or something, maybe because I was so silent in the dark, so it looked aggressive and hostile. So I decided to call it a night and come back to the house and blog!"
Raed in the Middle
Watch out Raed those raccoons can be rabid.

The Sudden Wrath of the Jordanians

"Ever since the bombings at the Jordanian capital that were carried out by Zarqawi, Jordanians have taken to the streets in large numbers to condemn terrorism. In the above picture, a Jordanian man holds a sign that reads, "Death to Zarqawi."

Zarqawi's fire has just hit the Hashimite kingdom, we in Iraq have beeb victims of this wrath for over two years. During the whole time Iraqis were being killed, not a single demonstration against terrorism took place in Jordan, not a single Jordanian publicly condemned terrorism or wished death upon Zarqawi."
The Iraqi Vote

Why Joe's Hate the Media and Other Wandering Thoughts on Iraqistan.

"You come in from a 3 hour firefight to sit in a chow hall as nice and clean as anything at home. The place belongs to a Forward Operating Base (FOB) of brass, mostly colonels, generals, and their assistants. You walk in covered in the aftermath of battle hoping the chow is as good as what you heard and only caring about that cheesecake you hope they have. You walk the gauntlet of “soft” MOSs who gawk and whisper about your appearance. Everyone is dirty, some of it isn’t dirt and the blood on you isn’t always American. You’ve finally got some coffee and you get comfortable; you choose the TV with CNN tuned in and the usual story comes over...controlled blast in Baghdad. For those who don’t know a controlled blast is when EOD blows a dangerous explosive in place. "
Candle in the Dark

Friday, November 18, 2005

Massacre and Bloody Friday in Khanaqien

"The war against the Shiites continued on all levels and by different means. Today it is in the city of Khanaqien where the terrorists killed more than 150 worshipers in two of the Shiite mosques in the city.

It is the Friday prayer in which hundred of people goes to the mosques for prayer. The two places were very ancient with old buildings. During the peak hours of the crowd inside two terrorists entered the mosques and exploded their belts in suicidal attacks. As the buildings are old the roof fall on the worshipers and killed them all instantly. Those who were injured or escaped were outside the place of the prayer doing their ablution or still outside. The wounded were transferred to other cities as the city hospital is so small with 40 beds capacity only.

In Baghdad there were two sucidal car bombs in Shiite residential area with much causality. Yestrdy the terrorists groups kidnapped one of the prominante Shiite politicians (Tawfiq Al-Yaseri) from his home in Baghdad."

Combatants and civilians

"One of Saddam's more zealous fans compares Falluja to Halabja in Al Quds Al Arabi. Abdul Bari Atwan says the use of white phosphorus by U.S. forces during their campaign against the insurgents in Falluja was just like the use of poison gas by Saddam against the residents of the Kurdish town in 1988.

It's hard to say that it's acceptable to use chemicals against human beings. But, if we might recall, the civilians were told to leave Falluja and warned about the coming violence. Also, there are reports that say that the phosphorus was used against enemy combatants and not deliberately against civilians."

Boycott the National Reconciliation Conference in Cairo

"Two stories are being widely reported in the Iraqi media, the first, reported here earlier is the scandal at the Ministry of Interior and the second is the upcoming so called "National Reconciliation Conference" in Cairo which begins this Saturday.

My first question is this, why in Cairo? If the Arab League and its not-so-innocent Secretary General Amr Mousa want to begin a process of reconciliation with Iraq, they should do that in Iraq. If Baghdad is not safe, then Najaf and Dohuk certainly are.

Those invitees who decide not to go will be compensated on the Iraqi street by votes.

Those who attend should demand the following:"
The Iraqi Vote

Iraq abuse claims...Both sides of the story

"This week there have been some terrible news for those who still have hope of peace and democracy...I hope these were just a bad nightmare but unfortunately they are not...

1st....reports of using chemical weapons by the Americans in Fallujah and then reports of prisoners abuse and torture by the Iraqi government...

These reports destroy the hopes of the people of Iraq who still to build a democratic and peaceful system in a shattered land."
Kurdo's World

Bombers Kill 74 at Two Mosques in Iraq

"BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Suicide bombers killed 74 worshippers at two Shiite mosques near the Iranian border Friday, while a pair of car bombs targeting a Baghdad hotel housing Western journalists killed eight Iraqis.

The suicide attackers targeted the Sheik Murad mosque and the Khanaqin Grand Mosque in Khanaqin, 90 miles northeast of Baghdad, as dozens of people were attending Friday prayers, police said. The police command said 74 people were killed and 75 wounded in the largely Kurdish town.

At sunset, dozens of people were still searching the rubble of the three-story Khanaqin Grand Mosque. As the men dug, 12-year-old Sarkhel Akram collected copies of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, then she kissed them and put them away."

I can't think of a title for this post!

Did you read about the Torture house?
ya, I am sure you did.
Just wanted to remind you of some of the reasons why people attack Police and national guards.
Did you see the Italianos film about the use of chemical weapons in Falluja?
yeah probably.
just wanted to remind you that a bunch of nice readers called me a liar when I said that chemical weapons were used in Falluja, "
Tell me a Secret
This was my comment just in case it don't make past the moderator:

"bunch of nice readers called me a liar when I said that chemical weapons were used in Falluja,"

And your still lying about it now, you said you saw the video, so tell me where in the video did they prove anything about chemical weapons?
Dead bodies? all those bodies looked as if they had died of trauma, and then left out in the sun to bloat. It's been a year almost since Fallujah, if you wanted to prove chemical weapons all you would need are some soil and water samples. Did you see anything in that video about samples? No, anyway that video was made up of old war clips many of which had been linked too from my own blog, I could have made that video. Cheap hoax for little minds, that what they should have called that show, maybe you could use it for a title.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Return of Dear Baghdad

"I'm delighted to announce the return of Vahal to blogging. He also started a second blog titled, The Iraqi Vote.

Welcome back Vahal. I really missed your letters to Baghdad."
Iraqi in America

The allegations of torturing detainees

"The accusation of the Iraqi interior ministry of torturing and exposing the detainees to starvation and malnourishment has been used for political purposes by some groups in and outside Iraq whether these allegations are true or not.

First we should know whether these detainees are terrorists who perpetrated and executed operation by which they killed innocent Iraqis or political prisoners. The answer is so simple, that in Iraq today there are no political prisoners unlike during Saddam Hussein regime. Therefore those detainees are either criminals who killed the Iraqis or among those who helped them. However we have to assume that some may be just under investigation and not among them though unlikely because the prison seems to be used for those who already have been accused about major crimes."
Sam is ordering a new cadi for Sistani, he said the one he gave him a year ago has lost that new car smell.

Experts overlook Iraq's civilians

"Jonathan Finer reports in the Washington Post today that few fighters in Iraq's insurgency are foreign. He might be right. He quotes Anthony Cordesman who says that Iraqis and U.S. administration officials have been misreading the insurgency. That could be true, I have never claimed to be a military expert. But I will tell Cordesman that most Iraqi people hate the insurgents and do not see them as legitimate regardless of what passports they carry. They are viewed as ruthless killers. And, I can say that I am certain this part of Finer's story is rubbish:"


"Anyone who has spent any time in the military will tell you how important leadership is to a unit. Bad leadership can destroy an otherwise good unit and good leadership can resurrect a unit in shambles. My team just got a proverbial adrenaline shot. The Iraqi Division we work with has a new Division Commander."
Major K.

Democracy is the protector, not Bayan.

"Iraqis have been receiving very disturbing news about prisoners abuse in the detention centers of the interior ministry and what’s really alarming in this incident is that the bad guys weren’t masked men hiding in narrow alleys but were men in uniforms that were supposed to bring us security and peace but unfortunately it appeared to be sometimes doing the exact opposite showing us images of savagery that terrify us in the name of fighting terror.
Everyone here knew some violations were taking place but only now we got to realize the magnitude and organized nature of these outrageous violations...

...Keeping an eye to prevent such atrocities is rather difficult but at least having an opposition guarantees that that when they happen, there will be people to expose them, speak out and demand justice and this incident proved that democracy and freedom of speech are the real protectors of the people and not this minister or that official."
I'm glade that Iraqis are coming to that realization, because I think we Americans are forgetting that very thing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

More on the Ministry of Interior Affairs torture bunker

"More on the Ministry of Interior Affairs torture bunker

First there is a really interesting article on Reuters AlertNet which you might want to take a look at if you are following this horrendous scandal:"
Salam Pax
This has to be the first of the reports on this story that mentions "power tools". What fun.


"I received an email today and am posting it without commentary. The original letter was written by Armando Valladares regarding the Catholic Church's attitude towards The Beast. The links to related articles in The Canadian Free Press are here and here. Use the "Suggest a Story" link on the sidebar to email me a link to the entire letter from Valladares and I'll publish it here."
Babalu Blog


"With the Democratic Party in the midst of an all-out rhetorical offensive to abandon the Iraq War and signal a full retreat in full view of victory, perhaps it is time to revisit how exactly we got to this point just over three years ago. Some choose to characterize the buildup to the Iraq invasion as a Republican rush to war, though others view it in hindsight as a well reasoned and rational response to an impending national crisis cresting the horizon of the “hide and hope for the best” policies of previous occupants of the People‘s House."
American Citizen Soldier

Terp Goes the extra mile

"The Soldiers who had been guarding the gate shouted alerts and assumed firing positions. They made a circle around Faouzi Hamade, an interpreter for the Department of Defense, who was struggling to take a concealed object from the hand of an Iraqi woman. “It’s a grenade, be careful,” Hamade yelled."
In Iraq for 365

Koizumi looks to extend SDF mission to Iraq

"KYOTO -- Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi suggested after talking with visiting U.S. President George Bush on Wednesday that Japan would extend the period of dispatch for its Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in Iraq.

Koizumi said during a press conference he held with Bush that he would make a decision over the dispatch of SDF troops to Iraq after considering the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance."

Saudi Arabia Silent on Trade With Israel

"DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Saudi Arabia remained tight-lipped Wednesday about whether it will start trading with Israel, a week after being allowed into the World Trade Organization, whose regulations forbid members to boycott each other.

Like many other Arab states, Saudi Arabia has maintained a boycott on trade with Israel, along with a rejection of diplomatic ties. The oil-rich kingdom, home to Islam's holiest sites, has long insisted it will not establish relations with Israel until a comprehensive peace is reached with all Arab states.

Even after the WTO's approval of its bid to join, Saudi Arabia was not rushing to announce an official end of the boycott."